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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
Monday November 18 Ag News


For the week ending November 17, 2019, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 16 short, 79 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 85 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 85 percent, near 86 last year, and behind 91 for the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 3 poor, 25 fair, 53 good, and 17 excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 79 percent, behind 90 last year and 93 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19 fair, 63 good, and 12 excellent.


 Snowfall in the first part of the week ending November 17, 2019 slowed down harvesting activities in parts of Iowa by limiting farmers to 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Propane shortages continued to be a challenge for farmers across the State as they try to dry down their corn crop due to high moisture content. Fieldwork activities included harvesting corn and soybeans; baling corn stalks; applying anhydrous and fertilizer; and fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

Seventy-seven percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, 10 days behind last year and 12 days behind the 5-year average. Producers in the Northwest and North Central Districts have harvested over 85 percent of their expected crop, while harvest in the Northeast District was just 58 percent complete. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 20 percent.

Ninety-five percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, over 1 week behind average. The South Central and Southeast Districts still have more than 10 percent of their soybean crop remaining to be harvested.

The number of cattle grazing on corn stalks increased this past week. There were also reports that below normal temperatures and mud have been stressful on livestock.

USDA: Corn 76% Harvested; Soybeans 91% Harvested

The U.S. soybean harvest has entered the home stretch, while about a quarter of the corn crop remains to be harvested as of Sunday, Nov. 17, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, corn harvest moved ahead another 10 percentage points to reach 76% complete as of Sunday, 16 percentage points behind the five-year average of 92%. That was slightly nearer to normal than the previous week when harvest was running 19 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Meanwhile, soybean harvest slowed somewhat last week, but moved ahead another 6 percentage points to reach 91% as of Sunday, only 4 percentage points behind the five-year average of 95%.

Winter wheat progress continued at a near-average pace last week. As of Sunday, 95% of winter wheat was planted, equal to the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 83%, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 86%.

Winter wheat condition declined again, falling 2 percentage points from 54% good to excellent the previous week to 52% as of Sunday. The current rating is down from 56% last year at the same time but equal to the rating given two years ago.

Sorghum harvested reached 93%, ahead of the five-year average of 87%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 68%, also ahead of the average pace of 66%.

Butler Co. farmer and leader awarded NRRA’s “Service to Agriculture Award”

The Nebraska Rural Radio Association bestowed it’s prestigious “Service to Agriculture Award” Monday to Rising City farmer and leader Bart Ruth. NRRA President Ben Steffen of Humboldt presented the award during the NRRA’s 69th annual meeting in Lexington. Ruth is past President of the American Soybean Association and also several roles with the Nebraska Soybean Association. He currently co-chairs the 25×25 National Renewable Energy Steering Committee and is President of Ag Builders of Nebraska.

During his remarks, Ruth said as he looked around the room he say the faces of many men and women with whom he has had the privilege of working alongside. He noted that he “watched as they impacted Agriculture and served as mentors to me.” Ruth is a 6th generation farm operator and noted that “several traits that were instilled in me early in life were dedication to family, active attendance and leadership in our small, rural church and service to the community.” Ruth is the 33rd recipient of the “Service to Agriculture Award”.

Craig Larson will be stepping down as General Manager of the NRRA on January 1, 2020. He will be succeeded by current Chief Operating Officer Tim Marshall but, Larson will continue to assist in the transition. Larson has served with the NRRA for nearly 25 years with the last 8 of them as General Manager.

Elections were conducted for Board of Director positions. There were three open positions and current Directors Steffen, Dennis Fujan and Doug Saathoff were re-elected. Other NRRA Board Members include Russ Anderson of Hyannis, Bart Beattie of Sumner, Debbie Borg of Allen, Rich Lackaff of Bassett, Jim Ramm of Atkinson and Elaine Redfern of Holdrege.

Ricketts Spotlights German Biotech Investments as Trade Mission Concludes

This weekend, Governor Pete Ricketts wrapped up his first trade mission to Germany.  His final activities included visiting companies that have made key investments in Nebraska and promoting Nebraska beef.

On Friday, Gov. Ricketts started his day with a tour of Bayer’s learning center in Leverkusen and met with executives to thank them for their investment in the state.  In Nebraska, Bayer has facilities in Gothenburg, Waco, York, Kearney, Beaver Crossing, Gretna, and Omaha.  From biotech research to detasseling, their investment in Nebraska helps create thousands of job opportunities.

In Essen, Gov. Ricketts visited the international headquarters of Evonik, a company that has been producing the amino acid L-lysine at a plant in Blair, Nebraska for about 20 years.  According to the company, the amino acid is “an animal feed additive that benefits food production and increases sustainability.”

Evonik is also a part of a joint venture with DSM of the Netherlands at a second plant in Blair.  This joint venture, Veramaris, is a bioscience company that is revolutionizing feed nutrition.  The state-of-the-art Blair facility produces omega-3 fatty acids for animal nutrition through the cultivation and fermentation of natural marine algae.  Traditionally, omega-3 production has relied on fish oil obtained from live-caught fish.  Veramaris’ breakthrough procedure—which harnesses dextrose from Nebraska corn—satisfies commercial feed demands, particularly in aquaculture (fish farming), while conserving oceanic biodiversity.

Both Evonik investments are a part of a growing bioscience campus in Blair, Nebraska that also includes investments from Cargill and Novozymes.

On Friday, Gov. Ricketts and American Consul General Fiona Evans of Düsseldorf hosted a lunch for beef buyers to promote Nebraska beef.  Under a new agreement, the European Union (EU) will allow the U.S. to almost triple the amount of beef exported to the region.  In 2005, only five percent of the U.S. beef entering the EU came from Nebraska.  By 2018, Nebraska’s share rose to 53%, and was valued at $124.3 million.

Following lunch, Gov. Ricketts met with North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Minister President Armin Laschet to discuss opportunities to expand engagement between Nebraska and NRW.  NRW is the largest state in Germany, and home to German companies investing in Nebraska.

Extension, FSA to Host Farm Bill Education Meetings Across Northeast Nebraska in December

Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska will host a series of Farm Bill education meetings next month to assist producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, a few program changes coupled with changes in market conditions and outlook could significantly impact producer decisions.

“These meetings will help producers understand the programs and recent changes, as well as the decisions to be made at sign-up now and in the coming years,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “There are some changes, such as an optional PLC program yield update, and other tweaks to the ARC and PLC programs that producers should consider as they make their selections.”

“Producers face a familiar choice between ARC and PLC, but under very different circumstances now as compared to 2014,” said Brad Lubben, Policy Specialist with Nebraska Extension. “Understanding the program mechanics, analysis and available decision tools will help producers make sound enrollment decisions with FSA.”

The joint Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Farm Service Agency producer education meetings are scheduled at seven locations in northeast Nebraska in December in advance of the coming ARC/PLC enrollment deadlines in early 2020.

The meetings are all free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes for materials and facilities. Attendees can register for any of the meetings conveniently on the web at or by calling or visiting their county FSA or Extension office. The educational programs are each set to run three hours in length, featuring information and insight from FSA specialists and Extension experts, as well as other relevant information from local agencies.

The meeting schedule for northeast Nebraska is as follows:

Bloomfield - Community Center - December 2, 1:30-4:30 PM
O'Neill - Community Center - December 3, 9 AM-12 NOON
Columbus - Ag Park - December 4, 9 AM-12 NOON
Dakota City – Dakota County Service Center – December 5, 1:30-4:30 PM
West Point - Nielsen Center - December 9, 9 AM-12 NOON
Wayne - Wayne Fire Hall - December 16, (2 meetings) 1-4 PM or 6-9 PM
Norfolk - Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center - December 18, 1-4 PM

Please check the website for updates on locations, dates and times. All times are local with registration beginning 30 minutes ahead of start.

There also are resources available online that can educate producers in their ARC/PLC decision-making process. Links to these resources are available from FSA at under the Spotlights section or from Extension at


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

“According to the most recent Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report in September, there were 77.7 million hogs and pigs in the United States,” said Nicholas Streff, NASS Northern Plains Regional Director. “The December survey and resulting report will continue to provide important indicators for the industry of what changes are occurring – if any.”

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

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

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


Bruce Anderson, NE Exension Forage Specialist

Grass remaining for winter grazing can really help cut feed costs for stock cows.  Your grazing strategy can greatly influence how effectively you use this pasture.

Grazing winter range or pastures has many benefits.  It can save as much as a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding hay.  It removes old growth so pasture next spring and summer is fresher.  And some weeds may be eaten that cattle won’t touch during summer.  Plus, there is little risk of damage to your dormant pasture as long as grazing occurs while the ground is firm.

But the way you manage your cattle during winter grazing can have a big effect on its success.  For instance, maybe you have a goal of feeding as little protein supplement as possible while winter grazing.  If so, you then must make sure your stocking level is light enough so cattle can select just the higher quality plants and plant parts to eat.           

Another strategy might be to stretch winter pasture as far as possible.  Then it might be best to restrict animal access to small areas at a time, like with strip grazing, and feed supplements as needed.  Or, if you use forage from winter range just as a filler to keep cattle from bellowing when you limit feed corn, corn by-products, or other nutrient dense feeds, then high stocking levels and unrestricted access might be best.

Whatever your strategy, though, consider carefully what kind of nutrition animals are getting from the pasture so you neither underfeed nor overfeed expensive supplements.  And be sure to provide salt, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A free choice at all times.

Winter grazing is a great opportunity to reduce winter feed costs.  With the right grazing strategy, it can help you meet many of your feeding goals.

2019 NC Convention & Trade Show

It’s that time of year again... HOLIDAY SEASON! With all the hustle and bustle don't forget about CONVENTION! This year we are squeezing the Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention and Trade Show in the week after Thanksgiving! Tis' the season!

Convention begins on Wednesday December 4th with the member services meeting, council meetings and opening general session. Have you seen our line up for general session yet? We’ve got comments from NC President Mike Drinnin, recognition of board members and top hands, comments from EVP Pete MycClymont, YCC graduating class, and then Stan Garbacz will talk with us about international trade followed by Jerry Bohn giving us an NCBA update and closing with Don Close with a market outlook. Immediately following the opening general session meet us in the Trade Show for the Welcome Reception.

New this year are the Trade Show presentations beginning bright and early and lasting throughout the day on Thursday. Keynote speaker Tom Field will talk with listeners on "The Family Enterprise". Thursday is also a day full of committee meetings, NC Foundation Luncheon and the Annual Banquet.

Friday begins bright and early with the Market Outlook Breakfast and followed up with the Annual Business Meeting. We encourage you to be apart of the business meeting as our policy is not set until approved by the membership. During this meeting we will review the six policy committee resolutions and policy statements and set the direction for Nebraska Cattlemen. Also, membership will elect the 2020 Nebraska Cattlemen leadership.

NC and NCBA PAC Silent Auction

The ever-popular PAC silent auction will again be at the 2019 NC Annual Convention. This is the primary fundraiser for both the NC PAC and funds sent to NCBA for use on federal elections. Consignments include:
    Nebraska Made Gift Basket
    Light up Snow Man              
    Boot Photo                                   
    Husker Men’s Basket Ball Tickets               
    Flag Flown @ Capitol                  
    Pheasant Hunt                              
    2 Waygu Cross Steaks                   
    Scale n Trail                               
    LipSense Package                         
    Bomb Cyclone Survivor Basket 

Rooms held at:

           Fairfield Inn & Suites – $104.95/night – 308-236-4200    
           Comfort Inn - $104.95/night – 308-236-3400
           La Quinta Inn & Suites - $104.95/night – 308-237-4400

More information and details at

Humphreys, Matsen to join National Pork Board Leadership Team

The National Pork Board has named two new executives to its leadership team. Bryan Humphreys has been named the vice president of producer, state and industry relations, and Jacque Matsen has been named vice president of strategic communications. Both will assume their new roles Dec. 16.

Humphreys grew up working on the family farm in Iowa raising hogs, corn and soybeans. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Iowa State University, he organized grassroots efforts and managed multiple political campaigns around the country. In 2009, he joined the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) as the director of grassroots, where he encouraged pork producers to tell their stories and interact with influencers and key decision makers. As part of this role, Humphreys also spent time in more urban areas helping educate elected officials and other influential decision makers on modern pork production practices. 

In 2014, Humphreys became the executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Council, where he led efforts around some most pressing social and environmental issues of the day. 

“Bryan is highly respected by pork producers in Ohio and his colleagues around the country,” said Bill Even, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. “Ohio Pork has led from the front in terms of innovation and consumer engagement under his leadership, and we’re excited to have him bring a new approach to the national organization’s producer and state outreach efforts.”

Matsen, an Ames, Iowa native, earned degrees in Journalism and Political Science from Iowa State University. She comes to the Pork Board from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) where she served as administrator of the marketing & communications division, which also includes the Iowa Tourism Office. In this role, she oversaw strategic marketing and communication efforts in support of IEDA’s mission to strengthen economic and community vitality across the state. 

Before joining IEDA, Matsen was a senior vice president in the Kansas City office of FleishmanHillard.  There, she counseled clients on building markets for new products, crisis response and media engagement. Prior to her agency experience, Matsen oversaw global public affairs for DuPont Pioneer (now Corteva Agriscience) where she managed issues such as biotech/GMO acceptance, and was responsible for executive communications, thought leadership and traditional/social media efforts. Matsen joined Pioneer after spending more than 10 years at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Denver, Colorado, where she led beef industry responses to animal welfare videos, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and the use of lean, finely textured beef. 

“Jacque’s experience as a leader in ag communication will be invaluable to us as we launch ‘Checkoff 4.0,’” said Even. “Her experience in association, business, and government communication, as well as shaping consumer perception about products and practices will be vital to the pork industry as we face a dynamic, rapidly changing marketplace and increasing threats to production from foreign animal disease.” 

U.S. Pig Farmers Embrace Responsible Antibiotic Use Every Day

America’s 60,000 pig farmers are dedicated to raising healthy animals to ensure a safe food supply. Today, that commitment means placing a high priority on using antibiotics responsibly for the health of people, pigs and the planet. As this year’s U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Nov. 18-24, gets underway, America’s pig farmers want to highlight their ongoing efforts to achieve excellent antibiotic stewardship and their determination to always seek improvement.

“Using antibiotics responsibly is something that pig farmers are doing every single day,” said David Newman, a pig farmer from Arkansas and the National Pork Board president. “Antibiotic Awareness Week is a good time to reinforce this stewardship by reviewing herd-health plans and the best practices found in the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification program. It’s also a good time to involve all animal caretakers and continue to raise their awareness about the role they play in responsible antibiotic use.”

Directed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the annual U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week raises awareness of antibiotic resistance risks and the importance for all sectors – human health, animal health and the environment – to use antibiotics responsibly. An estimated 300 organizations participate in Antibiotic Awareness Week, including federal agencies, health departments, professional societies, corporations and advocacy groups. The CDC’s year-round effort includes its education program – Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care – that addresses all antibiotic uses (#BeAntibioticsAware).

“Resolving antimicrobial resistance is a shared goal across human, animal and environmental sectors and a great example of the One Health global initiative,” said Heather Fowler, DVM, director of producer and public health for the Pork Board. “All of the different antibiotic-user groups came together and are committed to addressing antimicrobial resistance. For their part, U.S. pig farmers are thinking innovatively about how they can help ensure that antibiotics remain effective for everyone.”

Fowler points to the industry’s PQA Plus program as a practical way to address all areas of on-farm pig production, including a section dedicated to responsible antibiotic use, public health and animal care. Now in its third decade, PQA Plus trains and certifies pig farmers and their employees on best practices.  

Antibiotic research is another priority for U.S. pig farmers. Through their national Pork Checkoff, nearly $2.5 million has been dedicated to antibiotic research over the past five years. Just this year, $400,000 in Checkoff funds were dedicated to research antimicrobial resistance and on-farm antibiotic use.

To further leverage research dollars, the Pork Board recently joined the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA), a public-private partnership created by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Among its objectives is to advance research on antimicrobial stewardship in animal agriculture. ICASA’s membership includes businesses throughout the supply chain, such as McDonald’s, JBS and Tyson.

“This is another way to partner with other organizations with a shared interest in antimicrobial research and to multiply research dollars,” Fowler said.

Throughout the year, the Pork Board maintains a direct relationship with the CDC, participating in meetings, presentations and direct dialogue on antimicrobial issues. In fall 2018, the CDC established the AMR Challenge, asking organizations to commit to specific plans to combat antimicrobial resistance. The Pork Board designated education and outreach activities, which included a farm tour this past summer for public health officials.

“We brought the public health officials to a farm to see pig production firsthand and to see how pig farmers use antibiotics responsibly every day,” Fowler said. “The farm tour, which we hope to conduct again in 2020, also encouraged open dialogue.”

Committed to monitoring outcomes, the Pork Board continues to work on developing metrics to document responsible antibiotic use on pig farms. The goal is to benchmark use, identify areas to improve, reinforce training and show progress in overall antibiotic stewardship.

“Pig farmers have a positive story to tell, and Antibiotic Awareness Week is a good opportunity to share our message with the public,” Newman said. “From herd-health strategies to biosecurity measures, to daily care and management, we are committed to continuous improvement and doing what’s right for the health of people, pigs and the planet.”

Trade Stability with Soy’s #2 Market is in Sight!

Soybean farmers are confident Congress can pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by year end. To encourage the process and show support of the agreement, farmer leaders from throughout the nation’s 30 soybean-producing states will converge on Capitol Hill Nov. 19 to request Congress keep moving the bill forward before its 2019 calendar is completed.

“Soybean farmers are clearly in a prolonged period of trade uncertainty. USMCA would assure we have stable, open access to Mexico and Canada, both vital markets for our crop,” said Bill Gordon, soybean farmer from Worthington, Minn., and vice president of the American Soybean Association (ASA).

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 and other agriculture groups continue to advocate online for #USMCAnow and hope that the growers’ outreach in person this week in D.C. will impress upon Congressional leaders the immediate need to ratify USMCA.

E15 Summer Sales Up 46 Percent in 2019

Growth Energy announced that summer sales of E15 – a fuel with 15 percent renewable biofuel often sold as Unleaded 88 at the pump – are up 46 percent in 2019 compared to 2018 on a per-store basis. Additionally, for the first time, this past summer saw the number of stores offering Unleaded 88 increase. Led by Casey’s, the retail industry added 149 stores over the summer months. The 2019 summer driving season was the first summer Unleaded 88 was sold without restriction and this increase underscored the fuel’s popularity with drivers who have logged more than 11 billion miles on it.

“Unleaded 88 provides American drivers unrivaled value at the fuel pump and the explosive growth in summer sales demonstrate what we’ve always known—once consumers have access to this engine-smart, earth-kind fuel they will come back again and again,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “With summertime sales already up 46 percent over last summer, we expect to see interest from retailers and consumers alike continue to grow.”

Growth Energy works with leading retailers including Casey’s, Cumberland Farms, Family Express, Holiday, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, Pump & Pantry, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Royal Farms, Rutters, Sheetz, and Thorntons to give more drivers access to cleaner burning, high-octane Unleaded 88 at more than 2,000 stations across the U.S. These retailers sell between 2.2 to 2.5 million fuel gallons per year which amounts to over 200 percent more fuel gallons per year than what the average fuel retailer sells annually.

New National FFA Advisor & Executive Secretary Named

The National Council for Agricultural Education named Dr. James Woodard the Director of Agricultural Education, FFA Board Chair and National FFA Advisor. Amendments to the National FFA Constitution and Bylaws adopted by the delegates at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo stipulated that it is now the responsibility of The Council to appoint this leadership position.

Dr. Woodard replaces Dr. Steve Brown, who has served as board chair and national advisor for the past 11 years. Dr. Brown recently retired from his position at the U.S. Department of Education after 39 years of service to the agricultural education profession.

In this role, Dr. Woodard will serve as chairperson of the National FFA Board of Directors, where he will provide oversight for the National FFA Organization. He will advise the National FFA Officers, the board of directors, and the National FFA Delegates and committees on matters of policy, and will help the national officers conduct meetings. In this three-year renewable role, he will co-direct the joint governance committee of the National FFA Organization and the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees, and serve as an advocate for issues affecting FFA and agricultural education stakeholders.

The national board of directors also named Cheryl Zimmerman executive secretary for National FFA. In this role, she will be primarily responsible for issuing charters to state FFA associations as directed by the national board of directors; keeping official board meeting minutes and membership records; tracking the progress of the organization and overseeing state FFA association reporting to the board. Zimmerman has served on the National FFA Board of Directors as a consultant and member since 2016. She currently serves as the Wisconsin FFA executive director, where she provides leadership for more than 250 FFA chapters. She studied agricultural education and agricultural journalism at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

NGFA outlines recommendations to STB on rail rate reform proposals

The National Grain Feed Association (NGFA) on Nov. 12 submitted two statements to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) largely supporting, but outlining recommendations to improve further, the agency’s proposals designed to reform the process available to shippers to challenge unreasonable freight rail rates.

In its first statement, the NGFA supported the agency’s proposal to implement a streamlined “final-offer rate review” process that would provide rail customers with a more workable approach to challenge unreasonable freight rail rates within an expedited time frame.

“NGFA-member companies believe unreasonably high rail rates have become more prevalent and significant given the rapid consolidation of the North American freight rail marketplace and the implementation of the so-called ‘precision scheduled railroad’ operating model by six of the seven Class I railroads, which reinforces the importance and timeliness” of the STB’s proposal, the NGFA wrote. “As NGFA’s rail arbitration system has shown that merely having realistic access to an effective forum for resolving disputes in a timely, fair and cost-effective manner can help discipline business conduct without cases ever being filed.”

The NGFA noted that in 2014 it had developed and submitted to the STB its own version of a new, simplified rate-challenge methodology intended to be workable for agricultural rail users. Subsequently, a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board also found the STB’s rate-challenge processes to be complex, time-consuming and costly, with no agricultural shipper having filed a rate challenge in nearly 40 years.

“The NGFA continues to strongly support efforts by the (STB) to improve its rules for reviewing the reasonableness of railroad rates and to make them more workable, accessible and useful for agricultural shippers,” the NGFA wrote.

The NGFA recommended that the STB make several improvements to its “final-offer rate review” process proposal before issuing a final rule, including removing the proposed $4 million cap on rate relief over a two-year period and developing guidance for shippers on how to utilize the new process effectively. They are outlined here.

In a second statement submitted to the STB on Nov. 12, the NGFA strongly supported – but recommended several significant changes to – the agency’s proposal to develop and adopt a streamlined approach that shippers could use to demonstrate that a freight railroad has “market dominance” over a given transportation movement, which is a prerequisite before a rail customer can challenge the reasonableness of a rail rate. Among other things, the NGFA recommended that the STB improve its method for calculating whether a railroad revenue-to-variable cost ratio exceeds 180 percent, which must be met before a rate can be challenged, as well as modifying its proposed standard for determining whether trucks offer a cost-competitive alternative to rail for hauling grains and other agricultural products.

Friday November 15 Ag News

Farm Finances Continue to Weaken Amid Ongoing Uncertainty
Nathan Kauffman, Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive
Ty Kreitman, Assistant Economist

Farm credit conditions in the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District continued to deteriorate steadily in the third quarter of 2019. Despite a slight increase in the price of some agricultural commodities and additional support from government payments, farm income and loan repayment rates declined at a modest pace. According to District bankers, agricultural economic conditions in the quarter were influenced by uncertainty about crop production, agricultural trade and other factors that contributed to commodity price fluctuations. Persistent weaknesses in the sector put further pressure on farm finances and signs of modest increases in credit stress remained. Farmland values, however, remained stable, and provided ongoing support for the sector.

Farm Income and Borrower Finances

Farm income in the region remained relatively weak and continued to decline, according to the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions. Despite slightly higher crop prices and support from trade relief payments, farm income decreased compared with a year ago. Recent volatility in crop prices appeared to affect bankers’ perceptions of agricultural conditions in the third quarter, and respondents indicated that farm income declined more than had been expected a quarter earlier. In August, cattle prices dropped sharply in response to substantial disruptions at a major beef processing facility, which weighed on income in the third quarter and affected expectations.

Farm income decreased from a year ago across all states in the region, with some variation in the pace of decline. Compared with other District states, crop conditions through October were slightly worse in Missouri and slightly better in Nebraska. Alongside production variability, income weakened at the fastest pace in Missouri, following sharp declines in 2018. In addition, a steep decline in cattle prices also contributed to lower farm income across other District states.

Farm borrowers made additional cuts to spending in response to an ongoing environment of subdued revenue. Similar to farm income, farm household and capital spending continued to decline while the outlook for spending also has been affected by recent volatility in commodity prices. Amid tight profit margins, operators have reduced capital spending at a consistently faster pace than household spending; bankers indicated they expect that trend to continue.

Ongoing reductions in farm income put further downward pressure on liquidity positions of crop producers. Working capital deteriorated at a modest pace throughout the District for the sixth consecutive year, but weaknesses were less severe than in prior years. About 75 percent of bankers reported that working capital of crop farmers deteriorated at least modestly in 2019, compared with over 90 percent in 2016.

Steady deterioration of farm finances led to a modest amount of borrowers selling assets to improve liquidity. Similar to last year, about half of District bankers indicated they expect at least 5 percent of their borrowers to sell assets before year-end. Almost all survey respondents indicated they expect some borrowers to liquidate assets in coming months, a sign of broad impacts from persistent weaknesses in the sector and long-lasting pressure on farm finances.

Credit Conditions

Demand for farm loans remained strong and continued to increase, but the pace of growth slowed from previous quarters. Loan demand, on average, grew across the District for the sixth straight year, but the share of respondents indicating demand was higher reached the lowest level since late 2013. Despite slightly slower growth, demand was expected to remain high into the next quarter. The availability of funds at agricultural banks was little changed from a year ago. Expectations for the next quarter were for a slight increase in available funds, which would be the first increase in nearly four years.

The strain on farm finances in the District has led to steady deterioration of agricultural credit conditions. The rate of farm loan repayments continued to decline, at a pace similar to recent quarters, while the number of renewals and extensions remained high. Similar to farm income, repayment rates in the third quarter were much slower than expected. Looking forward, bankers remained more optimistic than in the current quarter, but indicated they expected the modest deterioration to continue.

Compared with a year ago, the outlook for repayment rates through year-end varied by the type of operation. Following a sharp drop in cattle prices during the summer and reduced revenues for some producers, bankers expected repayment rates to weaken considerably for cow/calf and feeding operations relative to last year. In contrast, slightly higher prices and improved revenues for most other major commodities led to predictions of a slightly slower pace of decline in repayment rates for those borrowers compared with last year.

Alongside modest deterioration in borrower finances and slower repayment rates, the share of problem loans was steady and the increase in overall credit risk associated with farm loans remained modest. On average across the District, about 10 percent of farm loan portfolios were on the watch list and about 6 percent were considered classified. The percent of farm borrowers on the bank watch lists was highest in Nebraska, while the classification rate was highest in Kansas.

Interest Rates and Farmland Values

Following nearly five years of steady increases, interest rates on farm loans declined slightly in the third quarter. Both variable and fixed rates for all types of farm loans decreased from a year ago, with fixed rates on farm real estate loans showing the largest decline. Fixed rates decreased slightly more than comparable variable rates and the spread between fixed and variable rates inched slightly higher across all loan types compared with last quarter.

Consistent with the region, on average, fixed interest rates on farm real estate loans declined slightly in all District states. Rates declined slightly more in Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas compared with Missouri and the Mountain States. Fixed rates on operating loans also remained highest in Oklahoma, consistent with historical trends.

Steady farmland values continued to provide support to farm finances amid an ongoing environment of weaker agricultural economic conditions. The values of all types of farmland (nonirrigated cropland, irrigated cropland and ranchland) remained similar to values a year ago. Although land values, on average, have declined since 2015, the decrease has been modest relative to the sharp increases in preceding years. Moreover, farmland values have shown some signs of stabilizing since 2018.


Bankers in the Kansas City Fed region expected agricultural credit conditions and farm income to continue to decline in coming months. Although numerous contacts indicated that government payments connected to ongoing trade disputes provided some support, most bankers pointed to an ongoing environment of low agricultural commodity prices and elevated costs as the primary factors contributing to the weakness. As profit opportunities have remained limited, borrower liquidity has continued to decline and most bankers expected a modest increase in asset liquidation. The stability of farm real estate values has continued to provide support to farm finances, and likely will be a key determinant of credit conditions in the year ahead.


The second largest indoor U.S. farm show, presented by Farm Credit Services of America and
AgDirect, will be held December 10-12 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Spread across 9.2 acres, the 13th
annual Nebraska Power Farming Show features the broadest mix of ag-related products and
services found in the Midwest.

Agriculture remains the lifeblood of rural Nebraska where families operate and maintain 48,700
farms across the state. Contributing approximately $25 billion in annual cash receipts to the
state’s economy, Nebraska farmers and ranchers grow a diverse mix that includes corn, dry
beans, alfalfa, popcorn and sugar beets, and raise beef, pork, poultry and dairy cattle.

“With 790 companies on hand representing 60 product and service categories, farmers and
ranchers will find everything they need to increase profits, lower input costs and improve
productivity at the Nebraska Power Farming Show,” said Tom Junge, show director. “It’s an
agricultural megastore.”

Check out Purdue University’s award-winning agBOT in the Pavilion 3 café. This
autonomous machine can identify plants, destroy weeds and fertilize crops, all while
navigating a field. The 2019 first place agBOT Challenge winner has the potential to
not only decrease the overall cost of farm operation but reduce negative environmental
impacts and compensate for farm labor shortages as well.

Watch the Ag Tech Innovation Competition on Wednesday at 2 pm in Pavilion 2 East. Five
ag tech start-ups will pitch their latest ideas to help producers manage their operations
more effectively. A $20,000 Grand Prize and $5,000 People’s Choice will be awarded!

Join us for an exclusive film screening of the movie “Silo” – December 11th at
5:00-6:30 pm – Pavilion 2 East

85 NEW exhibitors

Four easy-to-access entrances – including a new “Pavilion 4 South” entrance.

Show hours run 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Thursday. Admission and parking at the Lancaster Event Center are FREE! For additional show
information, visit

Platte County FSA, Extension to Host Farm Bill Education Meeting for Area Producers

Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Platte County will host a Farm Bill education meeting on Wednesday, December 4 at the Columbus Ag Park, 822 15th Street in Columbus. The meeting will begin at 9:00 am and go through noon. All area producers are invited to attend this free informational event.

FSA County Executive Director Chris Hoffman said the meeting is designed to provide important information to producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

The ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain similar to the previous farm bill, but there are a few key program changes.

Nebraska Must Embrace New Opportunities, Eliminate Barriers to Agriculture Growth

Nebraskans must be open to new opportunities to grow agriculture, even when those opportunities look different than what have been available to previous generations of farmers and ranchers. The idea of being open to new forms and models of agriculture was at the forefront of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s comments to members of the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee during a hearing on Legislative Resolution 219, a resolution offered by Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings to identify constraints on agricultural processing, production, and marketing investment.

“The farms and ranches of tomorrow won’t look like the farms and ranches of today. Changing consumer tastes and demands, evolving supply chains, a global economy, continued emphasis on improving environmental management, technological innovation, and the growing ability to directly market to consumers will continue to drive changes and market opportunities in agriculture. The ability to manage risk and adapt to, and capitalize on, new and emerging markets will have much to do with the future prosperity for farm and ranch families. As a state, we must build an environment that allows for and embraces those changes, not one that tosses up roadblocks,” said Mark Haskins, a farmer from Doniphan, who presented Nebraska Farm Bureau’s testimony at the hearing.

Nebraska Farm Bureau offered several recommendations on how lawmakers could help eliminate barriers to agriculture growth in the state. Topics included changes to tax policy, changes to local approval processes for livestock farms, improved access to technology, support for young and beginning farmers, and addressing financial barriers.

“Nebraska farmers and ranchers pay the second highest per-farm property taxes in the country, behind only California. Property taxes should not be a determining factor in whether a farmer has the financial ability to reinvest in their operation or grow, yet due to excessive property taxes on agricultural land, that’s exactly what’s happening in Nebraska. It’s a major barrier to reinvestment and growth and we must fix it,” said Haskins.

Greater adoption of Nebraska’s Livestock Siting Matrix by Nebraska counties and adjustments to the matrix were also identified as needs to help grow agriculture opportunities. The matrix was developed to aid in development of community-friendly livestock operations. Farm Bureau also offered ongoing support for the state’s Livestock Friendly County Program which recognizes counties that actively support livestock growth and expansion through clear, streamlined zoning regulations.

In testimony, Haskins also pointed out that need for the state to address the cost and logistical problems related to rural broadband deployment.

“Rural connectivity through broadband is a must no matter the size or scope of an operation. The inability to access high-speed, high-quality Internet service will be one of the largest barriers for agriculture moving forward as it directly impacts everything from production to end marketing,” said Haskins.

Creating opportunities for young people to enter agriculture, in the face of an aging farmer population, was also among the issues identified as barriers to agriculture growth. The group encouraged members of the Committee to reauthorize the Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer Program, which is set to expire in 2022, in addition to suggesting modifications making it more accessible to livestock farmers and specialty crop producers.

Recognition of agriculture as the state’s largest industry in the development of state business incentives was also noted in Farm Bureau’s testimony.

“If the legislature believes business incentives are important to growing the state, then agribusiness and production agriculture should be an important part of that conversation. The legislature should consider increasing dollars available under the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act, particularly for further development of livestock farms which consume and add value to Nebraska-grown grains,” said Haskins.

“Whether it’s producing industrial hemp, expanding poultry farms through business partnerships with companies like Costco, or opportunities to fill new and evolving niche markets, as a state we must be open to allowing farmers and ranchers pursue new opportunities, not erect barriers to stop them.”

Applications Now Open for Class IV of Nebraska Corn Growers Association’s PRIME Program

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

“Getting the next generation involved and interested is crucial for the longevity of the Association, and the PRIME Program is a great first step for those more interested in NeCGA’s education and partnerships. I look forward to welcoming this next class into a great program,” said Dan Nerud, President of NeCGA.

The first session will be February 17-18, where participants will have the opportunity to attend a one-day Trade School in conjunction with the other corn states and the U.S. Grains Council. The summer session dates will be determined by participants schedules and will feature a Nebraska Agriculture Tour. The final session will be in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association annual meeting.  Applications for the PRIME Program can be found at The applications are due by Friday, January 17, 2020. All costs to participate in the program are covered for those that are 3-year members of the association. If applicants are not members, the fee is $190 (the cost of a 3-year membership).

The PRIME Program is made possible with funding from our presenting partners, Northwestern Mutual and Farm Credit Services, along with the Nebraska Corn Board. For an application for the program, please click this link...

Midwest Senators Renew RFS Recommendations to President Trump

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) today renewed their recommendations to President Trump with respect to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) supplemental rule. The letter, which enclosed their initial comments to EPA, urges the administration to take corrective action in its RFS rulemaking to uphold the agreement reached between President Trump and Midwest senators on September 12, 2019.

“This supplemental rulemaking is an opportunity to definitively restore integrity to the RFS, provide certainty for American agriculture, and further bolster our energy independence,” the senators wrote. “We are confident that reverting to the agreed upon framework to account for actual waived gallons will deliver on your agenda to support thousands of agriculture jobs throughout the Midwest and nation.” 

Cattlemen's Webinar Series: Winter Supplementation for Your Herd

November 21, 2019 @ 7:00 p.m. CST

During winter, many cattlemen and women utilize harvested forages and even crop residues to serve as the primary diet for their cattle when most grazing forages go dormant. However, many of these feedstuffs may not meet the dietary requirements of the animal. Join Dr. Tryon Wickersham, Texas A&M; Dr. Eric Bailey, University of Missouri; and Dr. Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska as they cover the importance of supplementing your herd when generally lower quality feedstuffs make up a majority of the animals diet specific to regions across the U.S.

Click to Get Registered Today....

Questions? Contact Producer Education at 


As the 2019 growing season comes to an end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact producers nationwide to gather final year-end crop production numbers and the amount of grain and oilseeds stored on their farms. At the same time, NASS will survey grain facility operators to determine year-end off-farm grain and oilseed stocks.

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

“Responses to the survey will be used in calculating county-level yields which have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Streff. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2018, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to an insufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Streff continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Survey results will be published in several reports, including the Crop Production Annual Summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on January 10. These and all NASS reports are available online at For more information call the NASS Nebraska Field Office at 800-582-6443.

Iowa DNR Releases Draft Impaired Waters List, Open for Comment

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the newly released draft impaired waters list. Data released by the Iowa DNR today shows 27 impairments are recommended to be removed from the 2018 impaired list, once approved by the EPA.

This report identifies surface waters that do not fully meet all applicable state water quality standards for their intended use and that need a water quality improvement plan. Of the 1,421 water segments studied, which include portions of rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands, 363 segments fully met the Iowa water quality standards for their intended use, while 523 segments were identified as waters in need of further investigation and 767 segments did not fully meet the standards needed for their intended use and were impaired.

"An increase or decrease in impaired waters does not necessarily mean that the water quality in the state is worsening or improving. It often is a reflection of the additional monitoring we are conducting, changes in water quality standards, and changes in assessment methodologies," said Roger Bruner, supervisor of the DNR's Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment section. "Impaired segments are often used for recreation and fishing, among other uses, so impairment doesn't mean that the segments are unusable or that they necessarily will cause illnesses."

The DNR uses fixed station river monitoring, lake monitoring and beach monitoring, wadeable stream biological monitoring, fish tissue monitoring and wetland/shallow lakes monitoring. Several other data are also analyzed before determining whether a water segment does or does not meet the requirements like the Iowa DNR's Fish Kill Database, along with federal (Army Corps of Engineers and US Geological Survey) and municipal (drinking water supplies) data and surrounding states' data.

The department's process is to compile all available credible data in the correct time frame. The data is then pulled together into a common format. Then the individual results are compared to the appropriate criteria. The assessment for each segment is a compilation of all these results (2,435 assessments in this report).

All Iowa waters are designated for both aquatic life protection and water contact recreation. Others also may include one or both designations for drinking water and human health protection.

"The DNR has a long history of working with Iowans across the state to help address our water quality challenges," said Adam Schnieders, acting DNR Water Quality Bureau Chief. "The importance of this collective, persistent work is clear and will continue to be a priority for the DNR."

Public comment is welcomed now through Dec. 28 and should be sent to:
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Attn: Dan KendallWater Quality Monitoring & Assessment Section
Wallace State Office Building
502 East 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

IFBF statement on Iowa's impaired waters report

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill

Iowans can take great pride knowing the State and water quality stakeholders are making strides monitoring the state’s watersheds to ensure stakeholders are taking on the challenge of improving water quality.

For the past 20 years, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and other water quality experts have steadily ramped up monitoring efforts to identify vulnerable waterways and areas to improve while compiling the biennial assessment of the state’s watersheds. Iowa is the envy of neighboring states for our wealth of monitoring data and researchers dedicated to water quality improvement.  

Iowa Department of Natural Resources experts say the steady growth of waterways tested and the increasingly stringent standards for each reporting period is driving the two percent increase in water segments making the list.   The DNR says Iowans can be confident the vast majority of Iowa’s waters are safe for recreation and fishing.

In this report, the DNR removed 27 impaired beneficial uses, such as swimming or fishing from the last report two years ago due to new data.  The DNR says there are many reasons why a water segment may make the list from natural, weather-driven phenomena we’ve consistently experienced, as well as unknown or human-driven impacts such as construction and commercial growth or agriculture. 

While the challenge of improving Iowa’s water quality remains an ongoing effort, Iowans can be confident the monitoring and collaborative efforts to improve Iowa’s water quality are achieving results.  Additionally, this list helps our state and federal natural resource agencies target limited financial and technical resources to where they’re needed most and most effective.

Iowans have high expectations for our water quality, and it’s clear the State of Iowa, university researchers and other experts are leading the way to identify and guide our water quality improvement efforts.

USDA Invests $7.2 Million in Rural Broadband for Iowa and South Dakota Families

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey today announced USDA has invested $7.2 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for rural households and farms in Iowa and South Dakota. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments.

“Technology and innovation are key in meeting the growing demand in agriculture,” Northey said. “Our mission to increase rural prosperity cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide our rural communities face because of a lack of high-speed broadband Internet.”

The Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa, doing business as Premier Communications, will use a ReConnect Program loan to deploy a fiber to the premises (FTTP) broadband network capable of simultaneous transmission rates of 1/1 gigabits per second. The funded service areas include 868 households, 17 businesses and 27 farms. The project will facilitate more access to services and information for local residents, and it will improve the overall quality of life for people in the community.

USDA Issues Second Tranche of Market Facilitation Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. The payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving. Producers of MFP-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25% of the total payment expected, in addition to the 50% they have already received from the 2019 MFP.

“This second tranche of 2019 MFP payments, along with already provided disaster assistance, will give farmers, who have had a tough year due to unfair trade retaliation and natural disasters, much needed funds in time for Thanksgiving,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump has shown time and again that he is fighting for America’s farmers and ranchers. While we continue to have confidence in the President’s negotiations with China, this money shows President Trump following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access.”

USDA to Issue Second Round of Trade Assistance

NFU Urges Solutions to Program’s Inequities

In response to ongoing financial challenges caused by trade disputes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced plans to issue the second of three possible tranches of trade assistance payments to affected farmers and ranchers.

National Farmers Union (NFU) is appreciative of USDA’s efforts to provide farmers with much-needed relief. However, NFU President Roger Johnson was disappointed that the agency did not rectify any of the program’s inequities, nor has it established any mechanisms to ensure fair and stable commodity prices.

“The last six years have been phenomenally difficult for most family farmers and ranchers, as low commodity prices, chronic oversupply, and unpredictable weather have made it next to impossible to stay afloat. But on top of all that, for the last year and a half, they have had to deal with the added uncertainty and unstable markets generated by President Trump’s trade war against the rest of the world.

“The USDA has taken significant pains to provide support to those affected by the trade war, for which National Farmers Union and its members are grateful. But its execution has been far from perfect – the program has helped farmers in certain counties much more than others, even though those counties have not demonstrated any greater need for assistance. More alarmingly, it has provided significant payouts to millionaires and foreign-owned corporations, at the expense of vulnerable small- and mid-sized operations. These flaws are well documented and widely recognized, yet USDA has made no effort to address them.

“Regardless, we need more permanent solutions than this current plan can provide. Even if and when these trade disputes are resolved, farmers will still be coping with the fallout for years to come. We urge the administration to work with Congress to develop policies that will stabilize agricultural markets and guarantee fair farm prices.”


NPPC Newsletter

A deal between House lawmakers and the administration on the U.S. Mexico-Canada (USMCA) could be announced shortly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on Thursday. "I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be — which is imminent — that this can be a template for future trade agreements," she said.

Congressional ratification of the USMCA agreement remains the top priority for the National Pork Producers Council, but there are only a limited number of legislative days left in the year. An agreement would provide much-needed certainty for U.S. pork producers, ensuring zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets.

Since the trade agreement was signed last November, NPPC and its members have been aggressively working to ensure ratification, educating lawmakers about the significant benefits that USMCA provides for U.S. hog farmers and becoming a "top ask" during our spring and fall congressional fly-ins. Additionally, NPPC recently launched a new campaign, "It's Pork O' Clock Somewhere," which focuses on the importance of USMCA by highlighting pork and the many ways it's enjoyed across North America.

NPPC urges Congress to quickly reach consensus on any outstanding issues and swiftly bring USMCA up for a vote. 


Japan's House of Representatives is scheduled to vote next week on the recently announced trade agreement with the U.S. On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Lower House is expected to approve the trade deal, which would then move to the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan's Diet, for deliberations the following day.

The trade deal was signed in early October and it's expected to be implemented by Jan. 1, 2020. In remarks this week, President Trump described the agreement as "historic" and said it will "substantially reduce barriers for American agriculture and facilitate $40 billion in digital trade and agricultural purchases." He also indicated there could be future trade deals with Japan. "That deal was signed, and it's a great deal, but it's only phase one of the Japan deal, too," he said.

Once implemented, the trade agreement will place U.S. pork producers back on a level playing field with international competitors in one of our most important export markets. Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan could grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years under market access terms included in the agreement.

The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee is holding a hearing on Nov. 20 to discuss the recent U.S.-Japan trade deal. Specifically, the hearing will focus both on the trade deal signed in October "and prospects for a second phase of negotiations for a bilateral agreement to cover trade in a comprehensive manner."The hearing begins at 10am ET. Implementation of the trade deal is anticipated in early 2020.

Japan is the largest value market and the second largest volume market for U.S. pork exports. Once implemented, the trade agreement will place U.S. pork producers back on a level playing field with international competitors in one of our most important export markets.

Thursday November 14 Ag News

NE Extension Farm survival workshop on crop insurance and marketing

Nebraska Extension’s “Risk and Reward: Using Crop Insurance and Marketing to Manage Farm Survival” workshop is coming to the area in early 2020.

Extension economists will prepare producers to develop 2020 marketing plans using information on the roles of farm location and yield/price relations in making grain marketing and crop insurance decisions.

“Risk and Reward: Using Crop Insurance and Marketing to Manage Farm Survival”
    Scottsbluff, Jan. 9, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Panhandle Research & Extension Center, 4502 Ave I. To register, call 308-632-1230.
    North Platte, Jan. 30, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at the West Central Research & Extension Center, 402 West State Farm Road. To register, call 308-696-6734.
    West Point, Feb. 4, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave. To register, call 402-373-6006.
    Clay Center, Feb. 5, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Clay County Fairgrounds, 701 N Martin Ave. To register, call 402-763-3644.

Funding Approved for New Watershed Projects Across Nebraska

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that four Natural Resources Districts received over $2.5 million in Watershed Flood Prevention and Operations funding. This funding will be directed towards developing watershed plans in the following NRDs:
    The Lower Platte South NRD received funding to complete the Little Salt Creek Watershed Plan in northern Lancaster County. This plan will help improve habitat for the endangered Salt Tiger Beetle by protecting saline wetland habitat, providing wetland rehabilitation, and erosion and sediment control.

    The Lower Elkhorn NRD received funding to complete the Battle Creek Watershed Plan. This plan aims to reduce the overall flood risk potential in the area as well as provide flood resiliency for surrounding agricultural land.

    The Central Platte NRD received funding to complete the Spring and Buffalo Creek Watershed Plan. This effort is focused on reducing flood damages to irrigation canal infrastructure and agricultural land. Goals include identifying solutions to reoccurring flooding issues, soil erosion, and evaluate multi-beneficial projects which can benefit endangered and threatened species within and downstream of the watershed.

    The Central Platte NRD also received funding to complete the Lower Wood River Watershed Plan. The goal is to establish a recommended plan to address ongoing flooding events. This includes implementing structural and non-structural projects to create resiliency against future flooding, reduce flood related damages, and protect the local economy.

    The Lower Loup NRD received funding to complete the Mud Creek Watershed Plan. This plan will focus on reducing flood related damages to communities and agricultural land, improve flood resiliency, improve recreation opportunities and enhance groundwater recharge.

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 this past 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.”


Agricultural production must increase more than 70% by 2050 to meet the global demand for food, fuel, feed and fiber. Meeting this goal will require far-reaching growth in agriculture, more efficient use of marginal lands and new methods to deal with extreme weather, soil degradation and biological invasions. Strategies for achieving these advances while preserving Nebraska’s healthy agricultural ecosystems will be the topic of a panel discussion during the first Heuermann Lecture of the season Nov. 25.

Panelists will include Craig Allen, professor in the School of Natural Resources and director of the Center for Resilience in Working Agricultural Landscapes; Andrea Basche, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture; and Michael Forsberg, co-founder of the Platte Basin Timelapse Project and assistant professor of practice in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. The panel will be moderated by Martha Mamo, head of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and John Carrol, director of the School of Natural Resources.

The panel discussion, sponsored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be at 3:30 p.m. at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive. It will be followed by a showing of the documentary film “Follow the Water.” Dinner is included to those staying for the showing. The event is free and open to the public.

The film tells the story of connections between the environment and people, and a river that shaped the land. Forsberg, a conservation photographer, and Pete Stegen, a filmmaker, journeyed for 55 days through the watershed by bike, foot and canoe, gathering footage with their smartphones. A panel discussion will follow the viewing so the audience can explore the themes of the film with Forsberg and his team.

Heuermann Lectures are funded by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska’s production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

Lectures are streamed live at and air live on campus channel 4. Lectures are archived after the event and are later broadcast on NET2.

Ricketts Visits CLAAS, Highlights Nebraska’s German Apprenticeship Program during National Apprenticeship Week

This week is National Apprenticeship Week, and during Governor Pete Ricketts’ trade mission to Germany, he is highlighting Nebraska’s innovative German-style apprenticeship program.  Today, Gov. Ricketts visited the international headquarters of CLAAS during his trade mission to Germany.  CLAAS, a prominent manufacturer of agricultural equipment, located its North American headquarters in Omaha.

“Apprenticeships are key to helping connect the next generation of Nebraskans to great opportunities,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “The German-style apprenticeship program launched by CLAAS takes apprenticeship programming in Nebraska to the next level.  We look forward to seeing this program flourish, and hope to expand it in the coming years with additional companies.”

Earlier this year, CLAAS become one of the first two companies to launch Nebraska’s first Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT) Apprenticeship Program, designed for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics.  The ICATT Apprenticeship Program is fully embedded in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship system and is also certified to the rigorous standards of the famed German Dual Education System.  ICATT was established by the German American Chamber of Commerce® of the Midwest, Inc. and is open to any manufacturer who wants to build a sustainable pipeline of talent.  ICATT apprenticeships train to Germany standards of excellence and culminate in a degree.

“CLAAS sees that an investment in people ensures long-term success,” said Alex Pompa, the Production Trainer at CLAAS Omaha.  “The German model, we believe, is the gold standard apprenticeship model and this is why we are looking to enable our global workforce through a strategic implementation of the Dual Study program.  Our investment in those principles ensures that we are ready for the future of agriculture and the future of manufacturing.  This is true at our locations around the world, including our Omaha location where it is understood that today’s employees entering the manufacturing space rely on us as manufacturers to grow their skills and prepare them to be successful.”

Nebraska has been a leader in establishing apprenticeships programs.  Earlier this year, the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) received a grant from the USDOL to expand Registered Apprenticeships across the state.  The Apprenticeship State Expansion grant covers the next three years and will allow NDOL to assist businesses with new program development.  From October 2016 to July 2019, RA program participation grew by over 40 percent.

In Nebraska, there are currently over 120 RA programs in Nebraska and 4,696 Registered Apprentices, including over 3,700 new apprentices in 2019. 

Newly Published White Paper Outlines Minimal Environmental Impact of U.S. Beef

A new white paper detailing the minimal environmental footprint of beef production in the U.S. was recently published by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. The white paper, authored by Sara Place, PhD, senior director of sustainable beef production research at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, highlights why and how the U.S. is the leader in sustainable beef production.

Beef Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S.

U.S. beef production, particularly when it comes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is often misrepresented with global statistics that fuel inaccurate reports and misconceptions. This new white paper addresses this issue by sharing the most recent data indicating that only 3.7 percenti of U.S. GHG emissions come directly from beef cattle.ii By comparison, globally, beef cattle account for 6 percent of GHG emissions.iii

To put U.S. beef production further into perspective, all of agriculture, including beef cattle and other animal and crop agriculture, accounts for 8.4 percent of U.S. GHG emissions.ii Comparatively, transportation accounts for 28 percent of GHG emissions in the U.S.ii On global scale, all livestock agriculture accounts for 14.5 percent of GHG emissions, which is often used inaccurately to represent U.S. beef emissions.iii

These variations can largely be attributed to different regional production practices. As the white paper notes, cattle production in the U.S., due to scientific advancements in beef cattle genetics, nutrition, husbandry practices, and biotechnologies, has one of the lowest beef GHG emissions intensities* in the world. In fact, GHG emissions intensity in the U.S. is 10–50 times lower than other parts of the world.iv

Improved Efficiencies

The white paper also details the results of improved efficiencies in beef cattle production in the U.S. during the past several decades. For example, compared to the mid-1970's, today the U.S. produces the same amount of beef with one-third fewer cattle.v Furthermore, the U.S. produces around 18 percent of the world's beef with only 8 percent of the world's cattle These efficiencies are possible due to improved productivity practices, refined genetics, nutrition and scientific advancements.

In addition to more efficient cattle production, beef farmers and ranchers have dedicated themselves to being stewards of the land by focusing on preservation and enhancement of grassland ecosystems through responsible land management practices. As ruminants, cattle can convert plants with little to no nutritional value often found on these lands into a high-quality protein.

Continuous Improvement

Although the U.S. beef industry is the most sustainable in the world, there is still room for improvement. In addition to research and extension and adoption of new knowledge, beef farmers and ranchers have invested in a first-of-its kind lifecycle assessment to better evaluate sustainability achievements and opportunities across the entire beef lifecycle. The outcome of this rigorous assessment, conducted in partnership with USDA and set to be released in the first half of 2020, will be economic, environmental and social benchmarks the beef industry can use to set new goals and measure continued improvement.

