Friday, October 28, 2016

Thursday October 27 Ag News

Ricketts, Ibach Tout Growing EU Beef Exports

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) announced that a recent trade mission led by state officials to the European Union led to agreements expanding markets for Nebraska beef.  Last week, a delegation led by NDA Director Greg Ibach met with leaders from a number of European companies and signed six letters of intent formalizing commitments to purchase and promote Nebraska beef.

“Growth in demand for Nebraska beef in Europe is helping grow our market share and grow Nebraska,” said Governor Pete Ricketts, “I am committed to supporting our beef industry by promoting the Nebraska beef brand all around the globe.  Missions like these continue to help Nebraska’s share of beef exports grow exponentially both in the EU and around the world.”  

Nebraska is the number one producer of beef in the nation, and the high-quality, great-tasting beef it produces continues to grow in popularity across the world.

“Signing these letters of intent is great news for Nebraska's farmers and ranchers,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “Nebraska has long been a leader and innovator in beef production, raising some of the best cattle and beef in the world.  By promoting the Nebraska brand of excellence and quality we will continue to increase our exports of beef.  More exports mean more jobs and growth in the Nebraska economy.”

Representatives from import companies and restaurant chains doing business in England, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands met with Ibach and others.  The delegation included: Chris Calkins, professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska; Myron Danner, Nebraska Rancher and member of the Nebraska Beef Council; Jerry Wiggs, Greater Omaha Packing Company; and Stan Garbacz, Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

During the trip, the group promoted the attributes of the Nebraska beef production system.  They touted the grasslands, where families raise their herds to produce calves that will fill the feedlots across Nebraska and those cattle will consume locally-grown corn, distillers grains, and roughages.  The group went on to share that these finished cattle are processed in plants that pay special attention to consumer expectations and food safety.  This unique system allows Nebraska’s farm families to feed families around the world.

In 2005, when NDA started promoting Nebraska beef in partnership with the Nebraska Beef Council, the United States exported $36.3 million of beef to Europe.  Nebraska’s share was $1.8 million or 5 percent.  Ten years later in 2015, when the U.S. exported $315.4 million to Europe, Nebraska’s share of the market had grown to 45.2 percent or $142.7 million.  In the first 6 months of 2016, Nebraska has continued to grow our market share exporting 50 percent of the U.S. total. 

The following is a summary of the delegations activities during the trip:

London, England - Met with Goodman Restaurants to sign a letter of intent for the group to increase purchases of Nebraska beef.  A new customer, Roar Global, signed a letter of intent to purchase and promote Nebraska beef.  This decision follows a visit to Nebraska this summer where they saw firsthand, the innovative system Nebraska families and businesses have created to produce high quality beef.

Düsseldorf, Germany - Albers GmbH Foods pledged to continue to promote and expand their sales of Nebraska beef.  While in Germany, the Albers family hosted a promotional event to hear presentations from Chris Calkins and Myron Danner where 70 current and potential new customers learned how to utilize lower-priced wholesale cuts in the chuck to create value-added consumer cuts.

Paris, France - The Nebraska delegation attended the SIAL Food Show where they met with numerous current and potential customers, including a potential importer for the China market when it opens.  While there, Gunnar Dafgärd AB of Sweden, and Meta Foods with European operations based in the Netherlands, signed letters of intent aimed at growing the Nebraska beef footprint.

Valencia, Spain - The delegation presented at a workshop to share the Nebraska beef story with 50 potential customers of the INALCA company in Spain.  INALCA, an Italian importer, has been a long-term buyer of Nebraska beef and is working aggressively in the Spanish market to expand its sales.  INALCA pledged to work with Nebraska to accomplish this goal.

USDA Invests Nearly $1.4 Million for 17 Nebraska Value-Added Projects

USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul announces that USDA is investing in 17 projects throughout Nebraska providing nearly $1.4 million through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

"Investing in value-added projects helps agricultural producers with the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products.  Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program,” said Moul.  “The value-added program facilitates keeping products local which impacts Nebraska’s economy.”

Nebraska Value-Added Recipients include:
BUTLER COUNTY - Wendy McKenzie - $40,579 - To support the processing and marketing of goat cheese.

LANCASTER COUNTY - Lakehouse Farm, LLC - $75,000 - To provide a strategic plan to increase regional networking of producers, end-users and consumers, and create a joint steering committee which will be tasked with exploring the development of a Regional Food Hub.

LANCASTER COUNTY - Robinette Farms, LLC - $24,834 - To process, expand the market area and distribute micro-greens, eggs from pastured hens and pastured boiler chickens.

PLATTE COUNTY - Annette Hellbusch - $32,000 - To market and distribute vegetables and help cover rental expense for an indoor farmers' market.

SARPY COUNTY - Volcanic Peppers, LLC - $49,996 - To assist in the processing and marketing of hot pepper sauces.

SAUNDERS COUNTY - Heartland Nuts N’ More - $49,999 - To implement a marketing plan to provide a central market for member producers to sell their high-quality nut oil from cultivar tree nuts.

WAYNE COUNTY - Eltee Mangalitsa’s, LLC - $49,950 - To process and market Magalitsa pork.

VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or promote additional uses for established products. Veterans, socially-disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given special priority.

Conservation Reserve Program - Transition Incentives Program

The Center for Rural Affairs is seeking participants in the Conservation Reserve Program - Transition Incentives Program (CRP-TIP) to learn more about how CRP-TIP is being implemented. Landowners in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota or South Dakota who have participated in CRP-TIP are encouraged to contact the Center to talk about their experiences with the program.

“One of the major barriers to getting started in farming is access to land,” commented Anna Johnson with the Center for Rural Affairs. “And we know we can learn a lot from both beginning farmers and ranchers as well as landowners who have utilized the CRP-TIP program. That’s why it is vitally important that we talk with people that have put this program to work, on the ground.”

According to Johnson, the CRP-TIP program provides a valuable opportunity both for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to get started in agriculture and for conservation practices to be implemented on more acres. CRP provides payments to landowners for taking environmentally sensitive land out of production for a period of time. It is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency. CRP-TIP is a relatively new part of the program. Landowners with expiring CRP contracts are eligible for two additional years of payments if they sell or rent their land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher. That farmer or rancher then has to use sustainable farming or grazing practices on the land.

“The CRP-TIP program was created through the 2008 Farm Bill,” continued Johnson. “With the next farm bill debate beginning in earnest next year, we believe it is more important than ever to hear from farmers, ranchers and landowners about how this program works and how we could make it work even better.”

Producers can contact Glen Ready with the Center for Rural Affairs at or (402) 687-2103 ext. 1011.

The Center for Rural Affairs, Dakota Rural Action, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, in cooperation with the USDA Farm Service Agency have embarked on this project to learn more about the impact of CRP-TIP and look for ways to improve the implementation of the program.

NCGA Promotes NASS Survey Completion; It Is Important to Farmers

National Corn Growers Association's Risk Management Action Team Chair Steve Ebke, who farms in Daykin, Neb.,  discusses the importance of responding to surveys distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Statistics Service. Responses to recent surveys from USDA have reached historical lows, and this can impact farmers' bottom lines.

"There seem to be county-to-county differences that are unaccounted for and, when you look at it, some counties did not have enough information from responses to the National Agricultural Statistics Service for them to publish data. Farm Service Agency uses that data to calculate ARC payments. So, if NASS does not have the data, they will have to look elsewhere for it.

"This has resulted in a great deal of concern in the countryside. What we are doing at this time is urging everyone to complete their NASS surveys so that each county has a sufficient amount of data for FSA to calculate the payments based upon what actually happened in that county."

Ebke says a lack of data has led to discontent regarding Agriculture Risk Coverage program payments for 2014 and 2015.

"In fact, I just received my county agricultural production survey in the mail for 2016 the other day. You can either do it manually with the booklet that you receive and mail that back in, or you can complete it online. Most of the information in that survey is information farmers have readily available.

"One thing that we want to emphasize is that your data is confidential. Your individual data is confidential and never individually presented somewhere. Your data is aggregated and only presented in that format. The confidentiality of your individual data submitted on the NASS survey is protected by federal law."

Failing to complete the survey, according to Ebke, puts your farm at risk for receiving ARC payments that do not reflect actual production in your county.

"I just want to urge everyone to go ahead and complete this as it is very important to your bottom line. We have additional information on our website and even a direct link to USDA's site, where you can complete your survey."

Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

December 10, 2016
Hansen Ag Student Learning Center - Ames, IA
2508 Mortensen Road, Ames, IA 50011

(Don't miss out on the Cattlemen's Night Out Political Action Committee Fundraiser on Friday, December 9, 2016)
Saturday, December 10, 2016 - Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit

Attendees will have the opportunity to enhance their leadership and communication skills, shape the priorities of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association through the policy development process, network and much more at this first annual, FREE event.

Registration is FREE! Download a registration form or register online by November 29 to guarantee a meal.

The day will feature:

Iowa’s Best Burger-Enjoy Iowa’s 2016 Best Burger, from the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Adair, for the noon meal.

State of the Industry Panel-What are the current realities of the cattle industry? How will successful cattle producers navigate these challenges and continue to build their business? Hear insights and advice from thought leaders in the cattle industry.

Communication for Connection and Cooperation (Not Compliance or Control) - Alan Feirer, Group Dynamic

Learn how to give feedback and assign tasks in ways that build relationships, improve staff retention and engagement. In this session, we will identify and overcome three common obstacles to effective communication. Chief among these is the words we use and how we say them, so we will spend a lot of time on words to use, words to avoid, and ways to give better feedback.

This session will be interactive, fun, and practical. The methods learned can be utilized right away.

Beef Up your County Board- Join us and other successful county leaders in sharing what practices develop a board that operates like a well-oiled machine. Advice on conducting effective board meetings and dealing with conflict are a few topics seasoned leaders will be prepared to share. Additionally, we will identify different ways to get involved in the community and how those type of events can increase community awareness for your organization. Continue to sharpen the saw by learning from your peers and join us for a great discussion!

Tools in your Iowa Beef Industry Headquarters Toolbox-How can the organizations at the Iowa Beef Industry Headquarters support your local county cattlemen? Find out what services and opportunities are available, and hear from local leaders who have effectively worked with us to enhance opportunities in their county.

Social Media that Sticks - Shannon Latham, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds - Tips and guidelines to for using social media to successfully promote your county organization, build awareness of your own cattle business, or clear up misconceptions with consumers.
Policy and Governance

Cattle Production Policy Meeting: The Cattle Production Committee focuses on areas of cattle health and well-being, live cattle marketing, and science and technology.

Business Issues Policy Meeting: The Business Issues Committee focuses on areas of agriculture policy, public/private lands and environmental management, and tax and finance.

Beef Product Policy Meeting: The Beef Product Committee focuses on areas of beef safety, global consumer marketing, and nutrition, health and information.

ICA Annual Meeting: Be a part of the ICA policy development process. ICA's Policy Committees will present recommendations for all members to vote on. Resolutions approved by a majority vote of the members in attendance become the official policy of the association.

