Saturday, November 18, 2017

Friday November 17 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.52 million cattle on feed on November 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 9 percent from last year. Placements during October totaled 680,000 head, up 11 percent from 2016. Fed cattle marketings for the month of October totaled 435,000 head, down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during October totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head 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 690,000 head on November 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 6 percent from October 1, 2017, and up 15 percent from November 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 470,000 head on feed, up 8 percent from last month but down 10 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,160,000 head, up 7 percent from last month and up 4 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 142,000 head, an increase of 34 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 106,000 head, up 51 percent from last month and up 9 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 248,000 head, up 41 percent from last month and up 10 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during October totaled 99,000 head, up 4 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 70,000 head, down 4 percent from last month but up 27 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 169,000 head, up 1 percent from last month and up 12 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 6 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 November 1, 2017. The inventory was 6 percent above November 1, 2016.

Cattle on Feed - By State                             

                       (1,000 hd    -    % Nov 1 '16)

Colorado .......:        980           108            
Iowa .............:        690            115          
Kansas ..........:      2,290          102        
Nebraska ......:      2,520          109          
Oklahoma .....:       320            108           
Texas ............:      2,640          106         

Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.39 million head, 10 percent above 2016. Net placements were 2.32 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 675,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 590,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 510,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 368,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 160,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 90,000 head.

Placements by State                                 

                        (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '16)

Colorado .......:      195            95             
Iowa .............:      142           110          
Kansas ..........:      430           110           
Nebraska ......:      680           111          
Oklahoma .....:       59            94                
Texas ............:      505           113             

Marketings of fed cattle during October totaled 1.80 million head, 6 percent above 2016.  Other disappearance totaled 73,000 head during October, 28 percent above 2016.

Marketings by State                                  

                        (1,000 hd  -  % Oct '16)

Colorado .......:     150           107             
Iowa .............:       99           103             
Kansas ..........:      375           107             
Nebraska ......:      435            98              
Oklahoma .....:       57           100              
Texas ............:      445           113             

PVC Monthly Meeting is Mon Nov 20th

The monthly meeting of the Platte Valley Cattlemen will be on Monday November 20th at Wunderlich's in Columbus.  Social hour starts at 6pm, with the meal at 7pm.  Thanks to Rosendahl Farms Feed & Seed for sponsoring the social, and also thanks to Cooperative Supply in Dodge, Howells, Leigh, and Richland for sponsoring the evening meal.  Guest speaker for the evening will be Dr. Luke Strehle of Nebraska Vet Services, and he will be talking about various cow/calf related topics.  Hope to see you there! 

Ricketts Announces Agreement with Bulgarian Soybean Processers

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has signed letters of intent with nine soybean processing companies in Bulgaria to promote the use of Nebraska-grown soybeans and soybean products in their facilities.

“This is a great opportunity which is growing demand for Nebraska soybeans,” said Governor Ricketts. “Bulgaria is a country with a high demand for quality protein and is a relatively untapped market.  Positioning Nebraska around the world as a top state for quality agricultural commodities will support our farmers and ranchers, increase our global market share, and continue to grow Nebraska’s number one industry.”

The nine companies who signed the letters of intent with NDA wish to maximize their output and are looking to source Nebraska and U.S. soybeans. The companies currently use about 2 million metric tons of soybeans per year and have a total production capacity of 2.7 million metric tons.

In 2017, executives and owners of the Bulgarian companies visited Nebraska to learn more about the cycle of soybean production in the state – planting, harvesting, processing and exporting to international markets. NDA used federal Emerging Markets Program grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to facilitate the visit and conduct a comprehensive market research study to promote the sale and use of soybeans and soybean products in the growing markets of Eastern Europe.

The Bulgarian company owners and executives visited a soybean farm in Geneva, the Aurora Cooperative, the grain storage and trading operations of Gavilon and Scoular in Omaha, a shipping container/loading facility in Council Bluffs and the ADM soybean processing facility and power plant in Lincoln. Nebraska Soybean Board members were on hand to introduce their organization and how they help support soybean producers and promote their vital product nationally and globally.

“Good personal relationships with the owners and executives of several soybean processing facilities in Bulgaria are a tremendous asset for the future,” said NDA Interim Director Mat Habrock. “We share similar appreciation for people, culture and agriculture.”

Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007. At $138 million out of a total export value of $1.9 billion, the EU was Nebraska’s third largest export market of soybeans and soybean products in 2015. (Source: USDA Foreign Ag Service)

PRIME Class II Applications Available

Applications are now being accepted for Class II of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association PRIME Program. This program is designed for Nebraska producers who want to increase their knowledge and better themselves and their operation in all aspects. All sessions are focused on maximizing the long-term viability of the operation through the latest research, emerging technologies, farm management practices, and peer relationships.

The program consists of three sessions, lasting approximately two days each, plus attendance at the Nebraska Corn Growers Association Annual Meeting. Participants can expect a total time commitment of 6-8 days away from the farm over a 12-month period. The material will be relevant and presented by the best that the industry has to offer. Locations of the sessions will be determined once the class has been selected.

A registration fee of $190 is required up enrollment. The fee will be waived for NeCGA 3-year members. All other costs of the program will be covered by NeCGA. The class will consist of 8-12 corn farmers selected from applications and local association board recommendations.

Applications should be submitted by December 22nd, 2017. Participants will be selected and notified in January. Primary selection criteria will be the applicant’s desire and ability to participate and contribute during all sessions. Diversity among farm size, geographic location, and background will be sought as well. Questions and applications should be directed to Morgan Wrich, Director of Grower Services, at OR (402) 438-6459.

New Location for Nebraska Cattlemen Cattlemen's College

The 2017 Cattlemen's College, will kick off the 2017 Nebraska Cattlemen's Convention and Trade Show on Tuesday, December 5. The event this year will be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds Ag Pavilion. The college is sponsored by Zoetis. This producer education program is designed to address issues that will improve production and profitability. 

The new location will allow for a full day of classroom speakers and time at the chute. The schedule will showcase many great speakers this year and now is the time to register for the event. This is an event that should not be missed. 

    How do you transition from being the child to a partner? Lacey Hall and Alex Ibach Farm Credit Services of America

    The 2016 National Beef Quality Audit; Navigating Pathways to Success. Deb VanOverbeke, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, Academic Programs College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University

    Can cover crops pull double duty? Conservation and economical forage production. Mary Drewnoski, Ph.D., Beef Systems Specialist, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

    Selecting and developing the right replacement heifers to optimize revenues versus costs for enhanced profitability. Nancy Grathwohl Heter, Cattle Genetics Specialist, Zoetis

    Nutritional and management strategies to increase reproductive efficiency in range cows. Travis Mulliniks, Ph.D., University of Nebraska West Central Research and Education Center

    Antibiotic stewardship and consumer awareness. Christi Calhoun, Ph.D., Food Chain Relations, Zoetis

    Let's go chute side. Andrew Dorn, Allflex USA, Rob Erich, UNL BQA Director

    The value of a beef Cow and other economic ranch tools. Bridger Feuz, Livestock Marketing Specialist, University of Wyoming Extension

    Timing of vaccination in newly arrived feedlot cattle. Brian Vander Ley, DVM, Great Plains Veterinary Education Center

    NCBA policy update. Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade and Market Access, NCBA

    Producer Panel - Dealing with labor issues. A challenge in the beef industry is finding a labor force that can help producers get their work done when the tasks need to be completed.

The Cattlemen's College will begin at 12:00 a.m.and concludes at 8:30 p.m. Cost to attend Cattlemen's College is $60 and registration information can be found at or by calling the NC office at 402.475.2333.

Young Cattlemen's Round-table to be Held During Annual Convention

The YCC Class of 2016 will host the Young Cattlemen's Round-table during the 2017 NC Annual Convention. The Round-table will be held Wednesday, December 6 starting at 12:00 noon, with registration and lunch with a welcome at 12:30.

The goal of the round-table is to inspire members to get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen and experience the benefits of the organization. Speakers at the round-table will engage attendees to discuss what is happening in the beef industry and how they can get more involved.

David Schuler will inspire attendees to get involved in the beef industry by becoming an industry advocate. Be impactful in the beef industry, Tessa Quittner will share how you write your story. Wrapping up the event will be Al Swajgr who will share his involvement in the beef industry.

Get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen. Now is a great time to be involved in the beef industry. Register to attend the Young Cattlemen's Round-table and network with like-minded people and make valuable connections.

The Class of 2016 members: Reiss Bruning, Bruning, Jentry Cain, Berywn, Bradley Christensen, Columbus, Tricia Goes, Odell, Heidi Pieper, Farnam, Doug Smith, Ph.D., Curtis, Adam Guenther, West Point, Kenny Stauffer, Larkspur, CO and Kelly Terrell, Gothenburg.