"It is clear the U.S. is leading the way when it comes to sustainable beef production," said Place. "Not only are we producing more beef with less resources, but we are able to raise a high-quality protein while still caring for the environment. The beef industry takes pride in raising cattle sustainably, which is evident in its dedication to continued improvement."

To learn more about how U.S. beef farmers and ranchers raise beef responsibly, visit

*Greenhouse Gas emissions per a pound of beef produced
i Rotz. C.A. et al., 2019. Environmental footprints of beef cattle production in the United States. Ag. Syst. 169: 1-13.
ii U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–2017. Available at: accessed August 7, 2019
iii Gerber, P.J., et al., 2013. Tackling climate change through livestock — A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.
iv Herrero, M., et al., 2013. Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions from global livestock systems. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 110: 20888–20893
v USDA-NASS Quick Stats Tools. Available at: accessed August 7, 2019.
vi UN FAOSTAT database. Available at: accessed August 7, 2019

American Poultry Farmers Regain Access to China

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the following statement on China’s decision to lift its ban on poultry imports from the United States:

“The United States welcomes China’s decision to finally lift its unwarranted ban on U.S. poultry and poultry products. This is great news for both America’s farmers and China’s consumers,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “China is an important export market for America’s poultry farmers, and we estimate they will now be able to export more than $1 billion worth of poultry and poultry products each year to China. Reopening China to U.S. poultry will create new export opportunities for our poultry farmers and support thousands of workers employed by the U.S. poultry industry.”

Secretary Perdue said, “After being shut out of the market for years, U.S. poultry producers and exporters welcome the reopening of China’s market to their products. America’s producers are the most productive in the world and it is critical they be able to sell their bounty to consumers in other parts of the globe. We will continue our work to expand market access in important markets like China as well as other countries, to support our producers and U.S. jobs.”

China has banned all U.S. poultry since January 2015 due to an avian influenza outbreak in December 2014, even though the United States has been free of this disease since August 2017. The United States exported over $500 million worth of poultry products to China in 2013.

The United States is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products of $4.3 billion last year.  

Peterson, Costa Welcome Lifting of Chinese Ban on U.S. Poultry

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota, and Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Chairman Jim Costa of California, released the following statements Thursday morning following an announcement from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that China will lift its ban on the import of U.S.-produced poultry products:

“This announcement is finally a step in the right direction, especially for the more than 1200 poultry operations in my district,” said Peterson. “It’s something that I’ve pressed the Administration over and over on, including in my most recent conversation with Ambassador Doud at USTR. I hope the Administration can also make progress on the other trade access issues within the Chinese market, end these damaging tariffs, and help our farmers expand and develop new export markets.”

"As the farm economy continues to struggle, it's important to get these incremental successes to show our producers that there's light at the end of the tunnel,” added Costa. “Now I hope USDA can build on this development to increase access for U.S. farm and food products in China, but none of that can really take hold if the Administration isn't willing to reconsider its tariff strategy."

Dean Foods Bondholders Just Say No to Merger With Dairy Co-op

Dean Foods Co., the biggest U.S. milk processor which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, has said it's in advanced talks to sell assets to milk cooperative giant Dairy Farmers of America. Bondholders, however, aren't convinced that's a good deal. According to Bloomberg, an attorney for a third of the company's bondholders said that while Dean is "focusing exclusively" on a combination with the co-op, that option won't be "value-maximizing." The deal may not even be feasible due to antitrust concerns, the attorney said at the hearing in front of Judge David Jones in U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

"We don't want a quick sale, a fire sale, without a true market check or opportunity for other potential bidders to put in a real proposal," said Bob Britton, an attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, which represents the group.

The bondholder group approached Dean to offer alternatives, including capital to invest in a standalone restructuring plan and alternative financing. But the proposal "made no headway," Britton said.

When asked by the judge if the group had enough capital to buy Dean Foods, Britton's answer was yes.

Dean ranks as the biggest U.S. dairy processor, employing about 15,000 people and delivering about 2.2 billion gallons a year of milk and other dairy products, according to its bankruptcy declaration. The company's long list of institutional customers includes McDonald's Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Target Corp.

Facing financial distress, Dean looked into selling all or parts of the company among other options to strengthen its balance sheet, according to the court filing. But the company faced an obstacle in its underfunded multi-employer pension plan, for which it might wind up owing more than $700 million. That stymied any hope of out-of-court transactions, and meanwhile results were deteriorating faster than Dean had forecast, the company said.

CME to Add Block Cheddar Futures

The CME Group (CME) on Thursday said it's going to launch block cheese futures and options next year.  Each contract will represent the equivalent of 20,000 pounds of block cheddar cheese.

The CME said it will consider launching barrel cheese futures as well, but customer feedback said the immediate need was for block cheese derivatives. The Chicago exchange said the new contracts will let food manufacturers and processors of cheese better manage their exposure.

The CME already trades a range of dairy products, including butter , milk and cheese . The current cheese futures contract settles to the average of both block and barrel cheese prices.

The CME said there was a volatile relationship between the prices of block cheese and barrel cheese -- the cheese spread, as it were.  Barrel cheese is used for further processing, such as into shredded cheese, while block cheese often is used for cutting into platters.

Brazil’s Implementation of Tariff Rate Quota for Wheat a Win for American Farmers

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue welcome Brazil’s implementation of an annual duty-free tariff rate quota (TRQ) of 750,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat imports.

For many years, Brazil failed to implement its obligation under the WTO to establish a TRQ for wheat. Brazil’s implementation of this TRQ fulfills a commitment made to President Trump by President Bolsonaro earlier this year and reflects a desire to deepen trade and economic ties between both countries.

“This solution to a long-standing problem is a result of the Administration’s advocacy for American farmers and will allow our wheat exporters to compete on a level playing field,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “We look forward to increased exports of American wheat to Brazil.”

Secretary Perdue said, “American farmers can compete with anybody when given access to customers. This is why we are working tirelessly to knock down barriers to our exports, like high Brazilian tariffs on our wheat. We are excited about the additional export opportunity U.S. wheat farmers will have with the opening of this TRQ. Exports are critical to the success of our farmers and the United States looks forward to once again having stable access to this important wheat market.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/8/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Nov. 8, ethanol production expanded for the seventh consecutive week, up 16,000 million barrels per day (b/d) or 1.6% to 1.030 million b/d—equivalent to 43.26 million gallons daily. However, production was 3.5% below the same week a year ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.5% to 1.011 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.50 billion gallons.

Conversely, ethanol stocks dropped 4.1% to 21.0 million barrels, the lowest volume since Sept. 2017 (111 weeks). Inventories were 4.1% lower than the same week last year and 10.8% below the level two years ago. Stocks fell across all regions except the Rocky Mountain region (PADD 4).

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

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market increased 1.9% to 9.321 million b/d (391.5 million gallons per day, or 142.89 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 2.5% to 940,000 b/d—equivalent to 14.41 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 11.05%.

Skor Joins USDA on Trade Mission to Mexico

Last week, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor joined the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and 100 agricultural groups in a trade mission to Mexico City, Mexico, led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. From Nov. 6-8, Skor and ethanol market development colleagues met with government officials and industry stakeholders to showcase the benefits of E10, a fuel blended with ten percent ethanol, as the government considers its adoption in Mexico’s three largest cities: Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. Following the trade mission, Skor issued a statement:

“It was an honor to join USDA and USGC on this important mission to Mexico,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Opening the Mexican fuel market to E10 nationwide would provide significant benefits for the country’s fuel and ag economies, citizens, and the environment. During this trade mission, we were able to further engage in critical discussions with stakeholders to demonstrate the health and economic benefits of replacing toxic additives, such as MTBE, with cleaner-burning and more-affordable ethanol.”

Growth Energy has been a leader in promoting the use of ethanol-blended fuel in the Mexican fuel market, participating in and supporting bilateral trade missions in the U.S. and Mexico. This year, Growth Energy launched a workshop series, alongside USGC and the Mexican Association of Service Station Equipment Providers, to educate Mexico’s fuel retailers on ethanol-blended fuel and how to incorporate it into their fuel offerings.


Mexico is currently using methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in their fuel. MTBE is an octane additive, however due to groundwater contamination concerns and its impact on human health, it’s been explicitly banned in 26 states in the U.S. and phased out of the U.S. fuel supply.

In 2017, the Mexican government announced that it would increase its blending goal to 10 percent ethanol (E10), from the previous 5.8 percent blend, across the country, excluding it’s three largest cities Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. However, in a recent study on five major international cities facing significant air quality issues, Mexico City had the highest potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions at an E10 blend, with 5.1 percent cumulative emissions savings. Additionally, according to a 2018 study by Mexico’s Instituto Mexicano de Petroleo (IMP), ethanol is historically two pesos per liter less expensive than MTBE, while also providing benefits for engine performance and emissions reductions.

Biodiesel Industry and Stakeholders Ask Congress to Act on Tax Extenders

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), its member companies, allied trade associations, and industry partners sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, urging them to extend the expired biodiesel tax incentive before the end of the year. The letter attempts to impress on the Congressional leaders "that an immediate extension of the biodiesel tax incentive is needed to prevent a severe economic disruption of the U.S. biodiesel industry."

Signed by 140 companies and organizations from across the biomass-based diesel value chain, the letter states, "The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry's continued success is at stake. Tens of thousands of American workers and manufacturers -- as well as the millions of Americans who benefit from cleaner air and water -- are depending on you to provide our industry the certainty we need to continue our growth."

"Since the start of the year, ten biodiesel plants have closed or cut back production, furloughing several hundred workers; the states impacted include Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas. The economic fallout spreads across the U.S. economy, impacting more than 7,500 total jobs," the letter also states. "Immediate extension of the tax credit is needed to prevent more plant closures, more production cutbacks, and more job losses."

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's VP of Federal Affairs, adds, "Continued uncertainty about the tax incentive impacts businesses, workers and industry partners across the economy and in every state. The number of companies and trade groups that joined us on the letter demonstrates the broad impact.

"Biodiesel producers simply can't plan and invest for the future -- they're making the very difficult choice to shut down. Our industry needs Congress to act before the end of the year to stop more shutdowns and job losses."

NFU Urges Congress to Pass Biodiesel Tax Incentive

Congress needs to quickly extend the biodiesel tax credit to prevent severe disruption of the U.S. biodiesel industry. National Farmers Union has joined more than 40 groups in a letter today urging House leadership to extend the now expired incentive before the end of the year.

Biodiesel production has declined in part due to uncertainty over the tax incentive, which was last addressed in February 2018 to retroactively cover 2017 but has not been extended since. Without this incentive, the once promising domestic biodiesel industry has stalled. Since the beginning of 2019, nine biodiesel plants have closed or reduced production, cutting or furloughing workers.

Biodiesel has a range of economic and environmental benefits. Biodiesel is a renewable piece of U.S. domestic energy independence, and releases less carbon and fewer toxic pollutants than certain other fuels. Biodiesel production is important for farmers as it creates value for agricultural coproducts and lowers the cost of animal feed. The industry has also created more than 65,000 domestic jobs, many in economically disadvantaged areas.

The letter asks that Congress immediately take up and pass legislation to provide a multi-year extension of the biodiesel tax incentives, and work forward on a long-term biodiesel tax policy.

“The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry’s continued success is at stake,” the groups wrote in the letter. “Tens of thousands of American workers and manufacturers—as well as the millions of Americans who benefit from cleaner air and water—are depending on you to provide our industry the certainty we need to continue our growth.”

Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame Joins Forces with Cattle Industry Convention for Second Year

Cattle feeders will honor their own Feb. 4, 2020, during their 11th annual banquet, held for the second year in conjunction with the nation’s largest annual cattle industry gathering. The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame banquet will precede the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 5-7.

The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame was established in 2009. It annually honors leaders who have made lasting contributions to the cattle-feeding industry. Inductees for 2020 will be Carl Stevenson, Red Rock Feeding Company, Red Rock, Ariz., and the late Don Opplinger, Opplinger Land and Cattle, Amarillo, Texas. Dr. Robert Hummel, founder of Animal Health International in Greeley, Colo., will receive the Hall of Fame’s Industry Leadership Award.

Attendees of the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame banquet will find it convenient to stay in San Antonio for the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, which starts the next day. That event will feature important industry meetings, motivational speakers, valuable education, music and entertainment, a massive trade show, producer recognition, an NCBA Invitational PBR Bull Riding event and much more.

All proceeds from ticket sales to, and corporate sponsorships of, the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame will benefit future Hall of Fame initiatives. As an added incentive, Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame banquet attendees will receive a $50 discount on their Cattle Industry Convention registration, courtesy of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

“These cattle feeders have devoted their careers to preserving our mission and improving production practices in the industry,” said Cliff Becker, vice president of publishing for Farm Journal Media and Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame board member. "We can’t wait to honor these men and add them to the existing Hall of Fame members and award winners who have made extraordinary contributions to the cattle feeding industry.”

Information on the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, including tickets to the 2020 Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame banquet, can be found at For more information on the Hall of Fame go to

Wednesday November 13 Ag News

Ricketts Visits Graepel, Showcases Great Jobs Created by German Manufacturers in Nebraska

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts visited the international headquarters of Graepel during his trade mission to Germany.  Graepel, a manufacturer of perforated metals, has its North American headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

During the visit, Governor Ricketts met with the company’s executive leadership to thank them for their continued investment in Nebraska and toured their facility.  Graepel employs 40 Nebraskans and has a total workforce of 750 worldwide.  Their facility in Nebraska produces perforated and formed metal products for the agricultural machinery, construction equipment, heavy duty truck, and rail industry.

Nebraska companies exported almost $179.4 million of goods to Germany in 2018.  Exports to Germany have increased by 26% since 2010 ($142.1 million).  Over the last five years, Germany has been Nebraska’s 10th largest trading partner.

Nebraska has recently experienced a surge in manufacturing jobs.  Manufacturing employment is currently at its highest level since October 2008 with over 100,000 Nebraskans working in manufacturing jobs.  According to the National Association of Manufacturers, Nebraska’s manufactured goods exports have grown 40.9% from 2010 to 2018.

2018 Irrigation and Water Management data now available

There were 231,474 farms with 55.9 million irrigated acres, which included 83.4 million acre-feet of water applied in the United States, according to the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results, published today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). In 2013, the irrigation survey results showed that there were 229,237 farms with 55.3 million irrigated acres, which included 88.5 million acre-feet of water. The results show that though the number of farms irrigating and the amount of land irrigated increased slightly between 2013 and 2018, the total amount of water used for irrigation declined.

“The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey, formerly titled the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey, expands on the data collected in the 2017 Census of Agriculture,” said NASS
Administrator Hubert Hamer. “This report offers detailed, comprehensive, up-to-date information specific to the agriculture industry’s use and management of water supplies.”

Data highlights from the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey include:
- The total amount of water used in 2018 was 83.4 million acre-feet, down 5.8 percent from 2013.
- The average acre feet applied was 1.5, which compares with 1.6 in the 2013 irrigation survey. (An acre foot is the amount of water required to cover one acre to a depth of one foot.)
- The largest portion of irrigated farmland acres in the United States was dedicated to cropland – including grain and oilseed crops, vegetables, nursery and greenhouse, and hay crops.
- Farmers irrigated 51.5 million acres of harvested cropland in the open in 2018.
- Ground water from on-farm wells accounted for 50 percent of irrigation water applied to acres in the open; the average well depth in 2018 was 235 feet.
- The irrigation results show more irrigated acres with sprinkler systems than gravity irrigation.
- Five states accounted for around one-half of the irrigated acres and water applied – California, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, and Idaho.
- Equipment, in general, is one of the leading irrigation expenditures with farmers and ranchers spending more than $2 billion on irrigation equipment, facilities, land improvements and computer technology in 2018; energy costs for pumping well and surface water amounted to $2.4 billion.
- Irrigated area of horticulture under protection was 1.53 billion square feet in 2018. This compares with 1.41 billion square feet in 2013.
- Irrigated horticulture grown in the open was 581,936 acres in 2018. This compares with 524,227 acres in 2013.

The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey followed up with approximately 35,000 producers who indicated in the 2017 Census of Agriculture that they irrigate. Producers provided information on water sources and amount of water used; acres irrigated by type of system; irrigation and yield by crop; and system investments and energy costs.

“The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey results provide valuable information that farmers, ranchers, policymakers, and others can use to make agriculture water use more efficient,” said Hamer. “In making decisions about their operations and their communities, producers and policymakers can learn about the use of improved technology, efficient ways to irrigate, and ways to reduce irrigation- related expenses.”

IPIC Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness Workshops in December

The Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University, in collaboration with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, will hold six workshops in December to address preparations for an outbreak of a foreign animal disease. The outbreak of a foreign animal disease would be a huge challenge for Iowa pork producers. Planning ahead for an outbreak may reduce some of the stress and assist operations in preparing appropriate actions.

The IPIC team will explain what the state and federal response might include in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the U.S., and how producers can individually prepare for such an outbreak on their farm. If individual producers are more prepared, the industry as a whole is more prepared, according to IPIC extension program specialist Amanda Chipman.

“We want to help producers prioritize actions steps and set goals to accomplish on their farm today,” she said. “These workshops will build on experiences from previous workshops and insights we gained while observing the African Swine Fever functional exercises in September 2019.”

Following the workshop, attendees can expect to have better understanding of foreign animal disease preparedness and will leave with practical strategies that can be used immediately to improve the protection of their herd from endemic diseases already in the U.S. swine herd. Producers are invited regardless of whether or not they attended one of the first series workshops earlier this year.

These sessions cover what to expect during a foreign animal disease outbreak and response, mass depopulation and disposal options, how to write your personalized, enhanced biosecurity plan, how to keep the required movement records and monitor for clinical signs consistent with an FAD outbreak. Individual or small group assistance sessions with enhancing biosecurity and developing a Secure Pork Supply plan for your operation also are available and can be scheduled upon request.

Workshops are scheduled for the following dates and locations. Each will be held from 1-4 p.m. with an optional help session from 4-5 p.m. All sessions are available at no charge thanks to IPPA support.
    Dec. 2, Public Library, Dike.
    Dec. 3, Sioux County Extension Office, Orange City.
    Dec. 4, Mahaska County Extension Office, Oskaloosa.
    Dec. 9, Hansen Ag Student Learning Center, Ames.
    Dec. 10, Audubon Recreation Center, Audubon.
    Dec. 11, Cedar County Extension Office, Tipton.

Use the online form to register for the desired workshop location....

Farm Couples Can Enjoy a Weekend Getaway This Winter

In response to high levels of both personal and financial farm stress, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering four “Farm Couple Getaways” aimed at farmers wanting to take advantage of activities to improve farm family communication, work on farm or family goal-setting, or work on farm transitioning, or who would just like a weekend away to discuss farm and family issues.

The first getaway will be held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14-15, at EWALU Stone Center in Strawberry Point. The dates and locations for the other getaways are as follows:
    Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2020, at Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah.
    Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-Feb. 22, 2020, at Lake Shore Center at Okoboji in Milford.
    Thursday and Friday, March 19-20, 2020, at the Best Western Plus Hotel in Dubuque.

The getaways run from 12:30 p.m. on the first day to 3:15 p.m. on the second day. There is no cost to attend, as food, lodging and other expenses are being paid for by sponsorships. However, there is a $50 per couple deposit to hold each reservation, refundable on the second day of the getaway.

“Past ‘Farm Couple Getaways’ have proven to be beneficial. They are a very productive and delightful time to discuss items of importance to help farms and families be successful,” said Larry Tranel, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Each getaway will consist of 10 farm couples and the extension facilitators. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis, due two weeks prior to each session.

Registration brochures for the various sites can be obtained from Jenn Bentley at, or at the ISU Extension and Outreach Winneshiek County Office, 563-382-2949; Fred Hall at, or the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, 712-737-4230; and Larry Tranel at, or at the ISU Extension and Outreach Dubuque County Office, at 563-583-6496.

The Farm Couple Getaways are sponsored statewide by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, with other local sponsors recognized at the local events. More information is available in the event brochure...

Midwest Dairy Leaders Elected to National Boards

Five Midwest Dairy leaders are among the newly elected officers of Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI), the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) elected to serve the industry for the 2019-20 term.

These officers were elected at the 2019 Joint Annual Meeting of the NDB, UDIA and National Milk Producers Federation in New Orleans, and they will serve to lead national dairy checkoff strategies and programs to protect and grow sales.

“I look forward to serving the dairy community in the coming year as a member of the UDIA board,” said Allen Merrill, who is also the Chairman of the Midwest Dairy Board. “We will work together and, as an industry, address the challenges we’re facing, capitalize on the opportunities in front of us and continue to tell the story of dairy to drive demand.”

UDIA officers elected were:
·       Chair – Neil Hoff, Windthorst, Texas
·       1st Vice Chair – Allen Merrill, Parker, S.D.
·       2nd Vice Chair, American Dairy Association – Tom Woods, Gage, Okla.
·       2nd Vice Chair, National Dairy Council – Audrey Donahoe, Clayville, N.Y.
·       2nd Vice Chair, UDIA Member Relations – Rick Podtburg, Greeley, Colo.
·       Secretary – Michelle Schilter, Chehalis, Wash.
·       Treasurer – John Brubaker, Buhl, Idaho

The UDIA is a federation of state and regional dairy farmer-funded promotion organizations that provide marketing programs developed and implemented in coordination with its members. The UDIA is overseen by a board comprised of dairy farmers elected by respective local and regional boards of UDIA member organizations.

DMI officers elected were:
·       Chair – Marilyn Hershey, Cochranville, Penn. (re-elected)
·       Vice Chair – Steve Maddox, Riverdale, Calif.
·       Secretary – Skip Hardie, Groton, N.Y.
·       Treasurer – Deb Vander Koi, Worthington, Minn.

DMI manages the national checkoff program and is co-funded by NDB and UDIA.

The NDB officers elected were:
·       Chair – Brad Scott, San Jacinto, Calif.
·       Vice Chair – Connie Seefeldt, Coleman, Wisc.
·       Secretary – Arlene Vander Eyk, Tulare, Calif. 
·       Treasurer – Alex Peterson, Trenton, Mo.

The 37-member NDB, formed in May 1984 under the authority of the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983, carries out coordinated promotion and research programs to help build demand, and expand domestic and international markets for dairy products.

American Dairy Association officers elected were:
·       Chair – Tom Woods
·       Vice Chair – Jerrel Heatwole, Greenwood, Del.
·       Secretary – Lowell Mueller, Hooper, Neb.
·       Treasurer – Corby Werth, Alpena, Mich.

National Dairy Council officers elected were:
·       Chair – Audrey Donahoe
·       Vice Chair – Christine Sukalski, Leroy, Minn.
·       Secretary – Harold Howrigan, Sheldon, Vt.
·       Treasurer – Lynn Ramsey, Emory, Texas

Dairy Margins Widen to Highest Since 2017 in Positive Economic Sign


In welcome news for the dairy economy, the September margin under the Dairy Margin Coverage program rose by $0.56 per cwt. over the August margin to reach $10.41 per cwt, the second consecutive month margins have fallen outside the threshold necessary to trigger a federal payment. The is the highest seen since the beginning of 2017, allowing for the change in the alfalfa hay price in the margin formula’s feed cost calculation. The September all-milk price was $0.40 per cwt. higher than August’s and the DMC calculated feed cost for September was $0.16 per cwt. lower than August’s, mostly due to a drop in the price of corn.

As of November 6, USDA’s DMC margin is currently projected to remain above $9.50 per cwt. for the remainder of 2019 and during all of 2020. Milk prices are expected to generate most of the monthly changes in the margin forecast, while feed costs are anticipated to remain relatively stable during that time.

CWT-assisted October Contracts Move Year-to-Date Export Sales Total Over 100 Million Pounds

The 41 sales contracts CWT assisted member cooperatives in securing in October brings the year-to-date total export sales CWT is helping members move overseas to 100.1 million pounds. The total is made up of 45.4 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 4.6 million pounds of butter, 277,782 pounds of anhydrous milkfat (AMF), 43.8 million pounds of whole milk powder and 5.9 million pounds of cream cheese. The milk equivalent of these sales is 897.5 million pounds on a milkfat basis.

Looking at October activity specifically; 22 contracts for 4.1 million pounds of American-type cheese, one contract for 125,664 pounds of butter, 5 contracts for 1.9 million pounds of whole milk powder and 13 contracts for 892,872 pounds of cream cheese were secured by member cooperatives with CWT’s assistance. The products will be going to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Central America, Oceania and South America and will be shipped to 29 customers in 11 countries during the months of October 2019 through April 2020.

Assisting CWT member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share through the Export Assistance program positively impacts all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price. It does this by expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products beyond the domestic market thereby increasing the total demand for U.S. farm milk.

Fertilizer Prices Remain Mostly Lower

For the first week of November 2019, the majority of retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN continue to show lower prices compared to a month earlier.  Five of the eight major fertilizers were lower in price from a month earlier, although none were significantly lower. DAP had an average price of $462/ton, MAP $471/ton, urea $396/ton, anhydrous $499/ton and UAN28 $249/ton.  The remaining three fertilizers were slightly higher from last month. Potash had an average price of $384/ton, 10-34-0 $473/ton and UAN32 $289/ton.

Half of the fertilizers are lower in price from a year ago while the other half are now higher.  MAP is now 11% less expensive, DAP is 8% lower, anhydrous is 4% less expensive and urea is 3% lower from last year at this time. UAN32 is 1% higher, UAN28 is 2% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 3% higher and potash is 4% more expensive compared to last year.

Brazil Forecasts Record Soy Crop

Brazilian crop agency Conab raised its forecast for the country's soybean crop in the 2019-2020 season as the area planted and productivity are expected to increase.

Brazilian farmers will grow 120.9 million metric tons of soybeans this season, for which planting is more than half finished, a slight increase from the 120.4 million forecast in October. The country grew 115 million tons of soybeans in the 2018-2019 season. The area planted will increase 2.3% from last year, Conab said.

Unusually hot and dry weather in some soybean-producing states at the end of last year and the start of this year reduced yields in areas, and led to a smaller crop in the 2018-2019 season compared with the record 119.3 million tons grown in 2017-2018. The 2.7% increase in productivity forecast for the current season is partially because of the decline in productivity in 2018-2019.

Brazilian farmers will produce a total corn crop of 98.37 million metric tons in 2019-2020, compared with the October forecast of 98.39 million metric tons. That's also down from the record 100.05 million tons produced in 2018-2019, Conab said.

NCGA Engages with the Next Generation of Leaders

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) had the opportunity to participate in the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference (AFALC) in Kansas City, Missouri. AFALC offers four different and distinct tracks for college students to assist them in developing both personally and professionally. The tracks vary based on where students are within their college journey.

“These are the future leaders of our industry and it is great to represent America’s corn farmers to talk about opportunities with NCGA and the industry,” said NCGA Manager of Market Development Michael Granché.

Granché helped staff a booth where he engaged with students about NCGA and student opportunities within the association. Granché also served on a roundtable, where he discussed his career path with students and answered their questions about association work as well as offering advice for navigating academia and career.

While there, Michael was reunited with NCGA former intern, Emily Keiser, who was participating in the conference’s third track. Keiser anticipates graduation this spring from South Dakota University.

Tuesday November 12 Ag News


For the week ending November 10, 2019, there were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 87 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 87 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 74 percent, near 75 last year, and behind 83 for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 96 percent, near 93 last year and 97 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 50 good, and 13 excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 74 percent, behind 83 last year and 86 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 62 good, and 11 excellent.


 Statewide there were 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 10, 2019 although winter weather moved across Iowa bringing more snowfall to the northern half of the State according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were reports across the State concerning propane shortages slowing corn harvest due to the high moisture content of the crop and the need to dry it down.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus.

Sixty-four percent of the corn crop has been harvested for grain, 9 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Producers in the Northwest, North Central and Southeast Districts have harvested over 70 percent of their expected crop, while the Northeast District fell further behind with just 47 percent complete. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 20 percent.

Ninety-one percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, one week behind average. The South Central District remained the furthest behind at 71 percent complete, but closed the gap as producers in the district harvested nearly one-quarter of their expected crop during the week ending November 10, 2019.

Cattle continued to battle below normal temperatures. There were also reports of cattle grazing in corn fields and some feeding of hay in the State.

U.S. Corn Harvest Moves Ahead 14%, Soybean 10%

The percentage of U.S. corn and soybeans harvested moved ahead by double digits again last week but remained the furthest behind average in a decade as of Sunday, Nov. 10, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Tuesday. The report is normally released on Mondays but was delayed this week due to the Veterans Day holiday.

Nationwide, corn harvest picked up speed last week, moving ahead another 14 percentage points to reach 66% as of Sunday. That was still 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 85% but was slightly nearer to normal than the previous week when harvest was running 23 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Meanwhile, soybean harvest moved ahead 10 percentage points last week to reach 85% as of Sunday. That was 7 percentage points behind the five-year average of 92%, an improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 12 percentage points behind average.

Winter wheat progress stayed close to normal last week. As of Sunday, 92% of winter wheat was planted, equal to the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 78%, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 81%. Winter wheat condition was estimated at 54% good to excellent, down 3 percentage points from 57% the previous week.

Sorghum harvested reached 88%, ahead of the five-year average of 80%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 62%, also ahead of the average pace of 59%.

Testing for Hay Quality

Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

This year’s spring and summer weather may have affected the feed value of your hay and you won’t know by how much unless  you conduct a forage test.

Nearly every bushel of corn has similar nutrient concentration, but with hay it varies considerably.  The leafiness of the hay, or maturity of the plant when your hay was cut, or even how you handled the hay during raking and baling all can affect its feed value.

This year, weather conditions made things more complicated.   This spring's floods and cool, wet weather caused many folks to delay first cutting or got rain-damaged hay.   Leaf diseases, mature plants, and other factors made much alfalfa lower in quality.   During summer we had periods of hot and very humid weather that often caused plants to burn off their easily digested nutrients at night, leaving us with hay that looks really good but is high in fiber and low in energy.

Grass hay might be even more difficult to predict.   Some fields had fewer seedheads than normal.   This might give higher quality hay, but if harvest was delayed in hopes of increasing yield or if the heat affected grass quality like it affects alfalfa, grass hay quality might actually be lower.   And when growth is stimulated by extra rain, plants use many nutrients for increased tonnage instead of quality.

And think about all the different forages used on prevented planting acres.   Different species harvested late in the year will require a forage test to determine what the protein and TDN levels are.

A forage test can tell you the nutrient concentration in your hay,  but only if the sample you collect accurately resembles your hay.  Nutrient concentration varies considerably in all forages.   That is why it is recommended that hay testing be a regular part of your operation. 

For hay tests to be effective, your sample must accurately represent your hay.   Reaching into a bale and pulling out a random chunk of hay will not give you a good sample.   Nor will gathering a single flake of hay.  The only effective method to sample long hay is by using a core sampler.   If you don’t have one, you can buy one from many agricultural supply stores or catalogs.  

The first thing you need to do is organize your hay into groups that all came from the same field and cutting.   Then use the hay probe to collect one core each from 15 to 20 of the bales.   Collect your sample from the center of the bales.   Then combine all the core samples from this group into one larger sample to send to the lab.

If there is decayed or moldy material that you will discard or your animals will not eat, do not include it in your sample.   That way you will have a sample that is similar to the actual diet of your livestock.   However, if you plan to sell the hay, then you need to include this less desirable material in your sample to accurately represent all the hay to be sold.

This year, just like always, forage testing is important and is the only way that you can find out ahead of time what the feed value is of your hay.

Ricketts Visits World’s Largest Ag Tech Fair to Promote Nebraska’s Products

This week, Governor Pete Ricketts and his trade delegation visited the world’s leading agricultural technology fair.  The fair, Agritechnica, is hosted in Hannover with 450,000 visitors from 130 countries.

Companies headquartered in Nebraska, such as Lindsay and Orthman, and companies with investments in Nebraska, such as CLAAS, use the fair as an opportunity to showcase their products.  At the fair, Gov. Ricketts and the delegation met with several equipment manufacturers.

At Agritechnica, Gov. Ricketts hosted a seminar pitching fair attendees on investing in Nebraska.  Nebraska is home to investments from German manufacturers including CLAAS and Graepel.  During the seminar, Gov. Ricketts highlighted Nebraska’s strength in agriculture, fiscal stability, hardworking people, low energy costs, and other rankings.

Platte Valley Cattlemen meeting is Nov 18

Here we are in the month of November already.  Hopefully, most of you are finishing up on great and successful harvest and can start getting prepared for the winter months.

With that said, it is time for the PVC 2019 Cow/Calf meeting to be held at Wunderlich’s Catering on Monday, November 18th.  Social hour will start at 6pm and the dinner begins around 7pm.  Rosendahl Farms Seed and Feed is sponsoring the social hour.  Also, CPM is sponsoring the meal.  Thank you both for your donations and support.

The speaker for the night is Brent Karstens.  Brent works for Merck.  He will be talking about the importance of implanting calves and the importance of using Safeguard on your cows and calves.

There will also be some information on the progress of the Cattlemen’s Ball that will be held north of Columbus the first part of June.  They still are looking for volunteers for the event so if anyone is interested in helping out, there will be some information on that. 

Nebraska: An Ecosystem in Harmony

You’re invited to join us for the next Heuermann Lecture titled “Nebraska: An Ecosystem in Harmony”. The lecture, featuring Craig Allen, Andrea Basche and Michael Forsberg is hosted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    Craig Allen, Director, Center for Resilience in Working Agricultural Landscape
    Andrea Basche, Assistant Professor, Agronomy and Horticulture
    Michael Forsberg, Co-Founder, Platte Basin Timelapse and UNL Professor of Practice

    John Carroll, Director, School of Natural Resources
    Martha Mamo, Department Head, Agronomy and Horticulture

3:30 pm Lecture, NIC Auditorium
5:00 pm Dinner, NIC Banquet Space
5:30 pm Showing of “Follow The Water” Documentary, NIC Banquet Space
6:30 pm Discussion with Michael Forsberg and team

Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center
2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln, NE

AGP will offer production contracts for Plenish oleic soybeans 2020

AGP will offer production contracts for Pioneer® brand Plenish® high oleic soybeans for 2020.  AGP is contracting soybeans for delivery to its plant in Hastings, NE, or to one of the participating elevators.

Farmers who contract with AGP to grow Plenish high oleic soybeans in 2020 can earn a processor-paid premium of $0.40/bu for a harvest delivery to a designated elevator or $0.45/bu for on-farm storage. Additional program details are available from your local Pioneer sales representative, an AGP soybean merchandiser or at

As consumer and food industry demand for healthier ingredients continues to grow, opportunities to maximize soybean profit potential grow with it. Plenish high oleic soybeans offer farmers a value-added product to help meet demand and boost soybean market opportunities.

Governor Kim Reynolds, Secretary Mike Naig Leading Trade Mission to Japan

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig are currently leading a 24-member trade mission delegation to Japan. The mission, which is focused on food and agriculture, is aimed at expanding trade and investment opportunities and is being coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).

In 2018, Iowa companies exported $1.5 billion goods to Japan. Japan is Iowa’s third largest export destination and the leading export market for pork and beef products. Iowa companies exported $537 million in meat products to Japan in 2018. In addition, Japan is the second largest destination for Iowa corn – in 2018, Japan imported $491 million in Iowa corn.

“Our strategy to increase both exports and foreign direct investment is vital to our overall economic development plan,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Leading trade missions such as this opens doors for Iowa by showcasing our products to the global economy and forging personal face to face relationships that last a lifetime. Japan is an important partner with substantial economic power, and we want to encourage Iowa companies to make the most of it.”

The delegation left for Japan on Friday, Nov. 8 and scheduled to return to Iowa on Nov. 14. The itinerary is comprised of stops in Yamanashi — Iowa’s sister state — and Tokyo. Mission highlights include meeting with Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki, hosting a seminar about doing business in Iowa and meetings with existing industry representatives and investment prospects.

“Japan is the largest export market for Iowa’s beef and pork producers. I was excited to be in New York City when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe signed the new trade agreement in September,” said Secretary Naig. “This trade mission is a great way to celebrate our countries’ renewed partnership and explore new opportunities to work together.”

Mission participants include IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham, Iowa companies involved in meat and food processing and representatives from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Sister States. Iowa companies will participate in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs. IEDA has been working with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to identify business prospects for the delegation.

The IEDA’s International Trade Office connects Iowa companies with markets for their products and services, educates Iowa businesses on exporting and assists global companies wishing to establish or expand operations in Iowa. To find out more about these services or other trade missions that the IEDA is planning, please visit

No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand

(AP)  Dean Foods, America’s biggest milk processor, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday amid a decades-long drop-off in U.S. milk consumption blamed on changing trends and a growing variety of alternatives.

The Dallas company said it may sell itself to the Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers.

“Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption,” CEO Eric Berigause said in a statement.

Since 1975, the amount of milk consumed per capita in the U.S. has tumbled more than 40%. Americans consumed around 24 gallons per year in 1996, according to government data. That dropped to 17 gallons in 2018.

An increasing variety of beverages, including teas and sodas, has hurt milk consumption. So have protein bars and other on-the-go breakfasts, which take the place of a morning bowl of cereal.

More recently, health and animal-welfare concerns have also contributed, as more shoppers seek out non-dairy alternatives like almond milk. Oat milk, for example, saw U.S. sales rise 636% to more than $52 million over the past year, according to Nielsen data.

Sales of cow’s milk have dropped an average of 6% per year over the last four years, Nielsen said.

That has hit dairy farms and milk sellers hard, leading some smaller family farmers to quit the business.

It also had an outsize effect on Dean Foods, which derived 67% of its sales from fluid milk last year, according to its annual report. Fifteen percent came from ice cream and just 4% came from fruit juice, iced tea, water and flax-based beverages.

Dean employs 16,000 people and operates 60 processing facilities across the country. On any given day, it is running 8,000 refrigerated delivery trucks on U.S. roads.

The company supplies milk for its own brands, like Dairy Pure, Meadow Gold and TruMoo, as well as store brands. One big blow came last year, when Walmart opened its own milk processing plant in Indiana.

Dean has lost money in eight of its last 10 quarters and posted declining sales in seven of the last eight.

The company said it will continue operating normally while it puts its finances in order under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It has lined up about $850 million in financing from lenders.

Peterson, Conaway Congratulate Farm Bureau on Centennial

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway of Texas released the following statements congratulating AFBF on this accomplishment and their century of dedication to farmers, ranchers, and rural America:

“The American Farm Bureau Federation has a longstanding tradition of advocacy on behalf of agriculture and rural America,” Chairman Peterson said. “Their organization, founded by a grassroots movement, assures the voices of America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities are heard in legislative matters in local and state governments, as well as in Washington, D.C. Because of AFBF’s dedication to being vocal and reliable advocates for the agriculture community, we have introduced H. Res. 45 congratulating AFBF on a century of work on behalf of rural America.”

“For 100 years, the American Farm Bureau Federation has been an unwavering voice and source of support for rural America,” Ranking Member Conaway added. “I had the pleasure of working closely with Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall as we crafted the 2018 Farm Bill, and I could not be more grateful for the Farm Bureau’s lasting commitment to serving America’s farm and ranch families. Congratulations to all the men and women of the Farm Bureau, past, present, and future, on this remarkable milestone.”

NBB Releases New Report on the Importance of the Biodiesel Tax Incentive

Today, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) released a new report, "The Importance of the Biodiesel Tax Credit," showing how the emerging biodiesel industry relies on the combined values of the tax credit and Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credits to compete with petroleum diesel in the current market. The report was written by John Urbanchuk, managing partner of ABF Economics.

Kurt Kovarik, NBB's Vice President of Federal Affairs, comments, "The biodiesel industry's growth has been steady and sustainable over the past 15 years, with support from the biodiesel tax incentive and the RFS. The industry supports more than 65,000 jobs across the United States and $17 billion in economic activity. But at the moment, the RFS -- and the value of RINs -- is being undermined by waivers and flatlined volumes. On top of that, the nearly two-year lapse of the tax credit is compounding economic uncertainty for U.S. producers, endangering jobs and economic opportunities in many states.

"Nine biodiesel plants have already slashed production or closed up, laying off workers in Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Dozens more could be forced to do the same in the next few months due to the instability in federal policy. Congress needs to act now to restore the biodiesel tax incentive and help the industry reopen plants and rehire workers."

Urbanchuk writes, "The current uncertainty surrounding reinstatement and retroactivity of the tax credit is a significant disincentive for the U.S. biodiesel industry (blenders and producers) and has constrained industry expansion. Absence of a tax credit and uncertainty is one major reason the industry is operating at only 70 percent of industry production capacity. The uncertainty is forcing some producers to shut down production."

The report examines relative prices and values for biodiesel (B100) and petroleum-based ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) from 2016 to the first quarter of 2019. Biodiesel and ULSD compete for market share within the same applications, the report explains. While biodiesel is higher priced compared to ULSD, it is profitable on average to produce because its value in meeting the RFS standards helps recoup its production cost.

"Over the past several years, while petroleum diesel prices increased, biomass biodiesel prices (B100, Upper Midwest) actually declined," Urbanchuk writes. Higher capacity utilization rates and economies of scale are a few of the factors necessary to lower biodiesel production costs and achieve direct competitiveness.

The report's data demonstrates that with relatively low petroleum diesel prices in 2016 and 2017, the biodiesel tax incentive helped biodiesel compete in the market, which allowed biodiesel producers to expand market share. As ULSD prices rose in 2018, biodiesel's reduced production costs and RFS Renewable Identification Number (RIN) values allowed it to directly compete. That encouraged a continued expansion of domestic U.S. biodiesel production, as the market anticipated a renewal of the tax incentive.

In early 2019, however, falling oil prices and RIN values undercut the profitability of biodiesel.

Urbanchuk writes, "The issue for biodiesel producers is that the prices that determine ultimate profitability (feedstocks) and competitive environment in the fuel market (B100, ULSD, and RINs) are largely unpredictable. Absence of, and uncertainty regarding extension of the biodiesel tax credit significantly increases the risk biodiesel producers face."

According to the report, the tax credit helps the typical biodiesel producer make up the remaining difference between the market price of B100 and ULSD. Blenders who market diesel fuel blends share the tax credit's value -- and risk of policy changes -- with biodiesel producers, according to the report. But the biodiesel tax credit expired at the end of 2017, the report points out.

"This situation forces a biodiesel blender to reduce the transaction price of B100 (the price actually paid by the refiner) in order to remain competitive," the report states. "Blenders have substantial market leverage to pass some or all of this "discount" back to the biodiesel producer, who has to take the transaction price into account when calculating his breakeven and shutdown point."

NASCAR Continues to Validate Benefits of E15 with 15 Million Miles of Performance

Last weekend at the Bluegreen Vacations 500, NASCAR reached a significant milestone, announcing that their drivers have surpassed 15 million miles on Sunoco Green E15, a fuel made with 15 percent American ethanol.

NASCAR adopted E15 in 2011 across its three national series to reduce emissions in the sport, while maintaining the high-performance standard needed by drivers during every race. Growth Energy, the nation’s largest association representing ethanol producers and supporters, launched its American Ethanol program in 2011 in conjunction with NASCAR’s decision to adopt E15.

Following NASCAR’s announcement, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued a statement celebrating this occasion:
“American Ethanol’s partnership with NASCAR has been a fantastic platform to promote the benefits of cleaner-burning ethanol ever since the sport adopted Sunoco Green E15 in 2011. NASCAR fans have now seen the fuel perform flawlessly for 15 million miles under the most demanding circumstances imaginable. Meanwhile, consumers have put E15 to the test for more than 11 billion miles of commutes, road trips, and picking their kids up from school. Whether on or off the track, day after day, mile after mile, E15 continues to be the smart choice for drivers who care about their engines, reducing emissions, and saving money at the fuel pump.”

The benefits of E15 extend beyond the racetrack, as consumers can purchase 15 percent ethanol blends – most commonly labeled as Unleaded 88 at the fuel pump – at more than 2,000 locations in 30 states across the country. Unleaded 88 has more octane than regular unleaded fuel, and costs up to $0.10 less per gallon. Visit to learn more and download the GasBuddy app to find your nearest Unleaded 88 station.

Trade Assistance Payments Disproportionately Benefitted Large-Scale and Southeastern Operations

A government program intended to support farmers and ranchers affected by trade disputes disproportionately benefited large-scale and Southeastern operations, according to a minority staff report published today by the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program, known as the Market Facilitation Program, compensated most commodity grain producers based on a single county rate per planted acre. National Farmers Union (NFU) initially expressed concern that the payment disparities among counties would put some farmers at a financial disadvantage, a fact that has been confirmed by today’s report. Although farmers in the North, Midwest, and West have experienced the greatest harm from trade disputes, 95 percent of counties receiving the highest payment rates are based in the Southeast. Even in adjacent counties, payment rates sometimes vary by two to three times.

“Farmers in every county have been affected by withering export markets,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “Yet these county payment rates arbitrarily have helped farmers in some counties much more than others. If you’re unlucky enough to live in a county with a low payment rate, you may have received just a third of the assistance that your next-door neighbor got – for no apparent reason at all.”

NFU was similarly worried that the vast majority of trade assistance would flow to the largest operations rather than more vulnerable small- and medium-sized operations; by some estimates, more than half of the first tranche of payments went to just one-tenth of the recipients. Since then, USDA doubled the payment limit for row crops from $125,000 to $250,000 and loosened income restrictions, paving the way for millionaires to claim an even larger share of assistance.

With the number of mid-sized farms already rapidly declining, Johnson was perturbed that MFP would accelerate the alarming trend of farm-level consolidation. “During times of financial difficulty like these, bigger farms with more equity have a cushion to protect them from low prices and bad weather. But smaller operations might not be able to withstand more than a few hard years in a row,” Johnson said. “A successful food system is a diverse food system, with farms of all types and sizes. Unfortunately, USDA’s preferential treatment of larger operations will likely contribute to the ongoing homogenization of American agriculture.”

Flaws aside, these programs are just a temporary solution to the very long-term damage inflicted on the United States’ trade relationships. “Trade assistance payments are not an economically sustainable way for farmers to make ends meet,” said Johnson. “Though assistance payments have proved critical to the immediate financial stability of family farmers and ranchers, their continued success depends on stable markets and fair prices. Farmers work hard to feed, fuel, and clothe America – and they should be able to make a living doing just that. We urge President Trump to work with Congress to establish policies that ensure that farmers no longer have to depend on outside help just to stay in business.”


Greg Hanes, CEO, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Created 34 years ago through a vote of producers all over the country, the Beef Checkoff launched to add support to the industry through promotion and research to ultimately grow beef demand. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will?  The program started in 1985 with a simple process: pay $1 per head of cattle at the time of sale.  It’s something you may only do few times a year or maybe you do it several times a month.  Most likely it shows up as a line item on your sale barn receipt or you might send in a check through the private treaty program. Did you know those dollars are contributing a larger, multi-faceted program? 

And do you know the journey your dollar takes once it leaves your hand?


When the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order was created, the producers involved wanted the process to be a simple one. The idea of “one head / one dollar” seemed to be the best and fairest way to easily pull together assessments on cattle to fund the state and national programs. At the time, those founding producers had the forethought and experience to understand that the program needed national exposure and reach, as well as “boots on the ground” to provide local experience and feedback from back home. By creating a joint effort between state beef councils and the national office of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the checkoff was assured to have input from producers from all over the country.

When you pay your dollar, it is collected and sent to your state beef council office.  There the money is split: fifty cents to your state, fifty cents to the national office. Why the split?  Because producers desire the efficiency of a national, unified voice and the promotional power of the national Checkoff programs (Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner campaigns, national research, media relations, etc.) combined with the customized support at the local level at home. State beef councils support their states through unique consumer and producer events, information, and outreach.


Before the Beef Checkoff was created, the beef industry’s promotion and research efforts were somewhat fragmented. Multiple organizations were duplicating efforts and there was no central coordinated effort to reach a greater audience of consumers and keep the spotlight on beef in an increasingly competitive protein marketplace. The checkoff was built to bring those organizations together into a unified voice, to improve efficiencies, and to build shareable – yet customizable – resources to increase beef demand.

By coordinating efforts, funding, and ideas, great things have been happening as resources are shared across multiple platforms and audiences. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board office works with national contractors to develop targeted programs and information that can be shared at the state level. State beef councils use their local resources to build programs, create local, targeted campaigns, and develop research for their own particular group of consumers.  Contractors share with states, states share with other states, contractors share with contractors. This unified front creates a powerful web of support for producers and helps to build demand for beef throughout the country. After all, if beef producers aren’t promoting their product, who will?

To be continued…

For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, contact the Cattlemen’s Beef Board at 303-220-9890 or visit

Monday November 11 Ag News

Ricketts Launches Trade Mission to Germany, Preferred Popcorn Signs Trade Agreement

This week, Governor Pete Ricketts is leading a trade mission to Germany to promote Nebraska’s quality ag products and to thank German companies for creating jobs in Nebraska.

The Governor and trade delegation began the mission today in Berlin, Germany where they will meet with government officials and host a reception for University of Nebraska alumni, business officials, and other friends of Nebraska.

Delegates on the mission include representatives from the Department of Economic Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Energy, University of Nebraska, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Omaha Public Power District, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and several ag and manufacturing businesses.

The trade mission began as Preferred Popcorn, a popcorn manufacturer headquartered in Chapman, Nebraska, inked a new trade agreement.  The new agreement grows Preferred Popcorn’s relationship with Germany-based Haase Foods.  Nebraska is the largest producer of popcorn in the United States with over 353 million lbs of annual production.

This is Governor Ricketts’ second trade mission to the European Union (EU) in the last five years and first trade mission to Germany.  Germany is the largest economy in the EU.  This trade mission comes on the heels of a new trade agreement between the United States and the EU that was secured by President Donald J. Trump.  Under the agreement, the EU has agreed to allow the U.S. to almost triple the amount of beef exported to the region.  In 2005, only five percent of the U.S. beef entering the EU came from Nebraska.  By 2018, Nebraska’s share rose to 53%, and was valued at $124.3 million. 

Ricketts Meets with Top Trade Officials in Berlin

This week, Governor Pete Ricketts and a delegation of more than 25 Nebraskans kicked off the second day of their trade mission to Germany with a briefing from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin on trade and investment opportunities in Germany.

Throughout the day, Governor Ricketts met with high-level German officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as well as the Ministry of Transportation.  Additionally, the Governor attended a working lunch with members of Germany’s Bundestag (federal legislative body).

The day concluded with a “Friends of Nebraska and Alumni” reception, sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska Department of Economic Development.  The University of Nebraska system has over 300 alumni living in Germany.  This event, and similar ones on other trade missions, strengthen the state’s network of Nebraskans, alumni, and business partners abroad who help promote the Good Life around the globe.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               After soybeans are harvested, cows sometimes are put out on the residues to graze.  Some bean residues are even baled.  But how good is this feed?

               We’re all familiar with the usefulness of grazing corn stalks, but I see more and more residue from soybean fields grazed every year.  And cows seem to like licking up what’s left behind after combining.  But frankly, I’m a little concerned that some folks may think their cows are getting more from those bean residues than what truly is there.

               The problem is a matter of perception.  When most of us think of soybeans, we think high protein.  So we expect bean residues will be a high protein feed, too.  Unfortunately, the opposite is true; soybean residue is very low in protein.

               Soybean stems and pods contain only about 4 to 6 percent crude protein, well below the 7 to 8 percent needed for minimum support of a dry beef cow.  And even though leaves can be up to 12 percent protein, it’s only around one-third digestible, so that’s not much help.  In fact, protein digestibility is low in all bean residues.

               Energy is even worse.  TDN averages between 35 and 45 percent for leaves, stems, and pods.  This is even lower than wheat straw.  As a result, cows fed only bean residue can lose weight and condition very quickly.  Heavy supplementation is needed to maintain cow health.

               Now, this doesn’t mean soybean residues are worthless for grazing or even baled.  They can be a good extender of much higher quality hay or silage.  But, cattle must be fed quite a bit of higher energy and protein feeds to make up for the deficiencies in soybean residues.

               Don’t be misled into thinking bean residues are as good or better than corn stalks.  Otherwise, you and your cows will suffer the consequences.

Climate Assessment Response Committee to Meet

Amelia Breinig, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, has scheduled a meeting of the Climate Assessment Response Committee (CARC) for Nov. 13. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in room 901, Hardin Hall, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

Officials will brief CARC members on existing, as well as predicted, weather conditions and provide a water availability outlook.

For more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341.

TAPS Banquet to Celebrate 2019 Competitions

Krystle Rhoades - TAPS Program Coordinator

With a record-setting wet growing season and some unique differences in management decisions by competitors, as well as a new contest, this year’s Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) awards banquet is sure to be interesting.

The 2019 culmination event will be held December 12 at the Holiday Inn Express Conference Center in North Platte. The event will start with a social hour at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the awards presentation at 7 p.m.