Iowa Beef Industry Council Annual Meeting: Learn how the Iowa Beef Industry Council, funded by the $1-per-head beef checkoff, is invested in beef promotion, consumer information, research, industry information and foreign market development to increase beef demand. The meeting will include an election of executive committee members.
Awards and Recognition

2016 Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Class Recognition
Commercial Producer of the Year
Seedstock Producer of the Year
Hall of Fame
Environmental Stewardship Award Program
Foundation Heifer Award
Ralgro Wheel Presentation
Beef Quality Assurance
President’s Council
County Membership Awards

Registration is FREE! Download a registration form or register online by November 29 to guarantee a meal.  More info and registration at

Iowa Pork Industry Center to Offer PQA Plus 3.0 Advisor Certification Session

To help meet industry need, Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University has added one more Pork Quality Assurance Plus 3.0 advisor certification session on Wednesday, Dec. 14. With the introduction of this new program by National Pork Board earlier this year all PQA Plus advisor certifications done under the former 2.0 program expired Aug. 31. Attendance at an all-day session and passage of an exam at the end of the session is now necessary for recertification.

Iowa State University extension swine veterinarian Chris Rademacher said those who want to become certified for the first time are welcome to submit applications for this session. The Iowa Board of Veterinary Medicine has approved seven hours of CE credit for the session.

“All previous PQA Plus advisor certifications expired on August 31 regardless of when the advisor most recently certified through the 2.0 program,” Rademacher said. “This also means everyone needs to complete the two-page application form and be approved to attend this session.”

Rademacher is coordinating this training session, which will be held at the Hansen Ag Student Learning Center on the Iowa State campus in Ames. There is a 15-person minimum with the application deadline of Dec. 1 or whenever the 30-person maximum is reached. No walk-ins are allowed and no individual spot is guaranteed until the application is approved and specific payment is accepted by IPIC. The cost is $75 per person and includes refreshments and the noon meal. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the session starting at 9 a.m.

“Those who wish to attend need to submit their application soon to ensure receipt in time for approval and payment,” Rademacher said. “The form is available as a fillable pdf document and as a word document. People can choose the format that best suits their needs.”

Those who qualify and are interested in the program should download the application form from the IPIC website, then complete and submit it soon.

Poultry Slaughter Production Narrows Gap on Red Meat Production

Total federally inspected red meat and poultry production in 2015 was 94.3 billion pounds, a record high. Federally inspected poultry slaughter production also reached a record high in 2015 at 46.3 billion pounds. Since 1990, poultry slaughter production has almost doubled.  In 1990, federally inspected red meat production was about 60 percent higher than poultry production. The gap between poultry and red meat has steadily decreased and red meat is currently only 4 percent higher than poultry. In terms of gross domestic product, the red meat and poultry slaughter industry is the largest segment of United States agriculture. Red meat and poultry products from slaughter also contribute to agriculture's positive trade balance. In 2015, beef and veal exports totaled over $5.15 billion, pork exports totaled over $4.01 billion and chicken exports totaled over $2.79 billion.

The Overview of the United States Slaughter Industry report provides an official review of changes in the United States slaughter industry over the past 25 years. Additionally, this report gives a brief overview of survey and estimation procedures as well as terminology used in the National Agriculture Statistics Service's (NASS) slaughter publications. The 2016 Overview of the United States Slaughter Industry report will highlight data from NASS' annual Livestock Slaughter report and annual Poultry Slaughter report.

Commercial Pork Production Reaches Record High in 2015

Total commercial red meat production was 48.4 billion pounds in 2015, up 2 percent from 2014. Commercial red meat production reached a record high in 2008 at 50.2 billion pounds. In the past 25 years, commercial red meat production has increased 25 percent. Most of the increase is due to a rise in pork production.

Commercial beef production during 2015 was 23.7 billion pounds, down 2 percent from 2014. Over the past 25 years, beef production has held relatively steady, ranging from a low of 22.6 billion pounds in 1990 to a high of 27.1 billion pounds in 2002.

Commercial veal production was a record low in 2015 at 82.5 million pounds, 12 percent below 2014. This was the seventh year in a row that veal production was a record low.

Commercial pork production during 2015 was a record high at 24.5 billion pounds, 7 percent above the 22.8 billion pounds produced in 2014. Pork production also surpassed beef production as the majority of red meat production for the first time in 2015. Since 1990, pork production has increased 60 percent.

Commercial lamb and mutton production was 150.6 million pounds in 2015, 3 percent below 2014 and the second lowest production on record. Lamb and mutton production has been on a steady decline the past 25 years and reached a record low in 2011 at 148.7 million pounds.

The percent of commercial red meat production by state over the past 25 years been relatively unchanged. In 1990, the top 10 states were Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, South Dakota, California, and Michigan. In 2015, the top 10 states were Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Colorado, Missouri, and Indiana. These states had 75 percent of the commercial red meat production in 1990 and 78 percent of the commercial red meat production in 2015.

NBB Sends Letter to Congress Urging Action on Biodiesel Tax Incentive

The National Biodiesel Board sent a letter to House and Senate tax committee leaders urging extension of the biodiesel tax incentive before it expires on December 31st. The letter was sent on behalf of U.S. biodiesel producers nationwide.

“We strongly urge you to extend the biodiesel tax credit and take this opportunity to make a simple, common-sense reform by focusing the credit on U.S. production,” said Donnell Rehagen, Interim NBB CEO in the letter. “Legislation pending before Congress – S. 3188 and H.R. 5240 – would accomplish these objectives by extending the incentive through 2019 and changing it from a blender’s credit to a domestic producer’s credit. The legislation has strong support from American biodiesel producers and strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate – reflected last year when a similar proposal passed the Senate Finance Committee.”

The growth of the U.S. biodiesel industry in recent years is paying tremendous dividends in reducing emissions, strengthening our energy security, generating competition in the diesel sector and creating jobs and economic activity in every state in the nation. The biodiesel industry supports nearly 48,000 jobs and $1.9 billion in wages across the country.

“Many biodiesel producers who are now poised to expand and hire would likely cut jobs and production. Congress can avoid this with a long-term extension giving producers the policy stability they need to plan for the future.”

U.S. biodiesel producers have more than 1.5 billion gallons of unused production capacity that stands ready to be utilized under the right policy framework. Mobilizing that capacity would create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. Additionally, reforming the incentive would save the Treasury some $90 million as imports are reduced and domestic production rises, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Under the current “blender’s” structure of the incentive, foreign biodiesel imported to the U.S. and blended with petroleum diesel in the U.S. is eligible for the tax incentive. Increasingly, foreign biodiesel producers are taking advantage of the U.S. incentive by shipping their product here. In 2015 alone, some 670 million gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel was imported to the U.S., making up nearly a third of the U.S. market.

R-CALF Presents Cattle Industry Priorities for New Congress

In a prepared statement presented during the 2018 Farm Bill listening session sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), R-CALF USA said the need for major changes is urgent if Congress wants to prevent the U.S. cattle industry from going the way of the packer-controlled poultry, hog and sheep industries.

"Our industry is fast becoming chickenized, meaning dominant packers are eliminating competition in the fed cattle market and substituting it with corporate ownership or control," said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. This process is also known as vertical integration, in which dominant packers acquire complete control over the supply chains within their respective industries.

Bullard described the U.S. cattle industry as an industry where 4 of every 10 ranchers in business 30 years ago are gone today, where cattle supplies have shrunk to 70-year lows, where domestic production has shrunk to a 20-year low, and where the cattle cycle, which historically provides several years of strong prices, is now dysfunctional. He said cattle prices have been falling farther and faster than any time in history despite historically low supplies and strong beef demand.

"These are not indicators of progress. These are indicators of an industry in decline."

He said incremental changes will not reverse the declining cattle industry because the dominant packers are simply too powerful and too sophisticated to let one or two new hurdles stop them from continuing to capture the live cattle supply chain away from independent producers.

"We must act aggressively to reverse our industry's decline before the packers dismantle or destroy the competitive processes and marketing channels within our industry. When those are gone, we will no longer be able to bring our industry back," he said.

The group's urgent priorities include:

- Reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) to provide independent producers the tool they need to compete in their domestic market and abroad.

- Support the so-called GIPSA rules so the overarching rules of competition envisioned in the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) can be enforced; and then amend the PSA to disallow packers from circumventing those rules of competition by claiming to have a business justification for violating the PSA. Bullard said these changes will empower producers to self-monitor and self-enforce the rules of competition without having to wait for the government to act.

- Remove from the packers' toolbox the tools they use to manipulate prices. This includes banning packer ownership of cattle; banning un-priced cattle procurement contracts (such as formula contracts); and prohibiting packers from shorting or otherwise speculating in the cattle futures market for the purpose of lowering prices.

- Remove the Agriculture Secretary's discretion to allow fresh meat from countries where foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) exists. This includes amending the Animal Health Protection Act to prohibit the importation of fresh meat from Brazil or any other country that is not free of FMD without vaccination.

- Provide producers with real-time and more accurate market information. This includes amending the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act to address the numerous new cattle procurement practices the group says that dominant packers use to circumvent reporting requirements. The group identifies five new practices that it says causes reporting inaccuracies.

- Restore the integrity of the national beef checkoff program by prohibiting any lobbying group from contracting for checkoff dollars and making the checkoff program voluntary.

- Reinstate a Livestock Title in the Farm Bill to include all livestock-related provisions.

Youth grain handling safety resources more important than ever

The recent death of a 16-year-old South Dakota boy in a grain bin incident is a grim reminder of the hazards of grain handling.

“Tragedies like this motivate safety people to work even harder,” said Marsha Salzwedel, M.S., Agricultural Youth Safety Specialist with the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, part of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wis.

On the same day that Salzwedel presented a grain handling safety talk in Indianapolis during the National FFA Convention, Taylor Watzel, an FFA student from Winner, S.D., became trapped in a grain bin. He died from his injuries the next day, Oct. 19.

“If we can get people to use these resources, we can prevent incidents like the one with Taylor from happening in the future,” Salzwedel added.The resources highlighted in her talk are available at

Salzwedel shared information about youth agricultural work guidelines, as well as the curriculum she developed with the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, during a general session of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education, held in conjunction with the FFA Convention.

“The work guidelines can be used in supervised agricultural experiences or by anyone supervising young workers to determine if a youth is able to perform a job safely,” Salzwedel said. “When working with grain, adding the curriculum enhances youth safety. We want to educate youth about flowing grain hazards, but we also want the adults supervising the youth to make sure the young people are doing age appropriate work.”

CarbonTV Debuts Season 2 of Hit Farming Series American Harvest

Season two of the popular agriculture docu-series "American Harvest," presented by Chevy Trucks, debuts exclusively on CarbonTV. The new season focuses on the next generation as they battle the odds to pursue careers in the rapidly evolving agriculture industry. "American Harvest: Next Generation" is available on-demand for free on and related CarbonTV OTT apps.

"American Harvest" Season 1 introduced the Johnsons, a multi-generational family of farmers in Central Minnesota. In Season 2, the series follows Leah Johnson as she manages a full-time job at Red River Marketing while also helping her father and brother run the family farm. Josh Fiedler and his wife Liz, who grew up raising cattle, prepare to re-enter their old lives with a risky move back to the family farm. Chad Olsen, owner and operator of one of Olsen Custom Farms, enters into another year of custom harvesting along the route from Texas to Canada. With a fleet of more than 80 combines, Chad's business is a feat of organization and problem solving. They must all find a way to make a living in an agriculture industry that is far different than the one in which their parents grew up.

"Viewers loved Season 1 for its authentic portrayal of the high-stakes American farming industry," says Daniel Seliger, EVP of Content and Marketing at CarbonTV. "Season 2 continues the story with a focus on the passion and commitment of the next generation."

