Tag Archives: COVID-19

As we start moving towards the new norm, so does the markets.  Mike Zuzolo with Global Commodity Analytics looks at the return to demand & what is causing trade friction.  There has been a recovery on crude oil.  A special report on China is looked at along with concerns  worries of breaking trade agreements.

According to three ethanol-industry sources and shipping data, a rare U.S. ethanol shipment will arrive in China very soon. Reuters says that may be the first ethanol shipment to hit China since the two countries struck a trade deal earlier this year.

China recently waived some additional tariffs on almost 700 American products, including ethanol, to support more purchases of U.S. farm goods to help meet its obligations in the Phase One trade deal. Since China made the move, the ethanol industry has been watching for signs of renewed trade in the biofuel. Tariffs on U.S. fuel ethanol were as high as 70 percent after Beijing upped some retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports in the back-and-forth trade dispute with Washington, D.C.

A slump in fuel demand brought on by COVID-19 led to an oversupply of ethanol that caused prices to bottom out, forcing producers to slash their production amounts. One of the three sources to tell Reuters about the shipment says the vessel was carrying ethanol that originated in the United States and had been resold to China, likely from a seller in Saudi Arabia. A trader based in China tells Reuters that, “People are looking to import fuel ethanol from overseas as prices in northeastern China have risen in the past few days.”

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced a new Directed Health Measure (DHM) that will take effect on June 1, 2020 to continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Nebraska.

The DMH provides guidance including requirements that must be met for gatherings at fairgrounds and activities commonly hosted as part of county fairs.

In accordance with the DHM, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), in cooperation with representatives of the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Extension, Nebraska FFA and several local health departments has created guidance documents for county fair officials and livestock show managers to utilize as they work to determine what their event may look like in 2020.

“The county fair and livestock show season is going to look different this year,” said NDA Communications Director Christin Kamm.  “As the mother of a 4-Her, I understand the fear and concern that livestock families have been experiencing this spring.  The hope of the committee is that these guidelines will allow for portions of the county fairs and livestock shows to continue, in a modified fashion.”

According to the NDA guidance, the decision to move forward or not, with a county fair or livestock event, will be decided at the local level.

The guidance documents can be found on the NDA COVID-19 website (www.nda.nebraska.gov/COVID19).  In the event of changes to the current DHM or additional statewide restrictions or relaxations, the guidance documents will be updated.  Therefore, event organizers are encouraged to frequently check NDAs website and NDA social media accounts for the most current information.

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 21, 2020/National FFA Organization) – This spring has brought uncertainty to many FFA members and chapters across the country – as banquets, spring plant sales and fundraisers have been canceled. The National FFA Organization has developed a program– the FFA COVID-19 Chapter Assistance Program – to help chapters in these uncertain times.

The purpose of this program is to provide FFA chapters with an opportunity to receive up to $2,000 in funding to help offset the loss of program revenue and to assist them in navigating through these difficult times.

“Spring and summer are traditionally a key time for our chapters to fundraise,” said National FFA Chief Program Officer, Christine White. “Due to school closures and the current need for social distancing, it has made it difficult for chapters to host these essential events, creating a negative impact on their chapter programs’ revenue.”

Cargill, a 60-year partner of FFA, announced today that they will contribute $500,000 to the program to assist chapters.

This contribution is part of Cargill’s $35 million commitment to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts and specifically to Cargill’s North America Protein support for partners focusing on agriculture communities, farmers and ranchers.

“At the heart of our food system, farmers carry on their essential work of nourishing the world. We are partnering with organizations like FFA to support the resilience of communities, farmers and ranchers during this unprecedented time,” said John Niemann, managing director, protein ingredients & international channel, Cargill Protein North America and current chair of the National FFA Sponsors Board. “We want to thank FFA for their continued support of future sustainability and agriculture leaders who continue to provide innovative solutions to the challenges of a complex food system.”

“Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen our members across the country step up to the plate and help in their communities,” said National FFA Organization Chief Marketing Officer Molly Ball. “At National FFA we are excited to have this opportunity to assist our chapters where it is needed so they can continue to do the great work. We appreciate our partnership with Cargill as we continue to grow the next generation of leaders in agriculture.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.

COVID-19 in one way or another has had an effect on all of us in agriculture.  With Nebraska Corn we brought together some of the leaders in the agriculture industry to talk about what they are doing for their members in light of the happenings in the world.

Ryan LeGrand serves as the President and CEO for the U.S. Grains Council.  He & I talked about how COVID-19 has changed how they reach out to customers…


USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said there has been a few surprises that have came due to COVID-19…


Roger Berry is Administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  The ethanol industry has been hit hard due to COVID.


Ryan LeGrand serves as the President and CEO for the U.S. Grains Council.  He said that there are high hopes going into the future and that includes corn and sorghum…


Kelly Brunkhorst. Executive Director at Nebraska Corn described COVID-19 in one word for his corn growers…


USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom talks to be about some surprise that have come in since COVID-19 took over daily lives…

Post virus reopening…crude oil is getting higher; ethanol demand is picking up.  Is there a shift in the markets? Potential inflation due to spending?  COVID outbreaks at the ports in South America.  What does that mean for U.S. exports?    Crazy milk market.  Seeing some pre-virus prices in come contracts!  Lower box beef levels on a Friday.



