Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 31 Crop Progress & Conditon Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending August 30, 2015, cooler temperatures were noted in eastern counties where significant rainfall occurred, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. However, western dryland crops and pastures were showing stress as producers worked to keep up with demands of irrigated crops. Final hay harvest was active, as was preparation for winter wheat planting in the west. There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 29 short, 61 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 25 short, 67 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 18 fair, 58 good, and 19 excellent. Corn dough was at 91 percent, near 93 last year and the five-year average of 95. Dented was at 59 percent, equal to last year, but behind 64 average. Mature was at 1 percent, behind 7 last year and 8 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 26 fair, 59 good, and 14 excellent. Sorghum coloring was at 43 percent, well behind 68 last year, but near 42 average.

Soybean condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 57 good, and 17 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was at 96 percent, near 99 last year and 98 average. Dropping leaves was at 10 percent, ahead of 4 last year and 3 average.

Alfalfa condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 28 fair, 54 good, and 13 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was at 94 percent, ahead of 89 last year and 88 average. Fourth cutting was at 29 percent, ahead of 17 for both last year and the average.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 6 poor, 25 fair, 55 good, and 11 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 7 short, 89 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Already saturated fields along with heavy rains on Friday limited fieldwork in the State to 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending August 30, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included cutting hay and silage, as well as harvesting oats. Scattered reports of sudden death syndrome and white mold in soybean fields were received.  Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 6 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Heavy rains in central Iowa raised topsoil and subsoil surplus moisture levels up 13 and 12 percentage points to 28 and 30 percent, respectively.

Ninety-five percent of the corn crop reached the dough stage or beyond, with 57 percent dented or beyond, 3 days ahead of last year, but 3 days behind the 5-year average. Three percent of the corn crop was reported as being mature. Corn condition rated 81 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-five percent of soybeans were setting pods or beyond, while 11 percent of soybeans were turning color, 2 days ahead of 2014, but 2 days behind normal. Soybeans dropping leaves were also reported this week by a few reporters. Soybean condition rated 76 percent good to excellent.

Oats harvested for grain or seed was virtually complete this week.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was nearing completion, while the third cutting of alfalfa hay was 67 percent complete, 5 days behind average.

Pasture condition rated 66 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as generally good, although muddy lots were reported in some areas.


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship  

It was an unseasonably cool week across Iowa with highly variable rainfall amounts. There was a gradual warming trend during the week with a few locations edging slightly above normal on Thursday (27th) and Sunday (30th). Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Tuesday (25th) morning lows of 40 degrees at Spencer and Sheldon to a Sunday (30th) afternoon high of 85 degrees at Donnellson. The statewide average temperature for the week was 5.9 degrees below normal. Dry weather prevailed statewide from Sunday (23rd)morning through Wednesday (26th) night. Showers and thunderstorms brought rain to all but far southeastern Iowa between Thursday (27th) morning and Saturday (29th) morning. Very heavy rain fell Friday (28th) along and just south of U.S. Highway 20 from Fort Dodge east to Waterloo with four to six inch amounts common.Weekly rain totals varied from only sprinkles at Bloomfield, Fairfield, Mount Pleasant, Burlington, Fort Madison and Keokuk to 6.59 inches at Steamboat Rock in Hardin County. However, unofficial rain totals between 9 and 10 inches were received from southeast Webster and southern Hamilton counties. The statewide average precipitation was 1.52 inches while normal for the week is 0.91 inches.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

Corn condition ratings dropped slightly while soybean conditions held steady in the week ended Aug. 30, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report.

Sixty percent of the nation's corn crop is in the dent stage and 9% is mature, compared to 39% and not available last week and five-year averages of 60% and 15%. Corn was rated 68% good to excellent, compared to 69% last week.

Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop is setting pods and 9% is dropping leaves, compared to 87% and not available last week and five-year averages of 95% and 7%. Soybean conditions were 63% good to excellent, equal to last week's rating.

Spring wheat is 88% harvested, compared to 75% last week and a 62% five-year average.

Sorghum is 58% coloring, 29% mature and 15% harvested; last week these numbers were 48%, 27% and not available, respectively. The five-year averages are 54%, 30% and 23%. Sorghum conditions were steady.

Monday August 31 Ag New

USDA Releases Results of First Farmland Landlord Survey Since 1999

There are 20.1 million acres of farmland rented out by landlords in Nebraska, according to the results of the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) survey released August 31, 2015 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

NASS conducted the survey in cooperation with the USDA’s Economic Research Service to get a better insight into who owns U.S. farmland. TOTAL was the first time NASS surveyed farmland landlords since 1999. The survey results provide analysis of rented farmlands by acreage, as well as by landlords, which include individuals, as well as ownership arrangements such as partnerships, corporations, trusts, and other types of ownership.

According to TOTAL findings, there are 69,112 farmland landlords in Nebraska. Of these, 11,864 were farmers, while 57,248 are non-farming landlords. Cropland made up 62 percent of all Nebraska farmland rented, while 36 percent were pasture acres rented. The rest of the rented farmland in Nebraska were acres used for forests and other land uses.

In the next five years, Nebraska farmland landlords expect to transfer 4.45 million acres to different owners. Of these, 362,462 acres are expected to be sold to non-relatives, 445,253 acres are expected to be sold to relatives, 3.03 million acres are expected to be put in a trust, and 609,402 acres landlords expect to gift away.

Most of U.S. Rented Farmland Owned by Non-Farmers

Agricultural producers rented and farmed 353.8 million acres of farmland, according to the results of the 2014 Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land, or TOTAL, survey results released today by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of these acres, 80 percent are owned by non-farming landlords.

According to the survey results, rented farmland acres, combined with buildings on this land, are valued at more than $1.1 trillion. TOTAL counted approximately 2.1 million landlords with various ownership arrangements. In 2014, all of the landlords combined received $31.2 billion in rental income while incurring $9.2 billion in total expenses.

A tenth of the 911 million U.S. farmland acres outside of Alaska and Hawaii, or about 91.5 million acres, is slated for ownership transfer in the next five years, not including farmland that is in or is expected to be put into wills. Landlords expect to keep or put nearly 48 percent of these acres in trusts. Only 21 million acres of land are expected to be sold to a non-relative, while 26 million acres are expected to be sold to a relative or given as a gift. This means that only a small percentage of farmland will be available for new entrants into the farming sector.

In addition to looking at farmland, TOTAL also provides a glimpse into demographic information for 1.4 million non-farming individuals and principals in partnerships arrangements, also known as principal landlords. According to the findings, the average age of these landlords is 66.5 years old. This age exceeds that of the average farmer, who is 58.3 years old, according to the most recent Census of Agriculture. Only 18 percent of all principal landlords were under 55 years old. Nearly 45 percent of all of the principal landlords have never farmed.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               August is ending; September beginning.  Pasture season is nearly over.  Or is it?

               Most areas have been blessed with summer precipitation and forecasts suggest it will continue into fall.  This is encouraging many folks to think about planting something for fall pasture.  Unfortunately , there is no magic bullet, or should I say magic grass, that can provide grazing instantly.  All plants need some time – as well as the right temperature, moisture, and nutrient conditions – to grow.

               Of all the options available, oats and annual ryegrass may have the best chance of producing enough growth yet this fall to pay for its planting.  Since turnip, forage rape, and radish seeds are relatively inexpensive, they also might work with a warm fall, but don’t count on it.

               Instead of trying to save hay by growing some fall pasture, most of you are likely to save more hay by planting winter rye or triticale for early spring pasture.  Depending on the number of acres you plant and what other spring grazing options you have, these winter small grains should help eliminate the last two to six weeks of hay feeding this winter.  As an added benefit, they also get cows and new-born calves out onto high quality pasture when their nutritional requirements are high enough to make good use of fresh pasture.

               If you still want to try something for this fall, plant a mix of thirty pounds of oats with sixty pounds of winter rye.  This mix should give you some fall grazing plus good spring forage as well.

               Waiting until September to plant usually gives only modest amounts of fall grazing.  And it always will be much less than plantings made in August – when they should be.

ICGA Delegates Move On Issues Impacting Iowa Corn Farmers

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Annual Meeting and Policy Conference which took place last week in Des Moines. Delegates had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. The Annual Meeting and Policy Conference is the year-end event in the policy development process. The process includes a member survey, roundtable discussions held across the state and at the policy conference. Policies that are related to national issues are adopted and brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

 “This meeting reaffirmed that our highest priority is ethanol and supporting a strong renewable fuels standard (RFS). Environmental regulation was also very clearly one of our top priorities,” said ICGA President Bob Hemesath.  “It was evident that our farmers believe in continued investment in on farm conservation practices to protect Iowa’s water quality.”

ICGA members that were in attendance also had the pleasure of hearing from guest speakers such as presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. All guest speakers spoke out in support of a strong and robust RFS. 
The complete 2015-2016 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing corninfo@iowacorn.org or calling 515-225-9242.

AGP, Monsanto Partnering to Bring Iowa Farmers High Oleic Soybeans

Ag Processing Inc (AGP) announced it will participate in the 2016 pilot introduction of Monsanto's Vistive Gold high oleic soybeans. They are the first processor to offer Iowa growers the opportunity to increase soybean profit potential with Vistive Gold high oleic soybeans. The new soybeans were developed with input from leading food companies over the last decade and offer an improved nutritional profile with zero trans fats and reduced saturated fats that the food industry and consumers are currently demanding.

