Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday September 20 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Will you plant some new alfalfa next spring?  How about interseed legumes into pasture?  Production and profits can increase if you soil test and maybe even fertilize yet this fall.

               Alfalfa and other legumes need more nutrients than most other crops we grow.  For example, an average ton of alfalfa hay will contain about 50 pounds of nitrogen, 12 pounds of phosphate, 50 pounds of potash, and 4 pounds of sulfur.

               Fortunately, well-nodulated legume plants get their nitrogen from the air.  All other nutrients must come from fertilizer or the soil.

               Soil tests tell you how much nutrition your soil can provide to your alfalfa and pasture legumes.  Then we can determine how much more fertilizer, if any, should be applied for maximum profits.

               Collect and analyze samples this fall before soils freeze from fields you expect to plant or interseed next year.  In fact, gather a “special” soil sample as well.  Gather one sample from the usual seven or eight inch depth plus another one only a couple inches deep.  This shallow sample will determine if you have an acid surface layer that many growers have been finding recently.  If the pH of your surface layer is below 6, you need lime.  However, it the deeper sample is above 6.2, you need only about half the usual amount.  If possible, apply that lime this fall so it can neutralize that acidity, which will speed seedling establishment next spring.

               If you find out that you need phosphorus or sulfur or potash, they also can be applied this fall or you can wait until planting next spring.

               Alfalfa and pasture legumes can reduce nitrogen costs and boost production and profits.  Soil testing can help.

 Nebraska Youth Beef Symposium

The 14th annual Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium will be held at the Animal Science Complex on UNL's East Campus on November 17-19. This symposium introduces participants to careers and current issues within the beef industry. For more information on this event, visit Registration is due October 6th.

If you're selected to participate, there is a $75 registration fee. This covers the cost of hotel, meals, and materials.

 Agricultural Education Teachers Receive Awards

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is working to keep agricultural educators in Nebraska classrooms by awarding 16 Nebraska agricultural education teachers $14,750 toward their student loans.

“All 16 teachers show a continued commitment to teaching agriculture in Nebraska,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re very proud to be a part of supporting those who have a strong passion to teach agriculture, and we’re seeing that payoff as the number of schools that offer agriculture education and FFA here in Nebraska continues to grow,” she continued.

Recipients are all agricultural education teachers in their first through fifth year of teaching. Teachers are eligible for increasing awards each year. As the teachers’ impact grows in the classroom, in their FFA chapters, and in their communities each year, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation aims to recognize and support their contributions.

The 16 recipients of the scholarships are Evey Choat, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge School; Reed Kraeger, Elwood Public Schools; Miranda Paitz, Cambridge Public School; Kathleen Cullinan, Kearney High School; Hannah Horak, Shelton Public School; Lacey Peterson, Riverside Public School; Tyler Schindler, Omaha Bryan High School; Wade Overturf, Wisner-Pilger Jr./Sr. High School; Nicole D’Angelo, Seward Public School; Shauna Roberson, Garden County Schools; Morgan Schwartz, Stanton High School; Victoria Armstrong, Maywood Public School; Jesse Bower, Sutton Public School; Justin Nollette, Sandhills Public School; Casey Carriker, Raymond Central Public School; Samantha Jensen, Bertrand-Loomis Public School.


Nebraska Extension is encouraging the state’s farmers and ranchers to complete a survey regarding their farm or ranch succession plans. The survey seeks to uncover how Nebraska farmers and ranchers are planning for succession or retirement, and how retirement would be financed.

The data collected will be used to design educational materials, website and meetings specific to Nebraska producers.

Allan Vyhnalek, farm succession extension educator; Dave Aiken, agricultural law specialist; and Kate Brooks, assistant professor, in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are the conducting the survey.

Vyhnalek, recently relocated to the department from Platte County Extension. He will provide succession planning support and education to Nebraska’s farms and ranches. Vyhnalek hopes to use the survey data collected to plan educational efforts.

“We hope that Nebraska farmers and ranchers understand the need to participate in the survey so we have correct information. We want to be able to design materials and educational outreach that fit the needs of Nebraskans,” Vyhnalek said.

The survey can be completed online at The survey will take between 5 to 10 minutes to complete and participants must be 19 years or older to participate. 

For more information or assistance, please contact Vyhnalek at 402-472-1771 or

Agrisure Duracade® Import Approval Gives Rob-See-Co™ Seed Customers Greater Options

China’s grain import approval on July 17, 2017 of the Agrisure Duracade® corn rootworm trait will open many more grain marketing options to U.S. corn producers. Hybrids with the Agrisure Duracade trait are available through Rob-See-Co, an independent seed company located in Waterloo, NE.

Rob-See-Co has been offering Agrisure Duracade-traited seed corn since 2014, but prior to this approval, the grain produced could only be used by growers as livestock feed on their own farms or delivered to a designated, approved dairy, feedlot or feed mill. With the import approval by China, farmers will now have more choices and outlets for their grain during the 2018 growing season and beyond.

"Agrisure Duracade is highly effective in controlling corn rootworm and offers farmers a choice compared to what’s available today, not only in terms of a new mode of action, but also as a different technology provider," said Rob Robinson, CEO of Rob-See-Co.

Rob-See-Co corn hybrids containing the Agrisure Duracade trait deliver dual mode of action control for both above- and below-ground insect pests, and feature a unique mode of action that provides a higher level of corn rootworm control to help growers achieve healthier crops for greater yields. A study conducted by Dr. Bruce Hibbard at the University of Missouri showed a 99.7 percent reduction in adult corn rootworm beetle emergence by using Agrisure Duracade, a highly significant improvement over a single mode of action rootworm trait.

Rootworms are known as the “billion dollar bug,” costing farmers more than $1 billion annually in lost yields and insect control costs. In addition, biological shifts that reduce effectiveness of current control methods are forcing farmers to change their approach to managing this insect. For the greatest efficacy and to minimize resistance, farmers should deploy a comprehensive protection plan against corn rootworm.  This should include crop rotation, using the dual mode-of-action Agrisure Duracade trait stack and adding a soil insecticide in cases of expected heavy pressure. Use of a beetle spray program to reduce adult populations during the prior year, followed by planting an Agrisure Duracade hybrid, is also an effective program.

With the recent grain import approval by China, Rob-See-Co customers will now have a greater choice in the number of hybrids available with Agrisure Duracade, as well as expanded marketing opportunities for the grain they produce. All hybrids with the Agrisure Duracade trait stack are also E-Z Refuge, which means growers have the simplicity and convenience of a 5% integrated refuge in the bag.

“Agrisure Duracade is the best trait on the market to fight corn rootworm,” said Eric Ford, head of product management.  “Farmers need every tool at their disposal to battle this difficult pest, and we are excited to provide our customers with Agrisure Duracade options at an even greater level than before.”

 Studies Show Ethanol Crop Residues Provide A Billion-Dollar Business Opportunity

Two new studies show that generating energy from ethanol industry byproducts can fuel a billion-dollar business opportunity for the farm economy.  Reports from the studies are available at

Iowa-based Regional Strategic, Ltd. examined the economic impact of collecting, processing, and delivering corn stover byproducts of ethanol – the stalks, leaves, and stems of corn plants – for use in generating electricity. The stover is compressed into biomass pellets that can be burned like coal in existing power plants, reducing CO2 emissions and increasing renewable energy supplies. This is similar to the use of wood pellets in European power plants.

The studies reveal that with modest infrastructure investments, building even a single pellet facility can deliver large quantifiable economic benefits across farm economies. Developing a broader industry around corn stover represents a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

For farmers, harvesting stover means reaping more value from their crops. For electric utilities, burning biomass pellets provides low-cost emissions reductions and renewable energy from existing facilities without the intermittency challenges of wind and solar.  For ethanol-producing states, expanding bioenergy capacity delivers significant economic benefits, including an increase in jobs, economic output, and state GDP.

The studies, commissioned by Larksen LLC, Trestle Energy's affiliate for biomass supply, focus on Nebraska and Iowa, two leaders in U.S. ethanol production, with an eye toward how building out a new biomass industry would impact the economies of these states. Nebraska's ethanol industry produces roughly 8.32 million tons of harvestable corn stover annually, and Iowa's industry produces around 15.6 million tons. Utilizing this stover to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere in the economy reduces the overall carbon footprint of ethanol – increasing the value of that ethanol in jurisdictions with Low Carbon Fuel Standards or Clean Fuel Standards ("LCFS/CFS"). This increased value helps farmers earn extra profits from their stover and fuels a new economic engine for agricultural states.

The economic impacts show that building a corn stover industry to complement ethanol production in Iowa could deliver over $1 billion in additional labor income and contribute $2 billion to Iowa's GDP by 2030. In neighboring Nebraska, the analysis shows the potential to generate $840 million in labor income and $1.5 billion in GDP over the same period. This can be achieved using mature technologies.  What is required is modest infrastructure investments to enable coal-fired power plants to blend biomass into their fuel mix. Agricultural states can start reaping the benefits today by enabling infrastructure investments that open the door for this billion-dollar business opportunity.

NCGA Supports Funding Increase for MAP, FMD Programs

The National Corn Growers Association praised the introduction today of the CREAATE Act, a bill to increase investment in two federal programs with a proven track record of building global demand for U.S. agricultural products.

