Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday April 24 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.53 million cattle on feed on April 1, according to the USDA s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 2 percent from last year.  Placements during March totaled 440,000 head, up 7 percent from 2014. This is the largest number of placements for March since the data series began in 1994.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of March totaled 395,000 head, unchanged from last year.  Other disappearance during March totaled 15,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Iowa for all feedlots totaled 1,305,000 on April 1, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. The inventory is up 1 percent from March 1, 2015, and up 3 percent from April 1, 2014. Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head had 670,000 head on feed, up 2 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head had 635,000 head on feed, unchanged from last month but up 7 percent from last year.

Placements during March totaled 150,000 head, an increase of 2 percent from last month and up 24 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head placed 90,000 head, up 6 percent from last month and up 27 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head placed 60,000 head. This is down 3 percent from last month but up 20 percent from last year.

Marketings for March were 136,000 head, up 19 percent from last month but down 4 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head marketed 79,000 head, up 7 percent from last month and up 14 percent from last year.  Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head marketed 57,000 head, up 43 percent from last month but down 21 percent from last year. Other disappearance totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on April 1, 2015. The inventory was slightly above April 1, 2014. The inventory included 7.46 million steers and steer calves, up 5 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 69 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.34 million head, down 10 percent from 2014.

On Feed, By State  (1,000 hd, % of April 1, '14)

Colorado .....:        890     -      94     
Iowa ...........:        670      -     100    
Kansas ........:      2,110    -      101   
Nebraska ....:      2,530    -      102   
Texas ..........:      2,470    -       99     

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 1.81 million, slightly above 2014. Net placements were 1.74 million head. During March, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 365,000, 600-699 pounds were 275,000, 700-799 pounds were 449,000, and 800 pounds and greater were 720,000.

Placements, by State  (1,000 hd, % of March '14)

Colorado .....:        150      -      91       
Iowa ...........:          90       -    127      
Kansas ........:         410      -     105      
Nebraska ....:         440      -     107     
Texas ..........:         420      -      89      

Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.63 million, 2 percent below 2014. March marketings are the lowest since the series began in 1996.  Other disappearance totaled 69,000 during March, 6 percent above 2014.

Marketings, by State (1,000 hd, % of March '14)

Colorado .....:      140     -      108     
Iowa ...........:        79      -      114     
Kansas ........:       370     -      107      
Nebraska ....:       395     -      100    
Texas ..........:       385     -       90     


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Oat pastures have increased in popularity in recent years.  They can reduce problems from drought and provide fast, early grazing.  Oat pastures can be very productive and last through early summer, but they also disappoint sometimes.  While we don’t know all we need to know, here are a few grazing recommendations that will help you succeed.

               Oats grows rapidly.  Once it gets five or six inches tall, it quickly can shoot up to a foot tall in almost no time.  As nice as this sounds, if initial oat growth gets that tall it may not stool out, tiller, and regrow after grazing very well.  So it’s important to start grazing early and to graze hard enough to keep your oats vegetative and leafy, thereby stimulating it to constantly form new tillers.

               So how early is early?  That’s hard to say, but if your animals start to first graze when oats get six to eight inches tall and they remove just half the growth it should recover rapidly and tiller well.  You probably will need to give your oats a couple weeks to regrow after this first grazing, though, before grazing again.

               After this first grazing stimulates tillering, keep oat regrowth between six and sixteen inches tall using either continuous or rotational stocking.  Begin with a light stocking rate, maybe about one animal every two acres.  Then adjust animal number as oat growth changes.  Don’t worry if a few plants head out.  But if many plants get tall and approach the boot stage, either stock heavily for one last hard graze-out grazing or consider cutting for hay.

               We will need to experiment a bit to perfect it, but oat grazing looks promising.

New Sulfur Fertilizer Recommendations for Iowa’s Planting Season

Sulfur Management for Iowa Crop Production, a new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication, provides a summary of research efforts and guidance on sulfur fertilization and application needs. The 2005-2013 data comes from on-farm, small-plot and field-length strip trials in fields across Iowa.

Farmers, crop advisers, agricultural businesses and suppliers know that sulfur has not historically been an issue with crop production in Iowa. However, this recent research shows improved crop yield when applying sulfur fertilizer in many areas of Iowa, specifically with alfalfa and corn production.

“Spring is a good time for sulfur application before corn and soybean planting, or before alfalfa re-growth,” said John Sawyer, professor of agronomy and extension soil fertility specialist with Iowa State University. “This allows time to get the applied sulfur into the root zone. Rapid sulfur availability is especially important if early season plant growth is exhibiting deficiency symptoms and sulfur is sidedress applied in corn or applied after an alfalfa cutting.”

“Research suggests a more consistent corn yield response to sulfur fertilizer; compared to soybean yield response,” said John Lundvall, soil fertility research team member at Iowa State University. “Given current commodity price pressure and close scrutiny of input costs for the 2015 crop, a farmer planting 2015 soybean into a field with documented sulfur deficiency might be best-served delaying sulfur fertilizer application until after the 2015 soybean harvest but prior to planting the 2016 corn crop.”

Publication authors are John Sawyer, professor of agronomy and extension soil fertility specialist with Iowa State University; Daniel Barker, assistant scientist of agronomy at Iowa State University; and Brian Lang, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

For more information on related publications on soil fertility, go to the ISU Extension and Outreach Online Store at


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is responding to a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Sac County, Iowa.   The facility has 34,000 turkeys and is within the 10 kilometer monitoring zone surrounding the initial HPAI case in Buena Vista County.  This is the third case of HPAI in Iowa.

    The flock has experienced increased mortality and samples have been sent to the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.  Preliminary results showed the birds positive for an H5 strain of avian influenza.  Samples were then sent to the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa to further confirm the findings.

    State officials quarantined the premise and birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected.

    The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

    The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

    These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

    All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.  Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at

Some Nations Begin Banning Midwest Poultry Imports

Some international trade partners are declining to buy egg and poultry products from Midwestern states that have been affected by a deadly strain of bird flu, while others are excluding imports only from counties where the virus has surfaced.

According to the Associated Press, countries like China, Russia, South Korea and Thailand have shut off all imports of poultry products from the United States. Mexico, Japan and Canada are among 33 countries declining to accept poultry products from entire states, including Iowa, the nation's leading egg producer, and Minnesota, the top turkey grower in the U.S.

Other countries, including Hong Kong, limit the ban to counties where the virus has been confirmed. Some countries - including Honduras, Kazakhstan and Qatar - require products to be heated to a temperature that will kill the virus before they'll accept poultry products.

The H5N2 virus has cost turkey and chicken producers over 7 million birds since early March. Federal agriculture officials say the food supply is safe.

Agricultural states are fighting to contain the virus. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency on Thursday to fight the H5N2 strain, a similar action taken earlier by Wisconsin.

American Farm Bureau Appeals Flawed Privacy Decision

The Environmental Protection Agency’s public release to environmental groups of personal details about the home locations and contact information of tens of thousands of farm and ranch families was unlawful. A lower court ruling that upheld the EPA action failed to address key privacy issues and should be reversed, according to court documents filed today by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Farm Bureau, along with the National Pork Producers Council, filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to overturn an earlier district court ruling. That ruling held, in part, that because some of the information had been posted online by state agencies, EPA was free to publicly release the same information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The brief to the appeals court states that there is no “merit to the (district court’s) suggestion that citizens lack a privacy interest in information that appears on the Internet. That theory is one that might appeal to George Orwell, but it is not one that has a basis in law or common sense.”

“Personal information is ubiquitous on the Inter­net; if the mere appearance of infor­mation on a website destroyed any con­tinu­ing privacy interest in that information, privacy would be dead. The Supreme Court’s FOIA prece­dents foreclose that conclusion,” the brief stated.

According to the brief, EPA’s disclosure of the requested information serves only one purpose: “to put in the hands of environmental activists informa­tion that will help them to investigate and harass family farms on their own, in their efforts to bring private lawsuits against family farmers.”

The brief states that “the disclosure of information such as names, ad­dres­ses, and other personal identifying information, like the data at issue, creates a pal­pable threat to privacy.”

In addition, the brief states that farms and ranches are inherently different from typical businesses in that information divulged typically leads to a home residence of a farm or ranch family.