AGP will partner with two member cooperatives near its Manning, Iowa plant -- Farmers Cooperative Elevator Co., Arcadia and Aspinwall Cooperative Company, Aspinwall -- to offer premiums of 80 cents per bushel for on-farm storage and 70 cents per bushel for harvest delivery to farmers who grow Vistive Gold soybeans under contract. The soybeans will then be processed at AGP's processing plant in Manning and the high oleic oil marketed to interested food manufacturers. AGP and its participating cooperative members will be contracting with Iowa growers on a first-come-first-serve basis.

"AGP is excited about our partnership with Monsanto, local cooperative members and soybean producers in this new opportunity to add value to soybeans and introduce new technology to the industry," said Mark Sandeen, Vice President, Processing Marketing. "We look forward to working with our partners and food customers as Vistive Gold oil is introduced to the marketplace."

The new soybeans will bring the opportunity for nutritionally improved cooking oil for consumers and food companies. Compared to other cooking oils, Vistive Gold also has improved oxidative stability, which reduces buildup on frying equipment and extends its oil fry life. This is important not only for reducing cost but also reducing residues, which can help to make restaurant operations more efficient and sustainable. In addition, the oil profile of Vistive Gold soybean oil has 60% less saturated fat than commodity soy, delivers the same great taste and texture that people expect from cooking oils, and has a shelf life that is equal to or better than traditional oils.

"We are excited to bring Vistive Gold soybeans to farmers in Iowa, and see this as a great opportunity for farmers to maximize their soy acre profit potential," said Sarah Vacek, Monsanto soy product quality traits manager. "Because Vistive Gold soybeans are built on the Roundup Ready 2 Yield platform and feature enhanced breeding and agronomic packages, farmers will see the same yield advantage they have come to expect with their standard Monsanto varieties."

Vistive Gold soybeans also bring opportunity for the soybean industry as a whole in Iowa. "The Iowa Soybean Association looks forward to working with AGP, Monsanto and Iowa soybean growers to expand the production of high oleic soybeans in Iowa," said Iowa Soybean Association Chief Executive Officer Kirk Leeds. "High oleic soybeans are critically important as we recapture market share in the food sector that's been lost due to concerns about trans fats."

Leeds also believes that high oleic soybeans could be of great value in industrial applications as well. "We encourage soybean farmers to take a look at high yielding Vistive Gold varieties and to consider becoming a partner in this important effort to expand demand for soybean oil."

Vistive Gold field trials have taken place for three seasons in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio through Monsanto's Ground Breakers program and growers report successful on-farm performance with the varieties. Ground Breakers trials provide farmers with first-hand experience with pipeline products under commercial-scale planting conditions. This program combines full-field and small-scale approaches to optimize farmers' experiences, training and education opportunities. Monsanto continues to make progress toward commercial introduction of Vistive Gold soybeans in 2016.

ISU Dairy Margin Protection Program Meetings Are Sept. 11

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is holding informational meetings across the state regarding the Margin Protection Program for Dairy on Friday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. Special guest Robert Tigner, extension educator at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will present new analysis as well as MPP information for dairy producers interested in signing up or learning more about the 2014 Farm Bill dairy program.

“A sign up period is underway until Sept. 30 for MPP 2016 participation at designated USDA Farm Service Agency offices,” said Ryan Breuer, DVM, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Tigner will give dairy producers market information and decision-making guides on the benefits of enrollment during the meeting.”

Tigner will be present at the Orange City meeting and connected via webinar to the other locations. ISU Extension and Outreach dairy specialists will lead the morning meetings at all three sites. Registration deadline is Sept. 7.

    ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, 400 Central Avenue NW, Orange City. To register for the meeting, contact extension dairy specialist Ryan Breuer at 712-737-4230 or rmbreuer@iastate.edu.

    Iowa’s Dairy Center – Room 115, 1527 Iowa Highway 150, Calmar. To register for the webinar, contact extension dairy specialist Jenn Bentley at ISU Extension and Outreach Winneshiek County Office, 563-382-2949 or jbentley@iastate.edu.

    ISU Extension and Outreach Dubuque County Office, 14858 West Ridge Lane, Dubuque. To register for the webinar, contact extension dairy specialist Larry Tranel at 563-583-6496 or tranel@iastate.edu.

Margin Protection Program is an insurance-based 2014 Farm Bill program

The Margin Protection Program is an insurance-based 2014 Farm Bill program that allows dairy farmers a risk management opportunity to protect their income against milk price declines. The MPP uses the difference between a two-month average U.S. milk price and a two-month average feed cost to boost indemnity payments. The 2014 Farm Bill specifies how milk price and feed cost is determined and each is used to calculate a “U.S. milk margin.”

Dairy farmers wanting coverage for 2016, must elect a margin level by completing the registration form and paying the $100 administrative fee. The MPP program replaces the previous Milk Income Loss Contract or MILC.

Farmers can select margin levels from $4 to $8, in 50-cent increments and also must choose the amount of historic milk production covered from 25 to 90 percent in 5-percent increments. The MPP premiums for 2016 have two tiers of cost: less than 4 million pounds of milk production covered; or 4 million pounds and above. Premiums must be paid either fully at coverage election time or 25 percent by Feb. 1, with the remainder by June 1.

Prices Received by Iowa Farmers

The average price received by farmers for corn during July in Iowa was $3.78 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is up $0.22 from the June price, but $0.28 lower than July 2014.

The July 2015 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $10.00 per bushel, was $0.50 above the June price, but $3.00 lower than the July 2014 price.

The July average oat price per bushel was $2.55, down $0.91 from June, and $1.40 below July 2014.

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $104.00 per ton in July, $31.00 per ton less than July 2014. Alfalfa hay prices fell $35.00 per ton from one year ago, to $115.00 and other hay prices were $22.00 per ton lower than last year, at $85.00.

The July average price was $17.00 per cwt for milk, down $0.30 per cwt from the June price, and $6.80 per cwt below one year ago.

July Farm Prices Received Index Down 5.7 Percent

The July Prices Received Index (Agricultural Production), at 99, decreased 5.7 percent from June, according to USDA. At 86, the Crop Production Index decreased 2.3 percent. At 115, the Livestock Production Index decreased 5.0 percent. Producers received lower prices for broilers, cattle, strawberries, and lettuce but higher prices for corn, cantaloupes, soybeans, and sweet corn. In
addition to prices, the indexes are influenced by the monthly mix of commodities producers market. Increased monthly movement of wheat, grapes, hay, and cotton offset the decreased marketing of cattle, milk, oranges, and broilers.

The Prices Received Index is down 10 percent from the previous year. The Food Commodities Index, at 105, decreased 7.1 percent from the previous month and is down 13 percent from July 2014.

Crop Production:

The July index, at 86, decreased 2.3 percent from June and is 7.5 percent below July 2014. Index decreases for fruit & tree nut production, vegetable & melon production, and other crop production more than offset the index increase for oilseeds & grains.

Feed grain: The July index, at 64, is up 6.7 percent from last month but is 7.2 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.80 per bushel, is up 22 cents from last month but is down 26 cents from
July 2014. At $7.68 per cwt, sorghum grain is 5 cents higher than June and up 28 cents from July a year earlier.

Food grain: At 71, the index for July is 5.3 percent lower than the previous month and 16 percent below a year earlier. The July price for all wheat, at $5.23 per bushel, is down 20 cents from June and 92 cents below July 2014.

Oilseed: At 80, the index for July is up 3.9 percent from June but is 22 percent lower than July 2014. The soybean price, at $9.96 per bushel, increased 38 cents from June but is $3.14 below July a year

Other crop: The July index, at 90, is down 1.1 percent from the previous month and 13 percent below July 2014. The all hay price, at $156 per ton, is down $6.00 from June and $29.00 lower than July 2014. At 66.1 cents per pound, the price for upland cotton is up 1.0 cent from June but 18.6 cents below July 2014.

Livestock Production:

The index for July, at 115, is 5.0 percent below the previous month and down 14 percent from July a year earlier. Compared with a year ago, lower prices were received during July for milk, hogs, broilers, and cattle. Prices are higher for market eggs, turkeys, and calves.

Meat animal: At 122, the July index is down 3.9 percent from the previous month and 12 percent lower than a year earlier. At $58.70 per cwt, the July hog price is down $1.20 from June and $34.60
lower than a year earlier. The July beef cattle price of $149 per cwt is $6.00 less than the previous month and $7.00 below July 2014.

Dairy: The index for July, at 83, is down 1.2 percent from the previous month and 28 percent lower than July a year earlier. The July all milk price of $16.60 per cwt dropped 30 cents from June and is down $6.70 from July 2014.

Poultry and egg: At 131, the July index decreased 12 percent from June and is 3.7 percent below 2014. The July market egg price, at $1.81 per dozen, decreased 12.0 cents from June but is 76.0 cents
higher than July 2014. The July broiler price, at 51.0 cents per pound, is down 11.0 cents from June and 15.0 cents less than a year earlier. At 84.8 cents per pound, the July turkey price is up 3.6 cents from the previous month and 10.8 cents from 2014.

July Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The July Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW), at 109, is unchanged from June but is down 3.5 percent from July 2014. Lower prices in July for feeder cattle, feeder pigs, nitrogen, and potash & phosphate offset higher prices for concentrates, complete feeds, feed grains, and milk cows.

ACE elects Board representatives

During the August 19 annual meeting of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), members elected directors to serve three-year terms of service on the organization’s governing board.  

Four individuals re-elected to the ACE Board of Directors are listed below.

Ron Alverson, representing Dakota Ethanol, LLC, an ethanol plant in Wentworth, South Dakota, which produces 50 million gallons of ethanol per year (MGY).   Alverson currently serves as the President of the ACE Board of Directors.

John Christianson, on behalf of Christianson and Associates, a Wilmar, Minnesota based accounting and consulting firm.

Doug Punke, CEO of the Renewable Products Marketing Group (RPMG), an ethanol marketing company in Shakopee, Minnesota.

Brian Wilcox, from the Nebraska Public Power District, an electric utility company in Columbus, Nebraska which serves 87 out of the 93 counties in the state.

ACE members elected two individuals to serve as new board directors.   Kenton Johnson was elected to represent Granite Falls Energy, LLC, a 62 mgy ethanol plant located near Granite Falls, Minnesota, and Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was elected to represent the North Dakota Corn Growers Association.

Webinar to Build a Cow-Calf Expansion Roadmap

Cow-calf margins will shrink as the U.S. beef cowherd expands, but producers can ensure future profitability by adjusting business plans for the supply increase. An upcoming free CattleFax webinar will address the scope of expansion and guide producers through the challenge.

CattleFax is encouraging cow-calf producers to register now for its Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar at 5:30 p.m. MT, Sept. 10, 2015. To participate in the webinar and access program details, producers simply need to register online at www.cattlefax.com/meetings.aspx.

Record-high profits in the cow-calf segment have created an expansion that is on pace to be the most aggressive U.S. beef cowherd rebuilding effort in four decades. The cowherd could add 2.5 million cows over the next three years and approach 33 million by 2020. Profits could narrow considerably during that time, but well-informed producers can adjust production, marketing and risk management plans with increasing supplies in mind and remain profitable.

CattleFax analysts will discuss a variety of topics in the one-hour session, including:
-    Cattle and feedstuff market projections for the next 12 to 18 months
-    Supply and margin expectations based on U.S. beef cowherd expansion estimates
-    A roadmap to keep U.S. ranches economically viable during the expansion and beyond

The Trends+ webinar series informs cattle producers about current market conditions and provides decision-friendly advice regarding management decisions. The analysis and strategies shared through this webinar series has reached more than 2,500 producers, and sponsorship from Elanco Animal Health is making the seminar free for all attendees.

What's Down the Pike for Beef Demand?

What's going to happen to beef demand as the cattle industry continues to expand the breeding herd?  How will rebuilding affect the strong prices we've been receiving for our animals and our end product?  What should we focus on to maximize our opportunities for maintaining or growing beef demand during this expansion?

Virtually every member of the beef community, from farm to fork, has asked that question in recent months -- hopeful but hesitant to believe that the tremendous marketplace the cattle industry has enjoyed lately will continue.

That's apparently why two renowned Kansas State University (KSU) ag economists just posted a Beef Demand Prioritization fact sheet to help cattle producers and all other segments of the beef industry understand what's likely on the horizon.

KSU Associate Professor of Livestock & Meat Marketing/Price Analysis Glynn Tonsor and Professor of Livestock Marketing Ted Schroeder posted the analysis on AgManager on Aug. 28, laying out possible scenarios and, maybe more important, opportunities and priorities for maintaining a strong beef marketplace in the years ahead.


Download the fact sheet and read it carefully to see how the experts answer the questions everyone is asking about beef demand!

NMPF Asks EPA, Army Corps to Suspend National Enforcement of New Water Regulation Pending Resolution of Court Cases

The National Milk Producers Federation urged the Obama Administration to hold off on the national enforcement of the new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulation, in response to a court decision last week suspending the regulation in some states, but not others.

Last Thursday the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota halted implementation of the water regulation, granting a temporary injunction in favor of 13 states that brought suit in North Dakota against the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA said after the court ruling that it would not implement the rule in the 13 states that were part of the suit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

In light of the potential for confusion and inconsistent application of the regulation following the court’s ruling, NMPF said in a letter sent Monday to the EPA and the Army that the government should suspend enforcement of the WOTUS nationwide.

“The EPA implementation schedule for the Clean Water Rule now treats dairy farmers differently nationwide, and clearly falls short of the EPA’s goals of ‘greater clarity, consistency, and predictability when making jurisdictional determinations,’” NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said in the letter.  “Therefore, we ask that EPA and the Corp of Engineers use their enforcement discretion and cease application of the recent WOTUS rule in all 50 states, until such time as it can be evenly applied in every state.”

NMPF submitted comments on the proposed rule to the EPA and Corps of Engineers in November 2014, outlining its concerns with the lack of clarity and certainty for dairy farmers should the rule proceed. The final rule “left many of our concerns unresolved,” NMPF wrote today, although the organization had been hoping to work with EPA to address those concerns going forward.

“The opinion last Thursday by Judge Ralph Erickson brought forth many of the same concerns we relayed in our comments last November and should be taken seriously,” NMPF wrote.

NMPF’s letter today said that the organization and its members “are committed to protecting U.S. waterways through voluntary efforts, as well as through regulatory compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA). Clean water is central to healthy ecosystems, secure water supplies for human and animal consumption, and to the production of milk and other dairy products. We are committed to working with the EPA and COE to find effective ways to achieve these important goals.”

Several other lawsuits against the EPA, from other states and also from farm and business groups, are still pending.

 NFU Encourages USDA to Utilize and Expand Mediation Program

Cites Increased Financial Distress in Farm Country

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today encouraged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prepare for increased economic instability and financial stress for American family farmers and ranchers through the USDA Certified Agricultural Mediation Program.

“USDA’s August 2015 net farm income forecast confirms anecdotal evidence of increasing financial distress for producers,” noted Johnson in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “NFU encourages USDA to prepare for increased activity of direct and guaranteed loan applications, loan servicing and mediation services. We recommend the USDA utilize the USDA Certified Agricultural Mediation Program and expand the agricultural issues that are eligible for mediation services.”

Johnson noted that after several years of strong and record high net farm incomes, production costs also enjoyed an upward income trend.

“The projected 36 percent decrease in net farm income with expenses projected to drop only 0.5 percent is certain to cause significant financial distress, particularly among beginning and financially leveraged producers,” he said. “National Farmers Union has received reports of difficulties in obtaining operating loans, spikes in ‘Hotline’ calls regarding financial stress and concerns of loan repayments following the 2015 harvest.”

Johnson noted NFU’s strong support for the USDA Certified Agricultural Mediation Program, a program that helps producers and lenders agree on solutions to conflicts with farm loans.

“We recommend that USDA work with the state mediation programs to assess the adequacy of state program grant funds for preparation and delivery of the likely increased workload of credit related mediation services,” said Johnson.

Johnson also noted that NFU supports the expansion of agricultural issues eligible for mediation that ultimately affect the financial viability of family agricultural operations. “Any type of dispute or disagreement exacerbates financial distress when cash flows are tight or non-existent,” he said.

NCBA Members Receive up to 20 Percent off at Cabela’s

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has announced a new member benefit in partnership with Cabela’s Corporate Outfitter. NCBA members can take advantage of the Cabela’s Corporate Outfitter program by receiving an Outfitter Card that will provide up to a 20 percent discount on business purchases made at Cabela’s stores, as well as access to Cabela’s customization services.

“We are thrilled to announce this new benefit for our members,” said Marvin Kokes, NCBA Industry and Member Service Senior Vice President. “We have a strong organization with members who work each and every day to provide for others and this partnership is not only a thank you, but just one more incentive to join an organization that fights for the future of this industry every day and in the face of well-financed activist opposition. Cabela’s has been a strong partner with NCBA for many years, and we appreciate the continued partnership.”

NCBA was established 1898 and is the oldest and largest national trade association working on behalf of all segments of the cattle industry. With over 117 years’ experience, NCBA is a trusted voice in the cattle industry and on Capitol Hill.

“Your NCBA membership not only helps support efforts in Washington, D.C., but comes with so many other great benefits including a one liter bottle of Dectomax® pour-on from Zoetis, and discounts from John Deere, New Holland Agriculture, Roper and Stetson boots and apparel, Caterpillar and of course Cabela’s Corporate Outfitter for your business,” added Kokes. “You will also receive a subscription to National Cattlemen and updates from Washington.  If you are not already a member, this is just one more incentive and I encourage you to join today.”

 For complete information and to join visit www.beefusa.org or call 1-866-BEEFUSA (1-866-233-3872).

California FFA Member Receives 1,000 Blue Jacket Through Give the Gift of Blue Program

Today, Casey Custer was able to zip up his very own FFA jacket for the first time. The junior, who attends Waterford High School in Waterford, Calif., was the proud recipient of the 1,000 FFA jacket through the FFA program, Give the Gift of Blue.