The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would increase investment in the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development program (FMD). A companion bill was introduced in the House earlier this year.

MAP and FMD are public-private partnerships that promote U.S. agriculture. Together, they are responsible for 15 percent of U.S. agricultural export revenue—$309 billion since 1977.

“MAP and FMD are critical programs for building and expanding global markets for American agricultural exports. We must increase investment in these programs,” said Wesley Spurlock, a Texas farmer and president of NCGA.

“These programs deliver a strong return on investment. Every $1 invested in MAP and FMD generates $28 in exports—that means more American jobs, and more money coming into our communities. Now more than ever, we need to invest in export and market development programs like these to build global demand and help farmers’ bottom lines,” said Spurlock.

Funding for MAP and FMD has not kept pace with inflation, administrative costs, the growth of the global marketplace, or the investments other countries have made in their own export promotion. The FMD program is also under threat to lose its baseline funding when the farm bill expires in 2018.

The CREAATE Act would gradually increase MAP funding from $200 million to $400 million per year and FMD funding from $34.5 million to $69 million per year, over the next five years.

“Thank you to Senator King, Senator Ernst, Senator Donnelly, and Senator Collins for leading the effort to strengthen the MAP and FMD programs. These programs have already been successful, but with increased investment, they can help even more American farmers and ranchers compete around the world,” said Spurlock.

ASA Supports CREAATE Act in Senate

American Soybean Association (ASA) Vice President John Heisdorffer signaled the association’s strong support today for legislation that would double the funding for the Foreign Market Development program and the Market Access Programs, two federal cost-share efforts at the core of the soybean industry’s overseas market development work. Heisdorffer, who farms in Keota, Iowa, welcomed the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act, introduced by his home state senator Joni Ernst, along with Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The Senate version of the CREAATE Act accompanies similar legislation introduced in May by Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).

“MAP and FMD are two of the real success stories when it comes to partnerships between American farmers and the federal government. We work together with the U.S. Soybean Export Council to leverage MAP and FMD funds to establish and expand markets for American soy in all corners of the globe, and the CREAATE Act will go a long way to ensuring that good work can and will continue.

“These are programs that yield exponential benefits for farmers and for our economy, generating almost $30 in net return for every dollar invested. Those dollars have gone to expanding overseas demand in the fields of animal agriculture, cooking oils, and the emerging field of aquaculture, which will be key as our industry works to provide protein to a growing global population in places like Southeast Asia and Latin America.

“We applaud Sens. King, Ernst and Donnelly for introducing the CREAATE Act in the Senate, and we take the time to again thank Reps. Newhouse and Pingree for their version in the House. We hope that leadership in both chambers will commit to moving this important legislation forward as quickly as possible.”

Senators Introduce Legislation Strengthening Trade Programs for the Wheat Industry

Today, Senators Angus King (I-ME), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) introduced the “Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act” which will increase the funding for the Foreign Market Development Program from $34.5 million to $69 million annually and the Market Access Program from $200 million to $400 million. On May 03, 2017, Congressmen Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) introduced the companion bill, CREAATE Act (HR 2321), in the House.

NAWG CEO Chandler Goule made the following statement:

“With the United States exporting 50% of its wheat, a strong trade agenda is essential for growing and opening new markets for wheat growers abroad.

“The Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program have proven to have excellent return on investment and increase the global demand for wheat while raising farm income here at home.

“These programs provide the U.S. agricultural community with the tools needed to retain its edge in an increasingly competitive global economy.

“NAWG commends Senators King, Ernst, and Donnelly for working across party lines to introduce the CREAATE Act which will help American farmers create, expand, and maintain access to foreign markets.”

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Flat

 The Energy Information Administration's weekly supply report released Wednesday, Sept. 20, showed total ethanol inventory was unchanged for the third straight week while both plant production and blending demand declined during the week-ended Sept. 15.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks were steady at 21.1 million barrels (bbl) while posting a 1.1 million bbl, or 5.5%, year-on-year surplus.

Domestic plant production fell 14,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.3%, to 1.033 million bpd during the week reviewed, while up 51,000 bpd, or 5.3%, year-on-year. For the four weeks ended last week, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.045 million bpd, up 43,000 bpd or 4.3%.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, decreased 3,000 bpd to 898,000 bpd, while down 22,000 bpd, or 2.4%, year-on-year. For the four-week period ended Sept. 15, blending demand is down 7,000 bpd. or 0.8%.

The report also showed gasoline demand declined 178,000 bpd to 9.441 million bpd during the week-ended Sept. 15, down 2.2% versus the same week in 2016. Over the last four weeks, gasoline product supplied averaged over 9.517 million bpd, down 0.2% from a year ago.

America's Farmers Grow Communities Enrollment Now Open

Nonprofit organizations help rural communities thrive, and farmers across the U.S. have an opportunity to help these organizations. Through the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, farmers can enroll for a chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a local eligible nonprofit organization.

New this year, all farmers are now eligible to enroll in the program, if they meet the requirement of being 21 years old and actively engaged in farming at least 250 acres or more. The Grow Communities program will award more than $3 million to nonprofits in rural America in 2018.

These funds are used to provide support to a variety of rural nonprofit organizations that reflect the makeup and character of their local communities, including food banks, emergency response organizations, youth agriculture programs and many others. Since the program began in 2010, the Grow Communities program has awarded more than $26 million in donations.

Randy & Linda Bialas, a 2017 winning farmer from Phelps County directed the donation to the Holdrege FFA Chapter. The chapter will use the funds for leadership and chapter development opportunities for chapter officers and members to attend COLT Conference, Washington Leadership Conference, a chapter retreat and Youth Farm Safety camp this fall.

Jeff Moore, Holdrege FFA Chapter Advisor, said to KRVN, “This grant will allow our chapter members to develop leadership skills through various programs and provide an educational opportunity for Phelps County Youth.  Monsanto’s continued support of this funding is valuable to developing young leaders in the field of agriculture locally and across the nation.”

Through the years, we have seen this program impact countless local communities, and we are proud to partner with farmers on this initiative to continue supporting nonprofit organizations important to them,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “Because of farmers’ commitment to the Grow Communities program, their donations have provided vital support to organizations that make a lasting impact in local communities throughout the U.S.”

Farmers can easily enroll in the Grow Communities program from now to Nov. 1, 2017. Online enrollment, as well as a complete list of program rules and eligibility information, can be found at or by calling 1-877-267-3332 toll-free. 

Bayer Now Expects Monsanto Deal to Close in Early 2018

Bayer AG on Tuesday said that it submitted an application on Monday to extend the European Commission review deadline for its planned acquisition of Monsanto and that it now expects the deal to close in early 2018.

Bayer said that it requested the extension in order to facilitate "an appropriate evaluation given the size of the transaction," reports Dow Jones news.

In late June, Bayer filed a submission to obtain antitrust approval for the deal from the European Commission. The European Commission initiated an in-depth investigation into the deal on Aug. 22.

Bayer's application on Monday requested a ten-working-day extension of the review deadline to Jan. 22, 2018.

ASI Accepting Nominations for Annual Awards

"We have brilliant and dedicated people and organizations in the sheep business that do impressive things with sheep production or lamb and wool processing and marketing," said ASI President Mike Corn. "We wanted to test the interest in a new award that would recognize innovations in the sheep business. ASI awards have traditionally recognized service and media coverage associated with the organization, so this Industry Innovation Award is an exciting addition."

Nominations for the accolade - as well as ASI's traditional awards - are now open. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 13.

The Industry Innovation Award will recognize the accomplishments of an individual or organization that improves the American sheep industry in a game-changing way, regardless of whether its impact is felt at the regional, state or national level.

There are four other awards also open for nominations: The McClure Silver Ram Award, the Camptender Award, the Distinguished Producer Award and the Shepherd's Voice Award.

The McClure Silver Ram Award is dedicated to volunteer commitment and service and is presented to a sheep producer who has made substantial contributions to the sheep industry and its organizations in his/her state, region or nation. The award may recognize a lifetime of achievement or may recognize a noteworthy, shorter-term commitment and service to the industry.

Nominees should be recognized as industry leaders with nominations spelling out the candidates' contributions to the industry and its producers. Producers should be actively involved in sheep production and may or may not produce sheep as their sole income. However, their nominations should not be based in any part on a paid position serving the sheep industry.

The Camptender Award recognizes industry contributions from a professional in a position or field related to sheep production. Nominees should show a strong commitment and a significant contribution to the sheep industry, its organizations and its producers above and beyond what is called for in his/her professional capacity. Nominees should be well respected in their fields by their peers and by sheep producers.

Nominees may be involved with the industry as teachers, consultants, scientists, youth leaders, promoters, event managers, journalists or any other position directly related to the sheep industry, enabling the nominee to affect the sheep industry in a positive and long-lasting way. Nominees may be recognized for lifetime service to the sheep industry or may be recognized for a shorter-term commitment that resulted in significant benefits for the sheep industry.

The Distinguished Producer Award was launched in 2014 to recognize the 150th anniversary of the national organization - the oldest livestock association in the country. This award is a way to recognize an individual who has had a significant long-term impact on the industry, including involvement with the National Wool Growers Association or American Sheep Producers Council, the predecessor organizations to ASI.

