Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29 Crop and Harvest Progress Reports - NE - IA - US

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS - CORN & SOYBEAN HARVEST RUNNING HALF OF AVERAGE PACE

For  the week ending September 28, 2014, above normal  temperatures accelerated the dry down of row crops as producers waited for grain moisture levels to decline, according to the USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service.   Rain  at  midweek  was  heaviest  in  central  counties  with amounts  limited  elsewhere. There  were  6.1  days  suitable  for  fieldwork.  Topsoil  moisture  supplies  rated  4 percent very short, 23 short, 70 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short,  25 short, 65 adequate, and 2 surplus.
 
Field Crops Report:

Corn  conditions  rated  2  percent  very  poor,  6  poor,  19  fair,  51  good,  and  22  excellent.    Corn  dented  was  97  percent,  near  99  for  both  last  year  and  the  average. Corn mature was  63  percent,  near  60  last  year  and 66 average. Corn harvested was 7 percent, near 8 last year, but behind 16 average.

Soybean conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 54 good, and 20 excellent.   Soybeans dropping leaves was  76  percent,  behind  82  last  year,  but  near  77  average.  Soybeans  harvested was  6  percent,  behind 12 last year and 17 average.

Sorghum conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 32 fair, 39 good, and 22 excellent. Sorghum coloring was 97 percent, near 99  last year, but ahead of 93 average. Sorghum mature was 60 percent, ahead of 46  last year and 43 average. Sorghum harvested was 2 percent, equal to last year and near 4 average.

Alfalfa hay conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 29 fair, 52 good, and 12 excellent.  Alfalfa hay fourth cutting was 77 percent complete, near 73 last year and 79 average.

Winter wheat  planted was  78  percent,  ahead  of  63  last  year  and  68  for  the  five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was 43 percent, ahead of 26 last year and 31 average.
 
Livestock,  Pasture  and  Range  Report: 

Pasture  and  range  conditions  rated  6  percent  very  poor,  7  poor,  33 fair, 45 good, and 9 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 92 adequate, and 2 surplus. 



Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at: http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropProg//2010s/2014/CropProg-09-29-2014.txt

Access  the  High  Plains  Region  Climate  Center  for  Temperature  and  Precipitation  Maps  at: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current/index.php?action=update_region&state=NE&region=HPRCC

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?NE



IOWA CROP PROGRESS - CORN AND SOYBEAN HARVEST BEGIN


Above average temperatures pushed crops towards maturity during the week  ending September  28,  2014,  according  to  the USDA, National Agricultural  Statistics  Service.    There  were  5.3  days  suitable  for fieldwork.  Activities for  the week  included harvesting early corn and soybeans, chopping silage, and harvesting hay. 

Topsoil  moisture  rated  0 percent  very  short,  5 percent  short, 83 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus.  Subsoil moisture levels rated  1 percent  very  short,  8 percent  short,  82 percent  adequate,  and 9 percent surplus.  Southwest Iowa was the wettest with over one-third of its topsoil in surplus condition.

Ninety-six  percent  of  Iowa’s  corn  crop  was  in  or  beyond  the  dent stage. Corn mature  reached 58 percent,  surpassing  last  year, but  still 8 days behind normal.   Corn harvest has begun across  the State, with 76  percent  of  the  acreage  reported  in  good  to  excellent  condition. 

Leaves were turning color on 94 percent of the soybean crop, equal to the five-year average for this stage for the first time this season.  Sixty-five percent of  the soybean acreage was dropping  leaves,  still 3 days behind normal.   Soybean harvest was underway and 74 percent of  the acreage was in good to excellent condition.

The  third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay was  91 percent  complete,  just  over 2 weeks  behind  both  2013  and  average.   Pasture  condition  rated 67 percent good  to excellent.   Little stress on  livestock was observed.  High manure levels have been reported in some pits and lagoons.



USDA Weekly Crop Progress


Soybean harvest increased by 7 percentage points and corn harvest rose 5 percentage points in the week ended Sept. 28, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report.  Ten percent of the nation's soybeans are in the bin, compared to 3% last week and a 17% five-year average.

Twelve percent of the corn crop is harvested, compared to 7% last week and a 23% five-year average. Forty percent of U.S. corn still is not mature.

Winter wheat is 43% planted and 14% emerged, compared to five-year averages of 36% and 12%, respectively. Spring wheat harvest is nearly complete at 94% complete.



Monday September 29 Ag News

Cuming County 4-H Members Participate at Ak-Sar-Ben

Cuming County 4-H members had another good year at the 87th annual Ak-SaBen Youth Livestock Exposition that was held September 25-28 at the Century Link Center in Omaha.  According to Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator in Cuming County, there were twenty nine (29) 4-H members from Cuming County that participated.

In the Rabbit show, Joshua Sebade of Emerson exhibited his Netherland dwarf which was named the Best of Show, Champion Fancy Breed and Best of Breed.  Evie Schlickbernd of West Point was awarded Best of Breed with her Mini Satin.

Complete show results are as follows:


Rabbit Show

Fancy Mini-Rex - Purple:  Evie Schlickbernd, West Point
Fancy Mini-Satin - Purple:  Evie Schlickbernd, West Point x2, Blue:  Evie Schlickbernd, West Point; Joshua Sebade, Emerson.
Fancy Netherland-Dwarf - Purple:  Joshua Sebade, Emerson, x2 - Blue:  Joshua Sebade, Emerson
Showmanship - Purple:  Joshua Sebade, Emerson

Market Beef Show

Calf Challenge
Live - Purple: Heath Schroeder, West Point - Red:  Nathan Groth, Beemer
Showmanship - Purple:  Heath Schroeder, West Point - Blue:  Nathan Groth, Beemer
Overall - Blue:  Heath Schroeder, West Point - Red:  Nathan Groth, Beemer
Market Heifer
Purple:  Ryan Schroeder, Wisner
Blue:  Kali Stratman, West Point; Evie Schlickbernd, West Point; Cassidee, Stratman, West Point
Market Steer
Purple:  Emily Ludwig, Wisner; Haley Schroeder, West Point; Chase Albers, Wisner; Megan Scroeder, Wisner
Blue:  Heath Schroeder, West Point; Cassidee Stratman, West Point
Red:  Ross Klitz, West Point
Showmanship
Purple:  Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Haley Schroeder, West Point; Cassidee Stratman, West Point
Blue:  Ross Klitz, West Point; Ryan Schroeder, Wisner; Evie Schlickbernd, West Point; Heath Schroeder, West Point
Herdsmanship: Purple