FFA has more than 610,000 members nationwide; however, not all members own the esteemed blue jacket. In fact, more than 50 percent of FFA members don't have an FFA jacket. This jacket is traditionally worn at official functions at the local level and for state and national conventions, competitions and special events. Many borrow jackets from the chapter or from past FFA members. The moment they zip up their own jacket is priceless.

"The blue jacket means a lot to me," Custer said, "as it represents the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge, especially as I play a role in our Waterford's FFA Ag Mechanics team."

On Jan. 1, 2014, the National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation began the Give the Gift of Blue program. Funded by individual donors and sponsors, the program provides members with blue jackets, which is part of FFA Official Dress. Members apply for a jacket by visiting FFA.org/GIVEBLUE to share their story of what the jacket means to them. Along with an essay, members also share information on what they have been doing in FFA, their communities and in their schools.

"For so many, the blue corduroy gives a sense of belonging," said Joshua Bledsoe, the chief operating officer for the National FFA Organization. "Thanks to this program, we are able to bring this sense of pride and belonging to more of our members, who are part of our FFA family."

Along with applying for a jacket, now others can nominate members they believe should be gifted a jacket.

"We've had so much success with the program," said Lee Anne Shiller, merchandise and membership services division director at national FFA. "We thought this would be a nice addition to the program and let others share stories of what our FFA members are accomplishing."

The funding for the program is thanks to corporate sponsors – CSX Transportation, Valent U.S.A. Corporation and their parent company Sumitomo, Ram Trucks, Tractor Supply Company – and donations from individuals. In addition, an endowment created by Donald and Mira Ball continues to fund the program as well. For more information on how to donate to the program, visit at FFA.org/GIVEBLUE.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday August 28 Ag News

Common Sense Nebraska Coalition Reacts to Court Action to Halt EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “Waters of the U.S. Rule”
Statement by Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

"Yesterday's action by the District Court for the Southeastern Division of the District of North Dakota is a win for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, homebuilders, electric utilities, golf courses and all Nebraskans who turn the soil.”

“We are pleased this overly broad and closed-minded approach taken by the federal government to massively expand the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps Engineers has been put on hold.”

"From the beginning we've maintained that this rule was not about protecting water quality, but instead was an effort to expand the EPA's jurisdictional powers over private property and trump the rights granted to the states by Congress under the Clean Water Act in regard to managing water quality. The District Court’s action is validation of our overriding concerns.”

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of Nebraska’s elected officials including Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who initiated Nebraska’s legal actions against the rule. We thank Governor Pete Ricketts for helping raise public awareness of the consequences of this misguided rule.”

“We also want to thank all members of Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation, especially U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, Congressman Adrian Smith and Congressman Brad Ashford for leading the legislative fight in Washington D.C.”

Common Sense Nebraska is a diverse, Nebraska-based coalition consisting of organizations and entities that have united in response to the EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule; a regulatory proposal that would harm both rural and urban Nebraskans through expansion of the EPA’s powers and authorities under the federal Clean Water Act. The coalition’s purpose is to build awareness and understanding of the EPA proposal and the impacts it would have to Nebraskans. For more information visit Common Sense Nebraska on Facebook.

Common Sense Nebraska Coalition members include:

AKSARBEN Club Managers Association
Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter
Farm Credit Services of America
Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association
National Federation of Independent Businesses/Nebraska
Nebraska Agribusiness Association
Nebraska Association of County Officials
Nebraska Association of Resource Districts
Nebraska Bankers Association
Nebraska Cattlemen
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nebraska Cooperative Council
Nebraska Corn Board
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation
Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association
Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board
Nebraska Pork Producers Association
Nebraska Poultry Industries
Nebraska Rural Electric Association
Nebraska Soybean Association
Nebraska State Dairy Association
Nebraska State Home Builders Association
Nebraska State Irrigation Association
Nebraska Water Resources Association
Nebraska Wheat Growers Association
Nemaha Natural Resources District
Pawnee County Rural Water District #1

Federal Court Ruling in North Dakota Blocks Implementation "Waters of the United States" Rule

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis statement regarding Federal Court ruling in North Dakota that will Block EPA and the Army Corps' “Waters of the United States” rule.

“America’s cattlemen and women applaud the decision of the federal judge in North Dakota to block EPA’s “waters of the United States” rule, which was set to go in effect tomorrow, August 28. EPA’s rule is nothing more than an attempt to put more land and water under federal jurisdiction, blatantly disregarding private property rights. Over the last year and a half, the agency continually ignored the concerns of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country, to the point of calling the concerns of cattle producers ludicrous. In fact, only six months after receiving over one-million comments the agency pushed forward to finalize the rule, a clear indication there was no intention of considering public comment or stakeholder input. While the EPA claims it clarifies the Clean Water Act, even the Army Corps, which shares jurisdiction over the rule, has serious concerns for the scientific basis of the rule making. In a statement released shortly after the decision was made, an EPA spokesperson said the ruling only holds for 13 states and that they plan to implement the rule in all others on Friday. If the EPA actually wants to protect navigable waters as it claims, they will put this subjective and ambiguous rule to rest and start over with stakeholders at the table this time around.”

American Farm Bureau Federation on Injunction Against EPA Water Rule

Statement by Bob Stallman, President

“Last night Chief Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court of North Dakota issued an order to stop the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule in its tracks. He found strong evidence that the EPA was arbitrary and capricious in its rulemaking. He saw no connection between key provisions of the rule and science that was presented to support it. Based on evidence presented so far, he ordered that the rule be stopped while the litigation continues to a conclusion.

“We applaud the court’s decision. The so-called Clean Water Rule is yet another example of EPA’s reckless and unlawful behavior in the face of science, economics and the law. Whether you’re a farmer, a rancher, a homebuilder or landowner of any stripe, the evidence is clear: This rule simply has to be stopped.

“Even in the face of this court order, EPA is reportedly asserting it will enforce the new rule in the 37 states that are not part of the North Dakota lawsuit. Thus, for much of the nation, this unlawful rule will continue to create uncertainty and legal risk for commonplace land uses like farming and ranching. It’s clear that now is the time for Congress to act and pass S. 1140 to send EPA back to the drawing board. We won’t stop until this rule is finished.”

NCGA Supports North Dakota Court Decision, Urges Senate Action on WOTUS

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, postponing implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.

Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, issued the following statement:

“We support the judge’s decision in North Dakota, which should give the courts and the public more time to figure out how to proceed with WOTUS. The Army Corps of Engineers has stated this rule is not based on science or law and is unlikely to withstand a legal challenge. When even the federal agencies responsible for this rule can’t agree on its constitutionality, it’s time for EPA to withdraw the rule and start this process over.

“It is EPA’s view that this injunction only applies to the 13 states that filed the request. We believe EPA is incorrect. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Whether the injunction applies to 13 states or all 50, the WOTUS rule will have serious consequences for every farmer and rancher in America. It must not be allowed to stand. From the beginning, we have asked for a rule that provides farmers with clarity and certainty about their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. Instead, what we got was less clarity and less certainty – along with more paperwork, more permits, and more hassle.

“This court decision reinforces the need to permanently repeal the WOTUS rule. We urge the Senate to pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, as soon as possible. This law will force EPA to withdraw WOTUS and work with farmers and other stakeholders to rewrite the rule.

“Clean water is important to all of us. NCGA is committed to working with the EPA, the Corps, and other stakeholders to protect America’s water resources.”

NPPC Urges Delay In ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule

Following yesterday’s federal court injunction against a new Clean Water Act (CWA) rule, the National Pork Producers Council today strongly urged the Obama administration to delay implementation of the regulation, which would adversely affect hundreds of thousands of farmers, businesspeople and landowners. The organization also again asked the administration to withdraw it and to work with the agriculture and business communities to craft a rule ensuring the cleanliness of the nation’s rivers, streams and other waterways that the public can understand and with which it can easily comply.

“NPPC applauds the District Court’s decision,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “The rule that was blocked is vague and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law.

“We all want clean water, but this regulation isn’t about clean water. This massive land grab is about federal control of private property, growing the size of government and allowing activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.”

The “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule was proposed in April 2014 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify the agencies’ authority under the CWA over various waters. Currently, that jurisdiction – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The rule would broaden that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also would encompass lands adjacent to such waters.

Thursday the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota stopped implementation of the regulation, which was set to take effect today. “It appears likely that the EPA has violated its congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the rule,” said Chief Judge Ralph Erickson in ruling in favor of 13 states that brought suit in North Dakota against EPA and the Corps of Engineers.

EPA, however, has indicated it only will recognize the injunction in the states that filed suit before the North Dakota court.

NPPC in early July joined other agricultural organizations and business groups in filing a similar lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, arguing that the rule finalized in May “bears no connection” to the CWA and violates provisions of the U.S. Constitution. They also alleged that in writing the rule, EPA and the Corps of Engineers misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decisions on CWA jurisdiction and subverted the notice-and-comment process by failing to seek public comments on scientific reports used to write the regulation and on major revisions of the proposed rule, conducting an inadequate economic analysis and engaging in an advocacy campaign during the comment period. 

“EPA and the Corps of Engineers really failed to work with the agriculture and business communities to come up with a regulation that people could comply with,” Prestage said.