Nebraska YCC is sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America and Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation.

 Farmers and Ranchers College Opens with David Kohl Dec. 7 

Now in its 17th year, the program provides educational workshops for producers in south central Nebraska through a collaborative effort of business, industry, and higher education leaders, said Brandy VanDeWalle, Extension Educator in Fillmore County. The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and VanDeWalle.

Program Schedule

-    December 7, 1-4 p.m.:  "Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset” with David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech University, at the Opera House in Bruning.
-    January 30, 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.:  “Partners In Progress Beef Seminar,” Cow/Calf College at the US Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.
-    February 23, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.:  “Crop Insurance, Farm Bill Policy Update & More!”  with Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Specialist, Iowa State University, and Brad Lubbben, Nebraska Extension Ag Policy Specialist, at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva. Registration at 9:30 a.m.

RSVPs Requested

Contributions and support from area businesses allow participants to attend at no cost; however, it is requested that people register online or by calling the Fillmore County Extension office (402-759-3712) at least one week in advance to provide an accurate meal count.

 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo Dec. 14

Dicamba issues and recommendations for achieving more precise herbicide applications are among the timely pest management and production topics slated for this year's Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo.

The event, which includes equipment and exhibitor displays, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 December 14 in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds in Wahoo, said Keith Glewen, University of Nebraska Extension Educator and program coordinator.

“We are bringing back Jason Norsworthy due to the popularity of his presentation last year.  This year he is going to focus on a topic that has gained widespread attention and is on the mind of most growers – dicamba,” said Glewen.

Norsworthy is professor of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences and Elms Farming Chair of Weed Science at the University of Arkansas. He will discuss issues associated with dicamba use, including likely causes for non-target damage based based on field observations by university weed scientists across the U.S.  He will highlight research conducted to understand off-target movement of the new, lower-volatility formulations of dicamba relative to older formulations.  He will also provide input on ways to minimize the likelihood for damage from off-target dicamba movement in 2018.

Chris Proctor, Nebraska Weed Management Extension Educator, will be addressing recommendations for achieving more precise weed management applications for successful weed control in soybeans. The role of accurate measurements is often overlooked in the big picture of herbicide resistance, but plays a role that farmers can change, Proctor contends. Key factors he'll be discussing are the importance of: 1) using correct herbicide rates,  2) knowing your real tank size, and 3) knowing the difference between dry and liquid ounces.  When herbicide measurements and applications are managed properly, growers can save money and improve weed control, Proctor said.

Also on the agenda is Michael Swanson, Wells Fargo Chief Agricultural Economist.  Swanson believes growing top-yielding soybeans requires the right inputs, requiring a team effort.   "Are you paying a benchwarmer on your team a superstar’s salary?," Swanson asks. “Are you managing like ‘the money ball’ or a ‘sentimental’ manager.” This talk will focus on getting the metrics right.

The expo also will include an update on the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and association information.

Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 10:10 a.m.

While the event and noon lunch are free, the Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization asks that each attendeee donate one or more cans of nonperishable food to the food pantry. Registration is available at the door.

For more information visit the program website, call (800) 529-8030 or e-mail

 This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Nebraska Soybean Board, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.

Nebraska Cattlemen will Host Tour to Australia

Nebraska Cattlemen will again host an international tour and has selected Australia for its 2018 tour destination.  Nebraska Cattlemen Past President Jeff Pribbeno and his wife, Connie, of Imperial, will host the tour that will cover the spectrum of Australia's cattle industry from April 28 to May 10. The tour will include the country's hallmark sights, sounds, and wildlife and will feature Beef Australia 2018. The beef exposition has become a signature event for the Australian Beef Industry. The program includes ranch and feedlot tours. 

NC is excited to host the tour, NC Executive Vice President Pete McClymont, said because Quadrant will conduct the tour. "Several NC leaders know Quadrant's general manager Graeme Mitchell, who is well known and respected throughout Australia's cattle industry. Quadrant's team will have us on the inside track for Beef Australia which is a feature event of the tour."

Beef Australia is the country's national beef expo, one of the world's great beef cattle events, and is held  once every three years in Rockhampton, in the state of Queensland. Beef Australia 2018 will be held from May 6 to 12 and will be a celebration of all facets of the Australian beef industry. It will feature more than 4,500 cattle from over 30 breeds; a trade fair promoting more than 500 businesses; a symposium, seminars and property tours to deliver new research information to producers; and restaurants, celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations for visitors to appreciate the quality and flavor of Australian beef.

Space is limited and because of airline reservation policy, NC hopes to fill the tour before Christmas.

For tour details, call Nebraska Cattlemen at 402-475-2333, or Ralf Humbert at Trump Tours 479-271-9898, or email


While there is huge potential for sub-Saharan Africa to increase agricultural productivity, the odds that the region will become the world's next breadbasket are low, according to a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Breadbaskets are regions that produce a large and stable surplus of one or more major food crops that not only meet local demand, but substantially contribute to the food supply in other regions. By this definition, there are only a few major breadbaskets in the world. The only rain-fed corn and soybean breadbaskets are the U.S. Corn Belt, Brazilian Cerrados and Argentinean Pampas.

"Even though there are not very many breadbaskets, they are critically important because they account for a major part of global food production," said Patricio Grassini, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture at Nebraska and a co-author of the study.

Current yields in sub-Saharan Africa are well below what could be achieved given the region's farmable land and annual rainfall. The area receives more rainfall per year than other breadbaskets around the world. Given these factors, there is a persistent narrative that sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to become a grain breadbasket if production is intensified.

However, the study noted that a lack of data on soil depths that will support root growth has limited rigorous evaluations of how well sub-Saharan soils can support high, stable yields. According to Grassini, this is a critical parameter because deeper soils can buffer against rain-free periods. Current soil-depth data lacks adequate underpinning data, Grassini said.

Soils in the U.S. Corn Belt are deep and young, laid down during the past 20,000 years, whereas sub-Saharan soils are weathered and much older, dating back at least 540 million years. In the U.S. Corn Belt, the soils are deeper than 1.5 meters. 

For this study, researchers used data provided by the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas for 105 locations in major corn-producing countries in the region. Researchers explored a number of different soil-depth scenarios – from 0.5 to 1.5 meters – to determine production potential for sub-Saharan Africa.

"We found that for the region to meet its own demand and have a small surplus of (corn), they need to have the same soil depth as soils in the U.S. Corn Belt, and that is very unlikely," said Nicolas Guilpart, a former postdoctoral researcher at Nebraska and a co-author of the study. Guilpart is now an associate professor at AgroParisTech in France.

Co-author Kenneth Cassman, emeritus professor at Nebraska and fellow of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, said rapidly increasing demand could also limit sub-Saharan Africa's breadbasket potential.

"By 2050, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than double," he said. "This means that even if agricultural production intensifies, it will likely not be able to produce a surplus of food to be exported to global markets."

The results of the study were published in the latest issue of Environmental Research Letters.

Support for the research was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute.

Additional co-authors include researchers from Wageningen University and ISRIC-World Soil Information, both in the Netherlands, and the International Crops Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Kenya.


Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced a new program aimed at increasing acres of cover crops in the state. Iowa farmers who plant cover crops this fall (2017) may be eligible for a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance in 2018. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) worked with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), who oversees the federal crop insurance program, to establish a 3 year demonstration project aimed at expanding the usage of cover crops in Iowa.

Beginning today, IDALS will open the online sign-up and application process for farmers and landowners to certify eligible land for the program at the following link:

“We see this new crop insurance premium reduction as a great way to reach a broader group of farmers and landowners in order to promote continued interest in planting cover crops,” Naig said.  “This streamlined incentive coupled with traditional state and federal cost share programs provides farmers and landowners with a variety of options to gain experience with cover crops and expand their use. Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended, so there is still an opportunity to seed more acres this fall.”   

Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that helps farmers manage the risks associated with growing a crop and provides protection for farmers impacted by severe weather and challenging growing seasons. Cover crops can help prevent erosion and improve water quality and soil health, among other benefits.

“Crop insurance is critical to the health of the rural economy, and proper use of cover crops is critical to the health of the soil that farmers need,” said RMA Acting Administrator Heather Manzano.

Applications will be taken until January 15, 2018. Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state and/or federal programs are not eligible for this program.

Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended. Farmers are encouraged to continue seeding winter hardy cover crops as harvest wraps up to provide protection from the elements this spring.

The new premium reduction will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. Some policies may be excluded, such as Whole-Farm Revenue Protection or those covered through written agreements. Participating farmers must follow all existing good farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agent to maintain eligibility.