“Most businesses’ mailing addresses lead to offices or factories; their telephones are an­swered by receptionists and secretaries; and their GPS coordinates point to parking lots or security-guard booths,” the brief states. “But family farms are funda­men­tally different -- or the great ma­jority of them, their businesses are their homes. Their driveways lead not only to their fields and their hen houses, but also to the swing sets where their children play. Their business telephone numbers are answered not by nameless receptionists in florescent-lit offices, but by their spouses in their family kitchens, and their children in their upstairs bedrooms.

“If anything, the fact that the disclosed information concerns farmers as both individuals and businesses is a greater reason to find the infor­mation pro­tect­ed, not the other way around.”

The EPA shocked the farming and ranching community in early 2013 when it publicly released a massive database of personal information about tens of thousands of livestock and poultry farmers, ranchers and their families in multiple states. The information was collected from state regulatory agencies and then distributed to three environmental groups that had filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The database included the names of farmers, ranchers and sometimes other family members, home addresses and GPS coordinates, home telephone numbers and personal emails.

“We wholeheartedly support government transparency, but we insist on protecting the privacy of farm and ranch families,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.

Seventeen Trait Approvals Cap Wild Week for Biotech in Brussels

After expressing severe frustration with the European Commission’s proposal to allow EU member states to opt out of the import of food and feed containing biotechnology traits earlier in the week, the American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news out of Brussels today that the EU has approved 17 biotechnology traits for import. The traits, which include the Plenish and Vistive Gold high-oleic soybean varieties, as well as dicamba-tolerant and omega-3 soybeans, have been in the EU approval process for multiple years. ASA First Vice President Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del., noted the association’s guarded optimism about today’s news in a statement:

“On the one hand, we’re happy to see these traits finally receive Commission approval after years of delay. The 17 products approved by the European Commission today have been pending for 69 months on average despite EU laws and regulations that foresee an 18-month time period for a decision. Whenever our technology partners bring a new trait to market, farmers in the U.S. aren’t able to fully recognize the benefits of products with those traits until they are accepted in all of our key export markets, so this is a big, big step forward. We are especially pleased with the announcement with regard to high-oleic soybeans, which will give food processors the frying and baking qualities they need in an oil without the need for partial hydrogenation which produces trans fats. Additionally, dicamba-tolerant soybeans will give soybean farmers another tool to prevent and manage weed resistance in their fields.

“On the other hand, however, this announcement means little if the EU persists in its current unscientific and delayed approval process for new varieties developed through biotechnology. Today more than 40 additional GM applications for import, submitted by various companies, remain pending in the EU system.

“Additionally, the action taken by the EU Commission earlier this week that would allow each of the EU’s 28 member states to “opt-out” of allowing imports of a fully approved, safe GM product is a giant step backwards. We believe that if that proposal is adopted, it would be in clear violation of the EU’s obligations under the World Trade Organization and would negatively impact U.S. soy exports to Europe.

“Again, any time we see the progress of modern agricultural biotechnology furthered by an approval for import in a foreign market, that’s a step forward, and our farmers benefit. But on the whole, this week has shown that we still have a long way to go in Europe.”

Farm Bureau Alarmed by Politicization of EU’s Food Approval Process

The American Farm Bureau today praised the European Commission for its careful and scientific analysis in approving seventeen different genetically modified agricultural products for food and feed. The approval came in the face of fierce opposition by anti-science and anti-trade forces on the continent. Unfortunately, the EC today also undermined its principled position by recommending that individual states be permitted to opt out of importation or use of the products within their own borders. AFBF views this decision with alarm.

In addition to undercutting its own authority, the EC now runs the risk of violating its international trade obligations, undermining the role of science, and jeopardizing the foundation of the single market in Europe.

Nationalizing the EU decision-making process would fragment the single European market. If adopted, this proposal would hinder intra-European trade, leading to higher feed prices, a weaker livestock industry and an overall decrease in consumer welfare.

This proposal would have major effects on GM crop exporters such as the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Argentina, which would lose important customers and face increasing uncertainty in European markets to which they still had access.

Farm Bureau strongly urges the European Parliament to consider the significant impact this legislative proposal would have on the European Union and its trading partners alike. This proposal represents a step backward for trade, science and freedom.

Five Nations Beef Alliance Urges Negotiators to Secure High Quality TPP Deal

Representatives from the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) are in Maryland this week pressing the need for substantial trade liberalization via the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.

With the TPP negotiations seeming to be approaching the ‘end game’, discussions over the next few days will be critical given the negotiators are aiming to narrow the outstanding issues prior to a hoped for TPP Ministerial meeting in May.

FNBA members are urging TPP negotiating teams to hold firm and deliver an agreement that will make it easier to do business, establish fair trade rules and reduce costs.

Beef producers are particularly adamant that any TPP outcome must provide new and substantial market access opportunities.

Consumers around the world have a growing appetite for high quality beef products. However, responding to this demand is often stifled by a range of tariff and non-tariff barriers. The TPP offers an opportunity to remove these trade barriers.

However, for this vision to be realized, TPP members must step up to the plate and make genuine commitments to expeditiously liberalize the trade in beef.

Maintaining the status quo is not an option. Beef producers cannot accept this outcome, and neither can the beef supply chain, or our highly valued customer base.

The desire to improve the global trade environment is what brought beef producers from five competing nations together. The TPP has the potential to join 12 nations together - and in so doing provide better access to food supplies for around 800 million people.

Now is the time to secure a game changing, trade enhancing deal.

As US President Obama said2 in relation to the TPP: “It is our chance to put in place new, high standards for trade” and to “lower barriers, open markets, export goods and create good jobs for our people”.

The FNBA concurs.  The FNBA comprises the Cattle Council of Australia; Canadian Cattlemen’s Association; Confederacion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (Mexico); Beef + Lamb New Zealand; and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (USA).

House Ways and Means Committee Passes TPA Legislation

Last night, the House Ways and Means Committee passed Trade Promotion Authority legislation (H.R. 1890) by a bi-partisan vote of 25 to 13. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President and Chugwater, Wyo. cattleman Philip Ellis issued the following statement upon passage:

“We appreciate the House Ways and Means Committee’s efforts to pass this legislation following Senate passage last evening. As we have repeatedly stated, trade is critical to the success and future profitability of our industry and TPA is critical to negotiating future free trade agreements. Cattlemen urge swift passage of this legislation by the full House and Senate.”

ASA Looks Ahead as TPA Bill Emerges from House, Senate Committees

Following the passage of a bill by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee that would grant trade promotion authority to President Barack Obama, the American Soybean Association (ASA) is calling on both chambers to pass the bill and give the administration what it needs to forge ahead with key trade agreements around the globe.

“Agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and others that expand market access are of vast importance to American soybean farmers as we look to maintain our position at the vanguard of the world’s agricultural trade, however we can’t conclude agreements without trade promotion authority. That’s always been step one,” said Wade Cowan, ASA president and a soybean farmer from Brownfield, Texas.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act was introduced last week by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), as well as House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The measure passed the Senate committee late Wednesday, and the House committee late Thursday, and will head to the floors of both chambers potentially as early as next month, per indications from House and Senate leadership.

“This bill is something that both sides of the aisle have come together on,” added Cowan. “It’s a bipartisan bill that hears the concerns of Right and Left, of multiple industries and of multiple constituencies, including our nation’s soybean farmers. It gives USTR the bandwidth it needs to get the best deal possible for American farmers and businesses, and it provides Congress the involvement and oversight it needs to ensure each deal works for everyone. It is a piece of legislation that both the Senate and the House should take up and pass as quickly as possible.”

Trade promotion authority is among the top policy priorities for ASA in the 114th Congress. Soybean farmers, who exported over half their crop with an export value of $30.5 billion in 2014, are the largest agricultural exporters in the U.S.

NCGA Applauds House Ways and Means for Advancing Trade Promotion Authority

The National Corn Growers Association today applauded members of the House Ways and Means Committee who voted to advance the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) out of committee Thursday evening and urged Congress to quickly pass the bill.

“Thank you to the House Ways and Means Committee members who voted to advance Trade Promotion Authority out of committee and keep this important legislation moving forward,” said NCGA president Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland.

“Trade Promotion Authority will help the U.S. to reach major international trade agreements that support American farmers, businesses, and rural communities. It’s time to act. We urge the Senate and House to bring this legislation to a floor vote as soon as possible.”