The awards for greatest grain yield, highest input use efficiency, and the highest honor, most profitable team, will be announced for each competition. The 2019 competitions included the third annual sprinkler corn competition, the second annual sprinkler sorghum contest, and the first subsurface drip irrigation competition at the West Central Research and Experiment Center in North Platte,  along with the sprinkler irrigated corn competition in Guymon, Oklahoma in partnership with Oklahoma State University.

Attendees will have the opportunity to converse with competitors, industry leaders, and TAPS organizers during the social hour, as well as bid on teams in the UNL-TAPS sprinkler corn contest via a silent bidding Calcutta-style auction.

The auction will give people the opportunity to bid on and purchase the corn sprinkler team they believe will take home the highest award, that of “Most Profitable.” Bidding will start at $25 for each team and will be available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The winner of the Calcutta will be announced at the end of the evening after the awards have been presented. The proceeds will be split 50/50 between the top bidder of the winning team and the TAPS program. If people are unable to attend but still want to place a bid, please contact Krystle Rhoades.

Following dinner, the evening will conclude with TAPS organizers discussing their findings from this year’s competitions, presenting data derived from teams’ decisions, and presenting awards for each contest.

For those travelling to attend the event, a block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Express. Please reference TAPS to receive the discounted rate when calling to make your reservation. The deadline for the discounted block is November 12.

If you would like to attend the TAPS Awards Banquet, please RSVP Krystle Rhoades, TAPS program coordinator, at by December 1.

Space is limited so make sure to save your spot for this evening of peer-to-peer interaction and recognition.

New Officers Named for Farm Equip Manufacturers Association

Member companies of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Assn., which represents 675 businesses in the farm implement industry in the U.S. and Canada, elected four new members to its board of directors. Hours later, the new board of directors elected officers.

Farm Equipment magazine reports that leading the association as president will be Janea Danuser, vice president and co-owner of Danuser Machine Co. in Fulton, Mo. The company manufactures agricultural and industrial attachments as well as OEM parts and assemblies. Janea Danuser is a fourth-generation co-owner of the company, which was founded in 1910.

The board of directors elected her to a one-year term beginning immediately. She succeeds Nick Jensen of Thurston Manufacturing in Thurston, Neb. Serving with Danuser in officer roles will be:
- First Vice President Matt Westendorf, general manager of Westendorf Manufacturing Co. in Onawa, Iowa.
- Second Vice President Tim Burenga, vice president of sales and purchasing at Worksaver Inc., in Litchfield, Ill.
- Treasurer Paul Jeffrey, general manager at MacDon in Kansas City, Mo.
- Secretary Ben Hellbusch, vice president of sales and marketing at Duo Lift Manufacturing Co. and general manager at Busch Equipment Co., both in Columbus, Neb.

The officers will lead a 16-person board of directors. Member companies at the association's annual business meeting today elected these executives to three-year terms as directors:
- Marc Ivey, vice president of business development for Dirt Dog Manufacturing in Commerce, Ga.
- Phil Landoll, vice president of operations at Landoll Corp., in Marysville, Kan.
- Clair Ellis, president of Ellis Equipment Co. in Logan, Utah.
- Jon Sherrod, area manager for Bondioli & Pavesi in Ashland, Va.

The association represents each link in the farm equipment supply chain. Ivey, Landoll and all of the officers are farm implement manufacturers. Ellis serves as the board representative for equipment marketers, and Sherrod represents the companies that supply component parts and services to manufacturers. Member companies design and produce equipment to complement mass-produced lines. The association serves as their voice, advocate and resource.

Dwindling Milk Supply Forces AMPI Plant Closures

Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) announced last week it is shutting down the AMPI plant in Rochester, Minn.

The cooperative also announced its closing plant in Arlington, Iowa, and the milk processed at both facilities will be routed to other plants in the area including the AMPI cheese plant in Blair, Wis.

Some 75 employees of the Rochester plant are affected by the move. The company says it is working with them to provide access to resources, training, and opportunities to apply for available positions at other AMPI plants.

In announcing the closures, AMPI noted Minnesota has lost 40-percent of its dairy farms and Iowa has lost 50-percent of its dairy operations since 2008.

While the decision affects AMPI's cheese production at the site, milk production will continue.

Kemp's leases a portion of the plant for its milk operations and employs about 200 workers at the site. There is no word on what impact AMPI's decision will have on the Kemp's operation.

AMPI is headquartered in New Ulm, Minn., and owned by dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.

USMEF Elects New Officer Team, Examines Trade Challenges

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) concluded its Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Ariz., with the election of new officers. Cevin Jones, a cattle feeder from Eden, Idaho, was elected USMEF chair. He succeeds Iowa pork producer Conley Nelson.

"My first involvement with USMEF was when I was marketing chair with the Idaho Cattle Association," recalled Jones, who along with his brother operates Intermountain Beef, a custom feedlot. "As part of my duties I would go to national conventions where USMEF staff and leadership shared information about their work in international markets. This was a tremendous eye-opener. I valued the importance of export markets then, but value it even more today."

Jones became president of the Idaho Cattle Association in November 2003, shortly before one of the most disruptive events in the history of the U.S. beef industry.

"About one month later, I got the phone call — BSE," Jones said. "Then I truly realized how important our exports markets are, when they closed overnight. But in time I got to see USMEF in action, helping to get those markets reopened."

Jones later chaired the Idaho Beef Council and the Federation of State Beef Councils, and served on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, further enhancing his interest in expanding global demand for U.S. beef.

As he took the helm at USMEF, Jones encouraged members to remain steadfast in their commitment to international marketing, even in the face of trade barriers and ongoing volatility.

"I expect the trade environment to continue to be very challenging, but we have experienced, dedicated people on the ground in international markets across the world who give USMEF the ability to adapt and change," he said.

The USMEF officer team for 2019-2020 reflects the organization's diverse membership. The new chair-elect is Pat Binger of Wichita, Kan., a vice president at Cargill Protein Group. Binger has been in the red meat industry for more than 30 years, including 27 years in international sales and 16 years directing Cargill's overseas network of offices.

Mark Swanson is USMEF's new vice chair. He is CEO of Birko Corporation, headquartered in Henderson, Colo., and has more than 20 years of experience with some of the most respected institutions in the protein industry, including Iowa Beef Processors, ConAgra Foods and Swift and Company.

The newest USMEF officer is Dean Meyer, who was elected secretary-treasurer. Meyer, a corn, soybean and livestock producer from Rock Rapids, Iowa, is a director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. He has also served as chair of the Iowa Corn Animal Agriculture and Environment Committee and the Lyon County (Iowa) Pork Producers.

On the final day of the conference USMEF members also received an informative breakdown of the trade landscape in Asia from Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute. Cutler previously served as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's chief negotiator on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and led bilateral negotiations with Japan under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Cutler reviewed the events that have taken place since the U.S. withdrew from TPP, starting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to convince President Trump to return to the agreement. Eventually a preliminary U.S.-Japan trade agreement was reached and it is now under consideration by the Japanese Parliament.

"The great news for you is that this is largely an agricultural deal," Cutler said. "Under this agreement we secured from Japan most of the agricultural market access that we forfeited when we lost TPP. And I think what's really great for beef and pork is that when this deal goes into effect, which should be Jan. 1, we're going to come into that deal 'caught up' with the other TPP countries, meaning that we'll get the same tariff rates that they're getting."

Cutler said U.S. agriculture is understandably encouraged by progress in the U.S.-China negotiations, as the two sides are said to be close to completing a phase one agreement that will improve access for agricultural exports. But she cautioned that the situation remains very volatile, and that finalizing the details of such an agreement often proves difficult.

Earlier in the conference, a panel discussion focused on the potential impact of alternative proteins on global demand for red meat. The session was moderated by USMEF Economist Erin Borror and included Jihae Yang, USMEF director in South Korea; Yuri Barutkin, USMEF representative in Europe; and Glynn Tonsor, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University.

Facing up to the challenge posed alternative proteins was also a component of "Capitalizing on the Greatest Sustainability Story in History," a presentation offered by Allan Gray, a professor at Purdue University and director of the school's Center for Food and Agricultural Business.

Gray's advice to USMEF members is to compete for consumers by helping people understand why traditional meat is the best choice.

"We all like choices, so the urge to take away alternative proteins as a choice may not be the best strategy," he said. "What we should be saying to them is, 'you have choices, but our product is the best choice and here is why.'"

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom briefed members on a number of key issues that could open new opportunities for U.S. red meat exports. In addition to the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, Halstrom said a U.S.-specific share of the European Union's duty-free beef quota will deliver more reliable and consistent access to the high-value European market. This measure is currently under consideration in the EU Parliament. Halstrom also stressed the importance of bringing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to a ratification vote.

"From a carcass utilization standpoint, Canada and Mexico complement our Asian markets perfectly," Halstrom said. "I hate to think what round prices would be if not for Canada and Mexico, because we don't sell many rounds to Asia. On the pork side, there are some hams exported to Asia but it's not the primary item. Hams are the No. 1 item going to Mexico and pretty high on the list for Canada."

Long-Sought Opening of Brazilian Wheat TRQ Ahead

A significant impediment to U.S. wheat sales to the large Brazilian market is likely to end soon. Brazil’s government has announced it intends to implement a tariff rate quota (TRQ) allowing up to 750,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat to be imported duty-free from countries outside the Mercosur trade agreement.

Brazil first agreed to this TRQ some 24 years ago when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Brazilian government is now moving forward with developing a final process and date for implementing the TRQ.

Through U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the U.S. government, wheat farmers have worked and negotiated for several years with Brazil’s government to open the TRQ and create a more open market there for U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW) wheat.

“Brazil is a quality-focused wheat market and its flour millers recognize that U.S. wheat can help them better meet their customers’ needs,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Opening the TRQ will give those millers more consistent access to our wheat classes while still having the option to source from other countries. That is how the market should work and we welcome this opportunity.”

“This is a perfect example of how fulfilling commitments can work for all trading partners,” said Doug Goyings, USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Paulding, Ohio. “We want to recognize Ambassador Gregg Doud, our Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, as well as the career staff of USDA and USTR for their focus on this issue. They have raised it multiple times with their counterparts in Brazil.”

Brazil is the fourth largest wheat importer in the world but Argentina and other countries in the Mercosur agreement have had a competitive advantage with mostly unlimited duty-free access to the market. Wheat imports from countries outside the Mercosur agreement including the United States are subject to a 10 percent tariff. However, USW has always conducted activities in Brazil to keep its millers and bakers informed about the quality and value of U.S. wheat. As a result, when Brazil opened provisional TRQs in 2008, 2013 and 2014 because its Mercosur partners had wheat supply challenges, U.S. HRW and SRW made up more than 80 percent of imports.

NCBA Op-Ed: "Why Sustainability?"

By Ethan Lane, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Cattlemen's Beef Assoc.

When the topic of sustainability comes up in conversation in cattle circles, it’s common to see heads shaking. It’s not a topic we like to discuss in our industry – primarily because it’s so often raised with bad intentions and worse information. We bristle because we’ve been doing things right in our business for many generations and it’s difficult to accept that outsiders have influence in how we’re doing business.

Increasingly, though, that’s exactly what’s happening. In the case of sustainability, consumers have decided they ought to have a better understanding and perhaps even a say in how their food is produced.

Now, we don’t have to like the fact that consumers and in many cases outside interest groups have turned a spotlight on beef production, but there is tremendous interest in how food is produced. You can probably trace the origins back to the rise of Food Network and celebrity chefs, but special interests also played a role in the attention that’s paid to modern food production and the practices used to raise cattle and produce beef. The natural evolution of that interest was the conversation about sustainability and whether a product is viewed by consumers as “sustainable.”

Regardless of whether we might like the word or agree with its definition, we’re being judged on how we do things in this business. That same scrutiny is being applied to every single product that goes into a shopper’s cart. The folks who are buying beef care about what we did to the product along the way and we have a good story to tell. But we all know we can tell it until we’re blue in the face and not many folks are going to listen. To get people to pay attention to the beef sustainability story, we must rely on others to help tell it, and perhaps more importantly, verify the story that’s being told. In many cases, the groups telling our story haven’t always had our best interests in mind. One group that has come up in conversations recently is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

To set the record straight up front, NCBA isn’t a member of WWF and WWF is not a member of NCBA. Neither organization receives any support, financial or otherwise, from the other. Likewise, no checkoff dollars have been sent to WWF. Both NCBA and WWF are members of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) and these efforts are funded strictly with NCBA membership dollars. Here again, no checkoff funds have been used to fund GRSB or USRSB. NCBA participates in both GRSB and USRSB at the direction of its members and we participate to make certain that the voice of cattlemen and cattlewomen is heard in conversations about cattle and beef production practices.

Groups like WWF and many others have tremendous influence over corporations in the United States and most foreign countries. That influence extends to the purchasing decisions that are being made by corporations like Costco, Wal Mart, McDonald’s, Sysco and many others. The influence of WWF and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) extends to Wall Street and the investment banks that provide funding for these massive global corporations. Here too the NGOs hold significant power.

The sustainability of a product like beef can be measured through a lifecycle assessment (LCA), a process that is well-documented and backed by science. The beef industry, thanks to the Beef Checkoff, has already completed its own LCA and it continues to update and refine the results of that work, which shows that beef producers have always been sustainable and continue to become more sustainable with each passing year. Cattle producers have always been good stewards of our natural resources and we’re continually making our animals more efficient. But the sustainability of a product doesn’t begin or end at the ranch gate. It extends backward to the feed and minerals we supply the cowherd. It also encompasses the fuel used to ship packages of beef to distribution centers and the refrigeration used to keep it cold in the grocery store. It’s perhaps the longest and most complex supply chain of any food item.

 We know there’s a lot of misinformation about cattle and beef and the impact it has on the environment. We know that some of the folks spreading that misinformation sit across the table from us in conversations about sustainability, but frankly that’s why it’s important for us to be at that table in the first place. Without us that conversation will still happen, but it will happen only amongst our detractors, and without an advocate for our strong record of sustainable production.

We also know that because we have a seat at the table during GRSB and USRSB meetings, we’ve been able to educate both NGO representatives and participating corporations about our resource stewardship and the improvements being made by the entire beef supply chain. Because of these conversations and because of the beef industry’s work to complete an LCA, we’ve been able to demonstrate our sustainability and keep their buyers in the market for our product, instead of shifting to chicken or pork, which are still our two biggest competitors by a wide margin.

The world around us is changing and we’re not headed back to a simpler time. Ever. The world in which we’re producing cattle becomes more complex by the day and frankly that’s why NCBA exists, to help lead the industry through the challenges we face. We might not like the topic of sustainability but that’s one of the many ways NCBA provides value to our members. We sit at the table and represent the interests of our members in conversations they’d rather not have, with people they don’t always agree with.

Those conversations aren’t always easy or popular and we’re going to face our share of critics for having them, but that’s part of the job when you serve as the trusted leader and definitive voice of the beef industry.

Friday November 8 Ag News


Based on November 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2019 corn crop is forecast at 1.77 billion bushels, down 1 percent from last year's production, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Area to be harvested for grain, at 9.75 million acres, is up 5 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 182 bushels per acre, down 10 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 282 million bushels, down 13 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 4.95 million acres, is 11 percent below 2018. Yield is forecast at 57 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel from last year.

Sorghum production is forecast at 13.7 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Area for harvest, at 140,000 acres, is 18 percent below 2018. Yield is forecast at 98 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels from last year.


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

Soybean production is forecast at 484 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 53.0 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October forecast but 3.0 bushels per acre lower than 2018. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.20 million acres with 9.13 million acres to be harvested.

The forecasts in this report are based on November 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production estimates will be published in the Crop Production – Annual Summary report which will be released January 10, 2020.

Corn Production Down 1 Percent from October Forecast

Soybean Production Down Slightly

Corn production for grain is forecast at 13.7 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the previous forecast and down 5 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 167.0 bushels per harvested acre, down 1.4 bushels from the previous forecast and down 9.4 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 81.8 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but up slightly from 2018.

Soybean production for beans is forecast at 3.55 billion bushels, down slightly from the previous forecast and down 20 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 46.9 bushels per acre, unchanged from the previous forecast but down 3.7 bushels from 2018. Area harvested for beans in the United States is forecast at 75.6 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast but down 14 percent from 2018.

USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Update, November 8, 2019

COARSE GRAINS:  This month’s 2019/20 U.S. corn outlook is for lower production, reduced use, and smaller ending stocks.  Corn production is forecast at 13.661 billion bushels, down 118 million from last month on a 1.4-bushel reduction in yield to 167.0 bushels per acre.  Feed and residual use is down 25 million bushels based on a smaller crop and higher expected prices.    Exports are reduced reflecting the slow pace of early-season sales and shipments.    Corn used for ethanol is down 25 million bushels based on September data from the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report and weekly ethanol production data as reported by the Energy Information Administration for the month of October.  With supply falling more than use, corn ending stocks are lowered 18 million bushels from last month.  The season-average corn price received by producers is raised 5   cents to $3.85 per bushelbased on observed prices to date. 

Global coarse grain production for 2019/20 is forecast 1.8 million tons lower to 1,394.9 million.  This month’s    2019/  20 foreign coarse grain outlook is for larger production, increased trade, and lower stocks relative to last month.  Foreign corn production is forecast higher as increases for several African countries,  as well as Russia and Turkey,   more than offset declines for Mexico, Ukraine, and the EU.    For Mexico, production is lowered as area for summer season corn is expected to be the lowest on record.  Yield forecasts for Russia and Ukraine are raised and lowered, respectively, based on observed harvest results to date.

Corn exports are raised for Brazil and Russia, with reductions for the United States and Mexico.  For 2018/19, corn exports for Brazil are raised for the local marketing year beginning March 2019, based on shipments observed through October.  For 2019/20, corn imports are raised for Vietnam, Colombia, Japan, and South Korea.    Partly offsetting,  are reductions for Iran, Egypt, Malaysia, and Turkey.  Foreign corn ending stocks are lower relative to last month, with declines for Brazil, Iran, Mexico, China, and Argentina that are partly offset by small increases for several African countries.  Global corn ending stocks, at 296.0 million   tons,  are down 6.6 million.

OILSEEDS: The U.S. soybean outlook is for slightly lower production, reduced crush, and higher ending stocks. Soybean production is forecast at 3.55 billion bushels, down less than 1 million on fractionally lower yields and unchanged harvested area. Soybean crush is reduced 15 million bushels to 2.11 billion on lower-than expected early-season crush and reduced soybean meal export prospects. With reduced crush, soybean ending stocks are projected at 475 million bushels, up 15 million.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2019/20 is forecast at $9.00 per bushel, unchanged from last month. The soybean meal price forecast is also unchanged at $325.00 per short ton. The soybean oil price is forecast at $0.31 per pound, up $0.01 from last month on sharply higher reported prices through October.

The foreign oilseed supply and demand forecasts for 2019/20 include lower production, crush, and stocks, compared with last month. Foreign production is forecast at 463.6 million tons, down 3.4 million on lower soybean, cottonseed, sunflowerseed, and rapeseed production. Soybean production for India is reduced 2.0 million tons to 9.0 million on lower yields resulting from excessive late-season rainfall. Soybean production is also reduced for Canada on lower yields. Other production changes include lower sunflowerseed production for Argentina and lower rapeseed production for Australia and the European Union. Foreign soybean crush changes for 2019/20 include reductions for India, China, and Canada. Foreign soybean ending stocks for 2019/20 are reduced with lower projections for Argentina, Canada, and India only partly offset with higher forecasts for Brazil and Egypt.

 WHEAT: The outlook for 2019/20 U.S. wheat this month is for smaller supplies, reduced domestic use, and lower stocks. Wheat supplies are decreased 42 million bushels, based on updated production estimates for the States resurveyed following the NASS Small Grains Summary, issued September 30. Adjustments to production in these States, where significant acreage remained unharvested in early September, lowers production estimates for Hard Red Spring wheat, White wheat, and Durum with most reductions occurring in North Dakota and Montana. Estimated seed use is reduced 7 million bushels to 61 million, reflecting a projected 2020/21 all wheat planted acreage of 45.0 million. Food use is lowered 5 million bushels to 955 million, primarily based on the NASS Flour Milling Products report, issued November 1. Projected 2019/20 wheat stocks are reduced 30 million bushels to 1,014 million. The season-average farm price is reduced $0.10 per bushel to $4.60, based on NASS prices reported to date and expectations for cash and futures prices the remainder of the 2019/20 marketing year.

The global outlook for wheat this month is for higher supplies, increased exports, fractionally greater consumption, and higher ending stocks. Supplies are raised with increased production forecasts for the EU, Russia, and Ukraine more than offsetting reductions for Argentina and Australia. EU and Russia production forecasts are raised to 153.0 and 74.0 million tons, respectively, on updated harvest results. Australia’s production is lowered to 17.2 million tons on further damage from the continent’s severe drought and is now forecast lower than last year’s drought-affected crop. Argentina’s production is reduced to 20.0 million tons on dry conditions but remains record large. World exports are raised by 1.0 million tons to 180.7 million on increases for the EU, Russia, and Ukraine more than offsetting reductions for Argentina and Australia. Global consumption is nearly unchanged at 755.2 million tons, which is 3 percent greater than last year. With global supplies rising more than consumption, 2019/20 ending stocks are raised to a record 288.3 million tons with China comprising 51 percent of the total.

LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, AND DAIRY: The forecast for 2019 total red meat and poultry production is raised from last month on higher beef, pork, broiler, and turkey production. Beef production is raised from the previous month on higher expected slaughter of both fed and non-fed cattle. The pork production forecast is raised on both higher hog slaughter and slightly higher carcass weights. The broiler production forecast is raised as hatchery data points to larger supplies of birds available for slaughter in the fourth quarter. Turkey production is raised on higher-than-expected third-quarter production and higher expected supplies of birds in the fourth quarter. Egg production is reduced on lower reported hatching egg production in the third quarter which more than offsets higher-than-expected table egg production. However, no change is made to the fourth-quarter production forecast.

For 2020, the total red meat and poultry forecast is increased from last month as higher broiler and turkey production more than offsets a lower beef production forecast. The pork production forecast is unchanged. Broiler and turkey production forecasts are raised as the increase in production late this year is forecast to carry into late 2020. The beef production forecast is reduced on a slower expected pace of gains in carcass weights. A slightly slower pace of feedlot marketings also contributes to the reduced production forecast. The 2020 egg production forecast is unchanged from the previous month.

Beef and pork trade for 2019 are adjusted to reflect third-quarter reported data; the forecasts for the fourth-quarter 2019 and for 2020 are unchanged from last month. The 2019 broiler export forecast is lowered as weaker-than-expected third quarter exports further dampen expectations for shipments in the fourth quarter; no change is made to the 2020 forecast. Turkey export forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are unchanged.

The cattle price forecast is raised for fourth-quarter 2019 based on recent data; no change is made to the 2020 forecast. The 2019 and 2020 hog price forecasts are reduced on current price weakness. The 2019 broiler price forecast is raised from the previous month on current prices. The price strength is carried into early 2020, but increased production in the later part of 2020 is expected to pressure prices; the 2020 annual price forecast is unchanged. The 2019 and 2020 turkey price forecasts are unchanged from the previous month. The egg price forecast for 2019 is increased on current price strength, but the 2020 forecast is unchanged.

The milk production forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are raised from the previous month as stronger growth in milk per cow more than offsets a slower expected recovery in the cow inventory. The 2019 fat basis import forecast is raised on recent trade data; the 2020 import forecast is unchanged. The fat basis export forecast for 2020 is lowered as higher domestic cheese prices are expected to affect the competitiveness of U.S. cheese in international markets. The skim-solids basis import forecast for 2019 is reduced on lower imports of milk protein products. The 2020 forecast is unchanged. The 2019 skim-solids basis export forecast is raised on stronger sales of nonfat/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP). The 2020 forecast is unchanged as weak exports of cheese and whey products offset higher expected NDM/SMP sales.

Cheese and nonfat dry milk (NDM) price forecasts for both 2019 and 2020 are raised from last month on strength in demand. For both 2019 and 2020, butter and whey prices are lowered on current price weakness which is expected to carry into 2020. The 2019 Class III and Class IV price forecasts are raised as the higher cheese price more than offsets the lower whey price. The 2019 Class IV price is raised as the higher NDM price more than offsets a weaker butter price, but for 2020, the lower butter price outweighs the higher NDM price and the Class IV price is reduced. The 2019 all milk price forecast is raised to $18.60 per cwt; the 2020 all milk price is forecast unchanged at $18.85 per cwt.

Drier, Colder Weather Now, but Storms Likely in Late November

Al Dutcher - Associate Nebraska State Climatologist

Harvest activity across the state has made great strides over the past two weeks due to a lack of significant moisture chasing producers out of their fields. Nebraska Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 60% of the corn crop had been harvested as of Sunday, Nov. 3, an increase of 16 percentage points from the previous week. The soybean harvest is virtually complete at 94%.

Our saving grace during the month of October revolves around two major storm systems that dropped significant snow and rain accumulations to our north, south, and east. The first storm blanketed the Dakota’s with up to two feet of snow the second weekend of October. The second major event occurred the final weekend of October and brought widespread snow to the front range of the Rockies before heading northeast and slamming the central and eastern Corn Belt with heavy rain and wet snow.

In east central and southeast Nebraska, the first measurable snowfall for most locations occurred 14 days later than last year. However, looking at Figure 1, it is apparent that October 2019 has delivered more cold air into the region than we experienced in 2018. Whether this means anything is certainly up in the air, but it does indicate that cold air following fronts this fall are stronger at this point of the season than we experienced last fall.

Over the next two weeks, numerical weather models are in good agreement with each other and point to a drier- and colder-than-normal pattern for Nebraska. It appears this period will be dominated by an upper air trough over the eastern half of the country, with ridging over the southwest, southern Great Basin, and the Southern Rockies. Any precipitation events that occur will originate from the northwest, usually the source of fast-moving systems with dry snow, high winds, and cold temperatures.

As we enter this weekend, a beautiful fall day is in store for Saturday, as temperatures should reach the low 60s south to upper 50s north. A very strong cold front moves through the state on Sunday, bringing high winds, clouds, and possibly a brief snow flurry to light snow. Accumulating snowfall will likely be confined to the Dakota’s and Minnesota. This Arctic air looks to hold through the middle of next week, with Monday and Tuesday set to see highs in just the 20s and 30s. Temperatures may briefly move into the 40s Wednesday, before another cold front brings temperatures back into the 30s on Thursday.

By next Friday, weather models indicate that temperature will begin to moderate and approach the 50s due to the western U.S. upper air ridge pushing eastward. Another surge of Arctic air is forecast to move into Nebraska a week from Sunday (Nov. 17), but it is presently not expected to push as far south or last as long as next week’s event. By Tuesday, November 19, the western U.S. ridge expands eastward in response to a strong storm system entering the west coast of United States.

This system will need to be watched closely as there are signs that a stormy pattern will develop for the western U.S. during the final two weeks of November. If the models are correct, this heavy precipitation event should bring an end to the significant wildfire threat across the northern two-thirds of California. It usually takes about a week for upper air troughs to move from the west coast into the central U.S, so the last full week of November could be stormy across the central High Plains if the models have the correct interpretation of the jet stream pattern.

Bottom line, precipitation will be minimal to non-existent for most of the state over the next two weeks, but temperatures will be well below normal for most of this period. Arctic air usually means a dry air mass, so if corn moisture can continue to decrease under these conditions, much of the remaining corn across the state stands a decent chance of being harvested before inclement weather arrives.

What is certain is that with next week’s cold temperatures, soil surfaces in the Dakota’s, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will likely freeze, which could help support combines where fields have been too muddy to harvest. The biggest question for these producers will be if the ground remains frozen or thaws out after warmer air arrives across the region the third full week of this month.

End-of-Season Issues Focus of Ag Land Management Webinar Nov. 18

Nebraska Extension’s final Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar of the year will focus on end-of-season topics, including county-level cash rental rates, closing out 2019 leases while preparing for 2020, and resources for flood-related prevented plant acreage.

The free session is open to everyone and will be held live on Monday, Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m., at The recorded webinar will be archived there, along with past sessions.

Jim Jansen, an agricultural economist, and Allan Vyhnalek, a farm and ranch succession specialist, will lead the webinar. Both are Extension educators in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

They will provide an overview of the 2019 Cash Rental Rate Survey, conducted by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, and discuss prevented planting considerations for Farm Service Agency programs and crop insurance. The importance of landlord/tenant communication during the winter months and tips for leasing also will be discussed.

There will be time for participants to ask questions at the end of the session. Questions also may be submitted in advance at

The Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar series offers management advice and insight for Nebraska landowners, agricultural producers, and others with an interest in agricultural land.

The next Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar will be Monday, Feb. 17, 2020.


Keith Berns, chair, has scheduled a meeting of the Healthy Soils Task Force for Tuesday, November 19, 2019. The meeting will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, 301 Centennial Mall South, 4th Floor, Lincoln, NE 68509.

Task Force members will be discussing next steps in developing a healthy soils initiative and action plan for the state of Nebraska.

For an agenda and more details, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2341 or visit

Applications Available for the 2020 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Soybean Association are pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2020 Corn and Soy Ambassador Program. The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a yearlong program for college students who are interested in learning more about the industry and becoming better advocates for agriculture. Each year up to 10 students are selected to participate in the program.

Throughout the year, students will take part in three seminars and a summer tour. The first meeting covers state and federal policies affecting the corn and soybean industries. The second meeting will focus on the role of checkoff programs in promoting corn and soybeans. The final meeting gives the students a glimpse of advocacy and leadership opportunities after they graduate. Meetings will take place in the Lincoln, NE area. The summer agribusiness industry tour will include different areas of the industry including, manufacturing, production, and processing. These stops will hopefully give students more insight into potential jobs and internships in the industry.

During the program, students are also asked to spend time promoting the state’s corn and soybean grower associations and checkoffs at promotional events such as Husker Harvest Day and Soybean Management Field Days. Following the completion of the program students will be recognized at the annual meetings of the corn and soybean associations, and each will be presented a $500 scholarship to help them with school expenses. Funding for portions of the program is provided by the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board.

“The Corn and Soy Ambassador Program is a great way for college students to get an introduction to the agricultural industry. Past ambassadors have gone on to internships and jobs from connections made during this program. It is important to the association that we support programs like this,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, Executive Director of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA).

Applications for the Corn and Soy Ambassador Program can be found on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association website, Applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, November 22, 2019.

Statement on Local Television Programming Bill

Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“We greatly appreciate Sen. Deb Fischer and Congressman Adrian Smith for their work to introduce the “Western Expanded In-State Television Access Act” in the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives. This important legislation would ensure that satellite television subscribers in 16 of Nebraska’s western counties would have the ability to access in-state broadcast programming. No matter where you live in our state, you should have the ability to access broadcast coverage of local news, weather, and information on what’s happening at the State Capitol. This bill would address a long-standing issue for many Nebraskans.”

Fuel for Performance | Sports Nutrition Videos

The Iowa Beef Industry Council (IBIC) has teamed up with a certified sports dietitian to produce eight sports nutrition video tips. The purpose of the videos is to provide athletes and those individuals interested in improving training and physical activity performance with credible information from an expert in the field of sports nutrition.

Ellen Davis, RD, CSSD, LD, is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD) and a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee.  As a former athlete, Ellen discovered the value of treating food as fuel.  Her role at Hy-Vee is to help athletes and individuals develop realistic fueling plans to assist in achieving their personal wellness and athletic goals.

The short videos feature optimal nutrition and practical tips to fuel for recovery and performance, including the importance of beef’s role in providing a complete protein and nine essential nutrients. The video tips focus on food ideas, that showcase snacks and meals for optimal nutrition, including a recipe demonstration for beef breakfast egg muffins and beef jerky trail mix. Davis covers topics including the importance of protein for building and repairing muscles, when and what to eat before and after training and pre-workout fueling foods.

To view the sports nutrition video tips, click here...   

Free 'Recipes' Tell Farmers How to Start Growing Cover Crops

Farmers who want to start growing cover crops can turn to "recipes" on the Midwest Cover Crops Council website.

Free downloadable PDFs tell how and why to add cover crops into a corn-soybean rotation, says Charles Ellis, University of Missouri Extension field specialist in agricultural engineering. Ellis serves on the council's advisory board.

The site has recipes for Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota. Download the publications at

"Planting a cover crop ahead of a soybean cash crop is often the easiest way to introduce cover crops into your rotation," Ellis says.

One of the Missouri recipes, MU Extension publication MX81, looks at cereal rye, which proves to be a good choice before soybean because typical fall conditions in Missouri provide a suitable planting window for that cover crop, he says. But Ellis discourages cereal rye before corn for beginning cover crop growers because it requires changes in corn nitrogen management and other adjustments.

Instead, the council suggests a two-way mix of oats and radishes for spring termination or a two-way mix of oats and crimson clover for better erosion control and living roots in the spring before corn. MU Extension publication MX82(opens in new window) details how to do this.

The cover crop recipe guides tell how to plan for cover crops, choose corn and soybean hybrids, and purchase seed. They also explain crop sensitivity to selected hybrids and effects of residual herbicides. The simple three-page guides tell what field work must be done in fall and spring for best results and provide details such as seeding rates and nutrient applications.

In addition to step-by-step suggestions, the guides offer links to resources. Ellis and Rob Myers, MU adjunct associate professor of plant sciences, and other MU faculty and MCCC council members contributed to the guides.

Revolutionary IVF Process to be Showcased at Cattlemen’s College in San Antonio Feb. 5

A live look at innovative in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology will be on display when the 27th Cattlemen’s College is held in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 4-5, immediately prior to the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show. Cattlemen’s College is conducted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association producer education team and sponsored by Zoetis.

Called “Taking the Mystery Out of IVF,” the session will use ultrasound-assisted technology to collect eggs from a cow without the use of ovary stimulating hormones. The presentation will be conducted by Michael Bishop, Ph.D., director of strategy for Vytelle, and Bruno Sanches, DVM, Vytelle chief operating officer.

“With Cattlemen’s College we’re always in search of innovative, interactive ways of providing education that’s both captivating and helpful to cattle producers,” said Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education. “This session really fits that bill, as it takes a process that’s three decades old and modernizes it to give cattlemen and women a chance to see beef cattle reproduction in a new light.”

The session is just one of 18 that will be offered during the College, in six flights. The topics cover Building and Protecting Your Business, Let’s Talk Bulls, Maintaining a Healthy Herd, Trends in Genetic Selection, Here’s the Beef, and Practical Nutrition Management. Sessions are taught by experts in their respective cattle and beef fields.

Cattlemen’s College kicks off the “Deep in the Heart” Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show Feb. 5-7, featuring many of the annual elements cattle producers have come to love and some new and unique ones they have come to expect – including other educational opportunities on the NCBA Trade Show floor. There will be a Learning Lounge with “lightning sessions” where attendees can gather educational tips, a Stockmanship and Stewardship demonstration arena and surprising new events, such as a Drone Drive, Chutes & Scales Showdown and Table Talks, where producers can interact with others in roundtable discussions.

In addition, meetings of NCBA, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen, CattleFax and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation will be held, and there will be motivational speakers, music and entertainment, fellowship, CattleFax Outlook presentation, industry awards, an NCBA Invitational PBR Bull Riding event and much more.

Registration for both the Cattlemen’s College and 2020 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show is now open, and prices will go up in December, so make your preparations soon. Information about registration and the programs can be found at

NGFA urges STB to improve proposed rule designed to correct egregious rail carrier charges 

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) on Nov. 6 submitted a detailed 22-page statement to the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) urging that it make significant changes to its Oct. 7 proposed policy statement that is designed to encourage Class I rail carriers to amend their demurrage and accessorial practices and charges to make them commercial fair, as well as reciprocal if they are the cause of delays that trigger such charges.

While commending the agency for developing the draft policy statement and conducting an exhaustive May 22-23 public hearing that demonstrated rail carriers’ egregious demurrage and accessorial practices, the NGFA said its “strong preference” was that the STB utilize its statutory authority and precedent to determine proactively that specific railroad practices are unlawful and direct that they amend their tariffs accordingly. The NGFA’s preferred approach would allow rail customers to submit “show-cause” filings or petitions to the STB calling on the agency to declare that a given carrier had not complied and order that the railroad take corrective action. NGFA said “this would be a much more accessible, cost-effective and timely approach than the STB issuing general policy guidelines” to be fleshed out only through formal complaint proceedings.

“The NGFA is disappointed by the (STB’s) proposal not to establish bright-line rules to govern the commercial fairness, commercial achievability and reciprocity of rail carriers’ demurrage and accessorial tariffs,” the statement read. “As has been amply demonstrated, the Class I railroads have little interest or incentive to be forthcoming or altruistic in amending their demurrage and accessorial policies voluntarily to conform with even the best principles and guidance developed by the agency….[T]here is very little prospect that the current situation will improve in any demonstrable way unless significant improvements are made to the (STB’s) proposed approach.”

If the STB retains its current proposed approach of issuing policy guidelines, the NGFA urged that it make the following specific improvements:

•    Propose rules or otherwise adopt a streamlined and abbreviated procedural schedule for resolving demurrage and accessorial complaints brought by shippers and receivers so that a decision is rendered in no more than 45 days, with a separate 15-day timeline for deciding disputes involving incorrect invoicing and dispute-resolution tariff terms, conditions and practices.

•    Establish an advisory committee to provide input to the STB on implementing the agency’s general principles on demurrage and accessorial practices.  Such an advisory committee would help enable continued monitoring of changes made by railroads to their demurrage and accessorial rules, practices and charges that may warrant modification or updating of the STB’s general principles.

The NGFA also recommended that the STB make significant refinements of its proposed policy guidance to address railroad practices that are not commercially fair, reciprocal or achievable by agricultural facilities. These improvements are outlined here.

The NGFA’s statement was supported by four other national agricultural organizations: the Agricultural Retailers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, North American Millers’ Association and Pet Food Institute.

Growth Energy Participates in USDA Trade Mission to West Africa 

Last week, Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Global Markets Craig Willis participated in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to West Africa, led by USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky. Willis was joined on the trade mission by representatives from Growth Energy member companies Archer Daniels Midland, Green Plains Inc., and Marquis Energy.

From October 28-31, the trade delegation met in Ghana and Nigeria with commodity groups and buyer delegations from Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal, including Nigeria Cassava Growers Association National President Segun Andewumi. These meetings gave the group greater insight into the countries’ market dynamics and the potential for ethanol-blended fuel in the region.

Following the trade mission, Willis stressed the value of these opportunities to meet one-on-one and advocate for the economic and environmental benefits of ethanol for these nations.

“These trips are so important because they are the beginning of long relationships,” Willis said. “During these initial meetings, you get to hear first-hand where the bottlenecks are and the regulatory barriers they’re facing for ethanol to come to Nigeria and Ghana. We now have an opportunity to take back what we’ve learned from experts in these countries and work to figure out how to open these markets and bring ethanol to these two countries.”

According to a recent report by USDA, both Ghana and Nigeria have seen growth in their ethanol usage over the past five years, despite not yet employing it for fuel use. In 2018, the U.S. accounted for nearly 48 percent of Nigeria’s ethanol imports – 21 million gallons – and the agency expects that number to grow as Nigeria’s auto fleet expands. Ghana’s imports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel use have also increased dramatically since 2014, from $19,000 to over $5.5 million. As the country seeks to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, phase out toxic additives in its fuel, and reduce dependence on foreign oil, ethanol has the potential to help Ghana achieve its goals.

Thursday November 7 Ag News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Midwest Senators Submit Comments on EPA’s Supplemental Rule on RFS Deal

Today, U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), each submitted comments to the Federal Register regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In individual letters to EPA Administrator Wheeler, the senators expressed concerns about the way the agency plans to calculate the reallocation of biofuel gallons lost due to exemptions for oil refineries.

“Just this week, the CEO of a major oil refinery bragged that small refinery exemptions were ‘a real cash flow that [they] get every year.’ This is at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers. The EPA’s proposed rule fails to ensure that 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are actually blended into our nation’s fuel supply. In my letter, I called on Administrator Wheeler to fulfill the president’s commitment and provide certainty for rural America,” said Senator Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

“As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa’s economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa. President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn’t undercut President Trump’s support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace,” said Senator Grassley. 

“Plain and simple, if the market for biofuels does not trust EPA to implement the proposal President Trump negotiated, the market will not make investments in biofuels – a dangerous spiral for Iowa farmers and producers which will only lead to more plants closed and jobs lost in the heartland. It is time again for EPA to get this policy right, respect the President’s intent, and uphold the law as it was written. This means providing certainty that EPA will ensure that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended each year,” said Senator Joni Ernst, member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. 

“While I appreciate the administration’s commitment to restore integrity to the RFS and provide that at least 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels are blended into the fuel supply, the proposed supplemental rule unfortunately lacks safeguards that will assure its intent. As you know, resolution of this matter is of critical importance to agriculture stakeholders in South Dakota and across the country, and I urge EPA to reconsider the incorporation of language to make certain that all gallons waived by SREs will be accounted for in final RVOs.” said Senator Thune.

“We’re grateful to President Trump for his commitment to assuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol is blended into our fuel supply annually,” said Senator Rounds. “However, the EPA’s proposed rule fails to honor the agreement which the president directed them to formalize. Taking steps to fully restore the integrity of the RFS will honor the agreement as Congress intended.”  

“Missouri farm families have faced a number of challenges over the past year, from catastrophic flooding to market uncertainty and now the EPA’s failure to uphold its commitments to the biofuels industry,” said Senator Blunt. “Renewable energy policies like the RFS have helped diversify our nation’s fuel supply while creating and sustaining jobs, strengthening local economies, and lowering gas prices. I urge the administration to produce a final rule that addresses the concerns my colleagues and I have raised and supports America’s biofuels producers.”  

“The state of Indiana is the fifth largest ethanol producing state in the country,” said U.S. Senator Mike Braun.  “I urge the EPA to implement the agreement in a way that provides certainty to Hoosier farmers and refiners.” 

On November 4th, over 60 corn, soybean, and biofuel groups wrote a letter stating that the EPA’s supplemental rule would not accurately account for small refinery exemptions and would hurt farm economies and biofuel plants in rural America.

RFA Thanks Senators for Standing Up for Renewable Fuel Standard

The Renewable Fuels Association today thanked a group of Senators representing Midwest states for their comments to the Environmental Protection Agency supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Senators—Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.)—each submitted comments regarding the EPA’s supplemental rule on the RFS and individual letters to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, in which they expressed concerns about the way the agency would calculate the reallocation of renewable fuel gallons lost due to exemptions for oil refineries.

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper made the following statement:

“Farmers, ethanol producers and consumers across the country are grateful to these Senators who are standing up for the integrity of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The RFS has been a tremendous success, lowering consumer gasoline costs, providing a critical value-added market for farmers, and reducing carbon emissions from liquid transportation fuels. But then EPA began to systematically undermine the benefits of the program with unprecedented and unnecessary small refinery exemptions (SREs) that have eroded biofuel demand and sacrificed the energy, environmental, and consumer benefits of the program. It’s time for the EPA to simply follow the law. Fifteen billion gallons is supposed to mean at least 15 billion gallons. That’s what the President intended when he directed EPA to fix the SRE problem a month ago. The only path to restore credibility to this process is for the EPA to project SREs based on the actual exemptions granted in the past three years. Anything else is a broken promise that will kill more jobs and keep plants shuttered. We are proud to have these Senators on our side, and we thank them for their leadership.”

ACE commends Senators for calling on EPA to uphold RFS deal, urges others to make their voice heard

Today, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) thanks  Midwest Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), for submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supplemental rule to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). ACE CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement:

“ACE members, farmers and renewable fuel producers value the ongoing leadership of these Senators to help get the RFS back on track by following the rule of law. These key U.S. Senators and other elected leaders had a deal with President Trump that ensured at least 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending under the RFS beginning in 2020. The deal was based on the promise that EPA would account for the three-year rolling average of actual gallons waived through Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) from 2016 to 2018. A deal is a deal. We expect EPA to account for actual gallons waived through SREs from 2016 to 2018 to ensure at least 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending beginning in 2020. We’re grateful for these Senators working to see this deal through, and this serves as a reminder that all ethanol advocates should use this comment period as an opportunity to make their voice heard on how this rulemaking personally impacts you, your business, and your community.”

Non-Traditional Students in Rural Nebraska Receive Scholarships

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation awarded the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Max & Eric Brown to Caitlin Pittman of Gering, Wendy McKain of Trenton, and Samantha Rife of Stratton.

The scholarship awards non-traditional college students living in Nebraska’s rural communities. Recipients show a demonstrated commitment to the future of the agriculture industry and rural communities.

McKain lives near Trenton in Southwest Nebraska. In addition to the small farming and cattle business she runs with her husband, McKain works as a clerk for the village of Trenton. She is enrolled in Mid Plains Community College in McCook and taking courses to become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) volunteer. McKain’s goal is to provide EMT services to her small rural community which is experiencing a lack of responders.

Pittman is a Certified Nursing Assistant at Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff. She was recently accepted into the University of Nebraska Medical Center Nursing Program and began her program in August. Pittman plans to continue her education, bridging a registered nurse to paramedic program to better serve her rural Nebraska Community. Pittman and her family currently reside in Gering.

Rife is a deputy clerk in the village of Trenton. Rife and her husband own a small cattle operation and grow alfalfa in Stratton. She will take classes at Mid Plains Community College to become an EMT. EMTs in her area are aging and becoming fewer and fewer, so it in imperative that volunteers fill this gap.

“Access to emergency care is a real need in rural Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “These three recipients will contribute to a higher quality of life in their communities, and their efforts align perfectly with the generous vision of the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation Scholarship in Honor of Max & Eric Brown.”

A Celebration Of 'People, Progress, Pride' brings Iowa farmers to Des Moines for 2019 Iowa Farm Bureau Annual Meeting

A harsh and lingering winter, springtime floods, market swings and trade roadblocks all hit Iowa farmers in 2019, making this year more challenging than any other in recent memory. Yet Iowans know it is the nature of Iowa farmers to weather the slings and arrows of hard times and persevere. Getting through hard times takes ‘People, Progress and Pride,’ which is the theme for the 2019 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Annual Meeting, Dec. 3-4. This will be the 101st gathering of members for the state’s oldest and largest general farm organization.

IFBF’s Annual Meeting officially kicks off Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines with educational seminars on crucial topics, such as Farm Family Stress Management and Communication, how to ensure crop fertility while improving the environment and what’s impacting the farm community now and in the future. Awards for outstanding leadership at the county Farm Bureau level will be showcased during a special luncheon.

Young Iowa farmers will put their communication skills to task as they compete Tuesday afternoon for the title of 2019 Discussion Meet champion, the winner of which will advance to the national Discussion Meet competition held in Austin, Texas during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) convention in January 2020.  On Dec. 3, three young farmers will also be recognized for their exemplary leadership both within agriculture and their local communities. An energetic night of entertainment by The Jerseys wraps up the evening.                      

On Wednesday, IFBF members will honor the year’s hard work and accomplishments as President Craig Hill takes the stage around 9 a.m., followed by nationally-recognized author, Chris Norton, with the keynote address. “We are looking forward to this young man’s inspirational message. He’s got quite a story; as former Luther College football star, we all remember when he received a devastating spinal cord injury during a game. He was told by doctors he’d never walk again. Yet, with the support of his fiancé, family and friends, he not only walked across the stage to get his college degree, he walked his new bride down the aisle. Today, Norton and his wife, Emily, are parents to five adopted children and he travels the globe, speaking about the importance of perseverance and the importance of a life dedicated to helping others. His book, speeches and life continue to inspire all who meet him. We are lucky to have him join us this year,” says Hill.

Educational seminars on day two include opportunities in livestock and non-traditional crops, led by Iowa Farm Bureau members who raise fruits and vegetables to sell direct to consumers as well as a hemp grower from Oregon. There will also be an update from Iowa State University researchers, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Agriculture on the progress being made with Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy and what future steps are needed as farmers continue to take on the challenge of improving water quality.

For more information, a detailed agenda or to register to attend the 2019 IFBF Annual Meeting, check out   

NPPC Launches 'Pork O' Clock' Campaign to Highlight Importance of USMCA Agreement

Today, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) launched a dynamic new campaign, "It's Pork O' Clock Somewhere," to highlight the importance and benefits of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. The campaign focuses on pork and the many ways it's enjoyed across North America.

"Ratification of USMCA is the top priority for U.S. pork producers and there is no better way to highlight its importance than a campaign that illustrates how pork is enjoyed across United States, Canada and Mexico," said David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer in Lillington, N.C. "A USMCA agreement provides much-needed market certainty for U.S. pork producers, ensuring zero-duty market access to two of our largest export markets."

Last year, more than 40 percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. The campaign thanks lawmakers for making USMCA ratification this year a priority and highlights the history behind pork-related dishes in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

For example, tacos al pastor from Mexico have origins in the Lebanese method of cooking meat on a spit, referred to as shawarma. The tacos are a staple in Mexico City, where taco shops and stands line the streets. Last year, the United States sent more than 770,000 tons—worth $1.3 billion—of pork to Mexico.

To learn more about NPPC's campaign, visit


The Ag-Auto-Ethanol Work Group Annual Forum, held in Detroit, Michigan, took a deep dive into environmental issues, future engine technologies and the potential cost-benefit of high-octane low-carbon fuels at the pump. Representatives from state and national corn growers’ associations, government entities, automakers, the ethanol industry, and researchers were all in attendance.

“NCGA and state corn grower associations continue to educate members of Congress and their staffs on the fuel-efficiency benefits of high-octane fuel, along with the benefits of higher blends of ethanol,” NCGA Renewable Fuels Public Policy Director Kathy Bergren told attendees. “Higher blends of ethanol lower carbon emissions, reduce aromatic emissions and improve air quality and support rural economies.”

“This forum is an opportunity to bring together a cross-section of groups which span the entire value chain to talk about the future and provide updates on current research and initiatives,” said NCGA Renewable Fuels Director Mark Palmer. “The collaboration and partnership with these groups continue to be important for the transition to high-octane low-carbon liquid transportation fuels.”

Bergren, Palmer and Julie Busse, NCGA senior communications manager, all attended the meeting and presented updates on current NCGA projects around high-octane low-carbon fuels and infrastructure.

Nebraska farmer and NCGA Chairman Lynn Chrisp also attended the meeting, along with representatives from state corn grower organizations including: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.

EPA Seeks Nominations for the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee

Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler is announcing a solicitation for 20-30 nominees to serve on the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee (FRRCC). Established in 2008, the FRRCC provides independent policy advice, information, and recommendations to EPA’s Administrator on a range of environmental issues and policies that are of importance to agriculture and rural communities.

“One of our key priorities at EPA is to strengthen and solidify our relationship with agricultural stakeholders and rural communities by ensuring the agency is well informed on how its decisions impact rural America,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Recruiting full membership of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Committee is the perfect opportunity to engage with those in our agriculture community, and I look forward to receiving the committee’s valuable input on important matters before the EPA in the very near future.”

To build a broad and balanced representation of perspectives for the FRRCC, members will be selected from a variety of relevant sectors. Members may represent allied industries and stakeholders including farm groups, rural suppliers, marketers, processors, academia/researchers; state, local, and tribal government; and nongovernmental organizations. In selecting committee members, EPA will consider qualifications such as: whether candidates are actively engaged in farming, hold leadership positions in ag-related organizations, possess a demonstrated ability to examine and analyze complicated environmental issues with objectivity and integrity, have experience working on issues where building consensus is necessary, and are able to volunteer several hours per month to the committee’s activities.

The previous Charter for the FRRCC was scheduled to expire and therefore was renewed in 2018; however, the committee currently has no members. EPA is specifically seeking 20-30 members for 2-3 year terms, and the Committee expects to meet approximately twice a year.

Applications must include a résumé or curriculum vitae and a statement of interest, and must be received by EPA by December 31, 2019. Letters of support and recommendation will be accepted but are not mandatory.

Full details about qualifications and how to apply will be published in the Federal Register Notice, which will be posted once available on the committee’s website at:

Animal Agriculture Alliance announces new board representatives and leadership

Today, the Animal Agriculture Alliance announced a new chair-elect and six new board representatives. The Alliance’s full board of directors, which includes representatives from all segments of animal agriculture, is listed on its website at:

The Alliance welcomed Sarah Novak, vice president of membership and public relations at American Feed Industry Association, as its new board chairperson in May. AFIA was a founding member of the Alliance and has held a seat on the board since 1987. Novak has represented AFIA on the board since 2008 and since stepping into her new role has exceeded expectations in helping the Alliance team reach its strategic plan goals. “Sarah is always ready with new contacts or opportunities to ensure we have everything we need to connect, engage and protect animal agriculture,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, Alliance vice president of communications.

At its fall meeting earlier this week, the Alliance board accepted the nomination of Christina Lood, senior director of external communications at Zoetis, to be chair-elect. Lood will take the reins from Novak in May 2021. “Christina is one of our most engaged board members, so we believe she is the perfect fit for our next chairperson,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO.