Watch "American Harvest: Next Generation" now:

Growing Demand For Feed Wheat May Ease Storage Crunch At U.S. Elevators

Grain handlers are anticipating an uptick in orders for feed wheat, which should allow them to move excess wheat inventories as farmers bring in a record fall harvest, according to a new report from CoBank.

“While all grain prices have fallen to low levels in the face of this year’s record-large harvests, wheat prices have fallen the most,” says Tanner Ehmke, CoBank senior economist and co-author of the report. “As a result wheat is destined to become a staple in livestock’s feed rations for at least the next year or two and will remain competitive with other feed grains for the foreseeable future, barring a major weather event.”

Current USDA forecasts indicate that wheat feeding and residual use will climb to 260 million bushels in 2016, up from 152 million bushels last year. With cash wheat prices on the plains continually finding new lows—some local areas are posting the lowest prices in decades—USDA’s feed-wheat estimate could likely see upward revisions given wheat’s high stocks-use ratio, according to the CoBank report.

In some areas hard red wheat has traded more than 40 cents below the price of corn. In other areas soft red wheat has a 30-cent premium to corn, as prices drop with the arrival of the new crop. The shortfall in South American corn production has boosted U.S. corn exports, supported corn prices and widened the wheat-corn price spread. Further, an abundance of lower-priced old-crop corn—which could be discounted due to new-crop supplies—adds more pressure to grain prices.

In contrast a shorter supply of other feed grains, such as oats, barley and sorghum, will likely add to the attractiveness of corn and wheat in animal diets.

“A key question becomes whether farmers will be willing to sell wheat stocks as several market factors are incentivizing crop retention and storage,” notes Ehmke. “Still, the need to make room for the large fall harvest could ultimately motivate sales.”

Storage and price matters aside several other factors come into play as livestock producers incorporate wheat into rations. One such factor is that wheat has less energy than corn, therefore requiring livestock producers who add more wheat to rations, to have to add other grains with a higher energy content to compensate. However, wheat also contains more protein than corn, meaning livestock farmers must also consider the cost savings from reducing the amount of competing protein sources like soybean meal.

The substitution rate of wheat in place of corn is dependent upon the method of grain processing used prior to feeding.

“These factors, along with on-farm logistics and other animal health considerations, mean livestock producers will need to work closely with their nutritionist, veterinarian and other key advisors,” says Trevor Amen, the other co-author of the report and an economist and livestock specialist at CoBank. “These relationships will be crucial as producers consider ration ingredient changes and how to best incorporate them.”

Regardless of the individual decisions that each livestock operator must make based on local markets, they all stand to reap huge rewards with an abundant feed supply that is likely to grow into 2016-17 with a potentially record fall harvest. In the meantime, grain handlers that still hold substantial wheat inventories are being offered an opportunity to create much needed space by sending more wheat into the feed mix.

IGC Revises Grain Production Forecast

The International Grains Council Thursday raised its forecast for global grains production in the 2016 to 2017 marketing year, for the sixth time in seven months.

Production will hit a record 2.077 billion metric tons, ahead of the 2.069 billion tons forecast last month, the IGC said. The previous record, for 2014 to 2015, stands at 2.048 billion tons.

"This month's upward adjustments for [corn] include for the U.S., Argentina and India, while larger numbers for wheat are mostly in the Black Sea region," the London-based IGC said.

It raised its forecast for corn production by eight million tons to 1.035 billion tons, for wheat by one million tons to 748 million tons, for soybeans by three million tons to 332 million tons and for rice by two million tons to 484 million tons.

The upward revision in the production forecast exceeded a five million ton hike in the IGC's global grains consumption forecast to 2.054 billion tons.

"A rise in feed demand accounts for about half of the projected 72 million [year-over-year] gain in grains consumption," the IGC said.

As a result, the IGC expects year-end stocks to climb from 2016's 475 million tons to 498 million tons next year, not the previously expected 492 million tons.

The IGC said efforts by Chinese policymakers to encourage consumption of domestic grains instead of imports will contribute to a slight decrease in global trade volumes, which are expected to decline from 344 million tons last year to 337 million tons in 2016 to 2017.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wednesday October 26 Ag News

North African Buying Team Visits Nebraska to See Corn Industry Firsthand

The U.S. Grains Council’s Export Exchange conference just wrapped up in Detroit, Michigan, and overseas grain buyers from the North African countries of Morocco and Tunisia have now seen corn harvest and ethanol production for themselves after making a pre-conference stop in Nebraska.

International trade plays a key role in the success of our industry. With a record corn harvest expected for 2016, it is critically important that there are markets for our corn and value-added corn products. U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) Export Exchange conference offers the perfect opportunity to bring international trade teams to Nebraska, and across the U.S., so they can see our corn supply and quality for themselves.

The team, consisting of representatives from major North African corn importers and feed companies, had the opportunity to visit Central Plains Milling in Howells to learn about the U.S. feed industry, before heading to Green Plains trading floor in Omaha. They also had the opportunity to tour the Green Plains production plant in Shenandoah, Iowa to see ethanol and distillers grain production. The team capped their Nebraska visit by experiencing corn harvest firsthand at Alan Tiemann’s farm by Seward.

Tiemann, at-large director on the Nebraska Corn Board and past-chair of the USGC said, “The grain buyers from North Africa were extremely impressed with the quality of our corn and corn products and were appreciative of their time in Nebraska.”

“The fact is, every farmer and rancher in Nebraska benefits from exports, even if they don’t personally export anything. Inviting grain buyers from Morocco, Tunisia and other places around the world to Nebraska is a vital step in establishing relationships and building new export markets with international trade partners,” added Tiemann

Held every other year by the USGC and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange brings together international buyers with U.S. sellers of corn, sorghum, barley, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed. The conference highlights the importance of strong trade policy and market development to U.S. agriculture. The USGC in partnership with Nebraska Corn Board works in more than 50 countries and the European Union to market U.S. grains and their related products and build long-term demand from loyal customers.

Boone McAfee, Nebraska Corn Board’s director of research and coordinator for this team, noted, “Strengthening the bonds between Nebraska suppliers and our international trade partners is essential. The connections made during their visit to Nebraska, in addition to their time at US Grains Council’s Export Exchange Conference, will help propel a positive trade partnership for current and future trade opportunities.”


Paul Hay, NE Extension Educator, Gage County

                The Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition and University of Nebraska Extension Present: Dirt Rich or Dirt Poor: Principles of Soil Health, Adaptive Grazing and Cover Crop Integration.  Educational program is set for Tuesday, November 15 from 5:00 pm till 9:00 pm at the Extension Office Meeting Room on the Fairgrounds in Beatrice.  Registration is $15 including meal and materials.  Pre-register by calling the Extension office at 402-223-1384.

                Allen Williams is a nationally recognized expert in Grazing Management, Grass Fed Beef, Beef Production Profitability, and Integration of Cover Crops into Beef Production.  Allen is a sixth generation family farmer and holds BS, MS degrees in Animal Science from Clemson University and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.

                Allen spent 15 years in Land Grant University research, teaching, and extension.   He has worked with more than 4,000 farmers and ranchers in the US, Canada, Mexico, and South America.  Allen consults with branded food programs, farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and food service.

                Allen has been an invited speaker at over 400 regional, national, and international conferences and symposia.

                For more information e-mail Paul C Hay at, call 402-223-1384, or visit the News Column University of Nebraska Extension local Website:, Twitter:@Cloverhay


Recently, concerns about the noise from wind turbines has become a topic of discussion as local officials consider appropriate sound levels for planning and zoning.  Ryan Callahan, an acoustic engineer with Tech Environmental will make a keynote presentation ‘Wind Turbine Noise-Just the Facts.’  His presentation will be Tuesday, November 8 at 11:30 a.m. during the 9th Annual Nebraska Wind and Solar conference at the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln, NE.

Callahan has eleven years of experience as a noise consultant in acoustic modeling and sound level monitoring, and received his bachelor of science in civil engineering from Northeastern University. An expert in applications of acoustic models to wind farms, power plants and other construction related projects, Callahan designs and implements field monitoring programs for permitting purposes. These field monitoring programs can also be used for demonstrating compliance with local and state noise regulations.

“County administrators are oftentimes between a rock and a hard place when it comes to wind turbine noise,” said John Hansen, conference co-chairman. “They need to balance the concerns of county residents with the sound facts from research and from scientific modeling. When determining appropriate set back requirements, administrators cannot rely on rumors and feelings.  They need the best scientific and sound level monitoring information available that has been proven to be reliable.”

During his time at Tech Environmental, Callahan has successfully completed sound monitoring and modeling for more than 200 projects including a 420-megawatt wind farm.

This year’s conference will kick off with a site tour of Lincoln Electric System’s SunShares Community Solar Project, Sunday, November 6 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The tour will leave from the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel.  The tour fee is just $10 and open to the public. Registration for the conference is $150, and $175 for walk-in registrations the day of the conference. Student registration is only $65. Visit our website at to register for the conference and solar project tour and to make your hotel reservations. Also check out this year’s conference schedule.

EPA Region 7 Awards Environmental Education Grants Focusing on Wetlands and Sustainable Food Production

EPA Region 7 awarded three Environmental Education grants recently totaling more than $370,000, in conjunction with EPA’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education in Washington, D.C.

The grants were awarded to the Board of Regents, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.; National Audubon Society d/b/a Rowe Sanctuary, Gibbon, Neb.; and Eastern Iowa Community College District, Davenport, Iowa.

The Board of Regents, University of Nebraska - A total of $122,148 will fund its project, "Introducing Environmental Sustainability Principles for Food Production into High School Science." It will focus on creating a curriculum that will provide a framework for students to understand the complex, adaptive systems involved in the food system, and prepare students to make future personal decisions related to environmental sustainability. The work will include implementing, pilot testing, evaluating, and disseminating a curriculum that empowers high school students to assess the sustainability of local farms using the Field to Market Fieldprint® Calculator, which is a tool used to measure several characteristics of a field, including land use efficiency, greenhouse gas contribution, and water quality impact.

The Rowe Sanctuary‘s Iain Nicolson Audubon Center - A total of $134,290 will fund its project, "Wetlands for Schools and Communities," a partnership with Kearney Public Schools. The project is two-fold: 1) Partners will create an outdoor wetland at the newly-built high school. This wetland and adjacent grasslands will include habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and grassland birds that migrate through and nest in central Nebraska each year, including several species of special concern. The wetland will also filter runoff water to improve water quality and increase groundwater recharge in an over-appropriated river basin. 2) The EPA grant will create an outdoor classroom and curriculum for students, parents, and the entire community, who will use the wetland as a focal point for their studies. The curriculum will incorporate hands-on, experiential education programs that will help build a culture of environmental stewardship throughout their community.

The Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICC) - A total of $114,126 will fund its project, "YES! Youth and Environmental Sustainability." This work will increase the number of middle and high school students who use critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills to understand the environmental topics of climate change, air pollution, and water pollution. EICC will design science teacher workshops and work with partners from Nahant Marsh and its Education Center. Nahant Marsh is a former lead shot-contaminated Superfund site that was cleaned up in 1999. The now pristine wetland will be a field site used for many of the lessons.

DAP, 10-34-0 Hit Four-Month Lows

Average retail fertilizer prices remained virtually unchanged for the third week of October, coming off nine weeks of steady decline, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. All eight of the major fertilizer remain lower than the previous month.

DAP and 10-34-0, however, each came in at four-month lows. DAP averaged $436 per ton, as did 10-34-0.