The Shepherd's Voice Award for Media recognizes outstanding year-long coverage of the sheep industry by either print or broadcast outlets. The award excludes all publications and affiliates related solely to the sheep industry, allowing for recognition of outlets with general coverage for excellence in covering sheep industry issues.

Nominations may be publications, networks or specific reporters exhibiting a strong commitment to balanced reporting and consistent coverage of the sheep industry locally, statewide and/or nationally.

Nominations must be submitted to the ASI national headquarters by Nov. 13, and past recipients of these awards are not eligible. Awards will be presented at the ASI Annual Convention, Jan. 31-Feb. 3 in San Antonio. To receive an application, call or email: 303-771-3500 or The one-page nomination form can also be downloaded at

NFU President Joins Advisory Board of New Energy America

In a move to further National Farmers Union’s (NFU) commitment to promoting American grown, renewable energy sources, NFU President Roger Johnson today joined the advisory board of New Energy America, a new organization created to promote clean energy jobs in rural America.

Johnson and NFU will support New Energy America’s engagement with communities and lawmakers in rural America to demonstrate how policies that support the deployment of clean energy create jobs in rural America.  While the fossil fuel industry enjoys support from the politicians elected in these states, the data is clear that policies that support reducing emissions are creating good jobs in rural America.

“National Farmers Union members have long been staunch supporters of clean, renewable energy, especially when that energy development puts folks to work on the farm and in rural communities,” said Johnson. “I’m eager to work with my colleagues at New Energy America to ensure the success of the America renewable energy sector for the benefit of American family farmers, ranchers, and their rural communities.”

As part of its launch today, New Energy America released the first Fifty State Clean Energy Jobs Report, which contains a detailed analysis of clean energy jobs in each of the 50 states. The report shows that clean energy jobs outpace fossil energy jobs in 41 states.

“Too often the debate in Washington misses the fact that what is good for clean energy is good for rural America.  We will no longer let politicians off the hook,” said Mike Carr, Executive Director of New Energy America.  “New Energy America will make sure that rural America knows that clean energy policies are creating jobs in their communities.”

The 2017 Fifty State Clean Energy Jobs Report, and more information about New Energy America, can be found at  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday September 19 Ag News

Farm Credit Services of America Announce New President and Chief Executive Officer

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) and Frontier Farm Credit today named Mark Jensen as incoming president and chief executive officer of the customer-owned financial cooperatives.  Jensen, the Associations’ chief risk officer, will assume his new role on November 1, 2017.  He succeeds Doug Stark, who is retiring.

Jensen joined FCSAmerica in 1992 and has held senior vice president positions with the Association for the past 16 years.  He was named senior vice president – chief risk officer in 2013.  Jensen was instrumental in modernizing FCSAmerica’s credit process and implementing an enterprise risk management framework, and today provides executive leadership of the Associations’ risk management, credit and appraisal teams.  He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in agricultural economics.

FCSAmerica and Frontier Farm Credit are customer-owned financial cooperatives proud to finance the growth of rural America, including the special needs of young and beginning producers.  FCSAmerica provides credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.  Frontier Farm Credit serves eastern Kansas.  Learn more at and 

Crop Residue Exchange Program
Larry Howard, NE Extension Educator, Cuming County

The Crop Residue Exchange is an online engagement tool designed to assist farmer-cattlemen relationship development with the goal of encouraging mutually beneficial agreements to utilize crop residue for the purposes of grazing. A recent UNL survey showed that 17% of farmers, that do not have any cattle grazing corn residue on acres they farm, list lack of access to cattle as the major reason. This online exchange serves as a way for corn and other crop producers to better market their crop residue to cattle producers and develop mutually beneficial grazing agreements.

The Crop Residue Exchange is available online at After establishing a login account, farmers can list cropland available for grazing by drawing out the plot of land available using an interactive map and entering in basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. Producers also provide their preferred contact information. Livestock producers can login and search the database for cropland available for grazing within radius of a given location of interest.

The primary objective of this exchange is to assist in the development of farmer-cattlemen relationships. In the near future the exchange also seeks to provide educational material and tools that support these relationships. Items under development include a lease agreement template to assist in the contract arrangement between the cattle owner and the farmer, links to tools and guidelines to help farmers and cattle owners correctly stock crop residue fields, and summary information on crop residue grazing rates. These will be available to all registered users of the exchange.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Pastures and hay meadows provide higher quality feed, are more productive, and cheaper to grow if they have good forage legumes growing in them.

               Yes – nitrogen fertilizer prices have come down.  But they still are so high it’s going to be difficult to justify fertilizing pastures next spring.  So instead, let’s grow our own N using legumes.

               Do you have a pasture area or hay meadow that is relatively free of weeds and makes up no more than about 15 percent of your total pasture acres?  If so, here is what I want you to do.  From now until that grass will grow no more this year, I want you to graze the living daylights out of that grass.  Grub it down, then graze it some more.

               Now why would I want you to do that?  Surely it will hurt the grass.  Well surprise, that's exactly what I want.  Because next spring, you will interseed legumes like red clover, white clover, and alfalfa into that grass to make it more nutritious and productive.

               The biggest challenge to establishing these legumes into a grass sod is competition by that existing grass on new, slow growing legume seedlings.  Anything you do to reduce competition and slow down grass growth will help.  Overgrazing this fall prior to next spring’s sodseeding will weaken the grass and slow its spring growth, thus giving new legume seedlings a better chance to get started.

               And while you’re at it, also collect some soil samples.  Then analyze them and apply any needed fertilizer.  Legumes especially need good phosphorus and soil pH.

               So, plan to add some legumes to your pasture next spring.  Graze your grass this fall until virtually nothing is left.  Then, keep grazing a couple weeks more just to make sure.

               Legumes you add next spring will establish better because of it.

Sasse Talks Security and Trade with South Korean Trade Minister

Today, after President Trump forcefully condemned North Korea at the United Nations in New York City, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse met with South Korean Trade Minister Hyun-Chong Kim.

“The United States must confront North Korea’s dictatorship – through diplomatic measures if possible or through military action if necessary. Trade Minister Kim and I agree that trade plays a critical role in that diplomatic response in two ways. First, we want to strengthen our alliance through trade that benefits Nebraskans and South Koreans. Second, sanctions can put pressure on North Korea’s despot and force China to step up and prevent a nuclear arms race in its backyard.”

Earlier this month, Senator Sasse strongly condemned any U.S. exit from our trade deal with our ally South Korea.

Since May, Senator Sasse, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, has worked to highlight the utility of secondary sanctions against China to force additional pressure on North Korea.


The Nebraska Tractor Test Lab recently completed its evaluation of the XERION 5000 and XERION 4500 four-wheel-drive tractors by CLAAS of America and the final results are in. Between the two machines, several records were broken for efficiency, cab noise, pull-to-weight ratio and more.

PTO and Engine Testing

The XERION 4500 now holds the record as the most fuel-efficient tractor in the 4WD, 450-500 hp class. The XERION 4500 set records for power take-off (PTO) hp (hr)/gallon in rated engine speed (18.33), rated PTO speed (19.13) and maximum engine power (19.52). Both the XERION 4500 and XERION 5000 outclassed similarly rated models in each of these three categories.

Of course, it’s not all about horsepower, it’s about what that power can do for the operator. The XERION 4500 and 5000 went head-to-head against the top competitors in engine lugging capacity, and both came out on top, setting a record for low engine speed while providing maximum torque thanks in large part to the XERION tractor’s ECCOM CVT transmission.

The XERION 4500 also set a new record in the ballasted portion of the test. By correctly weighting the XERION 4500, the pull-to-weight ratio set a new 25-year record in 4WD tractors.

3-Point Lifting

The XERION 5000 did very well in the 3-point hitch test, achieving a maximum force of 21,738 pounds in the continuous lift test.

Sound Level Testing

The noise level recorded in the cab of the XERION 4500 was a record-breaking 68.5 decibels. The record was short lived, however, as the XERION 5000 tested out an even more quiet 67.0 decibels. Both tractors were quieter than a Cadillac Escalade traveling at 65 miles per hour.

Tire vs. Tracks

There’s a common belief that tracks provide more pulling power than a tire. Results of the XERION 4500 test prove otherwise. In fact, there is actually a loss in power when a tractor with tracks pulls a load. The XERION 4500 tested with a higher maximum pull, pull difference and pull-to-weight ratio than a comparable tractor with tracks.

Governor Ricketts to Host First Annual Nebraska Steak Fry

Today the Ricketts for Governor campaign announced Governor Pete Ricketts will be hosting the First Annual Nebraska Steak Fry early next month. Nebraskans are invited to join us as we enjoy a steak fry, music, family games and a program with elected officials from Nebraska and across the Midwest to celebrate Nebraska's number one industry, agriculture. The Steak Fry will be held on October 8th from 12:00-3:00 p.m at Rod & Deb Gangwish's Farm - 57252 145th Road, Shelton, NE.

Special guests include Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Tickets can be purchased online at by clicking the Steak Fry link. Single tickets are available for $20 and family tickets can be purchased for $35. An early bird discount of 50% off is available by using the code "HUSKER" during checkout. A limited amount of VIP tickets are also available.