Brazilian Soybean Planting Three-Quarters Finished

Brazilian soybean farmers had finished 73% of their planting as of Nov. 16, according to agricultural consultancy AgRural. That's the same pace as last year on the same date and ahead of the five-year average for the date of 68%, AgRural said. Good weather around the country helped speed the planting work, according to the group. Brazil is the second-biggest soybean producer in the world, after the US.

 USDA Invests More Than $1 Billion to Improve Health Care in Rural Areas

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA provided more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 to help improve access to health care services for 2.5 million people in rural communities in 41 states.

“USDA invests in a wide range of health care facilities – such as hospitals, clinics and treatment centers – to help ensure that rural residents have access to the same state-of-the art care available in urban and metropolitan areas,” Perdue said. “I understand that building a prosperous rural America begins with healthy people. Ensuring that rural communities have access to quality medical care is a top priority for USDA.”

USDA invested in 97 rural health care projects that served 2.5 million people in Fiscal Year 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The loans can be used to fund essential community services. For health care, this includes constructing, expanding or improving health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.

USDA financed Community Facilities direct loan projects in the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The following are a few examples of rural health care projects that USDA funded during FY 2017:
-    LifeQuest Nursing Center received a $40 million loan to build a 123-unit assisted-living facility in Quakertown, Pa. The company will also renovate and expand the kitchen and dining area, build a 10- to 15-bed memory care unit, and build an activity room for memory care residents.
-    The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Inc. received a $2.8 million loan to construct a 14,000-square-foot health clinic that will house medical, dental and behavioral health services, a pharmacy, and support services. The new facility, in Iola, will enable the center to expand services, hire more staff and care for more patients. More than 13,000 residents will benefit.
-    Rural Development provided a $6.7 million loan to Valley Wide Health Systems Inc. in CaƱon City Colo., (Fremont County) to convert a building to an integrated care center for primary, dental and behavioral health services. Consolidating these services into one building will provide better patient care and eliminate the need for patients to travel to different locations. The clinic anticipates an increase of more than 4,000 patients during its first year of operation.

Funding from USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan program is playing a major role in Ontario, Ohio. Avita Health System received $91.4 million to transform a vacant section of a shopping mall into a state-of-the-art hospital that provides vital health care, including substance use disorder treatment and mental health services. These services are essential for Ohio communities that have been affected by the opioid epidemic in recent years. The hospital, which opened in March 2017, serves more than 124,000 rural residents in Richland and Crawford counties.

In addition to health care, the new hospital is providing an economic boost in the form of good-paying, rural-based jobs. It has also been a lifeline to struggling stores and businesses by increasing foot traffic (and therefore business) in what had been a dying shopping mall that struggled after the closure of one of its major anchor stores.

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; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit

AFBF Survey Reveals Lowest Thanksgiving Dinner Cost in Five Years

American Farm Bureau Federation's 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year's feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year's average of $49.87. The big ticket item--the 16-pound turkey--came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That's roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.

"For the second consecutive year, the overall cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined," AFBF Director of Market Intelligence Dr. John Newton said. "The cost of the dinner is the lowest since 2013 and second-lowest since 2011. Even as America's family farmers and ranchers continue to face economic challenges, they remain committed to providing a safe, abundant and affordable food supply for consumers at Thanksgiving and throughout the year."

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

Consumers continue to see lower retail turkey prices due to continued large inventory in cold storage, which is up almost double digits from last year, Newton explained.

Foods showing the largest decreases this year in addition to turkey, were a gallon of milk, $2.99; a dozen rolls, $2.26; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.45; a 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.52; a 1-pound bag of green peas, $1.53; and a group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $2.72.

Items that increased modestly in price were: a half-pint of whipping cream, $2.08; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.81; a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.21; a 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, $2.43; and a 1-pound veggie tray, $.74.

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks with the government's Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. But while the most recent CPI report for food at home shows a 0.5 percent increase over the past year, the Farm Bureau survey shows a 1.5 percent decline.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner is $20.54, the lowest level since 2013.


Executives Doug Glade and David Darr represented Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, during panel discussions at the 2017 Sustainable Agriculture Summit, held in Kansas City, Mo., this week. Several DFA farmer members also attended and participated in the two-day meeting.

One panel, “Do Goals Matter? How to Set and Achieve Supply Chain Sustainability Goals,” which included Doug Glade, executive vice president of commercial operations at DFA, gave attendees an inside look at how companies across the supply chain are holding themselves and their suppliers accountable through public goal setting. Joining Glade on the panel were Courtney Lareau of Mars Petcare and Daniel Sonke of Campbell Soup Company. The session was moderated by Charlene Finck, executive vice president and chief content officer for Farm Journal Media.

As a panelist, Glade talked about how sustainability is important from farm to table and includes DFA farmer members, commercial operations and customer partnerships. As a cooperative, DFA is committed to responsibly producing nutritious, high-quality milk and dairy products with focus on four key areas: responsible farming, innovative solutions, food safety and community.

Another panel during the Summit, “Assuring Responsible Dairy Farm Management,” included David Darr, vice president of sustainability and member services at DFA, and highlighted the industry-wide National Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, and how dairy farmers are taking a proactive approach for continuous improvement in areas such as animal care as well as antibiotic and environmental stewardship. Additional panelists for this session were Josh Luth of Foremost Farms, Roberta Osborne of Chobani and Brandon Treichler of Select Milk Producers Cooperative. Emily Meredith, chief of staff for National Milk Producers Federation, served as the panel moderator.

During this panel, Darr discussed how DFA has made enrollment and compliance with the FARM program a priority for its farmer-member owners. He also talked about how DFA is working with partners to help bring more sustainable practices and renewable energy methods to its farmer members such as anaerobic digestion technology that converts manure to energy as well as wind turbines and solar power.

The Sustainable Agriculture Summit is a joint effort of Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, National Pork Board, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. The vision for the Summit is to assemble key stakeholders from across the food and agricultural supply chain and discuss opportunities to advance and improve in agricultural sustainability.

BASF reports end of season dicamba results

In a recent survey, 400 soybean and cotton growers across the country said the newest BASF technology, Engenia® herbicide, designed to battle tough weeds for dicamba tolerant (DT) crops, provided them with cleaner fields in the 2017 growing season. Growers rated weed control from Engenia herbicide an 8.6 out of 10 nationally (on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best).

In addition to high satisfaction with weed control, 85 percent of growers surveyed planned to use Engenia in 2018 and 83 percent planned to recommend the product.

Growers in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana who were interviewed by Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for US Crop Protection, said stewardship was key to their success with Engenia herbicide, including the following:
-    Adhering to the application checklist
-    Using approved nozzles
-    Understanding what crops were in nearby fields
-    Talking to their BASF representative

While many growers are still harvesting crops, USDA forecasts 2017 soybean production at a record 4.43 billion bushels or 3 percent higher than last year. Soybean yields in key states such as Arkansas and Missouri are also projected to be at or above last year’s record levels. And 2017 national cotton yields are expected to be higher than 2016, up 33 pounds from last year.

“While most growers achieved great results stewarding DT crops this season, some non-DT farms experienced symptomology that may have come from the improper use of the new technology,” said Chad Asmus, BASF Technical Market Manager. “BASF worked with growers to better understand what was occurring.”

BASF field reps investigated 787 soybean symptomology claims during the 2017 season, most of which had no impact on yield. However, in a few isolated cases, yield may have been affected where the terminal growth was inhibited. Main causes include:
-    Incorrect nozzle and/or boom height
-    Wind speed or direction
-    Insufficient buffer
-    Spray system contamination
-    Use of unregistered product
-    Application during temperature inversion

Any combination of these factors could influence off-target movement.

“Developing a fact- and science-based recommendation that focuses on a long-term solution for farmers remains a critical part of working together,” said Asmus. “That’s why we recently met with weed scientists from across the country to share 2017 season results and work collaboratively on a path forward.”

BASF also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an updated Engenia label for the 2018 growing season. The new label adds requirements for spray application training, record keeping, wind speed limitations, application timing restrictions and more. 

“BASF plans to expand the Engenia On Target Application Academy, our application training program, to make it even easier to get information about how to properly apply crop protection products and use best practices,” said Asmus. 

Application materials in both English and Spanish will be available at in-person training sessions and through enhanced mobile applications. Growers can also expect more equipment application incentives involving boom height and sprayer hoods to be added to the nozzle and direction injection program.

“Growers demanded new technology in the fight against resistant weeds and they looked to DT cotton and soybeans and new chemistries as the next evolution in farming,” said Asmus. “By working together and properly applying crop protection products, more farms can experience cleaner fields and greater yields.”

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thursday November 16 Ag News

Rural Mainstreet Index Indicates Economic Weakness:
More Than One-Half of Bankers Boosted Farm Loan Collateral Requirements

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index dipped from October’s weak reading and remained below growth neutral, according to the November monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.  