The board also welcomed a new member at the fall meeting, with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joining the board, represented by Mike Lefever, a Colorado corn grower. NCGA has been an Alliance member since 2015. Also, several companies and associations have new board representatives:
    Alltech, represented by Rachel Weber, beef marketing coordinator
    American National CattleWomen, Inc., represented by Reba Mazak, vice president
    Charleston|Orwig, represented by Lyle Orwig, chairman
    Merck Animal Health, represented by Jessica Meisinger, consumer affairs accounts manager
    United Soybean Board, represented by Larry Marek, director

Wednesday November 6 Ag News

2019 NeFB Silver Eagle Award Honors Dr. Terry Klopfenstein, Pioneer in Beef Nutrition

Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected Dr. Terry Klopfenstein, Emeritus Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), as the 2019 recipient of, its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. The award will be presented to Klopfenstein on Dec. 10 at the 2019 Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Kearney.

“Terry Klopfenstein, Ph.D., was a pioneer in using corn byproducts from the ethanol and sweetener industries to supplement cattle feeding,” said Steve Nelson president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. “Dr. Klopfenstein’s research laid the groundwork for distillers’ grains to become a key feedstock that has greatly lowered the cost of production for Nebraska's beef producers and is now labeled as a co-product of the ethanol industry.”

Dr. Klopfenstein was raised on his family’s farm in Ohio and worked around animals and cattle throughout his childhood. He began his tenure at the University of Nebraska in 1965 after completing his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Ohio State University. Dr. Klopfenstein held the University of Nebraska Wagner Professorship from 1989 to 2007. He mentored hundreds of graduate students in his 47-year career at the UNL, many of whom are recognized as excellent nutritionists. He takes pride in his work with students.

“Klopfenstein’s mother was a teacher who began her career when she was 18 years old. Growing up, his father taught him the importance of higher education because he never had the chance to further his education during the Great Depression. Terry instilled the same motivation for knowledge in his students, making them a priority in his career. Because of the need for well-trained feedlot managers, the Feedlot Management Internship was initiated in 1988 and 174 students have completed the program. His love of teaching has extended well beyond the classroom. Widely known for his research, Klopfenstein has authored 247 referred articles, 484 abstracts, and 507 technical publications,” Nelson said.

Klopfenstein has received multiple honors including the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS), American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award, USDA Superior Service Award, and the Morrison Award from the American Society of Animal Science, American Society of Animal Science Distinguished Teacher Award. He also was inducted into the Ohio State Animal Science and College of Ag Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Hall of Ag Achievement. Klopfenstein has been active with many industry organizations, including serving as president for the Federation of Animal Science Societies and the American Society of Animal Science

“Terry has been passionate, dedicated, determined, and devoted to improving beef nutrition in the agriculture industry. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service to Nebraska agriculture; his years of accomplishments makes him more than qualified to receive Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. We thank him for his service to agriculture students and the farmers and ranchers of Nebraska,” Nelson said.

Terry and his wife Nancy live in Lincoln and have eight children, 25 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren. He has been a Lancaster County Farm Bureau member for 31 years and for many years continues to assist Nancy with writing letters to elementary school students about what life is like on the farm and ranch as a part of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation Ag Pen Pal Program.

Norfolk firm commits to Northeast’s Nexus project

A Norfolk area firm with a strong commitment to service in the community has pledged $50,000 to the Nexus agriculture campaign at Northeast Community College.

Jared Faltys of McMill CPAs & Advisors said the firm is pleased to strengthen the community through giving back.

“Donating to the Nexus project is just one way that we do this. Giving back to clients and communities is firmly rooted in company culture,” Faltys said. “Every one of our employees receives encouragement and support to participate in professional, charitable, and nonprofit associations. Our professionals donate their time and expertise, too, often as advisory or board members.”

McMill team members volunteer with more than 15 local organizations, and host a summer camp each year to help young students learn about business and finances.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation, thanked McMill CPAs & Advisors for the generous gift.

“This firm has a history of supporting the community,” Kruse said. “We are so pleased that they are including the Nexus project at Northeast in their philanthropy.”

The Nexus project is a capital campaign to raise money to update aging agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

“Agriculture is one of the industries that McMill CPAs & Advisors specializes in,” Faltys said, “and creating a new generation of students who are passionate in agriculture encourages growth in the industry and in northeast Nebraska. We know Northeast Community College produces quality graduates for our area as many of our team members are alums. We are excited to be a small part of creating the next generation of early adopters and leaders in agriculture.”

Kruse said, “Agriculture is the bedrock of Nebraska’s economy. One out of every two jobs in this region is tied to agriculture. For businesses in this area to be successful, having a strong agricultural economy is vital.”

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

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

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

NA-BA 2019 Ag Update 

You're invited to this year's annual Ag Update sponsored by the Nebraska Agri-Business Association. There are a total of 13 speakers with five on the first day and eight on the second day.

Ag Update is at the Holiday Inn Southwest in Lincoln and will start with registration at 12:30 pm on Thursday, December 5, 2019, continuing all day Friday, December 6, 2019 with registration beginning at 8:00 am.

The speakers and topics for Thursday are:
    Conor Ward - 2018 Farm Bill and Program Update (PD .25)
    Jeremiah Schultz - EQIP Source Water Protection Initiative (PD .25)
    Nathan Mueller - Winter Wheat Works Initiative (CM 1)
    Katja Koehler-Cole - Cover Crops and Soil Health (CM 1)
    Keith Berns - Carbonomics (CM 1)

The speakers and topics for Friday are:
    Thomas Hunt - Our Newest Nebraska Insect Pest: The Soybean Gall Midge (PM 1)
    Tim Pearson - Drone Technology and Imagery (CM 1)
    Robert Wright - Crop Insect Pest Update (PM 1)
    Mike Zwingman - Metrics of Nutrient Use Efficiency (NM 1)
    Al Dutcher - Climate Update (SW 1)
    Tamra Jackson Ziems - Headlines in Corn and Soybean Diseases (PM 1)
    Rich Russel - Management of Soil Health for the Future (NM 1)
    James MacDonald - Nebraska Integrated Beef Systems Initiative (SW 1)

Your registration includes rolls & coffee and lunch on Friday.  Please contact Sarah Skirry at or (402) 476-1528, if you have any questions, or check out their web site at  They hope to see you in Lincoln at this year's Ag Update!

National Pork Board Study Defines China’s Growing Need For Protein

A new report from the National Pork Board digs into the growing short- and long-term protein needs facing China and how U.S. pork can position itself to meet that demand. The new report, Pork 2040: China Market Assessment, also reveals the impact that African swine fever (ASF) is having on both China’s short- and long-term protein needs and how the Chinese pork industry and supply chain will change as a result.

The research study was conducted by Gira, a global research firm, using Pork Checkoff dollars and funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Services Emerging Markets Program (EMP). It outlines critical insights that exporters of U.S. pork can use now to position themselves for long-term success in the Chinese market.

“Pork is a critical part of the Chinese diet with per capita consumption nearing 88 pounds* per person per year,” said Norman Bessac, vice president of international marketing for the Checkoff. “This report will help exporters position U.S. pork as the supplier of choice, thereby building value for all U.S. pork producers.”

According to the report, pork consumption in China peaked in 2014 and will continue to see a slow decline as the Chinese population grows to its highest level in 2030. As the availability of other proteins – specifically fish, chicken and beef – increases along with increased disposable income, consumers will look to diversify center-of-the-plate protein options.

According to the research, U.S. pork is poised to help fill the urgent short-term protein needs that ASF is creating in China due to the decrease in China’s domestic pig population. However, by 2025 Chinese pork production will have rebounded, and farms will have had time to rebuild and become more modern. The report outlines key steps that pork exporters can take now to increase exports to China in the short-term and defines a strategy to meet long-term demands. A few highlights from the report include:
    Short-term – With the current ASF outbreak, the U.S. export industry will need to work hard to capitalize on the potential market share it can garner. The demand in the short term will be for pork cuts, variety meats and carcasses. Exporters also should use the benefit of time to build loyalty with both Chinese processors and consumers.
    Long-term – As 2025 approaches and Chinese domestic production rebounds, Chinese pork will replace most of the import growth seen during the ASF outbreak. However, U.S. exporters can use these next five years to build customer relationships, value around their products and to differentiate themselves as a preferred supplier in the long-term.

“The Pork Checkoff is committed to adding value for pork producers,” said David Newman, a pig farmer representing Arkansas and president of the National Pork Board. “One of the ways to build value is to expand U.S. pork exports in developed and emerging markets. This market research and future studies will help key decision-makers to define and develop these markets.”

The Pork Board has also created a free marketing toolkit, which includes ideas that U.S. pork exporters can use to build their business in China. The full report is available at The Pork Checkoff collaborated with the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the National Pork Producers Council on the Pork 2040 study.

September Beef Export Volume Steady with 2018; Pork Exports Higher Year-over-Year

September exports of U.S. beef were steady with last year in volume but export value trended lower, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports were above year-ago levels in September but pulled back from the large totals posted in June, July and August.

September beef exports totaled 109,799 metric tons (mt), essentially even with last year, valued at $661.3 million (down 4%). Through the first three quarters of the year, beef exports were 2% below last year's record pace in both volume (991,325 mt) and value ($6.1 billion).

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $318.54 in September, up significantly from the previous month but still 5% below last year. The January-September average was down 3% to $310.77. September exports accounted for 14.6% of total U.S. beef production and 11.9% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.8% and 12.4%, respectively, last year. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports accounted for 14.3% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.

September pork exports increased 13% from a year ago in both volume (202,248 mt) and value ($532.2 million). These results pushed January-September export volume 5% ahead of last year's pace at 1.9 million mt, while value increased 2% to $4.89 billion.

Pork export value averaged $49.98 per head slaughtered in September, up 3% from a year ago. For January through September, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.50. September exports accounted for 25.1% of total U.S. pork production, slightly higher than a year ago, and 21.7% for muscle cuts only (down slightly). January-September exports accounted for 26.3% of total pork production and 22.8% for muscle cuts, both up slightly from a year ago.

"While red meat exports face obstacles in some key markets, global demand dynamics are strong and we see opportunities for significant growth in the fourth quarter and into 2020," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Progress is being made on market access improvements and this makes for a very positive outlook going forward."

Beef export trend to Japan highlights need for tariff relief

Beef exports to leading market Japan continue to reflect the tariff rate gap between U.S. beef and its competitors. September exports were 14% below last year in both volume (24,041 mt) and value ($148.3 million). For the first three quarters of the year, exports to Japan were 4% below last year's pace in volume (241,739 mt) and 5% lower in value ($1.51 billion). The decline was steeper for beef muscle cuts, which were down 10% in volume to 192,676 mt, valued at $1.22 billion (down 9%). Beef variety meat exports to Japan (mainly tongues and skirts) have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 26% in volume (49,063 mt) and 15% in value ($290.8 million). While these items also face higher tariffs compared to competitors' products, the rate is 12.8% versus 38.5% for U.S. muscle cuts.

"Japan is still delivering excellent value for U.S. beef producers, but tariff relief cannot come soon enough," Halstrom explained, referring to the recently signed U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which is being discussed and considered for approval by the Japanese Parliament. "With a level playing field, the U.S. beef industry will move a wider range of products to our loyal customers in Japan and will definitely capitalize on emerging growth opportunities."

Beef exports to South Korea continue to build on last year's record performance, as September exports climbed 11% from a year ago in volume (21,267 mt) and 6% in value ($151.6 million). For January through September, exports reached 195,557 mt (up 8%) valued at $1.36 billion (up 10%). Korea surpassed Japan as the top value market for U.S. beef muscle cuts, reaching $1.36 billion through September (up 10% year-over-year). Muscle cut volume to Korea increased 9% to 185,288 mt. Korean customs data (January through October) indicate U.S. beef accounts for 56% of Korea's beef imports this year, up from 53% last year.

Fueled by strong demand for variety meat, September beef exports to Mexico were slightly above last year in volume (19,464 mt) and 2% higher in value ($91.2 million). Through the first three quarters of the year, exports to Mexico reached 175,992 mt, down 1% from a year ago, while value increased 5% to $820.7 million. Mexico is the leading destination for beef variety meat, and September was an especially strong month, as variety meat exports climbed 26% from a year ago in volume (9,018 mt) and 51% in value ($26.4 million). While January-September variety meat exports were steady year-over-year in volume (71,522 mt), value jumped 16% to $192.5 million.

January-September highlights for U.S. beef include:

-    Beef exports to Taiwan remain well ahead of last year's record pace, climbing 10% in volume (47,868 mt) and 6% in value ($427.3 million). In just nine months, exports to Taiwan have already surpassed all full-year totals posted before 2018.
-    Led by impressive growth in Indonesia, beef exports to the ASEAN region were 31% ahead of last year's pace in volume (44,481 mt) and 15% higher in value ($214.5 million). Exports to Indonesia soared 74% in volume (16,984 mt) and were 42% higher in value ($60.5 million). Demand for beef variety meat increased at an even more rapid pace in Indonesia, jumping 83% in volume (9,207 mt) and 78% in value ($18.4 million).
-    Strong September results in Central America pushed beef exports 8% above last year's pace in volume (11,351 mt) and 13% higher in value ($64.6 million), led by strong growth in Guatemala and Panama.
-    Although volume slowed in September, beef exports to the Dominican Republic remained on a record pace, increasing 39% from a year ago in volume (6,594 mt) and 32% in value ($53.2 million).

Rebuilding effort continues for U.S. pork in Mexico; exports to China/Hong Kong moderate

Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but not yet to the record-large, pre-tariff levels posted in 2017 and early 2018. September exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year in volume (56,467 mt), but value increased 7% to $97.6 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports were down 10% in volume (529,776 mt) and 9% in value ($919.4 million).

"Although the U.S. industry has made rebuilding pork demand in Mexico a top priority, there is definitely a lingering effect from the retaliatory duties, which were in place for nearly a full year," Halstrom said. "While it is a great relief to once again move pork to Mexico duty-free, ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would certainly help the psychology of the market and bolster our major customers' confidence in the U.S. supply chain."

Although dramatically higher than a year ago, September pork exports to China/Hong Kong pulled back from the large totals posted over the previous two months as China's domestic pork supplies felt increasing pressure from African swine fever (ASF). September volume was 51,192 mt, up 158% from a year ago, while value increased 123% to $115.6 million. For January through September, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 47% in volume (407,514 mt) and 25% in value ($833.5 million).

"Obviously we are anxious to learn the details of the phase 1 agreement between the U.S. and China and hopeful that it removes obstacles for U.S. pork," Halstrom said. "Exports to China/Hong Kong are improving, but certainly not to the level that could be achieved if U.S. pork returned to normal tariff levels and if the U.S.-China agreement addresses non-tariff barriers as well."

The U.S. pork industry stands to benefit significantly from the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, which will bring tariffs on U.S. pork in line with those imposed on major competitors such as Canada and the European Union. Japan remains the leading value destination for U.S. pork, but September volume was down 8% to 27,812 mt and value fell 5% to $116.2 million. Through September, exports to Japan trailed last year's pace by 6% in both volume (278,352 mt) and value ($1.14 billion).

January-September highlights for U.S. pork include:

-    While September exports slowed to mainstay market Colombia and to the region as a whole, pork exports to South America were still 24% above last year's record pace in volume (114,535 mt) and 26% higher in value ($287.9 million). Chile has been South America's growth pacesetter in 2019, with exports climbing 60% in volume (33,992 mt) and 53% in value ($97.6 million). The U.S. is now Chile's largest pork supplier and opportunities continue to expand as more Chilean pork is exported to China.
-    A strong September performance pushed pork exports to Central America 16% above last year's record pace in volume (67,982 mt) and 19% higher in value ($165.1 million). Exports trended higher to Honduras, the largest Central American destination for U.S. pork, and Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have achieved excellent growth in 2019.
-    Exports to Oceania continue to reach new heights, climbing 37% from a year ago in volume (85,557 mt) and 33% in value ($243 million), with impressive growth in both Australia and New Zealand.
-    While ASF has impacted pork production in Southeast Asia, especially in Vietnam but more recently spreading into the Philippines, lower domestic prices have affected the ASEAN region's demand for imports. U.S. shipments to the ASEAN dropped sharply in September and through the third quarter trailed last year's pace by 15% in volume (41,905 mt) and 23% in value ($95 million). However, pork and hog prices have started to trend higher in Vietnam, and the European Union's pork exports to Vietnam were record-large in August, suggesting potential for larger U.S. exports in coming months.

September lamb exports trend higher

Exports of U.S. lamb increased 22% year-over-year in September to 1,435 mt, while value improved 9% to $1.77 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, exports were 31% above last year's pace at 12,061 mt, while value increased 13% to $19.3 million. Lamb muscle cut exports were 9% lower than a year ago in volume (1,652 mt) but increased 2% in value ($10.2 million). Markets showing promising muscle cut growth included the Dominican Republic, Panama and Guatemala.

CHS Reports Fiscal Year 2019 Net Income of $829.9 Million

CHS Inc., the nation’s leading agribusiness cooperative, today reported net income of $829.9 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2019. The results reflect an increase of $54.0 million -- or 7 percent -- compared to fiscal year 2018.

Key financial drivers for fiscal year 2019 include:
•        Consolidated revenues of $31.9 billion for fiscal year 2019 compared to $32.7 billion for fiscal year 2018.
•        Net income of $829.9 million for fiscal year 2019 compared to $775.9 million for fiscal year 2018.
•        Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business, primarily driven by favorable purchasing of Canadian crude oil.
•        Increased equity earnings from investments, including a $53.5 million increase related to CF Nitrogen. In addition, the CF Nitrogen investment distributed $186.5 million of cash to CHS Inc. in fiscal year 2019.
•        Acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution, LLC, that was not previously owned by CHS.
•        Pressure on the volumes and margins of grain and agronomy products, including increased costs of operations due to ongoing weather- and trade-related issues.
•        A combination of recoveries on previously recorded reserves, impairment charges and gain contingencies, which more than offset additional reserves and impairment charges taken during the year.

“We are pleased with our results on behalf of our owners in fiscal year 2019. We focused on our priorities, built on our strategies, continued to improve our control environment and leveraged the strength of our supply chain to deliver value to the farmers and co-ops that own us,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. “Improving customer experience and innovations led to better results including increased diesel production at our refinery in McPherson, Kansas. Our acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution that we previously didn’t own expanded our distribution channels and grew market access in agronomy.

“When flooding made major riverways impassable, we leveraged our supply chain to reposition fertilizer to ensure our cooperatives and customers had the crop nutrients they needed for spring planting,” he said. “We identified new markets for our owners’ grain to help them navigate the difficult trade situation. And we began construction on a fertilizer storage facility in North Dakota and a grain shuttle loader in Minnesota. In each of these, the driving force was to be our customers’ first choice.

“We know the headwinds agriculture faced in fiscal year 2019 have carried over to fiscal year 2020, and CHS feels those same challenges. No one, however, feels them more and understands the impact more than the farmers and cooperatives that own us,” Debertin continued. “We remain focused on delivering value to our owners and creating connections to empower agriculture. And we’re committed to continuing to raise our owners' voices to policymakers and elected officials and identifying opportunities to continue to build our business, leveraging our supply chain and helping our owners navigate fluctuating markets.”

Fiscal Year 2019 Business Segment Results
Pretax earnings of $618.2 million represent a $166.1 million increase versus the prior year and reflect:
•        Improved market conditions in our refined fuels business driven primarily by favorable pricing on heavy Canadian crude oil, which is processed by our refineries in Laurel, Montana, and McPherson, Kansas.
•        Positive resolution of a gain contingency.
•        The increase was partially offset by gains associated with the sale of the Council Bluffs pipeline and terminal and 34 Zip Trip stores located in the Pacific Northwest during fiscal year 2018 that did not recur during fiscal year 2019.

Pretax earnings of $43.0 million represent a $31.3 million decrease versus prior year and reflect:
•        Poor weather conditions - including flooding during the spring of 2019 that prevented and delayed planting of crops - and ongoing global trade issues between the United States and foreign trading partners resulted in generally decreased margins and volumes across most of our Ag segment.
•        The decrease was partially offset by gains associated with fiscal year 2019 acquisition of the remaining 75 percent interest in West Central Distribution that CHS previously did not own.
•        The net positive impact of recoveries on previously recorded reserves and impairment charges more than offset additional impairment charges taken during fiscal year 2019.

Nitrogen Production
Pretax earnings of $72.9 million represent a $34.1 million increase versus prior year and reflect:
•        Improved market pricing of urea and UAN, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen, of which CHS has partial ownership.

Corporate and Other
Pretax earnings of $81.5 million represent a $24.5 million decrease versus prior year and reflect:
•        A gain from the sale of CHS Insurance during fiscal year 2018 that did not recur in fiscal year 2019.
•        The decrease was partially offset by higher earnings from our investment in Ventura Foods, LLC, and from our financing business.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/1/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Nov. 1, ethanol production expanded for the sixth consecutive week, up 10,000 b/d or 1.0% to 1.014 million barrels per day (b/d)—equivalent to 42.59 million gallons daily. Conversely, production was 5.1% below the same week a year ago and 4.1% below the level two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.2% to 996,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.27 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks popped up 3.7% to 21.9 million barrels following two weeks of declining volumes. However, inventories were 5.5% lower than the same week last year. Stocks built across all regions (PADDs).

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded after 53,000 b/d hit the books the prior week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of September 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market dropped 6.5% to 9.145 million b/d (384.1 million gallons per day, or 140.19 bg annualized). Refiner/ blender net inputs of ethanol narrowed, down 2.0% to 917,000 b/d—equivalent to 14.06 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.09%.

NBB Applauds House Democrat Letter Pleading for Action on Tax Extenders

Today, Reps. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Kendra Horn (D-OK), and 38 other Democratic members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), urging them to make extension of expired tax incentives an urgent legislative priority before the end of the year. On behalf of its member companies, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) thanked the Democratic Representatives, especially the freshman members, and emphasized that renewing the biodiesel tax credits before the end of the year is crucial to reviving production, reopening production facilities, and saving jobs.

"Extending the biodiesel, alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, and second-generation biofuel producer tax credits are especially important to the regions we represent," the Representatives write. "Participants up and down the supply chain are experiencing hardship as a result of this lengthy lapse in the credits."

NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik added, "The biodiesel industry thanks Representatives Finkenauer and Horn for leading the effort and drawing attention to the economic situation facing advanced biofuel producers. We thank the many other Democrats who represent biodiesel producing states for insisting that their leaders make this a legislative priority before the end of the year.

"Nine biodiesel producers – in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan and Texas – have been forced to close, cut production, and lay off workers. That's because blenders count on Congress to renew the tax credit and demand a discount on the price of biodiesel. As a result, producers have taken a loss for nearly two years now. The entire industry needs Congress to act before the end of the year and renew expired tax extenders."

In addition to Reps. Finkenauer and Horn, NBB thanked Reps. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Sean Casten (D-IL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), T.J. Cox (D-CT), Angie Craig (D-MN), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Bill Foster (D-IL), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Jim Himes (D-CT), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ben McAdams (D-UT), Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Max Rose (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS-), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

Seven Fertilizers Report Price Drops

Prices dropped for seven of eight fertilizers tracked by DTN in the first week of November, as prices continued their downward trend of the past few months.

DAP continued to lead the way in price declines since last month, this time dropping $12 per ton to $464. DAP is now 8% less expensive than one year ago. Anhydrous showed an $8 per ton drop in price to $503, down only fractionally from one year ago.

Four fertilizers tracked by DTN showed $2 drops in price including MAP at $472. MAP has seen the largest price drop during the past year, down 11% from one year ago.

Urea fell from $404 to $402 per ton and is down 1% from a year ago. UAN28 dropped $2 to $251 and is 3% less expensive than one year ago. 10-34-0 recorded a $2 drop to $468, and is 2% less expensive than one year ago. Potash reported the smallest price drop of $1 to $383. Potash is down %5 from one year ago.

The price of UAN32 reported the only increase in this update from $289 to $291 per ton. However, UAN32 is 2% less expensive than a year ago.

Researchers address challenges in livestock pain mitigation

A pig or a cow can’t tell someone when its injured or in pain, but researchers are identifying ways to measure not only when an animal is in pain, but also what measures can be taken to help alleviate that pain. Abbie Viscardi, a research assistant professor in the anatomy and physiology department at Kansas State University, focuses primarily on validating non-invasive tools for pain assessment and pain alleviation of food animals on-farm to improve animal welfare. She shared her work at the 2019 U.S. Animal Health Association annual meeting, held last week in Providence, R.I.

Pain is defined as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” Viscardi’s emphasis is on the sensory experience of pain, which results in changes to an animal’s behavior and physiology. The emotional experience of pain is difficult to measure with present technology.

Sources of pain for animals can include castration, tail docking, dehorning/disbudding or branding. Pain can also be associated with production or natural interaction between animals, including lameness, abrasion, the process of giving birth, or infectious diseases.

Challenges in pain management

A number of factors create challenges in terms of pain management for farm animals:
  - Pain is difficult to recognize and some animals have instinctive mechanisms that inhibit their ability to exhibit pain
  - Time delay between drug administration and onset of activity would slow down processing procedures or lead to inadequate analgesia at the time of a painful procedure
  - Drug administration (routes and frequency) can be difficult on-farm
  - Cost of drugs can be prohibitive
  - Meat and milk withholding periods are often necessary
  - Only one analgesic is approved for use by FDA in the U.S. to alleviate pain

The last factor is particularly important because at the present time, just one analgesic is approved for pain, and it is labeled to address pain associated with foot rot in cattle. The Food and Drug Administration states, “We [FDA] recommend that this indication be based on the control of clinical signs of pain associated with a disease. We encourage the use of validated methods of pain assessment in the target species.” In other words, the FDA wants researchers to determine effective ways to assess pain before it will recommend products to deal with it.

“Obviously, animals can’t self-report so we look at assessment tools,” Viscardi said. These include behavior, facial grimace analysis, plasma cortisol, infrared thermography, algometery (pressure tolerance at the surgical site), and pressure-mat analysis, among others.

Products are being tested for their efficacy and potential use for pain mitigation. In addition, there is the possibility that pain can be eliminated through immune-castration and genetic selection (sexed semen).

“We can look at behaviors associated with a painful event,” Viscardi said. “We can measure activity levels and monitor how often they’re eating. It’s as simple as setting a camera up and observing behavior but it’s also labor intensive and can be subjective.”

Some studies have shown pain management options in livestock are effective, but others have been inconclusive. Viscardi said it’s difficult to give a recommendation to producers or veterinarians when researchers aren’t in agreement on whether or not a drug is effective.

Progress is being made, however. The Pain Mitigation Assessment Protocol Working Group is working to establish a research protocol to reliably evaluate efficacy of pain mitigation interventions in nursing male piglets during castration. This partnership with FDA, the National Pork Board and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians is a good first step to finding viable solutions for pain mitigation.

The Trump Administration Continues To Streamline And Modernize EPA

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to streamline and modernize the review of permits by the agency’s Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) while providing more flexibility to regulated parties, states and tribes, and the public. Under this proposal, interested parties would be empowered to choose the option for resolving a permit dispute that is best suited to their needs.

The Agency’s proposal aims to facilitate speedy resolution of permit disputes—either through alternative dispute resolution, a hearing before the Board, or more timely judicial review. EPA proposes several additional reforms designed to streamline the current administrative appeal process and to provide appropriate checks and balances on how the EAB exercises its delegated authority. The Agency is seeking broad input through the public comment process on these proposed changes.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have made the Agency more accountable to the public and with this proposal we are continuing to build on that success,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Agency now works more collaboratively with the states and tribes than it did 27 years ago and the EAB’s new role will reflect this reality.”

The proposal’s key elements are designed to simplify the review process, expedite permitting, and allow parties who would like to challenge EPA’s permits in court to do so more quickly. The proposal builds on the Board’s successful voluntary Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program that, to date, has resolved over 90 percent of cases that have gone through the program without litigation. The EAB’s ADR program promotes faster resolution of issues and more creative, satisfying and enduring solutions. The proposal provides parties challenging EPA’s permits with options to resolve their disputes, including ADR or a traditional appeal before Board. All parties would have a voice, and if they do not unanimously agree on the path forward, the permit becomes final and can be challenged in federal court without going through additional administrative process within the EPA.

The proposal also seeks to clarify the scope and standard of EAB review; remove a provision authorizing participation in appeals by amicus curiae; and eliminate the EAB’s authority to review Regional permit decisions on its own initiative in the absence of an appeal brought by an interested party. EPA also includes new deadlines for EAB action and other provisions to promote internal efficiency.

Finally, EPA also proposes to set twelve-year terms for EAB Judges in lieu of the indefinite terms currently in place; a new process to identify which EAB opinions will be considered precedential; and a new mechanism by which the Administrator, through the General Counsel, can issue a dispositive legal interpretation in any matter pending before the EAB.

These EAB reforms are in line with the Trump Administration’s efforts to reform and modernize EPA which include:
-    A directive to end the controversial “sue and settle” practice which removes the ability of third party groups to circumvent the regulatory process and require the Agency to engage in actions without public comment.
-    Reforming EPA’s science advisory committees, to ensure independence, geographic diversity, integrity. 
-    Implementing EPA’s Lean Management Systems and creating the Office of Continuous Improvement which measures progress made on 400 metrics and provides accountability to the public.
-        Realigning the Agency’s regional offices to ensure clarity and consistency in the Agency’s functions from Headquarters to the local level.
-        EPA also took steps to modernize and clear out our FOIA backlog. The steps the Trump Administration has taken will bring EPA into compliance with federal law and continue to be responsive to the public despite a 400% increase in FOIA requests since January 2017.


The EAB was created in 1992 to hear administrative appeals. At that time, the number of EPA-issued permits was increasing. Over the past 27 years, the Board’s role in permit appeals has changed as more states and tribes assumed permitting authority under EPA’s statutes. This has dramatically reduced the number of EPA-issued permits and, in turn, the number of permits appealed to the EAB.

Nutritionists: Plant-Based Meat’s Health Halo a Nothingburger

Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom placed a full-page ad in The New York Times showcasing quotes from nutrition and medical professionals on plant-based meat’s healthiness—or lack thereof. At a time when 76% of Americans think “plant-based” foods are healthy, CCF is pointing to experts who urge caution about fake meat.     

Companies that manufacture meat analogues are trying to latch on to clean eating trends by calling their products “plant-based.” In reality, these ultra-processed products, which can have dozens of ingredients, don’t grown on vines—they’re made in factories. As one dietitian puts it, “It’s not like you’re eating vegetables.” The National Institutes of Health recently found ultra-processed foods cause weight gain.

The ad, which can be found here, is the latest addition in CCF’s campaign to raise awareness of what’s in “plant-based meat.” Additional information, such as blogs and an ingredient comparison tool, can be found at Additional ads have run in The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post.

CCF managing director Will Coggin commented: “The fake meat industry has tried to play down the ultra-processing of these products by comparing them to yogurt or apple pie. But there’s a big difference between homemade baked goods and Frankenfoods created in labs.”

Western Hemisphere Ag Leaders Support Science-Based Standards

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney issued the following statement Tuesday following the Inter-American Board of Agriculture's endorsement last week of a resolution emphasizing the need for science-based agricultural regulations to facilitate global agricultural trade.

"We have an opportunity to support the agricultural producers in the Western Hemisphere -- and across the world -- by committing to science-based standards and policies that ensure the quality and safety of our food while also facilitating international trade. I'm pleased that we've come together as neighbors across the hemisphere in support of this resolution, which lays a foundation for continued cooperation that will benefit agriculture in the Americas and beyond.

"This resolution addresses pesticide maximum residue levels, or MRLs, which are too often used as a barrier to trade. We heard firsthand this week how missing and misaligned pesticide MRLs can harm farmer livelihoods, contribute to food waste, and decrease food security. On the other hand, transparent and predictable establishment and adoption of MRLs helps farmers access the full range of tools and technologies they need to combat pests and allows them to engage in international trade.

"The United States is pleased to join with our IABA partners in endorsing this resolution supporting collaborative actions to reduce the impact of non-tariff barriers on trade, with particular emphasis on the agricultural exports of developing countries."

The IABA is the governing board of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), which is comprised of 34 Western Hemisphere countries committed to achieving agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation.

NMPF Highlights Dairy’s Resilience, Honors Farmer Leaders at Annual Meeting

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern highlighted the resilience of U.S. dairy farmers in a challenging economic and policy environment, pledging that dairy would speak with one voice on crucial issues in remarks at NMPF’s joint annual meeting with the United Dairy Industry Association and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board.

“Resilience against hardship has always been a fact of life in dairy,” Mulhern said. “We know that if we embrace change while holding true to our values, we will win.”

NMPF’s portion of the conference was highlighted by bylaws changes that bolster its position as the premier organization for U.S. dairy farmers. The biggest U.S. dairy-farmer group also honored longtime leaders who have helped build today’s industry.

At its annual meeting in New Orleans, the organization added the chairman of its Small Cooperative Caucus, Jimmy Kerr of Cooperative Milk Producers Association based in Blackstone, Virginia, to its now 15-member Executive Committee, ensuring that cooperatives of all sizes have a voice in the organization’s thought-leadership body. The Executive Committee, that was formed earlier this year, enhances the geographic and size diversity the organization needs in its governance structure.

“NMPF represents a broader range of dairy farmers and interests than any other industry organization,” Mulhern said. “Committing to diverse leadership makes our united voice is the strongest it can be. Brighter times lie ahead for dairy, and we are ready to advance in a wide range of areas that serve all of our members.”

The meeting, NMPF’s main policy conference of the year, featured discussions of the state of the dairy industry and economy, with remarks from the organization’s chairman, Missouri dairy farmer Randy Mooney, and presentations from NMPF staff on issues ranging from immigration to the fight against inappropriate labeling of plant-based products. It also named new members to its Board of Directors, including:
    James Jacquier, Agri-Mark Inc.
    Harold Howrigan, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
    David Kyle, Foremost Farms USA
    Joey Fernandes, Land O’Lakes
    Sonia Fabian, Lone Star Milk Producers.

NMPF also recognized four dairy leaders with “Honorary Director for Life” designations for their service to NMPF and the broader dairy community:
    Adrian Boer, Northwest Dairy Association
    Cornell Kasbergen, Land O’Lakes
    Neal Rea, Agri-Mark
    George Rohrer, Dairy Farmers of America.

Raven Industries Acquires Smart Ag

Raven Industries, Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D., announced that it has acquired Smart Ag Inc., a technology company that develops autonomous farming solutions for agriculture. This acquisition is part of Raven Autonomy, the company's strategic growth platform to become the industry leader in autonomous agriculture solutions, announced earlier this week. Complementing the company's Applied Technology division, a leading technology provider in the precision agriculture industry, this acquisition will be integrated into the division's business and technology portfolio with the intent to create autonomous solutions for the precision ag market.

"The acquisition of Smart Ag is part of a bold, company-wide strategy for Raven," commented Dan Rykhus, Raven Industries president and CEO. "It is a key investment in Raven Autonomy, one of our two strategic growth platforms. Autonomy in agriculture is the future of farming, and this acquisition, coupled with our existing precision agriculture solutions, solidifies our position as a technology leader within this market."

As part of Raven Autonomy, the company plans to deliver autonomous solutions for agriculture that will enable both its OEM partners and ag retailers to be successful. Now more than ever, OEMs need to deliver premier precision ag solutions in order to compete. Raven Autonomy will deliver on this great challenge; its technology will enable large-scale ag retailers to augment their operations, allocate resources smartly and reduce labor dependency. Along with the company's recent agreement to acquire majority ownership in DOT Technology Corp., the acquisition of Smart Ag brings perception and path planning capabilities to the company's leading technologies in precision ag operations.

Smart Ag, headquartered in Ames, Iowa, was founded in 2015 to solve the growing labor crisis in production agriculture. Today, Smart Ag is offering aftermarket retrofit kits to automate farm equipment as well as a platform to connect, manage and safely operate autonomous agricultural machinery. Smart Ag's technology stack is easy to use and modular for scalability. In addition to its proven, proprietary technology, Smart Ag brings an established dealer network and a skilled development team to Raven.

Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition acquires assets of Rangen, Inc., significantly expanding in aquaculture, livestock nutrition sectors

Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition, LLC, an industry leader in the delivery of nutrients to the livestock, pet food and aquaculture industries, today announced the acquisition of the assets of Rangen, Inc., a privately held, 90-plus year-old aquaculture and general feed production company with production facilities in Buhl, Idaho, and Angleton, Texas.

"We're excited to welcome another well-established business with a strong industry presence to Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition," said Andrew Loder, President of the Nutrition division of Wilbur-Ellis, a leading international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal nutrients, and specialty chemicals and ingredients.

"Rangen is a strategic fit for Nutrition. It significantly expands our aquaculture business, immediately giving Wilbur-Ellis a nationwide platform from which to expand in one of the fastest-growing markets in the global feed industry," Loder said. "The acquisition also benefits the Company's livestock, pet and companion animal offerings by expanding our branded and custom-formulated feed options. We have been very impressed by the focus of Rangen employees on innovation, and their laser focus on helping customers succeed."

The aquaculture business includes the production of high-quality feed for fish – including trout, salmon and shrimp – which helps to meet growing consumer demand for healthy foods that are high in protein. Aquaculture also is environmentally sustainable, since feed is converted to fish production far more efficiently than other species, significantly reducing the resources required.

Rangen employs approximately 80 full-time employees at its headquarters and plant operations. The acquisition includes two plants in Buhl, Idaho, which manufacture aquaculture and general feed products, as well as an aquaculture feed plant in Angleton, Texas.

Rangen employees will join Wilbur-Ellis, continuing in their roles at their current locations. "Our Nutrition division has been an industry leader for nearly a century," said Wilbur-Ellis President and Chief Executive Officer John Buckley. "Through our diverse product lines, excellent service and innovation, we have positioned ourselves to be the provider of choice for customers and suppliers. As Rangen becomes a trusted brand of Wilbur-Ellis, we're taking the next step in growing the Nutrition business with value-added products and services in diversified end markets."

Rangen was founded in 1925, with its aquaculture division established in 1950. Rangen President Chris Rangen noted: "Throughout our history, a major advantage has been the experience, knowledge and customer commitment of Rangen employees. As this business becomes part of Wilbur-Ellis, I know these same strengths will propel the business to even greater growth. That's good for employees and the customers they serve."

Loder added: "We're extremely pleased to welcome Rangen employees to Wilbur-Ellis. We're a family-owned company that is about to celebrate our 100th anniversary. But as proud as we are of our history, we're focused on the future – and an organization like Rangen and its team will help us maintain our deep commitment to safety and deliver on our ambitious growth, value and innovation goals. With our combined strengths, we will achieve our vision of being the innovative leader in the marketing and distribution of animal nutrients."

Tuesday November 5 Ag News

Undeniably Dairy Experience
Hannah Guenther, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

Did you know that the only age group to get the recommended servings of dairy each day is 1-3 year olds? A study done in 2010 found that only 32% of adults get enough calcium. I bet if I were to go around town and ask adults how many servings of dairy they needed each day, most of them would be able to give the correct response of 3 cups. We have been constantly reminded that we need to get our 3 cups of dairy each day, but why aren’t we getting them? The dairy industry has been hit hard recently with the rise of milk alternatives and poor publicity. I partnered with Midwest Dairy to hopefully shed light on the positives of dairy including nutrition, sustainability, and debunking some circulating myths. I toured 3 dairies around Nebraska, purchased their dairy products, and then made recipes which were then shared on my Instagram page (@feedlotsofpeople). My grant came to a close last week and today I am going to share with you what I learned from my Undeniably Dairy Experience.


My first stop on my Dairy Grant was to Clear Creek Organics in Spalding, Nebraska. This family operated, diversified farm produces dairy products like cultured butter, cheeses, and ice cream. They also specialize in pork and vegetables. It was fascinating being at an organic farm and one thing I learned there was how dairies are so sustainable. Bob shared with me that when they make the cheese all the whey is served to their swine and he told me that “the best pork is fed whey”. He also uses raw milk to fertilize their vegetables and it must be working because they’ve grown multiple 3lb carrots! Dairies also maintain sustainability in their feed. A dairy in Lincoln collects byproducts from Lazlo’s brewery to feed their cows and many dairies with a nearby cereal producer will collect imperfect cereal flakes to feed their cows. They even eat the byproducts that are used to make almond milk. Dairy cows are one of the best examples of recycling!


My next stop on the grant was to Hartington, Nebraska to tour Burbach’s dairy. You may know this name because there are known for serving up their milk in glass bottles and their specialty flavors like caramel latte, candy corn, root beer and banana. As I toured their dairy, we stopped at the milk separator which is how they make the varying percentages of milk. The difference between 1%, fat free, 2%, and whole milk all comes down to the fat percentage. I learned that the nutrients of protein and vitamins stay the same within the varying percentages, the only thing that changes is the fat content of the milk! One cup of 1% milk has 110 calories, 9 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 25% of your daily calcium, and 15% of your daily vitamin D. Talk about a nutritious beverage!

How Do You Milk An Almond?

My final stop on my undeniably dairy grant was to the R&D Dairy right outside of West Point! Andy and Cassie took me around the dairy and as we walked we talked about the rise in plant based milk alternatives. Cassie said that she believes a lot of it comes down to marketing. Almond and soymilks have contemporary labels and containers while milk has always stayed the same. They also tote the term “Plant based” in the name, but it is important to look beyond the label. There are only 3 ingredients in milk: milk, vitamin A and vitamin D. Soymilk has 10 total ingredients with the second being sugar! If you are looking for the most natural, affordable, nutritious beverage for you and your family it’s REAL MILK!

Whether its cheese, milk, or yogurt, make sure you are getting your 3 servings of dairy each day.

Farm Service Agency Announces Disaster Relief Payments for Loss of On-Farm Stored Commodities in Nebraska

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska announced payments now are available to eligible producers who lost stored commodities due to natural disaster in 2018 or 2019. The On-Farm Storage Loss Program (OFSLP) was authorized by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019.

Administered by FSA, OFSLP provides payments to eligible producers in impacted counties who suffered uncompensated losses of harvested commodities including grains, oilseeds and hay stored in on-farm structures. For producers to receive payment, the losses must be directly related to an eligible disaster event such as floods, tornadoes, snowstorms and wildfires that occurred during 2018 and/or 2019.

“There are producers throughout the country who had their on-farm storage structures damaged or destroyed by natural disasters during 2018 and 2019,” said FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner. “This disaster recovery program pays eligible producers who lost their on-farm stored commodities. We encourage producers who suffered a loss to contact their county FSA office for program information and application.”

To be eligible for OFSLP, the farm storage structure must be located on the farm, not used for commercial storage and would have, under normal circumstances, maintained the quality of the commodity. Commodities stored in warehouses are not eligible for OFSLP. Program payments are made for the loss of the stored commodity and not for the loss of the structure itself.

Commodities eligible for OFSLP include: barley, canola, chickpeas (large and small), corn, cotton, crambe, dry peas, flaxseed, grain sorghum, hay (alfalfa and all-hay), lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rice, safflower seed, sesame seed, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

FSA uses a national payment rate per commodity, which is based on market or harvest prices. Payments will be calculated using a 75 percent factored FSA payment rate multiplied by the quantity lost while stored.

OFSLP has a payment limitation of $125,000 per entity. Adjusted Gross Income does not apply to OFSLP and an acreage report is not required for this program.

For specific commodity payment rates, to submit an application, or for additional program information, contact your local USDA Service Center.

 Nebraska Ethanol Board offers fuel retailer training to install E15 blends and higher

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is urging Nebraska fuel retailers to join fellow Midwest states like Iowa and Minnesota in making E15 fuel more widely available to motorists. A move by the Trump Administration in May promised a surge in year-round sales, but consumers are asking for more availability in Nebraska.

To help fuel retailers learn more about the ease of selling E15, the Board is hosting a free E15 Workshop, including a keynote from Growth Energy’s Sara Brenden. The workshop will take place on Nov. 13 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk, Nebraska, from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Some retailers have been reluctant to retrofit their pumps for E15 due to misconceptions about cost and installation.

 “Many gas stations can begin to sell E15 with very little investment in their current infrastructure,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “That’s why we are holding this complimentary workshop to debunk the myths and allow retailers to hear firsthand from others who’ve gone through the process.”

Berry explains that the process depends on everyone’s unique circumstances, but it can be as simple as a quick switch.

“If a pre-blended E15 is available at the rack where the fuel retailer sources their fuel, they can often times replace one of their current choices, such as an 89-octane mid-grade that they generally sell very little of, with very little to no investment. The retailer does not have to install the more expensive blender pumps in order to sell E15.”

Additionally, some of cost burdens can be relieved through a grant program from the Nebraska Corn Board, who will award qualifying retailers money for equipment and infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel. Jeff Wilkerson, director of market development for the Nebraska Corn Board, is one of several presenters who will highlight ways to make the process simple and affordable.

Brenden, manager of market development at Growth Energy, will begin the workshop with a keynote on Why E15. According to Growth Energy’s website, E15 offers retailers a competitive advantage and can generate more than 40 percent of total gasoline sales at retail. Growth says consumers have driven more than 10 billion miles on E15 and retailers have conducted millions of transactions.

To see the full agenda and to register, please visit the workshop informational page or

This the second in a series of E15 workshops hosted by the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Previous participants have said:

       “I found the Fuel Retailer’s E15 Workshop to be fascinating. It was very informative and I learned a lot about the ethanol industry. We already sell some E15, but this inspired me to work towards making the switch to E15 at more locations. I also learned some good ideas to better promote the product and grow our sales.”

       “We have been pondering whether to take on E15. With what I learned and will be sharing with my team, I feel pretty strongly that we will be making the move. The E15 workshop was very educational and helpful.”

The workshop is free thanks to the event sponsors: Stanley Petroleum Maintenance, Inc., Nebraska Corn Board, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, Nebraska Fuel Retailers Association, and the Nebraska Ethanol Board. Light snacks and beverages will be provided throughout the day.

The increase in E15 sales will provide an additional value-added market for Nebraska farmers and ethanol plants who are experiencing many challenges this year. Weather, the strain of tariffs that have cut U.S. exports drastically, and the EPA’s indiscriminate approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs) are weighing heavily on the industry. Fuel retailers who offer E15 will not only be driving customers seeking lower costs and environmental change to their stores, they will have a real impact on Nebraska’s farmers and economy, Berry said.

2019 AFAN/WSA Annual Stakeholders Meeting Slated for Monday, Nov. 25

The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) and We Support Agriculture (WSA) will hold their joint 2019 annual stakeholders meeting Monday, November 25 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln.

The meeting will open at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and conversation time, followed at 9:00 a.m. by the formal meeting. All AFAN and WSA partners and stakeholders are invited. A luncheon sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board is scheduled for noon.

Keynote speaker at the 9:45 a.m. session will be Jana McGuire from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) whose topic is entitled “Gene Editing: Current Science and Public Viewpoint.” At the close of the luncheon meeting at 1:00 p.m., McGuire will present a bonus session entitled; “Gene Editing/Engage Training.”

The AFAN/WSA meeting will include year-end reports by Steve Martin, executive director of AFAN and WSA and Will Keech, livestock development director with AFAN. The reports will present the year’s accomplishments and provide a look into future opportunities for both organizations.

Also included in the meeting will be the presentation of the Sand County Foundation’s 2019 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award to Ryan, Angela and Cheyenne Sundstrom, owners of the Broken Box Ranch in Merrifield.

Anyone interested in attending the annual meeting to learn more about AFAN and WSA and the future of animal agriculture in Nebraska must RSVP to Judy Stauffer by November 18 by calling (402)421.4472 or by emailing

ICON supports Senators efforts for honest beef labels

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska applaud Sen. Jon Tester’s Senate resolution, introduced on Oct. 30, calling on the rest of Congress to “reinstate County-of-Origin labeling for pork and beef to allow consumers to make an informed and free choice about where their food comes from.”

Also, South Dakota Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune recently introduced the U.S. Beef Integrity Act, which would ensure that no beef that was born, raised or slaughtered in foreign countries could be labeled as a product of the U.S.A.

Currently, country of origin label regulations are required for perishable fruits and vegetables, chicken, lamb, goat, fish and most nuts, but not beef or pork.

Country of origin labels require retailers to let customers know where the commodities originated, giving shoppers more information and allowing producers to compete in a transparent marketplace.

ICON thanks Sens. Tester, Thune and Rounds for their efforts, and urges Nebraska Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse to insist on honest, country-of-origin labels on beef and pork. Ideally, country of origin labels should be part of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Beef and pork from other countries do not need to be labeled by origin and if they are processed or re-packaged in the U.S., the packages are stamped with a USDA symbol, falsely indicating it is a product of the United States.

Meat processors then offer cheaper-sourced beef to consumers as though it were produced by U.S. farmers and ranchers.

It’s a profitable deal for processors and retailers, but a sour deal for Nebraska cattle producers.

Tester is right in saying, "Our farmers and ranchers produce the best agricultural products in the world. Consumers want to buy those American-made products, and country-of-origin-labeling lets producers show their product was raised right here in the U.S., and ensures folks can make informed choices about the food they buy."

Perdue Leads USDA Trade Mission to Mexico

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will lead a trade mission to Mexico November 6-8 to forge new opportunities with U.S. agriculture’s largest bilateral trading partner and second-largest export market. The Secretary will be joined by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and more than 100 industry and government representatives. 

Accompanying Secretary Perdue are the heads of six state departments of agriculture: Bryan Hurlburt of Connecticut, Celia Gould of Idaho, Joseph Bartenfelder of Maryland, Chris Chinn of Missouri, Doug Goehring of North Dakota, and Derek Sandison of Washington. Other participants include officials from the California, Georgia, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin and Virginia departments of agriculture and representatives from the following companies and organizations:
    Advanced Food Products, LLC, New Holland, PA
    Agropur US, Appleton, WI
    Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Juneau, AK
    Alltech, Nicholasville, KY
    Almond Board of California, Modesto, CA
    Alvarado Commodities, Inc., San Antonio, TX
    Bard Valley Date Growers, Yuma, AZ
    Biotwo Corp, Chicago, IL
    Blue Diamond Growers, Sacramento, CA
    Bridgepathway, Jericho, NY
    California Prune Growers Marketing Association, Yuba City, CA
    Citation Wine, Issaquah, WA
    Dairy Products Inc., Eden Prairie, MN
    Food Export USA – Northeast, Philadelphia, PA
    Freddie Lee’s Gourmet Sauces, St. Louis, MO
    Health Garden USA, Spring Valley, NY
    Idaho – Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, Parma, ID
    Ikrumah Inc., Jonesboro, GA
    Kronos, Glendale Heights, IL
    Leprino Foods, Denver, CO
    North American Bison, LLC, New Rockford, ND
    Northwest Hazelnut Company, Hubbard, OR
    Oregon Wine Board, Portland, OR
    Panhandle Milling, Denver, CO
    Pocas International Corp., Hackensack, NJ
    Royal Ridge Fruits, Royal City, WA
    Sagamore Spirit Distillery, Baltimore, MD
    Southern Cross Growers, Ellijay, GA
    Southwest Bison, Amarillo, TX
    TAMA Corporation, Doral, FL
    TRC Group, Inc, Roseville, CA
    U.S. Grains Council, Washington, D.C.
    US Rice Producers Association, Katy, TX
    U.S. Soybean Export Council, Chesterfield, MO
    US Wine Exports Company, Ltd., Ravenna, OH
    USA Rice, Arlington, VA
    Western United States Agricultural Trade Association, Vancouver, WA
    Zafi Beverages & Technologies, Bensenville, IL
    ZFS Creston, LLC, Creston, IA

Learn more about USDA trade missions by visiting and following FAS on Twitter at @USDAForeignAg.

Cattlemen Applaud Congressional Request for Avian Predator Management Flexibility

Ethan Lane, National Cattlemen's Beef Association vice president of government affairs, today released the following statement in response to a congressional request for increased regulatory flexibility under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA):

“Whether it is black vultures, ravens, or cormorants, MBTA-protected avian predators pose a significant risk to newborn calves and livestock operations across the country. Despite populations of each species numbered in the millions, current regulations place arbitrary caps on permitted take and incur heavy restrictions on preventative measures necessary to protect farming and ranching operations. We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Boozman and Rep. Bishop and look forward to engaging with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement commonsense solutions to this problem.”


Yesterday, a letter signed by 15 U.S. Senators and 23 Members of Congress, was sent to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Margaret Everson. The letter requested that the Service promulgate new rules to increase flexibility in the MBTA permitting process to empower livestock producers to protect their livelihoods. The bipartisan, bicameral letter was led by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA-2).

Dairy Checkoff Helps McDonald's Launch New Chocolate Milk

Support from dairy checkoff food scientists has helped McDonald's USA produce a reduced-sugar, low-fat chocolate milk that will be unveiled nationwide in January. The new formulation has 25 percent less sugar than McDonald's previous chocolate milk and is no longer a fat-free product.

Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff, has had a partnership with McDonald's since 2009.  DMI provided on-site support from food scientists and other resources and worked closely with the McDonald's team to create the final product.