60-Day Harvest Weight Limit Exemptions Granted

To help haul in this year's harvest, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into effect Monday a proclamation granting a temporary 60-day weight limit exemption for trucks on Iowa roads. The 2017 Harvest Weight Proclamation specifically increases the weight allowable for shipment of corn, soybeans, hay, straw and stover, by 12.5 percent per axle (up to a maximum of 90,000 pounds) without the need for an oversize/overweight permit.

The 2017 proclamation again applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the federal interstate system. Trucks cannot exceed the truck's regular maximum by more than 12.5 percent per axle and must obey the posted limits on all roads and bridges.

"I am pleased to sign this proclamation allowing Iowa farmers to move their crops in an effective and efficient manner," Gov. Reynolds said. "Farmers are a critical component of our state's economy, and this proclamation ensures they're able to transport their crops ahead of deteriorating weather conditions."

"We sincerely thank Governor Reynolds for this proclamation," said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. "With the extremely dry conditions across Iowa, it is important that farmers can get their crops out of the field and to market efficiently. We appreciate Governor Reynolds' efforts knowing that the harvest weight proclamation is not a right by law, but a petition we as corn farmers make to the Governor who at her sole discretion may choose to grant the increased harvest weight tolerance."

ICGA made the request to Governor Reynolds in August and worked with the Governor's office to ensure the Proclamation moved forward to benefit Iowa's farmers. The proclamation directs the Iowa Department of Transportation to monitor the operation of the proclamation, assure the public's safety by facilitating the movement of the trucks involved. Farmers who are transporting grain are also required to follow their vehicle safety standards on axle weights.

The exemption is granted for 60 days beginning, Monday.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is directed to monitor the operation of this proclamation to ensure the public's safety and facilitate the movement of the trucks involved in our state's harvest.

August Milk Production in the United States up 2.0 Percent

Milk production in the United States during August totaled 18.1 billion pounds, up 2.0 percent from August 2016.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,919 pounds for August, 24 pounds above August 2016.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.41 million head,
71,000 head more than August 2016, but unchanged from July 2017.

Iowa:  Milk production in Iowa during August 2017 totaled 434 million pounds, up 3 percent from the previous August according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during August, at 217,000 head, was the same as last month and 3,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,000 pounds, up 30 pounds from last August.

Perdue Statement on Censky & McKinney Senate Committee Hearing

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today gave high marks to Steve Censky and Ted McKinney for their joint appearance before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.  President Donald Trump has nominated Censky to service as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, while McKinney is the president’s choice to be the very first Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.  The two await approval of the entire U.S. Senate before beginning work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“Today we saw two nominees who are experienced, prepared, and capable of providing the steady leadership we need at USDA, and we can’t wait to get them on board.  We have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time in our department, but we need Steve Censky and Ted McKinney to join the team as we face serious challenges in agriculture in the coming months and years.

“With producers in many states just beginning to assess the damages and losses from back-to-back hurricanes – and with wildfires continuing to rage in large swaths of the country – we will need Steve Censky’s counsel to help navigate the landscape.  And as Congress continues work on the 2018 Farm Bill, his guidance and input will be invaluable.  Likewise, as we continue USDA’s mission of feeding an ever-growing world population, we will need Ted McKinney to be the unapologetic advocate of American agriculture as we expand U.S. access to international markets.  He will be the one who wakes up every morning asking where he can sell more American products to foreign consumers.  I trust that the Senate will confirm them both in a speedy fashion.”

Checkoff to Relaunch 'Beef, It's What's for Dinner' Campaign

The Beef Checkoff will relaunch their famous "Beef, it's what's for dinner" campaign next month. The iconic beef brand known across the U.S. turns 25 this October.

Alisa Harrison is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contract partner of the beef checkoff program.

"The last couple of years it's been in the background in our consumer marketing. We went out and talked with consumers, especially to millennials to see what kind of equity we had in Beef it's what's for dinner and it is still really strong 25 years later," Harrison said. "It's the voice and it's also the rodeo music. When those young millennial parents hear it, it is a latent memory for them. They smile, get's them excited about beef, and reminds them of growing up."

She adds the checkoff's challenge is how to make beef relevant today. By doing that, it is not just about pushing the product but explaining how beef is raised.

The Beef Checkoff launched the original campaign in 1992. The upcoming relaunch is part of a bigger campaign to educate consumers about beef along unveiling a new logo and website.

NFU Reinforces Need for Trade Agenda Reforms Through NAFTA

Ahead of a third round of renegotiation talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), National Farmers Union (NFU) reinforced it’s call for a fair trade agreement framework that benefits American family farmers, ranchers and consumers, and restores American sovereignty on farm and food policy.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, NFU endorsed a series of trade reform recommendations proposed by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), of which NFU is a member.

“NAFTA has had significant impacts on family farms and rural communities,” wrote NFU President Roger Johnson. “The U.S. has a trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, despite the fact that agricultural trade has usually been a bright spot in America’s ever-growing trade deficit. Agricultural markets and farms have consolidated since NAFTA was agreed to. We urge you to heed the advice of those advocating for the benefits for all consumers and family farmers, rather than corporate profits.”

Johnson highlighted CPA’s proposed changes to NAFTA, including:
·         Reducing bilateral trade imbalances
·         Remedies for currency manipulation and misalignment
·         Strengthening rules of origin
·         Reinstating country-of-origin labeling (COOL)
·         Eliminating investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)
·         Automaticity of enforcement of the agreement
·         Eliminating provisions on domestic procurement
·         Improve wages and labor standards
·         Compliance with food, product, and highway safety standards
·         Sunset NAFTA in 10 years
·         Remedies for perishable and cyclical products
·         Addressing border adjustable taxes

Johnson added that USTR should address non-tariff barriers that act as hidden tariffs, particularly as it relates to Canada’s restrictions on the sale of U.S. wine.

“As you renegotiate NAFTA, we urge you to act in the best interest of American farmers, ranchers and consumers, and to restore the United States’ sovereignty over farm and food policy. I look forward to working with your administration to reset the nation’s failed trade agenda,” he concluded.

NCGA Urges Farmers to Harvest Safely This Fall

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers of the importance of proper grain bin safety procedures this harvest. With farmers across the country preparing to hit the fields in their combines, NCGA offers both a list of safety reminders and a video on the important topic of grain bin safety.

1.  Road Safety
Reduce vehicle width as much as possible and ensure adequate warning lighting.  Use "Slow Moving Vehicle" signs on all slow-moving equipment.

2.   Equipment Safety
Be incredibly careful when approaching harvesting equipment.  Approach from the front and gain eye contact with the operator before approaching.  Ensure the harvesting equipment is fully stopped and disengaged before climbing onto a vehicle.  Do not place yourself near any unguarded or otherwise running machinery.  Avoid pinch points between equipment - such as tractors with grain wagons. Visibility can be limited and serious injury can occur.  Watch for trucks backing up or pulling away.  Steer clear and maintain eye contact with the driver if you approach a truck or tractor.

3.  Entanglement Hazard
Entanglement hazards can happen very quickly.  Do not ever try to unplug any equipment without disengaging power and removing energy from the equipment.  Never pull or try to remove plugged plants from an operating machine. Always keep shields in place to avoid snags and entanglement when working around equipment.

4.  Fall Hazard
Be careful climbing on and off equipment.  Be alert and extremely careful when working in wet or slippery conditions.  Keep all walkways and platforms open and free of tools, dust, debris or other obstacles.  Clean all walkways and platforms before use.  Wear clothing that is well fitting and not baggy or loose.  Also wear proper non-slip, closed toe shoes.  Use grab bars when mounting or dismounting machinery. Face machinery when dismounting and never jump from equipment.  Never dismount from a moving vehicle.

5.  Fire Prevention
Carry a fire extinguisher with you in your vehicle (A-B-C, 5 or 10 pound).  Remove dust and buildup from equipment.  Check bearings regularly to prevent overheating and chance of fire.

6.  Grain Wagon Safety
Be careful to monitor grain wagon weight to never exceed maximum weight limits.  As weight increases, grain wagons can be more difficult to control.  Load grain wagons evenly to distribute weight to prevent weaving or instability across the grain wagon.  Inspect grain wagon tires and replace any worn or cracked tires.

In addition to these tips, NCGA is again offering a video highlighting the importance of proper safety procedures and reviewing helpful guidelines.  First released in 2011, this video remains relevant and illustrates the significant threat bin entrapment can pose.  The video is available at and on NCGA's YouTube channel.

Set Sail for World Dairy Expo

With just two weeks to go before ‘Discovering New Dairy Worlds’ at World Dairy Expo 2017, now is the time for attendees to finalize plans. WDE offers many tools to help dairy enthusiasts make the most of their time at the must-attend event of the global dairy industry.

Expo’s award-winning Trade Show – featuring more than 850 companies – is best navigated with a plan. Interactive maps, available at, allow attendees to explore the show before and during their visit. Complete with search features for specific companies, products and categories, the interactive maps allow each attendee to create a personalized “Must See” list before the show to download or print, ensuring no stop is forgotten. A list of new products and services highlighted in the Trade Show are also included in Innovation Unveiled, available on the WDE website.

Attendees can steer through the Trade Show without fear of missing the Dairy Cattle Show. Multiple large screens located around the grounds are tuned to ExpoTV, displaying the Showring, along with extra coverage on Expo360, ExpoTV’s newest channel. This addition will provide a complete 360-degree look at World Dairy Expo, with Trade Show coverage, twice-daily newscasts, Virtual Farm Tours, Expo Seminars and more.