Overall: The index, like all indices in the survey, ranges between 0 and 100, slipped to 44.7 from 45.3 in October. 

“Since peaking in 2013, farm commodity prices have declined by approximately 17 percent and U.S. farm income has fallen for four straight years. Not surprisingly, Creighton’s overall Rural Mainstreet Index has risen above growth neutral only three times in the past three years,” said Ernie Goss, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University's Heider College of Business. 

Bankers were asked this month how their bank has responded to the downturn in farm income. More than half, or 53.1 percent, reported increasing collateral requirements for farm loans. More than one in five, or 22.5 percent, indicated their bank had rejected a higher percent of farm loan applications. However, approximately one-third, or 34.7 percent, reported no change in farm loan terms and requirements.

Farming and ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for November fell to 36.5 from 39.3 in October. This is the 48th straight month the index has fallen below growth neutral 50.0.

Bankers were asked to project 2018 earnings for livestock producers. Approximately 9.2 percent projected negative cash flows for next year. This is roughly one-half of projections of negative cash flows for 2017 estimated in November 2016.

The November farm equipment-sales index sank to 26.2 from October’s 29.3. This marks the 51st consecutive month the reading has dropped below growth neutral 50.0.
Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for November declined to 45.6 from October’s 45.9. The state’s farmland-price index dipped to 36.8 from last month’s 39.7. Nebraska’s new-hiring index stood at a strong 59.6, but down slightly from 60.0 in October.

Iowa: The November RMI for Iowa slipped to 45.1 from 45.6 in October. Iowa’s farmland-price index for November increased to 36.6 from October’s 36.0. Iowa’s new-hiring index for November expanded to 58.7 from October’s 56.9.

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.

COPIC Medical Foundation gift of $75,000 to enhance UNMC training for rural first responders, health care providers

The COPIC Medical Foundation of Denver has made a $75,000 gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the Simulation in Motion-Nebraska (SIM-NE) program that was successfully launched this year by the University of Nebraska Medical Center and various partners.

The SIM-NE program brings critical training directly to rural emergency medical service (EMS) providers and health care providers at critical access hospitals in the communities they work. The program makes use of four, 44-foot-long custom simulation vehicles that are outfitted with realistic equipment and high-fidelity patient simulators.

The vehicles can simulate real-life emergency rooms and ambulances and are equipped with mannequins that simulate human patients by speaking, breathing, reacting to treatment and more. They are currently based in Norfolk, Lincoln, Kearney and Scottsbluff and travel the state to provide emergency medical training at no charge.

“Seeing the responses of the EMS providers, nurses, and allied health personnel as they receive training using the latest state-of-the-art equipment to simulate rare but very serious medical conditions is a tremendous reward,” said Brian Monaghan, SIM-NE project director. “The gift from COPIC Medical Foundation helps to ensure we’re able to continue to improve the program and provide training to even more people.”

SIM-NE is made possible through a partnership of educational institutions, academic departments representing a number of disciplines, charitable organizations, and public agencies that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Nebraskans. With the equipment, technology and skilled training used by SIM-NE, the university is helping to better prepare medical professionals in rural areas and critical access hospitals.

“It’s very gratifying that the knowledge and skills gained during these training sessions will improve the care of our neighbors and friends who may need assistance in an emergency situation,” said Paul Paulman, M.D., professor of family medicine and the project’s primary investigator. “We’re pleased that COPIC Medical Foundation truly understands the importance of education in saving lives.”

A leadership grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust provided initial resources to the university to start the SIM-NE program and to purchase its first simulation-enabled vehicles while providing a three-year, step-down plan of program support.

Monaghan said continued private support and partnerships, such as that with COPIC Medical Foundation, is critical to keep the program going and to reach the communities where it’s needed most.

Rural emergency medical service agencies and rural critical access hospitals can request training at For more information, contact Monaghan at or 402-559-4863.

 'Year of Farm Bureau' Century Celebration to Launch

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) will launch a year-long tribute to their approaching century of success Dec. 5 and 6 in Des Moines for the 99th IFBF Annual Meeting.

The theme, "Born to Lead. The Will to Succeed," speakers, educational sessions and new activities are designed to highlight the continued innovation and strength of IFBF.

In honor of the approaching century milestone, IFBF members have an opportunity to participate in one of two new ag education tours which will take place on Dec. 4. Members can tour either Hawkeye Breeders in Adel or the Monsanto Learning Center in Huxley. Buses for both sites leave from IFBF headquarters in West Des Moines.

"These tours will provide our members insight into the cutting-edge technology that is used to develop improved plant and animal genetics and will highlight the diversity of agriculture we have here in Iowa," said Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community resources.

The 2017 IFBF annual meeting officially begins Dec. 5 with a kickoff of the organization's centennial celebration, which will occur in 2018. The meeting will again be held at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center in downtown Des Moines, formerly known as Veterans Auditorium. The first session of educational seminars this year will discuss how farmers are taking on the challenge of improving Iowa's water quality by taking a watershed approach. Other sessions will look at connecting with consumers through social media and creating economic opportunities through rural entrepreneurship. The seminars will begin at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5 and will be repeated at 2:30 p.m. The IFBF voting delegate session will begin Dec. 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday will also feature several competitions and recognitions for IFBF young farmer members and an evening dinner and gala. That night's entertainment by SIX, a musical group from Branson, Mo., will round out the evening, while an ice cream social for all Iowa Farm Bureau members as well as district director candidates and president receptions will be held at 8:30 p.m.

"On Wednesday, we will celebrate the successes and hard work of our members at our annual award presentation and Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver, who has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other international hot spots, is our keynote speaker.

"Denver's message of overcoming adversity and finding strength through unity is fitting for IFBF farmers who work hard to continuously improve the land and water and how they grow the nation's food, fuel and fiber," says IFBF President Craig Hill, whose annual meeting remarks help kick off Wednesday's gathering of members. "As we get ready to launch our centennial kickoff, it's a time to remember the importance of standing together as an industry; despite many challenges for farmers these days, Farm Bureau's innovative programs, support and guidance continues to bring purpose and pride to generations of farm families. It is farming, more than any other calling, which always has and always will be the cornerstone of economic strength for our great state and for that, we should be proud."

For more information, a detailed agenda or to register to attend the 2017 IFBF annual meeting, check out

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding House Passage of Major Tax Reform Legislation

“We appreciate the work of the U.S. House of Representatives to advance the first major piece of tax code reform in more than 30 years. Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) moves us closer to establishing a federal tax code that works for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.”

“From the beginning, we’ve pushed for lower tax rates, and the preservation of many important tax provisions that assist small businesses, like farms and ranches. This bill does that.”

“We thank Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Congressman Don Bacon, and Congressman Adrian Smith for their support of this important first step to major tax reform. We especially want to thank Congressman Smith for his work in the House Ways and Means Committee which has been working on these needed reforms for many years.”

“It’s our hope the Senate will put aside political differences, and follow suit to advance legislation that reflects many of the key provisions included in the House bill.”

Cattlemen: House-Passed Tax Bill "Step in the Right Direction"

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and fourth-generation Nebraska cattle producer, today released the following statement in response to U.S. House approval of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“House approval of this comprehensive tax-reform legislation is a step in the right direction, but we will continue to work hard to make sure that final legislation doesn’t include provisions that would create undue and unfair burdens for certain segments of our industry.

“Specifically, this bill would immediately double the death-tax exemption and put the tax on the path to extinction in five years. That’s a major victory for family ranchers and cattle producers. The bill also fully preserves the step-up in basis, allows businesses to immediately and fully expense the cost of new investments, increases Section 179 small-business expensing limits, and expands cash accounting. These are all victories for cattle producers.

“Unfortunately, the House-passed bill would also significantly limit the ability of some businesses from deducting their interest expenses. This could be a big problem for some members of the cattle-production business. We’ve worked closely with Members of Congress to address this issue, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to fix this problematic provision as this legislation moves forward in the Senate and toward a House-Senate conference committee.”

Over the past two months, NCBA has executed a media campaign in support of tax reform provisions that would benefit cattle and beef producers. The campaign is centered at, and the campaign’s videos have been viewed more than a million times on Facebook.

Secretary Perdue Statement on House Passage of Tax Cuts & Reforms

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today hailed the House of Representatives’ passage of historic tax cuts and reforms as an important step toward providing much-needed relief to Americans, creating jobs, and boosting the economy. Perdue issued the following statement:

“We haven’t had an overhaul of the burdensome federal tax code since the mid-1980s and it is well past time to provide needed relief to workers and families. The people of agriculture dedicate their lives to putting food on the table for their fellow citizens and they deserve to keep more of what they earn from their labors. I applaud President Trump for his leadership in driving the debate and clearing a path for historic and significant tax cuts and reforms, just as I am pleased to see the sense of urgency with which Congress is moving toward a solution. The result will be more money in people’s pockets, more jobs created, and a more vibrant American economy.”