USDA Dairy Products September 2019 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 1.08 billion pounds, 2.1 percent above September 2018 but 3.7 percent below August 2019.  Italian type cheese production totaled 469 million pounds, 4.0 percent above September 2018 and 0.4 percent above August 2019.  American type cheese production totaled 418 million pounds, 1.4 percent below September 2018 and 9.0 percent below August 2019.  Butter production was 137 million pounds, 1.2 percent above September 2018 but 0.5 percent below August 2019.

Dry milk products (comparisons in percentage with September 2018)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 123 million pounds, up 7.9 percent.
Skim milk powder - 48.8 million pounds, up 4.6 percent.

Whey products (comparisons in percentage with September 2018)
Dry whey, total - 92.0 million pounds, up 31.5 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 96.2 million pounds, up 5.3 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 38.9 million pounds, down 7.3 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons in percentage with September 2018)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 59.3 million gallons, up 4.8 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 33.9 million gallons, down 2.8 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.60 million gallons, down 15.6 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 3.78 million gallons, up 4.4 percent.

Rural Leaders Petition President Trump to Uphold Biofuel Promise

A broad coalition of biofuel and farm advocates have sent a letter to the White House this week calling on President Trump to fix a flawed proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which “fails in its mission to reinvigorate farm economies and reopen biofuel plants across America’s heartland.” The letter was signed by 60 organizations, including the American Soybean Association (ASA) and 17 state soybean affiliates. It notes that the EPA’s draft plan undermines the administration’s commitment to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and accurately account for biofuel demand destroyed by Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs).

“The flawed proposal swaps out a critical component of the SRE remedy sought by farmers and the biofuels industry,” wrote farm and biofuel leaders. “Instead of recovering the gallons exempted by EPA, it proposes to recover only those gallons previously recommended for exemption by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This one EPA modification converts a commitment to fully account for SREs into a bureaucratically uncertain path that recovers only one fraction of those gallons lost to SREs and could result in RFS backsliding in 2020. This lack of certainty sabotages efforts toward market recovery and will stop biorefineries from reopening.”

September Sales of U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Decline Yet Remain Robust

Ann Lewis, RFA Research Analyst
November 5, 2019 – U.S. ethanol exports relaxed in September, decreasing 18% to 100.3 million gallons (mg), according to data issued late today by the government and analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). Sales were mixed with exports pressing higher among most major markets.

Canada was the top destination for the fifth consecutive month, scaling 4% higher to 32.4 mg. Exports to Brazil climbed 3% to a three-month high of 17.6 mg. In a departure from recent norms, sales to these two markets alone accounted for half of U.S. ethanol exports in September. U.S. sales were also strong in South Korea (8.9 mg, +55%), Peru (8.1 mg, +37%), the Philippines (6.9 mg, +224%), the United Arab Emirates (6.7 mg, +165%), the Netherlands (6.1 mg, +65%), and Norway (3.2 mg, a 70-month high). Total year-to-date exports of U.S. ethanol stand at 1.10 billion gallons. This implies an annualized export volume of 1.47 billion gallons which, if realized, would be the second-largest volume on record.

September sales of U.S. denatured fuel ethanol rebounded from a drop in August, rising 17% to 58.3 mg. Canada remained the top customer, increasing its denatured imports by 4% to 30.8 mg (representing over half of September shipments). Other top importers included Peru (8.0 mg, +36% and the largest volume since Feb. 2012), the Philippines (6.9 mg, +224%), the United Arab Emirates (6.7 mg, +165%), and South Korea (4.1 mg, +3%).

Shipments of U.S. undenatured fuel ethanol tapered off in September, decreasing 35% to 40.0 mg. However, top customer Brazil expanded its imports by 3% to 17.6 mg (representing 44% of the global market). Other key destinations included the Netherlands (6.1 mg, +65%), South Korea (4.8 mg, +181%), Norway (3.2 mg), and Colombia (2.1 mg). Notably, Cyprus was a first-time buyer of American undenatured fuel ethanol, with 2.0 mg in sales.

Exports of U.S. ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes scaled back to 2.1 mg, the lowest volume since Dec. 2017. U.S. shippers exported 1.8 mg of undenatured product (down 3.1 mg from August, or -63%), with the bulk distributed between Canada (0.8 mg) and Saudi Arabia (0.6 mg). Most of the denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes landed in Canada.

The U.S. imported ethanol from Brazil for the fourth consecutive month, with purchases of 58.3 mg. This marks the largest monthly volume of foreign ethanol to enter our borders in over six years (since Aug. 2013). Total year-to-date imports stand at 142.1 mg—quadruple the volume imported last year during the same period. Consequently, the U.S. is on pace to let in more foreign ethanol in 2019 than the last three years combined.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS)—the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants—moderated from August’s rally, decreasing 6% to 1.05 million metric tons (mt). Shipments to Mexico fell 24% to a six-month low of 136,886 mt, yet the country remained the top destination for U.S. DDGS in September. Vietnam (125,257 mt, +12%), Turkey (94,981 mt, +546%), South Korea (93,283 mt, -17%), and Japan (89,264 mt, +249% and a new record high) round out the top five markets. Year-to-date exports of U.S. DDGS stand at 8.35 million mt. This implies an annualized export volume of 11.13 million mt.

Monday November 4 Ag News


For the week ending November 3, 2019, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 84 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 9 short, 86 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 19 fair, 56 good, and 17 excellent. Corn harvested was 60 percent, near 62 last year, and behind 69 for the five-year average.

Soybeans harvested was 94 percent, ahead of 88 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 22 fair, 53 good, and 19 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 97 percent, ahead of 92 last year, and near 95 average.

Sorghum condition rated 2 percent very poor, 3 poor, 21 fair, 65 good, and 9 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 54 percent, behind 71 last year and 73 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 16 fair, 60 good, and 19 excellent.


Iowa farmers continued to deal with challenging field conditions  as  the  first  accumulating  snowfall  of  the year  fell  across  parts  of  the  State  during  the  week ending  November  3,  2019,  according  to  the  USDA, National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.  Statewide there were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities  included  harvesting  soybeans  and  corn  for grain,  spreading  manure,  applying  anhydrous,  baling corn stalks, and fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short,   1   percent   short,   81   percent   adequate   and 18percent  surplus. Subsoil  moisture condition  was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

Forty-three   percent   of   the corn crop   has   been harvested  for  grain, 8  days  behind  last  year  and 11 days  behind  the  5-year  average.  Producers  in  the north  central  district  were  able  to  harvest  over  one-quarter of their expected crop this past week. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 21  percent.  Corn  condition  rated  67  percent  good  to excellent.

Eighty percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, 3 days behind last year and 1 week behind average.

Areas  in  Iowa  are  still  dealing  with  muddy  feedlots, while  others  reported  no  livestock  issues  this  past week.

Corn Harvest Hits Halfway Point; Still Second-Slowest Pace in Past 20 Years

The U.S. corn harvest finally hit the halfway point last week while the soybean harvest was about three-quarters complete as of Sunday, Nov. 3, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, corn harvest progressed another 11 percentage points last week to reach 52% as of Sunday, 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 75%. That was further behind the average pace than the previous week when harvest was running 20 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Meanwhile, soybean harvest moved ahead 13 percentage points last week to reach 75% as of Sunday. That was 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 87%, an improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 16 percentage points behind average.

Winter wheat progress maintained a near-normal pace last week. As of Sunday, 89% of winter wheat was planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 88%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 71%, just slightly behind the five-year average of 74%.  Winter wheat condition was estimated at 57% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 56% the previous week.

Sorghum harvested reached 78%, ahead of the five-year average of 72%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 53%, also ahead of the average pace of 51%.

Register today for the "Increasing Dairy Profitability" webinar series

Kim Clark, NE Dairy Extension Educator

We are hosting an “Increasing Profitability Webinar Series” the first three Tuesday’s at 12:00 noon CDT in November.

November 5: Lameness and Profitability by Dr. Jan Shearer
November 12: Maximizing Income over Feed Costs by Dr. Victor Cabrera
November 19: Spores and Milk Quality by Dr. Andreia Bianchini

Register for the webinars at  After you register, you will receive an email to join the webinar.  The link to join the webinar is the same for each week.

We will be recording and archiving each webinar on

Iowa Beef Center Offers Baleage Information as Winter Forage Option

Wet conditions have created significant challenges this year for cattle producers who want to put up hay for winter forage needs. Shorter days and cooler fall temperatures add to the challenge of putting up dry hay.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach specialists, producers who still need to put up hay this fall may want to consider making baleage as an option for dealing with cold and wet weather conditions. Denise Schwab, extension beef specialist, Brian Dougherty, extension ag engineer, and Brian Lang, extension field agronomists, provide directions on making high quality baleage in an Iowa Beef Center article published Nov. 1.

Making baleage is a method of preserving forage where bales are made at a higher moisture content than dry hay and then sealed in plastic wrap for storage. The high moisture level and airtight environment causes the forage to ferment.

The time needed to cure forage for baleage is drastically reduced compared to production of dry hay, thus reducing the impacts of weather on harvest. This is a significant advantage when trying to harvest forages in conditions that are poor for making dry hay.

The specialists say that producers may be able to use existing equipment for the production and feeding of baleage. One question that often comes up is whether or not a conventional baler can be used for making baleage. The answer is that it depends on the baler. Some newer balers can achieve sufficient bale density for making quality baleage. It is best to consult with the equipment manufacturer if you have specific questions about using your baler for making baleage.

The next equipment decision a producer needs to make is how to wrap the bales in plastic. Bales can be wrapped individually on a bale wrapping table or they can be wrapped in-line with a ‘tube’ wrapper. A third option is to place the bales into individual bags that can be sealed by hand.

The entire article, Baleage Is an Option for Dealing with Wet Fall Harvest Conditions, includes details on making baleage, equipment needs and tips from the specialists for making high quality baleage and feeding considerations. It is posted on the Iowa Beef Center website...  For additional information see the Iowa Beef Center publication "Making the Switch to Baleage." 

Monthly Webinar Looks at Grazing Cover Crops Integrated into Row Crops

Iowa Learning Farms will host a webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 12 p.m. about the research being done at Iowa State University on grazing cover crops.

Cover crops provide many benefits ranging from reducing soil erosion and building soil organic matter to nutrient cycling and scavenging. Another additional benefit they offer is as an additional forage resource.

During the webinar ISU Extension and Outreach specialists Erika Lundy, extension beef specialist, and Rebecca Vittetoe, extension field agronomist, will share what they’ve learned from the ongoing Iowa State research looking at integrating cattle, crops and cover crops. Lundy’s current extension and research programs are focused on beef cattle nutrition and forage management to improve profitability on the farm level. Vittetoe focuses on the agronomic side with field and forage crop production and integrated pest management with a special emphasis on plant pathology.

Feed expenses continue to be half the cost of production of a beef cattle enterprise. With cover crops growing across the state to protect our soil and waters, then adding cattle to graze those green forage acres is another opportunity to capitalize on the benefits that cover crops can provide. Lundy said, “One of our primary goals with this research was to answer the question ‘if we graze cover crops, do we still have the soil health benefits that we know we get from incorporating cover crops into row crop acres?’ With the results we are generating from this research, we think the answer is, ‘Yes!’”

A Certified Crop Adviser board approved continuing education unit (1 CEU: Crop Management) is available for those who are able to watch the live webinar. Information for submitting your CCA/CPAg/CPSS/CPSC number to earn the credit will be provided at the end of the presentation.

To watch, go to and click the link to join the webinar shortly before 12 p.m. on Nov. 20, to download the Zoom software and log in option. The webinar will be recorded and archived on the ILF website for watching at any time at

Rural Leaders Ask President Trump to Uphold Biofuel Promise

A broad coalition of biofuel and farm advocates today sent a letter to the White House calling on President Trump to fix a flawed proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency, which “fails in its mission to reinvigorate farm economies and reopen biofuel plants across America’s heartland.” The letter was signed by 60 organizations, including the Renewable Fuels Association. It notes that the EPA’s draft plan undermines the administration’s commitment to restore integrity to the Renewable Fuel Standard and accurately account for biofuel demand destroyed by small refinery exemptions (SREs).

“The flawed proposal swaps out a critical component of the SRE remedy sought by farmers and the biofuels industry,” wrote farm and biofuel leaders. “Instead of recovering the gallons exempted by EPA, it proposes to recover only those gallons previously recommended for exemption by the U.S. Department of Energy. This one EPA modification converts a commitment to fully account for SREs into a bureaucratically uncertain path that recovers only one fraction of those gallons lost to SREs and could result in RFS backsliding in 2020. This lack of certainty sabotages efforts toward market recovery and will stop biorefineries from reopening.”

Better Than Expected Fall

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

Fed cattle, feeder cattle, and calf cash prices have all been stronger than expected through this fall. Live cattle and feeder cattle futures contract prices have also shaken off the pessimism of abundant supplies compounded by the unexpected closure of the Tyson beef plant in southwest Kansas. How did the market turn this corner?

There has been the standard discussion of timely marketing of fed cattle, slaughter weights being modestly behind last year's, packer's running substantial fed cattle slaughter on Saturdays, and other supply focused points. What is being discussed less in the strong retailer and, by definition, consumer effects? Packers margins have been very strong in August and September, and likely October, approaching $500 per head. These are the live-to-wholesale beef price spreads. This value is much higher than other months and much higher than prior year highs. This is, of course, due in part to the plant closure. But it is interesting that the Live-to-Retail price spread has moved little in these same two months. The live-to-retail spread is up only less than 2-3%. The retailer margin or the wholesale-to-retail spread has declined sharply. Again, the live-to-wholesale spread is up, the live-to-retail spread is even, so it is the retailer that has taken a chunk out of their margin.

Where did this go or what is the retailer paying more for? The boxed beef compositive value increased almost $30/cwt in a three-week period prior to Labor Day. The cut that was the biggest mover was loin price: increasing $200/cwt. The ribeye increased about $150/cwt and remains strong into the rib roast holiday season. Other primal cuts are both positive and negative, so it is the middle-meats and steak cuts that the retailer is driving. Finally, an interesting thing that has yet to be explained is the strength of the Choice-Select spread - the USDA Choice grade premium or the Select grade discount. The Choice-Select spread has normal seasonal strength in spring months and then as Choice supplies increase over summer then the premium normally fades. The Choice-Select spread has yet to show anything other than modest and temporary weakness this year. The spread is currently better than +$25/cwt and has been that way since June. A typical Choice-Select spread for this time of year is much closer to $10/cwt. Thus, it is clearly the retailer that has helped the cattle market turn the corner on any pessimism from summer supplies and slaughter disruption. And there does not appear to be any push-back from the consumer.

2019-20 National FFA Officer Team Elected at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo

Students from Montana, Virginia, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Oregon and Ohio have been elected by delegates throughout the United States to serve on the 2019-20 National FFA Officer team.

Kolesen McCoy, an agribusiness and applied economics major at Ohio State, was elected national president.

Kourtney Lehman, an agricultural business management major at Oregon State University, was elected national secretary.

Lyle Logemann, an agricultural education major at Eastern New Mexico University, was elected western region vice president.

Tess Seibel, a nursing major at James Madison University, was elected eastern region vice president.

Mamie Hertel, a financial engineering major at Montana State University, was elected central region vice president.

Yomar Roman, an office administration major at Universidad de Puerto Rico, was elected southern region vice president.

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern, and western regions of the country.

National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each officer travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders; thousands of FFA members and teachers; corporate sponsors; government and education officials; state FFA leaders; the general public; and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

BASF’s xarvio announces new digital farming collaboration with WinField United

BASF and WinField® United, the crop inputs and insights business of Land O’Lakes, Inc., announced a new collaboration that will make it easier for growers and retailers to access digital farming solutions across multiple platforms.

The two companies will establish a single sign-on connection from WinField United’s ATLAS® platform to the BASF xarvio™ digital platforms, starting with xarvio SCOUTING, a mobile application that can quickly identify weeds and diseases with a click of a smartphone. Over time, growers and retailers will also have the ability to synchronize data between the xarvio and WinField United platforms, saving time with data entry while combining agronomic insights into one place.

“Given the tremendous workloads retailers and growers carry out, both groups will be pleased with the ease of use made possible through this collaboration,” said Paul Rea, Senior Vice President, BASF Agricultural Solutions North America. “WinField United customers will be able to utilize xarvio systems without having to create new credentials, enhancing their experience with both platforms.” 

Leading in advanced analytics and agronomic artificial intelligence, xarvio products help growers optimize crop production efficiency and improve their bottom line, while providing growers with field-level and zone-based solutions. Farmers will be able to access this information through their retailer’s ATLAS portal. ATLAS, WinField United’s online retail portal, allows retailers to tailor data, insights and other pertinent information to their farmers through their branded website. Together, xarvio and ATLAS will enhance data standardization and synchronicity to increase the overall performance of the digital ag tools.

“As a farmer-owned co-op, we are always pushing the envelope to bring new solutions that offer distinct value and benefits to our members,” said Teddy Bekele, Chief Technology Officer, Land O’Lakes. “Interaction between these platforms can augment field activities by helping retail agronomists advise the community of growers they work with to help address growers’ most urgent needs.”

The two companies are planning to expand the agronomic data links between xarvio and WinField United platforms through application programming interface (API). This function would allow for the user’s xarvio SCOUTING data to consolidate into new insight offerings for ATLAS users, such as providing regional-level risk and heat maps to help growers stay on top of pest pressure in their area.

The single sign-on connection will be available to ATLAS users in time for the 2020 growing season.

Friday November 1 Ag News

Helping Cows Cope with Cold Stress
Mary Drewnoski, NE Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist

Cold stress increases a cow’s energy requirement and can pull down her body condition.  We think many cow/calf producers experienced this last year.  While we don’t know what mother nature has in store for us this year, it is good to think ahead and have a plan. A good start is to evaluate body condition score (BCS) now, and if cows are not at a 5 to 5.5 BCS, then taking steps to improve BCS before cold weather hits can help reduce the impacts of cold weather on the cows.

The threshold at which cattle have to start using energy to maintain their body temperature is called the lower critical temperature (LCT). Cows in good condition (BCS 5.0) that have a heavy winter coat that is dry do not need to use energy to maintain body temperature until the wind chill index is below 19°F.

Body condition is a risk management strategy and affects the LCT. A thin cow with a BCS 4 and a dry winter coat has a LCT of 27°F vs the 19°F of a cow in BCS 5.  Getting cows into good condition early in the winter can be useful for managing risk of bad weather in that they have condition they can lose but also because cows with higher BCS will lose less than those with lower body condition.  Additionally, a practical management strategy may be to consider putting thin cows in a group with your first calf heifers as both have higher energy requirement in the winter, which can allow for strategic supplementation. 

It is also important to understand that a wet hair coat is a completely different ball game. A wet coat increases the LCT of a cow in good condition to 53°F. Thus, essentially anytime a cow’s coat is wet in the winter they will be using energy to maintain body temperature.  Therefore, in winters with more precipitation, especially freezing rain, we often see greater decreases in BCS.

To figure out how much more energy a cow needs you would take the cow’s LCT minus the wind chill index and that would tell you the percent increase in energy requirement.  For instance, if ambient temperature is 20°F and wind speed is 10 miles per hour, the wind chill index is 10°F. For a BCS 5 cow with a dry winter coat and a LCT of 19°F, then 19 LCT- 10 WCI = 9% increase in energy needs.  A 1200 lb cow in late gestation has a 13 lb/d TDN requirement and the cold increased this an additional 1.2 lbs of TDN for a total of 14.2 lb/d. 

Now, this brings up another point. By providing wind protection, you can decrease energy needs by removing wind as a factor. If cows have protection from wind, the ambient temperature can be used to determine energy needs.  Providing wind protection in the winter can be huge for reducing supplementation needs due to cold in the winter.

It is not advisable to change rations daily, but for extended cold or wet periods, consider feeding more of the same ration, if cattle can eat more of the typical ration. If not, then providing a supplement is a good idea.  When feeding lower quality hay, dormant range grazing or corn stalk grazing, additional feed will be needed. One option is to change to feeding a higher quality hay source, if available.  Free choice high quality hay (58 to 60% TDN) can work down to temperatures of 34°F below the LCT of the cow ( -15°F for cows in good condition with dry hair or 19°F with wet hair). If cows are grazing, then supplementation with a high energy feed may be desirable. While corn can be used to provide more energy, it comes with risk. Feeding more than 2 to 3 lbs/hd/d can decrease forage digestion, especially if the forage is lower in protein.  This means that one could make up the difference of about 15°F between the LCT of the cow and the wind chill index temperature. For a cow in BCS of 5 with a dry coat, corn supplementation would cover the increased energy requirement down to 5°F, or for a cow with a wet hair coat only to about 38°F.

Distillers grains are another option.  Distillers is a good source of energy, it has more energy than corn, and because it is high in protein, it does not cause as much of a substitution effect (will not decrease intake of the forage much).  In the example above where the cow needed an extra 1.2 lbs of TDN,  feeding 1.2 lbs (as-fed) of dry distillers would provide the extra energy needed. In the case of distillers and gestating cows, the pounds of energy needed to account for energy used due to cold stress would be equal to the pounds of dry distillers that would need to be fed. Limitations on the amount of distillers that could be fed would be more based on budgetary concerns than digestive effects.

When wind chill temperatures are extremely cold or the cow has a wet hair coat, a lot of supplement would be needed to make up the greater energy needs and maintain body condition. For instance, if the wind chill was -10°F and the cows had a wet hair coat, 8.6 lbs of dry distillers would be needed to account for the increased energy requirement. However, feeding these levels is likely impractical.  A better approach would be to provide a smaller amount of supplemental feed and to continue to feed the extra feed after the weather has moderated to allow cows to regain energy lost during the storm.

It is also important to remember that lactating cows have a much greater energy requirement than pregnant cows. Given this, the combination of cold stress and lactation can pull down BCS quickly. Thus, if lactating cows are also subjected to cold stress, increasing their energy intake prior to observing loss of condition is advisable.

Fall Sampling for SCN

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

The post-harvest period is an excellent time to sample for soybean cyst nematodes (SCN), the most yield-limiting pest in soybeans. Soybean cyst nematodes often go undetected but cause more yield loss in Nebraska and across the U.S. than all other soybean diseases combined.

Yield losses of over 30% have been documented in healthy looking soybean fields. SCN often goes undetected because the microscopic roundworm attacks the roots of soybean. Because feeding is underground, unless the SCN population is extremely high, it usually does not cause any aboveground symptoms such as stunting or yellowing.

The extent of yield reduction depends on the number of nematodes feeding on the root system. SCN remove nutrients as well as disrupting water and nutrient uptake in the roots, retarding root growth and reducing the number of nodules formed by the beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria that are necessary for optimum soybean growth.

If you can’t see soybean cyst nematodes, how do you know if they’re there? While they may not be visible, signs of their activity are. The most common sign is a field of soybeans, or even areas within a field that don’t yield as much as they should. If you have low-yielding fields or areas on your yield maps that you can’t explain because of soil type, weed or insect pressure, herbicide injury, flooding, compaction, or other yield-limiting factors, there’s a good chance SCN could be the culprit.

Another sign of SCN is when a field has patches of sudden death syndrome or brown stem rot. Both of these diseases live in the soil and enter soybean plants through the roots. Both of these can cause the disease on their own, but SCN hastens the development of symptoms and increases their severity, leading to greater yield losses.

Sampling for SCN

Late fall is a good time to sample for SCN. After harvest low-yielding field areas are fresh in your mind and hopefully things have slowed down a bit. The best way to know for sure if you have SCN in your field is by taking a soil sample. The really good news is the Nebraska Soybean Board continues to support a program that covers the cost of the SCN test, normally $20 per sample. To get sample bags to submit for a free SCN analysis, contact your nearest Nebraska Extension office.

Each sample should include at least 15 to 25 soil cores, 6 to 8 inches deep, from the area you are testing. Thoroughly mix the cores and submit a composite sample. If you are also sampling for next year’s fertilizer recommendations, submit half of the sample for fertility recommendations and the other half for SCN analysis. If you have a co-op or crop consultant pulling soil samples, ask them to split the sample for both tests.

If you had low-yielding areas in a field, pull one sample from a low-yielding area and another sample from a nearby area where yields were higher, then compare the SCN egg counts from both samples. It is not uncommon to have both samples test positive for SCN, but often the sample from the low-yielding area will have significantly higher egg counts.

Managing SCN

Management of SCN includes using resistant soybean varieties and rotating soybeans with a non-host crop. Sample fields about every six years to measure the effectiveness of your management practices. It is important to test at the same time of year and following the same crop as your original sample. If you sampled in the fall following soybeans six years ago, your sample six years later should be taken in the fall following soybeans. If the field is in corn six years later, wait a year so you sample following the same crop.

The SCN egg count should be lower after six years of rotation and resistant varieties. If egg counts are level or increasing, it could indicate the population of SCN in the field can reproduce on the most common source of resistance, PI 88788, which is found in over 98% of resistant soybean varieties.

If SCN egg counts in your fields are increasing in spite of following best management practices for SCN, it may be necessary to plant a soybean variety with a different source of resistance such as Peking (PI 548402). However, be aware that your variety choices will be much more limited.

For more information on identification and management of SCN, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.

Market Facilitation Funds for Alfalfa Growers

Bruce Anderson - NE Extension Forage Specialist

Thanks to the trade war, alfalfa growers may qualify for market facilitation payments. When China imposed retaliatory tariffs and non-tariff barriers on exports of agricultural goods from the United States, the federal government developed the Market Facilitation Program. It provides financial assistance to farmers with commodities impacted by tariffs.

Soybeans are the most well known and highest ranking among crops covered by the program; however, some other crops are also covered. Prior to the trade war, China was the number one importer of alfalfa hay from the United States. As a result, alfalfa hay also qualifies for Market Facilitation payments.

You don’t need to have been selling your hay for export. All alfalfa growers are eligible for payments, including growers who feed all their alfalfa on-farm to their own livestock. Payments are based solely on planted acres as long as conservation compliance requirements are met.

To receive payments, apply at your local Farm Service Agency office by December 6.  In order for a field to qualify, it must contain at least 60% alfalfa.  At this time it’s unclear how the amount of alfalfa in alfalfa-grass mixtures is going to be determined, but it probably will be done locally. If you do apply, make sure you report your acres as alfalfa. Do not report it as alfalfa-grass because mixtures are ineligible for payments.

Take advantage of Market Facilitation payments for alfalfa. They may not be particularly high, but something is better than nothing.

Farmers Encouraged to Keep the Stubble During No-Till November

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is once again encouraging Nebraska farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health during No-Till November.

First launched in 2017, the NRCS project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness No Shave November campaign that encourages people not to shave during the entire month. The NRCS campaign encourages farmers to keep crop stubble on their fields and keep tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall. In the past two years, the campaign has reached more than 1 million people.

“No-till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” said Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson. “One of the first soil health principles is ‘do not disturb’. This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between no till and soil health.”

Improving soil health increases soil biological activity, which provides erosion control, nutrient benefits, and can simulate tillage.

The campaign grew from an idea shared by NRCS Area Soil Scientist Neil Sass. “The impact has been much wider-reaching than I’d expected. I’ve seen #StubbleSelfie cutouts in Co-ops and ag services offices, but also in labs, schools and lots of fun media,” he said. “I think that this promotion has been a fun way to draw awareness to soil health, just like the No Shave November promotion has done for cancer awareness.”

For more information about soil health and the No-Till November campaign, please go to


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) today announced its selection of the 2019-2020 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). NAYC members are college students who promote Nebraska agriculture and teach young Nebraskans about agriculture and the many careers available in the ag industry. NDA sponsors NAYC and its activities throughout the year.

“NAYC is a great opportunity for student leaders to share their passion for agriculture and make a difference in the lives of young Nebraskans,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “It’s quite an honor and a responsibility to serve on NAYC. I look forward to working with these talented students and supporting them as they promote Nebraska agriculture to those who will follow in their footsteps.”

NAYC is entering its 49th year with the installation of this Council. Throughout the year, NAYC members coordinate and participate in a wide range of activities and events that focus on agriculture. Council members visit elementary schools to talk about where food comes from, take urban youth on farm tours to experience life on a farm, and visit with high school students about career opportunities in agriculture. The primary focus of NAYC is to coordinate the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI), a five-day summer conference for high school juniors and seniors that is full of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

The 2019-2020 NAYC leadership includes:
Head Counselors: Felicia Knoerzer, Elwood, and Courtney Nelson, Monroe;
President: Cooper Grabenstein, Smithfield;
Secretary: Grant Dahlgren, Bertrand;
Vice President of Social Media/Communications and Promotions: Kelli Mashino, Spencer;
Vice President of Alumni Relationships: Colton Thompson, Eustis;
Vice President of NAYI Improvement: Kelsey Loseke, Blair.
Vice President of Youth Outreach: Wesley Wach, Hayes Center; and
Vice President of Sponsorship: Isaac Stallbaumer, Oconto.

Additional NAYC members include: Nick Birdsley, Omaha; Miles Eggleston, David City; Emily Hatterman, Wisner; Colin Ibach, Sumner; Cole Kalkowski, Omaha; Layne Miller, Oakland; Creighton Niemeyer, DeWitt; Tyler Perrin, Ogallala; Ralston Ripp, Kearney; Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Clayton Thomas, Bloomington, IL; and Josie Thompson, Wayne.

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


The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference & Exhibition recently concluded its 12th annual event on October 29-30, 2019 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, NE. This year’s conference attracted over 320 attendees, 28 exhibitors, and featured 60 speakers and moderators from the wind and solar industries. Individuals came from across the country to participate in 18 general sessions and workshop presentations that shared the latest information on wind and solar energy development. Those who attended represented a diverse set of stakeholders that included private sector developers, public officials, landowners, environmental interests, wildlife interests, public utilities, as well as the public at large attended.

Conference attendees were welcomed on Tuesday by Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Director Jim Macy, who detailed the status and prospect of both wind and solar development in the state. Next, AWEA Senior Vice President of government and public affairs Amy Farrell provided the big-picture view of renewable energy development and Nebraska’s increasingly important role in both wind and solar development. She cited Facebook’s purchase of 200 megawatts of wind energy from the Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Dixon County, and Hormel Foods’ plan to buy power from a wind farm near Milligan that will be opening next year. The conference continued with discussions on the growing impact of electric vehicles on the grid, and four representatives from Holt county detailed the extremely positive economic benefits that wind energy development has had in their county, including the school funding and additional income for landowners.

Noon luncheon speakers included executives from Nebraska’s three largest public utilities: Lincoln Electric System, Omaha Public Power District, and Nebraska Public Power District. Tuesday afternoon sessions featured planning and zoning for all sizes of solar development; renewable energy education and outreach; the growing role of renewables in the Southwest Power Pool; and how Nebraska renewable energy fits into the Southwest Power Pool. The first day concluded with a policy and legislative update from Nebraska State Senators Tom Brandt, Wendy DeBoer, Myron Dorn, Rick Kolowski, John McCollister, and Dan Quick.

Wednesday morning was kicked off by a session on the state of the national solar industry with HDR Renewable Energy Practice Lead Gretchen Dolson and GenPro Energy Solutions Vice President of Energy Production Molly Brown. Sessions that followed included panels on community-scale renewable energy; the changing economics of battery storage; FERC regulations; and Nebraska stakeholder and community support for wind projects.

The keynote luncheon featured Valmont Utility Group President Aaron Schapper, who discussed his Nebraska-based manufacturing company’s growing involvement in wind and solar energy and how it is an increasingly important component of the company’s revenue. The conference wrapped-up with discussions on repowering and decommissioning wind turbines and research regarding Nebraska’s renewable energy.

Conference Chair John Hansen, commented “Thanks to our “Nebraska Nice” collaborative approach and our “Can Do” attitude, Nebraska continues to make good progress in momentum in renewable energy development.”

Free Ag Law and Farm Finance Clinics this November

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at five sites across the state in October. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Norfolk — Thursday, November 7
    North Platte — Thursday, November 14
    Fairbury — Thursday, November 14
    Grand Island — Wednesday, November 20
    Norfolk — Monday, November 25

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Rural Nebraskans are confident that higher education can lead to a good job, according to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll.

While 70% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — agree that a high school diploma can lead to gainful employment, more agree that an associate degree (82%) or bachelor’s degree (77%) can lead to a good job.

In addition, most rural Nebraskans surveyed believe their education was worth the financial cost and that it taught them important skills. Sixty-two percent of respondents agree that their education was worth the cost and 74% agree that they learned skills that they use in their day-to-day life. In fact, those with the highest education levels were most likely to agree with those statements: 74% of persons with at least a four-year college degree agree that their education was worth the cost and 84% agree that they learned useful skills.

However, this year’s poll shows mixed results in how rural Nebraskans regard higher education, mirroring national trends. Those surveyed are less likely to see the importance of a college education today than they did four years ago.

Fifty-three percent of rural Nebraskans surveyed agreed in 2015 that increasing the number of people who get college degrees is necessary to build a strong economy. However, only 33% agree with that statement this year. The proportion agreeing that getting a college education today is more important than it was 10 years ago declined from 70% in 2015 to 44% this year. And those agreeing that to get ahead in life, it is necessary to get a college education decreased from 65% to 38%.

Current economic conditions may account for some of these differences, according to Brad Lubben, extension associate professor and policy specialist at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

“In a tight job market like we now have, employers may be happy just to have a good candidate, so the extra value of having a degree with higher skills or qualifications may not be rewarded or immediately noticeable,” Lubben said.

Rural Nebraskans also see value in apprenticeships. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed are confident that completing an apprenticeship program can lead to a good job and 84% agree that apprenticeships should be promoted as an alternative to higher education for getting a good job.

Some of the declines in the importance of higher education may be attributed to perceptions of the affordability of higher education and the value of college degrees, according to Becky Vogt, survey research manager for the Rural Poll. Seventy percent of respondents disagree that getting an education after high school is affordable for most people. While 42% agree that most people who enroll in higher education see a return on their investment, 27% disagree. Forty-seven percent agree that college degrees aren’t worth as much as they used to be and 26% disagree.

“We can’t say definitively what caused these shifts in opinions, especially since higher education leads to higher median incomes and most rural Nebraskans see the value of their own education,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “Colleges and universities may need to engage with their alumni to learn more about the return on investment of their degrees, particularly their cost-benefit tipping point, and how this can be improved.”

This year’s Rural Poll was sent to 6,260 households in 86 Nebraska counties in March and April. Responses were received through June 10. Results are based on 1,776 responses, a response rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at

The university's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

Cereal Rye Cover Crop Seeding Date Extended to Dec. 1 Statewide

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Kurt Simon, State Conservationist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), have extended cover crop seeding deadlines due to weather delays.

Farmers participating in state cost-share and most federal financial assistance programs now have until Dec. 1 to plant their winter hardy cereal rye cover crop and still qualify for assistance.

“Farmers have had an unusually tough year dealing with weather, which is creating significant harvest delays,” said Secretary Naig. “Even a later seeded cover crop can provide conservation benefits and this extension gives farmers the opportunity to seed cereal rye after harvest.”

Cereal rye should be planted immediately following the harvest of the principal crop for best results. The cover crop will be no-till drilled into the crop residue and the recommended seeding rate of cereal rye should be increased to 75 pounds per acre to account for reduced tillering.

Kevin McCall, State Resource Conservationist for NRCS in Iowa, says late seeded cereal rye can still be established this fall and provide key soil health and environmental benefits if allowed to grow to at least an 8-inch height in the spring.

This seeding extension does not apply to all programs. Contact your local NRCS office for additional information about federal or state funded assistance programs.

Cover crops play an important role in locking in nutrients and preventing soil erosion. It is one of many conservation practices that farmers can use to help the state advance towards the water quality goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 455 million bushels in September 2019. Total corn consumption was down 10 percent from August 2019 and down 9 percent from September 2018. September 2019 usage included 91.3 percent for alcohol and 8.7 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.30 million bushels, down 1 percent from August 2019 but up 18 percent from September 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 407 million bushels, was down 11 percent from August 2019 and down 10 percent from September 2018. Corn consumed in September 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.1 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.

Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.87 million tons (162 million bushels) in September 2019, compared with 5.32 million tons (177 million bushels) in August 2019 and 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in September 2018. Crude oil produced was 1.90 billion pounds down 7 percent from August 2019 and down 2 percent from September 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.41 billion pounds during September 2019 decreased 7 percent from August 2019 and decreased 4 percent from September 2018.

USDA Flour Milling Products Highlights

All wheat ground for flour during the third quarter 2019 was 232 million bushels, up 3 percent from the second quarter 2019 grind of 225 million bushels but down slightly from the third quarter 2018 grind of 233 million bushels. Third quarter 2019 total flour production was 107 million hundredweight, up 3 percent from the second quarter 2019 but down 1 percent from the third quarter 2018. Whole wheat flour production at 4.92 million hundredweight during the third quarter 2019 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the
third quarter 2019 was 1.66 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the third quarter 2019 was 1.67 million hundredweight.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for November 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for November 2019, which are effective November 1-November 30, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for November is 1.625 percent, down from 1.750 percent in October.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during November is 2.625 percent, down from 2.750 percent in October.  Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for November are as follows: 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, same as in October;  1.500 percent with five-year loan terms, same as in October; 1.625 percent with seven-year loan terms, same as in October; 1.625 percent with 10-year loan terms, same as in October; and 1.750 percent with 12-year loan terms, same as in October.

Industry Cannot Compromise on Restoring Mandatory COOL

Speaking yesterday to the 128th Annual Convention and Trade Show of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard told the crowd that restoring mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef was one of four core principles that independent cattle producers cannot compromise.

"Every industry has certain core principles that cannot be compromised under any circumstance, and for our industry, restoring mandatory COOL is among the most important," Bullard said adding, "Non-core issues may be compromised when the outcome does not harm your opportunity to remain profitable, but restoring mandatory COOL is not on that list."

Bullard scorned a recent legislative proposal by South Dakota's U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds known as the U.S. Beef Integrity Act that makes changes to voluntary labeling, saying the proposal only addresses one of the numerous problems that have surfaced after Congress repealed the mandatory COOL law for beef in 2015.

"When a South Dakota rancher delivers calves to the auction yard or loads them in a truck for shipment to a buyer, he or she must have the assurance that the beef from those animals will be labeled as born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States.

"Only the full restoration of mandatory COOL for beef will provide that assurance and we must not accept anything less," he said.

Bullard said the Sens. Rounds and Thune proposal falls well short of this requirement and he urged the audience to instead support the resolution by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) that was filed in Washington, D.C. the morning of the convention.

The Tester resolution calls on Congress to reinstate County-of-Origin labeling for pork and beef to allow consumers to make an informed and free choice about where their food comes from.

Bullard said mandatory COOL is the only tool that producers have to compete against the growing tide of cheaper, undifferentiated beef and cattle that are imported into the U.S. market.

This is what our industry needs, and our industry must direct all of its resources to accomplish the full reinstatement of mandatory COOL.

He also said that opponents of mandatory COOL are experts at placating the industry with minimalist legislation that does not address the core problem and that the Sens. Rounds and Thune legislation was such an example because it only tweaks the current and ineffective voluntary COOL program.

Bullard's message was somewhat ominous as he said if the cattle producers in the room did not dig their heals in the ground and fight until they win their core issues, then only a handful of the children of the ranchers in the room would have the opportunity to carry on the ranching legacy in South Dakota.

"This is serious, it can no longer be business as usual," Bullard concluded.

U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Spike in September

U.S. farm bankruptcies in September surged 24% to the highest since 2011 amid strains from President Donald Trump's trade war with China and a year of wild weather.

According to Bloomberg, growers are also becoming increasingly dependent on trade aid and other federal programs for income, figures showed in a report by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation's largest general farm organization.

The squeeze on farmers underscores the toll China's retaliatory tariffs have taken on a critical Trump constituency as the president enters a re-election campaign and a fight to stave off impeachment. The figures also highlight the importance of a "phase one" deal the administration is currently negotiating with Beijing to increase agriculture imports in return for a pause in escalating U.S. levies.

Almost 40% of projected farm profit this year will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, federal subsidies and insurance payments, according to the report, based on Department of Agriculture forecasts. That's $33 billion of a projected $88 billion in income.

The trade war and two straight years of adverse weather rattled farmers already facing commodity price slumps.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings in the 12 months ended September rose to 580 from a year earlier. That marked the highest since 676 cases in 2011 under the chapter of the bankruptcy code tailored for farms. The total "remains well below" historical highs in the 1980s, the federation said.

Nebraska had three more Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings in September, bringing the year-to-date total to 35. That's eight more than all of last year and more than in any full year since 2003, Bloomberg reports.

Recent bankruptcies were concentrated in the 13-state Midwestern region, a key battleground in the presidential election where grain, soybean, hog and dairy farms have been hit by trade disputes. More than 40%, or 255 filings, were in the region.

Thursday October 31 Ag News

Researchers to tackle irrigation decision-making with help of USDA grant

A new grant that brings together researchers from Nebraska, Illinois and Princeton aims to bridge the gap between data-collection, modeling and decision-making so crop producers can more easily decide whether to irrigate. The project, funded by a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture program, could potentially save both financial and water resources.

The project includes three parts, the third in which Nebraska will serve as ground zero. Trenton Franz, Derek Heeren, and Daran Rudnick, all of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will work with partners and producers in the state to validate remotely-collected soil moisture and weather data and to inform the design of an end-product useful to producers’ decision-making.

Kaiyu Guan, remote-sensing specialist with the University of Illinois, is leading the project, with Franz and Ming Pan, associate research hydrologist at Princeton University, acting as institutional leads.

“We have remote-sensing, modeling, and in-field data, but we want to know how best to combine and use that data to make improved decisions about irrigation,” said Franz, an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources. “Right now the main problem is we don’t have great real-time irrigation data to help validate the remote sensing and modeling data to make it useful for decision making.”

Weather, soil, and irrigation data collected via unmanned aerial vehicles, airplanes or satellites have certain problems: inopportune cloud cover, time between Earth passes, the scale — hundreds or meters across rather than at the 10s of meters needed, all which hinder the ability to make an informed decision.

Farmers have their own set of barriers. As farms progressively get bigger — in some cases 50 to 60 miles across — it becomes impossible to check the entire farm for rainfall simultaneously. Factor in that it takes three to four days for a center pivot irrigation system to complete a cycle around the field, and the end result is farmers making decisions based on a five-day period of time with inaccurate or missing information.

“We’ve all driven by someone’s lawn or farm field and it’s raining, and we ask, ‘Why not just turn off the sprinkler or center pivot when it’s raining?’” Franz said. “The actual decision (for a farmer) is not very simple. The bottom line is if you turn off your sprinkler, and it didn’t rain and it’s the wrong time of year — that’s going to cost you a lot of money.” The crop won’t get enough moisture and yield will drop, resulting in lower income.

Farmers want to conserve water, he added, but unless a sound decision can be made quickly, they’ll make the safe decision and water the field.

The researchers will spend the next three years working to refine satellite-collected data so it can be incorporated into mathematical modeling to accurately represent daily weather, crop and irrigation information; and then validate those components through field-level monitoring.

The UNL team, members of SNR and the Biological Systems Engineering Department, will work with Nebraska stakeholders to install on-the-ground crop sensors measuring 40 variables, including rainfall, solar radiation and plant health. Those variables combined will provide a water and energy budget — the information the farmer needs to make a decision — and the researchers hope to develop that information into an app or other easily-accessible product.

“Once we disseminate that out through our networks, we hope to make it better with feedback from users and with more localized data,” Franz said, “because the project leaders can look at the app, but if it’s just us, it’s not useful.”

The Nature Conservancy, the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance, Nebraska Natural Resource Districts, and Nebraska Extension will partner on the project, with additional partners working with University of Illinois and Princeton University on data analysis and modeling methods.

The National Science Foundation, together with USDA-NIFA, is funding the research through the cyber-physical systems program.

Agricultural Land Management Quarterly Webinar Series

The Agricultural Land Management Quarterly webinar series will offer management advice and insight for Nebraska landowners, agricultural producers and others with an interest in agricultural land.

The first episode will examine recent trends in Nebraska cash rental rates and considerations for updating agricultural leases for 2019. Future episodes will address landlord-tenant communication, lease decision-making issues and seasonal lease considerations. The webinars will conclude with an “Ask the Experts” session where participants can get answers to their land or lease questions.

Fall Seminar
Monday November 18, 6:30 p.m. CT
-    Closing out the lease and harvest season
-    Fall and winter lease considerations
-    Ask the experts
-    Presenters: NE Extension Educators Jim Jansen and Allan Vyhnalek. 

Sign up here:

Nebraska Cattlemen Traceability Forum

November 14, 2019
Holiday Inn, Kearney, NE
Loper Hall - 9am - 3pm
*Onsite Registration begins at 8:45am

We would like to invite you to learn more about what is happening with traceability at the federal and state level. Hear from technology manufacturers, marketing programs and traceability pilot projects.

Topics and Speakers include:
-    The Federal Perspective, Dr. Sarah Tomlinson, Executive Director APHIS Veterinary Services, Technology and Analysis Services
-    The Nebraska State Perspective, Ross Baker, Animal Disease Traceability Coordinator
-    A State with Mandatory Identification Perspective, Dr. Dave Minier, Michigan State Veterinarian Department
-    The Nebraska Brand Committee Perspective, Danna Schwenk, Nebraska Brand Committee Project Coordinator
-    The Cattle Trace Pilot Project, Dr. Brandon Depenbusch
-    Using Block Chain to Market Cattle, Rob Jennings

Register here:

Iowa Farm Liquidity in Decline, Aside from Government Payments

Farm liquidity across Iowa has been in decline over the past several years, despite a slight increase in 2018.

A recent study of 214 mid-size Iowa farms, conducted by Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State University, found that 44% of the farms could be classified as having “vulnerable liquidity” in December 2018, while that percentage was just 31.3% in December 2014.

These results and more analysis are featured in the October edition of the Ag Decision Newsletter, in an article called “Farm liquidity slightly up, but still subdued.”

According to Plastina, farm liquidity improved slightly in 2018, mostly due to the $646 million Iowans received from Market Facilitation Program payments. However, he said the long-term trend, since 2014, has been one of significant decline.

“While liquidity improved slightly in 2018 due mostly to the MFP payments, the cumulative loss in working capital since 2014 averaged $189 per acre across the farms in my study,” Plastina said.

And, given the difficult growing season of this year, he expects 2019 financial numbers to be poor, as well.

“A massive number of delayed and prevented planting acres, low crop prices, reduced demand from biofuel refineries, and trade uncertainties in 2019 present a challenging liquidity scenario for farmers in Iowa,” Plastina said. “A new round of MFP payments will certainly help mitigate liquidity gaps this year, but the question remains on the sustainability of these payments through time.”

Farm profitability will be a priority issue at farm management meetings this fall and into the winter season.

ISU Extension and Outreach has more than 50 farm bill meetings planned, and dates have also been set for the Pro-Ag Outlook and Management Seminars, as well as the Ag Chemical Dealer meetings.

Nelson Family from Woodbury County to receive the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will present the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to cattle producer Eric Nelson and family. Naig will present the award on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. at the Moville Community Center at 815 Main Street Moville, IA 51039.

“Leaders in agriculture are not only implementing best practices on their farms, they are active in their communities and serve many organizations,” said Secretary Naig. “The Nelsons are great examples of leaders who take pride in caring for their cattle, their land and their community. They are deserving recipients of the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.”

Eric Nelson farms with his wife Carol, and children Mark, Matt, John, Paul and Sarah. The family has a cow-calf operation and feeds out cattle. The Nelsons have practiced continuous no-till since 1993 and know the importance of implementing conservation practices, including grass waterways and grass field borders where appropriate.

The Nelsons operate according to Beef Quality Assurance guidelines, knowing that a low-stress environment is best for raising cattle. They are also stewards of the land, using soil testing to determine nutrient needs and use this information to plan the timing and location of manure field applications.

Each member of the Nelson family is active in community organizations. Eric has served as the Woodbury Co. Farm Bureau president for the last three years, is an 11-year member of the Woodbury Central School Board and is currently Vice President of Siouxland Ag in the Classroom. Carol is a member of the Woodbury County Extension Council and board member of Moville Area Community Development Inc. Their children are also involved in numerous organizations. Mark is President of the Woodbury County Cattlemen and Treasurer of Woodbury County Farm Bureau. Mark’s wife, Melissa, is the Woodbury County Beef Team leader and a Siouxland Ag in the Classroom board member. John is a volunteer firefighter with the Moville Volunteer Fire Department. The family is involved with Immaculate Conception Church in Moville.

Seminars Educate Sonora Livestock Producers About Value Of U.S. DDGS

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is answering technical questions and sharing firsthand experience using U.S. dried distiller's grains with solubles (DDGS) with poultry, swine and beef producers in Sonora, Mexico. This work to encourage increased DDGS use is augmented by newly installed stingers that will make it easier for these producers to obtain DDGS from the United States.

Located south of the Arizona border, Sonora is a significant livestock production zone. It is the second-largest pork producing state in Mexico, including large-scale programs like breeding, fattening and processing. Overall, the state produces 229,600 metric tons of pork per year with 2 percent growth year-over-year. To do so, the pork producers union makes consolidated grain purchases for its members, using about 50,000 metric tons of feed grains monthly – 40 percent from the United States.

Sonora is also the third-largest egg-producing state in the country, with Sonora’s poultry association members using 20,000 metric tons of feed grains monthly to feed their 12 million layers. The region is also home to significant cattle production with 32,000 livestock producers grazing cattle and installed feedlot capacity for fattening 145,000 head per year.

“Sonora has strong demand potential for bulk DDGS,” Chavez said. “The economic and nutritional advantages of U.S. DDGS have sparked increased interest from all three of the major livestock production industries in the state.”

The combination of these industries and the state’s geographic proximity to the United States makes Sonora a prime destination for the Council’s market development work.

In the last year, the Council, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Regional Livestock Pork Producers Union of Sonora (Union) partnered to purchase hard car unloaders – known as “stingers” – for the Ciudad Obregon rail terminal in the state of Sonora, where U.S. DDGS will be stored and used. This new delivery option will also benefit the poultry and cattle industries in the region.

The Council is working to match the interest and new logistical advantages of the stinger installations with information and testimonials on DDGS use. A triad of seminars conducted in September answered questions for producers and promoted the advantages of using DDGS. Dr. Kevin Herrick, nutritionist and technical service director for Poet Nutrition, provided technical expertise, while Iowa farmer and swine producer Bob Hemesath also provided his firsthand perspective on feeding DDGS to his hogs and updated the groups on the current year’s corn crop.

The first seminar reinforced the benefits of DDGS to the poultry producers association. Approximately 70 percent of the association’s membership already uses DDGS, so this seminar answered more technical questions on usage and encouraged higher inclusion rates. The second seminar targeted swine producers, allowing Hemesath to make an even larger impact by discussing his use of DDGS at a 40 percent inclusion rate and feeding until slaughter.

“Dr. Herrick’s presentation was geared toward giving more confidence in using DDGS for swine and backing up Hemesath’s personal good experience feeding DDGS to his hogs,” Chavez said. “This was exactly the information the audience was waiting to hear.”

The third and final presentation was designed for members of the regional cattle feeders association. This seminar included robust discussion of costs, antibiotics use and how to push maximum inclusion levels.

The Council will continue to work with the poultry, swine and cattle livestock associations to answer further questions, especially as the new rail options for DDGS delivery come into active operation.

“It is imperative that these livestock associations have access to nutritional experts to help them in incorporating DDGS into their feed rations and troubleshoot any issues,” Chavez said. “The Council will remain active in this region as these three different industries all gain their own experience with the advantages of feeding DDGS to their animals.”

Women in Ag Survey Reveals Business Acumen and Leadership

Women are active advocates for agriculture and successful business owners interested in filling leadership roles, according to a new Farm Bureau survey. A majority of those surveyed, 91%, also believe there should be more women in leadership roles in the industry. More than 3,000 women completed the informal survey online, which was conducted to determine the goals and achievements of women in agriculture.

“Women play a vital role in modern farming and ranching,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “We hope to use the survey results to drive our program of work and also to give women their voice and help them make even more of an impact in their communities.”

More than 50% of women surveyed have started their own business that’s still in operation; 25% have not started a business but indicated they would like to do so in the future. Respondents cited prioritizing and finding time to accomplish tasks, acquiring financial support and marketing plan development as their top business challenges.

Respondents ranked communicating effectively, inspiring and motivating others, and managing conflict among the most important leadership skills for women in agriculture.

Another topline finding of the survey was that 75% of respondents are leaders at the local level, 50% are leaders at the state level and 26% are leaders at the national level.

All women who are farmers, ranchers, farm/ranch employees, employed in agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education or supportive of agriculture in other ways were invited to participate in the survey.

Full survey results, including comparisons to the initial “Women in Ag” survey (conducted in 2015), are available online at

New Voluntary Performance Standards for Pork Plants

Meat processing has come a long way since the early 1900s, when packing plants were graphically depicted in Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle. Since that time, meat inspectors, safety precautions for workers, the use of better technology and higher food-safety standards have arguably made the U.S. food supply the safest in the world. However, there is always room for improvement, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) intends to propose new, voluntary performance standards for pork.