To enhance the attendee experience, two new information booths have been added in 2017 – located in the lobby of New Holland Pavilion 1 and on Fairgrounds Drive – in addition to the existing information booths in the west lobby of the Coliseum and the Exhibition Hall lobby. These booths will be staffed with Expo experts and provide daily schedules, the Official Program, published by Dairy Herd Management, the Expo Daily Edition, published by Dairy Star, and more. Attendees are encouraged to visit the booths for details on how to register for Expo’s exclusive giveaway of a Reveal Forage Analysis and one year of service from Cargill Animal Nutrition.

Map a route and set sail to ‘Discover New Dairy Worlds’ at the 51st World Dairy Expo. Visit for all planning needs before and throughout WDE.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 18 Crop Progress & Condition Report


For the week ending September 17, 2017, temperatures averaged four to eight degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation ranged from half an inch to an inch across a majority of the State. Dry edible bean harvest was underway in western counties. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 33 short, 56 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 36 short, 52 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 5 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 44 good, and 18 excellent. Corn dented was 94 percent, equal to last year, and near 93 for the five-year average. Mature was 37 percent, behind 43 both last year and average. Harvested was 2 percent, equal to last year, but behind 7 average.

Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 8 poor, 28 fair, 48 good, and 12 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 54 percent, ahead of 48 both last year and average. Harvested was 3 percent, near 2 both last year and average.

Winter wheat planted was 23 percent, behind 41 last year and 34 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 2 poor, 20 fair, 55 good, and 20 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 91 percent, behind 98 last year, but near 87 average. Mature was 30 percent, behind 39 last year, but ahead of 22 average. Harvested was 2 percent, near 0 both last year and average.

Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 10 poor, 34 fair, 40 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa fourth cutting was 68 percent complete, ahead of 59 last year and 61 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 20 poor, 45 fair, 27 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 88 adequate, and 0 surplus.


 It was mostly dry in Iowa with above normal temperatures for the week ending September 17, 2017, according to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork. With increased heat and little moisture, crops matured rapidly in the past week. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops, spreading manure, harvesting seed corn, chopping corn silage, and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 21 percent very short, 30 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. According to the September 12, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of south central and southeast Iowa remain in extreme drought status. Subsoil moisture levels rated 20 percent very short, 34 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond, eight days behind last year and three days behind the 5-year average. Thirty percent of corn had reached maturity, six days behind last year and average. Reports were received from throughout the state that corn harvest for grain has begun. Corn condition declined slightly to 59 percent good to excellent.

Seventy-four percent soybeans were turning color or beyond, two days behind last year but one day ahead of average. Thirty-one percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, one day behind average. Scattered soybean fields across most of the state have been harvested. Soybean condition dropped to 58 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay is nearly complete at 96 percent.

Pasture conditions worsened over the past week with 47 percent poor to very poor. Livestock conditions remain good, although there were scattered reports of flies and pink eye being an issue.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn and soybean harvests lagged the five-year average pace, while conditions held pretty steady during the week ended Sept. 17, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress and Condition report issued Monday. 

USDA's National Ag Statistics Service estimated corn to be 86% dented, 34% mature, and 7% harvested. The 5-year averages are 90%, 47%, and 11% respectively. 

NASS estimated 41% of the soybean crop is dropping leaves and 4% harvested; the 5-year averages are 43% and 5%, respectively. 

Sorghum is 29% harvested, equal to the five-year average.

Cotton bolls are 44% opening and the crop is 11% harvested nationwide. Cotton condition worsened to 14% poor to very poor, compared to 11% last week. Rice is 55% harvested, compared to a 51% average.

Monday September 18 Ag News

Cover Crop Field Day Monday, Sept. 25 near Lincoln 
Paul Jasa - NE Extension Engineer

A field day to view a variety of cover crops seeded after wheat harvest will be held at the UNL Rogers Memorial Farm just east of Lincoln.  The free event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, September 25.

Cover crop topics will include:
-    Understanding the goals and objectives of cover crops
-    Selection and management of cover crops to achieve the objectives
-    Using cover crops to improve soil health and help control weeds
-    Discussing the effects on yields and the soil system, both short-term and long-term

Six cover crop mixes, each planted for a specific objective, will be featured, showing how different species can be used for different purposes. Fertilizer has been applied in a strip across these six mixes to show the improvement in growth and biomass production, important if grazing is one of the objectives. In addition, a shredding across the six mixes was done to simulate grazing to show regrowth and recovery of the different species.

The field day will also include a no-till drill demo, seeding a 14-way diverse mix into wheat stubble. This will be the sixth planting date of the same mix, once every two weeks since wheat harvest, allowing attendees to compare the differences in growth and species performance.  Also featured will be a nitrogen rate response study to estimate the apparent nitrogen contribution of various legume cover crops for corn production in 2018.  Data from the same study conducted in 2012 and 2015 will be discussed.

Seed vendors and cover crop users will be in attendance to share some of their experiences, adding to the discussion and helping answer questions.

The Rogers Memorial Farm is located at 18630 Adams Street, Lincoln (north side of the road, about 7 ½ miles east of Lincoln, 2 miles north of Highway 34).

Ricketts Concludes Successful International Trade Mission to Japan

Governor Pete Ricketts has concluded his second international trade mission of 2017 following a six-day visit to Japan, including stops in Tokyo, Shizuoka, and the Kansai region.  Key members of the Governor’s administration as well as public and private sector leaders joined the Governor on the mission, which focused on efforts to grow Japan’s investments in Nebraska.  Department of Economic Development Director Courtney Dentlinger and Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Mat Habrock helped lead the Governor’s 40-member Nebraska Delegation.

“During my second trade mission to Japan, I saw firsthand how innovative leaders at Kawasaki and Shizuki are leveraging technology which has led to new opportunities for Nebraska’s workforce across our state from Lincoln to Ogallala,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Kawasaki’s new aerospace division in Lincoln will employ an additional 50 people, and new equipment at ASC in Ogallala will streamline their operations, improving production output by more than 20 percent.  Collaborative efforts to grow these companies and others are essential to help our state compete in a global economy.”

Japan is Nebraska’s number one direct foreign investor and has a number of investments within the state.  Kawasaki and the Shizuki Electric Company currently operate facilities in Nebraska and Japan.  In May, the Governor celebrated the opening of Kawasaki’s first aerospace division in the United States at its Lincoln facility.  For the past 30 years, the Shizuki Electric Company has manufactured capacitors at American Shizuki Corporation (ASC) in Ogallala.

This week, the Governor toured Kawaski’s Hyogo Works Heavy Industries plant and the Shizuki Electric Company in Nishinomiya.  In addition, Lt. Gov. Foley visited ACS’s Ogallala facility in early September for a tour of the plant’s ongoing remodeling project. 

Kawasaki employs more than 34,000 people worldwide and is Japan’s largest manufacturer of rolling stock.  The company’s Hyogo Works facility is home to six Kawasaki plants that specialize in aluminum, environmental and marine machinery, hydraulic equipment, jet engines, motorcycles, robotics, and ships.  The company has been investing in Nebraska since 1974.

“We appreciate Kawasaki’s long-standing relationship with Nebraska, as well as the company’s confidence and trust in our workforce to produce motorcycles, passenger rail and subway cars, and now, cargo doors for aeronautics,” said DED Director Dentlinger.  “Over the past 16 years, workers in Kawasaki’s Lincoln plant have manufactured more than 2,000 subway and commuter cars for transit authorities in other states.  This is just one example of the company’s direct foreign investment in Nebraska, which continues to grow our reputation as a global competitor in manufacturing.”   

On Monday, UNK and Toyo University signed an agreement to implement faculty and student exchanges, research projects and educational programs.  For the past three decades, the University of Nebraska-Kearney (UNK) has had the largest enrollment of Japanese students in Nebraska.  UNK’s efforts to facilitate a relationship with Toyo University in Tokyo were created to build research, education and networking opportunities for students and faculty in both countries.

While meeting with Japanese business and government officials, leaders from the state’s ag and business sectors provided first-hand knowledge about the value of Nebraska’s products and commodities.  On the trip, Governor Ricketts was briefed on Japan’s agricultural markets, discussed trade issues with national government officials, and celebrated a new agreement with Japan’s Sagami Restaurant Chain to purchase Nebraska pork for their 170+ facilities in Japan and around the world.

“Last year, Japan imported almost half of the $398.7 million in Nebraska pork exports,” said Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Habrock.  “The agreement with Sagami Restaurant Chain will keep our state in a strong position as a leading pork exporter.  Throughout this mission, we have shared Nebraska’s agricultural story with government officials and industry leaders.  We have shown our ability to provide Japanese consumers the high-quality products they are seeking.”

Other notable events during the Governor’s Japan visit included a promotional meeting to introduce Japan’s travel and media officials to tourism opportunities in Nebraska.  Nebraska Tourism Commission Executive Director John Ricks led a discussion on educational and recreational tourism destinations unique to our state, such as Nebraska’s annual Sandhill Crane migration.

Earlier this week, Governor Ricketts attended the Midwest US-Japan Association’s annual conference in Tokyo.  Nebraska is one of nine U.S. states involved in the association, which was designed to create pathways for investment opportunities between Japan and the central U.S.  In 2018, Omaha will host the association’s 50th anniversary celebration.