Market Lamb Show

Market Ewe Lamb
Blue:  Tymare Ott, Wisner; Chase Ott, Wisner
Market Wether Lamb
Blue:  Kennedie Ott, Wisner x2; Chase Ott, Wisner
Red:  Kennedie Ott, Wisner; Tymarie Ott, Wisner
Showmanship
Red:  Kennedie Ott, Wisner
Herdsmanship: Blue

Breeding Beef Show

Simangus-Calved Jan 1, 2013-Feb 28, 2013
Purple:  Emily Ludwig, Wisner
Mainetainer-Calved May 1, 2013-June 30, 2013
Blue:  Kali Stratman, West Point
Angus-Calved Apr 1, 2013-Apr 30, 2013
Blue: Shaila Bennett, Beemer
Showmanship
Blue:  Shaila Bennett, Beemer; Emily Ludwig, Wisner
Herdsmanship:  Blue

Market Swine Show

Market Gilt
Blue:  Kate Gnad, West Point; Megan Groth, Beemer; Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland; Nathan Groth, Beemer x2; Jamie Plagge, West Point; Anna Karnopp, Oakland; Allison Guenther, West Point
Market Barrow
Purple:  Blake Guenther, West Point; Hunter Schroeder, West Point
Blue:  Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland; Kate Gnad, West Point; Anna Karnopp, Oakland; Hunter Schroeder, West Point; Tiffany Plagge, West Point
Showmanship
Purple:  Hunter Schroeder, West Point; Blake Guenther, West Point; Tiffany Plagge, West Point
Blue:  Jamie Plagge, West Point; Nathan Groth, Beemer; Elizabeth Karnopp, Oakland; Anna Karnopp, Oakland
Herdsmanship:  Blue

Dairy Show

Jersey-Winter Yearling 12/1/2012-2/28/2013
Blue:  Paige Rolf, West Point
Jersey-Fall Yearling 9/1/2012-11/30/2012
Blue:  Paige Rolf, West Point
Showmanship
Blue:  Paige Rolf, West Point
Herdsmanship:  Purple

2014 Fitting Challenge

Blue:  Ryan Schroeder, Wisner; Heath Schroeder, West Point; Haley Schroeder, West Point
Blue:  Paige Schroeder, Fremont; Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Hunter Schroeder, West Point



LEGAL PROBLEMS USING COVER CROPS AS FORAGE

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

I have a real legal dilemma today.  And it has to do with cover crops, cover crops that you want to graze or harvest as forage.

What is the dilemma, you ask?  Well, the dilemma is that, from a legal standpoint, it may be illegal for you to use your cover crop as a harvested forage or for grazing.

The problem stems from herbicides used.  With the exception of glyphosate, most herbicides commonly used with our annual crops have rotational restrictions on how soon various crops can be planted after that herbicide was used.  That includes forage crops.  And if the label doesn’t specifically mention your cover crop, or one of the species in your cover crop cocktail, then the rotational restriction automatically becomes the maximum interval, which usually is 18 months.

So – what does this mean from a practical standpoint?  For starters, if you graze or harvest as forage a cover crop that falls under a rotational restriction, technically you are breaking the law.  And potential penalties are severe.  Your livestock could be quarantined or even destroyed.  And it doesn’t matter whether the crop was seed corn, hailed out, chopped for silage, or combined normally.

Does this mean these cover crops aren’t safe?  Well, the correct answer is ‘we don’t know for sure’.  Sufficient herbicide residue tests have not been conducted to determine a tolerance level for the herbicide on that specific cover crop.  That’s why it’s illegal.  Even if you or other farmers have used this cover crop forage with no ill effects in the past, it is still illegal.

Now – will you get caught if you use it anyway?  Well, that’s another story and a risk, similar to speeding down the highway. that you must decide for yourself.  The risk of harm or of getting caught may be small, but penalties severe.



New UNL Extension Crop Publications


The following publications were recently revised by UNL Extension and are available on the Extension Publications website. Those listed relate to agricultural crop production or rural living. View hundreds of other publications free online at this site.

EC846 Nebraska Cash Corn Price and Basis Patterns (Revised) - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec846/build/ec846.pdf

EC2004 Precision Agriculture: Management Practices for Collecting Accurate Data and Avoiding Errors During Harvest - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/ec2004/build/ec2004.pdf

G2245 Corn Soil-Water Extraction and Effective Rooting Depth in a Silt-Loam Soil - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g2245/build/g2245.pdf

G2243 Sudden Death Syndrome of Soybean (New) - http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g2243/build/g2243.pdf.



    
'2,000 Bull Project' Targets Cattle Traits


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are investigating methods to help beef cattle producers further improve genetic evaluations for routinely measured traits such as growth and calving ease. They are also targeting economically important traits like feed efficiency and disease resistance that are expensive or difficult to measure.

In 2007, scientists started the "2,000 Bull Project" at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska, to study relationships between genomic variation and economically important traits in 16 breeds. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

USMARC geneticists Mark Thallman and Larry Kuehn and their colleagues worked with U.S. cattle breed associations to obtain genomic profiles of 2,000 bulls from those 16 breeds to promote the development of genomic predictions. For each breed, the project provided the first substantial set of high-density genotypes, which are being used by breed associations as a starting point to incorporate genomic data into their breed improvement programs.

Growth is a routine and easily measured trait that is related to increased feed consumption, but an animal's feed efficiency-how much feed is required to produce a unit of growth-is more economically important to producers. However, individual feed intake is not practical to measure on large numbers of animals in commercial operations. Instead, a more feasible approach is to use research populations to develop genomic predictions for traits such as individual feed intake, disease resistance and meat tenderness that are expensive or difficult to measure.