The final rule for the Modernized Hog Slaughter Plan was published October 1, and one of its goals is to align hog slaughter inspection with hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles. It will also allow market hog slaughter establishments to operation under the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS).

Under the plan, all swine slaughter establishments must develop written sanitary dressing plans and implement microbial sampling to monitor process control. Pork sampling will increase in FY2020 and inspectors will stop testing for STEC. However, FSIS will partner with Agricultural Research Service to study STEC in pork.

“Modernization moves inspection away from the traditional control and command approach,” said Captain Kis Robertson Hale, DVM, with the U.S. Public Health Service post at FSIS, during the 2019 annual meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association this week. Hale explained that under the new rule, plant employees will do two points of sampling, one at the beginning and one at the end, giving plants the options for indicator product sampling.

The biggest thing that has been a source of question is the new swine inspection system.

NSIS requirements for sorting state that establishment personnel are responsible for sorting and removing unfit animals before ante mortem inspection, as well as for identifying and trimming defects on carcasses and parts before postmortem inspection. FSIS will continue to do all the inspections it has done in the past, but sorting will be the responsibility of establishment personnel.
“It shifts agency resources so we can do inspections more efficiently,” Hale said.

Establishment personal will be responsible for: Identifying with a unique tag, tattoo, or similar device animals or carcasses that have been sorted or removed for disposal prior to inspection, and; developing, implementing and maintaining written procedures in its HACCP system to ensure unfit animals or carcasses are properly disposed.

Plants will determine line speed

The new standard authorizes establishments to determine their own line speeds based on their ability to maintain process control. This area has received a lot of attention, Hale said, but the important point is the plant’s ability to maintain process control.

“There is still 100% carcass-by-carcass inspection so it isn’t practical to have excessively high speeds. However, inspectors are empowered to slow the lines,” Hale said.

“Back in the day, the speed was set on what food inspectors needed to conduct their tasks. Since then, advancements in science and technology have refined our understanding about line speed requirements. We are still very much focused on hazard reduction,” she added.

Under NSIS, inspectors will be able to conduct more verification tasks that are associated with better food-safety outcomes.

“Science has been the driving force of where we are with pork sampling and slaughter inspection. By increasing industry accountability for pathogen reduction, improvements to food safety are expected,” Hale said. “It’s amazing how many illnesses have been averted by going with a HAACP approach.”

Swine Fever Could Kill Quarter of Pigs

(AP) -- Around a quarter of the world's pigs are expected to die from African swine fever as authorities grapple with a complex disease spreading rapidly in the globalization era, the World Organization for Animal Health's president said Thursday.

A sharp reduction in the world's pig population would lead to possible food shortages and high pork prices, and it might also cause shortfalls in the many products made from pigs, such as the blood-thinner heparin that's used in people, said Dr. Mark Schipp, the organization's president.

The disease's spread in the past year to countries including China, which has half the world's pigs, had inflamed a worldwide crisis, Schipp told reporters at a briefing in Sydney.

"I don't think the species will be lost, but it's the biggest threat to the commercial raising of pigs we've ever seen," he said. "And it's the biggest threat to any commercial livestock of our generation."

African swine fever, fatal to hogs but no threat to humans, has wiped out pig herds in many Asian countries. Chinese authorities have destroyed about 1.2 million pigs in an effort to contain the disease there since August 2018.

The price of pork has nearly doubled from a year ago in China, which produces and consumes two-thirds of the world's pork. And China's efforts to buy pork abroad, as well as smaller outbreaks in other countries, are pushing up global prices.

"There are some shortages in some countries, and there's been some substitutions using other sources of protein, which is driving up the prices of other proteins," said Schipp.

Progress had been made toward a vaccine, but Schipp, who is also Australia's chief veterinary officer, said the work was challenging because the virus itself is large and has a complex structure. He said a big step forward was the announcement last week that scientists had unraveled the 3D structure of the virus.

African swine fever is spread by contact among pigs, through contaminated fodder and by ticks. It originated in South Africa and appeared in Europe in in the 1960s. A recent reappearance in western Europe came from wild pigs transferred into Belgian forests for hunting purposes.

Its capacity to spread rapidly is shown by its spread from China in the past year, Schipp said. Mongolia, the Korean Peninsula, Southeast Asia and East Timor have had outbreaks as well.

He said the spread reflects the global movement of pork and of people but also the effect of tariffs and trade barriers, which sends those obtaining pork to seek out riskier sources. And Schipp said quality control was difficult for products such as skins for sausages, salamis and similar foods.

"Those casing products move through multiple countries," he said. "They're cleaned in one, graded in another, sorted in another, partially treated in another, and finally treated in a fourth of fifth country. They've very hard to trace, through so many countries."

An emerging issue in the crisis is a potential heparin shortage, Schipp said.

"Most of it is sourced from China, which has been badly hit. There are concerns that this will threaten the global supply of heparin," Schipp said.

He praised China's efforts to battle the disease and said the outbreaks would change the way pigs are raised.

"In China, previously they had a lot of backyard piggeries. They're seeing this as an opportunity to take a big step forward and move to large scale commercial piggeries," Schipp said. "The challenge will be to other countries without the infrastructure or capital reserves to scale up in those ways."

ADM Reports Third Quarter Earnings of $0.72 per Share, $0.77 per Share on an Adjusted Basis

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today reported financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

“We delivered solid third quarter results, consistent with the perspectives we provided last quarter, despite a difficult external environment,” said Chairman and CEO Juan Luciano. “We maintained our focus on serving our customers and advancing our strategic goals, and continued to realize the benefits of the actions that we took earlier this year.

“We are excited about our strategic growth activities, and particularly our participation and leadership in major global trends such as flexitarian diets, nutrition for health, and sustainable materials. We have invested in assets, platforms and technological capabilities to serve and grow with our customers, who are embracing these market-changing trends.

“While external conditions for certain businesses may remain fluid and potentially challenging in the near term, our growing leadership position in major global trends, and our strength in innovation, efficiency, and customer service, position us well for stronger results in 2020 and beyond.”

Third Quarter 2019 Highlights
•  Net earnings of $407 million
•  Earnings per share:  $0.72  ($0.94 last year)

Results of Operations

Ag Services & Oilseeds results were lower than the third quarter of 2018, which benefited from very strong crush margins.
-    Ag Services results were in line with the prior-year quarter. In South America, results were up on improved origination margins in Brazil and increased export volumes from Argentina. In North America, improved merchandising results from favorable ownership positions helped offset a continued challenging volume and margin environment for U.S. exports.
-    In Crushing, results were lower year over year. Crush margins globally were substantially below the record high levels seen in 2018, though still solid in North America and EMEA. In South America, margins were pressured by continued strong exports of soybeans to China. Global crush margins benefited from positive net timing effects of approximately $50 million during the third quarter.
-    Refined Products and Other results were significantly higher than the third quarter of 2018, largely driven by significant improvements in Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts.

Carbohydrate Solutions results were substantially lower than the year-ago period.
-    Starches and Sweeteners results were down versus the third quarter of 2018. Results in North America were affected by higher net corn costs partly offset by lower manufacturing costs, which included improvements at the Decatur corn complex. EMEA results were impacted by lower selling prices and continued pressure from Turkish sweetener quotas. In wheat milling, an increase in sales volumes was more than offset by lower margins due to limited opportunities in wheat procurement.
-    Bioproducts results were significantly lower, driven by a continued unfavorable margin environment in the ethanol industry.

Nutrition results were substantially higher.
-    WFSI results were significantly higher than the prior-year quarter, with growth across the portfolio. Higher sales and margins globally led to record quarterly results for WILD. In Specialty Ingredients, the protein business continued to expand amid the growing consumer market for alternative proteins. Continued contributions from growth investments in bioactives and fibers benefited the Health & Wellness business.
-    Animal Nutrition results were up year over year, driven largely by contributions from Neovia. Improvements in vitamin additives also helped contribute to positive results. Lysine production improved, though pricing was negatively impacted by lower global demand.

NCBA Announces Finalists for National Anthem Contest

Four finalists have been announced for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s seventh annual National Anthem Singing Contest. The winner will receive a trip to the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show Feb. 5-7 to perform the Star Spangled Banner at the event’s Opening General Session Feb. 5 as well as the Friday Night NCBA PBR Invitational Event Feb. 7. The contest is sponsored by Norbrook.

The four finalists are:
Courtney Stefan, Hallettsville, Texas
Anna Kelsey, Tecumseh, Oklahoma
Sara Schlickau, Manhattan, Kansas
Lauren McCarthy, Reno, Nevada

Everyone will be able to vote for their favorite singer Nov. 1-15. One vote per day will be offered to each IP address. The winner will be announced Nov. 18, 2019.

The contest winner will receive a hotel room for four nights, free convention registration for two, a meet-and-greet hosted by Norbrook, plus a pair of boots, pair of jeans and a shirt from Roper or Stetson.

The videos of the top four finalists are available for voting on the convention website at Voting is being counted by an independent firm and will be open from Nov. 1, 2019 to Nov. 15, 2019 (one vote per IP address per day).

Beef Quality Assurance Campaign Seeks Greater Understanding of Industry Efforts

About 85 percent of U.S. beef today comes from Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified farmers or ranchers. But do American consumers know that? Just as important, do they know what BQA is – and what it stands for?

Those are the kinds of questions a new Beef Checkoff-funded campaign from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a Beef Checkoff contractor, is addressing. Its goal is to bridge the gap between what the industry is doing to produce high-quality beef in a humane, environmentally friendly way, and what consumers know about those efforts.

The new campaign, designed to meet the consumer’s desire to learn more about how beef is produced, kicked off in October with a series of videos from Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. that bring the BQA program to life by highlighting how cattle farmers and ranchers across the country raise cattle under BQA guidelines.

The videos and corresponding audio clips will be used to advertise on platforms including YouTube, Hulu, Pandora and Spotify and will also be made available on a new BQA section of Consumers will also learn more about BQA through interactive “BQ&A” Instagram stories that address common questions about how cattle are raised. The video, website and social activations provide consumers with an overview of the BQA program and the ongoing commitment of cattle farmers and ranchers to care for their animals and provide the safest and highest quality beef possible.

In addition to the digital marketing and social activations, media sources, such as Bloomberg, Reuters, USA Today and others will be introduced to BQA, and influencers and beef advocates will share BQA information with their audiences.

“The campaign expands the reach of a traditionally producer-facing program,” says Josh White, executive director of producer education at NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “Beef farmers and ranchers are committed to not only caring for their animals and the environment in which they do that, they are dedicated to delivering the safest and highest quality beef possible,” he says. “At the same time, research shows that consumers want to know more about how and where their food is raised. This new effort shares information about the program with consumers in a way that benefits both producers and those who enjoy their beef.”
Producer Support

U.S. beef producers who have embraced BQA are encouraged by this step to get the message to those who buy beef.

“I’m so excited about BQA becoming a consumer-facing program,” says Kim Brackett, a cow-calf producer whose operation sits on the Idaho/Oregon border. “The average consumer does not know what is happening in our industry. This is going to help reassure them as they’re making their purchasing decisions.”

Brackett and her husband, Ira, have four children who will be the sixth generation involved in cattle production. She got involved in BQA about 15 years ago and helped get it going in her area. A former chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, she is currently the vice chairman of NCBA’s BQA advisory group. Brackett says being open with consumers is key to industry success.

“We’re living in a transparent world,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard to make the connections we need with our customers and BQA helps bridge that gap.”

Brandi Karisch, beef cattle extension specialist at Mississippi State University, says as a mother of two young children she sees the problem frequently.

“In talking with other moms, it’s kind of shocking some of the things they believe,” she says. “There’s just a lot of bad information out there. Now is an important time to correct that,” she says.

After completing her undergraduate work at LSU, Karisch went on to get her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and is now the co-coordinator of the BQA program in Mississippi. Karisch grew up in Southern Louisiana on a small purebred cow-calf operation and says timing for the new campaign couldn’t be better.

“BQA is one of our shining moments as a beef industry. It’s really important for consumers to hear about it,” she says.

“The Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. brand provides a tremendous foundation for this effort,” says Alisa Harrison, NCBA senior vice president for global marketing. “For more than a quarter century, consumers have come to know and respect Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. and this is the next step in helping consumers understand how beef is produced.”

Harrison says the primary audience for the new campaign will be older millennial parents. To all consumers, however, the messages will be transparent and open, featuring the point that cattle are safely, humanely and sustainably raised. 

“There’s so much negative media and noise out there, any reassurance we can provide, that only helps,” says Brackett. The fact that information is continually updated and kept fresh is also a positive, she says. “Producers themselves are in charge. It’s very attainable,” she says.

Karisch agrees. “Producers always have a voice in BQA, and that’s important,” she says.
A Bigger and Better Program

Participation in BQA by farmers and ranchers continues to grow as certifications, including dairy and youth facing programs, recently surpassed the 350,000 mark. Throughout the country producers are becoming BQA-certified through in-person and online training. Certified farmers and ranchers must be re-certified every three years.

Online BQA training provides 24/7 access to the program through a series of videos and animations in the areas of cow-calf, stocker/backgrounder and feedyard. In-person training is available through sessions conducted by hundreds of in-state BQA coordinators throughout the country. The certifications are also available in Spanish.

Doing the Right Thing
Bottom line, BQA encourages proper animal care, and consumers should feel good knowing there’s a national program in place that sets consistent animal welfare and care standards across the beef industry.

“BQA helps us be better stewards of animals and the land,” says Karisch. “That’s really the key.

“But there’s a lot of noise out there about animal welfare. That creates a lot of bad vibes for the cattle industry.”

Those are vibes the industry can’t afford, Karisch says. “I don’t want people thinking bad things about our industry,” she says. “Some of the finest people I know are in the cattle business. And we really are doing things right.”

Wednesday October 30 Ag News


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has entered into an education compact with six other Nebraska institutions to meet the education needs of youth and lifelong learners in northeast Nebraska and contribute to workforce and talent development to support economic growth strategies in agriculture and natural resources.

The Northeast Nebraska Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Compact was signed during a ceremony Oct. 29 at Wayne Junior/Senior High School in Wayne. In addition to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Nebraska, others signing the compact were Little Priest Tribal College, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Nebraska Indian Community College, Northeast Community College, Wayne Community Schools and Wayne State College.

“This compact will leverage the combined strength of the involved institutions to improve college and career readiness, educational attainment, and community and economic vitality and growth in the region,” said CASNR Dean Tiffany Heng-Moss. “I look forward to working with our partners to co-create educational solutions for northeast Nebraska.”

Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Nebraska, said: “Over the past few years, IANR has engaged in many great conversations with the 217,000 people that call northeast Nebraska home. These conversations were critical to shaping our collaborative efforts with compact partners on issues that matter to the success of our students and lifelong learners and the vitality of our communities.”

The goals of the compact include providing education platforms for the continuum of learners in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems that align with career opportunities for an evolving workforce for communities. This will include developing an inventory of formal and nonformal agriculture and natural resources education programming, establishing an open-access database of curricula for K-12 and nonformal learners, and designing education platforms for the continuum of learners that align with labor market demand for agriculture and natural resources.

In response to the increased need for highly qualified K-12 agricultural science and STEM educators, the compact will establish professional-development programs and workshops for nonformal educators, and align STEM teacher preparation programs and curricula with agriculture and natural resources systems. The institutions will establish a northeast Nebraska teacher network program for STEM and ag educators. There’s also an opportunity to leverage partnerships and programming offered by educational entities such as Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Department of Education, Ag in the Classroom, educational service units and Nebraska’s agricultural commodity groups.

The institutions will also explore strategies to remove barriers for learners to seamlessly transfer among post-secondary institutions. This will involve a review of curricula, enhanced collaboration among academic and career advisers, and the creation of pathways that are linked to agriculture and natural resource workforce needs in the area.

Compact partners aim to boost workforce development solutions for agriculture and natural resources industries in the region through several strategies, which include an external labor market demand analysis for the agriculture and natural resources industries in northeast Nebraska. Skills, programming, competencies and credentials offered by the partners will be aligned with the demand in the labor market. Additionally, compact institutions will partner with ongoing workforce development efforts in the region.

“This is about preparing the next generation of problem-solvers, innovators and leaders in resilient food, energy, water and societal systems,” Heng-Moss said.

2019 Research Symposium

Scott Merritt, Nebraska Agri-Business Association

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

Research Symposium is on Friday, November 22, 2019, at the Holthus Convention Center in York, NE.  Registration will begin at 8:00 am, with speakers starting at 8:30 am. It will be 2 Crop Management, 2 Pest Management, 2 Nutrient Management and 2 Soil and Water CEU's.

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

The cost of registration covers rolls & coffee, lunch, and all speaker handouts. A registration form is included for you to register for Research Symposium or you can register online at

Please contact Sarah Skirry at or (402) 476-1528 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in York at this year's Research Symposium!

Lindsay Corporation Reports Fiscal 2019 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Lindsay Corporation, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of irrigation and infrastructure equipment and technology, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended August 31, 2019.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year Summary

Revenues for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 were $101.9 million, a decrease of $21.4 million, or 17 percent, compared to revenues of $123.3 million in the prior year fourth quarter. Approximately $18.7 million of the decrease in revenues was attributable to previously announced business divestitures in the irrigation segment that were part of the Company's Foundation for Growth initiative. Net earnings for the quarter were $1.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $5.0 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the same period in the prior year. Net earnings for the quarter adjusted to eliminate (i) costs associated with the Foundation for Growth initiative, and (ii) a valuation adjustment for indirect tax credits in a foreign jurisdiction were $5.8 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net earnings of $4.5 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, for the same period in the prior year.1

Total revenues for the year ended August 31, 2019 were $444.1 million, a decrease of $103.6 million, or 19 percent, compared to revenues of $547.7 million in the prior year. Approximately $78.1 million of the decrease in revenues was attributable to business divestitures in the irrigation segment that were part of the Company's Foundation for Growth initiative. Net earnings for the year were $2.2 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $20.3 million, or $1.88 per diluted share, in the prior year. Net earnings for the year adjusted to eliminate (i) costs associated with the Foundation for Growth initiative, and (ii) a valuation adjustment for indirect tax credits in a foreign jurisdiction were $15.6 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net earnings of $31.6 million, or $2.94 per diluted share, in the prior year.1

"The decrease in irrigation segment revenues for the year and quarter resulted primarily from the business divestitures that were part of our strategy to simplify the business and improve operating margin. In addition, challenging market conditions have persisted in our core irrigation equipment markets," said Tim Hassinger, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Solid fourth quarter results in our infrastructure segment reflect the progress we are making in our strategy to grow the Road Zipper® business."

Lindsay Corporation Announces Quarterly Dividend

Lindsay Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.31 per share, payable November 29, 2019, to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 15, 2019.  At October 24, 2019, Lindsay Corporation had approximately 10.8 million shares outstanding, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNN.

Controversy reigns over Animal RFID, ICON has many concerns

In the face of criticism about a plan to require electronic identification of cattle and bison, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has removed its description of the national livestock identification plan from its website.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service removed the guidance document and factsheet from its website, saying “it is no longer representative of current policy.”

It is not yet clear that the plan has been discontinued, however. Apparently, states can still require electronic, Radio Frequency ID tags. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 10 that it will discontinue providing free metal tags to cattlemen as of Dec. 31. There is no record that plan has been rescinded.  

The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska continue to have concerns about the program, which would gradually eliminate the existing ID system and mandate the use of RFID tags for cows and bulls in 2023. The program would have questionable effectiveness, impose substantial costs and burdens, and jeopardize the privacy of business records that are kept by the owners of cattle herds.

ICON learned of the USDA plan in February. Alerted to the situation by veterinarian and ICON member Dr. Don Cain of Broken Bow, ICON notified other independent cattle producer groups, including the Rancher’s Cattlemen Action Legal Fund / United Stockgrowers of America, and initiated talks with the Nebraska legislature’s agriculture committee.

The USDA guidance document stated that USDA would require the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tags on all adult cattle and bison moved in interstate commerce, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, thereby affecting all cattle.

In June, ICON resolved to support metal ear tags and/or hot-iron brands as official and primary forms of ID of cattle, and opposed the efforts to make RFID tagging of cattle mandatory. The full text of the ICON resolution is below. 

In a related development, on Oct. 4 R-CALF USA filed a lawsuit against the USDA, claiming the RFID mandate is unlawful on Constitutional grounds. The lawsuit asserts that a “guidance” document cannot legally be used to nullify a 2013 animal identification agreement, because it was a properly adopted regulation authorized by Congress.

On Oct. 8, President Donald J. Trump joined the outcry. He issued executive order 13892 for federal agencies such as the USDA to not use guidance documents to impose legally binding obligations on U.S. citizens. 

Currently, the U.S. cattle industry has highly effective traceability systems that make the U.S. cattle industry’s disease resistance capabilities the envy of the world, say ICON President Jim Dinklage and R-CALF USA Executive Director Bill Bullard.

The 2013 U.S. “Traceability of Livestock Moving Interstate” regulation allows producers to use effective animal identification techniques and devices that have been used for more than 100 years, including brands, tattoos, permanent metal ear tags, group/lot identification and backtags on animals destined for harvest.

NCBA Applauds Introduction of Hours of Service Legislation

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation by U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (D – 2nd Dist., Minn.) and Lloyd Smucker (R - 11th Dist., Penn.) that would provide flexible and common-sense relief from Hours of Service (HOS) rules for agricultural haulers.

The Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination (TREAD) Act would ensure that the current Hours of Service exemption that applies to the 150-air-mile radius from the source of an agricultural commodity adds the same 150 air mile radius flexibility to the back end of a trip, or the destination.  The bill also clarifies that this exemption would apply in every state year-round, as agriculture and specifically livestock move across this country every day.

“Agricultural haulers – and especially livestock haulers – face very unique challenges that haulers in other industries don’t face, and this bill recognizes that need,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “On behalf of America’s cattle producers, I want to thank Representatives Craig, Smucker, and all the other original co-sponsors for their leadership on this issue and working towards needed flexibility within Hours of Service for our livestock haulers.”

Voluntary Labeling Dilutes Efforts to Fully Restore Mandatory COOL for Beef

In their 2017 country-of-origin labeling (COOL) lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), R-CALF USA and the Cattle Producers of Washington alleged the agency's COOL regulations for imported beef were inconsistent with the long-standing Tariff Act of 1930. The Tariff Act requires imported beef sold in the United States to retain its foreign country-of-origin label to the consumer, such as "Product of Uruguay," unless the beef is substantially transformed in the United States after importation and before sale to consumers.

According to R-CALF USA, however, when the USDA wrote its regulation known as the 1989 Foreign Products Rule, it conveniently omitted the substantial transformation standard. As a result, the USDA determined it has the authority to allow imported beef to be mislabeled as a USA product if it is subject to even minimal processing, such as unwrapping and rewrapping.

Based on its interpretation of the 1989 Foreign Products Rule, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued its Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book that currently allows the mislabeling of foreign beef even when no substantial transformation occurs.

According to R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard, "Merely correcting the USDA's inappropriate standard for determining what beef is eligible for a "Product of USA" label will not restore the level of product differentiation that United States cattle producers need to distinguish their superior beef product from foreign beef products in the marketplace.

"For that they need full restoration of mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (mCOOL), and nothing less," he said.

The mCOOL law passed in 2002 sent the 1989 Foreign Products Rule into hibernation for over a decade. The mCOOL law superseded the old rule by requiring imported beef to retain its foreign label through retail sale, meaning all the way to the consumer. It also required all beef processed in the U.S. to be labeled as to where the cattle were born, raised, and slaughtered.

The mCOOL law, therefore, prevented meat merely packaged in the U.S. from being labeled "Made in the USA" and "Product of the USA," and ensured that imported beef would be labeled "Product of Uruguay," "Product of Australia" or the like. Importantly, for beef slaughtered in the U.S., general origin labels were replaced with the more accurate labels denoting where the beef had been born, raised, and slaughtered.  For example: "Born, Raised, and Slaughtered in the United States," or "Born in Mexico, Raised and Slaughtered in the United States."

Bullard said the mCOOL law provided the level of product differentiation that U.S. cattle producers need to effectively compete against cheaper foreign beef by:
-    requiring all packers to inform retailers and consumers as to where beef from cattle slaughtered in the United States was born, raised, and slaughtered.
-    requiring all imported beef to retain its foreign label through retail sale.

"Without these two important elements, U.S. producers will not be able to effectively compete against imported beef," he said.

Bullard said efforts focused only on fixing the interpretation of the 1989 Foreign Products Rule by establishing a voluntary U.S. label for products born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States fall well short of what the U.S. cattle industry needs to effectively compete against imports of both beef and cattle.

"The first insurmountable problem with such an effort is that it establishes a voluntary labeling regime for big meatpackers who have clearly signaled they don't want to differentiate products based on origin.

"The second problem is that it does not require any of the three billion pounds of annually imported beef or the beef from the two million head of imported cattle each year to be labeled as to origin.

"The third problem, and perhaps the most important, is that it redirects the industry's limited resources away from efforts to fully restore mCOOL and may permanently prevent our industry from fully restoring mCOOL for beef."

Bullard said the sudden push to address only the FSIS standard for authorizing voluntary labeling is a classic strategy of divide and conquer.

"R-CALF USA will not be distracted by such an effort and remains steadfast in its strategy to build support for legislation, either stand-alone or within the ongoing USMCA (U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement), to fully restore mCOOL for beef, and we'll stop at nothing less," he concluded.

Most Fertilizer Prices Continue to Fall

While the prices of most fertilizers tracked by DTN continued to fall in the fourth week of October, for the first time in more than two months, the price of one fertilizer increased.  Prior to last week, all eight fertilizer prices had fallen for nine consecutive weeks.

In this latest update, five of the eight prices tracked by DTN continued to fall from the previous month. DAP led the way with a $14-per-ton decrease to $465/ton compared to $479/ton one month ago. Anhydrous saw its price fall from $511/ton to $507/ton in this update.

UAN28's price fell from $254/ton last month to $251/ton, followed by MAP with a drop from $475/ton to $473/ton. The potash price fell by $1 to $383 per ton.

UAN32 reported the only price increase from $289/ton to $291/ton for this update. UAN32's highest price so far this year was $320 at the end of July into early August.

The prices of urea and 10-34-0 remain unchanged at $404/ton and $471/ton, respectively.

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

With prices significantly lower in recent months, three fertilizers' prices are lower than one year ago. MAP is now 9% less expensive, DAP is 7% lower and urea is a fraction of 1% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining five major fertilizers are slightly higher compared to last year. Potash is 5% more expensive, UAN28, UAN32 and 10-34-0 are all 3% more expensive, while anhydrous is 2% more expensive than one year ago.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/25/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Oct. 25, ethanol production expanded 8,000 b/d or 0.8% to 1.004 million barrels per day (b/d), equivalent to 42.17 million gallons daily and the first time in six weeks that production has topped 1 million b/d. However, production was 5.2% below the same week a year ago and 4.9% below the level two years ago. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.2% to 984,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.08 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks pared back 1.2% to 21.1 million barrels, the smallest volume in two years. Inventories were 7.2% lower than the same week last year. Stocks fell across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2).

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 53,000 b/d, or 15.58 million gallons for the week. This was the second consecutive week of imports, up from 28,000 b/d. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market rose 2.0% to a seven-week high of 9.784 million b/d (410.9 million gallons per day, or 149.99 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 0.9% to 936,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.35 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production decreased to 10.26%.

ICGA: EPA’s Proposed Rule is a Trick, Not a Treat

Today, Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Jim Greif testified at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing on the supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

 In this proposed rule, the EPA did not implement details that were discussed and outlined by President Trump only eleven days before the rule was released. Farmers and ethanol producers were promised the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) would be upheld by reallocating small refinery exemptions based on an average of actual waived gallons from the three previous compliance years. This proposed rule falls short of the RFS statute that provides for 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended. The EPA’s rule would use the Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations which the EPA has historically not followed.

“The language in this proposal is a trick, not a treat,” said ICGA President and farmer from Monticello Jim Greif. “By following DOE suggestions, rather than actual numbers, farmers may only get back half of the demand destruction that EPA actually grants in future years. This means 580 million gallons of biofuel demand will be waived annually that is completely unaccounted for – roughly eliminating the ethanol production capacity of the entire state of Wisconsin. In corn numbers, this means 203 million bushels of corn demand will continue to be eliminated annually – that’s like eliminating all of the corn acres in the entire state of Colorado.”

Quite simply, this proposal destroys corn demand and does not uphold the integrity of the RFS or follow the law. ICGA is urging members to submit a comment through their Call to Action on EPA’s proposed rule before the Nov. 29 comment period deadline.

NCGA to EPA: Good Intentions Don’t Provide Certainty

Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Ethanol Action Team member Brian Thalmann today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the law and accurately account for expected refinery waivers in the 2020 RFS volume rule.

Thalmann testified at an EPA hearing to review the agency’s supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking.

“We’re in the thick of harvest and, quite frankly, I would rather be in the field. But the issue we’re discussing today is too important to corn farmers like me not to be here. I have a simple message - when it comes the Renewable Fuel Standard, we need EPA to follow the law. As farmers, we follow rules put in place by state and federal agencies, including the EPA. We are simply asking EPA to do the same for us,” Thalmann said.

Today’s hearing follows an October 4 announcement from President Trump directing the EPA to follow the letter of the law and keep the RFS whole by using the three-year average of renewable fuel gallons actually waived by the EPA to account for waivers going forward. EPA, however, is now proposing to account for waivers based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recommendations, rather than the actual gallons waived by EPA. EPA has consistently waived nearly twice as much as DOE has recommended.

“Good intentions don’t provide certainty. Without a binding commitment that the RFS will be kept whole, this rule gives EPA free rein to change direction any time,” Thalmann said.

Corn farmers are encouraged to contact the EPA and tell the Agency to follow through on the President’s commitment to farmers and the RFS. The comment period closes November 29.

Growth Energy Calls on EPA to Fix Flawed Proposal

Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor testified before U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials at a hearing on the agency’s proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Skor, whose organization represents more than half of U.S. ethanol production, called on EPA to fix this flawed draft proposal and reverse the demand destruction that has shuttered biofuel plants across the heartland.

“As drafted, EPA’s plan fails to accurately account for lost gallons and betrays President Trump’s promise to rural America,” testified Skor. “It cuts the fix we were promised in half, if not more, and destroys what may be our last chance to bring back the ethanol plants that have shut down and help ease the burden facing American farmers.”

To begin repairing the damage, Skor called on the EPA to uphold the president’s commitment to farmers and biofuel workers.

“Midwestern lawmakers and governors have seen the damage firsthand and worked with the president to secure a deal that would start to undo the damage – a deal that would honor this administration’s commitments to farmers, biofuel producers, rural America, as well as small refineries. But instead, the EPA has undercut the president’s promise and has yet again tilted the table in favor of the nation’s largest oil companies – all at the expense of the American farmer.”

Among other changes, she urged regulators to use the rolling average of actual exempted volumes from the three most recently completed compliance years in the final rule, as promised by the administration. She also called on the agency to formally bind itself to the revised methodology for future years and expedite work to remove additional barriers to the sale of E15.

“EPA must fix this rule immediately by properly accounting for exempted gallons and restoring lost demand. American biofuel producers and farmers cannot afford anything less,” concluded Skor.

Growth Energy member and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis shared a similar message with lawmakers yesterday, during a House hearing entitled, "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers." Nieuwenhuis, who also is farmer near Primghar, Iowa, discussed the devastating impact of the EPA’s actions, which forced dozens of plants like Siouxland Energy to idle production or close their doors over the last year.

RFA to EPA: RFS Proposal Fails on Several Levels

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper Wednesday morning told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that its weak proposal to counter the damaging effects of small refinery exemptions from the obligations of the Renewable Fuel Standard would simply not do the job it has been promised to do.

“This proposal fails to reflect the letter and spirit of the president’s commitment to restore integrity to the RFS, fails to assure that the statutorily-required 15-billion-gallon level for conventional biofuels will be met, and fails to restore stability in the marketplace by definitively ending the practice of allowing small refinery exemptions from eroding RFS biofuel demand,” Cooper said in testimony at an EPA field hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

In his testimony, Cooper recounted the impact of the waiver, with lost demand leading to the closure or idling of 19 ethanol plants and the decimation of RIN prices – blending credits that measure the success of the RFS program and the ethanol industry.

“RFA does not oppose the granting of small refiner waivers to any company that can demonstrate it is being harmed by the RFS,” Cooper said. “We do believe this is a high bar, however, particularly as RIN prices have fallen precipitously and EPA itself has concluded the cost of RIN compliance is recovered in the market. Indeed, we believe it highly unlikely any company is being negatively impacted by the RFS today.”

Cooper also explained why the new supplemental proposal won’t succeed. EPA bases on the average of what the Department of Energy has recommended for waivers, not the waivers actually granted—and the formers is significantly less than the latter.

“The problem with this proposal is that EPA has seldom followed DOE’s recommendations in deciding SRE petitions,” he said. “For the 2016-2018 compliance years, DOE on average recommended that 7.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel be exempted from RFS obligations, but EPA actually exempted an average of 12.8 billion gallons–75% more.”

EPA will be accepting public comment on the supplemental proposal until Nov. 29.

ACE urges EPA to stop riding the brakes on the RFS and go back to original deal during public hearing

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings testified today during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed supplemental rulemaking to its proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The proposal seeks comment on “projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions (SREs) on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DoE), including where DoE had recommended partial exemptions.” Despite earlier promises EPA would reallocate SREs in 2020 based on the average of actual gallons waived from 2016 to 2018, the Agency proposed to take this bizarre and never-before mentioned approach which undercounts past SREs and falls short of ensuring 15 billion gallons of ethanol blending for 2020.

Jennings’ testimony emphasized three areas in which the proposal fell short which will be detailed in ACE’s written comments, including that the proposed rule (1) does nothing to reallocate the 85 SREs from 2016 through 2018 which eroded more than 4 billion gallons from statutory levels; (2) represents a missed opportunity to restore 500 million gallons unlawfully waived from the 2016 compliance year; and (3) betrays the deal on how to ensure at least 15 billion gallons in the RFS for 2020 and beyond.

“For far too long, farmers and renewable fuel producers who have been trying to help EPA successfully implement the RFS have instead encountered an Agency persistently riding the brakes on the program and constraining opportunities to blend more ethanol. To make matters worse, EPA’s recent abuse of SREs recklessly turns the keys to the RFS to refiners who have taken the program on a joy ride.

“ACE members are furious with EPA’s double-standard: when it came to helping refineries escape RFS obligations from 2016 through 2018, EPA rejected DoE recommendations to exercise restraint, but now that EPA must restore volume to the RFS, the Agency is suddenly embracing DoE recommendations because the result will keep a lid on refinery obligations going forward.

“While this proposal is not going to make renewable fuel producers whole for EPA’s prior abuse of SREs, we urge the Agency to take a small step in the right direction by issuing a final rule which reallocates the actual average volume waived from 2016 through 2018 and ensures at least 15 billion gallons for the 2020 compliance year.

“Refineries should no longer be allowed to drive the RFS in the ditch, it’s time for EPA to finally take back the keys to the program.”

NBB Asks EPA to Fully Account for Small Refinery Waivers

Today, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) staff and members testified at the Environmental Protection Agency's public hearing on the Supplemental Notice for Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. NBB made a case that in the final 2020 rule, EPA should account for the impacts of past small-refinery exemptions, properly address the D.C. Circuit's remand in Americans for Clean Energy, and increase advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volume that drive growth in renewable fuel production.

NBB expressed appreciation for the proposal to account for small refinery exemptions in the future but asked that EPA use the best estimate available.

"EPA should change how it accounts for small refinery exemptions in the final rule in order to ensure that the renewable volume obligations are achieved," said Kate Shenk, NBB Director of Regulatory Affairs. "EPA could do so by taking further steps to limit the number of exemptions it grants in the future. Or, it could base its estimate for the number of small refinery exemptions in 2020 on the number of exemptions it has actually granted in recent years."

Kent Engelbrecht, Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and Trade Manager, Biodiesel, at ADM, also stated, "Because this proposal provides no certainty that EPA will follow DOE's recommendations going forward, it leaves the industry skeptical that the rule will prevent the demand destruction that the industry has been experiencing since EPA increased the granting of SREs in 2016. If EPA proceeds with using an average of DOE's recommendations, rather than an average of actual waived gallons, the agency will continue to reduce the applicable volumes, creating an effective volume requirement well below what EPA is bound to ensure."

NBB also highlighted parts of the overall 2020 RFS annual rule that need to be improved.

"The Supplemental Notice does not propose to do anything about small refinery exemptions before 2020. Yet, over 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels has been lost due to small refinery exemptions from 2016 through 2018," added David Cobb, NBB Federal Affairs Director. "This impact has been particularly significant for biomass-based diesel producers because biomass-based diesel can be used to satisfy multiple categories of fuel under the RFS."

House Agriculture Committee Passes CFTC Reauthorization

The House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 4895, legislation to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through 2025 by voice vote this morning.

“The bill … helps strengthen our financial market infrastructure and makes it more resilient. It also combats fraud and promotes cooperation among regulators,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. "But it’s even more important to me that we’ve done it in a bipartisan way that sends a strong message to the Senate. The people that look to our markets for integrity don’t care about political wins and losses. They expect us to conduct the business of this Committee.”

The bipartisan legislation improves system safeguards requirements for clearinghouses, trading platforms and swap data repositories; clarifies provisions for relief in the event of a broker bankruptcy;  to strengthen the resiliency of financial market infrastructure; adds whistleblower protections for employees of organizations under CFTC jurisdiction; codifies no action letters that have been in the place making permanent relief for churches, university endowments, and other charitable organizations that use the markets to provide healthcare and retirement plans for their employees; enables further cooperation between the CFTC and international regulatory bodies; establishes an internship program to promote diversity in hiring; and authorizes the CFTC to make an honors program that will help them grow their own talent.

NCBA Applauds Committee Approval of CFTC Reauthorization Bill

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Manager of Legislative Affairs and Market Regulatory Policy Darryl Blakey today released the following statement in response to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee's approval of legislation reauthorizing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) --

"We're pleased to see that the House Committee on Agriculture took the first step towards getting the U.S. CFTC reauthorized. The committee leadership has come together to move this legislation forward in a bipartisan fashion and having this approach has allowed all parties to be honest in their negotiations to build a constructive and sound legislative product that can equip the Commission for the markets our members face today.

"As a representative of true commercial end-users, NCBA has naturally been a part of this reauthorization process from the very beginning by being one of the first organizations knocking on the doors of Congress in the form of meeting with key offices and sending up a thorough letter of support and ideas for a potential CFTC reauthorization package. This included providing tools for reducing systemic risk, ensuring market integrity for end-users, and delivering regulatory consistency, while also considering the important role derivatives markets play in the ability of farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses to hedge their risks efficiently and effectively.

"Our members are pleased to see that some of our original ideas are in the product today in the form of continued protection for end-users from regulatory burdens, enhancement of the agency’s regulatory tools, and establishing coordination between the Office of the Chief Economist and the Commission to consider a cost-benefit analysis before it’s rulemakings.

"NCBA hopes to continue supporting this legislation as it moves forward in the House, and to working with Congress on getting the CFTC reauthorized because cattlemen and cattlewomen continue to rely on the derivatives markets to manage business risk."

NCBA Statement on Beef Labeling Practices

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President, Government Affairs, Ethan Lane, today released the following statement in response to a letter from U.S. Sens. John Thune (S.D.) and Mike Rounds (S.D.) regarding beef labeling practices:

“NCBA understands that the practices alleged in the letter from Senator Rounds and Senator Thune are a concern to cattle producers and we share a commitment to clear and truthful labeling. In August, in response to a proposal brought forward by our grassroots members, NCBA formed a working group to examine the prevalence of the alleged mislabeling practices. We are in the process of gathering information related to current industry labeling practices so we can fully understand the scope of the issue as we identify solutions that work for the industry.

“In general, NCBA members are opposed to requesting additional government regulation on our industry. Until we understand the scope of labeling practices currently being utilized, any rush to regulate is an irresponsible step that can create unnecessary and burdensome government mandates. NCBA is actively seeking information on beef labeling practices.

“The creation of government policy or regulation is a complex process that requires a thorough understanding of the problem and the involvement of many stakeholders. As our industry is fully aware, any rush toward government regulation can create unintended consequences that take years to unwind.”

NGFA commends House lawmakers for voting to support full use of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund 

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) this week commended House lawmakers for passing a bill that would allow for full utilization of fees collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) for maintaining U.S. harbors and ports at their authorized depths.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next decade, the Full Utilization of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Act of 2019” (H.R. 4220) would enable $34 billion deposited into the HMTF to be accessed and spent for its collected and intended purpose – namely, dredging U.S. harbors to their constructed specifications.

“The fact that more than $9 billion has been collected and deposited in the HMTF, but gone unspent for its intended purpose, is a fiscal disservice to those that pay the 0.125 percent ad valorem tax on the value of cargo imports,” said the NGFA after the House vote. “H.R. 4220 will allow those dollars to be spent on much-needed dredging at the nation’s ports to help partially restore some of the United States’ comparative transportation advantage, which is essential to capturing export market opportunities that contribute to U.S. economic growth.”

NGFA outlined its support of H.R. 2440, sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in an Oct. 25 letter to the committee’s leadership. NGFA also encouraged its members to send letters to their members of Congress in support of the legislation. Chairman DeFazio referenced NGFA’s support for this legislation as it was debated on the House floor.

Increased Demand for Dark Chicken Meat Creating New Opportunities

Evolving U.S. demographics are shifting consumer preferences from white meat chicken to dark meat, presenting the chicken industry with an opportunity to diversify its profit centers. Advances in mechanical deboning technology have allowed U.S. chicken producers to capture the emerging demand for dark meat while addressing the ever-present labor shortage, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division.

Two key and changing demographic drivers are behind the slow but steady shift in U.S. demand from white chicken meat to dark meat: age and ethnicity. Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers in 2019 as the largest living adult generation in the U.S. As Baby Boomers age, their consumption of meat, including white chicken meat, is declining. Meanwhile, millennials are now hitting their stride in income, spending power and meat consumption. Their generation grew up with international dining options that often feature dark meat as the chicken ingredient of choice.

Latino and Asian populations are growing in the U.S. and dark meat chicken, rather than white meat, is typically used in the cuisines of their cultures. As these populations continue to grow in the U.S., so will the demand for dark meat chicken.

“The shifting consumer demand is driving a corresponding increase in the value of dark meat and the decline in white meat value,” said Will Sawyer, animal protein economist with CoBank. “Since 2000, chicken breast’s share of the value of the bird has dropped from 66% to just 45%, while the value of chicken legs has increased dark meat’s share from 12% to near 30%.”

Advances in whole leg deboning technology have improved yields with half of the labor required of hand deboning. In the face of increasing labor costs and decreasing availability of labor, mechanical alternatives are now financially viable. Chicken processing costs grew approximately 15% in the last decade and continue to grow, largely driven by labor costs that typically account for half the total processing cost. As a result, Sawyer said adoption of this new technology is likely to expand further.

“These trends are helping dark meat grow as an additional profit center for U.S. producers,” said Sawyer.  “A more diversified profit pool including both white and dark meat will help the U.S. chicken industry weather volatility in feed costs, consumer demand and trade.”

The full report, “Evolving U.S. Demographics Give Chicken a New Leg to Stand On,” is available at

NMPF Eager to Work With Congress as House Agriculture Guest Worker Bill Introduced

The National Milk Producers Federation today announced its support for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan immigration bill that advances agriculture immigration reform sponsored by Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA).

The legislation would provide legal status to current agricultural workers and their families and reform the H2A guest-worker visa program to permit year-round agriculture to participate, a crucial need for dairy. The efforts of Chairman Lofgren and Representative Newhouse, both longtime champions for agricultural labor reform, are greatly appreciated by dairy farmers, who cannot wait any longer for action.

“America’s dairy farmers are eager to advance and improve this legislation as it moves through the Congress,” said Mike McCloskey, a dairy farmer and chairman of NMPF’s Immigration Taskforce. “As producers of a year-round product, dairy farmers face a unique labor crisis because our jobs are not seasonal or temporary. From our years of work on these issues, we know first-hand just how hard immigration reform is. But we simply cannot and will not stop working to find a solution. Dairy needs workers for our industry to sustain itself. It’s that simple, and it’s that dire.”

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), thanked the lawmakers for putting forward this essential step for agriculture labor reform, saying the bill is a critical first step in the legislative process.

“We have supported numerous efforts to address dairy’s acute labor needs. Passing legislation in the House is a critical step in the process. We urge the Senate to work with us on this important issue so we can get an ag worker bill across the finish line in this Congress,” Mulhern said. “The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act provides an important starting point for badly needed improvements to agriculture immigration policy. NMPF would like to thank Chairwoman Lofgren and Congressman Newhouse for their bipartisan leadership, and we look forward to continuing to work with them as this important legislation moves forward.”

As the voice of America’s dairy farmers in Washington and a member of the Agriculture Workforce Coalition’s Steering Committee, NMPF has been an active in agriculture labor reform for decades.

Farm Worker Modernization Act an Important Step Towards a Stable and Fair Agricultural Workforce

U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and several other House members today introduced a bipartisan bill to reform the agricultural labor system in the United States. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which is the product of negotiations between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates, includes provisions to both ensure a legal and stable workforce for family farmers and ranchers as well as protect the health and safety of farmworkers.

At National Farmers Union’s (NFU) 117th Anniversary Convention in March, delegates approved a special order of business calling on Congress to “stabilize the current agricultural workforce” through a “flexible, efficient, and compassionate agricultural worker visa program.” Because the proposed bill would achieve both goals, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew applauded its introduction and urged Congress to approve it.

“Many family farmers and ranchers rely on hired farmworkers to help with planting, harvest, milking cows, and other essential tasks. But across the country, it has become exceedingly difficult to find legal, qualified workers. Without a workforce, farmers aren’t able to complete day-to-day work, forcing some to simply leave unharvested crops to rot in the field. This threatens both the viability of American farms as well as consumers’ access to affordable, domestically produced food.

“But we don’t just need a legal and adequate workforce – we need one that is fair. A large number of farmworkers are immigrants, a population that has historically been underserved and overlooked. These hardworking individuals who help us put food on our tables deserve greater protections and a pathway to citizenship.

“National Farmers Union supports this bipartisan effort to address the needs of both farmers and workers, and we urge its swift passage in the House of Representatives.”

Commodity Classic Educational Sessions Focus on Clarity During Uncertain Times

As farmers look to improve their profitability in an unpredictable agricultural environment, the educational sessions at the 2020 Commodity Classic are designed to provide farmers with the clarity and insight they need to make better-informed decisions that can have a powerful impact on their bottom line.

The 2020 Commodity Classic will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29 in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme is “See Your Future Clearly.”

More than 40 educational sessions are on the schedule in San Antonio. They will cover a wide range of important topics including soil health, grain marketing, farm policy, farm succession planning, nutrient stewardship, weather trends, mental health, fertility programs, rural broadband access, on-road ag equipment regulations, ag technology, international trade, African Swine Fever and more.

“Every educational session is selected by the Commodity Classic Farmer Committee to ensure the content and the presenters provide high-quality, relevant content that matters to today’s growers,” said Bill Wykes, a farmer from Illinois and co-chair of the 2020 Commodity Classic. “Farmers have been dealing with a lack of clarity over recent months and they need resources to help them refocus their efforts and see beyond the end of the tractor. There is no better place to do that than Commodity Classic.”

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience. Commodity Classic is unlike any other agriculture event, featuring a robust schedule of educational sessions, a huge trade show featuring the latest technology, equipment and innovation, top-notch entertainment, inspiring speakers and the opportunity to network with thousands of farmers from across the nation.

Registration and housing for the 2020 Commodity Classic opens Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 10:00 a.m. Central at Early bird discounts on registration end January 9, 2020.

A complete schedule of events is updated continually on the website as well.

Commodity Classic is presented annually by the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.  For information, visit

NCBA Supports Effort to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) believes that responsible use of antimicrobial drugs will aid in preserving the future effectiveness of antimicrobial agents against common pathogens in both human and animal species.

In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) set forward a challenge to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR Challenge). Since its launch, the AMR Challenge has been one of the most ambitious global initiatives to combat antibiotic resistance, garnering broad support and engagement from across sectors, states and countries. In response to the CDC’s AMR Challenge, NCBA worked to increase participation in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. By increasing BQA certification numbers, NCBA seeks to ensure beef producers are responsible and judicious in their use of antimicrobial products through every segment of the industry.

Year-to-date, the number of beef producers who have completed certification exceeds 318,000 producers, an increase of more than 73 percent over last year’s number. Today, 85 percent of beef in the United States comes from cattle which have been produced by BQA-certified cattlemen and women. In all, a total of 318,415 producers have completed a BQA training program.

NCBA is proud of the efforts of our beef producing community to take steps necessary to improve and protect our beef supply. The motto of BQA outreach is “The Right Way is the Only Way,” and we stand behind that principle and the industry’s work to supply consumers with the safest, highest quality beef possible. 

USDA, EPA, and FDA Announce Partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, the latest effort in the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative launched by the three federal agencies in 2018.

Through this Memo of Understanding (PDF, 938 KB), USDA, EPA, and FDA will formalize industry education and outreach efforts with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association, the three founding partners of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA). The FWRA represents three major sectors of the supply chain: food manufacturing, retail, and restaurant and food service. The Alliance pursues three goals: reducing the amount of food waste generated; increasing the amount of safe, nutritious food donated to those in need; and diverting food waste from landfills.

“USDA shares many common goals with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, including our belief in the power of teamwork,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We are proud to join this public-private partnership to prompt action throughout the food system.”

“EPA is proud to build upon the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative through this partnership with leaders of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Reducing food loss and waste has many environmental and social benefits. By collaborating with these major segments of the food supply chain, we are making progress toward the national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50 percent by 2030.”

“The FDA strongly supports our shared goal of reducing the amount of food that Americans waste through important efforts like today’s agreement,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “The issues of food waste and food safety go hand in hand and we will continue to work with our federal partners and other stakeholders on enhancing our efforts to reduce food waste and do it safely. We are committed to doing all that we can to support safe and sound food policy decisions that are good for our families, good for our communities, and good for our planet.”

Federal officials shared the news today at the 2019 Food Waste Summit, hosted by ReFED, a nonprofit that uses a data-driven approach to combat food loss and waste. At the event, federal officials also recognized the growing cadre of U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions, a group of corporations and organizations that have made a public commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their U.S. operations by 50 percent by the year 2030.

In the U.S., more than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. Food is the single largest type of waste in our daily trash. In recent years, great strides have been made to highlight and mitigate food loss and waste, but the work has just begun. When food is tossed aside, so too are opportunities for economic growth, healthier communities, and environmental protection – but that can change through partnership, leadership, and action.

The Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative is a collaborative effort (PDF, 579 KB) among USDA, EPA, and FDA to reduce food loss and waste through combined and agency-specific action. Individually and collectively, these agencies contribute to the initiative, encourage long-term reductions, and work toward the goal of reducing food loss and waste in the United States. These actions include research, community investments, education and outreach, voluntary programs, public-private partnerships, tool development, technical assistance, event participation, and policy discussion.

BASF and NRGene collaborate to accelerate crop breeding

BASF and NRGene today announced a research collaboration that includes the adoption of NRGene’s cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology into BASF soybean research projects. The GenoMAGIC™ technology will allow for more comprehensive evaluations to accelerate trait discovery and breeding across diverse crops.

“This collaboration will explore the power of digitalization to improve and accelerate agricultural research, and aligns with our soybean crop system strategy,” said Rick Turner, Senior Vice President Seeds & Traits in BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. “BASF and NRGene are both focused on developing and delivering technologies to support farmers to grow better harvests, protect their crops and deliver more to society in the face of mounting environmental challenges.”

NRGene’s advanced multi-purpose breeding platform is a cloud-based solution for managing the full genomic diversity of species. It can analyze unlimited volumes of genomic data, enabling scientists and breeders to easily relate genomic sequences with beneficial traits, making genomic selection and trait mapping much more productive. Data use is accelerated, making breeding both faster and more cost effective.

“BASF remains committed to providing farmers with the most productive seeds and deploying best-in-class technologies to help unlock their genetic potential,” said Rene van Schaik, Head of Seeds Technologies & Analytics at BASF. “Our focus on data allows us to make better breeding decisions than ever before, and with GenoMAGIC, we expect to provide our research teams with a more comprehensive view to improve their analyses and decisions.”

“We are excited to commence this journey with BASF in soybean,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene’s CEO. “Over the years, we have accumulated a vast amount of data as well as specific competences in soy, which will add value in the collaboration with BASF to make their breeding more productive and efficient.”

Tuesday October 29 Ag News

Good to be a Pig Farme
By Al Juhnke, NPPA Executive Director

As another October “Pork Month” ends, some observations about Nebraska’s pig farmers are in order. We often get caught up in the challenges our state’s agriculture community faces and fail to look at the positives. Let’s take a moment to examine the plus side of the ledger.