Global Soybean Stakeholders Monetize Biotech-Approval Delays

A new white paper shows that a three-year postponement in global approval of biotech-enhanced soybean traits any time in the next 10 years would cost farmers and consumers a total of nearly $19 billion, compared with typical approval timelines.

This new research was released during a recent International Soybean Growers Alliance (ISGA) mission. Farmer-leaders from the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay met with Chinese governmental officials and influencers to discuss the economic implications of these delays for global producers and consumers of soy.

“It’s no secret that soy is part of a global market,” says Bob Haselwood, United Soybean Board (USB) chairman and soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas. “We need a coordinated effort across North America, South America and China to work toward timely international approvals for new biotech traits to grow a safe, reliable and abundant food supply that is profitable for both producers and consumers.”

Farmers in large soy-exporting countries that quickly adopt new technology — the U.S., Brazil and Argentina — and consumers in large importing countries —China and the nations in the European Union — have the most to lose from delayed approvals, according to the white paper.

“The global supply chain is a powerful economic engine that benefits not only farmers and consumers, but stakeholders at each stage in between,” says Wade Cowan, American Soybean Association (ASA) president and soybean farmer from Brownfield, Texas. “It is a point of pride for U.S. soybean farmers that the beans we grow produce an entire secondary economy of jobs in the U.S. and in each of our export markets. We’re also proud that our beans play such a key role in supporting economies as their citizens demand more meat protein, as is the case in China. Those benefits, however, can’t take place if the approvals process breaks down, and that’s why we’re over here, working to ensure that we have a system that works for both the Chinese and their import partners in the U.S. and South America.”

As an example of important biotech approvals that farmers might need in the near future, the study examined herbicide-tolerance traits and analyzed the effects of approval delays through 2025.

Regulatory delays have real costs for society. For example, when new biotech herbicide-tolerant varieties are not approved in a timely manner, farmers continue to incur increased weed-control costs, potential yield losses and reductions in acreage. Some farmers may see greatly increased production costs or be forced out of farming entirely. At the same time, higher prices and reduced supplies strain consumers.

“Timely, science-based approvals are crucial in ensuring increased productivity to meet global supply demands,” says Laura Foell, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) chair. “This mission provided an opportunity for the world’s largest soy producers and consumers to learn that resolving approval delays will benefit everyone along the supply chain.”

The white paper, The Potential Economic Impacts of Delayed Biotech Innovation in Soybeans, was developed in conjunction with ISGA members, by researchers Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, Kenneth A. Zahringer and Jon Kruse at the University of Missouri.

NCGA Moves Put New Emphasis on Market Development and Sustainability

The National Corn Growers Association today announced changes to strengthen the organization’s efforts to build new corn market demand.  NCGA will begin an immediate search for a Vice President of Market Development, who will be responsible for managing marketing initiatives to build demand for ethanol, livestock feed, biobased products and food uses of corn.

"Farmers constantly work to increase yields using fewer resources,” said NCGA CEO Chris Novak.  “Looking to the future and continued productivity increases from our corn farmers, we need to be looking for new markets to create sustainable opportunities for today’s farm families.”

As a part of a restructure that brings greater focus on building corn demand, NCGA announced additional personnel changes:

·       Fred Stemme is promoted to Vice President of Marketing and Operations as he takes over new management responsibilities;

·       Paul Bertels will continue to serve the organization as Vice President of Production and Sustainability; and

·       Rodger Mansfield is stepping down after 19 years of service to the organization.

“Sustainable corn production is a major priority for food chain partners and consumers,” added Novak.  “NCGA’s work with Field to Market and the new Soil Health Partnership both provide an important foundation for enhancing our sustainability.  Bertels’ background as a farmer, economist and conservationist makes him ideal to lead new efforts that can assist producers in meeting the expectations of our customers and consumers.”

NCGA President Chip Bowling, a Maryland corn farmer, said the organizational changes come at a critical time for corn farmers.

“As I talk to farmers across the country, they are concerned whether today’s market prices will rise to cover the cost of production, whether they will have operating capital available, and what the future holds for their sons and daughters who may want to come back to the farm,” Bowling said. “I believe that our renewed commitment to building corn demand and enhancing sustainability are the steps that are needed to help my fellow producers and me weather today’s market challenges.”

The announced changes will go into effect immediately.  Details regarding the new Vice President of Market Development position will be available soon at

Rabobank Releases Pork Forecast Report

In its Q2 report, Rabobank says the global pork industry searched for stability during Q1 2015, with strong supply growth and relatively weak demand driving the market.

Pork prices are sharply lower, as robust global supply growth driven by the U.S., Russia and Brazil has outpaced rather subdued demand, dragging producer profitability into negative territory.

Rabobank animal protein analyst Albert Vernooij says: "The increasing competition in the global export market will result in continuous price and margin pressure in most countries around the globe. Therefore, after the buoyant-at least price-wise-last couple of years, the global pork industry is slowly moving towards the bottom of the cycle."

In the U.S., as supply recovers after PEDv, the question is as to what degree recovery will be coupled with the strengthening U.S. dollar and lower prices.

The EU could see prices will follow seasonal developments, but will remain lower than the historical average and below break-even level.

Summit to Cover Livestock Profitability, Farm Security, Animal Ag Policies

There's still time to register for the Animal Agriculture Alliance's 2015 Stakeholders Summit, themed "The Journey to Extraordinary." At the Summit, set for May 6-7 in Kansas City, Mo., expert speakers and panelists will discuss a variety of topics critical to the future of animal agriculture, including livestock profitability, farm security and state, federal and global policy trends impacting the industry.

Summit sessions will include:
-- Fueling Livestock Profitability, featuring Kaleb Little, communications manager, National Biodiesel Board and Alan Weber, economist and founding partner, MARC-IV. This session will cover the economics of livestock production and offer innovative strategies to remain profitable into the future.

-- Around the World in 90 Days -- Policies Influencing Our Journey with Brian Klippenstein, executive director, Protect the Harvest and Dr. Travis Arp, director of technical services, U.S. Meat Export Federation. Klippenstein and Arp will bring the audience up to speed on current U.S. and international policies, respectively.

-- Protecting Our Nation's Food Supply presented by Jared Miller, domestic terrorism intelligence analyst, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Agri-Terrorism Unit. In this session, attendees will learn about the FBI's steps to anticipate and prevent agri-terrorism incidents on U.S. farms and how they can strengthen security measures on their own operations.

"We're very excited about the lineup of speakers and panelists we have assembled," said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. "There is truly something for everyone who is connected to animal agriculture. If your business deals with the production of meat and poultry, this year's Summit is the one event you will not want to miss. I am confident that our attendees will walk away with a wealth of new ideas and immediately applicable tactics to take home and implement in their barn, plant or office."

The Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference, ideal for networking across sectors of the food chain as it is attended by a diverse group of decision makers, including representatives from farms, ranches, food processors, restaurants, grocery stores, legislators, universities and government agencies. The 2015 event, set in Kansas City, Mo., will be the first edition of the Summit held outside of the Washington, D.C., area.

This year's event will explore animal agriculture's continuous efforts to embrace new technologies that will help feed a growing population while measuring sustainability, engage consumers in innovative ways to bridge the knowledge gap, and highlight initiatives that demonstrate agriculture's commitment to transparency.

Registration for the one-and-a-half day event is $425 for Alliance members and $475 for non-members; $375 for those in government or academia. Media and students interested in registering should contact Hannah Thompson. Registration is open through May 4. Registration materials and a full event schedule can be found on the Summit website.

This year, the Summit will be held at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. Our event room block at the Intercontinental is sold out. For help with hotel arrangements, call the Alliance at 703-562-1414 by April 24.

As always, the Alliance's Stakeholders Summit will be social! Be sure to follow the hashtag #AAA15 for updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact or call (703) 562-1411.

Current 2015 sponsors include U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, Vance Publishing, Meatingplace, the Farm Credit System, Watt Global Media, Elanco Animal Health, American Feed Industry Association, United Soybean Board, Iowa Soybean Association, National Biodiesel Board, Protect the Harvest, American Veal Association, National Turkey Federation, National Cattleman's Beef Association, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council, GMO Answers, Food Industry Environmental Network, Kemin, Kansas Livestock Association, Brakke Consulting, AgriBeef, Kansas Farm Bureau, Dairy Max, GNP Company, the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, North Carolina Farm Bureau and other partners.