At USMARC, thousands of cattle have been evaluated for such traits, and about 15,000 have been genotyped. The researchers' goal is to detect genomic regions that affect these traits to improve the accuracy of genomic tests available to producers. Also, the scientists are sequencing the genomes of bulls that have the most descendants in the USMARC population, which may lead to more accurate predictions across breeds and benefit the industry.

As part of this effort, geneticist Warren Snelling is focusing on identifying DNA sequence variation that affects gene function to help predict important traits consistently across many breeds. Snelling has demonstrated that this technique can be used to identify genetic markers predictive of meat tenderness.

Read more about this research in the September 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.



NEBRASKA AGRICULTURAL PRICES - SEPTEMBER 2014


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for September 2014 averaged $5.45 per bushel, a decrease of 37 cents from the August price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary September corn price, at $3.30 per bushel, decreased 38 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary September sorghum price averaged $5.65 per cwt, a decrease of 46 cents from August.
  
The preliminary September soybean price, at $11.00 per bushel, was down $1.00 from last month.

The September alfalfa hay price, at $109.00 per ton, was down $3.00 from August. The other hay price, at $86.00 per ton, was down $1.00 from August.

The preliminary September dry edible bean price, at $28.00 per cwt, was down $2.70 from last month. 
 
Oat prices were withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. 



IOWA AGRICULTURAL PRICES - SEPTEMBER 2014


The preliminary September 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa was $3.30 per bushel according to the  latest  USDA,  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service  –  Agricultural  Prices  report.  This  is  down  $0.31  from  the August price, and $2.36 lower than September 2013.

The preliminary September 2014 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $11.30 per bushel, was down $1.10 from the August price, and $2.60 lower than the September 2013 price.

The preliminary September oat price was $3.40 per bushel, down $0.07 from August, and $0.62 below September 2013. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $140.00 per ton in September, down $5.00 from the August price, and $51.00 per ton less than September 2013.   Alfalfa hay prices fell $57.00 per  ton from one year ago,  to $153.00 and other hay prices were $30.00 per ton lower than last year, at $100.00.  

The preliminary September average price was $25.80 per cwt for milk, up $1.20 from August, and $5.40 per cwt above one year ago.  



September Farm Prices Received Index Decreased 3 Points


The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in September, at 106 percent, based on 2011=100, decreased 3 points (2.8 percent) from August. The Crop Index is down 3 points (3.3 percent) but the Livestock Index was unchanged. Producers received lower prices for hogs, corn, soybeans, and cattle. Higher prices were received for broilers, milk, strawberries, and apples. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of soybeans, corn, potatoes, and calves offset the decreased marketing of cattle, wheat, cotton, and barley.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 3 points (2.9 percent) from September 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 119, decreased 1 point (0.8 percent) from last month but increased 13 points (12 percent) from September 2013.

All crops:

The September index, at 87, decreased 3.3 percent from August and is 12 percent below September 2013. Index decreases for oilseeds & grains and vegetable & melon production more than offset the index increases for other crop production and fruit & tree nut production.

Food grains: The September index, at 83, is unchanged from the previous month but 14 percent below a year ago. The September price for all wheat, at $5.72 per bushel, is down 26 cents from August and $1.08 below September 2013.

Feed grains: The September index, at 58, is down 7.9 percent from last month and 36 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.38 per bushel, is down 25 cents from last month and $2.02 below September 2013. Sorghum grain, at $6.58 per cwt, is 55 cents below August and $1.59 below September last year.

Oilseeds: The September index, at 89, is down 8.2 percent from August and 15 percent lower than September 2013. The soybean price, at $11.20 per bushel, decreased $1.20 from August and is $2.10 below September 2013.

Livestock and products:

The September index, at 131, is unchanged from last month but up 21 percent from September 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, milk, broilers, calves, hogs, turkeys, and market eggs.

Meat animals: The September index, at 133, is down 2.9 percent from last month but 23 percent higher than last year. The September hog price, at $73.40 per cwt, is down $9.80 from August but $2.70 higher than a year ago. The September beef cattle price of $156 per cwt is down $2.00 from last month but $34.00 higher than September 2013.

Dairy products: The September index, at 124, is up 3.3 percent from a month ago and 24 percent higher than September last year. The September all milk price of $25.00 per cwt is up 90 cents from last month and up $4.90 from September 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The September index, at 133, is up 5.6 percent from August and 16 percent above a year ago. The September market egg price, at 82.5 cents per dozen, decreased 3.6 cents from August but is 0.2 cents above September 2013. The September broiler price, at 66.0 cents per pound, is up 5.0 cents from August and 11.0 cents above a year ago. The September turkey price, at 77.3 cents per pound, is up 1.7 cents from the previous month and up 9.4 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The September Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 111 (2011=100). The index is unchanged from August but 4 points (3.7 percent) above September 2013. Higher prices in September for feeder cattle, potash & phosphate, LP gas, and herbicides offset lower prices for complete feeds, feeder pigs, hay & forages, and feed grains.



Quality and Handling of the 2014 Iowa Crop

Charles R. Hurburgh, Jr.
Professor, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative


Every year brings on a new set of challenges for harvest and grain management; in the past five years we have gone from very wet to very dry. Last year’s scorching heat at the very end of the season caused large variations in quality even within the same field. In 2014, planting pace was about normal, temperatures were 1-3 degrees below normal and moisture was well above normal - especially in the August and September grain fill period. Western and southwestern Iowa were 3-6 inches over normal for moisture in this period. This combination of weather conditions put the 2014 crop 7-10 days behind normal maturity. Over most of the state, the cold temperatures on September 13-14, 2014, were just above major frost damage levels. Fortunately the 8-14 day outlook from the National Weather Service (NWS) is for above-normal temperatures and normal moisture. Now we need heat for a successful harvest.