Farm Bureau Praises House Tax Bill Passage

Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation

“Today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by the House of Representatives puts us one step closer to a tax code that works for all farmers and ranchers. Lower rates combined with the preservation of small business expensing, like-kind exchanges and the business deduction for state and local taxes are just a few of the things we are pleased to see in this legislation. We look forward to working with the Senate to build on this success in the coming weeks.”

Statement by NCFC President Chuck Conner on House Passage of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives today approved a tax reform bill that will raise taxes on farmers and their co-ops across the country. By moving forward legislation that would eliminate the Section 199 deduction, the House’s action today means that $2 billion annually will flow out of rural America at a time when farmers and their local communities are struggling through the fourth year of stagnant prices.

“As the Senate Finance Committee continues to mark up its own tax reform package, we urge them to ensure that producers and their co-ops will not see their tax burdens increased while other sectors, from banking to technology, enjoy lower tax bills.”

NFU Alarmed by House Passage of Tax Reform Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 227-205 to approve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a bill that would provide tax cuts and breaks to corporations and wealthy Americans at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a staunch opponent of regressive taxation, increased federal debt, and any legislation that jeopardizes farm program funding, urged House members to vote against the legislation and scored the vote. In response to the vote, NFU Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew released the following statement:

“NFU is alarmed by the House’s decision to pass highly flawed tax reform legislation that has disastrous implications for American family farmers and ranchers. The policies put forth by this bill would increase the tax burden on family farmers and the middle class, and they add a massive $1.5 trillion to our national deficit. On top of that, they potentially put funding for vital farm safety net programs on the chopping block and jeopardize passage of the Farm Bill.

“We urge the Senate to reconsider their current legislation, as it has comparable implications for family farm agriculture. Farmers Union will continue to advocate for simplified, progressive tax reform that recognizes the needs of family farmers and ranchers.”

U.S. Farm Exports Hit 3rd Highest Level on Record

U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017, climbing nearly $10.9 billion from the previous year to the third-highest level on record, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today. As it has done for well over 50 years, the U.S. agricultural sector once again posted an annual trade surplus, which reached $21.3 billion, up almost 30 percent from last year’s $16.6 billion.

“U.S. agriculture depends on trade. It is great to see an increase in exports and we hope to open additional markets to build on this success,” Perdue said.  “I’m a grow-it-and-sell-it kind of guy.  If American agricultural producers keep growing it, USDA will keep helping to sell it around the world.”

China finished the fiscal year as the United States’ largest export customer, with shipments valued at $22 billion, followed closely by Canada at $20.4 billion. U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico reached $18.6 billion, a six-percent gain from last year, while exports to Japan grew 12 percent, to $11.8 billion. Rounding out the top 10 markets were the European Union ($11.6 billion), South Korea ($6.9 billion), Hong Kong ($4 billion), Taiwan ($3.4 billion), Indonesia ($3 billion) and the Philippines ($2.6 billion).

U.S. bulk commodity exports set a volume record at 159 million metric tons, up 11 percent from FY 2016, while their value rose 16 percent to $51.4 billion. The surge was led by soybean exports, which reached a record 60 million metric tons, valued at $24 billion. Exports of corn, wheat and cotton all grew as well, with the value of cotton exports climbing 70 percent, to $5.9 billion, wheat exports up 21 percent, to $6.2 billion, and corn exports up six percent, to $9.7 billion.

A number of other products saw significant export increases as well. U.S. dairy exports grew 17 percent to $5.3 billion, beef exports were up 16 percent to $7.1 billion, and pork exports rose 14 percent to $6.4 billion. Overall, horticultural product exports increased three percent to nearly $33.9 billion, largely driven by an eight-percent increase in exports of tree nuts, which reached $8.1 billion, the second-highest total on record. Processed food and beverage exports rose two percent to $39.2 billion.

Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs both on and off the farm. USDA continues to work to boost export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products by opening new markets, pursuing new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements, and breaking down barriers to trade.

Complete FY 2017 (Oct. 2016-Sept. 2017) agricultural export data are available from the Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) database:

Exports and Domestic Beef Disappearance

Josh Maples, Asst. Professor, Dept of Agr Econ, Mississippi State University

The latest trade data released last week showed that the impressive export totals continued through the month of September. Total beef and veal exports were 13.95 percent higher in September 2017 than in September 2016. Year-to-date available, total exports are up 14.46 percent over the first nine months of 2016. In total pounds, exports are up about 263 million pounds YTD over last year.

The largest increase was again in exports to Japan. U.S. beef exports to Japan were up nearly 40 percent over September of last year. Japan imported 85 million pounds of U.S. beef in September. On the year, exports to Japan are up 29 percent over 2016 levels. Exports to Canada and Mexico both grew about 8 percent over September 2016. Exports to mainland China totaled a little over one million pounds in September which made China the 15 largest importer of U.S. beef for the month.

The continued increase in beef exports is taking some of the beef that would have otherwise ended up on the U.S. market out of the country. With beef production increasing, generally either domestic consumption has to increase, exports have to increase, or a combination of the two. In 2017, a combination of the two has been the answer. Larger than expected export totals have kept the beef disappearance per person in the U.S. from increasing by as much as the increase in beef production would suggest.

Domestic disappearance is a measure of how much beef is used on the domestic market. It accounts for production, beginning and ending stocks, imports, and exports. If we assume that 2017 export totals will end up at the current YTD rate of 14.5 percent higher than 2016, that would suggest exports will be 371 million pounds higher this year than last year on a carcass weight basis. If this occurs, not only would 2017 be the year with the largest export totals on record, it would also represent the largest annual pounds increase since 2011. How does this impact disappearance? Without the 14.5 percent increase in exports this year, domestic disappearance would be a half pound greater for every person in the U.S. on a retail weight basis. Looking ahead, forecasting exports for 2018 and beyond has important implications for price projections. Will stronger than expected export growth continue into the new year? If it does, it would continue to partially temper the impact of growing production on domestic beef disappearance.

Biodiesel Leadership Weighs In With President Trump on RFS, Calls out Contradictions in Refiners' Arguments

Today the executive leadership of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) sent a letter to President Trump regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the letter, the NBB’s governing board members thank the president for his leadership and support of the RFS program, explain the industry’s capacity to produce biodiesel and highlight some of the contradictions made by the refining industry.

On the contradictions by some in the refining industry:

"We also understand that some refiners are continuing to complain loudly about the RFS, about RIN prices and about what they see as the adverse impacts on their businesses. Yet strong Q3 refiner earnings reports seem to directly contradict those concerns. For example, PBF Energy, whose executives had earlier made strong statements about the potential negative impact of RIN prices on the company’s earnings, just-reported Q3 revenue of $5.5 billion—a whopping 22 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016. The executives’ prior statements were clearly overstated.

“It is also important to know that many of the refinery owners who are begging for Congress to provide relief by changing or killing the RFS were fully aware of this law when they purchased their companies and when the RFS was completely factored into their purchase prices. It is not as if the 10-year-old RFS law constitutes some big surprise. Other companies in this space have invested in blending and distribution infrastructure or employed other compliance strategies to minimize their costs.” 

On the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) July proposal:

“What is equally important to understand is that the base numbers contained in EPA’s original, July proposal—4.24 billion gallons for advanced biofuels and 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel—are themselves so low that, if finalized, they will halt the growth of the biomass-based diesel industry. The 4.24-billion-gallon number is a reduction from the previous year’s 4.28 billion gallons, which sends a starkly negative signal to the industry as a whole.

“Similarly, the 2.1-billion-gallon volume for biomass-based diesel is a static number—the same as the previous year—again sending the wrong signal to an industry poised for robust, sustainable growth. The RFS program is fulfilled by both domestic and imported biodiesel, but the domestic industry alone can generate 2.6 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel right now. In other words, even if you excluded all imports, domestic producers alone are immediately ready to generate substantially more than the 2.1 billion-gallon volume in EPA’s July proposal.”

The NBB’s governing board members reiterated their ask of at least 4.75 billion gallons for advanced biofuels for 2018 and at least 2.5 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel for 2019. The governing board includes members from a diverse group of states: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

House Letter to EPA Demonstrates Widespread Support for Cellulosic and Advanced Biofuels

Growth Energy applauds Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and 16 of their House colleagues for calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the blending targets for cellulosic biofuels and biodiesel in the final 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs).

“We extend our sincere thanks to champions in Congress who are working hard to ensure that the RFS continues to deliver savings and health benefits to communities in all regions of the country,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“Thanks to the RFS and ethanol in our national fuel supply, we are all breathing cleaner air every day. Starch-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent compared to conventional gasoline, and advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent or more.