NPPC is backing bills now making their way through Congress that would require EPA and the Corps of Engineers to withdraw the WOTUS rule and to work with affected parties, including farmers, on a new regulation.

NAWG Encouraged by District Court's Action Against WOTUS

NAWG is pleased by the thoughtful action of the North Dakota district court late Thursday to block implementation of the Waters of the U.S. regulaton. The parties involved in the temporary injunction will not be subject to the new rule, effective today, and instead will be subject to prior regulation. Regarding the court's action, NAWG President, Brett Blankenship made the following statement:

“NAWG is encouraged by the action taken in the North Dakota district court to approve a temporary injunction against the Waters of the U.S. regulation.  This decision provides breathing room for grower concerns to be discussed in the courts without enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s draconian new rule hanging over the heads of our nation’s family farmers.

We will watch closely the ongoing lawsuits and call on Congress to take action to address the regulation in a comprehensive manner.  It is time for action to send the regulation back to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to be rewritten.  Wheat growers support clean water and know the importance of protecting the natural resources that sustain our farming operations, feed our families and feed a growing world population.  The Waters of the U.S. regulation expands the reach of the Clean Water act and falls short in providing clarity to growers."

Nebraska Counties Designated as Presidential Disaster Due to May and June Storms

Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Dan Steinkruger, announced 51 Nebraska counties have been designated as primary and contiguous natural disaster areas due to severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding.  The primary (notated with an asterisk) and contiguous counties are Adams*, Arthur*, Box Butte*, Buffalo, Butler, Cedar, Chase, Clay*, Cuming, Dawes*, Dixon, Dundy, Fillmore*, Frontier, Gage, Garden, Grant, Hall, Hamilton*, Hayes*, Hitchcock, Hooker, Jefferson, Johnson*, Kearney, Keith, Lancaster, Lincoln, McPherson, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Nemaha*, Nuckolls, Otoe, Pawnee*, Perkins, Pierce, Polk, Richardson*, Saline,  Scotts Bluff, Seward*, Sheridan, Sioux*, Stanton, Thayer, Thurston, Wayne*, Webster, and York*.

The primary counties were declared a Presidential Major Disaster on August 14, 2015, based on May 6 to June 17, 2015 storms.  This designation authorizes Emergency (EM) Loans for eligible producers in primary and contiguous counties.  Steinkruger stated, “Producers in these 51 counties are encouraged to contact their local FSA Service Center for detailed information about available programs and updated disaster designations.”

In addition to the Emergency (EM) Loan Program, the FSA has other loan programs and disaster assistance programs which can be considered in assisting farmers to recover from their losses.

Contact your local FSA Service Center or access additional information about FSA Disaster Assistance and Farm Loan programs at www.fsa.usda.gov.

While this release pertains to the availability of FSA programs, other federal agencies such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and SBA (Small Business Administration) may also have assistance to the public.  Information is available from these two agencies at the following websites: www.fema.gov and www.sba.gov.

CLAAS of America Rebuilds After Tornado Destroys Harvest Center

CLAAS of America is pleased to announce that the newly rebuilt Nebraska Harvest Center is open for business, nearly two years after an F4 tornado tore through Wayne, Nebraska. After the tornado struck, community members rallied together to rebuild the city, and among them was CLAAS of America.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said John Buse, Executive Vice President – Retail, CLAAS of America. The twister hit in October 2013, forcing Nebraska Harvest Center to react quickly on behalf of their customers. Immediately after the storm, CLAAS leapt into action to ensure that customers had access to the support needed, and they diligently worked toward a long-term solution.

“Within days we moved our service and parts operation to a farm just outside of town to support our growers who were still in the field,” said Buse. After harvest, the CLAAS dealership moved to a temporary building adjacent to their location while work began to rebuild the property that had been destroyed.

“We not only re-built, we expanded,” noted Paul Westbrook, Complex Manager for the Seward and Wayne locations of Nebraska Harvest Center. “The new dealership has an additional 4,800 square feet of shop space, a better space for spare parts, and a conference room above our offices.

“With our new dealership in Wayne, we have the structure in place to serve our current customers as well as those who are just now getting to know our dealership and the excellent CLAAS equipment we support.

Even though the tornado resulted in extensive damage, CLAAS combined its available resources and drive to rebuild and support the community and quickly find a solution to ensure that the Nebraska Harvest Center stayed in Wayne.

“We’re very proud to be a part of rebuilding the community,” said Buse. “Moving into our new, larger facility will allow us to continue to grow our business and provide the after-sales support our customers in this area deserve… we are happy to have rebuilt our facility in the great community of Wayne.”


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced today that $3.5 million in cost share funds to help farmers install nutrient reduction practices have been obligated to farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.  The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer.

“Farmers continue to show they are willing to invest in practices focused on limiting nutrient loss and improving water quality.  To consider that this program went from zero to more than 1,800 farmers over the past three years shows that farmers are committed to action and willing to invest in water quality,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 187,000 acres from more than 1,800 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. Farmers in each of the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.

Participants include 980 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 830 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share.  The first-time users cover 79,000 acres of cover crops, 7,450 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 7,150 acres of no-till and 3,950- acres of strip-till.  The past users will use cover crops on nearly 89,500 acres.

Farmers not already utilizing the practice were eligible cost share rate for cover crops of $25 per acre, $10 per acre for trying no-till or strip till and $3 per acre for using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Farmers that had used cover crops in the past were eligible for $15 per acre in cost share.  Cost share was only available on up to 160 acres.

Farmers are encouraged to still reach out to their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as there may be other programs available to help them implement water quality practices on their farm.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $9.6 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2016.  These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds.

95 Iowa Farm Families Honored as Environmental Leaders

Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp presented 95 Iowa farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair.

"It is a pleasure to have the opportunity each year to recognize Iowans who go above and beyond to be good stewards of our land," said Branstad. "Farmers take pride in conservation efforts and preserving and protecting our natural resources. The Farm Environmental Leader award gives us all an opportunity to recognize their efforts as exceptional leaders."

"The passion and dedication exhibited by the farmers honored at this year's Farm Environmental Leader awards was inspiring. Many of the recipients remarked at how long they had been working to achieve such recognition," said Reynolds. "We know that across Iowa farmers are committed to protecting the land and we were pleased to be able to highlight the work of some farm families' exemplary work."

The award is a joint effort between the Governor, Lt. Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa's farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.

This is the fourth year for the award program and to date more than 300 families have received recognition.

"Iowa is a national leader in conservation and water quality efforts and it is important that we recognize the farmers who are making a significant investment in conservation efforts and serving as examples in how we can continue to better care for our air, soil and water," Northey said.

Winners were presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto and a commemorative program provided by the Iowa Ag Water Alliance.

Half of Iowa Farmers Haven’t Identified Successors

Many farmers nearing retirement have not identified successors who will take over their operations. The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll: 2014 Summary Report (PM 3073), indicates that fewer than half of the farmers surveyed have identified successors for their farm operations.

“In 2012, just 18 percent of the state’s farmers were under 45 years of age,” said J. Gordon Arbuckle, sociologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “With nearly 60 percent of Iowa farmers over the age of 55, discussion of farm succession is common and this year’s survey sought to learn more about farmers’ retirement and succession plans.”

According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the average age of Iowa farmers is 57, and farmers who are age 65 and over made up nearly 30 percent of Iowa farmers. “The average age of Iowa farmers has increased steadily over the last several decades,” said Arbuckle.

“There are four times as many Iowa farmers over the age of 65 as under the age of 35,” said David Baker, farm transition specialist at the Beginning Farmer Center with ISU Extension and Outreach. “The more we know about farmers’ plans for the future, the better. Knowledge of farmers’ thoughts about and plans for retirement can help us to better match our programs to the needs of farmers and successors,” said Baker. Survey questions were developed in collaboration with staff from Iowa State’s Beginning Farmer Center.

Farmer Retirement Plans

In the survey, farmers were provided eight categories regarding retirement plans and were asked to select the one that best applied to them. The most frequent response, at 20 percent, was “I expect to semi-retire from farming.” Fifteen percent of farmers responded as “already semi-retired” and another 15 percent selected the “would never retire” category. Fourteen percent planned to retire within five years and another 14 percent planned to retire in 6 – 10 years.

Since one-third of Iowa farmers are over the traditional retirement age of 65, one of the objectives of the survey was to ask farmers their opinion about why so many farmers delay retirement. When asked to rate the importance of a number of possible reasons, the top-rated reason was that “farming is such an important part of [a farmer’s] identity that retirement is very difficult.” The second-highest rated reason was that modern equipment allows farmers to farm longer than they used to.

Several reasons were rated as important or very important by about three-quarters of respondents: that farmers stay healthier longer (75 percent); they love farming too much to stop (75 percent); they don’t know what else they would do with themselves (73 percent); and, they do not want to relinquish control of the operation (73 percent). The two lowest-rated reasons, both at 39 percent for important or very important, were that young people are not interested in farming, and that farmers cannot afford to retire.

Farm Succession Plans

Overall, 49 percent of farmers had identified a potential successor that will eventually manage the farm operation. “If we look at farmers who reported that they will retire in the next five years, the number is a little higher, at 55 percent,” said Arbuckle. “But that still leaves 45 percent of farmers who will be retiring soon and do not have someone who will take over.”