On September 1, 2014, USDA projected the corn yield in Iowa to be 185 bu/acre, up 20 bu/acre from 2013, and the soybean yield to be 51.0 bu/acre, up 6.5 bu/acre from 2013. Both crops are anticipated to be at record levels for total production, 2.44 billion bushels for corn and 510 million bushels for soybeans. These numbers are important for grain storage decisions because the production versus carryover versus storage balance looks like (numbers in billion bushels):

Iowa Production

      Corn             2.44
      Soybeans     0.51
                          2.95
Carryover (both)   0.82 as of June 1 (may be high now)
To store in 2014 - 3.77 billion bushels

Storage

 On Farm 2.10
 Off Farm 1.40   
               3.50bb - Even with the use since June, this is a very tight situation

Nebraska Notes

Corn - Nebraska's 2014 corn crop is forecast at 1.57 billion bushels. Corn stocks totaled 444 million bushels as of June 30; 190 million bushels were on farm.
Soybeans - Nebraska's soybean harvest is forecast at 284 million bushels. Soybean stocks totaled 36.9 million bushels, of which 3.9 million bushels were on farm.

Quality - Corn

Moderate temperatures and adequate moisture in grain fill should create well-filled kernels, which will give generally high test weights (57 lb/bu and higher). High test weight means above average storage properties. This is good because a considerable amount of 2014 corn is going to have to carry over in to 2016. How high the test weights get will depend on the weather for the next week or two. Warm temperatures will complete the fill; cool and wet will slow down maturity. Either way, the lateness of the growing season will ensure above-average moisture. Average moisture for Iowa is about 17-18%; delaying maturity will take away several high drydown days; expect 20% moisture or more unless October is very warm. A very wet crop like 2009 is not so likely with our current weather conditions and forecasts.

Corn with high test weight stores well, but producers are reminded not to mix 2014 with 2013 corn, which had poor storage properties. For best results, rotate stock for corn that has been carried over, which does create logistical issues when done during harvest. If you have high test weight corn, consider more bin cooling or dryeration, stopping at a percent or so higher moisture than normal. This will increase dryer capacity, as long storage bins have aeration at 0.1 cfm/bu or greater. Identify the highest test weight fields or hybrids and place in long-term storage bins.

Exceptions: Corn with leaf blight, storm damage, or frost damage will need to be harvested quickly to avoid ear loss. This corn will also be on the lower end for test weight and storability. If the cool wet weather is extended, scout for field mold as buyers would be looking primarily for vomitoxin in these cases.

The tight storage situation will mean heavy flow to grain elevators in the later season once farm bins are full. Consider sending some grain to the elevator early and continue with this plan throughout the season. Elevators will have to fill piles covered with tarps and other less flexible storage this year. Allowing elevators to start filling early will even the flow and reduce the risk of having to put wetter corn in these storage locations.

Quality – Soybeans

Expect generally well-filled pods with large beans with good protein and oil, except where frost or sudden death syndrome (SDS) was a factor. A warm period will allow soybeans to take their usual rapid nosedive in moisture, but this will probably occur later than normal. Soybeans will rewet in the field after the initial fall, and from then on field drying is much slower. The window for harvesting at lower moistures may be short this year. Soybean moistures up to 14-15% can be managed with aeration, but soybeans are often stored in bins that do not have this equipment.
Management

The key management actions are the same as always, although there may be a little more leeway in storage times/shelf life.
-    Uniform drying and cooling
-    Adequate aeration (0.1 + cfm/bu)
-    Cooling cycle every 10-15 degree change of outside air versus grain
-    Get below 40o F as fast as possible
-    Take out the center core of fines immediately
-    Regular inspection, temperature monitoring
-    Temperature change is important (3 degrees increase in two weeks without aeration being run is significant)
-    Stay within temperature-moisture guidelines even if we are on the high end this year



Iowans to tour farms in South African region Oct. 6-13, gauge investment potential


A group of Iowans will assess the outlook for agricultural investments in Africa on a week-long fact-finding tour in October to farms in South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique.

The delegation headed by noted ag journalist Ken Root and analyst Maurice Clark will tour properties managed by EmVest Agricultural Corp., a Pretoria, South Africa-based ag fund involved in growing, processing and distributing various commodities across three countries and five regions in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants in the Peoples Company Africa Tour organized by ag real estate specialists Peoples Company will view farming practices in this emerging market firsthand on Oct. 6-13.

Home audiences can get their own view of the region through the lenses of farming techniques and mechanization as well as investment risk assessment through reports during and after the trip. Root and a videographer aim to document farming practices, culture, government regulations and overall land productivity as presented by EmVest farm managers.

Reports from the field will be posted on the Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts of Peoples Company, and on its website at peoplescompany.com/blog/. Root also plans to air updates on the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network and on the Agribusiness Report during newscasts on WHO-TV, Des Moines, and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. A thorough perspective will be a feature of the eighth annual Land Investment Expo presented by Peoples Company on Jan. 23 at the Sheraton Hotel West Des Moines.

The seed for this fact-finding tour was planted in a Land Expo keynote by EmVest CEO Susan Payne at the fourth annual event in 2011, said Peoples Company President Steve Bruere. Payne’s initial talk on agriculture’s role in food security to communities, regions and countries was well received by the Land Expo audience and earned her a repeat invitation in 2013, when she termed opportunities in Africa “the highest impact investment you can make.”

Payne also commented that she likes coming to Iowa because it’s the agricultural heartland of America and she operates from the agricultural heartland of Africa.

Through repeat presentations at the Land Investment Expo, “Susan opened everyone’s eyes as far agriculture in Africa,” Bruere said. “A lot of people now view Africa as the final frontier for agricultural production in the world.

“What’s very intriguing to me about what Africa can offer is not only as a producer but also as a supplier. With a growing population of hungry people in the region, it’s a domestic market play for investors. This Iowa delegation will be seeing the ability to produce and helping to understand what’s going on with the economy and other factors land investors must look at.”