“Increasing the volumes for cellulosic and advanced biofuels is essential to ensure that producers and stakeholders will have the certainty they need to continue to invest in cellulosic technology.”

Corn-based Compound Used for Ice and Snow Control on Roadways

Road crews around the country are preparing for winter weather by running preparedness drills and stocking up on road treatment products. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) added a new product to their lineup for dealing with ice and snow on the roadways, one that includes a corn-based compound.

"We added another road treatment option to our winter operations," says MODOT St. Louis Maintenance Engineer, Mark Croarkin. "The corn-based portion of the product is a carrier for Magnesium Chloride.  There are similar products that result in an approximately 2% Magnesium Chloride treated salt that use other base materials.  These products typically cost a little more to mix, but they can be more effective."

Croarkin says the corn-based product MODOT started using goes by IceBan® M20 or IceBan® 300.  "If I was trying to quantify I would estimate the IceBan® treated material is about 25% more effective overall," says Croarkin. "The benefits we have seen depend on the temperature; the colder the storm the better results."

According to AJP Corporations website, "Ice Ban® is a natural liquid concentrate residue from the wet milling of corn and the production of alcohol. Ice Ban® is environmentally friendly, non-toxic to vegetation, and actually delivers valuable nutrients to the soil and may enhance vegetation growth. Ice Ban® is less corrosive on metal than other ice melters. In fact, it actually inhibits corrosion caused by chloride salts. Testing indicates that Ice Ban® is less corrosive than water. Ice Ban® freezes at temperatures lower than most other ice melters. Ice Ban® contains more molecules than other ice melters and has the potential to melt more ice."

The corn-based compound is designed to keep roads ice-free longer. "For us, this is another tool in our toolbox to treat roadways," Croarkin said.

USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Privately-Owned Wetlands, Agricultural Lands and Grasslands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect critical wetlands, agricultural lands and grasslands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements. This year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest $250 million in technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes, land trusts and other groups protect these valuable lands.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

“Protecting these lands preserves America’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan said. “Easements are also important tools for people who are trying to improve the management of their land.”

The 2014 Farm Bill created ACEP, merging together several easement programs into one. Last year alone, the program has protected nearly 300,000 acres through easements.

Wetland Reserve Easements

Through ACEP wetland reserve easements, NRCS helps landowners and tribes restore and protect wetland ecosystems. Wetlands are one of nature’s most productive ecosystems providing many ecological, societal and economic benefits.

“Seventy-five percent of the nation's wetlands are situated on private and tribal lands,” Jordan said. “Wetlands provide many benefits, including critical habitat for a wide array of wildlife species. They also store floodwaters, clean and recharge groundwater, sequester carbon, trap sediment, and filter pollutants for clean water.”

Wetland conservation easements are either permanent or for 30 years. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored, croplands or grasslands subject to flooding, and riparian areas that link protected wetland areas. As part of the easement, NRCS and the landowner work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the wetland.

Agricultural Land Easements

Through ACEP agricultural land easements, NRCS provides funds to conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure.

Partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and tribes. Landowners continue to own their property but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement. The cooperating entity applies for matching funds from NRCS for the purchase of an easement from the landowner, permanently protecting its agricultural use and conservation values. Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program.

Easements are permanent. Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and forestlands.

More Information

Landowners and tribes interested in wetland reserve easements and partners interested in agricultural easements should contact their local USDA service center. Applications for ACEP are taken on a continuous basis, and they are ranked and considered for funding several times per year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday November 15 Ag News - EPA Update on Reporting Air Emissions from Livestock operations

EPA UPDATE: New Email Option for Reporting Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms

Due to the potential for large call volumes to the National Response Center (NRC) related to new air release reporting requirements, the center has established a temporary email option for initial continuous release notifications from farm operators.

Rather than calling the NRC, farm owners/operators may now elect to notify the center by email at  This expedited option will allow one email notification for owners/operators with multiple farms.

From the web site
"Farms with continuous releases do not have to submit their initial continuous release notification until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order, or mandate, enforcing the Court’s opinion of April 11, 2017.  No reporting is necessary until the mandate is issued.

"EPA will update this website once the mandate is issued and as new information becomes available.

"To expedite your initial continuous release notification to the National Response Center, you may use the temporary email option. This option avoids potential large call volumes and delays. It allows one email notification for owners/operators with multiple farms."

Additional details and instructions regarding the reporting requirement, to include the new e-mail option, can be found at:

Cuming County Farm Service Agency Reminds Producers of Grain Loan Requirements, Urges Timely Visit to Office for 2017 Assistance

Farmers who may be considering a Marketing Assistance Loan to assist with farm financing for 2017 should stop into the Cuming County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office as soon as possible to begin the application process.

Cuming County FSA Executive Director Sarah Beck said Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) provide producers with interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows.

“With Nebraska’s large corn and soybean harvests this year, we know a great deal of grain went into storage,” Beck said. “Marketing Assistance Loans offer short-term financing at a reasonable interest rate. It can be a useful tool to meet immediate financing needs and income balancing goals.”

MALs are available for feed grains, soybeans and other oilseeds, wheat, pulse crops, wool, honey and other commodities. The loan rates for key commodities in Cuming County are $1.90/bushel for corn, $4.86/bushel for soybeans and $3.16/cwt (hundred weight) for grain sorghum. The November MAL interest rate is 2.375 percent.

“For Cuming County FSA to best serve those interested in marketing assistance loans for the current calendar year, producers should schedule a loan appointment prior to December 15, 2017,” Beck said. “That should allow us appropriate time to process the loan by December 31, 2017.”

To be eligible for a MAL, producers must have a beneficial interest in the commodity. They also must comply with conservation and wetland protection requirements, submit an acreage report to account for all cropland on the farm and meet adjusted gross income limitations. There are additional requirements and actions that need to be taken before a loan can be processed. Beck encouraged producers to call (402) 372-2451, Ext. 2 to schedule an appointment and to learn what information they should bring to the appointment.

2017 NeFB Silver Eagle Award Honors Merlyn Carlson

Nebraska Farm Bureau has selected former Nebraska Director of Agriculture Merlyn Carlson as the 2017 recipient of its highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. The award will be presented to Carlson on Dec. 5 at the 2017 Nebraska Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Kearney.

Merlyn Carlson and his wife Janice raised their family on their ranch near Lodgepole, where they raised cattle. Carlson has made a tremendous impact on Nebraska agriculture and has held a long list of national positions in agriculture. In 1999, Carlson was appointed Director of Agriculture for the State of Nebraska, where he served as an advocate for Nebraska agriculture, promoting agricultural products in both domestic and foreign markets.

Carlson left his post with the state in 2005 to work alongside then Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns at the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). He served as an Under Secretary for the Natural Resources Conservation Service from 2005-2007.

“Merlyn presided over the state department during one of the worst droughts in Nebraska history and the mad cow case that resulted in U.S. beef being banned in many countries. He left his mark by increasing value-added agricultural opportunities, improving trade relations, and dealing with weather concerns. While at the USDA he focused on conservation efforts, especially related to crafting the 2007 farm bill,” Steve Nelson, president of Nebraska Farm Bureau said Nov. 15.

Carlson has also served on the Board of Governors of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, was chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the National Cattlemen Association, and served on the USDA Animal Disease Committee. He has held key positions in many Nebraska agriculture organizations as well. Some of his past work includes chairmanship of the Nebraska Beef Council and president of the Nebraska Stock Growers Association.

He also worked in the political arena both at the state and national campaign levels, for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, Congresswoman Virginia Smith, Senator Chuck Hagel, and Governors Charles Thone, Kay Orr, and Mike Johanns.

“Merlyn has not just been a friend of agriculture as a tireless advocate, but he is a friend of many who make their living within agriculture. His years of accomplishment make him more than qualified for receiving Nebraska Farm Bureau’s highest honor, the Silver Eagle Award. We thank him for his service to the farmers and ranchers of Nebraska agriculture,” Nelson said.

Today, the Carlson’s are partially retired and living in Sun City West, Arizona.

I-29 Moo University 2018 Winter Workshop Series Set

The I-29 Moo University collaboration will be offering their Winter Workshop Series Jan 8-12. They encourage all dairy producers, students, stakeholders and industry personnel to attend.

The series focus is From Field to Bunk: Growing and Feeding Dairy Quality Forages. The workshop series will take place in five locations including: Mandan, N.D.; Watertown, S.D.; Pipestone, Minn.; Orange City, Iowa and Norfolk, Neb.

Register by Dec. 29. Registration is $50 per person and $25 for students. Late registration is late $65 and $30 for students. Late registration fees begin Dec. 30.