MAP, potash, anhydrous and UAN28 all remained largely unchanged. MAP came in at $452/ton, potash $313/ton, anhydrous $452/ton and UAN28 at $313/ton. Urea and UAN32 each averaged $317/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers remain lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are double digits lower.

Both DAP and MAP are now down 20%, 10-34-0 has dropped by 22%, while UAN32 is down 21%. Urea and UAN28 are 23% less expensive, anhydrous is 25% lower and potash is 28% less expensive compared to the previous year.

Eroding River Infrastructure, a Major Concern for Corn Farmers

New research by the Mid-America Freight Coalition quantifies what many in agriculture have known for years; failure of our aging river locks and dams along the Mississippi River and its tributaries would be ruinous with billions of dollars in lost jobs and reduced economic activity.

Recently, USDA released estimates of the economic implications to the agriculture sector should a disruption occur at either Lock & Dam 25 on the Upper Mississippi or La Grange Lock & Dam on the Illinois River waterway. The locations were selected because they are representative of the lock system as a whole but also because they occupy key locations on the river system.

"These are both 600 foot locks even though modern tows are 1,200 feet-long. They are also at the lower reaches of the waterways," said Ken Hartman, chair of the National Corn Growers Association's Market Access Action Team. "The southbound traffic here already contributes to long delays because of the lock size. But a disruption of any length of time related to their deteriorating condition would be catastrophic for family farmers who are increasingly dependent on exports and trade."

Among several important findings, the report concludes a L&D 25 closure could result in a loss of more than 7,000 jobs, $1.3 billion of labor income and about $2.4 billion of economic activity (total industry output) annually.  Similarly, closing La Grange Lock & Dam could result in a reduction of 5,500 jobs, $900 million of labor income and $1.8 billion of economic activity annually.

"A majority of these locks were built in the 1930s and have surpassed their designed lifespan," Hartman notes. "With growing demand being made on the system upgrading the navigational efficiency of these waterways is a priority for corn farmers and NCGA, especially when most of our prospective customers are now overseas."

A total of 36 locks and dams, 28 on the Upper Mississippi River, are maintained at a 9-foot depth navigation channel for barge transportation.

ExEx16 Speakers: Global Consumers Drive Grain Demand, Push Toward Transparency

Food companies, including those supplying animal protein and grains, need to understand consumer expectations to remain successful, Todd Armstrong, senior director of Global Market Access at Elanco, told the more than 400 attendees of the Export Exchange 2016 conference on Wednesday.

He joined other speakers during the conference’s second day of general sessions focused on demand trends and how grain producers and users can meet consumer expectations in a cost-effective manner using U.S. grain products.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange 2016 offers attendees a unique opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, barley and other commodities. More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries are in Detroit for the conference.

“When you ask consumers what they expect, the consumer is demanding and expecting increased transparency in what happens to their food,” Armstrong said. “In the animal protein industry, we’re expected to be more transparent about how we raise animals.”

Paul Hishmeh, data and technology director for Field to Market, spoke on work in the United States to quantify and communicate farm and food chain sustainability, which is of increasing interest to consumers around the world.

Attendees also heard Wednesday from Florentino Lopez, executive director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP), on U.S. sorghum availability and new uses and a panel providing international perspectives on DDGS utilization.

During the panel, Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, a consultant with USGC, described his work with a Vietnamese feed company that used formulation software but no DDGS database, showing the Export Exchange crowd the calculations he worked through with the customers. After helping the company include DDGS in its calculations, the feed mill realized cost savings, he noted.

Dr. Abdellah Ait Boulahsen, a Council consultant in Morocco, also outlined scenarios he has used with companies in that market, showing how they can use U.S. DDGS as part of a lowest-cost feed formulation.

U.S. DDGS are sold “consistently” to more than 40 countries, said USGC Manager of Global Trade Alvaro Cordero, who also spoke on the panel, with growth to other regions happening consistently. There are many companies that “are leaving a lot of money on the table” by not taking advantage of U.S. DDGS, he noted, a common theme of conversations between buyers and sellers at the conference.

Export Exchange concludes late Wednesday in Detroit with several Council trade teams traveling throughout the Midwest until early November.

Investment in Ag Technology Reaches Record $25 Billion

Investments by companies and venture capitalists in agricultural technology reached a record of as much as $25 billion globally in 2015, and that figure will probably grow again this year. Bloomberg News reports that real-time data analytics, sensors and robots are raising the prospect of the next green revolution and are spurring start ups, according to the report released Tuesday by Boston Consulting Group and AgFunder, which connects investors with agricultural companies and proposals online. The investments include research and development, deals, partnerships, equity stakes and technology centers. Early-stage funding from venture capital firms reached $3 billion globally, up from $900 million in 2013 and $400 million in 2010, the groups said.

Slumping grain, meat and dairy prices have eroded agriculture incomes, sparking more farmers to adopt so-called precision-agriculture methods to help increase efficiency. Companies including Deere & Co. are joining the race to create new products for the market that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates could be worth $240 billion by 2050. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report last week that the new technologies are helping to boost profits.

The technologies encompass everything from granular data analysis that enhances planting decisions to drones that provide field views around the clock. The report's findings reflect a survey of more than 50 executives from seed, fertilizer, meat, grain and farm-equipment companies as well as 15 venture-capital investors.

About 80 percent of large U.S. farmers are using GPS devices to steer their tractors, while 70 percent to 80 percent use yield mapping to determine the most productive areas of their land, the USDA estimates. Crop protection and seed companies have invested the highest percentage of revenue in "agtech," according to the private report.

Preconditioning Pays

Che Trejo, DVM, Zoetis Beef Technical Services

Producers make mindful decisions to precondition their calves to help ward off sickness and prepare calves for weaning, commingling and travel to feedlots. However, if they don’t take the step to enroll in a third-party-verified preconditioning program, are they reaping their much-deserved rewards?

Recent auction market sales data demonstrates the value producers can gain through preconditioning calves — as much as $72 more per head if enrolled in SelectVAC® compared with similarly preconditioned cattle not enrolled in SelectVAC.1 As good stewards of the animals in our care, we understand there is much more behind the choice and investment in preconditioning cattle than dollar signs alone.

From cow/calf to feedlot sectors, preconditioning is the most conscientious choice producers can make for the betterment of their animals’ health. Preconditioning programs promote calf growth, enhance immune function and minimize stress as calves move from their ranch of origin to the stocker or backgrounder operation and then to the feedlot. A study demonstrated that calves enrolled in SelectVAC were four times less likely to get sick or die in a feedlot setting than calves with an unverified health history.2 Preconditioning calves well ahead of stressors like shipment and commingling allows time for calves to respond to vaccinations and help avoid potential health risks, such as bovine respiratory disease (BRD).

Combine preconditioning with sound weaning practices to best protect your calves from infectious challenges they could encounter during their most delicate periods of early life.

Additional ways to promote Calf Wellness:

-    When working cows, handle calves with care to avoid unnecessary stress.
-    Practice controlled separation strategies at pre-weaning to avoid abrupt weaning patterns for young calves.
-    Better-orchestrated practices centered around branding and pre-weaning can decrease stressors at weaning. 

Selling cattle with a history in a verified preconditioning program, like SelectVAC, provides transparency to buyers because the program documents which products were administered and when. With lower chances of sickness and death, feedyard operators purchasing calves preconditioned with SelectVAC may no longer feel the need to administer antibiotics on arrival. Among growing consumer concerns over antibiotic usage, this benefit becomes increasingly important.

Producers who choose to precondition their calves know the decision isn’t always driven by economics. It’s the best decision for the health of their calves, as well as the cattle industry at large.

Novozymes reports results for first nine months of 2016

Novozymes, the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes, today announced its results for the first nine months of 2016. Sales grew by 1% organically and declined by 1% in DKK compared with the first nine months of 2015. Sales outside North America increased by 5% organically, while sales in North America declined by 6% organically due to Bioenergy, Food & Beverages, and BioAg. As communicated in the half-year report, Novozymes expected growth in the second half to be skewed toward the end of the year. Sales in Q3 were lower than expected, declining by 3% organically, but Novozymes still expects moderate organic growth in the final quarter of the year.

The EBIT margin was on par, and EBIT declined by 1% compared with the first nine months of 2015. Adjusting for the restructuring costs in Q1, the EBIT margin would have expanded to above 28% and EBIT growth to above 1% compared with the first nine months of 2015.

The outlook for full-year organic sales growth is adjusted to around 2%, from previously 2-4%. The adjustment reflects the sales performance in the first nine months, and continued challenges in Household Care, Food & Beverages and agricultural markets. The outlook for sales growth in DKK is reduced to 0-1%, from previously 1-3%, due to the adjusted organic sales guidance. The outlooks for EBIT growth and net profit growth are also adjusted within the previously guided range.

Peder Holk Nielsen, President and CEO of Novozymes, comments:
“Our new innovations have had a slower pick-up than anticipated, so our sales growth is weaker than we had expected at the beginning of the year. In spite of this, we expect to deliver 8-9% net profit growth. We will push through this period of low growth by shifting more resources to customer engagement and accelerating innovation while reducing our cost level elsewhere. Our pipeline of sustainable biological solutions is strong, and we’re launching a number of promising new products in the coming quarters.”

DuPont Reports Slightly Lower Sales

DuPont announced third-quarter sales at $4.9 billion, up 1 percent versus prior year as 3-percent volume growth more than offset 2-percent lower local price.

Free cash flow improvement of $1.3 billion year-to-date reflected improvements in working capital, lower tax payments, lower capital expenditures and the absence of Chemours cash outflows.

"This quarter we continued the strong momentum from the first half of the year. We increased segment operating earnings 40 percent, expanded operating margins in each reportable segment, reduced costs, grew volumes and improved free cash flow. As a result of our continued performance and progress against strategic initiatives, we are raising our operating earnings guidance for the year," said Ed Breen, chairman and CEO of DuPont.

In the agricultural division, a seasonal operating loss of $189 million improved $21 million, or 10 percent, as cost savings, higher volumes and a $28 million benefit from currency were partially offset by lower local price and higher product costs.

Increased seed volumes were partially offset by lower fungicide and insecticide volumes. Increased seed prices were more than offset by lower crop protection prices. Prior year operating earnings included a $27 million gain from asset sales and a $21 million benefit related to prior periods. Operating margins expanded by 230 basis points.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tuesday October 25 Ag News

Lt. Governor Foley Announces Colfax County as Newest Nebraska Livestock Friendly County

Today, Lt. Governor Mike Foley announced that Colfax County has become the newest county in Nebraska to be designated as a Livestock Friendly County (LFC) through a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).  Colfax County is the 41st designated Livestock Friendly County in Nebraska.  The LFC designation ceremony was held at the Colfax County Courthouse in Schuyler, Nebraska.

“Having a Livestock Friendly County designation for Colfax County makes good sense as agriculture and livestock continue to have a tremendous impact on the local economy here,” said Lt. Governor Foley.  “Out of Colfax County’s nearly $337 million dollars in agriculture receipts in 2012, $222 million dollars came from livestock sales.  By requesting and receiving the state’s designation, Colfax County is saying that it is open for agri-business and all the benefits that come with responsible livestock production.”

Created in 2003 by the Nebraska Legislature, the LFC program is designed to recognize counties in the state that support the expansion of the livestock industry.  In 2014, livestock receipts in the state comprised over half of the $24 billion of Nebraska’s total on-farm receipts.  The LFC designation gives counties an extra promotional tool to encourage expansion of current livestock operations and attract new businesses that spur local economies.