This year’s update on African agriculture should fit nicely with keynote presentations by other experts already confirmed for January’s 2015 Land Investment Expo, Bruere added. Influential investor Dennis Gartman, who keeps a close eye on Brazilian soybeans, corn and cotton in his role as editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter as well as frequent contributor on CNBC and Bloomberg TV, will discuss commodities and capital markets. Eric O’Keefe, editor of The Land Report, the magazine of the American landowner, also will appear as a keynote speaker.

More information about the 2015 Land Investment Expo is available at www.LandInvestmentExpo.com or by phoning 855-800-LAND (5263).



2015 National Beef Ambassadors Selected


Rachel Purdy (Wyoming), Will Pohlman (Arkansas), Alicia Smith (Texas), Kalyn McKibben (Oklahoma), Demi Snider (Ohio) were chosen as the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team at the annual National Beef Ambassador competition, which is funded in part by the beef checkoff and managed by the American National CattleWomen, Inc, contractor to the beef checkoff. (Pictured L to R: Kalyn McKibben, Rachel Purdy, Will Pohlman, Alicia Smith and Demi Snider.)

Twenty senior contestants, ages 17-21, were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, education and outreach strategy, media-interview technique and issues response at the event in Denver, Sept. 26-27.

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a spot on this elite team of agriculture advocates and for the $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit. Additionally, five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 were awarded by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. and Monsanto.

This year’s contest also hosted a junior competition for youth beef-industry advocates, ages 12-16. Ten passionate contestants vied for cash prizes, competing in three judged categories: consumer promotion, media-interview technique and issues response. The first-place winner was Phillip Saunders (Virginia). The second place winner was Bret Lee (Louisiana), and the third place winner was Abbey Schiefelbein (Minnesota). They all took home checks from Farm Credit for their top scores.  

While preparing for this national beef promotion and education competition, youth across the nation learn about beef and the beef industry with support from state CattleWomen and Cattlemen’s associations and state beef councils. The preparation highlights industry issues of current consumer interest. Winners of the state competitions compete at the national level, where they receive additional training. After the event, the youth ambassadors speak to industry issues and misconceptions and educate their peers and meal-time decision makers about beef nutrition, cattle care, safety and more during consumer events, in the classroom and online.

Follow the National Beef Ambassadors on Twitter at @beefambassador and visit www.nationalbeefambassador.org or www.ancw.org for more information.



USDA Launches Current Agricultural Industrial Reports Program


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announces the launch of the Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) survey program. NASS will collect and publish vital statistics for the dry and wet alcohol milling and flour milling sectors.

The Current Industrial Reports program began in 1904 at the Census Bureau and was discontinued in 2011 due to budget reductions. Beginning this year, NASS will collect data and publish the industrial reports. In addition to the flour milling, and dry and wet alcohol milling sectors, CAIR surveys will also result in reports on the cotton, and fats and oilseeds industries.

“As soon as the Census Bureau announced they were discontinuing the Current Industrial Reports, we began hearing from agriculture stakeholders around the country about the impact this decision had on the industry,” said NASS Administrator Joseph T. Reilly. “These reports are such an important element of sound economic policy planning and are used for market analysis, forecasting, and decision making that we knew we had to provide the data and I’m glad that beginning this year NASS is able to do just that.”

To prepare for the program launch, NASS already conducted extensive work building up baseline profiles for the industries. On the ethanol production side, the agency will work with 200 facilities, with a reported nameplate capacity of 14.792 billion gallons per year. On the flour milling side, NASS plans to survey 183 facilities, which have a reported 24-hour milling capacity of 1,594,755 hundredweight.

NASS has a long history of collecting and publishing agriculture data. As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified. Survey responses are confidential and used only in combination with similar reports from other producers. Title 7, U.S. Code, Section 2276 and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act prohibit disclosure of individual information.



MONSANTO ANNOUNCES NEW INSECT MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE PROGRAM


Two years ago, Monsanto launched the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Program, designed to reward the research and academic community for outstanding projects that addressed specific aspects of the pest and how best to manage it. Now, with $6 million in funding and 13 research projects currently underway, Monsanto is expanding the program to include projects on insect pests that can significantly impact all row crops across the U.S.  

Monsanto’s new Insect Management Knowledge Program (IMKP), is set up similar to its predecessor, providing merit-based awards of up to $250,000 per award per year for up to three years for projects that will enhance the collective understanding of insect management. Monsanto has committed an additional $3 million over three years to support this public sector research on insect management.

The IMKP will be guided by an 11-person Advisory Committee that is co-chaired by Dr. Sherri Brown, vice president of science strategy for Monsanto, and Dr. Steven Pueppke, associate vice president of research and graduate studies for Michigan State University. The committee consists of academics and growers, and provides guidance on integrated pest management, as well as recommendations for areas of basic research on insect resistance and management that would be of interest to growers, the academic community and Monsanto.

“With the rootworm program, we saw true collaboration take place between ourselves and the academic community, which has shown us both new ways of thinking and conducting our own research in this vital area of agriculture,” said Brown. “It made perfect sense to expand the program to include insect pests that can impact row crops such as soybeans and cotton.”

Researchers may submit proposals in the areas of sustainable pest management; development of predictive models for developing resistance; biochemical, genetic and molecular characterization of pest resistance to control methods; facilitation of multi-year surveys of U.S. insect pest populations; and farmer education and training on insect management.

“Our hope is that this program, similar to its predecessor, will provide both industry and academia valuable research to continue to enhance our collective understanding of insect management, leading to even more effective solutions for farmers in the future,” said Pueppke.

Applicants and other interested parties should visit www.monsanto.com/insectmanagement for additional information, key dates and instructions on how to apply.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday September 26 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News

NEBRASKA HOG INVENTORY UNCHANGED

Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2014, was 3.05 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  This was unchanged from September 1, 2013, but up 2 percent from June 1, 2014.  

Breeding hog inventory, at 390,000 head, was down 2 percent from September 1, 2013, but unchanged from last quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 2.66 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 2 percent from last quarter.  

The June - August 2014 Nebraska pig crop, at 1.85 million head, was up 4 percent from 2013.  Sows farrowed during the period totaled 170,000 head, up 3 percent from last year.  The average pigs saved per litter was a record high of 10.90 for the June – August period, compared to 10.85 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 175,000 sows during the September – November 2014 quarter, up 6 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.  Intended farrowings for December 2014 – February 2015 are 170,000 sows, up 3 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.  