When Monsanto opened its search for the 2015 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year, the company knew it would get a lot of fantastic nominations. This year, though, the judging was particularly difficult because of all the amazing women who were entered. Today Monsanto, along with the American Agri-Women (AAW) are proud to announce its new 2015 class of regional winners. Beginning today, America can begin voting online for one of these women to be named “National Farm Mom of the Year.”

“Every year we receive such heartfelt nominations about people’s favorite Farm Mom,” says Tracy Mueller, corporate brand manager for Monsanto. “But this year, we’ve especially been overwhelmed by the number and quality of the entries we received. These women have different backgrounds and ways they contribute, but one thing was always clear – their strength, perseverance and dedication to their families, farms, communities and the industry they love.”

The 2015 regional winners of the America’s Farmers Mom of the Year contest, include:

    Northwest Region: Shelly Davis (Albany, Ore.)
    Southwest Region: Shelley Heinrich (Lubbock, Texas)
    Midwest Region: Sara Ross (Minden, Iowa)
    Northeast Region: Amy Kelsay (Franklin, Ind.)
    Southeast Region: Megan Seibel (Roanoke, Va.)

Each regional winner will receive a $5,000 award. Their biographical information and original nomination is currently posted online at, where visitors can click to vote for their favorite farm mom based on the judging criteria provided in the contest rules. The woman who receives the most votes between April 24 and May 5 will be named the “National Farm Mom of the Year” -- just in time for Mother’s Day. As a bonus, she will also receive an additional $5,000 prize.

“It was such an honor to read about all of the amazing farm moms and learn about all they do for their families and communities,” says Donnell Scott, of American Agri-Women. “AAW is pleased to be a part of this recognition program.”

For a list of winners, past or present winner profiles or official contest rules, visit Interested parties may also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to America's Farmers Mom of the Year, Attn: Sue Dillon, 349 Marshall Ave., Ste. 200, St. Louis, MO 63119.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday April 23 Ag News


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is scheduled to break ground on a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center April 29 on UNL's East Campus. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 4 p.m. with a reception afterward in the Ken Morrison Life Sciences Research Center, 4240 Fair St. 

The VDC, Nebraska's only accredited veterinary diagnostic lab, improves animal health through diagnostics and disease surveillance, protecting the state's livestock industry. The center develops cutting-edge testing methods and supports food safety and biomedical research. It works with public health officials to diagnose animal diseases that can lead to human illnesses and processes samples submitted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to monitor and prevent the spread of wildlife diseases such as rabies and Chronic Wasting Disease.

The center provides testing services to professionals and organizations across the nation and is considered a national center of excellence for testing of certain diseases in livestock. The VDC and its staff also teach UNL students, who get to experience real-world lessons in its labs.

Don Reynolds, director of the UNL School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said there is a great need for an updated facility. "We need to modernize to ensure that we protect animal health in the state of Nebraska."

The current center was built in 1975 and is insufficient to meet modern needs. The center's shortcomings include space limitations, poor ventilation and building design that carries increased risk for cross-contamination of contagious pathogens and pathogen exposure.

The Nebraska Legislature approved the new center in 2012. The project cost is $44.7 million, of which $4.1 million is coming from private funds. The other $40.6 million will be appropriated over 10 years in financial bonds.

The new center is projected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Chancellor Harvey Perlman, NU Foundation President Brian Hastings and NU Vice President and IANR Vice Chancellor Ronnie Green are scheduled to attend the groundbreaking celebration.


As trees and plants green up and soil temperatures rise across the state, farm operations of all sizes and types are getting into full swing of planting season.

Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach is encouraging anyone who will be applying herbicide products during this busy season to be mindful of best management practices and use good communication with their neighbors.

“It’s important for our commodity crop farmers and our growing sector of specialty crop farmers to work together so everyone can be successful,” Ibach said. “Herbicide applications are critical for corn and soybean production, but there are a number of specialty crops, such as grape vines, that are sensitive to these products.”

One way that farmers can open the door of communication is through Driftwatch™. This website is a free, voluntary service that allows those with pesticide sensitive crops, organic crops and beehives to report their locations. Herbicide applicators can review the site to gain an understanding of the locations of specialty crops in their area.

“For example, Nebraska’s vineyards are currently beginning ‘bud break,” or the official start of the vines’ annual growth cycle, so these plants are extremely vulnerable right now,” Ibach said. “It’s also time for our commodity crop growers to ready their fields for planting, including herbicide applications. Communication between all parties right now is important to ensure successful crop production for everyone.”

Applicators also can register on the Driftwatch™ website, facilitating email notifications to the applicator when a new sensitive crop site is registered in their local area.

The Driftwatch™ website can be found online at The Nebraska Department of Agriculture monitors the Driftwatch™ site for the state. For questions about it, contact Craig Romary with NDA at (402) 471-2351.

This Arbor Day put more green in spring with American Ethanol

From creating a cleaner air environment to forming windbreaks that stabilize the soil, planting trees is a sustainable effort that all Nebraskans are encouraged to participate in this Arbor Day. Also joining this sustainable effort again this year is American Ethanol through its partnership with NASCAR® and its NASCAR Green initiative.

The goal of the NASCAR Green initiative is to reduce the sport’s environmental footprint by championing sustainable behaviors to their millions of fans. The NASCAR Green initiative has grown into some of the largest renewable energy projects in the world. Leading the way is NASCAR’s highly successful biofuels program.  Four years ago the sport kicked off this program by committing to use Sunoco Green E15, a fuel blended with 15 percent American-made ethanol from American-grown corn. The Clean Air program is another notable NASCAR Green initiative where American Ethanol has committed to planting 10 trees for every American Ethanol green flag waved in all three NASCAR racing series.

“NASCAR has the largest sustainability platform in professional sports and American Ethanol is a key part of the sport’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Jon Holzfaster, a farmer from Paxton, Nebraska, director on the Nebraska Corn Board and chairman of National Corn Growers NASCAR Advisory Committee. “American Ethanol and trees offer a great one-two punch for the environment. The massive tree planting effort, combined with the more than seven million miles these high-performance cars have raced on American Ethanol, has helped the sport reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent.”

Through the course of one mature tree’s lifetime, it absorbs one metric ton of carbon dioxide –the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series® car driving 500 miles.

In 2014, the 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in the United States reduced greenhouse gas emission on our roads and highways by 40 million metric tons.  That’s equivalent to removing 8.4 million cars from the road.

NASCAR Green initiative includes everything from recycling racing tires and engine oil, to cleaning up emissions by planting trees and using 15 percent ethanol fuel blend, made from American grown corn.

To date, NASCAR Green’s Clean Air Tree Planting Program has planted 371,582 trees. This is enough to completely offset carbon emissions for all three NASCAR national racing series for the past five years plus the next 40 years.

“Nebraska can especially celebrate this accomplishment in April with our unique commemoration of Arbor Day, which began in Nebraska,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development for the Nebraska Corn Board. “This year marks the 144th anniversary of Arbor Day which is a Nebraska tradition to promote the ideals of community life and conservations of natural resources through the planting of trees. There is no better connection than to celebrate corn farmers’ commitment to the environment with their support of American Ethanol and Arbor Day in planting trees.”

American Ethanol is a partnership with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) supported by corn checkoff investments and ethanol plant members of Growth Energy.

Dairy Producers Elected to Promotion Leadership

Dairy farmer board members of Midwest Dairy Association have elected officers at the corporate level and in the organization’s eight divisions.  Jerry Messer, Richardton, N.D., will continue to lead the organization as corporate chairman.  Allen Merrill, Parker, S.D., and Bill Siebenborn, Trenton, Mo., will extend their service as vice chairman and first vice chairman, respectively.  Additional executive team members are Ken Herbranson of Clitherall, Minn., secretary, and Dan Grunhovd of Gary, Minn., treasurer.

Elections took place at the Midwest Dairy Annual Meeting held in conjunction with a national dairy promotion forum in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Corporate board also elected Lowell Mueller, Hooper, Neb., to represent on the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) board, replacing Doug Nuttelman of Stromsburg, Neb., who vacated his seat earlier in 2015. Other national UDIA directors for Midwest Dairy elected last fall include Messer and Merrill, as well as:
    Pam Bolin, Clarksville, Iowa;
    Christine Sukalski, LeRoy, Minn.; and
    Suzanne Vold, Glenwood, Minn.