This week’s Japan trip was the Governor’s second trade mission of 2017 and concludes less than a month after the Governor’s trade mission to Canada, which marked the state’s first-ever Governor-led trade mission to the country.

Trade missions have been a critical part of the Governor’s Grow Nebraska agenda.  As mentioned earlier, this was the Governor’s second trip to Japan in two years.  Following his 2015 trade mission to Japan, Kawasaki announced the location of their first U.S. aerostructures production in Lincoln.

AFAN joins education effort for National Farm Safety and Health Week

About 23 out of every 100,000 farmers die of workplace injuries in a year, and new Department of Labor data lists the agricultural sector as the most dangerous in America, costing about 570 lives a year. To top it off, harvest season in the Corn Belt is the peak time for accidents involving farm children.

Those are a couple of the reasons that the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) is assisting with safety education as part of National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 17-23.

"Farming and ranching is one of the most dangerous professions out there, and I would venture to say that everyone in agriculture has experienced or witnessed the devastation that farm accidents can bring to families and communities," said AFAN Executive Director Kristen Hassebrook. "This is the 73rd year that National Farm Safety and Health Week has been designated to the third week of September, as farmers enter the harvest season."

The theme for the 2017 Farm Safety & Health week is "Putting Farm Safety into Practice."
"This is a great reminder that we must follow all best practices to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe," Hassebrook said. "The National Education Center for Agriculture Safety (NECAS) offers safety information on topics including tractor safety; farmer health; child/youth health & safety; confined spaces in agriculture; and rural roadway safety."

Watch for AFAN to focus one day on each of these five categories on its social-media platforms this week. Get more in-depth information from NECAS at

U.S. Ag Centers’ YouTube channel ready for National Farm Safety Week, Sept. 17-23

The U.S. Agricultural Centers’ YouTube channel provides the quickest way of “Putting Farm Safety into Practice,” the theme for this year’s National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 17-23.

The 11 U.S. Agricultural Centers, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), have posted 100 safety and health videos related to agriculture, forestry and fishing. The videos, many in both English and Spanish, can be used by Extension agents, agricultural science teachers, producers, first responders, families and others interested in agricultural safety best-practices.

The videos have undergone formal review and only the best are put on YouTube. Popular topics include grain bins, heat illness, tractor rollovers and needlestick injuries.

Agriculture is among our most hazardous industries, with a work-related death rate of 22.2 deaths per 100,000 workers annually, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, far ahead of transportation (13.1/100,000) and mining (12.3/100,000).

NIOSH joins the Ag Centers in recognizing National Farm Safety and Health Week as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of working together to prevent injuries and illnesses to agriculture workers. Additional information and resources for the Week are available through the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety.

How are you advocating for farm safety? Find ideas in the social media kit. Do you have news to share regarding events during National Farm Safety and Health Week? Join the conversation on Twitter, #USAgCenters #NFSHW #necasag.

Iowa Beef Center Introduces New Heifer Development Program

Iowa’s new heifer development program, Iowa Cowmaker Elite, is officially underway, according to program coordinator Patrick Wall, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist. Wall said the intent of the long-term project is to help Iowa’s beef producers select, manage and develop high quality heifers year after year.

“Information from Iowa Cowmaker Elite females will be compiled and used for constant improvement in Iowa’s cowherd,” he said. “These females will be selected for longevity and ability to thrive in Iowa’s various environments, and in turn, will generate more desirable feeder cattle backed with reliable herd health, performance and carcass information.”

The Iowa Cowmaker Elite program is a cooperative effort of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association and the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, with the end goal of aiding Iowa’s cattle producers in building more profitable and sustainable cow herds, regardless of operation size or system.

“The educational component of this project is two-fold: help producers decide which heifers are the right ones to keep and breed, and then help them find the right bulls to use on those females,” Wall said. “We want producers to set goals for their operation, then we’ll teach them the visual indicators, the genetics, even which columns on the paper that will most likely get them there.”

Heifers enrolled in the program may be purchased or home-raised and developed at any cooperating central location or on-farm, he said. Entry fees for the Iowa Cowmaker Elite program include an annual membership fee of $25 per owner and a $5 per head fee for heifer enrollment. In addition, the owner is responsible for the cost of the program tag for females who graduate from the program.

Details of the program including standards, health protocols, list of centralized development locations and contact information is on the Iowa Cowmaker Elite web page. An informational video on the program itself and the enrollment process also is available on that page.

Enrollment of heifer calves is a simple process.
-        Visit the Iowa Cowmaker Elite page at
-        Download the Data Entry file.
-        Print the program requirements.
-        Share the files with your local veterinarian to ensure the herd health protocols are met.
-        Fill in the columns chute-side as the heifers cross the scale.
-        Email the Data Entry file to Wall at

Producers will receive a detailed analysis of their heifers compared with others in the program at each stage in the process: weaning, yearling, breeding and pregnancy check.

Study Examines Current Financial Stress in Iowa Farms

Iowa farm financial conditions have deteriorated since 2012, but average indicators of liquidity and solvency remain close to their long term levels, according to a new study published in the September issue of Ag Decision Maker.

The study is titled “Financial stress in Iowa farms,” and was written by Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University. The study is also available as a publication from the ISU Extension Store.

Nearly 300 farms were analyzed in the study based on their financial statements for 2014, 2015 and 2016. These farms are representative of medium-sized commercial farms largely managed by experienced farmers.

“When looking at the averages of the last three years, it’s not surprising that current financial conditions are close to their historical averages,” Plastina said. “What was surprising is the consistent increase in financial stress by the end of 2016. Four out of ten farms showed vulnerable levels of liquidity, so it’s important to let people know that financial stress is more common than most would like to admit.”

Liquidity in Iowa farms has dropped over the last three years, with 47.3 percent of farms in a strong liquidity position in 2014 and 41.7 percent in that same category in 2016. At the same time, the number of farms in a vulnerable liquidity position has risen from 31.5 percent to 42.9 percent. This translates to an average loss in working capital of $180 per acre during that period. Farms with vulnerable liquidity ratings were hurt even more, averaging a loss of $347 in working capital per acre.

Similar trends are seen in these farms’ debt-to-asset ratio. Strong farms have declined from 42.5 percent in 2014 to 39.9 percent in 2016. Vulnerable farms have increased from 20.5 percent to 25.3 percent.

“It is apparent that solvency issues are much less prevalent than liquidity issues,” said Plastina. “However, it must be noted that machinery, land and other long-lived assets are valued at their cost or book value, and do not reflect the recent decline in asset value.”

The number of financially stressed farms – those with vulnerable liquidity or solvency ratings – increased from 38 percent in December 2014 to 47 percent in December 2016.

“Farmers need to be benchmarking their own financial situation,” Plastina said. “If they have financial statements or if they are able to create their own balance sheets they should do that and analyze their situation objectively.”

Farmers with concerns regarding their operational finances can also schedule a consultation with an ISU Extension and Outreach Farm Financial Associate. The associates will run a complete FINPACK analysis that provides an in-depth evaluation of the farm business and financial projections based on potential changes to the operation.

Farmers can also contact an ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist with questions regarding their finances.

CWT Assists with One Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 9 requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 760,600 pounds (345 metric tons) of Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese, and 275,600 pounds (125 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through December 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 53.851 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.729 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 20 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 580.952 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Growth Energy: McKinney, Censky Nominations Strong Choices for USDA

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement today in support of the nominations of Stephen Censky to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Ted McKinney to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Affairs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Having strong leaders at the USDA who understand the role biofuels play in improving the U.S. farm economy and rural America is of the utmost importance to our industry. We have faith that both Mr. Censky and Mr. McKinney would bring this knowledge to these positions, and we fully support their nominations.

“Through his years at the helm of the American Soybean Association, Mr. Censky has seen biofuels transform the U.S. agricultural economy, which assures us he knows that biofuels can be an excellent tool as we seek innovative ways to strengthen the farm economy.

“Mr. McKinney has a keen understanding of what drives the growth of American ethanol in the international marketplace. Given trade challenges across the globe, including in Brazil, China, and the European Union, we need a strong agricultural voice at USDA who will make sure our trading partners understand that open markets mean more prosperity for all.”

The nomination hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. EST on September 19, 2017, in the Hart Senate Office Building.

Mexico Mulls Pork as Response to U.S. NAFTA Produce Proposal

Mexican negotiators are working on a response to informal U.S. proposals to include protections for fresh produce in the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), two people briefed on the proposals said. U.S., Canadian and Mexican delegations finished a second round of talks last week to renegotiate the 23-year-old treaty, which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to abandon if he could not get a better deal for U.S. workers.

According to Reuters, Mexico is looking at creating its own list, that might include pork, in case Washington formally proposes to give seasonal fruit and vegetable farmers added protection, the people briefed on the matter said.

Mexican negotiators are studying the inclusion of pork legs in its counterproposal, including possible limits on the volume of U.S. exports to its southern neighbor, the people said.

The legs account for the bulk of Mexico's pork imports from the United States and are used to make some of the country's most popular dishes, like tacos al pastor and carnitas.

Some Mexican agricultural leaders have said that dairy and chicken could also be deemed sensitive, though those products were not mentioned by the sources briefed on the proposal.