IOWA HOGS & PIGS INVENTORY 3RD HIGHEST ON RECORD


On September 1, 2014,  there were 20.7 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms,  the  third highest  inventory on record according  to  the latest  USDA  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service  Hogs  and  Pigs  report.  The  September 1  inventory  was  up  8  percent  from June 2014 but down 1 percent from last September’s record high of 20.9 million head. The 1.60 million head increase from June was the largest quarterly increase since 1997.  

The  June-August  quarterly  pig  crop  was  5.46 million  head,  the  biggest  quarterly  pig  crop  in  20  years.  A  total  of  510,000  sows farrowed during this quarter, up 9 percent from the previous quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 10.70 for the June-August quarter, setting a new record for pigs saved per litter.   

As  of  September  1,  producers  planned  to  farrow  500,000  head  of  sows  and  gilts  in  the  September-November  2014  quarter  and 490,000 head during the December-February 2015 quarter.



United States Hog Inventory Down 2 Percent


United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2014 was 65.4 million head. This was down 2 percent fromSeptember 1, 2013, but up 6 percent from June 1, 2014.  Breeding inventory, at 5.92 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, and up 1 percent from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 59.4 million head, was down 3 percent from last year, but up 7 percent from last quarter.

The June-August 2014 pig crop, at 29.5 million head, was down 1 percent from 2013. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.91 million head, up 1 percent from 2013. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 10.16 for the June-August period, compared to 10.33 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 8.00 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.20 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.89 million sows farrow during the September-November 2014 quarter, up 4 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2013, and up slightly from 2012. Intended farrowings for December-February 2015, at 2.87 million sows, are up 4 percent from 2014, and up 3 percent from 2013.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 46 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from last year.



Beef Sustainability Survey

(Kristin Hassebrook, NE Cattlemen)

You have probably noticed in recent years the emergence of a new term, “sustainable beef.” What this means and why we even need to discuss it are certainly topics for debate; however, major retail purchasers of beef in the U.S. have made declarations they will begin sourcing “sustainable beef” in the coming years. This term also appears frequently in questions posed to beef producers by our consumers. This means it will impact us whether we want it to or not. Too often beef has let others define our story and when it comes to some of the key themes of sustainability the U.S. beef community has a great story to tell.

In this effort, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has undertaken significant scientific research in to the sustainability of beef production. This research is funded by the beef checkoff. The first phase of the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment has been completed using data from the Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. The results were recently certified by NSF International, lending credible, third-party verification to the study, helping to prove that beef is sustainable. The results of phase one can be found HERE.... http://beefresearch.org/beefsustainabilityresearch.aspx

In phase two of the assessment, the work is being expanded to include data from individual cattle producing regions across the country. By looking at regional practices and incorporating that information into the study, the research will be more representative and we will be better able to tell the beef story through sound science. To accomplish this goal we need help from you, beef producers!

We are asking cow-calf and stocker operators to complete this 15 min survey, all results will be confidential and will not be traceable to the individual operation. CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY... https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Nebraska-Cow-Calf-Stocker

We are asking feedyard operators to complete this 25 min survey, all results will be confidential and will not be traceable to the individual operation. CLICK HERE FOR SURVEY... https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Nebraska-Feeder

The Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment is not an attempt to force a change in practices or advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to beef production. There are few things less sustainable than a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, we are working to prove and showcase beef’s improved sustainability overtime. If you are interested in learning more about this Beef Checkoff Research Program please visit beefresearch.org.

Thank you for your help in this important project for the beef industry.



State High School Students Attend World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute


            Nebraska high school students attended the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Sept. 19.

            Food security – people's ability to not live in hunger or fear of starvation – is the focus of the World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute. This also is the focus of the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines with which the Nebraska institute is affiliated. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources collaborates with the World Food Prize Foundation and the Malaika Foundation in hosting the institute.

            Fourteen Nebraska high school students participated in the institute led by the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication in CASNR

            Seven of those students advance to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines Oct. 16-18. These students will be among the 100 high school students to attend the institute, held in conjunction with the World Food Prize Symposium. The World Food Prize often is internationally regarded at the Nobel Prize for food and agriculture.

            Students that attended this year's World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute and will advance to the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines Oct. 16-18 include: Breanna Allen, Crofton High School; Moriah Heerten, Keya Paha County Schools; Sydney Johnson, Pius X High School; James Moseman, Oakland-Craig High School; Kate Osbon, Rock County High School; Mikayla Petersen, Lyons-Decatur Northeast School; Holly Podliska, Humphrey St. Francis.

            More than 250 high school students from across the U.S. and around the world are chosen to attend the global institute.

            Other Nebraska high school students that attended this year's World Food Prize Nebraska Youth Institute were: Baileigh Borer, Humphrey Public; Kyla Dendinger, Crofton High School; Jasmine Hanson, Fremont High School; Victoria Maslonka, Lyons-Decatur Northeast School; Morgan Olsen, Lyons-Decatur Northeast School; Katie Petersen, Crofton High School; Chelsea Wortmann, Crofton High School.

            Last spring, participating students prepared essays on one of 20 topics and on one of nearly 200 countries. This year is the Borlaug Centennial year in honor of what would have been Norman Borlaug's 100th birthday.

            Working with their teachers, students picked one developing country and a key factor affecting that country's food security, and then prepared an essay that detailed research findings and their own recommendations for increasing food security in the country they chose to study. Student presentations on their findings were the morning highlights of the Sept. 19 event.

            Students heard from keynote speaker Walt Schacht, professor, agronomy and horticulture, who spoke on "Agriculture Production from African Rangelands." Gary Sullivan, assistant professor, animal science, and Don Lee, professor, agronomy and horticulture, lead hands on science lessons in animal science and plant science, respectively.

            Students earned a $500 scholarship to CASNR for participating in the Nebraska event.