      The Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) has been around since 1961. The organization is alive and healthy. They have a great group of directors and officers leading the way. The board is diverse in production size representation, age of its members, and in gender. The guidance and vision they provide keeps our grower’s Pork Checkoff dollars working for the benefit of all. NPPA is fortunate to have such a good group in place for the benefit of its members.

      The staff at the NPPA office in Lincoln are a truly dedicated group of people. They come to work every day focused on their mission of serving Nebraska’s pork industry. They take their roles in the organization seriously and understand they are making a difference. Also know that this team enjoys what they do. And if you like what you are doing, it isn’t really a job at all, is it?

      Finally, let’s look at the most important group of people involved with the pork industry, the farmers and families that raise our animals. Because of their efforts, Nebraska has more pigs in our barns since the mid-1980’s. The diversification of our farms with the addition of livestock facilities is adding value to our locally grown crops and income to the farm family’s bottom line.

      Our farmers are producing a sustainable, safe, and healthy food product to not only help supply our dinner tables here at home, but also ship over twenty-five percent of what they grow to other countries helping feed the world. They take great satisfaction in what they do and the role they play in the food chain.

      These farmers are our neighbors, our friends, and an integral part of our rural communities. They are good stewards of the land and care deeply about what they do. The positive economic impact to our local areas and the state by our pork producers cannot be understated. The taxes they pay helps take care of our roads, fund our schools, and support law enforcement and fire departments. Our farmers and their workers are proud to be part of our communities and would choose to live no other place.

      Overall, we would say it is a pretty good time to be a pig farmer in Nebraska. The positives far outweigh any negatives that may come along. Our farmers want everyone to know that like the generations that came before them, they love what they do and are going to be around doing it for a long time to come.

Grazing Cornstalks- Do you have a rental agreement?

Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

Having a written agreement can help reduce miscommunication and frustration down the road.  This ensures a better understanding by both parties and serves as a reminder of the terms originally agreed upon.  It increases the likelihood that the relationship will continue in future years. When it comes to rental agreements for grazing corn residue, a number of questions need to be asked and answered up front to avoid disagreements later. UNL Dept. of Agricultural Economics staff have shared the following information.

1. What is the latest start date that residue will be available for grazing?
• Have a written start date with an agreed upon penalty if the corn is harvested late.
• Having this agreement in writing can keep both parties feeling okay about the outcome if weather or equipment issues delay harvest and availability of the residue.

2. What is the latest end date for removing cattle?
• A common frustration that corn farmers voice when renting out corn residue for grazing is that the cattle are not removed in a timely fashion.
• Have a written removal date with an agreed upon penalty if cattle remain longer can keep both parties feeling okay about the outcome even if an unexpected event (such as a snow storm) keeps cattle on the land longer than planned.
• Who is responsible for gathering and removal of the cattle?

3. How will the appropriate stocking rate be determined and how will grazing be priced?
• Using the corn stalk grazing calculator ( to determine stocking rates is a good way to ensure proper stocking rates are utilized. It is important to utilize proper stocking rates to ensure cattle have access to adequate amounts of leaf and husk and that performance is maintained.
• Get your pricing right- by the acre OR by the head.
-Priced on a per acre basis. This type of arrangement is simple to administer but can have negative consequences if the start date, end date, stocking rate and adverse weather policy is not specifically spelled out. Without these items being outlined the crop producer can be exposed to the risk of over grazing and the cattle owner could be exposed to the risk of paying for something he/she can’t use if adverse weather prevents grazing.
-Priced on a per head per day or AUM basis. With this method the cattle owner only pays for actual use. Again the start date, end date, and stocking rate need to be laid out. The duration of grazing is important for the cattle producer when calculating transportation costs into the cost of feeding the cow. The crop producer is accepting the financial risk that the grazing resource may not produce the income they anticipated if the cattle are removed early.
-The plan for heavy snow or ice needs to be included in the pricing agreement, including the emergency feed source and who is responsible for providing it.
-The payment schedule and method should also be agreed upon.

4. Other things that should be outlined include:
• Is there a fence present? If not who is responsible for building the fence? Who is responsible for maintaining fences?
• Is there a reliable water source for the cattle? Who is responsible for providing water and maintaining water during grazing (including breaking ice)?
• Who is responsible for the daily care of the cattle? Inventory counts? Providing minerals and salt? Monitoring animal health? How will treating sick cattle be handled? Will the cattle be commingled with other cattle?
• Who is liable for the cattle getting out? Who is responsible for gathering the cattle if they get out?
• Is the cattle owner required to carry liability insurance for potential damage caused by the cattle? What, if any, indemnification responsibilities does the cattle owner have to the crop farmer for damage caused by the cattle?

This information is intended to provide a list of questions and issues to consider in drafting a lease agreement for grazing corn residue. Obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney is encouraged in developing the actual agreement.

Aggies earn American FFA Degrees

Thirteen freshmen and sophomore students attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis will receive the highest honor in FFA this week.

American FFA Degrees will be awarded Saturday at 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

The Aggie students who are studying agriculture education, animal science, diversified agriculture, agronomy, or veterinary technology at NCTA were active in their high school FFA chapters.

“We are very proud of the leadership and career paths these students have continued into their college programs here at NCTA in Curtis,” said Douglas Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of animal science and agricultural education.

The American Degree represents an FFA member’s commitment throughout their FFA career in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, along with leadership and community involvement.

The students, majors, FFA chapters are:
·         Ethan Aschenbrenner, Scottsbluff FFA, agronomy
·         Tyler Aschenbrenner, Scottsbluff FFA, diversified agriculture
·         Colton Bell, York FFA, agronomy
·         Camryn Evans of DeWitt, Wilber-Clatonia FFA, vet technology
·         Audrey Heinz, Eaton, Colo., Eaton FFA, ag education
·         Emily Kammerer, Sutherland FFA, animal science
·         Jocelyn Kennicutt, Gothenburg FFA, animal science
·         John Lauer, Gothenburg FFA, animal science
·         Kayla Mues, Cambridge FFA, ag education
·         Nina Parry of Genoa, Twin River FFA, vet technology
·         Brittany Pellatz, Plainview FFA, vet technology
·         Aurora Urwiler of Laurel, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge FFA, ag education
·         Camden Wilke of Columbus, Lakeview FFA, animal science

Most of these students will be attending with their FFA chapters or family members to accept their degree although a representative can accept it on their behalf, said Smith, who also serves at the faculty advisor for the NCTA Collegiate FFA Chapter.

NCTA is one of few remaining colleges in the U.S. focusing solely on agriculture production, agribusiness, agricultural mechanics and veterinary technology programs. See for details.

Pro-Ag Seminars to Examine Market Outlook, Trade Impacts, Financial Status of Iowa Agriculture

Before harvest comes to a close, producers, ag lenders and suppliers are already planning ahead for next year. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach economists will offer valuable insight on key factors impacting 2020 operating decisions at 13 Pro-Ag Outlook and Management Seminars to be held across the state in November and December.

Each three-hour seminar includes information on grain price outlook and global factors to watch, livestock prices and margins, as well as farmland operating margins, outlook and trends.

The focus of the program is to provide agribusiness leaders a concise evaluation of current market conditions, expected trends in crop and livestock income potential and management implications. Participants also will gain insight on implications of trade agreements on Iowa producers, and the critical role of land values and interest rates in the stabilization of the agricultural sector.

Speakers will vary by location but will include ISU Extension and Outreach state specialists Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and extension grain markets specialist; Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist; Lee Schulz, assistant professor and livestock economist; and Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist. ISU Extension and Outreach field specialists will also be present at the meetings.

The program takes an in-depth look into the outlook for agriculture in 2020 and provides an opportunity to discuss the current Iowa economic situation with university experts.

Locations and dates
    Waterloo - Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 9 a.m., Hawkeye College, Tama Hall, Room 201, 319-234-6811.
    Sioux City - Monday, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m., Woodbury County Extension Office, 712-276-2157.
    Spirit Lake - Monday, Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m., Dickinson County Extension Office, 712-336-3488.
    Fort Dodge* - Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m., Webster County Extension Office, 515-576-2119.
    Carroll* - Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9:30 a.m., Carroll County Extension Office, 712-792-2364.
    Altoona* - Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 a.m., Polk County Extension Office, 515-957-5760.
    Mason City - Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m., Muse-Norris Conference Center, NIACC Campus, 641-423-0844.
    Cresco - Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 a.m., Featherlite Center, Howard County Fairgrounds, 563-547-3001.
    Greenfield - Monday, Nov. 25, 1 p.m., Warren Cultural Center Auditorium, 641-743-8412.
    Shenandoah - Monday, Dec. 2, 1 p.m., Shenandoah Bricker Meeting Room, 712-542-5171.
    Iowa City* - Friday, Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m., Johnson County Extension Office, 319-337-2145.
    Mt. Pleasant* - Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 a.m., Henry County Extension Office, 319-385-8126.
    Bloomfield* - Friday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m., Pioneer Ridge Nature Area, 641-673-5841.
*Meal included; Altoona location includes lunch and Farm Income Tax webinar in the afternoon.

The sessions are open to the public, however, pre-registration is requested two days prior to the date of the event. Speakers, registration fees and provided meals vary by location. For locations, times and program information, contact the farm management field specialist in your area or visit

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

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

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

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

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

The application deadline is Nov. 1, with interviews for each candidate held in Des Moines, Iowa, Dec. 10 and 11.

Siouxland Energy Testifies at House Hearing on EPA Demand Destruction

Growth Energy member and Siouxland Energy Cooperative President Kelly Nieuwenhuis testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change during a hearing entitled, "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers." Nieuwenhuis, who also is farmer near Primghar, Iowa, discussed the devastating impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) demand destruction on his biofuel plant and the surrounding community.

“Plain and simple: EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS is crippling rural America,” said Nieuwenhuis in his testimony to lawmakers.

“Because of EPA’s actions to help the oil industry’s bottom line at the expense of farmers and biofuel producers, we had to make a hard decision – to idle our plant and shut off a key market for hundreds of local farmers, including myself,” added Nieuwenhuis. “The morning we announced we were idling our plant, I was tasked with delivering the bad news to our 40 employees. The team sat quietly, wondering about their future in the event we would have to permanently close our facility. This was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.”

“The economic crisis created by the EPA’s abuse of SREs started 3 years ago. At first, we couldn’t put a finger on what it was, but the fundamentals in our market seemed off.  It was only after the press started reporting the rapid escalation of SREs being granted behind closed doors at the EPA that we began to understand what was happening to our business.”

Nieuwenhuis also gave his support for the legislation being considered by the subcommittee, H.R. 3006, the RFS Integrity Act of 2019.

“The regulatory attempts by the EPA give us little confidence that we will see the relief we need,” said Nieuwenhuis. “That’s why the agricultural and biofuels industries strongly support H.R. 3006, the RFS Integrity Act, sponsored by Representatives Collin Peterson and Dusty Johnson. This bill would address the EPA’s dismal record on SRE transparency. We have no idea of the specifics used by DOE or EPA in making SRE decisions, and this bill takes care of these basic transparency concerns by setting a reasonable deadline for SRE applications, and giving the public greater insight into this murky process.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, who will testify Wednesday at the EPA’s public hearing on the new proposal, applauded Nieuwenhuis for sharing his story with lawmakers.

“Dozens of biofuel plants, just like Siouxland Energy, have been forced to idle production or close their doors in the past year due to the EPA’s abuse of refinery exemptions,” said Skor. “We need the real fix President Trump promised – not another round of regulatory games. The EPA plan must incorporate a projection of actual exempted gallons, not simply apply out-of-date recommendations. This may be our last chance to restore rural jobs and ease the burden facing American farmers.”

RFA: Refinery Waivers Undermine Renewable Fuels, Rural Economy and Government Transparency

The massive increase in small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard has eroded demand for ethanol and forced numerous plants to idle or shut down, according to testimony today by Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change. Cooper laid out numerous challenges facing the industry as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s abuse of the SRE program.

“EPA’s secretive and underhanded approach to the SRE provision in recent years has destabilized the RFS, reduced the production and use of clean renewable biofuels, increased GHG emissions and tailpipe pollution, and led to lost jobs and economic opportunity in rural America,” Cooper stated in his testimony.

Cooper also stressed the enormous value of ethanol plants to their local rural communities and detailed the harsh effects that closing a plant can have on small towns already facing other economic challenges.

“Ethanol plants serve as vital economic engines for rural communities across the country, providing good jobs, creating value-added investment opportunities for farmers and other rural Americans, and developing new markets for crops produced by local growers,” Cooper said. “We estimate that the ethanol demand loss associated with SREs has led to the layoff or furlough of more than 700 workers in the ethanol industry since the spring of 2018. In addition, more than 2,800 full-time jobs in related industries and sectors have also been affected.”

A recent supplemental proposal by EPA—meant to implement the relief package promised by President Trump in August—does little to allay concerns in farm country, Cooper said. EPA’s supplemental proposal has only led to more confusion and will not likely raise domestic conventional renewable fuels blending to the required volume of 15 billion gallons.

“The EPA incomprehensibly proposed to base its estimates of the gasoline and diesel that would be exempted in 2020 on the historical recommendations for exempted volumes it received from the Department of Energy, rather than the actual exemptions it granted,” Cooper said. “The irony of this proposal is that EPA has never followed DOE’s recommendations in deciding SRE petitions.”

For the 2016-2018 compliance years, he noted, DOE on average recommended that 7.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel be exempted from RFS obligations, but EPA actually exempted an average of 12.8 billion gallons–75% more. “In short, the supplemental proposal fails to provide the necessary assurances that the statutorily required volume of 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel will actually be enforced in full in 2020 and beyond.”

Cooper ended his testimony stating RFA’s support for legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that would help reform the SRE program. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) together with Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and a bipartisan group of original co-sponsors have introduced H.R. 3006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, which would bring badly needed transparency to the SRE process and provide renewable fuel producers and other stakeholders with greater certainty surrounding implementation of the RFS.

Oil Refinery Exemptions Cause a Crisis for the Biodiesel Industry

Today, World Energy Founder and CEO Gene Gebolys testified on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) at a hearing on "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers" before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change. Gebolys told lawmakers that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has many options to make up for the demand destruction from past Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers and prevent harm going forward. Small refinery exemptions have destroyed demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of biomass-based diesel. Nine biodiesel plants across the country have closed or cut production as a result, impacting hundreds of employees and thousands of jobs across the economy.

"When EPA finalizes its 2020 renewable fuel obligations rule by the end of this year, it must fully account for small refinery exemptions, or industry contraction and job losses will continue throughout the biofuels and broader agricultural economy," Gebolys wrote in submitted testimony. "Moreover, the agency must recognize and support the biodiesel industry's ability to grow under the RFS in 2020 and beyond, as Congress intended."

Gebolys is the founder and CEO of World Energy, which owns and operates five biodiesel plants and a renewable diesel refinery -- with total production capacity of over 200 million gallons -- and distribution hubs throughout the United States and Canada.

Gebolys testified that EPA could employ several different methods to properly account for small refinery exemptions in annual Renewable Fuel Standard rules.

"EPA should also move to prospectively grant or deny all small-refinery exemptions for a calendar year before issuing the final RVO rule for that year," he wrote in formal testimony. "This practice would allow all actual exemptions to be accounted for in EPA's existing formula for calculating percentage standards and would enhance transparency for all market participants. EPA can and should require refiners to apply for exemptions with sufficient time to allow EPA to reach a decision by the November 30 statutory deadline each year."

NBB and its members support H.R. 3006, which would direct EPA to set an annual deadline for hardship petitions, as well as other legislative efforts to direct EPA to properly account for small refinery exemptions.

ACE shares technical ethanol information with prospective retailers in developing ethanol market just south of the border

Last week, American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty returned to Mexico to speak at the first technical ethanol information forum to be held in Juárez, Mexico, near El Paso, Texas. These forums are a joint effort of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Mexican Association of Service Station Suppliers (AMPES) to inform Mexican petroleum marketers about opportunities in sourcing, marketing, and retailing ethanol-blended gasoline. Lamberty attended four other workshops this year, including one in Tijuana, another border city minutes from San Diego’s fuel terminal. Juárez marks Lamberty’s twelfth USGC/AMPES workshop.

“Like Tijuana, Juárez is one of the top destinations for U.S. ethanol in the short-run because El Paso and Juárez are basically one large metropolitan area, divided into two different countries by the Rio Grande,” Lamberty said. “El Paso has a two-billion-gallon refinery and Kinder-Morgan and Magellan fuel terminals already supply stations in Juárez and other cities in the state of Chihuahua. Ethanol is already in those terminals, and some E10 has already been purchased and delivered to stations in the area.”

In August, Lamberty moderated a panel with USGC’s team in Mexico, and he joined a panel at the Argus Mexico Fuel Markets Summit in Mexico City to discuss the role the U.S. can play in Mexico’s fuel market. As the Mexican government deregulates the petroleum market, retailers are expressing interest in incorporating ethanol blends. Now even Pemex, Mexico's state-owned oil company, has indicated it may be interested in blending ethanol with gasoline.

“Last month, Pemex’s proposed budget for 2020 included $50 million toward reconfiguring terminals to handle ethanol,” Lamberty said. “The original project, which Pemex stopped in 2008, called for 5.8 percent ethanol in Magna (regular) gasoline, and if the same timeline is used, Pemex could be buying 50 million gallons of ethanol a month sometime late next year. Although nothing is certain, this is encouraging news and the USGC team in Mexico is doing a great job helping Mexican “gasolineros” understand adding ethanol is a way for them to make more money while offering customers a cleaner, higher octane fuel at a lower price.”

Lamberty said it’s likely some of Pemex’s large customers are pressing them on ethanol. “When ACE, IRFA and USGC brought some key Mexican fuel marketers to Iowa to give them an up-close look at how easily ethanol can be incorporated into the fuel supply, they wanted to go back and find a way to add ethanol to their fuel slate,” Lamberty said. “Most of those companies buy their fuel from Pemex and Pemex still supplies probably 90 percent of the stations in the country. But, they’re not the only game in town anymore. If their customers ask for ethanol, Pemex will have to find a way to get it to them, and there are plenty of people who can help them add ethanol to Mexico’s gasoline.” 

USDA Establishes Domestic Hemp Production Program

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the establishment of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. This program, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, creates a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the United States.

“At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have had teams operating with all hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent, and science-based process for states, tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”


Later this week, an interim final rule formalizing the program will be published in the Federal Register that will allow hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs. The rule includes provisions for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes including: requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced; testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements; and licensing requirements. It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own approved hemp production plan.

The interim final rule becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Following publication, USDA invites public comment on the interim rule and the information collection burden. A preview of the rule is posted on USDA’s website.

USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents provide additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.

More information about the provisions of the interim final rule is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

Once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. For information on available programs, visit

Hemp Industry Progresses Thanks to USDA Rule

The Agriculture Department’s hemp program announced Tuesday allows the sector to move forward, according to the American Farm Bureau. Scott Bennett, congressional relations director at AFBF, explained in Newsline that the interim final rule creates much-needed standards for production, testing and licensing.

“This is the long-awaited interpretation from USDA of what Congress passed in the 2018 farm bill as it relates to the legalization of hemp,” Bennett said. “This interim final rule provides clarity to producers on everything from crop insurance, THC testing methods, crop destruction protocols, to interstate commerce.”

Hemp producers should review the rule and provide feedback to USDA. The public can provide comment through the Federal Register for a period of 60 days beginning Oct. 31.

Iowa’s Hemp Program is Under Development

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following response to the USDA’s proposed hemp program rules, which were released today.

“We look forward to reviewing the proposed hemp program rules provided by the USDA,” said Secretary Naig. “We will use this information to refine Iowa’s draft hemp plan before we submit it to USDA for approval. USDA will have 60 days to review and respond to our plan. We are working hard to have Iowa’s hemp program implemented in time for the 2020 growing season.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is also drafting administrative rules that will be released for public comment in the coming weeks.

“In the meantime, we want to caution people that it is not legal to cultivate, grow or distribute hemp in Iowa until the USDA approves our state plan,” said Naig. “We also encourage growers to make sure they have quality seed and a buyer identified before they invest in hemp production.”

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will continue to post updates about its hemp program to

Bipartisan Lawmakers Agree It’s Time to Pass USMCA

Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) and Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) last weekend led a U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group Meeting in which bipartisan lawmakers discussed the importance of passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Reps. Cuellar and McCaul both emphasized how the American economy relies on trade with Mexico and highlighted the need to ensure our trade agreements reflect the modern 21st century economy.

Rep. Cuellar:
“Mexico is a critical partner to the United States and is crucial to our own prosperity. They are not only our economic partner, they are our neighbor and friend. It has been 25 years since we ratified NAFTA, and now it is our time to update this trade agreement to reflect our 21st-century economy… I will continue to work across the aisle to pass the USMCA to improve our relationship with Mexico and strengthen our economy for the American people…”

Rep. McCaul:
“…We had in-depth discussions on the mutual benefits of the USMCA including job growth and protections of intellectual property, and I am hopeful that the House will pass this critical agreement soon.”

The bipartisan call for passage of the agreement follows a call by Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), who publicized her support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) in a speech delivered on the House floor last week. Rep. Axne urged her colleagues to continue working with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to “find agreement on the USMCA soon.” She also emphasized the importance of agriculture to Iowa’s economy and the benefits of USMCA to Iowa farmers.

Rep. Axne:
“I visit each of the 16 counties in my district every month, whether its touring manufacturers, visiting with farmers, or stopping into small businesses. Everywhere I go the message is loud and clear: uncertainty is hurting our bottom line. Agriculture is the backbone of Iowa’s economy; 1 out of every 5 dollars in Iowa is produced from agriculture. Supporting our farmers is neither a partisan nor political issue – it’s simply the right thing to do.”

“Between devastating weather events, ongoing trade wars, and the EPA’s unprecedented abuse of biofuel waivers – our farmers have been put through enough.”

 “They are asking for our help as elected representatives. We must answer their call and get this deal done right and without unnecessary delay. I thank my colleagues for the work that they have done and urge them to expedite negotiations and finalize this agreement soon to make sure we can make lives whole for the people suffering in the state of Iowa and across this country.”

AGCO Reports Third Quarter Results

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE: AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, reported net sales of approximately $2.1 billion for the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of approximately 4.8% compared to the third quarter of 2018. Reported net income was $0.10 per share for the third quarter of 2019 and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment and restructuring expenses, was $0.82 per share. These results compare to a reported net income of $0.89 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses, of $0.91 per share for the third quarter of 2018. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 3.1%, net sales in the third quarter of 2019 decreased approximately 1.7% compared to the third quarter of 2018. During the third quarter of 2019, AGCO recorded a non-cash adjustment to establish a valuation allowance against its Brazilian net deferred income tax assets of approximately $53.7 million, or $0.70 per share. The adjustment does not affect the Company’s ability to utilize the deferred income tax assets with future taxable income in Brazil.

Net sales for the first nine months of 2019 were approximately $6.5 billion, a decrease of approximately 3.4% compared to the same period in 2018. Excluding unfavorable currency translation impacts of approximately 4.8%, net sales during the first nine months of 2019 increased approximately 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018. For the first nine months of 2019, reported net income was $2.77 per share and adjusted net income, excluding a non-cash deferred income tax adjustment and restructuring expenses, was $3.50 per share. These results compare to reported net income of $2.33 per share and adjusted net income, excluding restructuring expenses and costs associated with an early retirement of debt, of $2.58 per share for the first nine months of 2018.

Third Quarter Highlights

    Reported regional sales results(1): North America (1.7)%, Europe/Middle East (“EME”) (1.6)%, South America (14.8)%, Asia/Pacific/Africa (“APA”) (15.9)%
    Constant currency regional sales results(1)(2): North America (1.4)%, EME 3.2%, South America (14.4)%, APA (12.2)%
    Regional operating margin performance: North America 6.1%, EME 10.6%, South America (2.3)%, APA 6.1%
    Full-year outlook for net income per share maintained
    Repurchases reduced outstanding shares by approximately 1.3 million in the first nine months of 2019

“AGCO achieved solid third quarter results considering a challenging environment of weakening industry conditions and negative currency impacts,” stated Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our continued focus on margins supported our third quarter performance, where we experienced sales declines. Price increases as well as cost control initiatives and productivity improvement efforts allowed us to offset the impact of lower sales and production volumes in the third quarter. We are also making significant progress on our growth initiatives through the development and global expansion of our smart-farming and high technology product lineup. While the current market environment is uncertain, the long-term outlook for our industry and for AGCO remains positive with our focus on both operational efficiency and innovative solutions that support productivity on the farm.”

Iowa Farm Bureau’s Health Benefit Cuts Costs Nearly in Half

Spurred by members’ deep concerns about rising health care prices, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation in 2018 launched the Farm Bureau Health Plan, helping farmers and others in the state cut their premium costs by as much as 50%.

IFBF worked with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, a longtime partner of the group’s, to create a health benefit “that would not be subject to Affordable Care Act requirements, would be less expensive than ACA plans and would not cost taxpayers a dime,” according to IFBF’s Executive Director Joe Johnson.

“We wanted to provide our members with another option. We knew from the start the plan wouldn’t be for everyone, but we thought it would be an option for those Iowans who do not qualify for ACA subsidies,” Johnson explained.

The Farm Bureau Health Plan is available to Iowa Farm Bureau members living in the state who are not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or an employer group health plan. Participants in the Farm Bureau Health Plan have three options: two traditional plans with copays, coinsurance and deductibles and a high-deductible plan that offers members the opportunity to fund a health savings account.

All three plans provide free preventative care, affordable copays for primary care physicians and specialists, ER coverage, prescription drug coverage at 65,000 pharmacies and coverage for all Iowa hospitals and 97% of Iowa physicians.

The plans are similar to ACA-compliant plans available in Iowa except that applicants must pass underwriting to qualify for enrollment and they have a $3 million lifetime benefit maximum per covered individual. Also, because the plans are underwritten, they are available for purchase throughout the year, rather than only during limited enrollment periods.

IFB worked with the state Legislature to pass legislation allowing the organization to provide an underwritten health benefit plan to its members. The measure was signed into law by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in April 2018.

“This was a very heavy lift. The plan was not considered to be ‘insurance,’ so it would not be subject to Affordable Care Act regulations,” Johnson explained, emphasizing that IFBF’s members were very active in calling on lawmakers to approve the bill, which they did by a considerable margin.

Monday October 28 Ag News


For the week ending October 27, 2019, there were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 14 short, 83 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 10 short, 86 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 poor, 20 fair, 56 good, and 16 excellent. Corn mature was 97 percent, near 100 last year and 99 for the five-year average. Harvested was 44 percent, near 45 last year, and behind 50 average.

Soybeans harvested was 85 percent, ahead of 71 last year, and near 84 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 28 fair, 48 good, and 13 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 92 percent, near 88 last year and 91 average.

Sorghum condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 62 good, and 11 excellent. Sorghum harvested was 41 percent, behind 57 both last year and average.

Dry edible beans harvested was 93 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 19 fair, 63 good, and 14 excellent.


Harvest progressed across Iowa as farmers had 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 27, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included harvesting soybeans and corn for grain, spreading manure, applying anhydrous and baling corn stalks.

Topsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus.

Ninety-five percent of the corn crop has reached maturity, nearly 2 weeks behind average. Twenty-six percent of the crop has been harvested for grain, 8 days behind last year and 11 days behind average. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was at 21 percent. Corn condition rated 67 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-seven percent of the soybean crop has begun dropping leaves or beyond, 10 days behind average. Sixty-six percent of the crop has been harvested, equal to last year but 6 days behind average.

Most of the State’s pasture regrowth has gone dormant with cooler temperatures this past week. Pasture condition rated 48 percent good to excellent. Mud continues to be an issue in feedlots and some livestock have struggled with temperature fluctuations.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report

The U.S. row-crop harvest remains the slowest it's been in a decade, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

Nationwide, corn harvest progressed 11 percentage points last week to reach 41% as of Sunday, 20 percentage points behind the five-year average of 61% and falling further behind the average pace than the previous week when harvest was 17 percentage points behind the five-year average. The pace of this year's corn harvest remains the slowest since 2009 when only 20% of corn was harvested as of Oct. 25.

The condition of corn still in fields was rated 58% good to excellent, up 2 percentage points from 56% the previous week. The poor-to-very-poor category declined to just 12% from 14% the previous week.

Soybean harvest moved ahead 16 percentage points last week to reach 62% as of Sunday. That was 16 percentage points behind the five-year average of 78%, a slight improvement from last Monday's report, when harvest was running 18 percentage points behind average. As with corn, the pace of this year's soybean harvest remains the slowest since 2009 when 44% of the crop was harvested as of Oct. 25.

While row-crop harvest remained behind the average pace, winter wheat progress stayed near, to slightly ahead of, the average pace last week. As of Sunday, 85% of winter wheat was planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average of 82%. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 63%, near the five-year average of 64%.

In its first condition rating for the 2020 winter wheat crop, NASS estimated 56% of winter wheat was in good-to-excellent condition, 3 percentage points better than last year's rating of 53% good to excellent at the same time of year.

Sorghum mature was estimated at 96%, ahead of the average of 94%. Sorghum harvested reached 65%, also ahead of the five-year average of 62%.


Extension, FSA to Host Farm Bill Education Meetings Across Nebraska in November, December

Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska will host a series of Farm Bill education meetings over the next two months to assist producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months.

While the ARC and PLC programs under the new farm bill remain very similar to the previous farm bill, a few program changes coupled with changes in market conditions and outlook could significantly impact producer decisions.

“These meetings will help producers understand the programs and recent changes, as well as the decisions to be made at sign-up now and in the coming years,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “There are some changes, such as an optional PLC program yield update, and other tweaks to the ARC and PLC programs that producers should consider as they make their selections.”

“Producers face a familiar choice between ARC and PLC, but under very different circumstances now as compared to 2014,” said Brad Lubben, Policy Specialist with Nebraska Extension. “Understanding the program mechanics, analysis and available decision tools will help producers make sound enrollment decisions with FSA.”

The joint Nebraska Extension and Nebraska Farm Service Agency producer education meetings are scheduled at 28 locations across the state from late November to mid-December in advance of the coming ARC/PLC enrollment deadlines in early 2020.

The meetings are all free and open to the public. Advance registration is encouraged for planning purposes for materials and facilities. Attendees can register for any of the meetings conveniently on the web at or by calling or visiting their county FSA or Extension office. The educational programs are each set to run three hours in length, featuring information and insight from FSA specialists and Extension experts, as well as other relevant information from local agencies.

The meetings are available statewide with several locations in each region of the state. The tentative schedule is as follows:


Bloomfield - Community Center - December 2, 1:30-4:30 PM
Columbus - Ag Park - December 4, 9 AM-12 NOON
O'Neill - Community Center - December 3, 9 AM-12 NOON
Norfolk - Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center - December 18, 1-4 PM
Wayne - Wayne Fire Hall - December 16, (2 meetings) 1-4 PM or 6-9 PM
West Point - Nielsen Center - December 9, 9 AM-12 NOON

East Central

Grand Island - College Park Fonner Park Room - December 5, 1-4 PM
Mead – UNL Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center - December 3, 9 AM-12 NOON
Scribner - Dodge County Fairgrounds Mohr Auditorium - December 11, 9 AM-12 NOON
York - York County Fairgrounds Cornerstone Building - December 6, 9 AM-12 NOON

Beatrice - Gage County Fairgrounds 4-H Building – December 17, 9 AM-12 NOON
Bruning - Bruning Opera House - December 5, 1:30-4:30 PM
Humboldt - Ag Building – December 12, 9 AM-12 NOON
*Lincoln - Lancaster County Extension Center - December 16, 9 AM-12 NOON
Red Cloud - Community Center - November 25, 1-4 PM
Weeping Water - Cass County Fairgrounds - December 3, 9 AM-12 NOON


Broken Bow - Custer County Fairgrounds - December 16, 1-4 PM
Imperial - Chase County Fairgrounds 4-H Building - November 26, 1:30-4:30 PM
Kearney - Buffalo County Fairgrounds Antelope Meeting Room - December 17, 1-4 PM
Lexington - Dawson County Fairgrounds Extension Meeting Room - December 2, 1-4 PM
McCook - Red Willow County Fairgrounds Community Building - December 3, 1:30-4:30 PM
North Platte - UNL West Central Research and Extension Center - December 18, 1:30-4:30 PM
Ord - Valley County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall - December 4, 1-4 PM

Panhandle/North Central

Ainsworth – Ainsworth Lutheran Church - December 16, 2-5 PM
Bridgeport - Prairie Winds Community Center - November 22, 2-5 PM
Chadron - Chadron State College – December 17, 1:30-4:30 PM
Ogallala - Keith County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall - December 12, 1-4 PM
Valentine - Mid Plains Community College - December 16, 9 AM-12 NOON

Please check the website for updates on locations, dates and times. All times are local with registration beginning 30 minutes ahead of start. Several additional meetings also are being planned locally across the state in various locations. Keep alert to additional opportunities and details as they are developed by checking the website for information or by contacting your county Extension or FSA office. *Please note the date for the Lincoln meeting is Dec. 16, which is a correction from a previously published date for that meeting.

There also are resources available online that can educate producers in their ARC/PLC decision-making process. Links to these resources are available from FSA at under the Spotlights section or from Extension at


The Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln offers a program that can help aspiring food manufacturing entrepreneurs realize their dream. The program is ideal for individuals interested in starting a food business, someone wanting to bring a family recipe to the marketplace, a producer considering adding value to an agricultural product, or a restaurateur or chef exploring the marketing of a house specialty.

The National Food Entrepreneur Program was designed specifically to assist food manufacturing entrepreneurs throughout the country. After coming up with their idea potential entrepreneurs start by attending the Recipe to Reality one-day seminar. Topics include market research, product development, packaging, labeling, pricing, product introduction, promotional materials, food safety, and business structure issues.

“In one day entrepreneurs will gain valuable insight on the basics of starting a food business that could take them months or even years to research on their own. Following the seminar, participants may choose to enter the Product to Profit phase of the program which provides a more individualized and comprehensive level of assistance,” explained program manager, Jill Gifford.

The first seminar in 2020 will be presented on January 25. Early registration for seminars is encouraged due to limited space. To receive a National Food Entrepreneur Program information packet and registration form please contact: Jill Gifford, Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 228 Food Innovation Center, Lincoln, NE 68588-6206. Those interested may also call (402) 472-2819, e-mail, or visit

'Table of Experts' open to aspiring food business owners

Aspiring food business owners are invited to a free panel discussion on Monday, Nov. 4, in Columbus. This event will be presented in both Spanish and English, and is sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Table of Experts: Food Business Panel Discussion” will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska, 3020 18th St., Suite #7, in Columbus, Nebraska.

“Explore turning your food business dream into your own catering business, restaurant, food truck, or bakery,” said Vicky Espinoza, Center for Rural Affairs project assistant. “During this discussion, you will hear from a food business owner, and about local resources to support those who would like to open their own business."

Topics on the agenda include start-up planning, regulations, licensing and inspection, and funding and taxes.

To register, contact Espinoza at 402.687.2100 ext. 1038 or

Visit for more information. This project is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant.

Farm Bill Meetings Planned across Iowa

In order to help Iowans understand their options under the 2018 Farm Bill, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is planning meetings across the state.

More than 50 informational meetings will be held, beginning Nov. 12 in Grinnell, with a focus on explaining the different farm bill titles and programs that pertain to each part of the state. The meeting series stretches through the winter for landowners and producers to attend now, or following harvest, at a location that is convenient for them.

The agenda is similar at all meetings, and will include ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialists and family life specialists, and local Farm Service Agency representatives.

“Producers should attend to gain a better understanding of the changes to these programs and determine the path that best fits their farm operation under the 2018 Farm Bill,” said Ann Johanns, program specialist in economics with ISU Extension and Outreach. “This is a chance to hear the program specifics and get answers to any questions they may have from regional experts.”

The 2018 Farm Bill allows producers to choose from the same crop price protection programs as found in the 2014 Farm Bill. However, unlike the previous bill, which limited their program selection for all five years, the new farm bill allows producers to make a two-year decision by March 15, 2020, and also to change this selection beginning in 2021.

The basic choices are Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage (at the individual and county levels). A producer’s choice will depend on their annual national cash price expectation, and the farm or county yields where the farm is located.

“Our goal is to give an overview of the things that are included in the 2018 Farm Bill and which of the three roads a producer might wish to go down,” said Kelvin Leibold, farm management specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

According to Leibold and Johanns, farmers in general are entering this farm bill with more financial stress and less operating capital than in 2014, when commodity prices were still high.

The financial stress has the potential to impact the future of the farm, and the health of the operator.

The extension family life specialist at each meeting will present “Stress on the Farm: Strategies to Help Each Other,” a 40-minute scenario-based suicide prevention training that reviews the risk factors and warning signs of suicide.

While the farm bill is only one layer of risk protection, its programs are especially important this year.

“I think it’s more important now than ever that one tries to manage risk by understanding what these farm programs might do for them,” Leibold said.

Meetings include:

Thursday, December 5, 2019
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM,   Logan Community Center, Logan/Harrison County

Thursday, December 19, 2019
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM  ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County, Le Mars/Plymouth County
         call Janelle Johnson, 712-546-7835 or email 

A complete listing of farm bill meetings is available on the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill website as well as the ISU Extension and Outreach statewide calendar.

Ag Chemical Dealer Meetings to Provide Timely Updates

This year’s Ag Chemical Dealer meetings will provide the latest information on crop production products and recommendations, at two meetings sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Meetings Dec. 17 in Coralville and Dec. 18 in Ames are opportunities for ag input providers to meet with extension specialists to review current research, discuss new products and learn of new recommendations.

Topics for 2019 include insect, crop disease and weed management updates, and managing consequences of unavoidable soil compaction.

Meetings are approved for Certified Crop Adviser credits. In addition, the meetings offer Iowa Commercial Pesticide Applicator recertification in categories 1A, 1B, 1C and 10 for calendar year 2019. Recertification is included in the meeting registration. Attendance at the entire meeting is required for recertification.

Coralville – Dec. 17
Rebecca Vittetoe,, 319-653-4811
Virgil Schmitt,, 563-263-5701
Joshua Michel,, 319-523-2371

Ames – Dec. 18
Meaghan Anderson,, 319-331-0058
Angie Rieck-Hinz,, 515-532-3453
Mike Witt,, 641-747-2276

Early registration is $70 if received by midnight, Dec. 10 (Coralville) or Dec 11. (Ames). Late or on-site registration is $85. Visit for program details or to register online. For additional information contact an ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist hosting the meeting.

Cattlemen Applaud Introduction of Real MEAT Act of 2019

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today applauded the bipartisan introduction of the Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act of 2019 by U.S. Reps. Roger Marshall (R - 1st Dist., Kansas) and Anthony Brindisi (D - 21st Dist., N.Y.)

“A growing number of fake meat products are clearly trying to mislead consumers about what they’re trying to get them to buy,” said NCBA President and Tennessee cattlewoman Jennifer Houston. “Consumers need to be protected from deceptive marketing practices, and cattle producers need to be able to compete on a fair, level playing field. We want to thank Congressmen Brindisi and Marshall for leading the way on this very important issue.”

Specifically, The Real Meat Act will:

1) Codify the Definition of Beef for Labeling Purposes
    Establish a federal definition of beef that applies to food labels;
    Preserve the Congressional Intent of the Beef Promotion and Research Act;

2) Reinforce Existing Misbranding Provisions to Eliminate Consumer Confusion
    FDA has   misbranding provisions for false or misleading labels;
    Prevent further consumer confusion with alternative protein products;
    Clarify the imitation nature of these alternative protein products;

3) Enhance the Federal Government’s Ability to Enforce the Law
    FDA will have to notify USDA if an imitation meat product is determined to be misbranded;
    If FDA fails to undertake enforcement within 30 days of notifying USDA, the Secretary of Agriculture is granted authority to seek enforcement action.

“Consumers should be able to rely on the information on food labels they see on the shelves to be truthful and not deceptive,” Rep. Marshall said. “For years now, alternative protein products have confused many consumers with misleading packaging and creative names for products. With this bill, consumers can be sure that the meat products they are buying are indeed real meat.”

“American families have a right to know what’s in their food,” Rep. Brindisi said. “Accurate labeling helps consumers make informed decisions and helps ensure families have access to a safe, abundant, affordable food supply. This bill is about safety and transparency, and will make sure that meat-lovers and vegans alike have the transparency and honest labels that can allow customers to make their own decisions.”

Voting Begins for 2019 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots on November 4 to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections.

“Our county committee members play a key role in our efforts to provide assistance to producers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “We value the local input of the over 7,000 members nationwide who provide their valuable knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide, including disaster and emergency programs.”
To be counted, ballots must be returned to the local FSA county office or postmarked by December 2.

Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office January 1, 2020. County committee members help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Producers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Producers can find out if their local administrative area is up for election and if they are eligible to vote by contacting their local FSA county office. Eligible voters who did not receive a ballot in the mail can pick one up at their local FSA county office. Visit for more information.

123rd U.S. Animal Health Association Meeting Kicks Off

The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), the nation's animal health forum for over a century, is holding its 123rd annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, from Oct. 24-30. It is held in conjunction with the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD).

More than 1,200 people are registered for the joint meeting, and several keynote speakers are featured, including Dr. Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer or the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization, who will speak on African swine fever on Monday, Oct. 28. Dr. Scott Dee with Pipestone Veterinary Service, will discuss the risk of ASF in imported feed supplements on Tuesday, Oct 29. Other topics of interest include the delay on animal disease traceability, the number of vacancies in government positions, and the need to bring people into the veterinary profession.

The USAHA has worked diligently to encourage students to attend its annual meeting. It offers travel scholarships and a poster session so students have ample opportunity to visit with professionals. Encouraging young people to enter the veterinarian profession is a high priority for USAHA.

The program hosts at least 30 different committee and subcommittee meetings with hundreds of experts speaking throughout the seven-day annual event. USAHA's mission is implemented through these multiple science-based committees and the adoption of resolutions and recommendations aimed at solving animal health problems.

The organization’s prime objective is to prevent, control and eliminate livestock diseases that cost ranchers, farmers and consumers approximately $1 billion per year.

USAHA is a science-based, non-profit, voluntary organization. Its 1,100 members are state and federal animal health officials, national allied organizations, regional representatives, and individual members. USAHA works with state and federal governments, universities, veterinarians, livestock producers, national livestock and poultry organizations, research scientists, the extension service and several foreign countries to control livestock diseases in the United States. USAHA represents all 50 states, 4 foreign countries and 34 allied groups serving health, technical and consumer markets.

USAHA is administered and its policy determined by the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.  Formed in 1897 as the Interstate Association of Livestock Sanitary Boards, the organization had fewer than 100 members and was concerned with one disease affecting cattle--Texas cattle fever. State, federal and industry collaborators formed USAHA in 1897 to assure the interstate shipment of healthy animals and to develop plans to prevent and eradicate animal disease. Today the need remains the same with increased international animal health and world trade responsibilities.

USAHA members have met annually since the association’s founding, and produces a published proceedings of each meeting. The proceedings represent the most complete history of the nation's animal health endeavors over the past century.

Inventory Insights

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Mgt Specialist, South Dakota State University

The October Cattle on Feed report was very close to trade expectations. Placements during September were 2.1 million head, slightly above expectations. Marketings during September were 1.7 million head, even with expectations. The 11.3 million head on feed is 99 percent of a year ago. The placements by weight categories reflected a slight decrease in the volume placed at the heaviest weight classes, which should be somewhat supportive of prices in the short run. There was also a slight decrease in placements in the lightest weight class, suggesting limited selling pressure from cow-calf producers.

As it was the beginning of the quarter, there was also a breakdown of inventory levels by steers and heifers. The heifer mix, at 39.1 percent of cattle on feed, is larger than last quarter and a year ago. The continued high proportion of heifers confirms fewer held as replacements. It also suggests that lower production is expected as heifers are harvested at lighter weights than steers. The higher heifer mix should be supportive of live cattle prices for the next quarter.

Using data from recent Livestock Slaughter reports, beef cattle slaughter volume for the third quarter was up from year ago. Calf slaughter and beef cow slaughter were up slightly. Steer and heifer slaughter was also higher. The quarterly totals can be used to estimate some related quantity indicators. Using the slaughter totals, the Economic Research Service estimates the October 1 level of feeder cattle outside of feedlots is up sharply compared to a year ago, and at its highest level since 2009. The larger supply of feedlot-ready cattle is weighing on calf prices in the short run. The smaller number of heifers held back is partly causing the increase. The slight increase in cow slaughter volume, coupled with fewer beef replacements, suggest that January 1, 2020 cow inventory levels will be even with or slightly lower than year earlier levels. The USDA baseline did not have a decline happening until 2022. A smaller 2020 calf crop would be supportive of prices next fall.

The challenging weather conditions in South Dakota continue to delay harvesting of major crops. This in turn has delayed some calf sales. The average price for 5-600 pound steers was $158 per cwt in October across South Dakota, down sharply from $178 per cwt in 2018. The recent basis of $14 per cwt, relative to the October feeder cattle futures price, is also narrower than last year. Feed availability is quite variable, but there is usually some producers willing and able to background calves into the next year. The risk during the backgrounding phase, on average, is quite small. The average change in the March futures price between November and its eventual settlement in March was $0.08 per cwt when measured during the past decade. However, this masks the extreme price moves (up almost $15 per cwt heading into 2011 and down almost $19 per cwt heading into 2015) that are prevalent in feeder cattle futures.

Corteva Agriscience Increases Support of the National FFA Organization

Corteva Agriscience™ recently announced that they would be working hand in hand with the National FFA Organization when it comes to providing the next generation of leaders.

For the past 60 years, the company has supported the FFA mission, and this year, the support continues to grow. This summer Corteva Agriscience donated a recurring gift of $20,000 for five years to help students in need receive the official FFA blue jacket. Through the Give the Gift of Blue program, students who may not otherwise be able to afford the iconic blue jacket can be nominated to receive their own jacket.

“Supporting FFA as they develop the leaders of tomorrow allows us to invest in our communities,” said Tony Klemm, Corteva Agriscience Global Portfolio Leader – Corn, and National FFA Sponsors’ Board member. “Working with the organization allows us to enable FFA members to continue to give back to their own communities.”

In addition to helping fund the Give the Gift of Blue program, Corteva Agriscience has also increased funding of the FFA mission, making the company a platinum sponsor of the student leader organization. They have supported the organization in many different ways – from state-specific grants to support for the National FFA Convention & Expo to supporting the New Century Farmer conference and much more.

“We are so appreciative of the support that Corteva Agriscience continues to give us,” said Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “Along with supporting our vision of providing a future generation of leaders, they are also supporting our advisors and agriculture educators.”

NSP Welcomes Forage Genetics International as Industry Partner

National Sorghum Producers is pleased to announce the addition of Forage Genetics International (FGI), a subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes, as a new Partner Level sponsor in the NSP Industry Partner program.

FGI is a company driven to better the forage industry through improved genetics that advance forages and benefit FGI customers. FGI has expanded its forage sorghum research activities in the last two years in response to greater interest in forage sorghums from the beef and dairy industries.

"NSP believes in the work being done by FGI to provide our producers with improved forages and silages through innovative technologies that are necessary to positively impact the forage and feeding industries," NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “We look forward to partnering with them and welcome them to our industry partner program."

“We are excited to partner with NSP to further our support of the sorghum industry,” said Matt Sowder, director of FGI Commercial Products. “Working closely with NSP provides multiple benefits in advancing technology for FGI.”

For more than 25 years, FGI has led the forage industry with innovative genetic discoveries, variety developments and cutting-edge product introductions. FGI’s relentless drive for improved forage production is behind their unprecedented advancements. As the industry’s leading provider of forage solutions, FGI breeds, develops and produces premier alfalfa seed. FGI’s capabilities in forage technology and product development, coupled with their customer focused business, provide forage sorghum customers with the same level of high-quality product experience expected from FGI alfalfa.

Support from industry partners like FGI helps NSP continue to advocate for, promote and defend the sorghum industry. More information about the program can be obtained by contacting NSP Industry Relations Director Jamaca Battin at or by visiting

Friday October 25 Cattle on Feed Report + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.27 million cattle on feed on October 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 7 percent from last year. Placements during September totaled 530,000 head, up 2 percent from 2018. Fed cattle marketings for the month of September totaled 410,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during September totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 640,000 head on October 1, 2019, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2 percent from September 1, 2019, but down 7 percent from October 1, 2018. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 480,000 head on feed, unchanged from last month but down 8 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,120,000 head, up 1 percent from last month but down 7 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 82,000 head, up 15 percent from August but down 8 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 85,000 head, up 67 percent from August and up 63 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 167,000 head, up 37 percent from August and up 18 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 70,000 head, up 1 percent from August but down 7 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 80,000 head, up 4 percent from August and up 60 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 150,000 head, up 3 percent from August and up 20 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 7,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Down 1 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million head on October 1, 2019. The inventory was 1 percent below October 1, 2018 (the average trade estimate was a 1.3% decrease).  The inventory included 6.87 million steers and steer calves, down 3 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 61 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.41 million head, up 2 percent from 2018.

By State:            1,000 hd  -  % Oct 1 '18)

Colorado ......:         990          101              
Iowa .............:        640           93               
Kansas ..........:      2,380          100             
Nebraska ......:      2,270           93              
Texas ............:      2,780          105           

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.09 million head, 2 percent above 2018 (the average trade estimate was a 0.8% increase). Net placements were 2.03 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 420,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 355,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 460,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 475,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 273,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 110,000 head.

By State        (1,000 hd   -   % Sept '18)

Colorado ......:      240           102           
Iowa .............:       82             92             
Kansas ..........:      435            98             
Nebraska ......:      530           102            
Texas ............:      455           115            

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.74 million head, 1 percent above 2018 (the average trade estimate was a 1.2% increase).

By State         (1,000 hd   -   % Sept '18)

Colorado ......:      175           117          
Iowa .............:       70            93              
Kansas ..........:      385           103           
Nebraska ......:      410           100            
Texas ............:      390            96          

Nebraska Corn Board Hosts Trade Team from Taiwan

From Oct. 21-25, a delegation of seven Taiwanese customers was in the U.S. to better understand the American corn industry. As part of its visit, the team was in Nebraska from Oct. 23-24 and was able to see several different aspects of the state’s corn value chain.

“We know that 95% of the world’s population lives outside of the U.S.,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “We also know that we grow a lot more corn than we can use. We need to ensure we have reliable trading partners to ensure markets for our corn and corn-related products.”

The Taiwanese delegation represented a variety of customers and industry leaders, including livestock producers, feed millers, corn traders and government officials. The group began their visit in Illinois and toured a grain loading facility, corn farms and a local elevator. Once in Nebraska, the trade team visited Farmers Cooperative in Firth, Nerud Farms in Dorchester, Flint Hills Resources in Fairmont, and met with Gavilon in Lincoln. The team completed their week in Washington by visiting grain export terminals to see how corn and corn-related products are shipped outside of the U.S.

“We know we produce quality ag products in Nebraska,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “We can grow and produce all of the quality products in the world, but if we don’t have anyone to buy our commodities, it doesn’t matter. Therefore, trade matters. We always need to be working on enhancing relationships with our friends around the globe.”

The Taiwanese visit was the third trade mission the Nebraska Corn Board has hosted since September. The state’s top two corn customers, Mexico and Japan, were in Nebraska earlier this fall. Each trade team was hosted through collaborations with the U.S. Grains Council.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               How much did the spring and summer's weather affect the feed value of your hay?  You don’t know?  Then forage test.

               Nearly every bushel of corn has similar nutrient concentration, but with hay it varies considerably.  Why does this happen?  Well, there are many causes.  For example, leafiness of the hay, or maturity of the plant when your hay was cut, or even how you handled the hay during raking and baling all can affect its feed value.

               This year, weather conditions have made things more complicated.  This spring's floods and cool, wet weather caused many folks to delay first cutting or got rain-damaged hay.  Leaf diseases, mature plants, and other factors made much alfalfa lower in quality.  During summer we had periods of hot and very humid weather that often caused plants to burn off their easily digested nutrients at night, leaving us with hay that looks really good but is high in fiber and low in energy.

               Grass hay might be even more difficult to predict.  Some fields had fewer seedheads than normal.  This might give higher quality hay, but if harvest was delayed in hopes of increasing yield or if the heat affected grass quality like it affects alfalfa, grass hay quality might actually be lower.  And when growth is stimulated by extra rain, plants use many nutrients for increased tonnage instead of quality.

               And I haven’t even mentioned all the different forages used on prevented planting acres.  Different species harvested late in the year; who knows what the protein and TDN levels are like.

               So you see, this year, just like always, forage testing is important.  It is the only way that you can find out for sure ahead of time what the feed value is of your hay.

               So gather samples now for testing, before feeding your animals and before it's too late.

2019 Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

Members of the cattle industry are invited to attend the annual Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit on Dec. 5 and 6 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. The lineup will tackle diverse topics such as Fake Meat, foreign animal diseases, and how to protect our industry against legal attacks. In addition to a large tradeshow on Thursday, attendees will dive deep into issues affecting Iowa’s cattle industry.