In its NAFTA negotiating objectives published in July, the Trump administration said it would seek a "domestic industry provision for perishable and seasonal products" in trade cases. Since then the issue has not come up in official statements and it was unclear whether the idea was brought up again in the latest round of talks.

However, the possibility of a tit-for-tat response by Mexico to a potential U.S. proposal to limit fresh produce trade highlights the risks of granting exceptions to selected interests. Several U.S. retail, restaurant and agriculture groups flagged such risks last week in letters sent to Trump administration officials.

Beef Board CEO Search

The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) announces a national search to fill the position of Chief Executive Officer after accepting the resignation of current CEO Polly Ruhland in late August.

CBB’s primary function is to oversee and administrate the national beef checkoff through the management of programs that are proposed and carried out by various contractors. As part of the administration of the program, CBB oversees the collection of a mandatory assessment fee on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle and imported beef and beef products through a coordinated effort with qualified state beef councils.

CBB consists of 100 board members representing domestic beef, dairy and veal producers and importers of beef and beef products. A staff of nine employees conducts day-to-day operations.

Under the direction of the Board, the CEO manages all administrative and organizational affairs of CBB. The successful candidate will lead CBB operations, manage organizational strategy, financial and legal matters, and communications, as well as CBB’s relationships with the United States Department of Agriculture and beef community stakeholders.

The position is based in Centennial, Colorado, and the new CEO must reside in the Denver area.

Interested parties should click here to find a job description and additional information, or contact with inquiries. All discussions will be held strictly confidential.

Ruhland resigned in late August to accept the position of CEO at the United Soybean Board. The CBB Executive Committee subsequently tapped Chief Financial Officer Katherine Ayers as interim CEO, effective beginning Nov. 1, 2017.

The Value of Preconditioning Calves

Brenda Boetel, Professor and Extension Economist
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Preconditioning is a generic term that means different things to different people and encompasses the different operating procedures that may be applied to a calf prior to shipping. Preconditioning activities may include weaning, vaccinations, dehorning, castration, and starting calves on a high energy diet. Several reasons exist for the cow/calf producer to precondition their calves, but the underlying goal is to increase the value of the calf being sold or the productivity of the calf being retained.

Preconditioning adds weight and health to the calf, which in turn enhances the cow/calf producer's reputation. Most preconditioning programs require 45 days where the calf is bunk broke and the manager follows specified animal health protocols and a nutritional program. Several studies show the decreased morbidity and mortality of preconditioned calves, a higher feedlot performance level, and a higher quality carcass. The economic justifications for preconditioning are harder to quantify though as the additional economic value is dependent on several factors.

One of the biggest economic justifications is the added weight. Total revenue for cow/calf producers is largely dependent on calf weight. The added calf weight from a preconditioning program typically adds additional dollars in the cow/calf producer's pocket. Obviously, the management challenge is to find a feed ration where the cost of gain is less than the value of additional pounds. Typically the preconditioned calf has approximately half the shrink experienced by the non-preconditioned calf. The decreased shrink will also help keep the value higher than the cost.1 Nonetheless, the additional value will be somewhat dependent on the current market and whether the classic price slide is being experienced. Note also that preconditioning will typically delay the sale of the calf until November or December, which can have a slight seasonal price increase.  

Another value to preconditioned calves is the increased ability to comingle your calves with another producer's calves through a marketing agent. Typically, the commission rates are lower in this scenario.

Although, keeping the calves an additional 45 days to precondition increases feed costs, labor costs, death loss, interest, etc., the premiums received for the preconditioned calves is a pretty convincing argument to precondition.  This premium continued to increase through 2014. In the current environment preconditioning may become even more important, not necessarily due to the premium received for preconditioning, but because the cow/calf producer can avoid the discount received for calves with unknown health status of non-preconditioned calves.  Buyer interest in preconditioned calves is expected to continue to grow as increases are realized in calf prices and the cost to finish cattle. Yet many producers still do not precondition calves, and are essentially leaving money on the table.

Franken Teams with Grassley to Protect Midwest Family Farmers

The Senate unanimously approved a key piece of bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that will enable family farmers in Minnesota, Iowa, and across the country to get a fairer shake when they fall on hard times.

As a part of a 2005 bankruptcy reform bill, Congress passed a provision to address the unique financial situations of family farmers who are reorganizing their assets following bankruptcy. However, a 2012 Supreme Court ruling found that the 2005 law, as written, failed to achieve Congress' express goal of helping family farmers. Grassley and Franken's Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 fixes the ruling and ensures that the law, as first intended, will protect our family farmers.

"Our bipartisan bill is a commonsense fix to ensure that the law functions as intended and protects family farmers in Minnesota and across the country," said Sen. Franken. "Getting this measure passed, which I'm glad to say we did in the Senate, will help ensure farmers going through bankruptcy get a fair shake and are able to repay the debts they owe without sacrificing their families' futures."

The Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act will allow struggling family farmers to reorganize their debts to treat capital gains taxes owed to a governmental unit, arising from the sale of farm assets during a bankruptcy, as general unsecured claims. It also removes the IRS' veto power over a bankruptcy reorganization plan's confirmation, giving the family farmer a chance to reorganize successfully.

Merck Animal Health Applauds Dr. Dee Griffin as Mentor of the Year

Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside of the United States and Canada) and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) recently presented Dr. Dee Griffin with the Mentor of the Year Award as a result of his significant contributions to the bovine medicine industry and his commitment to mentoring the next generations of bovine veterinarians. Each year, the award is given out at the AABP Annual Conference to recognize an individual who has played a role in educating, supporting and advancing the careers of future bovine veterinarians.

     “We admire Dr. Griffin’s contributions to veterinary medicine and his ongoing passion for being a resource for students,” said Norman Stewart, DVM, livestock and technical services manager for Merck Animal Health. “We commend him for his ability to engage with and share his experience and knowledge with students and young veterinarians.”

     Dr. Griffin’s interest in beef production began at an early age, as he was raised on a cow-calf operation in western Oklahoma. He played a key role in founding the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. He has been a member of the BQA advisory board since it began and is passionate about educating producers on the program. The program works to teach producers about beef quality issues, including animal husbandry, antibiotic stewardship and health management.

     "Dr. Griffin is dedicated to the next generation and never quits giving back,” said Bob Smith, DVM, a long-time friend and colleague of Dr. Griffin. “He is always encouraging and uplifting students and instilling in them a deep passion for the beef industry and vet medicine.”

     As a result of his dedication and service to the beef industry, Dr. Griffin also received the Industry Leadership Award and was inducted into the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.  

     "Dr. Dee Griffin has made an impact on the career of many veterinarians. A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor, and Dr. Griffin certainly fulfills that definition,” said Dr. Fred Gingrich II, DVM, executive vice president of AABP. “His lifelong passion for veterinary medicine and teaching make him the ideal candidate to join the long list of other Mentor of the Year recipients.”

     Dr. Griffin is an active member of numerous veterinary organizations, including AABP, and is the eleventh recipient of the Mentor of the Year Award, which was instituted in 2007. He completed his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at Oklahoma State University in 1976 and then completed his Master of Science (MS) degree in pathology and ruminant nutrition from Purdue University. He practiced beef-cattle medicine before becoming faculty at Nebraska’s Great Plains Veterinary Education Center (GPVEC). Dr. Griffin retired from GPVEC after 25 years and is now working as a clinical professor and director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center at West Texas A&M University.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Friday September 15 Ag News

Nelson Appointed to Serve on Nebraska Ethanol Board

Taylor Nelson, who farms near Jackson, Nebraska, joins the Nebraska Ethanol Board as the corn representative. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts Sept. 8.

Nelson earned his agriculture economics degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He returned to the family farm in 2012, and produces corn and soybeans in Dixon and Dakota counties with his father, Doug Nelson, and uncle, Jim Nelson. Along with his wife and parents, Nelson also operates the Jackson Express convenience store.

“After college, we were looking for an opportunity to concentrate my time and get started farming,” Nelson said. “Land opportunities were few and far between and we didn't own livestock, but we saw an opportunity to build a convenience store in my hometown of Jackson.

Although we didn’t have experience in the retail, fuel or food service, we saw it as a way to diversify our operation and bring many needed goods and services to the Jackson area including the ability to sell and promote ethanol.”

Opening in November 2012, Jackson Express quickly became known for quality ethanol fuel and an ideal meeting place for coffee or lunch. Initially, Nelson spent most of his time getting the business off the ground. Now his wife, Emily, is the general manager and he is back farming.

Nelson is now putting his diversified experience to action as a member of the American Coalition for Ethanol and vice president of the northeast Nebraska chapter of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

“Taylor’s background in both fuel sales and farming makes him a unique addition to the board,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “As the youngest board member, we look forward to his input on using new marketing techniques to engage drivers.”

Nelson joins current board members: Mike Thede, chairman (Palmer, Neb.); Jan tenBensel, vice chairman (Cambridge, Neb.); Mark Ondracek, secretary (Omaha, Neb.); Randy Gard (Grand Island, Neb.); Tim Else (Belvidere, Neb.); Scott McPheeters (Gothenburg, Neb.); and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chemical Engineering Professor Hunter Flodman, who serves as the board’s technical advisor.