With Climate Change, the 2012 Summer Could be Normal by End of Century


            Nebraskans who wonder what climate change could portend for the state have a recent reference point: the summer of 2012. The worst drought in the region's recorded history, it could be just a typical summer by century's end, University of Nebraska-Lincoln scientists warn.

            Don Wilhite, longtime climate scientist, led a discussion of climate change at the first Heuermann Lecture of 2014-15 Thursday. Wilhite and other UNL scientists discussed their new report "Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska" before several hundred people at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center.

            Although the extent of human beings' contribution to climate change remains a point of political contention in the United States, Wilhite said there's virtually no scientific doubt left. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists now believe human behavior is changing the climate.

            Although the Earth has gone through ice ages and warm periods throughout its history, the warming of the planet is occurring at a faster rate than ever before, and it's become clear to scientists that shifting land use patterns, burning of fossil fuels and other actions are quickening the pace, Wilhite said.

            He pointed to 10 indicators measured globally over decades, all of which indicate the earth's climate is warming. They include temperatures over oceans and land, snow cover, ocean heat content and sea surface temperatures. Wilhite also said that July 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

            Wilhite acknowledged projections are not certain because it's impossible to predict how human behavior might change in the coming decades to contend with climate change. Average temperatures in Nebraska could increase 4-5 degrees up to 8-9 degrees by 2071-2099. Days of 100-degree temperatures could increase by 13-16 per year, up to 22-25. The frost-free season, having already increased 5-25 days, could increase by another two weeks.

            Wilhite pointed to the 2012 summer, when McCook and Lincoln experienced 37 and 17 100-degree days, respectively – 11 and 4.6 days more than normal.

            "2012 would be an average summer" if climate change projections are accurate, Wilhite said.

            Some regions of the United States would be "winners" in climate change, but "losers" would include the Great Plains, the Southwest and the Southeast, Wilhite said.

            Other coauthors of the report offered some perspective in a question and answer session. Deborah Bathke, an assistant professor of practice in meteorology-climatology, said UNL is well-positioned with its variety of expertise to help find answers to climate change. She urged "a positive, solutions-oriented focus rather than a doom and gloom approach."

            Robert Oglesby, a professor of climate modeling at UNL, said the United States has a responsibility to provide leadership on the issue, but many politicians instead point to other countries, such as India and China, where rapid industrialization has had significant environmental impacts.

            "We used to think of ourselves as leaders. Waiting to see how other countries act is not leading," he said. "Do we have the will or do we not have the will?"

            Wilhite said he hopes the UNL report will provide a foundation to state and federal policy makers. In addition to its summary of scientific evidence of climate change, he noted, the report features commentaries from several key sectors in Nebraska, including water resources, energy supply and use, agriculture, forestry, human health, ecosystems, urban systems, infrastructure and rural communities.

            The entire report is available at go.unl.edu/climatechange.

Heuermann Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.  They are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

            Lectures are archived at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu.



Nov. 15 Deadline for Perennial Forage, Fall Seeded Crops


Acreage reports are required to maintain eligibility for multiple program benefits. The deadline to report 2015 perennial forage and fall seeded crops is Nov. 15. Acreage reports should reflect accurate crop types, acreages, intended uses and irrigation practices.

Acreage reported to FSA should be consistent between FSA and crop insurance provider, if applicable. If a crop's intended use later changes, producers may update their report with the actual use. Perennial forage that is "left-standing" does not have to be reported until July 15, 2014.

Prevented planted acres must be reported within 15 days of the final planting date for the crop. Failed acres must be reported before disposition of the crop. It is important to notify FSA timely of all acres that were prevented from being planted or that failed due to a natural disaster event.



USDA Makes 2nd Discovery of GMO Wheat Found in Montana


(AP) -- Unregulated genetically modified wheat has popped up in a second location in the United States, this time in Montana, the Agriculture Department said Friday.

No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming, and the discovery of unapproved varieties can pose a potential threat to U.S. trade with countries that have concerns about genetically modified foods.

USDA said Friday that the incident is on a smaller scale than a similar finding in Oregon last year that prompted several Asian countries to temporarily ban U.S. wheat imports.

The herbicide-resistant wheat was found on one to three acres in Montana, while the GMO plants found in Oregon were spread over more than 100 acres. And the plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where GMO wheat was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto 11 years ago. The plants in Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, prompting questions about how it got there.

The department said it is investigating the discovery of the Montana wheat. USDA has said the wheat would be safe to eat but that none of it ever entered commerce.

In a final report also released Friday, USDA said it believes the GMO wheat in Oregon was an isolated incident and that there is no evidence of that wheat in commerce. The report says the government still doesn't know how the modified seeds got into the fields.

The discovery of the GMO wheat in Oregon prompted Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend some wheat orders, and the European Union called for more rigorous testing of U.S. shipments.

Monsanto Co. suggested last year that some of the company's detractors may have intentionally planted the seeds. Robb Fraley, Monsanto's executive vice president and chief technology officer, said in June 2013 that sabotage is the most likely scenario, partly because the modified wheat was not distributed evenly throughout the field and was found in patches.

"It's fair to say there are folks who don't like biotechnology and would use this to create problems," he said then.

Bernadette Juarez, who oversees investigative and enforcement efforts for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the department wasn't able to prove any such scenarios.

"Ultimately, we weren't able to make a determination of how it happened," she said.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are already modified, or genetically altered, to resist certain herbicides. But the country's wheat crop is not, as many wheat farmers have shown reluctance to use genetically engineered seeds since their product is usually consumed directly by people. Much of the corn and soybean crop is used as feed for animals.

There has been little evidence to show that foods grown from engineered seeds are less safe than their conventional counterparts, but several states have considered laws that would require them to be labeled so consumers know what they are eating. Vermont became the first state to enact such a law this year.



APHIS Report Shows Source of Unaproved GM Wheat Inconclusive But Commercial Supplies Not Affected

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) were notified Friday, Sept. 26 that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed its investigation into the May 2013 discovery of an unapproved Roundup Ready (RR) trait in isolated volunteer wheat plants. APHIS has determined that the source of the RR trait is inconclusive but reconfirmed that there is no indication that any wheat with this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain. This is consistent with the results of independent testing by Japan and Korea that has not identified a single event among all classes of U.S. wheat exported to those countries. APHIS also noted that in 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed.