“We are pleased to welcome Colfax County as the 41st Livestock Friendly County in Nebraska,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach.  “The LFC program is built on local support.  It shows that a county can actively support growth and development in the livestock industry and turn it into more economic activity and job opportunities for the whole county.”

Counties wishing to apply for the LFC designation must hold a public hearing and the county board must pass a resolution to apply for the designation.  Then a completed application must be submitted to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.  Local producers or groups can encourage county officials to apply.

Additional information about the Livestock Friendly County program is available on NDA’s website at or by calling 800-422-6692.


      Michael Boehm has been named the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and University of Nebraska vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

      "We are tremendously excited to have Dr. Boehm join us at Nebraska's land-grant university," Chancellor Ronnie Green said. "His vision, passion and experience will be instrumental in leading IANR to even greater accomplishments and service to Nebraskans and the world. Mike's background in research and teaching, his national leadership in plant pathology, and his leadership of system-wide initiatives at Ohio State make him extremely well qualified for this integral role. His energetic, inclusive and thoughtful approach is a fantastic fit for our culture, and we look forward to Mike taking IANR's recognized momentum to even higher levels of international leadership."

      Boehm is currently professor of plant pathology and vice provost for academic and strategic planning at The Ohio State University. He has been responsible for strategic planning for Ohio State’s 15 colleges and six campuses; K-12 and community college partnerships; the University Libraries System, College of Public Affairs and Office of Institutional Research and Planning; dean reappointment and academic unit reviews; integrated capital planning; and classroom readiness. He oversees Ohio State's Discovery Themes initiative, a 10-year program to produce solutions to the challenges of the 21st century, and serves as co-lead for the Humanities and the Arts Discovery Theme.

      Boehm, 51, is an authority on the integrated management of turfgrass diseases and focuses on the biology, ecology and management of fungal diseases. He also works on the integrated management of Fusarium head blight of wheat with a focus on the development of biological control strategies for this economically important and challenging disease. He is widely published, holds five U.S. and 15 international patents related to his work on the biocontrol of Fusarium head blight, and has secured significant external funding in support of his personal research. In 2013, Boehm was president of the American Phytopathological Society, the leading scientific organization for plant pathology in the world.

      "The University of Nebraska is well-known for its leading work and contributions in ag and natural resources and human sciences, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to build on that work," Boehm said. "The people of Nebraska and the university are deeply committed to advancement in agriculture and sustainable use of natural resources, and there's an inherent understanding that what happens in Nebraska influences lives around the world. I'm eager to become part of that dynamic and honored to have the chance to work with IANR's amazing faculty, staff and students, as well as with external partners and renowned thought leaders in ag and natural resources."

      Boehm will provide leadership for all agricultural and natural resource affairs at the university. In the dual role of IANR vice chancellor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and NU vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Boehm has leadership of the campuses for all agricultural, natural resources and related affairs in the University of Nebraska system. As vice president, Boehm will oversee the executive directors of the Rural Futures Institute and the Daugherty Global Water for Food Institute and the dean of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis. The vice chancellor is the chief administrative officer for IANR, which includes the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the Agricultural Research Division, Nebraska Extension, and the IANR research and extension components of the College of Education and Human Sciences. The vice chancellor is responsible for an enterprise with more than 1,600 full-time employees including a tenure-track faculty of 330, nearly 40,000 acres of land and a budget with annual expenditures of over $215 million.

      "Mike is a great addition to our university community," NU President Hank Bounds said. “The area of ag and natural resources has always been vital for our state and the work done here is of growing importance globally. Having Mike in this leadership role will further our contributions, elevating and accelerating research and collaboration needed to make a bigger impact on some of the world's most pressing challenges."

      The appointment is pending Board of Regents approval. Boehm will join the university Jan. 1 and assume responsibilities from Ron Yoder, who was appointed IANR's interim vice chancellor shortly after Green vacated the position to become chancellor in May of this year.

    "I want to particularly thank Ron Yoder for his excellent leadership of IANR during this transition," Green said. "As IANR's associate vice chancellor since 2011, Ron has provided exceptional and strategic leadership directly overseeing the unprecedented expansion of IANR's faculty by nearly 30 percent. I also want to thank the search committee of 29 individuals led by co-chairs Tiffany Heng-Moss and Mike Johanns for their outstanding service in this successful and timely search, as well as all candidates and finalists for this role. It's a testament to our international reputation in agriculture and natural resources that the university attracted such high-caliber candidates."

USDA Invests Nearly $962,000 to Support 40 Nebraska Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

USDA Rural Development Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul announces the awarding of nearly $962,000 in grants for 40 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that are supported through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

"Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects supports rural and local energy sources.  Energy creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas pollution and aligns us for a more secure energy future,” said Moul.

The projected energy savings from the announced projects is equivalent to the amount required to power 345 homes.  Siouxland Ethanol, LLC will produce enough energy to fuel 6,775 vehicles.  Funding for the projects is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

The recipients, and their counties, include:

-Sharon Wilkinson - $6,150 - Diesel to electric motor conversion
-Elsie Coy - $14,455 - Propane to electric irrigation conversion
-Schindler Grain & Livestock, LLC - $6,726 - Diesel to electric motor conversion

-Gary Powell - $12,170 - Install 24.4 kW solar array
-Gregory Brummond - $9,927 - Install 10 kW solar array     

-Cedar View Country Club, Inc. - $4,722 - Windows and insulated siding

-Ru_De's Mart, Inc. - $10,940 - Freezer replacement

-Siouxland Ethanol, LLC - $500,000 - Install additional fermenter and cooling tower and upgrade existing beer masher unit

-Rocking Diamond A Ranch, LLC - $3,115 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion

-Robert Green - $3,854 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion
-Ryan Ruzicka - $10,924 - Diesel to electric irrigation motor conversion
-The Blfd Closet, LLC - $8,268 - HVAC replacement and adding of insulation

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen, and geothermal.

Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency grants of $20,000 or less (25% of total eligible project costs) are due by Oct. 31, 2016, for the first funding cycle and March 31, 2017, for the second funding cycle.  Grant requests for this round have a simplified, streamlined process and can be as low as $2,500 for renewable energy projects and $1,500 for energy efficiency projects. The next funding deadline will be March 31, 2017 for projects of any size with maximum grants limited to $500,000 for renewable energy projects and $250,000 for energy efficiency projects (25% of total eligible project costs).

Any eligible applications not funded during the October 31, 2017 funding cycle will be reconsidered.  Applications for renewable energy system and energy efficiency guaranteed loans (up to 75% of total eligible project costs) are accepted at any time and compete on a monthly basis. The minimum guaranteed loan amount to a borrower is $5,000 and the maximum amount is $25 million.


Today, the Nebraska Farmers Union PAC announced their endorsement of Congressman Brad Ashford in his reelection campaign.

“Nebraska’s agriculture industry is the third largest in the nation based on cash receipts, and it is one of the largest sectors of the our state economy,” said John Hansen, NEBFARMPAC Secretary. “Our organization needs and appreciates the fact that Brad Ashford is our state’s only member on the House Agriculture Committee. Our state is well served by Brad Ashford, who has both an open door and an open mind as he serves Nebraska and agriculture. We need to keep Brad on the House Ag Committee, especially since work has already begun on the next Farm Bill.”

“I am honored to have the support of the Nebraska Farmers Union PAC and our agriculture community,” said Rep. Ashford. “I have enjoyed the positive relationship I have with the Nebraska Farmers Union, and I look forward to continue working with our ag community and my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful legislation for our farmers.

Congressman Brad Ashford serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and hosts an annual summit on urban agriculture that connects farmers, nonprofits, and small business owners to discuss access to healthy produce in our communities.

Reminder: Request absentee ballot for Iowa  Beef Checkoff vote by Nov. 23

Eligible cattle producers in Iowa have less than a month to request an absentee ballot for the Iowa state beef checkoff.

The proposed checkoff would be assessed at a rate of 50 cents per head on all Iowa cattle sold. The checkoff would be mandatory, but refunds will be available.

State checkoff could be used more flexibly

The federal beef checkoff has been $1 a head for thirty years. There are few things that have stayed at the same price since the 1980s, so naturally, the power of that $1 has diminished. In the meantime, the beef industry has been faced with increasing global competition and record pork and poultry production. It is clear to many that more investment is needed.

The federal checkoff amount is not the only thing that has stayed the same. While individual programs may have changed and adapted, the way the funds can be used has not changed. Limited mainly to promotion and research related to the beef product, the federal beef checkoff’s scope is much narrower than many other commodity checkoffs and definitely more restrictive than the state checkoff would be.

The state beef checkoff would be 50 cents per head on all cattle sold in Iowa, and the funds generated would be used to address many of the unique challenges Iowa producers have. In an industry that is increasingly dominated by larger producers, Iowa is different. Here, we have a wide variety of operations in size and scope, and with that, some unique needs. The state beef checkoff could not only be used more flexibly than the federal checkoff, but it could be used to address the issues specific to Iowa cattle producers.

Whether it’s research into cattle’s role in improving water quality or research into how Iowa feeders can maintain leverage in today’s cattle market, production research needs will be one of the gaps filled by the state beef checkoff. And unlike the federal checkoff, the state checkoff funds could be used to market Iowa’s beef as different and superior to beef from other states.

State beef checkoff priorities

The priorities for the state beef checkoff were developed by our producer members, through a survey facilitated in the fall of 2015. As a grassroots organization, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association leaders feel that input from producers is vital when making major strategic decisions. And although the state beef checkoff funds would be administered by the Iowa Beef Industry Council, the same organization that administers the federal checkoff, ICA members will continue to have a voice in how the state funds are used.

As the referendum nears, we encourage cattle producers to reach out to ICA with any questions or concerns they may have about the proposed state checkoff. As is the case with all major issues, we want to hear first-hand input from our members. Visit or call 515-296-2266 to contact us.

How to Vote

Vote by absentee ballot: request a ballot from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship by calling 515.281.5321, or by e-mail at

Absentee ballots must be requested by November 23 and postmarked by November 30.

Vote on November 30: If voting in-person is preferred, producers can also vote at their local county extension office on November 30 from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Farmer-Mentor Roundtables Highlight Iowa Organic Conference

Registration is still available for the 16th annual Iowa Organic Conference. A joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, the conference will be held Nov. 13-14 on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. This year’s theme is ‘Perennial Passion: Building Resilience into Organic Systems’, highlighting how organic practices have been critical for preserving pollinator habitat and reducing erosion.

Fred IutziFarmer-mentor roundtables will offer farmers who are interested in transitioning to organic or have specific organic questions an opportunity to meet individually with organic farmers and organic certification experts.

“The market for organic products in the United States reached $43 billion in 2015 and the demand for organic grains and produce continues to exceed supply,” said Kathleen Delate, professor and extension organic specialist at Iowa State. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production.”

The conference’s keynote speaker is Fred Iutzi, president of The Land Institute. Iutzi will speak on the benefits of perennial plants for both farms and landscapes.

The conference begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 13, with a roundtable featuring organic farmers who will be able to answer questions about organic production. A keynote talk by Dr. Caroline Halde, assistant professor in sustainable agriculture at the Université Laval in Québec, Canada, will follow at 4 p.m. Halde will present a slide show on local food producers who use successful organic practices to meet market demand.

A reception, featuring local and organic food and drinks, will follow at 6 p.m. in the UI Memorial Union, followed by the movie “What’s on Your Plate,” which explores the benefits of local and organic food production in our food system.