Members of the Nebraska Ethanol Board are appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The seven-member board includes four members actively engaged in farming (general farming, corn, wheat and sorghum), one member representing labor interests, one member representing petroleum marketers and one member representing business. The Board’s technical advisor serves as a non-voting member.

DNA Technology in Beef Cattle Conference

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is pleased to announce its DNA technology in beef conference at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Neb. The topic is "DNA Technology: Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and Where We Are Headed."

"Genetic selection tools are constantly evolving," said Matt Spangler, UNL Extension Beef Genetics Specialist, said. "Participants will learn about genetic/genomic selection tools in beef cattle and research discoveries over the past year". Presentations will focus on selection for feed efficiency, genetic control of water intake, genetics of feed and leg structure, and new "single-step" genomic evaluations.

Speakers include: Dr. Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dr. Bob Weaber, Kansas State University; Dr. Megan Rolf, Kansas State University; Dr. Larry Kuehn, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; Dr. Mark Thallman, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; and Dr. Gary Bennett, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

Registration fee is $15, which includes lunch and all handout materials.

For more information, contact Matt Spangler at 402-472-6489 or Please RSVP by Oct. 2 by contacting Sherri Pitchie at 402-472-2907 or


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist
               Corn may soon be dry enough to combine in many areas.  Maybe it would be wise to harvest some corn early to get some stalks.

               Most of us soon will have only a little pasture left.  But your cows will still be out there trying to get what little they can.  You know the cows and calves can’t be doing very well unless you also are feeding them, but what also is this grazing doing to your pasture?

               Pastures put up with a lot of stress during grazing.  As we approach winter, these plants need time to recover and to winterize.  Even if they have received plenty of rain this year and are growing well, severe grazing now will weaken plants as they go into winter.  Next spring they will green-up later, early growth will be slow, and they'll compete poorly with weeds.

               Maybe the best way to get some rest for these pastures is to harvest some corn a little early and then move the cows to stalks.  Early stalks usually have more protein and energy than late stalks so they can put some condition on your cows while also relieving your pastures.  And after the growing season is completely over you can graze any remaining growth on your pastures without causing much stress.

               Since you need a little time to set up fences and water tanks on stalk fields anyway, maybe you should start corn harvest a little early this year.  It might lessen the hectic pace you often feel later when you want to spend time in the combine harvesting crops as well as setting up stalk grazing.

               Moving to stalks early is good for both your animals and your pastures.  If you can work it out, take the time to make the change.

Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers Union

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 320 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials.  Fortenberry was one of 33 House and Senate members honored this year.

Eight Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.  In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants included Bill Armbrust and Jeffrey Downing from Elkhorn, Kevin Harrington and Camdyn Kavan from Lincoln, Sean Mohlman from Red Cloud, Jim Knopik from Belgrade, and Dr. Merlin Friesen from Filley.

The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union:  education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and contribution to several issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and the NeFU team during their meeting with him Wednesday morning.

“We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s continued leadership on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and a wide range family farm and ranch issues that support farm and ranch families and their rural communities,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s thoughtful approach to understanding the issues that impact family farm and ranch agriculture and our state.” 

Taiwanese Goodwill Delegation Signs Letters of Intent to Purchase Iowa Corn

A trade team from the Taiwan Feed Industry Association visited Iowa this week and met with Iowa Corn leaders as part of a Goodwill Mission to build contacts between Taiwanese agricultural leaders and Iowa farmers and suppliers.

As part of this mission, the delegation met with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in taking part in a signing ceremony held today. The letter of intent signed between ICPB and the Taiwan Feed Industry Association, outlines the intention by the Taiwanese to purchase 5.0 million metric tons (197 million bushels) of corn and 0.5 million metric tons of distillers dried grain with solubles (DDGS) between 2018 and 2019. The estimated value of these future purchases totals $1.05 billion.

“Taiwan is an important buyer of U.S. corn and co-products,” said ICPB Director Mark Heckman, a farmer from West Liberty. “By having this Goodwill Mission in our state, we are strengthening trade ties and helping to maintain the well-established partnership between the United States and Taiwan. Trade matters to our economy and to U.S. farmers who need access to global markets to maintain and expand exports of corn in all forms.”

Taiwan imported more than 2 million metric tons (80.2 million bushels) of U.S. corn in marketing year 2015/2016, claiming nearly 40 percent of total market share and a position as the sixth largest U.S. corn market. Taiwan also serves as a key buyer of U.S. DDGS, a co-product of ethanol production that is a high-protein feed ingredient for livestock.

The Goodwill Mission has been organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) every other year since 1998 and allows Taiwanese participants to gain familiarity with U.S. coarse grains’ yield, production and quality. It also educates the delegation on the advantages of U.S. coarse grains and related co-products and reconfirms the United States’ commitment to being the long-term, reliable supplier of grains for their market.

Trusted Rancher Recordkeeping Tool Soon Available for 2018

A pocket-sized recordkeeping tool used by cattle producers for more than 30 years will be available for the 2018 year starting October 2, 2017.  The Redbook from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association helps cattle producers effectively and efficiently record their daily production efforts, helping enhance profitability.

The 2018 Redbook has more than 100 pages to record calving activity, herd health, pasture use, cattle inventory, body condition, cattle treatment, AI breeding records and more.  It also contains a Producers Guide for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle, Beef Quality Assurance Best Practices and proper injection technique information, as well as a calendar and notes section.

“I’m more comfortable leaving home without my pocket knife than my Redbook,” according to Dan Kniffen, a Pennsylvania beef producer. “The Redbook puts documentation in my shirt pocket and helps me identify potential day-to-day problems with my herd, as well as progress I’m making in efforts to improve it. The challenges I face are more manageable when I have the information for dealing with them right in front of me.”

Redbooks can be purchased for $7.00 each, plus shipping and handling. Customization of the Redbooks is available (for 100 books or more), and quantity discounts are available.  To order, visit  

Japan Expands Market Access for U.S. Chipping Potatoes

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that Japan is expanding market access for U.S. chipping potatoes, resuming imports from Idaho for the first time in 11 years.

“The United States has a reputation around the globe for growing high-quality potatoes,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are committed to opening up new market opportunities for U.S. producers, and I am gratified that farmers in Idaho, our largest potato-producing state, will prosper while helping Japan with their supply of fresh chipping potatoes.”

The United States enjoys a 98-percent share of the Japanese potato market, with exports of fresh and chilled potatoes growing from $1 million in 2010 to $19 million in 2016.  Beginning with the 2018 season, Idaho will again be among the U.S. states eligible to ship chipping potatoes to Japan.

Japan halted imports of chipping potatoes from Idaho after detection of pale cyst nematode (PCN) in the southeastern part of the state in 2006. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has worked closely with the U.S. potato industry and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PCN eradication program. As a result, Japan has reopened the market to chipping potatoes from all Idaho counties except Bingham and Bonneville, which remain under quarantine for PCN.

Japan has also clarified that all U.S. seed-producing states that are free from PCN and golden nematode are eligible to supply seed potatoes to produce chipping potatoes for export to Japan.

Bayer and Luke Bryan Toast American Farmers with Tour

Country music superstar Luke Bryan is no stranger to celebrating America's hard-working farmers. At this year's Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour, tour sponsor Bayer will join him in toasting U.S. farmers with its Here's To The Farmer campaign.

"I come from a farming background so I understand the hard work and passion it takes for farmers to feed America and feed the world," Bryan said. "That's why I'm proud to join my friends at Bayer in thanking farmers for everything they do by saying, 'Here's To The Farmer.' "

Bryan, the son of a peanut farmer from Georgia, launched his annual Farm Tour in 2009 as a way to highlight and celebrate the contributions of America's farmers. Bayer, a world leader in innovation and agriculture, is the title sponsor of the tour for the third consecutive year and will highlight its Here's To The Farmer campaign which asks fans to share #HeresToTheFarmer online to show their gratitude to America's farmers. For every share, Bayer will donate a meal* to someone in need through Feeding America.

"Last year, Bayer and Luke donated 500,000 meals. With the help of Luke's fans across the country sharing #HeresToTheFarmer, I know we'll be able to reach our new goal of donating 1 million meals to fight hunger right here in America," said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer.

Bayer's Here's To The Farmer campaign will also help tackle hunger locally by donating more than $10,000 to area food banks, and by honoring a local farmer on stage with Bryan at each location.

"America's farmers work tremendously hard to give all of us safe, affordable and nutritious food. What better way to show our appreciation to them than by providing some great country music and raising a glass with Luke Bryan to say, 'Here's To The Farmer,' " Kerins said.

To learn more about Bayer's Here's To The Farmer campaign visit

Dates and locations for the tour include:
- Sept. 28 -- Lincoln, Neb., Benes Farm
- Sept. 29 -- Baldwin City, Kan., Don-Ale Farms
- Sept. 30 -- Boone, Iowa, Ziel Farm
- Oct. 5 -- Fort Wayne, Ind., Spangler Farms West
- Oct. 6 -- Edinburg, Ill., Ayers Family Farm
- Oct. 7 -- Centralia, Mo., Stowers Farm

For details on show locations and tickets, visit

$1 helps provide 11 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks. Bayer provided the financial equivalent of 1,000,000 meals in conjunction with the promotion from 09/21/2017 to 10/31/2017.