Workshop series details are:
- North Dakota workshop will be held Jan. 8 in Mandan at the Baymont Inn & Suites (2611 Old Red Trail Northwest)
- South Dakota workshop will be held Jan. 9 in Watertown at the Codington County Extension Complex (Kitchen Mtg. Room) (1910 West Kemp Ave.);
- Minnesota workshop will be held Jan. 10 in Pipestone at the Pipestone Veterinary Services (1801 Forman Dr.);
- Iowa workshop will be held Jan. 11 in Orange City at the Sioux County Extension Office (400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700); and
- Nebraska workshop will be held Jan. 12 in Norfolk at the Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College (NECC), (601 East Benjamin Ave.) . Learning Objectives: To improve the sustainability of the dairy production system.

Attendees can expect the following:
- Learn to incorporate cover crops and new forage genetic lines into the forage production system for dairies.
- Producers will increase their understanding of forages and cover crops in dairy rations.
- Improve dairy and labor management skills in the areas of feeding management and safety protocols.

Workshop agenda presenters include:
- New Forage Genetic Lines and how they Impact the Dairy Industry - Bruce Anderson, Professor of Agronomy, UNL Extension Forage Specialist
- Cover Crops - incorporating them into your Forage Production System - Sara Berg, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist
- Incorporating Cover Crops into Dairy Rations - James C. Paulson, Associate Professor Forage Specialist and Nutritionist
- Silage Pile Safety training for you & your employees - Keith Bolsen, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University, "The Silage Man," Nationally known speaker in silage production and safety practices.
- Evaluating Dairy Diets from the Nutritionist, to the Employee, to the Cow.- Co-presented - Fernando Diaz, DVM, PhD - Dairy Nutrition and Management Consultant - Rosecrans Dairy Consulting & Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist

For more information, contact the I-29 Moo University Winter Workshop: From Field to Bunk, Program Committee Chairs; Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist by email or 605-882-5140; or Kimberly J. Clark, UNL Extension Dairy Educator by email or 402.472.6065.


Two Nebraska high school seniors are traveling to Taiwan next week to represent the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) as part of a student exchange program. Selected by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), the students will learn about Taiwan’s agricultural industry and how Nebraska ag exports benefit Nebraska and Taiwan.

“This long-standing student exchange program helps students understand the importance of the international marketplace,” said NDA Interim Director Mat Habrock. “The students have the unique opportunity to experience the agriculture, technology and culture of a different country and learn firsthand how Nebraska ag impacts foreign markets.”

For the past 14 years, as part of this exchange program, students from an ag high school in Taiwan have visited Nebraska to attend the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, a week-long summer program coordinated by NDA. In return, NDA chooses NAYI delegates to travel to Taiwan.

This year the students will leave for Taiwan on Nov. 19 and will return to Nebraska on Nov. 24 While in Taiwan, the students will be staying at the Taichung Senior High School of Agriculture and Technology.

Their visit will include touring the campus, interacting with Taiwanese students, participating in presentations, and visiting local farms and agricultural research institutes. Students also will have the opportunity to do some sightseeing.

The two students going to Taiwan this year are:
·         Wyatt Hubbard from Elm Creek. Wyatt is a senior at Elm Creek High School and is the son of Neal and Tracy Hubbard; and
·         Hal Moomey from Kearney. Hal is a senior at Kearney High School and is the son of Travis and Dori Moomey.

The trip is coordinated by NDA and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Denver and is sponsored by the Nebraska Farm Bureau and TECO.

The students going to Taiwan will share their experiences from their trip at the 2018 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute this summer in Lincoln.


The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference & Exhibition recently concluded its tenth annual event, November 13-14, 2017 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, NE. This year’s conference attracted over 325 attendees, 28 exhibitors, and featured 38 speakers from the wind and solar industries. Individuals came from across the country to participate in 18 general session and workshop presentations that shared the latest and best information on wind and solar energy development. 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 Monday by Mayor Chris Beutler, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, and Nebraska Energy Director, David Bracht, who provided an update on the status of wind and solar development in Nebraska. Keynote speaker, Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association, opened up the general sessions with an overview of the “State of the National Wind Industry” and state senators provided a policy and legislative update just before lunch.

Noon luncheon speakers were executives of the three largest Nebraska public utilities—LES, OPPD, and NPPD. Monday afternoon consisted of breakout sessions featuring first-hand experience from Nebraska’s wind project landowners, an update on the R Project from Tom Kent of NPPD, solar and battery storage, and how to balance community concerns. George Ashton of Sol Systems, Adam Cohen of Ranger Power, Tom Green of SoCore, and Mike Kruger of SEPA provided conference attendees with four national perspectives on the “State of the National Solar Industry.”

Steve Noe from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) kicked off Tuesday morning with discussion surrounding TVA’s renewable energy projects. The breakouts that followed included an update on Nebraska’s first wind decommissioning project and insight into renewable energy development by local public power.

The Tuesday luncheon featured Paul Clements of Facebook and Tim O’Brien of OPPD discussing their partnership and what corporate companies look for when it comes to renewable energy procurement. David Gardiner added a national perspective to the discussion. The conference wrapped up with discussions pertaining to wind impacts on Nebraska and Southwest Power Pool and how to navigate wildlife and regulatory pathways with state and federal officials.

Conference Co-Chairman, John Hansen, commented “It was an outstanding conference. Attitude was positive and the information provided was great. This reflects the enormous progress and momentum we have as we continue to grow in the future”.

Conference presentations will be posted on the Nebraska Energy Office website within the next few weeks.

Iowa Soybean Association disputes pending ‘carcinogenic’ glyphosate label

Kirk Leeds, Iowa Soybean Association CEO

“The Iowa Soybean Association board of directors unanimously approved joining as a co-plaintiff in the legal challenge to California’s Proposition 65 and the listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) arbitrary determination that glyphosate negatively impacts consumers and food producers sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the continued availability of other valuable food production tools.

“The unreasonable listing by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of glyphosate as a carcinogen as compelled by Prop 65 violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it compels the plaintiffs in the case to make false, misleading and highly controversial statements about their products. Should labeling proceed, the ripple effect could mean environmental concerns, increased production costs — to be passed along to the consumer — and a threat to the viability of the state and country’s soybean crop given intensified weed pressures. This could be a devastating blow to Iowa soybean farmers and an industry valued at more than $5 billion.

“Glyphosate is one of the safest herbicides ever developed and has been rigorously tested by the U.S. government for decades, continually passing as non-carcinogenic. The determination by IARC, a France-based, non-scientific organization, that glyphosate is ‘probably carcinogenic’ counters the conclusion of every global regulator that has examined the issue over the past 40 years. Not only does the scientific community disagree with IARC’s findings, the organization’s internal process for reviewing glyphosate — along with other ‘possible’ or ‘probable carcinogens’ like French fries and coffee — has also been roundly criticized.

“The Iowa Soybean Association is proud to join other plaintiffs, including the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, in defending farmers, science and a safe and abundant food supply.”

Agriculture Coalition Takes Action Against California’s Flawed Classification of Environmentally-Safe Herbicide

Agriculture groups from across the country today joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal court against the State of California for ignoring science and conclusions from regulatory bodies around the world in a fundamentally flawed regulatory classification of Glyphosate, an environmentally-safe and widely-used herbicide. The coalition’s case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

“The unified voice of this diverse coalition of agriculture and business groups illustrates the devastating impact California’s flawed action would have across the country,” said Gordon Stoner, President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, the lead plaintiff in the case.  “California’s erroneous warning about glyphosate is unconstitutional and would result in higher food costs, crushing blows to state and agricultural economies and lost revenue up and down the entire supply chain."

Fellow agricultural association plaintiffs in the case include Associated Industries of Missouri, the Iowa Soybean Association, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Farm Bureau, the National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and the United States Durum Growers Association.cleardot

At issue is California’s July action ignoring their own scientific reviews, as well as studies conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and every other leading regulatory body around the world and falsely classifying the environmentally-benign herbicide as a probable carcinogen.” This erroneous warning is based entirely on a highly-controversial and deeply flawed finding by a non-regulatory, French-based foreign body called IARC.

As a result of California’s Prop 65 false warning, manufacturers of products containing glyphosate, or residues thereof, sold in California will need to affix a false and misleading warning label to their products. This violates the First Amendment, which protects individuals and businesses from compelled false speech. As a result, farmers, manufactures and distributors of products that are legally permitted under strictly enforced federal regulations, would have to place a warning label on those products they know to be false.

Cover Crop Workshop Planned for Dec. 6 near Carroll

Iowa Learning Farms, along with Elk Run Watershed and Practical Farmers of Iowa, will host a cover crop workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The 12-2 p.m. field day will be held in the Wapiti Room at the Swan Lake Conservation Education Center near Carroll. The event is free and open to the public and includes a complimentary meal.