New members elected by their Divisions to the Midwest Dairy Corporate board include:
    David Jarden, Staunton, Ill.;
    Al Steffens, Clermont, Iowa;
    Tom Walsh, DeGraff, Minn.;
    Rita Young, Plainview, Minn.;
    Mary Temme, Wayne, Neb.;
    Kenton Holle, Mandan, N.D.; and
    Marv Post, Volga, S.D.;

Division Board officers and new members are as follows:

Nebraska Division

    Chairman – Lowell Mueller, Hooper;
    Vice Chairman – Deb Eschliman, Ericson; and
    Secretary/Treasurer – Dean Engelman, Jansen.
    Dwaine Junck, Carroll, and Mike Amen, Norfolk, were seated as new dairy farmer members of the Nebraska Division board, while Rob Jackson, representing Grassland/West Point Dairy is a new ex officio member.

Iowa Division

    Chairman – Dan Hotvedt, Mabel, Minn.;
    Vice Chairman – Bruce Brockshus, Ocheyedan;
    Secretary – Pam Bolin, Clarksville; and
    Treasurer – Larry Shover, Delhi.
    Joel Ysselstein, Rock Valley, Iowa, was seated as a new member of the Iowa Division Board.

lllinois Division

    Chairman – Bill Deutsch, Sycamore;
    Vice Chairman – David Jarden, Staunton;
    Secretary – Ardath DeWall, Shannon; and
    Treasurer – Glen Meier, Ridott.
    Kappy Koch, Tremont, was seated as a new member of the Illinois Division board.

Mo-Kan Division

    Chairman – Byron Lehman, Newton, Kan.;
    Vice Chairman – Steve Strickler, Iola, Kan.;
    Secretary – Donna Telle, Uniontown, Mo.; and
    Treasurer – Curtis Steenbock, Longford, Kan.

Minnesota Division

    Chairman – Ken Herbranson, Clitherall;
    Vice Chairman – Dan Grunhovd, Gary;
    Secretary -  Suzanne Vold, Glenwood; and
    Treasurer – Ron Rinkel, Hillman.
The Minnesota Dairy Promotion Council, a quasi-governmental group with the same board members, elected the following:
    Chairman – Kathleen Skiba, North Branch;
    Vice Chairman – Barb Liebenstein, Dundas;
    Secretary – Debi Clasemann, Long Prairie;
    Treasurer – Christine Sukalski, LeRoy; and
    Executive member at-large – Peter Ripka, Ogilvie.

North Dakota Division

    Chairman – Jerry Messer, Richardton;
    Vice Chairman – Terry Entzminger, Jamestown;
    Secretary – Rita Mosset, Linton; and
    Treasurer – Lilah Krebs, Gladstone.

Ozarks Division

    Chairman – Nathan Roth, Mountain Grove, Mo.;
    Vice Chairman – Marilyn Calvin, Mt. Vernon, Mo.;
    Secretary – Lloyd Gunter, Conway, Mo.; and
    Treasurer – Alfred Million, Tahlequah, Okla.
    Charles Fletcher, Purdy, Mo., was seated as a new member of the Ozarks Division board.

South Dakota Division

    Chairman – Jim Neugebauer, Dimock;
    Vice Chairman – Mike Frey, Claremont;
    Secretary – Allen Merrill, Parker; and
    Treasurer – Gary Jarding, Alexandria.
    Todd Pennings, representing Davisco Foods International, was seated as a new ex officio member of the South Dakota Division board.


The public gathered Tuesday at Nebraska Innovation Campus to hear from Monsanto Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Robert Fraley during the final Heuermann Lecture of the 2014-2015 season.

The lecture was titled "2050: Agriculture's Role in Mitigating Global Challenges."

By 2050, the food supply needs to be doubled. This comes at a time when the world is facing challenges such as an increasing population, changing diets, limited farmland and a changing climate.

Despite those challenges, Fraley is confident the needs of the future can be met. "The reason I believe this is possible is that there is an absolute tidal wave of new innovation coming into agriculture," he said. "Innovation from biology, data science and information technology is converging across all aspects of production agriculture."

Fraley and other agriculture leaders are exploring new innovations that can help farmers produce more food on less land, while also identifying ways to improve soil health and the environment.

Today scientists are able to identify every gene in a corn or soybean plant. This is used to build combinations to use genetic diversity to map and tag genes from around the world. Being able to use a universe of breeding programs and map genes from other sources drives yield and productivity. "Breeding has changed more in the last five years than it has in the last 5,000," Fraley said.

Fraley is proud of the safety ratings over 30 years of testing of genetically modified crops. About 2,000 peer-reviewed reports document the general safety and nutritional profile of foods and feeds from GMO crops. Every major scientific body and regulatory agency in the world has concluded GMO products are safe.

Biotech crops were approved in 37 countries and planted by over 18 million farmers in 27 countries in 2013. According to Fraley, technology has increased yields by 20 percent, reduced pesticide use by 30 percent and increased farmer productivity, which is why 95 percent of the corn and soybean producers in this country have utilized the technology. 

Fraley said now is the time to have the dialogue about the acceptance of these innovations and the important role they will play for food and energy security in the future. "It's an important time for all of us to understand both the challenges and the opportunities that we're facing in agriculture."

Known as one of the pioneers in agricultural biotechnology, Fraley has been involved in ag research since the early 1980s. He has been with Monsanto for more than 30 years and oversees the company's global technology division, which includes plant breeding, plant biotechnology, ag biologicals, ag microbials, precision agriculture and crop protection.

Fraley, named a World Food Prize Laureate in 2013, is the fourth Heuermann Lecture participant with that distinguished honor. Previous World Food Prize Laureates to speak were Catherine Bertini, Per Pinstrup-Andersen and M.S. Swaminathan.

Heuermann Lectures in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL are possible through a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people. Lectures stream live at and are archived at that site soon afterward. They also air on NET2 World at a later date.

The 2015-2016 Heuermann Lectures are scheduled to be announced in June.

Red Meat Production Up 7 Percent From Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.06 billion pounds in March, up 7 percent from the 3.81 billion pounds produced in March 2014, according to USDA's monthly livestock slaughter report today.

By State (million pounds, % of March '14)

Nebraska ......:     601.8     -      107%      
Iowa .............:     608.6     -      116%      
Kansas ..........:     412.2     -      104%      

Nationwide, beef production, at 1.93 billion pounds, was slightly below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.38 million head, down 3 percent from March 2014. The average live weight was up 30 pounds from the previous year, at 1,348 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.9 million pounds, 21 percent below March a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 39,700 head, down 26 percent from March 2014. The average live weight was up 18 pounds from last year, at 295 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.11 billion pounds, up 14 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.89 million head, up 14 percent from March 2014. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 285 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 14.3 million pounds, was up 8 percent from March 2014. Sheep slaughter totaled 204,600 head, 8 percent above last year. The average live weight was 140 pounds, up 1 pound from March a year ago.

January to March 2015 commercial red meat production was 11.9 billion pounds, up 1 percent from 2014. Accumulated beef production was down 3 percent from last year, veal was down 24 percent, pork was up 7 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 1 percent.

Iowa Corn Checkoff Holds Director Elections

Since 1978, Iowa corn growers have elected their peers to serve on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff.  As established by Iowa Code, a portion of the board seats are up for election each year.

On July 21, 2015 corn growers in Crop Reporting Districts 4 (West Central), 5 (Central), 8 (South Central) and 9 (Southeastern) can vote at their local county extension office for their representation on the ICPB for a 3-year term. The Board’s primary activities include domestic and foreign market development, research into new and value-added corn uses, and education about the corn industry. 

Other corn producers within districts 4, 5, 8 and 9 who have produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year (September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014) and are interested in running for a position may still file a petition with the ICPB. Petitions can be obtained by contacting the ICPB office and must contain the signatures of 25 corn producers from the same district as the prospective candidate. Completed and notarized petitions must be delivered to the ICPB office no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 1, 2015. Once all grower petitions have been received, a final list of candidates will be generated and all names will be listed on the election ballots.