The conference lunch on Monday afternoon highlights local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by award-winning UI Executive Chef Barry Greenberg and his team.

Monday’s break-out sessions include transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock health, organic no-till for grain and vegetable crops, and growing small grains. The conference also includes information on soil and water quality research, crop insurance for organic producers, economic and financial assistance for organic producers, and local food system initiatives such as food hubs and Grow Johnson County.

A Record Corn Harvest Continues as Iowa Corn Farmers Host Japanese Feed Buyers

A U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team representing the Japanese corn processing, feed and corn trade industries as well as a hog and poultry industry journalist will travel to Iowa October 27-29 following the Export Exchange conference in Detroit. This event brings together international buyers with U.S. sellers of corn, distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed and includes accompanying field tours to surrounding states like Iowa.

“The goal of hosting this team will be to maintain and further the relationships the U.S. Grains Council has cultivated between U.S. suppliers and Japanese importers, grain processors and end-users,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Director Carl Jardon, a farmer from Randolph. “This mission trip will give them the opportunity to see the corn production chain first-hand, ask questions directly at farms, elevators and ethanol plants, increasing their understanding of the quality advantages of U.S. corn and DDGs.”

Their journey through Iowa will begin on Thursday in Des Moines with a tour of DuPont Pioneer’s Research and Development headquarters and laboratories. Then they will travel on Friday to Jewell to visit the Poet ethanol plant as well as the Ag Partners coop in Ellsworth. Their day will then end with a tour of ICGA Director Denny Friest’s farm in Radcliffe. On Saturday, they will visit the Green Plains ethanol production facility in Shenandoah on the way to their final stop at ICGA Director Carl Jardon’s farm in Randolph.

“U.S. corn exports are doing well right now, largely due to Brazil and Argentina’s drought,” said Jardon. “More countries like Japan are shifting to U.S. corn which is good for Iowa’s farmers. We will hopefully give them the right tools they need to purchase the high-quality U.S. corn they demand and continue to increase their confidence in the United States’ ability to provide them with a consistent product. It will be especially crucial for them to learn about the long-term purchasing strategies and utilization of U.S. distillers grains in their feed rations.”

With a population of 127 million and a thriving agricultural sector, Japan leads the way in imports of U.S. corn as well as co-products such as distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGs). Currently, the country ranks as the second largest market for U.S. corn. So far in the 2015/16 marketing year, Japan has imported more than 409 million bushels of U.S. corn, valued at more than $1.8 billion dollars. In the 2014/15 marketing year, Japan bought more than 472 million bushels U.S. corn, valuing $2.2 billion dollars. Japan is currently the tenth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS for this year, having purchased more than 295 million metric tons of the corn co-product, valued at $57.8 million dollars.

Bullish Agribusiness Opportunities Exist In Global Market

There are ample agribusiness opportunities available throughout the world, according to Christopher Nolan Sr., managing director and co-head of food, beverage and agribusiness coverage at PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance LLC, who gave the keynote address Tuesday to the more than 400 attendees of the Export Exchange 2016 conference.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange 2016 offers attendees an unparalleled opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, barley and other commodities. More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries are in attendance at the conference.

There are a number of forces impacting agribusiness, Nolan told the Export Exchange audience in Detroit, including technology convergence, population growth, sustainability and food security, all of which the agriculture industry can address.

“Evolving technology in agriculture will continue. Resourceful farmers will continue to find ways to utilize technology to increase yield and reduce costs,” he said. Agribusiness is a global business and will continue to remain one, he added.

In his presentation, Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of RFA, gave an overview of the upcoming U.S. presidential election and its potential impact on trade.

"No matter who wins the presidential election on Nov. 8, trade is too important to our consumers, our agricultural system and our entire economy to be relegated to the kind of hyperbolic, overblown and ultimately counterproductive political rhetoric that has beset the campaigns in recent months," he said. "Despite that rhetoric, we believe free and fair trade, and trade pacts, are going to continue to play an important role in our agricultural economy."

During the first general session of the conference, attendees also heard about the state of agriculture exports.

"The U.S. is set to produce record crops of 384 million metric tons in 2016. Of that, we expect to export 55 million metric tons of corn – another record. These numbers just go to demonstrate the productivity of our industry," said Chip Councell, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council, and a farmer in Maryland.

"With feed grain prices expected to remain competitive over the near term, there is no better opportunity than now to invest in expanded livestock production. We, U.S. farmers, encourage our foreign customers to invest in the future and use this abundance of feed grains to expand their capacity for grain use – with livestock, in ethanol and beyond."

In his presentation, RFA Senior Vice President Geoff Cooper provided an outlook of the U.S. ethanol industry co-product exports, with a focus on DDGS.

“We expect to see continued modest growth in U.S. distiller's grains and corn gluten supplies, as ethanol production continues slow expansion,” he said.

Over the last 10 years, there has been dramatic growth in exports to Asian markets, particularly to China, however DDGS exports to China have been highly volatile since 2008, he noted. But exports to other regions are steady or expanding, Including Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and several other countries, he added.

Export Exchange 2016 will continue through Wednesday afternoon with additional speakers, a robust trade show and networking opportunities.

 EPA Probes Dicamba Use

The drama over possible illegal use of dicamba continues. The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that it executed federal search warrants at several southeastern Missouri locations as part of an investigation into alleged misuse or misapplication of dicamba onto herbicide-tolerant soybeans and cotton.

The agency said in a formal statement that the activity was part of an ongoing criminal inquiry and stems from widespread complaints of damage to sensitive crops across Missouri and several other states in the Midwest and Southeast. Special agents of the EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID) served the warrants during the week of October 10 in Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, New Madrid and Stoddard counties of Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture received 124 dicamba-related complaints this summer, mostly within the four counties included in the EPA probe. The complaints allege damage across more than 41,000 acres to soybeans, peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, rice, purple-hull peas, peanuts, cotton and alfalfa, as well as to residential gardens, trees and shrubs, according to EPA's news release.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is currently investigating 47 dicamba-related complaints. In Arkansas, 28 dicamba complaints are pending.

Seed carrying the dicamba-tolerant trait, broadly known as the Xtend cropping system, is approved for planting in the U.S. However, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer and a number of trait licensees sold the seed for 2016 planting without an EPA-approved, dicamba-based herbicide to use with that trait. Monsanto also sold some cotton varieties containing the Xtend trait in 2015 and 2016.

The labels on older formulations of dicamba do not allow those herbicides to be used in mid-season postemergence applications in soybeans or cotton.


The American Royal Association announced Tuesday afternoon that they have reached an agreement with the State of Kansas and Unified Government to relocate to Wyandotte County, Kansas.

“The American Royal currently hosts more than 50 events annually, attracting nearly 270,000 attendees and has an economic impact of more than $60 million annually. Last year we awarded $1.4 million in scholarships and support to our youth education programs,” said Angie Stanland, chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Royal. “Our priorities in the due diligence process were to find a regional home that would allow us to fulfill our mission, accommodate our growing events and allow for future growth. We have found the ideal location to do just that.”

The American Royal Association, which began as the National Hereford Show in 1899, has evolved into a comprehensive season of events and outreach including six equestrian shows, a livestock show, youth and PRCA rodeos, agricultural education programs and the world’s largest barbecue competition – the World Series of Barbecue©.

The new complex will include arena space, exhibit space, high-quality barn/expo space, and a new agriculture education center and museum. The agricultural education center will provide a state-of-the-art learning experience, covering all facets of the food and agricultural industry. The goal is to provide a unique, interactive food and agricultural learning experience, both indoor and outdoor, to instill a higher level of trust and knowledge about modern food and agricultural practices.

“I want Kansas City to be the world leader in agriculture technology and animal genetics,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. “The American Royal will serve as a focal point in helping us continue to build a vibrant animal and agriculture corridor from Wyandotte County to Manhattan, home of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. This strong partnership between the state of Kansas, Unified Government and the American Royal solidifies the reputation Kansas enjoys as one of the world’s foremost producers and exporters of food and agricultural products.”

“Kansas is committed to providing opportunities to encourage additional growth and expansion of agriculture in the state and far beyond its borders" Governor Brownback continues. "A new home for the American Royal complex in Kansas enhances the overall agricultural focus in the state and elevates Kansas’ prominence in the U.S. agricultural industry.”

"I'm excited that the American Royal project, after several years of work, is beginning to come together in some very tangible ways," said Mayor Mark Holland, Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas. "The new vision for the Royal that has emerged is a hub and showcase for agriculture and animal science. This new hub has the potential to be a game-changer for the Animal Health Corridor and the Midwest."

The addition of the American Royal in the region will enhance the focus on agriculture that has been supported by the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame (NAC) in nearby Bonner Springs. The NAC board expressed its support of the American Royal’s plans: “This is an exciting opportunity for the American Royal and National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame to work together to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of the state’s leading industry.”

Agriculture is the largest industry, economic driver and employer in Kansas. It accounts for 43 percent of the state's economy and employs 12 percent of the state’s workforce. In 2014, Kansas exported more than $4.7 billion in agricultural products.  Kansas is among the nation’s leaders in the production of wheat, sorghum, cattle and beef processing. Serving as the home for the American Royal will enhance the overall agricultural focus within Kansas and elevate the state’s prominence in the U.S. agricultural industry.

AGCO Parts Rolls Out No-Interest, No-Payments Offer Via AGCO Plus+

AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO), a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, is now offering an innovative financing solution on qualifying Parts and Service transactions. Now through December 31, 2016, AGCO Plus+ account holders can take advantage of the No-Interest, No-Payments for 180 days offer on any AGCO Parts and Service purchase over $1,000 USD.

Fluctuating commodity prices, along with the steep costs of seed, feed and fertilizer, can make budgeting for in-season expenses challenging. With the 180 day No-Interest, No-Payments program we can help address those challenges for our customers. Also, the 180 day No-Interest, No-Payments program can be used with the PM360 preventative maintenance program allowing our customers to get that extra edge.

“The AGCO Plus+ program is just one way that AGCO ensures that our customers get the parts and service they need, when they need them,” said Darren Parker, director of sales and marketing for AGCO Parts. “We know that farmers need flexibility, especially in today’s markets, and the launch of 180 days of No-Interest, No-Payments and the addition of the PM360 program will help our customers stay in the fields now, and get the flexibility they want to pay after the harvest.”

Launched in 2012, AGCO Plus+ was designed to provide the financial solutions, support, and flexibility to help farmers reach their goals. The program supports the superior products, service, knowledge and expertise AGCO customers have come to expect.

“We are excited to be partnering with AGCO Parts in offering these two great programs. The PM360 program combined with the 180 day no interest no payment program allows our customers to properly maintain their equipment and proactively manage their cash flow. This is a win-win situation for customers,” states Neal Generose, director of program management for AGCO Plus+.

Those who are not currently AGCO Plus+ account holders can still take advantage of this by visiting the nearest participating AGCO Parts dealer to sign up today. The nearest AGCO Parts dealer can be found utilizing the Dealer Locator available on

Syngenta Reports Third Quarter Sales at $2.5 Billion

Group sales of $2.5 billion were down 3 percent at constant exchange rates compared with the third quarter of 2015, reports Syngenta. Reported sales were also 3 percent lower, with the dollar broadly stable against major selling currencies. For the first nine months of 2016, sales declined 3 percent at constant exchange rates to $9.6 billion. Excluding the impact from the change in sales terms in Brazil, sales at constant exchange rates were up 2 percent in the quarter and were unchanged in the first nine months.