The event will feature local cover crop farmers including Bill Frederick, Greene County, and Mark Thompson, Webster County. They will discuss how they have incorporated cover crops into their farming operations, tips for success and suggestions for overcoming challenges. Frederick will share his experiences with grazing cover crops and Thompson will provide a professional farm manager perspective to the discussion. Also speaking at the field day is Liz Juchems, Iowa Learning Farms event coordinator. She will share results from on-farm cover crop research projects and ideas for maximizing cover crop benefits. Diane Ercse will provide an update on the Elk Run Watershed project and provide ways to get involved.

The field day will be held in the Wapiti Room at Swan Lake Conservation Education Center, 22676 Swawn Lake Drive, Carroll. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), and Conservation Districts of Iowa.

Elk Run Watershed Project is a partnership of Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Clean Water Iowa, and Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance.

USRSB Unveils Sustainability Tools for the Beef Community

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) today announced the release of USRSB Sustainability Metrics, the latest tool helping those who raise, buy, and sell beef understand ways to balance and improve their environmental impact, social responsibility, and financial bottom line.

“The USRSB Sustainability Metrics are a result of two years of work from the entire beef community and I am proud of the results,” said Nancy Labbe of World Wildlife Fund, a member of the USRSB. “I believe these metrics are where we need to start. They address areas that are truly important in the beef sustainability conversation.”

As part of volunteer leadership, Labbe helped guide over 100 members as they developed USRSB Sustainability Metrics, a process that allowed each sector of the beef value chain to oversee their own metric development while receiving feedback from all members.

In 2016 the USRSB released High Priority Indicators to address areas of sustainability most important to the beef industry. USRSB Sustainability Metrics accompany High Priority Indicators and will serve as a self-assessment tool to aid the beef community as they examine their sustainability footprint and share their personal story.

Steve Wooten, a rancher from Colorado, shared out how the USRSB Sustainability Metrics overcame segmentation challenges within the beef industry. 

“When you bring together such a diverse group of stakeholders, you have to work out loud and listen to the conversation. This is how we landed on metrics that speak to areas I care about as a producer, and thoughtfully address needs of a successful operation.” said Wooten.

The USRSB hopes this tool will move the curve for beef sustainability ensuring the industry continues to be a global leader in beef sustainability. To learn more about the USRSB and explore the USRSB Indicator and Metric Summary visit

October Soybean Crush Beats Expectations

US soybean processors crushed more oilseed than expected in October, just short of last year's monthly record. The National Oilseed Processors Association says members crushed 164.2M bushels last month, according to traders, up from 136.4M in September but below 164.6M a year earlier. October soyoil stocks fell to 1.224B pounds from 1.302B a month earlier. That was also below last year. CBOT January soybean futures rise 0.6% to $9.73 3/4 a bushel.

Look Beyond Input Marketing Claims

Collecting unbiased data from well-designed research can have a large impact on farmers' bottom.

"Farmers spend millions of dollars on agronomy products each year. The best way to determine if a product or practice is effective prior to purchase or implementation, is to ask for the data and research backing a company's claims," explained Sara Berg, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist.

Berg is part of a multi-state team of Extension personnel working together to clear up confusion among producers when it comes to research. Together they have published a series of articles which delve into four research topics including: replicated vs. side-by-side comparisons, how to set up on-farm research, interpreting research terms and data, and the topic of this article, interpreting and clarifying ag product marketing claims.

This is the fourth and final article, written by this team, to help producers see legitimate research from biased information produced to sell inputs. To view past articles, visit iGrow and search by Sara Berg's name.

In addition to Berg, the team includes: Lizabeth Stahl, University of Minnesota; Josh Coltrain, Kansas State University; John Thomas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

New on-farm technology provides many farmers with real-time data access. "With large amounts of data and fast access to information and product marketing, producing a commodity requires many decisions," Berg added. "Knowing that a product has been tested and shown to make a difference should be a deciding factor when making purchases. Yet, it is not that simple in most cases."

The reason? Berg explained that although data may be included on packaging, sometimes companies leave vital information off when advertising because many view it as confusing and unnecessary.

"False research claims or partial truths are found alongside accurate claims about quality products in marketing around the world," Berg said. "Separating falsified or misleading claims from those that are not is crucial."

One method Berg said some marketers use is to display limited data in a skewed or biased manner by changing the scale of a graphic. Another method is to add disclaimers, or provide vague information and/or nothing to compare the product claims to. However, some companies and institutions provide excellent data with honest results for farmers to choose from; even in these cases, one must understand how to interpret the data.

"When a product is falsely promoted, often the customer is provided only baseline information needed to make a sale. It is vital that farmers take time to look over product information, ask questions and understand data presented to them," Berg said. "Marketing claims are not always falsified or skewed, but knowing how to spot poorly-backed claims can provide farmers peace of mind in knowing they are investing in products or adapting practices that have been properly tested."

For more information on research trials and statistics see parts 1, 2, and 3 of this 4-part article series linked at If questions should arise, contact an Extension agronomy team member for data interpretation assistance.

EIA: Ethanol Data Mixed; Stocks Up

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a mixed supply report Wednesday showing U.S. ethanol stockpiles rose in the week-ended Nov. 10 while plant production eased and blending demand was unchanged.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks rose by 200,000 bbl or 0.9% to 21.5 million bbl, with a year-over-year supply overhang at 2.9 million bbl or 15.6%.

Domestic plant production edged down 3,000 bpd or 0.3% last week to 1.054 million bpd, easing from a two-month high a week earlier, while up 37,000 bpd or 3.6% year-over-year. For the four weeks ended last week, ethanol production averaged 1.052 million bpd, up 44,000 bpd or 4.4% against year prior.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a measure for ethanol demand held steady at 918,000 bpd four-week high, while up 14,000 bpd or 1.5% year-over-year. For the four-week period ended Nov. 10, blending demand averaged 923,000 bpd, up 6,000 bpd or 0.7% against the comparable period a year ago.

Carefully Evaluate Firms before Entering into Deferred Price Contracts

There are many different types of contracts that can be used to sell grain. One of these is a deferred price contract, also known as a credit sale contract. These contracts are different from cash and priced forward contracts because they create a unique relationship between the two parties: the seller becomes an unsecured creditor of the buyer.grain storage elevators

“Deferred price contracts are marketing tools that producers have available to them, but there are risks that need to be understood,” said Keri Jacobs, assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University. “With these contract types there may be a delivery component or price component that is left open. Because ownership of the grain might be assigned to a company but the price and payment for it comes later, the credit-worthiness of the company you are doing business with needs to be established.”

Because of the additional risk to the seller, those thinking of using deferred price contracts should carefully evaluate the financial position of firms they are thinking of entering into an agreement with. The type of information sellers should be looking for is highlighted in Jacobs’ new ISU Extension and Outreach publication, “Evaluating a Company’s Financial Position before Selling Grain on Deferred Price Contracts” (FMR 1893).

“Typically there are a lot of questions about pricing components and price risk of this type of contract, but not about the credit risk,” Jacobs said. “If a producer sells grain on this type of contract they become an unsecured creditor. If the company they sold to goes bankrupt or cannot pay, the producer no longer controls the grain and may be last in line for settlement, behind secured creditors such as banks. This publication aims to help producers understand that part of their responsibility before entering into this type of contract is to make sure the firm they do business with is financially secure.”

There are several key financial indicators to think about when evaluating a company’s financial position. These include their working capital, ratio of working capital to sales, leverage, ratio of term debt to net fixed assets and their profits.

“Liquidity is probably the most important factor when trying to understand the short-term financial stability of a company,” Jacobs said. “Their working capital provides the most information about short term cash, inventory levels and what liabilities are against them. Can their current debts be met with their available liquid assets?”

Each indicator is examined, using examples and sample balance and statement sheets to help demonstrate how to evaluate a company’s financial position.

A farmer can more confidently enter into a deferred price contract when they are satisfied with the financial position of the company they are selling to.

Fertilizer Prices Continue Mixed

Average fertilizer prices were a mixed bag the second week of November 2017 with the majority moving higher and a couple moving lower, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, with only two up a significant amount. UAN32 was 7% higher compared to the previous month with an average price of $272 per ton. UAN28 was 5% higher from last month and was at $216/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers were just slightly higher in price. DAP had an average price of $434/ton, MAP $459/ton, urea $338/ton and anhydrous $409/ton.

Two fertilizers were lower in price compared to a month earlier -- one by a considerable amount; 10-34-0 was down 13% from last month with an average price of $355/ton. Potash was just slightly lower with an average price of $341/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

Five fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, MAP is 2% more expensive, urea is 5% higher, UAN32 is 6% more expensive and potash is now 9% more expensive.

The remaining three fertilizers are lower compared to a year prior. UAN28 is 1% less expensive while anhydrous is 13% lower and 10-34-0 is 21% less expensive.