Current candidates are as follows:

USDA Crop Reporting District #4 (Woodbury, Ida, Sac, Calhoun, Monona, Crawford, Carroll, Greene, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, and Guthrie)
    -Larry Buss, Harrison County
    -Brent Drey, Sac County

USDA Crop Reporting District #5 (Webster, Hamilton, Hardin, Grundy, Boone, Story, Marshall, Tama, Dallas, Polk, Jasper, and Poweshiek)
    -Mark Kenney, Polk County
    -Roger Zylstra, Jasper County

USDA Crop Reporting District #8 (Madison, Warren, Marion, Union, Clarke, Lucas, Monroe, Ringgold, Wayne, and Appanoose)
    -Don Hunerdosse, Warren County
    -Corwin Fee, Marion County

USDA Crop Reporting District #9 (Mahaska, Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren and Lee)
    -Lance Bell, Washington County
    -Wayne Humphreys, Louisa County

Anyone who has produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year is eligible to vote in the election.  Producers unable to visit the extension office on July 21 may vote by absentee ballot.  Absentee ballots are available by request May 29 – June 29 by contacting the Iowa Corn office at 515-225-9242 or Absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than July 21. 

Branstad, Reynolds, Northey, Durham Encourage Trade

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham Tuesday sent a letter to Iowa's congressional delegation encouraging the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), reforming and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) and authorizing market-opening trade to encourage economic development and family income growth. The letter can be read here.

Since 2010, Iowa's exports have increased by nearly 39% from $10.87 billion in 2010 to $15.1 billion in 2014.

"Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I are proud that Iowa's exports reached record levels last year at over $15 billion, increasing our state's exports by nearly 39 percent since 2010," said Branstad. "If we are to continue this strong growth -- which creates jobs and increases Iowa family incomes -- we know that Congress and the President must continue to look for opportunities to expand the global market for high-quality Iowa products."

"As I prepare to lead a trade mission to Brazil this week, I am reminded that the United States should be a global leader in breaking down trade barriers, as great nations embrace trade," said Reynolds. "Our nation should welcome a more transparent, rules-based system of trade around the world that helps our businesses, workers, and farmers excel in a dynamic, global economy."

The Brazil mission that Reynolds is leading is comprised of visits to Sao Paulo and Ribeirão Preto. Highlights for the mission include exploring foreign direct investment opportunities, meetings with government and industry association officials, briefings on Brazil's trade market and Growing Iowa's Global Partnerships events. Iowa companies will participate in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs.

"The Iowa Economic Development Authority continues to look to international trade and investment to expand economic development opportunities here in Iowa," said Durham. "Since the governor and lieutenant governor took office, over $11 billion in private capital investment has occurred in our state. Congress' ability to continue opening global trade markets will mean more jobs through high-quality economic development projects."

Farm Bureau Calls for Renewed, Reliable Grain Inspection Standards

The American Farm Bureau Federation urged Congress today to reauthorize the Grain Standards Act. South Carolina Farm Bureau President David Winkles called the act critical to ensuring the integrity and reliability of America’s grain trade, in his testimony before a House Agriculture subcommittee.

“Our grain inspection system has earned worldwide recognition as being reliable and impartial,” Winkles said. But U.S. grain trade was jeopardized when a labor dispute led to the shutdown of grain inspection services out of the Port of Vancouver last summer. These disruptions bring chaos to the marketplace and threaten customer relationships that have taken years to build: farmers, local businesses and consumers around the world pay the price.

Farm Bureau believes it is essential to have a contingency plan in place to ensure that official grain inspection activities still occur regardless of service disruptions. “We need to have a reliable third party inspection and grading program for emergency situations to assure both seller and buyer that every contract can be expected to be fulfilled in a timely manner,” Winkles said.

Growth Energy Commends Bipartisan Senate Letter to EPA

Following a bipartisan letter signed by 37 Senators, which urges the EPA to revisit their proposed 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rule and release a final rule which reflects volumes consistent with Congress’ intent, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

“This letter is a clear message to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – that we must have a strong, a robust Renewable Fuel Standard to help move our nation forwards in terms of alternative energy development. In no uncertain terms this strong bipartisan coalition of Senators have indicated that they are closely watching the EPA as they seek to finalize this rule and that any changes which would undercut the congressional intent or role of the RFS will be met with intense scrutiny and strong objection.

“Furthermore, these Senators have outlined the importance the RFS plays in creating jobs, strengthening rural America and reducing our dangerous addiction to foreign oil. They have outlined the critical role that the RFS plays in securing energy independence and that its continued success is essential to ensuring the certainty necessary for continued progress in alternative fuel development as well as the necessary infrastructure to be able to make these fuels commercially available.

“Not only is this a clear message to the EPA, but to Congress as well. This broad coalition has signaled their unwavering support for the RFS making it clear that any attempts at repeal or reform will be met with resolute resistance and ultimately fail.”

U.S. Sorghum Exports Projected to Be 10 Times Larger Than In 2011/2012

The U.S. Grains Council projects that U.S. sorghum exports for the 2014/2015 marketing year will be 10 times larger than just a few years ago, during the 2011/2012 marketing year. This sizeable increase is mostly attributable to China, which has had surging demand since receiving its first bulk shipment on Oct. 13, 2013.

“In 2011, the Council along with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) recognized China’s potential demand for U.S. sorghum and, in 2012, we provided technical seminars and assistance to help the industry understand the value of U.S. sorghum,” said USGC Manager of Global Trade Alvaro Cordero. “Since then, China’s demand for sorghum has grown to unprecedented levels.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (USDA) report released in April bumped U.S. sorghum exports up by 1.2 million metric tons (50 million bushels) from its March projections, to a total of 8.8 million tons (350 million bushels).

“Conservative estimates indicate U.S. sorghum growers will plant 7.9 million acres, an increase of 11 percent over last year, to meet this growing demand,” Cordero said. “If these estimates are accurate, even with the increased supply and domestic use decreasing slightly, ending stocks will only be 457,000 tons (18 million bushels), a decrease of more than 50 percent from last year. This means that USDA is estimating almost 75 percent of this year’s sorghum crop will be exported.”

While these reports are strictly estimates for the coming marketing year, the Council believes there are still opportunities for growth in the Chinese feed grain market and will continue its efforts in China to build awareness of U.S. sorghum’s value to buyers and end-users.

Beckham named K-State College of Veterinary Medicine Dean 

Following a national search, Kansas State University has named Tammy Beckham as its next dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, effective Aug. 2.

Beckham is currently the director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, or IIAD, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in College Station, Texas. Since 2010, she has led the IIAD's efforts to perform research and develop products to defend the nation from high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic diseases.

Beckham also has served as director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, or TVMDL, an agency of the state of Texas and member of the Texas A&M University System. She has provided leadership for TVMDL’s two full-service laboratories and two poultry laboratories, and directs one of the highest volume animal diagnostic labs in the country.

"I am excited to welcome Dr. Beckham as the 12th dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine," said April Mason, Kansas State University provost and senior vice president. "She is recognized as an international expert in the diagnosis of foreign animal diseases and will be a tremendous leader to help guide us toward our goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025."

Previously, Beckham was director of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. Her responsibilities included managing the diagnosis of animal diseases, overseeing diagnostic test development for a nationwide animal health diagnostic system, and coordinating efforts with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and other entities.

Beckham succeeds Ralph Richardson, who has served as the College of Veterinary Medicine's dean since 1998. Richardson will transition to a faculty position in the college.

"The positive momentum at Kansas State University is very exciting," Beckham said. "I am honored to have been chosen to be the next dean, and I look forward to leading the College of Veterinary Medicine as we leverage that momentum to serve our stakeholders and work to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025."

A magna cum laude graduate of Auburn University, Beckham earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1998. She also holds a doctorate in biomedical science from Auburn, received in 2001 while she served as a captain in the U.S. Army. She served at the Army's Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland, where she helped develop improved techniques for detecting deadly pathogens such as Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Beckham is chair of the Foreign and Emerging Disease Committee of the United States Animal Health Association and has served on many committees within animal health and veterinary diagnostic associations throughout the United States. She also has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Services.

Beckham has authored numerous publications, including those appearing in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Laboratory Investigation, among others. She routinely acts as a subject matter expert at international meetings and maintains partnerships with international scientists and world reference laboratories.

USDA Awards Almost $3 Million in Research Grants to Increase Food Security Through Improved Livestock Health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced three grants designed to boost food security by minimizing livestock losses to insects and diseases. The awards to support research, education, and Extension efforts were made through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"These grants will allow scientists to discover the new tools and technologies necessary to deal with the threats insects and pathogens pose to livestock production in our nation, which ultimately benefit consumers through abundant, affordable food." said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director.