Corn and soybean seeds increased in all regions, led by corn in Latin America and Asia. Diverse field crops sales were higher, with sunflower growth in South East Europe and a good start to the planting season in Argentina. Vegetables were up 5 percent with strong hybrid performance in Mexico and in China.

Sales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East rose by 8 percent, benefiting from robust fungicides sales and successful seedcare campaigns. Growth in seeds reflected good performances for cereals in North Europe and sunflower in South East Europe. For the first nine months, regional sales were up 3 percent, despite adverse weather conditions in the second quarter.

In North America, growth of 11 percent was driven by selective herbicides, reflecting the continuing success of Syngenta's weed management solutions. Non-selective herbicides sales were down, largely due to the deliberate reduction in solo glyphosate. Corn and soybean seeds sales were higher, as end-season closing adjustments were below last year's level.

Sales in Latin America were 21 percent lower. Excluding the change in sales terms, sales were 10 percent lower. In Brazil, volumes continued to be affected by high levels of insecticide inventories, with pest pressure remaining low and increased soybean trait adoption. In Argentina, with the improved market environment, we registered double-digit growth.

Asia Pacific recorded a 22 percent sales increase, helped by the ending of El Nino and a better monsoon in South Asia. Demand for crop protection products was strong, particularly for fungicides in ASEAN and insecticides in South Asia. Seeds sales were driven by high demand for conventional corn in South Asia and for GM hybrids in the Philippines.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday October 24 Crop Progress + Ag News


For the week ending October 23, 2016, temperatures averaging four to six degrees above normal, combined with limited precipitation, improved harvest conditions, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Heavy morning dews continued to limit soybean harvest progress. Cattle producers began moving livestock to corn stalks where available. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 9 percent very short, 26 short, 62 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 25 short, 65 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 21 fair, 57 good, and 16 excellent. Corn harvested was 50 percent, near 52 last year and the five-year average of 54.

Sorghum harvested was 67 percent, ahead of 49 last year and 50 average.

Soybeans harvested was 78 percent, behind 87 last year and 88 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 27 fair, 56 good, and 10 excellent. Winter wheat emerged was 93 percent, ahead of 89 last year and 84 average.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 88 percent.
Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 8 poor, 29 fair, 51 good, and 7 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 11 short, 87 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Although there were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork Statewide during the week ending October 23, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, corn for grain and soybean harvest progress remains behind both the previous year and the five-year average. Besides harvest, other activities included chopping and baling corn stalks, tillage, and manure applications.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 6 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus.

Fifty-two percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, 4 days behind the five-year average. Moisture content of all corn being harvested was at 17 percent, down 1 percentage point from the previous week. Corn condition rated 83 percent good to excellent. Southeast Iowa is the only area of the State with over two-thirds of the corn for grain crop harvested.

Seventy-seven percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, more than one week behind last year, and 6 days behind normal. Farmers in southwest and south central Iowa still have over one-half of their soybean crop to harvest.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 12 percent none, 25 percent light, 37 percent moderate and 26 percent heavy. Off-farm grain storage availability rated 20 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. On-farm grain storage availability rated 26 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.

Pasture condition rated 61 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were described as excellent, with reports of some cattle being turned out to graze corn stalks.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

As of Oct. 23, more than half the U.S. corn crop was harvested and just over three-quarters of the soybeans had been cut, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released Monday.

The nation's corn crop is 61% harvested, compared to 46% last week, 70% last year and a 62% average.

Seventy-six percent of the soybeans are harvested, compared to 62% last week, 84% last year and a 76% average.

Winter wheat planting is 79% complete, compared to 72% last week, 81% last year and an 82% average. Winter wheat is 60% emerged, compared to 47% last week, 58% last year and a 58% average.

Winter wheat condition was rated for the first time this fall at 59% good to excellent, which compares to 47% last year.

Ninety-seven percent of the rice crop was harvested, compared to 93% last week, 97% last year and a 92% average.

Sorghum harvest was 67% complete, compared to 57% last week, 68% last year and a 58% average.

Brazil Soybean Planting More Than 1/4 Finished

Brazilian soybean farmers had finished 26% of their planting of the crop as of Friday, according to agricultural consultancy Safras & Mercado. That's well ahead of the 18% finished on the same date last year, and the 19% five-year average for the date. In Mato Grosso, Brazil's most important soybean-producing state, planting was 43% finished, and in Parana state it was 49% done, both ahead of where they were last year, Safras says. Brazil is the world's second-biggest soybean producer, after the US, and Brazilian crop agency Conab has forecast a crop in a range from 101.9M metric tons to 104M tons.

Nebraska Perspective on Efficacy of Cry1F Bt Corn Against Western Bean Cutworm

Julie Peterson - NE Extension Entomologist

This month a group of six extension entomologists from Michigan State University, Purdue University, The Ohio State University, Cornell University, and Pennsylvania State University published an open letter to the seed industry describing poor performance of Cry1F Bt corn against western bean cutworm (WBC) in their states in 2016. The Cry1F protein is present in products such as Herculex 1, Herculex XTRA, AcreMax, and SmartStax. In their letter they strongly encouraged a change in the labeling for these products, in particular a removal of the designation of  “control” for this pest from the Cry1F protein.

While the letter reports problems with field performance of Cry1F against WBC occurring for the first time in the eastern Corn Belt in 2016, crop consultants and farmers in Nebraska have been dealing with similar issues for several years.

Prior to about 2000, WBC populations were primarily found in western Nebraska, northeastern Colorado, and eastern Wyoming; since then the extent of the population has moved east to the Great Lakes region, New York, and southern Ontario. When the Cry1F trait was first introduced to the market in 2001, other lepidoptera such as European corn borer, were the primary target. The Cry1F trait was marketed as providing only about 80% control of WBC.

While it continues to be effective against other labeled pests, such as European corn borer, fall armyworm, and black cutworm, recent research has shown that its effectiveness against WBC has decreased in some areas. (See more in a July 8, 2016 CropWatch article.) In regions where problems have been observed (particularly southwest and central Nebraska), it is recommended that fields with Cry1F products be scouted for WBC and insecticide treatment be considered when 5%-8% of plants in a field have egg masses or larvae.

Seed Selection, Scouting and Treatment Options for 2017

As seeds are now being selected for 2017, it is important to consider that Cry1F is not the only type of Bt protein being marketed as providing some protection against western bean cutworm. Products that express the VIP3A protein, such as Agrisure, Viptera, and Leptra, provide effective control and should not need to be treated, although it is always advised to inspect Bt cornfields to ensure adequate efficacy. See the Handy BT Trait Table for a list of commercially available Bt corn hybrids and the proteins they express.

For corn hybrids that do not provide Bt control of western bean cutworm, consider applying an insecticide if 5%-8% of the corn plants have egg masses or larvae. If an insecticide treatment is warranted in corn, it should be made when 95% of the plants in a field have tasseled. This application timing increases the chance that larvae will be exposed to the insecticide, resulting in better control.

Aerial application and chemigation have provided good control for this insect if applied before larvae enter the ear. (Note: Sprayer drops should be above the canopy or have nozzles that allow sufficient application of product onto the tassels.) Carbamates (Sevin), organophosphates (Chlorpyrifos), spinosyns (Spinosad), methoxyfenozides (Intrepid), diamides (Prevathon), and many pyrethroids (51 products) are labeled for WBC control. Consider rotating mode of action in areas where pyrethroids have been heavily used for western bean cutworm and western corn rootworm control. The potential for resistance to common active ingredients such as bifenthrin is a concern.

A list of registered insecticides, rates, preharvest intervals, and grazing restrictions is available in the Insect Management section of the most recent UNL Extension Guide to Weed Management in Nebraska with Insecticide and Fungicide Information (EC 130).

5 Tax Deductions for Your Farm 

Tina Barrett - Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc.

Tax time on the farm can be a little stressful. In gathering all your forms and receipts in preparation for a visit to your accountant, don’t forget about these five deductions.

1 - Home Office

You can deduct a percentage of your home mortgage or rent as a farm expense, if you use your home office exclusively for managing your farm and you have no other location where such tasks can be completed. Be aware that using the home office deduction does disallow that portion of your home from being eligible for the personal residence exclusion if you were to sell your home.

You can estimate the percentage of expenses (rent, utilities) that should be allocated to your farm using the IRS Worksheet to Figure the Deduction for Business Use of Your Home in IRS Guide No. 587, Business Use of Your Home.

2 - Cell Phone

Fees for calls from your cellphone related to your farm can be deducted as a farm expense. If your cell phone is part of a family plan, you must determine the portion of charges that can be attributed to your business, and deduct that expense accordingly.

3 - Pre-paid Farm Supplies

If you are a cash basis taxpayer, you can write off the inputs (seed, fertilizer) that you purchased this year, for next year’s crop. The amount you can write off is limited to half of your deductible expenses (Schedule F deductions except pre-paid supplies) of the current year. For example, if you paid $50,000 in expenses for 2016, you can write off $25,000 in pre-paid supplies for 2017. You also must have a business purpose for the prepaid expenses (a discount, etc). This cannot be used just to distort your income.

4 - Family Employee Wages

You can pay your family members (children, spouses) as employees of your farm and deduct the full amount of these wages as hired labor. These wages could be made in cash or you could use grain as a commodity wage.  Cash wages would be subject to Medicare and social security taxes. Commodity wages and cash wages paid to children under age 18 (by a sole proprietor) may be excepted from Medicare and social security taxes. You must file the appropriate paperwork (W-2s, Form 943, etc) for all employees.

5 - Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)

Anyone under the age of 70.5 is eligible to invest money in an IRA. A traditional IRA provides you the opportunity to invest money for your retirement while potentially reducing your income tax liability. The tax benefit of this investment will depend on your current federal tax bracket. If you are in the 25% bracket, your tax savings would be equal to 25% of your IRA contribution.

The amount you can invest depends on your age and income. The current maximum you can contribute to an IRA if you are under 50 is $5,500. If you are 50 or older, the maximum is $6,500. You cannot contribute to a traditional IRA if you are over the age of 70.5.

If you have a spouse and file jointly, you can also make IRA contributions for them, doubling the amount of deductible. Contributions to Roth IRA’s are not tax deductible. If you are looking to put more money away, other retirement vehicles such as an SEP or a SIMPLE plan may be the right choice for you.

These are just a few of the tax deductible expenses to remember when filing your farm taxes. Please be sure to contact your personal tax advisor before employing any of these strategies in your farm business.

NePPA Accepting Applications for Newly Created Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship

College students enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a fully accredited college, university or technical college in an agriculture related degree program in Nebraska are encouraged to apply for the Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship. The deadline to apply is December 15th. Students may apply for the scholarship online by visiting the youth tab on

Larry E. Sitzman learned  patriotism, service to our country, and respect for our leaders  from his parents. While  in  high school he heard John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural  Address, “Ask not what your country can do for you,  ask what you can do for your country.” This address increased his desire to serve.

Agriculture has been his passion. Throughout his life he has provided service in various forms and from different positions of leadership. Sitzman is known for sharing his voice defending perspectives and asking challenging questions. He served on many state and national agricultural boards before being named the Director of Agriculture for Nebraska in 1991. He ended his working role as Executive Director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association in 2016.  Today, Sitzman serves as an active volunteer leader  at the Veterans Administration in Lincoln.

Academics, agriculture, military, and other forms of public service  have all improved in some measure due to the leadership, service, and voice of Larry E. Sitzman. Upon his retirement, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association established this scholarship in his honor.