Of those farmers who had identified a successor, 74 percent indicated that one of their children would carry on the farm operation. About 12 percent of respondents reported that their successor would be a relative such as a nephew or niece, and 14 percent reported that a non-related person would take over the operation. The successors, on average, were 37 years old.

Plans among farmers who had not identified a successor

Farm Poll participants were asked what would happen to their farm operation when they no longer managed it. Among the farmers who had not identified a successor, the most common plan was to rent out land. “Overall, 35 percent of farmers without successors reported that they would rent out land,” Arbuckle said. “But more than half of farmers who planned to retire within five years indicated that they would rent land, 19 percent did not know what would happen to the operation, and 17 percent planned to sell their land.”

“If farmers do not have successors for their farms, then those businesses will fail to continue,” Baker noted. “If rural Iowans do not enhance and create opportunities that attract the next generation, then the next generation will migrate away. We will continue to see consolidation of farm businesses into fewer, larger farms.”

Resources available

Baker explained the Beginning Farmer Center works in conjunction with ISU Extension and Outreach program staff to offer materials, speakers and support to help beginning and exiting farmers. “We have resources for farmers who need help with succession planning, like the Ag Link program, which helps families make the transition to a multiple generation farm business. We match beginning farmers who don’t own land, with retiring farmers who do not have heirs to continue the family farm business,” Baker said.

Massey Ferguson Introduces 4600M Series Utility Tractors

Massey Ferguson®, a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), is naming this year the year of the utility tractor with the introduction of the Massey Ferguson 4600M Series. With models ranging from 70 to 99 engine HP, this series of utility tractors gives operators greater performance, durability and versatility to provide customers with cost-effective solutions they demand. The Massey Ferguson 4600M Series replaces the 4600 Series with a model lineup that includes the MF4607M, MF4609M and MF4610M ranging from 56 to 80 PTO HP. The new 4600M Series was designed with utility in mind and furthers its reputation for excellence in loader work, hay production, mowing operations and wide-ranging farm use.

"Hobby farmers and rural lifestylers are growing in numbers, and we've thought about all of their on-farm needs with the new Massey Ferguson 4600M Series," says Warren Morris, AGCO Massey Ferguson tactical marketing manager. "With a new deluxe cab option that features standard air ride seat, LED lights and fender mounted hitch controls, this tractor provides comfort and ease of use for any application."

A tractor with versatility

Two transmission options allow customers to match control with their needs. They can choose between a standard 12x12 power shuttle transmission and an 18x18 with the optional creeper gear package. In addition, farmers can choose between 2WD and 4WD offerings.

The 4600M Series also comes equipped with a category II hitch and 540/1000 PTO. With a combined 3,300 or optional 4,400 pounds in lift capacity at 24 inches behind ball ends, this tractor is capable of completing even the most demanding tasks.

The 4600M Series includes features to make operation and ownership simpler. With telescopic lower links, implement changes are easier and faster. Easy-access service points combined with intuitive electronic controls provide operators maximum uptime and performance.

Updated technology improves power management and lowers emissions

A Tier 4, three-cylinder engine from AGCO Power™ powers the 4600M Series. The engine features four valves per cylinder to improve airflow and enhance the fuel/air mixture.

"Following the same philosophy as AGCO's high-horsepower tractor engines, the MF4609M and MF4610M tractors utilize selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to treat the exhaust after combustion," explains Mr. Morris. "This keeps all components doing what they do best, and doesn't rob the engine of power and torque when it's needed the most."

Electronic engine management is incorporated into the power system with a high-pressure common-rail (HPCR) fuel injection system. The engine management system monitors every aspect of the engine's operation, resulting in optimum performance and lower fuel consumption.

Updated operator's station improves ease of use, comfort and visibility

Cab and platform models offer a new convenient and ergonomically designed console that incorporates engine RPM, rear remote and 3-point hydraulic valve levers, PTO control and storage tray for improved comfort during any task at hand.

The 4600M Series optional deluxe cab allows operators added comfort and convenience. The standard air-ride seat brings comfort to long days in the field while the 3 point hitch fender control makes attaching implements a simple task.

The deluxe cab option also includes a LED lighting package with rear defrost and wiper, giving operators increased visibility of the front and rear implements in all conditions.

Thursday August 27 Ag News

WOTUS Rule—Preliminary Injunction Hearing

Today, Judge Erickson, in the District Court for the Southeastern Division of the District of North Dakota, issued an order enjoining the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson stated, “Today’s order enjoining the EPA from implementing the new WOTUS rule is an important first step for Nebraska and other states that have challenged the federal government’s ‘exceptionally expansive’ view of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act.

 “I applaud the work of Attorney General Peterson in protecting the citizens of Nebraska through this lawsuit against the EPA,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Judge Erickson is exactly right when he said in his opinion, ‘The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely.’”

The Court’s ruling was largely based on the view that Nebraska, and the other plaintiff states, are likely to succeed in challenging the rule because it appears to be a violation of the EPA’s rulemaking authority. Today’s ruling supports the state’s position that the EPA has exceeded its authority in promulgating the Waters of the U.S.

Sen. Davis Encourages Ranchers to Testify at Hearing on Brand Committee in Grand Island

The Nebraska Legislature's Agriculture Committee will hold a public hearing to review the fee structure of the Nebraska Brand Committee on Friday, September 4th at 11:00am at the Grand Island City Council Chambers, 100 East First Street. The Committee will be taking testimony from interested parties about modifying fees charged by the Nebraska Brand Committee for brand inspection, transfer fees, grazing permits, and whether registered feedlots should be assessed fees in a different manner than non-registered feedlots, salebarns, and private ranch sales.

Senator Al Davis of Hyannis strongly encourages those interested parties to attend the hearing.

“It is important that ranchers share their vision for the future of the Brand Committee fee structure, since significant changes could result in dramatically different rates for the various sectors,” Senator Davis said. “I encourage you to attend, give testimony, and then take in the state fair.   Your voices need to be heard.”

Current National Drought Summary


A significant upper-level trough over the central part of the contiguous U.S., accompanied by a slowly moving cold front, brought up to several inches of rain across the eastern and southern states during the past week. The cold front reached the Eastern Seaboard and continued out over the western Atlantic, while the southern portion of this front stalled across the deep South. Later in the week, another upper-level trough moved out of central Canada across the northern High Plains of the United States, before heading east and bringing additional rainfall to the eastern contiguous U.S. In the Southwest, light to moderate precipitation (generally less than 1.5 inches) was observed in association with the summer monsoon. In the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, the USDA Forest Service reported approximately 40 large wildfires in progress as of August 26th, as warm and very dry weather persisted.

Northern and Central Plains

Abnormal dryness (D0) in eastern Montana was expanded south-southwestward due to the ongoing lack of precipitation. No changes were rendered to the depiction in Kansas, as rains that did fall during the week missed the residual D0 area in the northwest part of the state.

Upper Great Lakes region and Midwest

Heavy rains (generally 2-4 inches) during the past week helped to offset deterioration across the northern portion of the Red River Valley of the North Watershed near the Minnesota/North Dakota border, as well as across the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota. The western and northern flanks of the abnormal dryness (D0) in the Arrowhead region were trimmed away accordingly. Along the border between Iowa and Wisconsin, the only alteration made to the depiction was the upgrade from moderate drought (D1) to abnormal dryness (D0) from Dubuque County in Iowa, based on receiving adequate rainfall in the past 7-days. The current North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) top 1-meter soil moisture anomaly (ensemble mean) ranges between 1-3 inches in this region.

Colorado, Kansas & Nebraska Water Agreement Further Helps Water Users

Today, the states of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska have reached an agreement that will ensure more certainty to the basin’s water users in both Nebraska and Kansas. The agreement, in the form of a Resolution approved by the Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA), was achieved through collaborative negotiations that began in April 2015 and will provide timely notice and access to water for the 2016 irrigation season.

The agreement provides additional flexibility for Nebraska to achieve its Compact obligations while ensuring that the interests of Kansas are protected. The additional flexibility will allow the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to provide a portion of the forecasted compliance water early in 2016 and provide any additional shortfall later in 2016 and through April 1, 2017. This also provides some improved operational predictability for Nebraska water users in that water users will not be subjected to closing notices related to the 2016 irrigation season.

The 2016 agreement builds upon the agreement reached for the 2015 irrigation season with further beneficial developments for water users. This agreement provides more advanced notice to irrigators in the basin of compliance activities that will likely occur in 2016, allowing for an advanced planning period producers desire for their efficiently run operations.

The States’ agreement is contingent upon the Nebraska and the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation Districts, working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, – reaching agreement on modifications of certain contract provisions contained in their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) also adopted last year. Thus, ensuring the availability of the water pumped from Nebraska augmentation projects for RRCA compliance.