NIFA made the awards through the AFRI Food Security challenge area, which seeks to increase sustainable food production. Priority was given to projects that will improve prevention, early detection, rapid diagnosis, or recovery from new, foreign, or emerging diseases or arthropods (like fleas and ticks) that have the potential to cause major impacts on food security. NIFA will make additional awards later this spring through the AFRI Food Security challenge area that focus on minimizing crop losses by arthropods and diseases.

The fiscal year 2014 awards are:

-    Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Miss., $47,464 – To create a portable computer and communication center for training veterinary students, graduate students, practicing veterinarians, and other food production stakeholders to use system dynamics modeling, other forms of stochastic and deterministic modeling and health data management or analysis software to protect livestock from pests and disease.
-    Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $1,460,000 - Develop knowledge-based integrated approaches to detect, control, and prevent poultry respiratory diseases in the United States through new and improved diagnostic tools, vaccines, and novel preventive measures.
-    University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $1,480,000 - Reduce the impact of new, emerging and foreign pests and diseases to domestic production of cattle, swine and small ruminant foods and byproducts.

Today's grants include research on alternatives to antimicrobials, such as improved vaccines, which could lead to a decrease in antimicrobial use. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been an area of focus during the past two decades as USDA plays a dual role in protecting animal agriculture and public health. Recognizing AMR as a potential and serious threat, USDA's AMR activities focus on surveillance; research and development; and education, extension, and outreach.

The purpose of AFRI is to support research, education, and Extension work by awarding grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture. AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grant program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill and supports work in six priority areas: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; 4) bioenergy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities.

USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry – Fact Sheet

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a comprehensive and detailed approach to support farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners in their response to climate change. The framework consists of 10 building blocks that span a range of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage, and generate clean renewable energy. USDA’s strategy focuses on climate-smart practices designed for working production systems that provide multiple economic and environmental benefits in addition to supporting resilience to extreme weather, reduced emissions and increased carbon storage.

Through this comprehensive set of voluntary programs and initiatives spanning its programs, USDA expects to reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e) per year – about 2% of economy-wide net greenhouse emissions – by 2025. That’s the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road, or offsetting the emissions produced by powering nearly 11 million homes last year.

President Obama has made clear that no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. The effects of climate change can no longer be denied or ignored – last year was the planet’s warmest year recorded, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened this century. All over the country, Americans, including farmers and ranchers, are already facing devastating impacts – from severe floods to extreme heat and drought to increased challenges due to wildfires, disease and pests. That’s why the President has taken historic action to cut the carbon pollution that drives climate change and protect American communities from the impacts. And throughout this week, the Administration has announced new steps to address the threat of climate change and protect the people and places climate change puts at risk.

In executing the new initiative announced today, USDA will use authorities in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide incentives and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners.

Specifically, USDA will encourage actions that promote soil health, improve nutrient management, and conserve and enhance forest resources on private and public lands. In addition, USDA will redouble efforts to improve energy efficiency, develop renewable energy, and use biomass both as a liquid fuel and to contribute to heating, cooling, and electric needs. Through this comprehensive set of voluntary programs and initiatives spanning its programs, USDA expects to reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e) per year – about 2 percent of economy-wide net greenhouse emissions – by 2025. That’s the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road, or offsetting the emissions produced by powering nearly 11 million homes last year.

USDA’s strategy will be based on the following principles:

Voluntary and incentive-based: Farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners are stewards of the land. USDA has a track record of successful conservation though voluntary programs designed to provide technical assistance for resource management. These efforts fit within USDA’s approach of “cooperative conservation.”

Focused on multiple economic and environmental benefits: To be successful, the proposed actions should provide economic and environmental benefits through efficiency improvements, improved yields, or reduced risks.

Meet the needs of producers: This strategy is designed for working farms, ranches, forests, and production systems. USDA will encourage actions that enhance productivity and improve efficiency.

Assess progress and measure success: USDA is committed to establishing quantitative goals and objectives for each building block and will track and report on progress.

Cooperative and focused on building partnerships: USDA will seek out opportunities to leverage efforts by industry, farm groups, conservation organizations, municipalities, public and private investment products, tribes, and states.

In connection with today’s announcement, the following groups are announcing early actions and commitments in support of USDA’s approach:

Field to Market

Over the next 18 months, Field to Market will work with their more than 70 member organizations across the agricultural supply chain to update a series of farm level sustainability metrics, including a more refined methodology for measuring progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from commodity crop production. Through the development of a next generation of sustainability assessment tools, Field to Market and their members will partner with growers at the field level to track environmental impacts, identify opportunities for continuous improvement, and help deliver sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. cropland per unit of output. To achieve these outcomes, Field to Market members will continue scaling their supply chain engagement with a goal of enrolling 50 million acres of U.S. commodity crop production in the Field to Market program by 2020.

The Fertilizer Institute

Over the next three years, The Fertilizer Institute and industry partners intend to more than double existing investment in 4R nutrient stewardship research, outreach and implementation, providing up to $6 million in total support to improve nutrient stewardship. Nutrient stewardship using the 4Rs (the right nutrient source applied at the right rate, the right time and in the right place) helps optimize inputs, improve water quality and reduce emissions from fertilizer applications. Optimized fertilizer use by farmers is necessary for food and nutrition security, safeguarding natural resources and ecosystems, and increasing productivity of existing arable land to slow encroachment on natural habitats.

The Nature Conservancy and Walt Disney Company

The Nature Conservancy and USDA are collaborating to enroll 2,000 acres in a program to reforest marginal cropland in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley by 2017, including 600 acres in the next six months. The collaboration is made possible in part by a financial contribution from Disney. Through the collaboration, private funding from Disney coupled with USDA conservation payments allow landowners to reforest their land, resulting in carbon sequestration and habitat restoration. To date, the collaboration has enrolled and reforested over 600 acres to demonstrate a replicable model that can be scaled up by others to achieve even broader impact. The carbon sequestration resulting from the project has been certified under the Verified Carbon Standard, and the carbon credits associated with the increase in biomass on the enrolled properties will be transferred to Disney, to help them achieve a portion of their voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Equilibrium Capital Group, Church Pension Group, and Threshold Group

Equilibrium Capital Group is announcing the kickoff of the Wastewater Opportunity Strategy—an effort to accelerate the development and growth of bio-digesters and bio-gas facilities that convert food and farm waste, major sources of methane emissions, into productive economic value in rural communities. Phase I of the strategy upon full deployment is expected to process over 150 million gallons of wastewater per year, generate over 350 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy equivalents annually, produce 2 million hours of employment for skilled construction workers and approximately 130 permanent jobs, strengthen farms and food processing facilities located in up to 35 communities, and reduce over 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Equilibrium is being joined in this work by Church Pension Group, an investment arm of the Episcopal Church, and Threshold Group, an investment management office for families and foundations.

The Arbor Day Foundation

The Arbor Day Foundation is announcing plans to work with 19 different utility partners in 17 states and the District of Columbia in 2015 to place 40,000 trees into the hands of tree planters through the Energy-Saving Trees program. The 2015 Arbor Day Foundation Energy-Saving Trees utility partners are Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Black Hills Energy, Black Hills Power, CenterPoint Energy, Colorado Spring Utilities, ComEd, Cheyenne Fuel Light and Power, Delmarva Power, Idaho Power, Nebraska City Utilities, Omaha Public Power District, Oncor, PGE, Pepco, Peco, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Unitil, and Wiregrass Electric Cooperative. To date, nearly 80,000 trees have been distributed nationwide through the Energy Saving Trees program, engaging nearly 50,000 homeowners, and yielding a projected cumulative environmental impact of 171,397 MwH saved, 156,367 metric tons of carbon sequestered, 2,206,991 Therms saved, and $1.8 million leveraged by participating electric utility partners.

Walmart, United Suppliers, and the Environmental Defense Fund

As part of the existing commitment from Walmart to eliminate 20 MMT of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by 2015, EDF has worked with companies including General Mills, Smithfield, and United Suppliers to help Walmart meet its emissions reduction goals through optimized fertilizer management. Over the past year, United Suppliers, in collaboration with EDF, created SUSTAIN to guide the use of technologies for improving nutrient management. United Suppliers recently set a goal of enrolling 10 million acres in the program by 2020, and is committed to developing systems to track and manage participation.