Agricultural credit conditions in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s Tenth District deteriorated at a slightly faster pace as the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up in the first quarter of this year.

The Fed’s survey of ag lenders during the first quarter of 2020 showed a larger decline in farm income and loan repayment rates than in recent quarters. Looking to the future, bankers say they are more pessimistic in terms of expectations. Further disruptions at meatpacking and food processing facilities, as well as a substantial slowdown in ethanol production, put heavy downward pressure on cattle and corn prices.

As of early May, cash prices for both commodities had declined more than 20 percent since January. That’s done nothing but add pressure to already stressed farm finances in seven states of the Kansas City Fed’s district. While farm income in the district weakened alongside a steep drop in agricultural commodity prices, spending by farm borrowers also weakened slightly, but less abruptly than farm income.

After showing some signs of stabilizing in previous surveys, credit conditions deteriorated quicker in the first quarter of this year. Similar to farm income, farm loan repayment rates also declined at a faster rate than in recent quarters. Almost 40 percent of banks in the district reported a decline in repayment rates compared to previous surveys.

INDIANAPOLIS (National FFA Organization) – For many FFA members, the academic year is coming to an unforeseen end as schools have moved online across the nation to mitigate COVID-19’s spread in the U.S. This means that in-person events like chapter banquets and state FFA conventions are not happening as planned this spring. However, state FFA associations are adapting to the issue by moving convention sessions and activities online.

Last week, Ohio FFA held its 2020 Ohio FFA Celebration with prerecorded video events such as retiring officer addresses, proficiency awards and state degree recognition’s. Holly McClay, Ohio FFA president, said the choice to call the week long event a celebration rather than a convention is intentional.

“We didn’t want it to feel like we’re trying to make a convention out of something that’s just not,” McClay said. “But we still want to celebrate our members.”

For award winners, this year’s experience will not be the same as walking across a stage, McClay said, but she said they are trying their best to show pride for Ohio FFA members’ achievements.

For Kansas FFA, its convention will be held during its original dates, May 27-29. Whittling down seven sessions to four, the Kansas state officer team will conduct its convention over Facebook Live. Delegate business will occur over Zoom calls, which allow delegates to engage with their committees, said Abby Goins, Kansas FFA vice president.

“We’re just trying to make the experience as cool and energetic as possible,” Elizabeth Wright, Kansas FFA secretary, said. “The team we’ve been working with on filming everything has been bringing a lot of energy, and we’re trying to make it a one-of-a-kind thing.”

“Our motto is ‘Living to Serve,’” Goins said. “We’ve gotten the really cool opportunity to serve in such a time of need.”

States like Ohio and Kansas have concentrated their digital conventions into the span of a few days, but California FFA is approaching its state convention sessions in modules, like “dropping episodes of a TV show online,” California FFA assistant advisor Dane White said.

California FFA completed its delegate business and state officer elections by convening via Zoom. Then, state officer election results were announced over Facebook Live. For the sessions, White said he anticipates that state officers will begin filming sessions on a sound stage in June; Sacramento County’s shelter-in-place order currently lasts until May 22, so the officers are at their homes.

Adding on to the video modules, White said California FFA is developing curriculum to go along with the modules.

“People can view that at will this summer,” White said. “But we also know that there’s a chance that teachers could really benefit from using that in their classrooms.”

Out of this unusual time, White said re-imagining state convention is an opportunity to take a proactive approach to how conventions can evolve in the future.

“My hope is that the California state convention for perpetuity will look better,” White said.

To see how other state FFA associations are handling their conventions, visit the state association webpage on FFA.org and click on a state to visit the association’s website.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.

Another limit up day in the livestock…what does that mean for the near term?  Relationship between grain & livestock producers in these current times.  Will we see $500 Choice boxed beef?  We go through these feelings every year with market movements, just this year its escalated feelings.  We are socially isolated on a regular day in ag, but as it continues the feels are getting more stressed.  China Phase One…where do we sit?    WASDE report due out on Tuesday.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, appeared on America’s Newsroom on Fox News, where she outlined the severe consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19 on agriculture and called for an investigation into possible anticompetitive behavior in the beef supply chain.

“Right now, we are seeing great prices for the packers. I understand that markets cycle up and down but when you have such a discrepancy in prices compared to the family famer working on his ranch to produce that critter which is going to end up as a good steak, that needs to be looked into…We want to make sure we have a supply chain that works well for all participants—and we also want to make sure we have good protein on our shelves,” said Senator Fischer during the interview.

More information:

Senator Fischer has taken steps in recent months to protect Nebraska agriculture and ensure integrity in the beef supply chain. This week, she supported a letter written by 10 state attorneys general calling for the Department of Justice to investigate potential anticompetitive activity in the cattle industry.

Senator Fischer also wrote to Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee leadership calling for a public hearing to examine competition and claims of possible market manipulation. Consequently, Chairman Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) wrote their own letter to the DoJ calling for investigations into potential anticompetitive activity.