Current RRCA Chairman, Gordon W. “Jeff” Fassett, Director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, said, “Today’s agreement is good news for Nebraska water users and represents the continuation of the cooperative and positive collaboration we’ve fostered between our states as we work to find mutually agreeable solutions that best serve our citizens. Additionally, we are hopeful that this positive momentum will continue to move us closer to the goal of securing a long-term agreement. With significantly more planning time, Nebraska’s water users will have greater certainty in their water supply and make the best decisions for their operations.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Nebraska and Colorado as we continue to develop balanced and fair water solutions benefiting all of the basin’s water users that reflects good water management,” said Kansas Commissioner David Barfield. “This fourth in our series of recent agreements with Nebraska allows Kansas to make effective use of its water supply in 2016 and allows the states additional time and experience with Nebraska’s compliance activities as we continue to move toward long-term agreement.”

Colorado Commissioner Dick Wolfe said, “This agreement exemplifies the success that can be achieved through collaboration and cooperation of the RRCA and the water users in the basin.”

The RRCA is comprised of one member each from the States of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. The purpose of the RRCA is to administer the Republican River Compact. This Compact allocates the waters of the Republican River among the three states. The next RRCA annual meeting is scheduled for August of 2016 and will be hosted by the State of Colorado in a location of their choice.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recognized Century and Heritage Farm families during a ceremony at the State Fair again this year.  To qualify, a family must have owned at least 40 acres for 100 years or more in the case of Century Farms and 150 years or more for a Heritage Farm.

This year 366 Century Farms and 101 Heritage Farms were recognized.

“Being able to recognize these farm families is one of my favorite days of the year.  This award is a tremendous celebration of the families who have cared for the land and raised the crops and livestock that helped build our state and feed the world.  To own a farm for 100 or 150 years is a testament to the values of land stewardship, hard work, patience, dedication and perseverance that are found in Iowa’s farm families,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has partnered with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation since 1976 to recognize families that have owned and worked a farm for 100 years or more.  Including this year’s recipients, more than 18,600 farms from across the state have been recognized.

The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program and now 837 farms have been recognized.

The 2015 Century and Heritage Farms Program ceremony was held at the Iowa State Fair in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion on Thursday, August 20.  Joe Heinrich, Vice President of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Northey recognized all award recipients.

“The program acknowledges the deep roots of Iowa agriculture and the special bond that exists between Iowa families and the land they farm,” Northey said.  “The Iowa State Fair is a celebration of Iowa and Iowa agriculture, so it’s a great place to recognize the Century Farm and Heritage Farm recipients.”

NCGA, DuPont Launch Third Year of New Leaders Program

The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the third year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program.  The program is designed for corn growers who are newly active or considering involvement in agriculture leadership, and seek to build their communications skills so they can better serve their peers.

“American agriculture needs farmers who are strong spokespersons for our way of life,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a corn grower from Maryland. “We thank DuPont for its generous support, and we’re proud of the men and women who have participated in the first two years of this program. Now, we’re actively looking for more couples and individuals to get involved in this exciting program.”

Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from NCGA’s affiliated states, such as those considering a board position. Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, active in corn farming, NCGA members and not currently serving as an officer on their state affiliate board.

“We are proud to sponsor the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program,” said Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer vice president, regional business director - US & Canada.   “These participants will gain skills that will help them advocate on behalf of their farm and their industry at the local, state and national level.  They also will build friendships that will last a lifetime.”

“The program has encouraged me to be more involved to make a difference,” said Michael Howlett, a 2015 participant from New York. “It was well worth the time and energy, and I will be more involved from this point forward, due to the New Leaders Program.”

One couple or up to two single persons per NCGA-affiliated state will be chosen to participate in this hands-on communications and leadership training. The program will be implemented with two plenary sessions. The first will be in Iowa in February 2016 and the second in Washington in July 2016.

Applications are due Friday, Oct. 30, and will be reviewed by the NCGA and forwarded to the appropriate state affiliate association for approval. Participants accepted for the program will be notified in November. All program-related travel and lodging expenses will be covered, per NCGA policy and procedures. For more information and/or to register, visit www.ncga.com/nlp.

Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

FY 2016 Exports Forecast Down $1.0 Billion from 2015 to $138.5 Billion; Imports at a Record $122.5 Billion

Fiscal 2016 agricultural exports are projected at $138.5 billion, down $1.0 billion from the revised $139.5 billion forecast for fiscal 2015. This decline is primarily due to oilseeds and products, which are down $4.4 billion as a result of lower expected soybean and soybean meal prices and reduced export volumes. Grain and feed exports are forecast to be up $1.1 billion from fiscal 2015, largely due to higher expected wheat shipments. Cotton exports are forecast down $400 million due to a smaller U.S. crop. Exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products are up $600 million as higher export volumes for a number of livestock products more than offset a decline in prices. Horticultural exports are forecast up $2.0 billion to a record $36.5 billion with higher export values for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, as well as tree nuts. Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $2.0 billion from fiscal 2015, primarily due to lower soybean values. Canada is expected to return as the largest U.S. export market for the first time since 2010.

U.S. agricultural imports in 2016 are forecast at a record $122.5 billion, $7.0 billion higher than fiscal 2015. Increases in import values are expected for most products in 2016, with the largest gains in horticultural, and sugar and tropical products. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to fall by $8.0 billion in fiscal 2016 to $16.0 billion. This would be the smallest surplus since 2007.

For fiscal 2015, the forecast of $139.5 billion for exports is down $1.0 billion from last quarter’s forecast. Imports are down $1.5 to $115.5 billion.

Read the full report here.... http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/1893531/ag-trade-file.pdf

Vilsack on Updated Forecast for U.S. Agricultural Exports

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's fourth quarter Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.

"The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues. Fiscal years 2015 and 2016 exports are forecast to be the third- and fourth-highest on record, respectively. Bulk export volumes are expected to rise in fiscal year 2016 and reach near record levels, and horticultural and livestock product exports are also expected to be higher.

"Today's forecast provides a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain stable in the face of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation's history and while the western U.S. remains gripped by drought. Thanks to the resilience of our farmers and ranchers, fiscal years 2009 to 2015 represent the strongest seven years in history for U.S. agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling more than $911 billion.

"We expect that new trade agreements, made possible thanks to Trade Promotion Authority, will allow American farmers and ranchers to better reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside of our borders and drive the continued strength of American agricultural exports. USDA will continue to fight to get the best trade deals for farmers and ranchers that open new markets and new customers to them. Expanded trade strengthens the agricultural economy, supports more than one million good paying American jobs, and helps to preserve the rural way of life."

USGC:  Where is U.S. Corn Going?

This week’s U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) Chart of Note illustrates the top 10 U.S. corn markets as of Aug. 20 for the 2014/2015 marketing year.

The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report for August projected U.S. corn exports for the year at 47 million metric tons (1.85 billion bushels) - 13 percent of U.S. corn production. Representing 85 percent of sales, these markets are important to supporting demand and, ultimately, the prices farmers receive for their harvests.

Of the top 10 importers, three are located in Asia, five in Latin America and two in Middle East/North Africa. In addition, of these top 10 markets, five (or half) have free trade agreements (FTAs) in place with the United States.

Japan is once again on track to be the largest importer of U.S. corn having already imported 12 million tons (472.4 million bushels). Mexico is following close behind having imported 10.9 million tons (429.1 million bushels) so far this year. Colombia rounds out the top three with purchases of 4.5 million tons (177 million bushels) this marketing year.

Through educational seminars and trainings, trade teams and missions and more, the Council has helped open the doors of countries around the world to trade and have helped markets remain open to U.S. products.

“Our top 10 markets are winding down this marketing year, having purchased more than 40 million tons (1.5 million bushels),” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, who farms in Nebraska. “With 10 days left in this marketing year, this chart highlights the places the Council has to continue to work to build demand for U.S. corn as well as defend U.S. market share.”

Soybean Cyst Nematodes Overcomes Common Management Tool

A common tool used to manage a destructive soybean pest is losing its effectiveness, warned a Kansas State University nematologist.

Scientists at a recent meeting of Midwestern plant nematologists reported that they had observed a steady decrease in effectiveness of PI 88788 resistance against the soybean cyst nematode.

"This is becoming a serious concern for Kansas soybean producers," said Tim Todd, research nematologist in K-State's Department of Plant Pathology.

PI 88788 is a common source of genetic resistance to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that was introduced into many soybean varieties to counter the pest. The nematodes cost U.S. soybean producers more than $1 billion each year in lost yields, according to some estimates, Todd said. Every major soybean growing county in Kansas is infested this year.

The availability of alternative sources of resistance are currently limited. "Kansas soybean farmers desperately need additional sources of resistance against this widespread pest," Todd said.

Todd was one of a group of nematologists from eight Midwestern states and Ontario that discussed the development at a July 7-9 meeting of the North Central Committee on Practical Management of Nematodes on Corn, Soybeans and Other Crops of Regional Importance in Chaska, Minnesota. The committee reviews and coordinates ongoing research on managing nematode parasites of crops, with special emphasis on corn and soybeans.

The scientists concluded that a coordinated approach using multiple management options, such as alternating soybeans with non-host crops, planting SCN-resistant soybean varieties and using nematode-protectant seed treatments, provide the greatest likelihood of sustained success for producing soybeans profitably in SCN-infested fields.

They also planned coordinated research projects for upcoming years, including work on nematode-resistant varieties, non-host crops, seed treatments, new nematode detection methods and soil health.