Green Diamond Resource Company and the Forest Policy Forum

The Forest Policy Forum, a group of 14 forest industry companies and trade groups, with the counsel of conservation organizations, led by Green Diamond Resource Company, announced today a set of principles for ensuring the forest sector--from landowners to manufacturers--can contribute meaningfully to mitigating climate change. The principles focus on the current contributions and additional steps the sector can take to maintain and grow productive and managed forests in the U.S. that will sustain forest carbon, properly evaluate the many carbon benefits derived from use of forest products manufactured using biomass energy and sequestering carbon themselves, and include appropriate policy, research, market solutions, and innovation across the sector.

The American Forest Foundation

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is announcing a new partnership with the US Forest Service to expand work in the West engaging woodland owners in wildfire mitigation which helps reduce carbon emissions from catastrophic wildfires and also helps, over the long-term, increase the carbon storage of these forests. The partnership, that includes roughly $390,000 in support from the US Forest Service which AFF will match, will seek to engage 20,000 woodland owners in four landscapes where critical watersheds are facing high wildfire threats, to complete thinning and other restoration activities that will mitigate wildfire threats.

The Trust for Public Land and the Forest Climate Working Group

The Forest-Climate Working Group (FCWG), a coalition of forest landowner, industry, government, academic, and conservation organizations is announcing plans to develop a toolkit to help states accomplish state-level carbon reductions by tapping the power of forests and forest products. Supported by $300,000 in funding from The Trust for Public Land, the new FCWG toolkit will include two elements: 1) science-based metrics to help states link incentives to expected carbon benefits from specified forest practices on private forestland and increased utilization of forest products; and 2) model policy mechanisms that could be adopted by states to structure and deliver forest carbon incentives and track program-level carbon benefits achieved through these incentives.

The Lyme Timber Company

The Lyme Timber Company is announcing that it will list 46,500 acres of Florida timberland with the California Air Resources Board, the agency charged with administering the state's greenhouse gas reduction program.  Under California's cap-and-trade program, regulated emitters of greenhouse gases may purchase carbon offset credits from out of state to satisfy a portion of their compliance obligation.  This is the second project listed by Lyme Timber and the company is exploring opportunities to list other properties in the future. In order to qualify for the sale of carbon offset credits under California's program, a project must maintain or increase carbon stocks on forested land relative to baseline levels. This is typically achieved by reducing harvest levels and promoting native forests comprised of multiple ages and mixed native species. Lyme’s Florida holdings, which are adjacent to the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and other conserved areas, provide sustainably harvested wood to local sawmills and provide jobs in this economically-distressed region.  Lyme’s Florida holdings also help increase coastal resiliency by acting as a natural buffer against sea-level rise and storm surge.

USDA’s strategy is made of these 10 building blocks:

Soil Health: Improve soil resilience and increase productivity by promoting conservation tillage and no-till systems, planting cover crops, planting perennial forages, managing organic inputs and compost application, and alleviating compaction. USDA aims to increase no-till implementation from the current 67 million acres to over 100 million acres by 2025.

Nitrogen Stewardship:
Focus on the right timing, type, placement and quantity of nutrients to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and provide cost savings through efficient application.

Livestock Partnerships: Encourage broader deployment of anaerobic digesters, lagoon covers, composting, and solids separators to reduce methane emissions from cattle, dairy, and swine operations. USDA plans to support 500 new digesters over the next 10 years, as well as expand the use of covers on 10 percent of anaerobic lagoons used in dairy cattle and hog operations.

Conservation of Sensitive Lands: Use the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to reduce GHG emissions through riparian buffers, tree planting, and the conservation of wetlands and organic soils. By 2025, USDA aims to enroll 400,000 acres of CRP lands with high greenhouse gas benefits, protect 40,000 acres through easements, and gain additional benefits by transferring expiring CRP acres to permanent easements.

Grazing and Pasture Lands: Support rotational grazing management, avoiding soil carbon loss through improved management of forage, soils and grazing livestock. By 2025, USDA plans to support improved grazing management on an additional 4 million acres, for a total of 20 million acres.

Private Forest Growth and Retention: Through the Forest Legacy Program and the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program, protect almost 1 million additional acres of working landscapes. Employ the Forest Stewardship Program to cover an average of 2.1 million acres annually (new or revised plans), in addition to the 26 million acres covered by active plans.

Stewardship of Federal Forests: Reforest areas damaged by wildfire, insects, or disease, and restore forests to increase their resilience to those disturbances. USDA plans to reforest 5,000 additional post-disturbance acres by 2025.

Promotion of Wood Products: Increase the use of wood as a building material, to store additional carbon in buildings while offsetting the use of energy from fossil fuel. USDA plans to expand the number of wood building projects supported through cooperative agreements with partners and technical assistance, in addition to research and market promotion for new, innovative wood building products.

Urban Forests: Encourage tree planting in urban areas to reduce energy costs, storm water runoff, and urban heat island effects while increasing carbon sequestration, curb appeal, and property values. Working with partners, USDA plans to plant an average of 9,000 additional trees in urban areas per year through 2025.

Energy Generation and Efficiency: Promote renewable energy technologies and improve energy efficiency. Through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program, work with utilities to improve the efficiency of equipment and appliances. Using the Rural Energy for America Program and other programs, develop additional renewable energy, bioenergy and biofuel opportunities. Support the National On-Farm Energy Initiative to improve farm energy efficiency through cost-sharing and energy audits.

New Swine Feed App Unveiled

Hubbard Feeds was looking for a mobile application that would provide information about best-cost feeding programs and enhance their producer's ability to make good business and production decisions. The company worked with Paulsen's digital services division to develop the Swine Crush App to accomplish that.

The Hubbard Feeds team and the Paulsen development team brought together input and output costs involved in swine production, as well as geographic factors, to create accurate predictive formulas. The app was launched early this year, and Hubbard reports that results have been good and growing.

"Our primary job at Hubbard Feeds is to increase our customers' profitability and competitive advantage in the marketplace," Jamie Pietig, Hubbard Feeds nutritionist, said. "The biggest requests we receive from our customers are how to reduce risk and accurately project and protect future profits. The Crush App answers these questions and provides accurate, reliable, real-time information so producers can make marketing decisions based on sound information."

Pietig added that during field testing of the app, producers were impressed with the accuracy of feed cost and usage projections.

Hubbard reports that the number of Swine Crush App users grows every week. The Crush App was featured in the March edition of their E-Solutions email blast, and had one of the highest all-time open rates. The company will be promoting the app at the World Pork Expo and other events and meetings in the months ahead.

Zetor North America, Inc. Introduces New 150 horsepower Forterra HD

The new 150 horsepower Zetor Forterra HD is now available through dealers across North America.

Zetor brand has been present in the U.S. and Canadian markets since the late 1970s. The traditional Czech manufacturer of agricultural machinery, Zetor Tractors a.s., has expanded its range of farm tractors for the US and Canadian markets with the 150hp Forterra HD.  The objective was to introduce a high horsepower tractor with a four-cylinder engine offering fuel economy and low operating costs that no six-cylinder tractor with the same power can match, while also delivering the durability and reliability Zetor Forterra tractors have been known for almost 20 years. All that at a very attractive price.

Forterra HD tractors feature a unique combination of high power and torque, extreme fuel efficiency and high operator’s comfort.    Equipped with the top version of the proven and highly popular Zetor 4-cylinder engine with Zetor 16-valve technology, it is one of the most fuel efficient tractors on the world market. At the same time, Zetor inline injection pump and mechanical injectors are simple in design, and their long track record shows very low operating costs, high reliability, and long life expectancy, compared with common-rail systems. Engine balancing shafts make the HD engine run as smooth as any six-cylinder, while reducing noise levels.

Forterra HD is equipped with proven 30/30 power shuttle transmission introduced in 2012 in the HSX series. New for HD is PTO clutch control that automatically adjusts the startup speed depending on the implement for fast but smooth engagement at all times.

To enhance operator’s comfort, Forterra HD has a significantly extended wheelbase so the comfort is fully comparable to six-cylinder tractors.  The inside noise has been reduced by 3dBA.

A cab suspension and the new patented front axle with spring suspension are available as options. Standard four sets of remotes are controlled electronically by solenoid valves. Their controls along with most other controls and two electronic joysticks are newly arranged on the right side of the cab to underscore the new hi-tech design of the cab interior.