Eligibility Requirements:
·    Must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a fully accredited college, university or technical college in an agriculture related degree program in Nebraska
·    Must have at least one full year of study remaining towards degree
·    Must have plans to work in the agriculture industry upon graduation

Selection will be based on qualities of leadership and participation in collegiate or extracurricular activities related to the agriculture industry.

The deadline to apply is December 15th.  The Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship that will be awarded to one deserving applicant each year.

If you have questions, please contact Kyla Habrock, Youth Education Director for the Nebraska Pork Producers Association at  or 402-472-2528.

Spotlight on the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory

For nearly a century, tractor manufacturers from around the world have looked to the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for a seal of approval. The success of a new tractor is decided long before it sees soil at the long, oval test track on East Campus that faculty, staff, students and visitors pass by every day.

“We’re not really famous in Lincoln, but in the field of agricultural engineering we’re one of the most famous, premiere institutions in the world,” said Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory.

In 1919 it was more common for horses to work the fields than a piece of machinery. Early tractors were often oversold and underperforming. When state legislator and farmer, Wilmot F. Crozier from Osceola, purchased a few faulty tractors himself, he worked with state senator Charles J. Warner of Waverly to draft the Nebraska Tractor Test Law. The pair received technical assistance from L.W. Chase, who at the time served as chairman of the university’s agricultural engineering department. In July of 1919 the Nebraska Tractor Test Law was passed, which stated that no new tractor could be sold in Nebraska without first being tested by the University of Nebraska’s agricultural engineering department to prove that it would perform as advertised.

The first successful tractor test was executed at the lab in April of 1920. Today, test number 2,166 is underway on the track.

Tractor performance is measured according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development tractor test codes. Twenty-nine countries adhere to the codes, but the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory is the only OECD tractor test lab in the U.S. According to Hoy, the university contributed significantly to writing the codes and is currently in the process of updating them.

“In terms of performance testing, we’re still the granddaddy of them all,” Hoy said. “We’re the only facility in the world capable of testing the largest tractors.”

The power takeoff test and drawbar test are the two most common performance tests conducted on new tractors at the lab. Manufacturers invest a significant amount of resources to ensure a successful test. It costs approximately $22,000 to test a well-prepared tractor. The lab is supported entirely by these testing fees.

As tractors have become more technologically advanced, the lab has kept up with the times. Joe Luck, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, recently conducted research at the lab to test the accuracy of tractor CAN, or computer-aided network, data. Today’s tractors are able to supply publicly available CAN data focused on tractor-developed information that is typically available to implement for optimal performance. The data includes tractor operating conditions such as speed, engine performance and accurate positioning from a Global Positioning Sensor attached to the tractor. Luck compared this data to what the lab gathers with separate instruments.

Four test engineers work in the lab full time, along with 30 part-time student workers. Most students are agricultural engineering or mechanized systems management majors. Many are also members of the UNL Quarter Scale Tractor Team, which earlier this year took top honors at the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition in Peoria, Illinois.

“Our first priority is to conduct tractor testing, but we also focus on preparing undergraduate students for real-world jobs,” said Hoy, who also serves as a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.

Hoy says he frequently fields calls from industry representatives seeking students for full-time introductory engineering positions. A majority of students who have worked at the lab field multiple job offers before graduating.

Official tractor testing results are available to the public at The Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory makes no endorsement of particular tractor models or tractor manufacturers.


    Roch Gaussoin, head of the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been appointed to the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Gaussoin will serve a three-year term on the board.

    The board provides advice to the secretary of agriculture and land-grant colleges and universities on top priorities and policies for food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics. It reflects the broad interests of food, fiber and agricultural stakeholders nationwide, holds regional and national stakeholder listening sessions, and develops consolidated advice based on stakeholder input that is vital to the current and future success of food, forestry and agricultural programs.

    The board consists of 25 members, each of whom represents a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholders, as mandated by Congress. Gaussoin (name pronounced ROCK ga-SWA) will represent Category G: national crop, soil, agronomy, horticulture, plant pathology or weed science society.

    "This appointment is extremely rewarding because throughout my career I have been dedicated to trying to make the world a better place when it comes to plant science," Gaussoin said. "In this role, I look forward to leveraging the experience that Nebraska has so graciously allowed me to accumulate."

    Gaussoin has worked at the university for 25 years as a professor and extension specialist in integrated turfgrass management and weed science. He has been head of the agronomy and horticulture department since 2011. In 2015, Gaussoin was president of the Crop Science Society of America. He is chair of the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies. According to Gaussoin, involvement in these societies plays a critical role in fostering the ideas and independent thoughts of the university.

    "I appreciate that the University of Nebraska administration team is in full support of participation in scientific and professional organizations," he said. "Nebraska's deep agricultural roots makes what we have to say relevant, and active engagement in these groups allows our voice to be elevated."

    As an advisory board member, Gaussoin will also be on the science policy subcommittee, which addresses issues related to science literacy.

    Gaussoin earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master's degree in crop science from New Mexico State University, and a doctorate in crop science from Michigan State University.

Animal Agriculture Alliance “extremely alarmed” by animal rights activist organization’s unlawful activity

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is extremely alarmed by the recent actions of Direct Action Everywhere, a radical animal rights group. Last week, Direct Action Everywhere released video footage that it claims was obtained during “stealth visits” to a California egg farm. Activists entered barns several times in late September and early October, mostly at night. Direct Action Everywhere’s founder, Wayne Hsiung, stated in a media interview that the group did not seek permission to enter the farm, but felt they had the right to enter the property because they suspected animal cruelty.

This complete disregard for private property as well as the safety of animals is deeply concerning, and Direct Action Everywhere cannot be allowed to continue to operate in this manner. The organization is clearly willing to take extreme, dangerous measures to further its mission of “trying to destroy animal agriculture” (as stated by Hsiung at the 2016 Animal Rights National Conference). The Alliance urges law enforcement and policymakers to take a strong stance against this illegal activity. Every state has animal cruelty laws in place, and any concerns about animal care should be reported to local law enforcement – not “investigated” by extremists with an obvious agenda.

In addition to blatantly violating the law, unauthorized visitors on farms present serious threats to the health and safety of livestock and poultry. “Biosecurity” refers to measures taken to reduce the chances of infectious diseases being introduced to farms by people, animals, equipment or vehicles. Activists breaking into and entering farms flies in the face of every principle of biosecurity and violates common USDA-recommended practices such as not allowing visitors near livestock or poultry unless absolutely necessary, making sure they have clean footwear and clothes and requiring visitors to shower-in and shower-out of barns.

One need to look no further than last year’s devastating outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza to understand the importance of closely following biosecurity measures and avoiding any risks – such as unauthorized visitors with camera equipment that has likely been on other farms and not properly cleaned. Because of the potential for contamination due to the activists entering the barn, the farm targeted by Direct Action Everywhere’s video had to destroy all of the birds in it – a clear consequence of the group placing their true agenda, promoting animal rights, above ensuring the health, safety and even lives of the birds.

The Department of Homeland Security has recognized agriculture and food production as critical components of our infrastructure and national security. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that business owners continue to strengthen the security of their facilities and that law enforcement provide support to farmers and ranchers. The Alliance urges farmers and ranchers to remain vigilant and aware of threats posed by extremists who have no respect for the law or animal safety. We also ask law enforcement to provide any assistance possible to the agricultural community in preventing these unlawful “visits” from occurring.

2016-17 National FFA Officer Team Elected at 89th National FFA Convention & Expo

Students from Delaware, Florida, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina and Texas have been elected by delegates from throughout the United States to serve on the 2016-17 National FFA Officer team.

David Townsend, an agricultural and natural resources and plant science major at the University of Delaware, was elected president. This is the first time the state of Delaware has had a national FFA president. Victoria Harris, a biology major at the University of Florida, will serve as secretary.

DeShawn Blanding, a biological engineering (natural resources engineering) major at North Carolina A&T State University, was elected southern region vice president and Trey Elizondo, a science and agricultural communications major at Texas A&M, will serve as western region vice president.

Ashley Willits, an agricultural education major at Tarleton State University, was elected eastern region vice president and Valerie Earley, an agricultural communications major at the University of Minnesota, will serve as central region vice president.

Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern and western regions of the country.

National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each officer travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public, and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

CWT Assists with 1 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 8 requests for export assistance from Foremost Farms, Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), O-At-Ka/Upstate-Niagara Cooperative and United Dairymen of Arizona. These member cooperatives have contracts to sell 873,031 pounds (396 metric tons) of butter and 136,687 pounds (62 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese to customers in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from October 2016 through January 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 42.408 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 10.326 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 19.096 million pounds of whole milk powder to twenty-three countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 763.176 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Cropp Still Expecting Milk Prices to Rise in '17

A surplus of milk on the market continues to keep dairy prices suppressed this year, but Dr. Bob Cropp maintains that next year will be better. The professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Extension says he thinks the worst is over in 2016; and that USDA and other price forecasters expect milk prices to improve throughout 2017.

"But there are differences as to how quickly and how much of an improvement," Cropp said in his monthly Dairy Situation and Outlook Report. "The level of milk production and exports will be key factors. USDA forecasts milk production to increase 2.2 percent in 2017 from 0.5 percent more cows and 1.7 percent more milk per cow. This is a lot of milk and will dampen the price increase. But, milk production could well be lower."

Milk per cow is expected to average 1.6 percent higher this year which is more than the recent average annual increases. So another increase for 2017 appears to be on the higher side, Cropp says.

Meanwhile, some positive factors point to improved dairy exports going forward.

"World milk supply and demand is slowly coming balance," he said. "Milk production in the EU was increasing about five percent early in the year and has dropped below year ago levels starting in June."

And the combination of low milk prices and weather issues has forecasts for lower milk production in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina. On the demand side it appears China will be more active in importing dairy products.

Ag Buyers, Suppliers Head to Detroit for Export Exchange 2016

More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 35 countries are arriving in Detroit for Export Exchange 2016, ready to meet with U.S. suppliers and service providers across the value chain.

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Export Exchange 2016 offers attendees an unparalleled opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), sorghum, barley and other commodities.

“At a time when we are looking at a record corn harvest and the clear need for international trade to be championed by our country’s leaders, Export Exchange is critical for our industry,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “It is essential for us to strengthen the bonds between suppliers and partner countries, and the connections made this week will not only help propel our industry this year, but for years to come.”

“In today’s volatile ethanol market, DDGS have become even more important for producers. A growing and vibrant export market will be key to future success. With buyers from more than 35 countries participating in this year’s event, the 2016 Export Exchange is a can’t-miss event,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen.

The conference runs through Wednesday at the Detroit Renaissance. More information is available at

EU Group Trims Corn, Wheat

The European Union's crop monitoring agency, MARS, on Monday trimmed its forecasts for this year's soft wheat and corn yields.

MARS cut its corn yield forecast to 6.82 tons a hectare from last month's 6.84 t/ha, citing heavy rain in Eastern Europe in the first half of October.

"These rains somewhat delayed part of the harvest of grain maize and the sowing of winter cereals in Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, but benefited the emergence of earlier sown winter crops," MARS said.

"Persistent dry conditions" elsewhere were responsible for a cut in the soft wheat yield forecast from 5.63 t/ha to 5.62 t/ha.

"These conditions... hampered the sowing of winter cereals in France, western Germany and the Benelux countries due to overly dry seedbeds, and negatively impacted emergence," MARS said.