Soy Growers to EPA: Don’t Place More Barriers to Efficient Farming

The American Soybean Association (ASA) submitted comments on two federal actions on pollinator health issues, given the potential ramifications for soybean farmers. The actions announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–one dealing with an approach from the White House to stem the decline of Monarch butterfly populations, and the other with mandatory label restrictions on foliar pesticides in an effort to mitigate harm to honeybees during contract pollination–have the potential, if managed incorrectly, to place another barrier between farmers and the tools they need to farm more efficiently. While soybean operations do not utilize contract pollinators, ASA recognizes that the issue of pollinator health is a huge one for our industry, and is committed to working with our partners at EPA and USDA toward a solution.

USDA Expands Farm Safety Net, Offers Greater Flexibility for Beginning, Organic and Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance will be available in every county in the nation in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also making changes to the policy to help farmers and ranchers with diversified crops including beginning, organic, and fruit and vegetable growers, better access Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.

"Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance allows producers who have previously had limited access to a risk management safety net, to insure all of the commodities on their farm at once instead of one commodity at a time," said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. "That gives them the option of embracing more crop diversity on their farm and helps support the production of a wider variety of foods."

USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) introduced the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot program for a majority of counties in the 2015 insurance year. Starting with the 2016 insurance year, the new program will be available in all counties in the United States, a first for the federal crop insurance program.

USDA also provided additional flexibility to producers by making the following changes, including:

    Beginning Farmers and Ranchers – RMA makes it easier for more beginning farmers and ranchers to participate in the program by reducing the required records from five to three historical years, plus farming records from the past year. Additionally, any beginning farmer and rancher may qualify by using the former farm operator's federal farm tax records if the beginning farmer or rancher assumes at least 90 percent of the farm operation

    Livestock Producers – RMA removed the previous cap that limited participants to those who received 35 percent or less of their income from livestock production. Producers will now be able to insure up to $1 million worth of animals and animal products.

    Expanding Operations – RMA increased the cap on historical revenue for expanding operations to 35 percent from its previous 10 percent to better allow growing farms the opportunity to cover their growth in the insurance guarantee.

Whole-Farm Revenue Protection includes a wide range of available coverage levels, provides coverage for replanting annual commodities, includes provisions that increase coverage for expanding operations, and allows the inclusion of market readiness costs in the coverage. The policy is tailored for most farms, including farms with specialty or organic commodities (both crops and livestock), or those marketing to local, regional, farm-identity preserved, specialty, or direct markets. The policy covers farms or ranches with up to $8.5 million in insured revenue.

For more information, including product availability, visit the RMA Whole-Farm Web page. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at www.rma.usda.gov.

TPP Update: Talks Continue; No Predictions on Outcome

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators are continuing quiet bilateral discussions, with the Canadian elections scheduled for Oct. 19 and the intensifying U.S. presidential race adding new pressure to an already challenging calendar.

“In 2014, the U.S. had Congressional elections and Japan had parliamentary elections. That gave the two largest economies involved in the talks a year to act before a new election cycle again complicated the talks,” said Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) director of trade policy and biotechnology.

“But barring a last-minute deal in the near future, the opportunity is going to be missed even with trade promotion authority legislation passed here at home.”

Despite the most recent impasse in reaching a deal, talks continue. In addition to the ongoing discussions among negotiators, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman took advantage of this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur to meet senior representatives of several TPP participants, including Australia, Brunei, Malaysia and New Zealand. The White House also announced that President Barack Obama had again discussed the TPP negotiations with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week by telephone.

“It is important to see the high-level commitment continue, but we continue to be concerned about the time available to actually get a deal done,” Gaibler said.

“Under TPA, there are statutory requirements for extensive Congressional and public comment after a tentative deal is reached. Even if a deal were signed tomorrow, there is no longer time to get it passed this year. And in a presidential election year, all bets are off.”

A high-quality agreement reducing tariffs and expanding market access for U.S. agricultural products is a longstanding objective of the Council. The Council also anticipates that a high-standard agreement will reduce non-tariff trade barriers related to sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, including biotechnology.

Sunflower Launches New Era in Tillage

Sunflower®, the leading tillage line from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), has introduced the new SF6830 high-speed rotary finisher and SF6610 vertical tillage tool, as well as the SF4630-09 to Sunflower's line of SF4600 Series of disk rippers. The revolutionary SF6830 high-speed rotary finisher and the SF4630-09 disk ripper combine multiple tasks into one-pass systems, while the SF6610 rounds out Sunflower's Vertical Tillage offering providing a vertical tillage tool to fit every size farm.

SF6830 Sunflower's Latest High-Speed Rotary Finisher

"Sunflower is launching a new era in tillage with the SF6800 Series, a tillage tool specifically designed to utilize a new concept in seedbed preparation," says Larry Kuster, AGCO senior product marketing specialist.

The SF6830 Series provides operators the high-speed, high-residue flow capabilities unattainable with traditional shank-equipped finishers and cultivators. The heavy-duty optimum design of the SF6830 Series is completely void of sweeps, combining four types of rolling-ground engaging tools into a three-step process.

"The SF6830 Series utilizes a gang of 20-inch, low-concavity blades set at an 8-degree angle to provide just the right amount of lateral soil movement to level soil and anchor residue," continues Mr. Kuster.

Placed behind those blades, the SF6830 Series has sealed, service-free disc gang reels that turn at twice the speed of the disc blades. This allows the gang reels to aggressively break up clots and root crowns, while limiting excess lateral movement of the soil, preventing the soil ridging normally associated with single-gang tillage tools. Wavy coulter blades are positioned in a gang behind the blades and reels to continue sizing crop residue and to fracture the soil to provide avenues for root development.

The final element of the SF6830 Series is two intermeshed gangs of Sunflower’s exclusive Rotary Spider Tines. These tines are designed to ensure that the soil is leveled and that crop residue is equally mixed across the entire width of the tool. The Rotary Spider Tines sculpt the seedbed floor flat, as they lift the soil and blend it with crop residue.

Because all of the ground-engaging tools utilized in the SF6830 are of the rolling type, the possibility of the unit plugging-up is virtually eliminated. The SF6830 Series is a low-maintenance, high-speed rotary finisher.

New 6610 Vertical Tillage Tool

The Sunflower 6610 vertical tillage tool provides operators the same features and high level of performance of the larger Sunflower vertical tillage tools but in a smaller package. The SF6610 is available in two operating widths - 11 and 14 feet. These new, smaller, single-section tools join the nine larger models of the SF6600 Series for a total of 11 sizes in "true cutting widths" from 10 feet, 7 inches, to 48 feet, 7 inches.

The SF6610 is equipped with tandem axles, large tires and a strong frame, accommodating the heavy finishing attachments used in vertical tillage. Equipped with Sunflower Saber Blades™, and the proven overlapping/staggered gang design. The SF6610 produces an excellent seedbed avoiding the ridged and valleyed seedbed profile produced by other tools.

The SF6610 is capable of cutting through the toughest residue and penetrating the hardest soils to fulfill any operator's needs. The SF6610 can be used multi-seasonally, from opening a cold, damp field in the spring to performing residue management duties in the fall.

Like the other models in the SF6600 Series, the SF6610 is a highly capable, long-lasting, low-maintenance vertical tillage tool. The standard walking tandem axles come with triple-sealed bolt-in spindles that cannot be damaged by over-greasing, offset C-Flex™ bearing standards and a maintenance-free lift system with ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic bearings. The reduction in daily maintenance results in more time in the field.

Sunflower 4630-09 Disk Ripper

The SF4630-09 is designed to combine three important post-harvest tillage tasks in one pass, capable of crop residue management, eradication of soil compaction and seedbed preparation. The SF4630-09 is a narrow-transport, folding frame, nine-shank disc ripper equipped with walking tandem axles between large 385/65R by 22.50 tires. The SF4630-09 frame is constructed of high-strength, 4-inch by 8-inch by 3/8-inch steel tubing and is engineered and manufactured to withstand the high stress of aggressive deep combination tillage.

The SF4600 Series is available in models ranging from seven to 13 shanks, with three models in folding configurations.

Everything about the SF4630-09 disk ripper is designed to maximize the crop residue decomposition process. The large, individually mounted 28-inch diameter disc blades are spaced 7.5 inches apart in two rows. Operators can choose between the extremely aggressive 28-inch Saber Blade or a conventional 28-inch smooth-edge blade; both styles operate at working depths ranging from 0 to 8 inches. The tandem gang design is extraordinary at sizing and incorporating crop material into smaller, faster-decaying pieces, and the C-Spring individual blade mounting produces optimal material flow and rock protection.

SF4630-09 gang depth is fingertip-controlled from the cab and adjusted independently of the ripper shanks, achieving the perfect balance between two components.

The heavy point load and true auto-reset designed service free parabolic shanks of the SF4600 Series maintain the correct point position even at maximum depth.

The SF4360-09 is available with four optional finishing attachments, each tailored to a different soil type and crop residue. Operators can choose between the heavy-duty coil tine harrow, the two-bar heavy-duty coil tine harrow and reel, the five-spike tooth drag harrow, and the two-bar heavy-duty coil tine harrow and hydraulic controlled reel, giving operators the ability to choose a finishing attachment best suited to the final condition of their soil.

For more information, visit your Sunflower dealer or www.sunflowermfg.com.