Thursday, Dec. 5

Andy Curliss, CEO of North Carolina Pork Council will headline the event starting at 11:00.

With his presentation titled “Up close and personal: How unfair attacks hurt us all” Andy will take attendees through his experience dealing with nuisance lawsuits in North Carolina and give input on how to protect your livelihood.

More than two dozen nuisance lawsuits in North Carolina have been filed against Murphy Brown LLC, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. Jurors have ruled against the pork company in all five cases that have made it through the court system. More than $550 million in penalties have been awarded to defendants.

Although the individual farmers are not the ones being sued, they are being affected all the same. Curliss will share the story of Joey Carter, a hog farmer who not only met the requirements of the law in North Carolina, he exceeded them. But members of a nearby housing development, which was built after the hog barns, took part in a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by the same lawyers who are well-known for filling class-action lawsuits regarding asbestos, eventually led to the depopulation of Carter’s barns.

Breakout Sessions:

The afternoon session starting at 1:30 p.m. brings in the education component. This year we are offering two simultaneous sessions.

Fake Meat: The Industry Responds - Danielle Beck, NCBA, will share the strategies used by the Check off and Policy teams at NCBA as they advocate for beef as the number one protein on consumers’ minds and plates.

Danielle Beck joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in June of 2016. As Senior Director of Government Affairs, she is the lead lobbyist on all issues pertaining to tax, credit, appropriations, nutrition, food safety, labeling, and research.

Halt! Impact an FMD Could Have on Your Cattle Business - With African Swine Fever (ASF) threatening the world’s hog operations, now is a good time to consider what would happen if a similar disease were to affect Iowa’s cattle industry.

The session will be led by Dr. Andrew Hennefent, the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Management Coordinator, and Dr. Danelle Bickett-Weddle from the Center for Food Security and Public Health at Iowa State University. Together, they will lead attendees through a mock “stand-still order.” In the case of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the state, movement (transportation) of all susceptible livestock would be halted for a minimum of 72 hours. When movement resumes, it would be on a permit-only basis for those in areas where the disease is present. Attendees will be asked to think through a variety of scenarios on their farm and learn what will be required in order to receive a movement permit.

Policy Committee Meetings:

Following the speakers, ICA’s policy committee meetings will be held. These meetings are open to all members. Attendees will review expiring policies, hear updates on hot topics in the industry, and debate new policies.

Throughout the year, ICA staff and leaders compile input on a variety of topics affecting the cattle industry. From transportation to taxes and everything in between, the issues cattlemen are dealing with need constant attention. ICA’s Policy Committee meetings are the culmination of the policy development process, where our position on issues is solidified, guiding ICA staff and leaders’ advocacy work throughout the next year. Policies developed in these meetings are ratified during the ICA Annual Meeting the following day.

In preparation for the policy committee meetings, ICA’s Feedlot Council, Cow-Calf Council, and various task forces will meet to gather information. Topics expected to be discussed this year include Iowa’s Green and Gold Tag Preconditioned programs, traceability, and cattle marketing. Attendees will hear a summary of ICA’s October Cattle Marketing Listening Sessions, and work on related policy to carry forward to the NCBA Convention in early 2020.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation Banquet and Fundraiser Auction:

Thursday’s events will cap off with the traditional Iowa Cattlemen’s Foundation Banquet. A fundraiser auction will accompany presentations honoring Iowa’s outstanding cattlemen and women, both young and old. Cattle industry supporters are encouraged to support the Foundation through the auction, in person or online. Again this year, auction items will be posted online at

Friday, Dec. 6

Friday morning will begin with a breakfast specifically for ICA board members and county board members. Following breakfast, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will hold its annual meeting, followed by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Registration Information:  Early Registration Ends Nov. 20
Three registrations are being offered this year:
Member Full Registration- $75
Non-Member Full Registration- $90
Foundation Banquet- $50 (banquet meal only)

Hotel rooms can be reserved at using group code 12042019IOW or by calling 515-957-3000. Rooms must be booked by November 20 to receive the discounted rate.

Iowa continues to lead in agriculture,but still faces market challenges

Iowa continues to remain a powerhouse in United States agriculture according to the 2019 Iowa Agricultural Statistics, a 112-page comprehensive analysis by the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and released by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF). Last year, Iowa farmers averaged 196 bushels per acre of corn compared to the U.S. average of 176 and raised 57 bushels of soybeans, compared to the U.S. average of 51.6.

Iowa’s farmers continue to be the leaders of pork production, raising 31 percent of the nation’s hogs, and is also ranked fourth in cattle on feed (cattle expected to become select, choice or prime beef). Because of its strong livestock sector, Iowa continues to increase its processing of red meat products including beef, pork and mutton. Processing plants in Iowa produced 7.70 billion pounds of red meat in 2018, an increase of 471 million pounds from the previous year.

“The 2019 Iowa Ag stats speak to how important agriculture is to the state,” says Director of the NASS Upper Midwest Regional Office Greg Thessen. “It’s one of our major industries, and it’s not just corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle. There are other niche farms and small farms that sell at farmers markets.”

These stats can also give people an overall view of the “health” of the state’s farm economy, Thessen says. “It gives people an idea of the amount of money it takes to be a farmer. Farmers have a lot of money invested into their operations which in turn affects their local community.” Beyond that, agribusinesses and other expanding businesses in Iowa use county agricultural data to decide where their business can thrive based on the local farm economy, he says.

However, Iowa grain farmers continue to work within narrow—and sometimes negative—margins as corn and soybeans cost more to produce than the price a farmer receives for them. Soybean “ending stocks”— or, soybeans that are leftover after being fed to livestock, used for seed, crushed for soybean oil and exported to other countries— continue to compound from year to year. The carryover of soybeans from the 2016-17 crop marketing year brought 2018 soybean ending stocks to 438 million bushels. This glut further depresses soybean prices and shows an urgent need for negotiations with China—the top recipient of U.S. soybeans.

"Iowa farmers are building from the conditions shaped by last year and some further market challenges they’ve faced this year,” says Dr. Sam Funk, IFBF director of agriculture analytics and research. “It is important to consider where we have been and market conditions. How relatively current markets handle the productive capacity of Iowa agriculture provides indicators of supply and demand conditions moving forward.”

Pork Checkoff Video Series Provides High-Tech View of Today’s Pig Farming

A new cutting-edge video series from the National Pork Board  creates opportunities for farmers and others involved in pork production to share with consumers a firsthand view inside today’s modern farms. The virtual reality (VR) videos enable viewers to virtually tour gestation, farrowing, nursery and finishing barns. The video series show how pig farmers and their teams use the latest technology and tools to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment for pigs following the We Care ethical principles. 

NPB YouTube Channel:

“The new videos let viewers step into a barn, take a guided tour and look around through a virtual reality platform in much the same way as if they were actually inside a barn,” said David Newman, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer representing Arkansas. “We think this platform will go a long way toward sharing our We Care story with consumers and the lengths farmers go to in order to provide a safe, sustainable and nutritious product.”

Pork Checkoff leaders will showcase the videos and highlight the nutritional benefits of pork at the 2019 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) held Oct. 26-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“The videos will help us share the story of today’s pig farming and demonstrate that what we do – day in and day out – is based on the utmost concern for human health, nutrition and sustainability,” said Adria Huseth, RDN, LD, CPT, and manager of nutrition communication and research for the Pork Checkoff. “The videos will showcase our industry to key audiences, including health and nutrition professionals from around the world.”

The Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo is the world’s largest gathering of food and nutrition experts, with more than 10,000 registered dietitians, nutrition science researchers, policy makers, health care providers and industry leaders in attendance. At FNCE, they will discuss and act on issues of high importance to the health and well-being of American food consumers. 

“It’s the right platform for showcasing the efforts of everyone involved in pork production to ensure product quality, safety and sustainability,” Huseth said. 

The videos use VR technology to offer a firsthand view inside different types of pig barns. The videos can be viewed on YouTube, Facebook or through a VR headset. “The high-tech platform is a fitting way to illustrate the cutting-edge tools and processes pig farmers use to provide a safe, secure environment for the well-being of every animal on farms across the United States,” said Newman.  

The videos were filmed in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board and Christensen Farms located in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.


The National Pork Producers Association has come out in support of the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) proposal to increase flexibility for truckers, including livestock haulers, it wrote in comments submitted this week. The Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers proposal, issued in August, revised rules around the amount of time truckers can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives.

"While not perfect, FMCSA's proposed rule is part of a series of welcome steps the agency has taken to adjust policies necessary to help address the challenges faced by livestock haulers," NPPC explained in its comments.

FMCSA's proposal addresses the challenge of adverse weather by expanding not just the driving time, but also the overall on-duty time for drivers to finish their delivery. The proposed rule also allows truckers to split up their 10-hour mandatory rest period into two periods (one being at least 7 hours long) and creates an option for drivers to take an extended break between 30 minutes and 3 hours, which pauses their on-duty clock. This will allow drivers the option of resting when tired, while providing greater flexibility for completing deliveries and maintaining high animal welfare standards.

In its comments, NPPC urged FMCSA to allow other time splits for livestock haulers and eliminate the distinction between on-duty and driving time, among other suggestions.

Deputy Secretary Censky Leads Trade Mission to West Africa

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky will lead a trade mission to West Africa, October 28-31, to help United States exporters unlock new opportunities in a region where strong economic growth is driving demand for imported food and farm products.

“At USDA we are working to sell the bounty of American agriculture. West Africa is a bright spot with a growing middle class that are hungry for our delicious and wholesome agriculture products,” said Deputy Secretary Censky. “Through this trade mission and other efforts, USDA is proud to support President Trump’s Prosper Africa initiative, which is seeking to boost two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. Prosper Africa brings together the full range of U.S. government resources to connect U.S. and African businesses with new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities – a win for the United States and for countries across the African continent.”

Deputy Secretary Censky will be joined by Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, officials from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and representatives from the following companies and organizations:
    AFRO Plus Logistics, Bear, Delaware
    American Premier Meat, Connersville, Indiana
    American Soybean Association/World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, St. Louis, Missouri
    Anna Carter’s The Seed Lady, Los Angeles, California
    Archer Daniels Midland Company, Chicago, Illinois
    Berkeley Capital Group, Inc, New York, New York
    Crown Products, Inc, Metairie, Louisiana
    CTB, Inc., Milford, Indiana
    DAUUS Company, Bloomington, Minnesota
    East West International Group, Inc, Moreland, Ohio
    Fobrose Group, Houston, Texas
    Geotan Enterprises, LLC, Humble, Texas
    Ghantex Holdings Limited, Houston, Texas
    Global Export Marketing Co. Ltd., New York, New York
    Green Plains Inc., Omaha, Nebraska
    Growth Energy, Washington, D.C.
    Hills Harvest, College Park, Maryland
    International Feed Corporation, Excelsior, Minnesota
    I.P.P International, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
    JBR International Trade Group, Inc., DuPont, Washington
    Livestock Exporters Association of the USA, Chicago, Illinois
    Marquis Energy, Hennepin, Illinois
    Mariani Packing Company, Vacaville, California
    National Swine Registry, West Lafayette, Indiana
    Neil Jones Food Company, Vancouver, Washington
    North Star Food Trading LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Now International, Bloomingdale, Illinois
    Oakmont & Associates, Addison, Texas
    Perdue Foods, Salisbury, Maryland
    Steel City Global Trading, LLC, Enterprise, Alabama
    St. Louis African Chamber of Commerce, St. Louis, Missouri
    Tam Global Consultants, Portland, Oregon
    Tomex Foods, Inc. Lombard, Illinois
    Triad Fisheries Ltd, Portland, Oregon
    U.S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc., Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
    U.S. Grains Council, Washington, D.C.
    U.S. Soybean Export Council, Chesterfield, Missouri
    U.S. Wheat Associates, Arlington, Virginia
    United Source One, Belcamp, Maryland
    Virginia Natural Beef Inc., Lexington, Virginia
    Wakava Food and Beverage, LLC, St. Louis, Missouri
    Wygold LLC, Woodland, California

The mission will be based in Accra, Ghana, and will also include buyer delegations from Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Senegal. 

Thursday October 24 Ag News

Leadership Transition within UNL Center for Grassland Studies

The Center for Grassland Studies celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year. The founding Director of the Center, Dr. Martin Massengale, served in that role for the Center’s first 23 years. Seldom does an organization enjoy the benefits and prosper fromsuch remarkable commitment and passionate leadership represented by over two decades of servant leadership. The stability in leadership and vision coupled with the inherent passion for grasslands and grassland science positioned the Center well for service to the students, faculty stakeholders, state and beyond. 

Dr. Steven Waller feels it has been an honor to have followed Dr. Massengale in the role of Interim Director of the Center for Grassland Studies. The opportunities for the Center that have occurred as a result of the foundation that Dr. Massengale and others created have been extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally for Waller. Steve said, “My experience in the Center has only reaffirmed how blessed we are to be grassland stewards in the state of Nebraska. My three years in the Centerhave felt like a rebirth of my lasting passion for our grasslands which has always been grounded in the people. I will retire at the end of this calendar year having thoroughly enjoyed a return to my range science roots.” Steve continued, “Whether it is the administrative team in the office or the faculty, students, stakeholders, farmers and ranchers; we all become one in service to our grassland heritage. It is the people that make a difference and it is time for a new leader of the Center for Grassland Studies to make their difference, and they will.”

Dr. Walt Schacht has accepted the position of Interim Director beginning January 1, 2020. Dr. Schacht is a Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture specializing in Grassland Ecology. He is uniquely suited for the position as Interim Director. He has been a servant leader his entire career and his network of friends, colleagues, students, alumni, stakeholders, farmers and ranchers testify to the breadth and diversity of his knowledge in grasslands and the respect that he enjoys from all. Dr. Schacht has always been a difference-maker and now he will make a difference in the Center for Grassland Studies.   

Ricketts: New Forecast Means Full Steam Ahead on Property Tax Relief

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following a decision by the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board, which raised the revenue forecast by $161 million for the current fiscal year FY2019-20 and $105 million for fiscal year FY2020-21.

“This new forecast pegs revenues at $266 million higher over the next two years,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “This will allow property tax relief to move full steam ahead during the upcoming legislative session.”

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Revenue Projections, Opportunity for Property Tax Relief

“Today’s state revenue projections adopted by the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Board only bolster the opportunity for the Legislature to provide property tax relief for Nebraskans. While some will want to use additional dollars for other purposes, it’s vital these dollars be dedicated to lowering property taxes for hard working Nebraskans.”

IA Pork Leadership Applications due Nov. 30, 2019

Travel the country. Meet farmers from other states. Develop your leadership skills. If those sound like goals you want to accomplish in 2020, then the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy (IPLA) may be for you.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is now accepting applications for its 2020 IPLA class. Applications are due Nov. 30, 2019.

IPLA was created to support Iowa's pork producers who are committed to the pork industry. It provides them with the tools to succeed as leaders. These tools include:
-    a working knowledge of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and other key organizations that work with IPPA to broaden perspectives and build coalitions;
-    understanding and defining leadership styles and how they impact people working together in a group;
-    a deeper understanding of the pork industry and its economic contributions to Iowa, and how that impacts Iowa's place in the world; and
-    sharpening written and verbal communications and messaging about pig farming and pork.

The academy will meet four times in 2020, starting with an introductory session in February 2020, which culminates with the group's graduation at the January 2021 Iowa Pork Congress.

IPLA is for men and women who want to contribute to a better future for Iowa's pig farmers by connecting with their communities, and supporting the long-term profitability of the pork industry in Iowa.

Online applications and details about the program can be found at

The 2019 IPLA members will graduate at the 2020 IPPA Annual Meeting Awards Lunch on Jan. 21, 2020. Those members are: Kara Burch, Independence; Amanda Chipman, Ames; Jared Gent, Kalona; Mary Heiller, North Liberty; Ryan Holt, Des Moines; and Michael King, Urbandale.

Also, Brian Lundell, Kiron; Craig Mostaert, Castalia; Nathan Nieuwendorp, Inwood; Scott Opperman, Manning; Ty Rosburg, Charter Oak; and Linda Schroeder, Remsen.

Operation Main Street Shares Facts About Pig Farming With 10,000 Groups

After debuting nearly 15 years ago, the Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street (OMS) program has reached a major milestone – sharing facts about pigs and pork to 10,000 audiences. Wesley Lyons, a veterinarian from Sycamore, Illinois, made the historic presentation to nurses at the Northern Illinois Chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Fall Forum in Rockford, Illinois.

“I was honored to present the 10,000th OMS speech, especially to a group of critical care nurses,” said Lyons, with Pipestone Veterinary Services. “Nurses often have more time to interact with patients than physicians, which makes them a critical group for us to share up-to-date information about how pigs are raised today.”

The OMS program was created to help pig farmers interact with and connect to their communities about animal care, food safety and public health and other facets of how today’s pigs are raised. Since then, it has transitioned into a program that also reaches key influencers, expanding to include veterinarians such as Lyons and other industry representatives to serve as speakers. To date, the nearly 1,500 trained OMS speakers have collectively volunteered 17,604 hours to share pork’s story.

“OMS provides the opportunity for audience members to ask questions about pigs and pork from the farmers and veterinarians who care for pigs daily,” said Ernie Barnes industry services director for the Pork Checkoff. “OMS speakers interact with chefs, nurses, veterinarian students, nutritionists, bloggers and other important groups who interact daily with audiences. OMS presentations help them confidently and accurately talk about the science and practice of raising pigs.”

A new program update is an ability for audience members to virtually tour a pig farm. Through a collaboration with South Dakota State University (SDSU), OMS speakers can include live-streaming video tours of SDSU’s Swine Education and Research Center, in Brookings, South Dakota.

“The live tours show how pig farmers follow the We CareSM ethical principles every day in their barns to raise healthy pigs,” said Lyons, who included a virtual tour in the 10,000th presentation. “Many people are surprised at the high level of care pigs receive in the climate-controlled barns and at how pig farmers safeguard natural resources.”

OMS speakers and those who attend presentations are encouraged to use the hashtag –  #OurPorkStory – to increase the online presence of pig farming. 

Record Red Meat and Pork Production in September

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.44 billion pounds in September, up 6 percent from the 4.19 billion pounds produced in September 2018.

By State   (million pounds - % Sept '18)

Nebraska ........:     698.6            106
Iowa ...............:     707.1            118      
Kansas ............:     385.1             79      

Beef production, at 2.19 billion pounds, was 1 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.68 million head, up 2 percent from September 2018. The average live weight was down 7 pounds from the previous year, at 1,352 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.1 million pounds, 1 percent above September a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 49,000 head, up 1 percent from September 2018. The average live weight was up 1 pound from last year, at 216 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.24 billion pounds, up 11 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.6 million head, up 10 percent from September 2018. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 282 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 10.9 million pounds, was down 4 percent from September 2018. Sheep slaughter totaled 179,400 head, 4 percent above last year. The average live weight was 122 pounds, down 10 pounds from September a year ago.

January to September 2019 commercial red meat production was 40.5 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2018. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 2 percent.

USDA Agricultural Trade Mission To Vietnam Reinforces Importance Of Trade Relationships

Relationships are a primary driving force behind trade - a principle that was demonstrated during each meeting of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Mission (USDA’s ATM) to Vietnam in mid-October, led by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney.

Wayne Humphreys, corn farmer from Columbus Junction, Iowa, who represents the corn sector on the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Board of Directors, joined USGC staff for the mission, which included nearly 80 industry and government representatives. Humphreys’ participation as an engaged producer accentuated the importance of the interconnectedness between U.S. farmers and agribusiness, and other organizations like the Council in establishing, maintaining and expanding trade opportunities.

“I particularly appreciated being a part of this mission and others because when you sit across the table from these people and say you are a family farmer or an American farmer, you get the distinct impression that is a good thing,” Humphreys said. “We are held in high regard for our productivity and for the amount of volume that we handle per person and per man-hour.”

Vietnam is the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia, thanks to increasing population, urbanization and rapid economic growth. In less than a decade, Vietnam has grown from a top 10 to a top three corn importer in the world. The country is a significant importer of both U.S. corn and DDGS with additional future potential for U.S. sorghum. A rising middle class is also creating additional demand for ethanol, aided by a nationwide E5 policy that has ambitions to expand to E10. Vietnam imported 3.51 million gallons of U.S. ethanol in the 2018/2019 marketing year, more than tripling sales from the year prior.

During the trade mission, Humphreys and Council staff participated in two different roundtable meetings with Undersecretary McKinney - one focused on ethanol and bioplastics and another with grain traders. Each meeting emphasized the Council’s well-known reputation as a partner in the trade and with Vietnamese producers working to expand their operations and address challenges like Asian Swine Fever (ASF).

“They have great respect for the Council. They know we have been in business a long time and we have been working in that part of the world for a long time,” Humphreys said. “We are not just blowing in there because the market is a hot spot.”

The USGC team traveled to Myanmar following the official USDA trade mission to meet with key stakeholders in the frontier Southeast Asian market. Myanmar is home to 54 million people with tremendous potential for U.S. grain and co-product exports. However, restrictions on foreign investment related to political turbulence within Myanmar limited market development activities until 2018. Since then, the Council has been engaging with key stakeholders in the market, targeting aquaculture, animal feed and potable ethanol industries.

“Myanmar is a classic example of an emerging market,” Humphreys said. “The people are learning how to be part of the international community. We learned long ago to be patient with emerging markets and help them develop their policies.”

In both markets, Humphreys observed the importance of the Council’s on-the-ground presence and emphasized the overarching need to continue to establish connections, not just promote sales.

“The business of the Council and the business of the American farmer around the world should be focused on developing relationships,” Humphreys said. “That means consistency; that means trust; that means honesty; that means doing and delivering exactly what we said we will do.”

National Biodiesel Foundation Receives DERA Grant

This week, the National Biodiesel Foundation was awarded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding for its 2020 National Clean Diesel Project. In partnership with Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT), Optimus Technologies (Optimus), and  Renewable Energy Group (REG), the project supports the purchase of three new replacement snowplows that will operate on B100 and retire older more polluting vehicles.

These new B100-optimized vehicles provide communities of Des Moines and Ames, Iowa. with lower NOx and PM transportation. “We at Foundation are excited to partner with Iowa DOT for the first successful DERA grant to utilize the Optimus B100 technology," said Tom Verry, Executive Director. “It is projects like this that will showcase the benefits of higher biodiesel blends as the future of clean and sustainable diesel.”

“The Iowa Department of Transportation is pleased to receive this award to help our fleet improve air quality in Iowa and maintains our status as an early adopter of biofuels and related technologies,” said David May, Fleet Manager for Iowa DOT.

These new vehicles will facilitate goods-movement seasonally by providing snow removal service and have access to rail yards, terminals, and key distribution centers. All replacement vehicles will use Optimus Technologies’ Vector technology, allowing the vehicles to operate exclusively on 100% biodiesel—other than startup and shutdown—to optimize fuel savings and emissions performance.

“Optimus’ patented technology is deployed with fleets across the country leading the efforts to reduce emissions and transition to low carbon fuels. Our technology is ideal for demanding applications like snow removal operations and refuse collection that aren’t suitable or practical for electrification,” said Colin Huwyler, CEO of Optimus. “We applaud Iowa Department of Transportation’s leadership in being the first DOT in the nation to deploy B100 within their fleet and are excited to emphasize that the thousands of gallons of diesel fuel being offset will be replaced with biodiesel that is produced right in Iowa.”

REG will provide the B100 refueling infrastructure for the fleet. “As the demand for emissions reduction strategies continue to grow across fleets and municipalities, we are well-positioned to provide quality biodiesel (B100) and other biofuel blend options to our customers,” said Jon Scharingson, Executive Director, Sales & Marketing. “The Iowa Department of Transportation was an early adopter of biodiesel and continues to be an ambassador for cleaner fuels.”

The Foundation will work with IDOT, Iowa Renewable Fuels, Iowa Clean Cities and the National Biodiesel Board to offer technician training to help them better understand the equipment as well as provide community educational events. In addition, partners will conduct outreach efforts to showcase biodiesel and educate fleets and the general public on biodiesel’s air quality and low carbon benefits to the community.

RFA Receives Grants for Ethanol Safety Education

The Renewable Fuels Association has recently been awarded grants to support its safety education program through on-site seminars and Internet webinars. Both grants were received via the association’s work with TRANSCAER, a voluntary national outreach effort that focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and respond to a possible hazardous material transportation incident.

“One of the strengths that sets our association apart is our whole-industry focus that includes high-quality technical assistance such as our safety programs with TRANSCAER,” said RFA Technical Services Manager Missy Ruff. “As we seek to make ethanol more available to drivers nationwide, we want to ensure that ethanol producers, shippers, blenders, and emergency response personnel all have the opportunity to learn more about best practices for safe handling of ethanol and responding to incidents. We are very grateful for the continuing support from TRANSCAER and other partner organizations.”

A $25,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will support 10 ethanol safety seminars and four “train the trainer” webinars for first responders, and a $40,000 Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will fund another 10 ethanol safety seminars and an update of RFA’s Ethanol Safety Tour video.

All work on both grants must be completed by Aug. 31, 2020. Last year, RFA’s safety work with TRANSCAER involved hosting ethanol safety seminars in New York, Vermont, Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Maine and Virginia reaching a total audience of 506 first responders and safety professionals, and four online “Train the Trainer” webinars, reaching 259 participants in January, March, July and August.

For more information on RFA’s work in this area, visit the Ethanol Emergency Response website at, where the training programs conducted in the seminars and webinars can be seen.

IGC Cuts 2019-20 Grain Production, Consumption Forecasts

The International Grains Council cut its forecast for grain production on Thursday, as a third year of drought in Australia drags on global wheat output.

The intergovernmental organization reduced its forecast for grain output in the 2019-20 season to 2.157 billion metric tons, down from 2.159 billion tons in its September report. Strong harvests in the European Union and Russia partly offset cuts to the outlook for wheat production in Australia and Argentina.

Wheat prices have risen in recent weeks, driven by strong demand in Egypt, the world's top importer of the grain, and dry weather in Australia.

However, the IGC forecasts are unlikely to lead to a further rally in prices since the organization also cut its forecast for global grain consumption by two million tons, to 2.184 billion tons.

EPA Proposes Rule to Update Pesticide Application Exclusion Zone Requirements

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing narrow updates to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) pesticide regulation to improve the long-term success of the agency’s Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ) requirements. The targeted updates would improve enforceability for state regulators and reduce regulatory burdens for farmers. It would also maintain public health protections for farm workers and other individuals near agricultural establishments that could be exposed to agricultural pesticide applications. The proposed updates are consistent with the newly enacted 2019 Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA).

“EPA’s proposal would enhance the agency’s Application Exclusion Zone provisions by making them more effective and easier to implement,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “In listening to input from stakeholders, our proposal will make targeted updates, maintaining safety requirements to protect the health of those in farm country, while providing greater flexibility for farmers.”

“President Trump made a commitment to our farmers to reduce burdensome regulations, and this is another example of him making good on that promise. This action will make it easier for our farmers and growers to comply with the Application Exclusion Zone provisions, providing them with the flexibility to do what they do best - feed, fuel, and clothe the world,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“I commend Administrator Wheeler for clarifying the Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ) requirements," said Congressman Mike Conaway (TX-11). "This is a positive development for our nation’s farmers, farm workers, and their State regulatory partners. Unlike the last administration’s misguided regulations, AEZ is now an enforceable rule that maintains worker protections without additional burden to farmers. While there is still more to do to improve the Worker Protection Standards, I appreciate EPA’s efforts and look forward to continuing this important work.”

“NASDA appreciates the EPA’s continued steps to prioritize worker safety. Additional and improved guidelines for implementing pesticide safety standards are always welcomed, as NASDA members hold highly the responsibility of protecting our nation’s agricultural workforce,” said National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) CEO Dr. Barb Glenn. “We thank EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for mapping out the new rules with NASDA, as each member implements the regulations and intricacies within them.”

“I applaud EPA’s action to provide growers relief from a very cumbersome requirement by proposing changes to the Worker Protection Standard consistent with our remarks submitted during a 2017 comment period,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “Our growers go to great lengths to comply with the WPS only to be frustrated with its complexity. Updating and simplifying the Application Exclusion Zone provision within this rule will strengthen enforceability for state regulators and better support outreach and education efforts by research partners, all while reducing regulatory burdens for our farmers.”

“The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomes EPA’s effort to refine and improve the application exclusion zone requirement. It’s part of the worker protection standards rule, which was recently revised in a way that has proved challenging for many farmers," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. "Every effort to make the rule more sensible and practical for farmers while safeguarding workers is important. EPA’s step today to assure that only those areas under a farmer’s control are enforceable is a common-sense clarification, among others designed to reflect on-the-ground farming practices. AFBF commends Administrator Wheeler and the agency for this common-sense and welcome revision.”

EPA continues to support the AEZ requirement. The agency is holding a 90-day public comment period and is seeking input on select updates that were publicly suggested to EPA by both state pesticide agencies responsible for enforcing the provision and agricultural stakeholders since the AEZ requirement was adopted in 2015. The proposed updates are also consistent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s comments during a May 2017 meeting of EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.

Specifically, EPA is proposing to:

-    Modify the AEZ so it is applicable and enforceable only on a farm owner’s property, where a farm owner can lawfully exercise control over employees and bystanders who could fall within the AEZ. As currently written, the off-farm aspect of this provision has proven very difficult for state regulators to enforce. These proposed changes would enhance both enforcement and implementation of the AEZ for state regulators and farm owners respectively. Off-farm bystanders would still be protected from pesticide applications thanks to the existing “do not contact” requirement that prohibits use in a manner that would contact unprotected individuals.
-    Exempt immediate family members of farm owners from all aspects of the AEZ requirement. This will allow farm owners and their immediate family members to decide whether to stay in their homes or other enclosed structures on their property during certain pesticide applications, rather than compelling them to leave even when they feel safe remaining.
-    Add clarifying language that pesticide applications that are suspended due to individuals entering an AEZ may be resumed after those individuals have left the AEZ.
-    Simplify the criteria for deciding whether pesticide applications are subject to the 25- or 100-foot AEZ.

EPA will be accepting public comments on the proposed updates for 90 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Additional information:

Wednesday October 23 Ag News

Madison cattle feeder co-chairs Nexus capital campaign at Northeast Community College

A cattle feeder from Madison is helping lead the capital campaign to fund new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

Jeanne Reigle, who co-owns Reigle Cattle Company with her husband, John, and son and daughter-in-law, is a co-chair of the campaign, along with Russ Vering of Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus.

“My husband, John, and I asked Northeast for help in meeting our workforce needs,” Reigle explained. “Their answer was this plan to create a premiere location to attract traditional and non-traditional students from all over the country, whether they are interested in livestock agriculture, precision farming or another aspect of production.”

Providing trained employees for area farms, ranches and agri-businesses is one of the main goals of the Nexus project at Northeast Community College.

According to Dr. Tracy Kruse, vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation, “As we talk with area business people, one topic that comes up again and again is the critical shortage of trained workers. Since nine out of 10 Northeast students stay in Nebraska after graduation, we believe that increasing enrollments in our ag program would help farmers, ranchers and agri-businessmen meet that challenge.”

Kruse said that one of the factors limiting student growth in the Northeast ag department is the lack of modern facilities.

“Veterinary technology and animal science students learn in a 100-year-old repurposed dairy barn,” Kruse said. “The Nexus campaign will provide the funds needed to replace that building, as well as provide a farm site that more closely resembles a modern Nebraska farm.”

Reigle has past experience in fundraising, having chaired several local efforts as well as being a co-chair of the 2008 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Ball. She encourages everyone to make an investment in agriculture in northeast Nebraska by contributing to the Nexus campaign.

“I tell ag producers that each dollar contributed to new ag facilities at Northeast is an investment in their own ag business, not just in the college. This state of the art campus will give close proximity access to some of the best qualified ag workforce, technology advancements, and crop management and development.”

“There are several ways to be a part of the Nexus campaign,” Reigle continued. “Cash donations can be made over a five-year pledge period; gifts of grain and livestock are being accepted by the campaign; and some retirees are designating the required disbursements from their IRA’s to the project.”

“Northeast wants to make it possible for everyone to be a part of this project,” Kruse said. “If writing a large check is not something you can do, please contact the Foundation office for more information on alternative ways to support agriculture at Northeast in a significant and tax deductible way.”

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

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

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

Beef Nutrition Research Showcase Set for Dec. 4 in Ames

The 2019 Beef Nutrition Research Showcase Dec. 4, features a variety of topics presented by eight Iowa State University speakers, all with an eye on practical research and market information. The showcase is presented by Iowa Beef Center and the ruminant nutrition group in the animal science department at Iowa State University.

Allison VanDerWal, research coordinator with the ruminant nutrition group, is one of the organizers of the event. She said that while the focus is on nutrition, all presenters will offer insight and information relevant to beef cattle production.

"Our specific topics include growth promoting technologies and their effect on cattle mineral health, precision livestock farming tools for the feedlot, and transit stress in receiving calves," she said. "We'll also get a beef cattle market situation and outlook, and learn about finishing high quality beef."

The program flyer has all the details, including speaker names and affiliations, event times and location addresses.

The showcase itself will be held at the Hansen Ag Student Learning Center, 2508 Mortensen Road in Ames, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Following the presentations, dinner will be provided at 5:30 p.m. There is an optional tour at the Iowa State Beef Nutrition Farm, and those wanting to attend should meet at the farm, at 3405 North Dakota Ave, at noon.

Thanks to sponsor Merck Animal Health, the tour, program and meal are free. However, RSVPs should be made by Wednesday, Nov. 27, by contacting VanDerWal either by email at or by phone at 507-822-5921.

VanDerWal also encourages showcase attendees to consider registering for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association 2019 Iowa Cattle Leadership Summit, set for Dec. 5-6 at Prairie Meadows Event Center in Altoona. Registration for all meals and trade show access is $75 for members and $90 for nonmembers through November 20.

RFID Mandate Removed from USDA Website

In April 2019 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) publicly issued its guidance document titled, "Factsheet Advancing Animal Disease Traceability: A Plan to Achieve Electronic Identification in Cattle and Bison," which was prominently displayed on the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's (APHIS's) website under the heading "Animal Disease Traceability."

That guidance document stated that USDA would require the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) eartags on adult cattle and bison moved in interstate commerce beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Representing the ranching group R-CALF USA and several of its members, Harriet Hageman of the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) filed a lawsuit on Oct. 4, 2019 in the federal district court in Casper, Wyo. alleging that the USDA's RFID mandate was unlawful and seeking to declare the mandate null and void.

When the ranching group's lawsuit was filed, the USDA's guidance document remained prominently displayed on APHIS' website at

Today, just days after the lawsuit was filed, the guidance document is gone.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard conducted a search for the infamous guidance document and could not find it anywhere on USDA's website.  However, he did locate the document that had apparently been archived by the Government Printing Office. Although the guidance document cannot be accessed in its prior location on USDA's website, it can still be accessed here:

After the ranching group filed their lawsuit, and before it was removed from the USDA's website, on Oct. 8, 2019, President Donald J. Trump issued two Executive Orders that, among other things, attempted to stop federal agencies like the USDA from attempting to impose legally binding obligations on U.S. citizens through unlawful means, such as the use of guidance documents that were not created through a lawful rulemaking procedure.

The President's Executive Orders gave federal agencies 120 days to compile a publicly available inventory of all the guidance documents that the respective agencies intended to keep and defend, regardless of whether those guidance documents were created pursuant to a lawful rulemaking procedure.

Hageman stated, "We hope that USDA's removal of the 'Factsheet' from its website demonstrates that the agency acknowledges the strength of our lawsuit challenging its illegal effort at mandating RFID for livestock producers who seek to sell their livestock across state lines. Such a move would be a victory for the rule of law, confirm that "guidance" cannot be used to nullify a properly adopted regulation, and provide much needed certainty for the industry."

Bullard stated, "When we filed our lawsuit we said we were drawing a line in the sand telling the USDA that our industry will no longer stand for the USDA's blatant overreach and we are pleased that the President of the United States recognizes this as a serious violation of the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens, particularly American cattle ranchers."

Fertilizer Prices Continue to Fall

The prices for most fertilizers tracked by DTN continued to drop in the third week of October, following nine weeks of price drops in all eight major fertilizers.

In this latest update, six of the eight fertilizers showed price declines, led by DAP with a $15-per-ton decrease compared to last month. DAP came in at $465 per ton, compared to $480 one month ago.

MAP was priced at $472/ton for this update, falling from $478 last month.

Three fertilizer prices fell by $2 in one month, including potash at $382, urea at $402 and anhydrous at $507.

UAN28 experienced a small price decline of $1 to $253/ton. The prices of 10-34-0 and UAN32 remained steady at $471 and $289, respectively.

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

With prices significantly lower in recent months, two fertilizers' prices are lower in price than a year ago. MAP is now 9% less expensive and DAP is 7% lower from last year at this time.

Of the remaining six major fertilizers, five continue to be slightly higher compared to last year. Urea is 1% less expensive than last year, while potash is 5% more expensive and UAN28 is up 4%. 10-34-0 and anhydrous are both 3% higher. UAN32 is priced at 2% higher than one year ago.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/18/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending Oct. 18, ethanol production shifted higher to 996,000 barrels per day (b/d), equivalent to 41.83 million gallons daily, an increase of 25,000 b/d or 2.6% from the prior week. However, production was 2.7% below the same week a year ago and 4.1% below the level two years ago.The four-week average ethanol production rate increased for the first time since mid-August, rising 1.4% to 972,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.90 billion gallons.

Ethanol stocks dropped 3.2% to 21.4 million barrels for the second-smallest level in over a year. Inventories were 10.6% lower than the same week last year. Stocks fell across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2).

Imports of ethanol arriving into the West Coast were 28,000 b/d, or 8.23 million gallons for the week. This is the first time in four weeks that imports were logged. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of August 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market scaled up 2.5% to a 6-week high of 9.590 million b/d (402.8 million gallons per day, or 147.01 bg annualized). Conversely, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol narrowed by 1.5% to 928,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.23 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production ticked up to 10.39%.

Coalition Challenges EPA on 2018 Refinery Waivers

A coalition of renewable fuel and agricultural trade organizations filed a petition Tuesday afternoon with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the process by which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted certain unknown small refineries from their respective Renewable Fuel Standard obligations for 2018. The coalition includes the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Unlike previous years, EPA’s entire decision document was only two pages long, the coalition noted in their petition. In these short two pages, EPA purported to resolve 36 pending petitions for disproportionate economic hardship exemptions—a decision that exempted small refineries from having to blend almost one and a half billion gallons of renewable fuel.

The brief document does not reveal any details and contains only the most bare-bones reasoning for EPA’s decision. Further, the decision did not transparently address whether any of the small refineries were eligible to receive extensions of their exemptions and did not include an analysis of ‘disproportionate economic hardship’, as the statute envisions.

“Even as the Trump Administration indicates it is taking steps to account for future small refinery exemptions, the coalition remains concerned that EPA’s abuse of the small refinery exemption program diverges from the spirit and letter of the Clean Air Act,” the coalition stated. “From a substantive and procedural perspective, this is not the way for a federal agency to make such a momentous decision.”

Joint Statement From Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association on Brazil’s Ethanol Tariff Rate Quota

Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association expressed their disappointment with the news that the Brazilian government amended the recent August 31st rule that raised the quota on U.S. ethanol imports under the tariff rate quote (TRQ) from 600 million liters per year to nearly 750 million liters per year. The TRQ regulates the threshold of ethanol that can be imported into Brazil without triggering a 20 percent tariff.

This is a step backwards in Brazilian government claims that it is an advocate of free markets. Growth Energy, the U.S. Grains Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association released the following statement:

“The decision by Brazil to place seasonal restrictions on its tariff rate quota for U.S. ethanol is disappointing and puts up additional roadblocks to free trade, hurting consumers and our respective ethanol industries.

“For more than 15 years, Brazilian ethanol industry leaders lobbied the U.S. government to drop the tax on imported ethanol, saying:
-    ‘[We] believe that free trade is a two-way street and Brazil…will lead by example and eliminate barriers to renewable, clean fuels.’
-    ‘[We’re] asking the Brazilian government to make the tariff elimination permanent if the U.S. Congress will do the same and drop the tax on imported ethanol.’
-    'It’s time for these two countries to show leadership and work together to develop a truly global free market for ethanol, without trade barriers, as is the case for oil.'
-    ‘Consumers win when industries compete. Brazilian ethanol producers are willing to compete for consumers. What about American producers?’

“The U.S. took the high road and eliminated its ethanol tariff.

“The action by Brazil this week to impose seasonal restrictions on the sale of ethanol does not create a case study in leading by example, but rather the opposite - it is up-ending real opportunities for free trade.”

Dairy Sectors of the United States and Mexico conduct Fourth Annual Meeting

The representatives of the organizations of milk producers and the dairy processors of Mexico:
• Asociación Nacional de Ganaderos Lecheros (ANGLAC)
• Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (CNOG)
• Gremio de Productores Lecheros de la Republica Mexicana
• Cámara Nacional de Industriales de la Leche (CANILEC)

And the representatives of the organizations of milk producers of the Unites States:
• National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF)
• U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)

The dairy industries of Mexico and the Unites States are proud to be among the world’s leading providers of wholesome and nutritious dairy products. We help feed communities around the globe while driving economic growth and bringing myriad positive benefits to each of our respective nations.

We salute the hard work of the dairy farmers and processors in both Mexico and the United States who produce superior dairy products in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Dairy consumption continues to grow, and our industries are continually modernizing in order to more efficiently meet the growing consumer demand for the high-quality products we produce. We also recognize the importance of ensuring that our industries continue to support small and medium size dairy operations as they work to sustain their livelihood and increase productivity.

Mexico and the United States produce a wide range of healthy, safe and delicious dairy products for the enjoyment of consumers. However, negative marketing activities and the proliferation of false, unscientific information regarding the properties of milk and milk products are impacting some consumer preferences.

We express concern over the new proposal mandating front-of-packaging nutrition labeling in Mexico, and urge the Mexican government to ensure that it NOT affect the positive image of milk and dairy products.

Also, the ratification of the USMCA – TMEC by the United States Congress is vital to strengthen the promising future of the milk and dairy sectors of Mexico and the United States, by bringing certainty to our trade relationships and creating new opportunities to increase dairy trade in the region.

Finally, the industries support a strong strategic collaboration to work on a number of issues of interest to both the Mexican dairy sector as well the U.S. dairy sector.

On this fourth annual meeting within the framework of the partnership to strengthen the productive sector for milk in North America, held in Torreón, Mexico, the dairy industries of Mexico and the Unites States hereby agree to:

    Preserve, facilitate and enhance trade between the two nations, as well as promote the elimination of trade barriers of any kind in the dairy sector.
    Have as a key objective the expansion of dairy consumption in both countries to the benefit of producers, manufacturers and primarily consumers in the United States and Mexico, by promoting joint activities that help increase the consumption of our dairy products within our region.
    Identify and promote actions that improve the productivity of dairy farms in Mexico and the United States, understanding the additional needs of small producers in Mexico in particular, while strengthening cooperation in the area of technological exchange and training, to drive improvements in milk production and nutrition.
    Defend the reputation and image of milk and dairy products in both countries by strongly rejecting the improper usage of milk and milk product names by products of nondairy origin, such as plant-based products.
    Creation of a Binational Commission to defend the image of dairy as well as to work on issues of sustainability, animal care and food safety, and find avenues to promote and increase consumption of dairy products.
    Urge the Mexican authorities to consider in the public consultation the arguments of the national and international dairy sector, so that milk and dairy products that contain milk as their main ingredient are not affected by the establishment of warning seals on their labels, in recognition of the enormous nutritional benefits of dairy products, the important role they play in a healthy and balanced diet and the consideration of vulnerable groups in society.
    Express the need for stabilization in our markets in recognition of the economic, social and political importance and certainty that this agreement offers to our industries.
    Continue activities in defense of common food names, in particular cheese names, allowing their free use in our North American market respecting the USMCA agreement on intellectual property.
    Urge the governments involved in the negotiation of USMCA – TMEC to expeditiously implement this modernized trade agreement in order to secure its framework for a strong and united dairy industry for the benefit of our geographical zone and its consumers.
    Understand the importance of sustainability as an integral part of the growth in dairy demand and pledge to continue working on common efforts to improve dairy farm productivity while continuing to protect our natural resources.
    Recognize that Animal Welfare has become a critical part of supply demand to consumers in both countries. The U.S. dairy industry will share developments related to the National Dairy FARM Program to the benefit of dairy farmers in Mexico with the objective of achieving continuous improvement in the health and welfare of their livestock.
    Ratify the cooperation between our industries in the participation of dairy sector events held in our countries, and specifically in those events aimed to enhance the health benefits that our products offer to consumers.

Cargill and FFA Partner to Inspire and Educate Future Leaders

Cargill and the National FFA Organization share the belief that agriculture can solve some of the world’s toughest sustainability challenges. Cargill is investing $2.1 million over three years to help the FFA organization develop future leaders who are prepared to continue advancing sustainable agriculture. The funds will enable the FFA Organization’s efforts to bridge the needs of the agriculture, food and natural resources industries.

 “We need the best and brightest young minds to help create solutions that balance feeding a growing population with protecting our planet," said Ruth Kimmelshue, business operations & supply chain lead and Chief Sustainability Officer for Cargill, and former member of the National FFA Organization Board of Directors. “Through agriculture, young people have the opportunity to develop and use new technology and implement solutions to regenerate soils, build the economic success of farming communities, innovate supply chains, address the global issues facing our industry—such as climate change, deforestation and water conservation—and so much more.”

 The National FFA Organization’s sustainability leader development program will receive $300,000 of the investment, supporting the organization’s efforts to re-evaluate programs and events to include educational resources, experiential learning and leadership development opportunities for future sustainability-driven influencers. The multi-year commitment also elevates support of:
-    The state officer leadership continuum—impacting FFA members by developing leadership skills and personal growth for 375 state officers
-    Living to serve platform—supporting 57,000 hours of service to make a difference in local communities across the country through chapter service projects
-    The agriscience fair—developing students interested in and excelling in science and research, with more than 415 projects approved for competition at the national level. 89% of students report having a better understanding of science’s role in agriculture after competing in the fair
-    Recruitment and retention of quality agriculture educators

For nearly 60 years, Cargill has partnered with the FFA Organization to create innovative ways to inspire youth in agriculture, investing more than $16 million to foster innovative career education and support career development events, leadership development conferences, agriscience fairs and areas of service. Cargill and FFA have brought together corporate leaders, academics, FFA state officers and students around a shared vision for the future of agriculture.

“Cargill is proud to support the work FFA is doing to cultivate a better future for all, by empowering young people to be leaders in agriculture, food and nutrition,” said John Niemann, president, protein ingredients & international channel, Cargill Protein - North America, and current Chair of the National FFA Sponsors Board. “Working together, we can ensure American agriculture continues to build vibrant communities, supports prosperous families and rewarding careers, and produces the food we need to feed a growing population.”

“National FFA values Cargill’s longtime support through their sponsorship and partnership based on shared values,” said Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “The nearly 60-year relationship has helped cultivate the talent pipeline for agriculture, and continues to develop future leaders that positively impact the industry and the world.”

Final Rule Amends the National List for Organic Crops and Handling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today published a final rule in the Federal Register to amend the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) based on public input and the April 2018 recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board.

This final rule:
-    Allows elemental sulfur to be used as a slug or snail bait to reduce crop losses.
-    Allows polyoxin D zinc salt for plant disease control.
-    Reclassifies magnesium chloride from a synthetic to a non-synthetic substance.

The final rule is effective November 22, 2019.

Tuesday October 22 Ag News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuming County Board of Supervisors Seeking Extension Board Nominations

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

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

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

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

Crop Residue Exchange Updated and Available for Listings

Mary Drewnoski - NE Extension Beef Systems Specialist

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

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

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

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

Getting Started with the Crop Residue Exchange

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

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

Writing a Marketing Plan for Your Stored Grain

Jessica Groskopf - NE Extension Educator for Agricultural Economics

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

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

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

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

2. Set price targets.

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

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

3. Set sales deadlines.

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

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

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

4. Know your contracts

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

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

5. Share your plan with someone else

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

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

Iowa Corn and Peace Tree Brewing Co. Release Cornucopia Beer

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

ICA Scholarship Deadlines Approaching

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

Maynard Jayne Scholarship

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

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

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

Beef Scholarship Extravaganza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

USDA Cold Storage September 2019 Highlights

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

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

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

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


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

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

September Egg Production Up 2 Percent

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

NCBA Applauds Introduction of Livestock Risk Management and Education Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday October 21 Ag News


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

Field Crops Report:

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

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

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

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

Dry edible beans harvested was 90 percent.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

US Corn, Soybean Harvest Slowest Since 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ricketts Cuts Ribbon at Costco Poultry Plant

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

July-September Milk Production up 0.5 Percent

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

September Milk Production up 1.6 Percent

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

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

Man Killed in Accident at Soybean Plant in St. Joseph

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

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

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

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

Alabama auctioneer wins World Livestock Auctioneer Championship qualifier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday October 18 Ag News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Champion Beef

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

Champion Goat

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

Champion Hog

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

Champion Lamb

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

Champion Broiler

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

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

Nebraska Cattlemen Welcomes Ashley Kohls & Patty Goes as New Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ricketts Meets with Ethanol Delegation from Mexico

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

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


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Management of Glyphosate-Resistant Marestail in Fall

Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Herbicide Options

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

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

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

Fall Tillage

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

Cover Crops

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

Buffer Strips are a common sense approach to land conservation

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

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

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

Integrated Crop Management Conference Set for December

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NBB Announces New West Coast Office, Bolstered State Regulatory Presence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KC Fed Bank Reports Slowdown in Farm Lending

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

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

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

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

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

Polly Ruhland, CEO, United Soybean Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BASF launches 2020 Agronomic Advantage program

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday October 17 Ag News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the state reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Beef is Climate Change Solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alfalfa and Potassium: It's Complicated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/11/2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NMPF Statement on Its Letter to President Trump

Randy Mooney, Producer Chairman

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

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

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

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

Wednesday October 16 Ag News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beef Quality Assurance Transport Certification Session Set

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fertilizer Prices Sink for 9th Consecutive Week

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Seeding Rural Resilience Act Will Help Farmers and Ranchers

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

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

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

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

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

The National Wheat Foundation Begins Accepting Applications for 2020-2021 Scholarship Honoring Ag Students

The National Wheat Foundation officially began accepting applications for the Jerry Minore Scholarship, honoring students pursuing a career in agriculture. The scholarship is available to both high school and college students for the 2019-2020 academic year with an application deadline of December 01, 2019.

“The scholarship is meant to aid those students who have shown a passion for agriculture both inside and outside the classroom,” said Wayne Hurst, Chairman of the National Wheat Foundation. “These students can then educate the next generation on the importance of wheat and agriculture and the significant role both play in society.”

The late Jerry Minore was a BASF Senior Market Manager and a liaison to the wheat industry. Since his unexpected death in 2012, BASF has partnered with the National Wheat Foundation to fund scholarships and honor his advocacy efforts for wheat growers. This year the Foundation will be issuing two scholarships for $2,500 each.

“We are proud to partner with the National Wheat Foundation to find students who have shown a commitment to our industry and a willingness to honor Jerry’s legacy and enthusiasm for agriculture,” said Scott Kay, Vice President U.S. Crop, BASF Agricultural Solutions. “We will continue to invest in the best and brightest ag students to help them achieve their career goals. We look forward to seeing their impact.” 

For more information on how to apply, visit

Tuesday October 15 Ag News


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

Field Crops Report:

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

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

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

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

Dry edible beans harvested was 87 percent.

Pasture and Range Report:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Corn Condition Drops Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuming County Almost Captures Rent Triple Crown

NE Farm Bureau newsletter

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

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

Feeding Light Test Weight Corn in Growing and Finishing Diets

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ricketts: Healthy Revenues Mean More Property Tax Relief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 Crop Year ARC and PLC Payments

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

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

Oats and soybeans did not meet 2018 PLC payment triggers.

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

Study Shows Pig Farmers Improving Their Environmental Footprint Through Efficiencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A research summary of the environmental study is online at

EPA Issues Supplemental Proposal for Renewable Fuels Volumes

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

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

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

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

For more information, please visit:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPA Continues to Undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard

ICGA President Jim Greif

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

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

NCGA Statement: EPA Plan to Address RFS Waivers Falls Short

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RFA Statement on EPA Supplemental Proposal for 2020 RVO

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

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

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

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

Skor Statement on EPA Supplemental Proposal

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

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

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

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

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

NBB Says Supplemental RFS Proposal Not What Was Promised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Leaders Tackle Biofuels Policies With A Role for Trade

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

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

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

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

Growth Energy Announces New Chairman of the Board

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dyna-4 transmission makes loader work faster, more efficient

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

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

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

High-flow hydraulics for responsive loader action

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

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

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

New standard in cab comfort and visibility

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

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