“As we have said before, nothing is more important than the trust wheat growers have earned with our customers,” said Paul Penner, NAWG president and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kan. “We appreciate the thorough and diligent investigation that APHIS has conducted and we accept its findings. We also believe those findings show that our customers can be confident that we are still producing a reliable supply of high-quality, wholesome and nutritious wheat.”

“As we move on from this isolated incident, wheat growers remain committed to keeping up the dialogue with partners and customers at home and around the world,” said Roy Motter, USW chairman and a Desert Durum® grower from Brawley, Calif. “We have always provided the resources and information they need to make the best decisions about the wheat they purchase and that will not change.”

Like many other farmer organizations from the United States, Canada and Australia, USW and NAWG believe innovation in wheat varieties is needed in the years ahead. Yield increases are needed because wheat is and will remain essential to helping meet rapidly growing global food demand. Changes in consumer preferences call for more sustainable production through the use of less water, fertilizer, fuel and pesticides and for improved wheat foods. The organizations applaud the increasing private and public research investment in hybridization, high through-put genetic screening and in biotechnology that will help farmers responsibly grow more and better wheat with less impact on the environment.

“At the same time, we understand that choice is paramount,” Motter said. “We respect consumer preferences and are committed to ensuring all customers have access to non-biotech or biotech wheat, whichever they may prefer. And we stand ready to assist all industry segments to assure supplies of non-biotech wheat within reasonable commercial tolerances to markets that require it.”

For more information visit http://www.wheatworld.org/issues/biotech or http://www.uswheat.org/biotechnology.



Thursday September 25 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau Highlights Key Agriculture Issues in Supporting Ricketts, Thanking Heineman

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation has reiterated its support for Republican Party candidate Pete Ricketts for Governor, while thanking Gov. Dave Heineman for his years of service to Nebraska farm and ranch families. Nebraska Farm Bureau hosted an event Thur. Sept. 25 where Gov. Heineman, Ricketts and Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson shared perspectives on key issues affecting Nebraska agriculture.

“Nebraska farmers and ranchers face many challenges and it is critical that we have leaders who understand the importance of agriculture to our state and who have the vision to help keep current and future generations of farmers and ranchers on the land. Gov. Heineman has been a friend to agriculture and Pete Ricketts will continue to carry the torch for Nebraska farmers and ranchers,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Defending agriculture from far reaching regulations was one of three key issues Nelson specifically outlined during the event.

“We continue to deal with the EPA and an Obama Administration that wants to regulate virtually everything in agriculture. The EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” rule is the latest in a long line of proposals that would hurt farm families. We appreciate the governor’s willingness and his track record of standing up for farmers and ranchers against this regulatory onslaught and we know that Pete Ricketts will do the same,” said Nelson.

Property tax relief for farmers and ranchers was also among the issues Nelson highlighted.

“The property tax burden on Nebraska farm and ranch families is not sustainable. We need meaningful tax reform that provides a balanced approach to funding local schools and local government. There are clearly inequities in our property tax system that must be addressed. We’ve worked closely with Gov. Heineman over the years to lower the property tax burden on farm families and we appreciate his efforts. Pete Ricketts has made property tax relief for farmers and ranchers a pillar of his agriculture platform and we look forward to working with him to take the next steps to provide true reform,” said Nelson.

Nelson also touched on the need for Nebraska farmers, ranchers and elected officials to continue to defend and protect agriculture from anti-agriculture activists groups.

“The threats posed by activists groups against agriculture continue to grow, whether it’s opposition to new on-farm technologies that are developed through our university systems or opposition from animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States. Much like Gov. Heineman, we know Pete Ricketts will continue to provide strong leadership in these areas and push back on those that would seek to harm Nebraska farm and ranch families,” said Nelson.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a governor for the last 10 years who has made agriculture a priority. Pete Ricketts will continue to make agriculture a focal point of the Governor’s Office to the benefit of farmers, ranchers and all Nebraskans,” said Nelson.



Cedar Rapids, Newcastle farmers win grain rescue tubes for local fire department


Hundreds of Nebraska farmers selflessly signed up their local fire departments to win a grain rescue tube during the recent Husker Harvest Days event. The Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) are proud to announce that two Nebraska farmers’ names were drawn this week to win a rescue tube for each of their local fire departments.

Bob Ziemba, Cedar Rapids, won a grain rescue tube for the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.  Ray Kneifl, Newcastle, won a grain rescue tube for the Newcastle Fire Department.  Tubes are being donated thanks to a partnership with GSI, Inc. and DuPont Pioneer.

Rescue tubes are an important tool for emergency rescue personnel to have on-hand in the case of an emergency. The goal of Nebraska Corn is to help fire departments across the state receive rescue tubes, as well as help them obtain training in the event that someone working in or around grain becomes engulfed. The chances of survival for that person are greatly increased if there is a grain rescue tube available to fire departments nearby. These efforts echo Nebraska Corn’s “Take a Second for Safety” theme at Husker Harvest Days and other events this year.

Events will be held on Wednesday, October 1st in Cedar Rapids and Newcastle where Ziemba and Kneifl, respectively, will help present the grain rescue tubes to their local fire departments. Schedule will be as follows:
 -    10:30 am at Cedar Rapids Volunteer Fire Department (W Main & 2nd Streets)
 -     3:00 pm at Newcastle Volunteer Fire Department (205 Mary Street)

Individuals involved in this project who will be in attendance include:
-    Emily Thornburg, NeCGA
-    Mat Habrock, DuPont Pioneer
-    Jerad Hutchens, GSI, Inc.
-    Bob Ziemba (Cedar Rapids event only)
-    Ray Kneifl (Newcastle event only)
-    Local Fire Department Fire Chiefs & Fire Members
-    State Fire Marshal members
-    Corn Grower and Corn Board representatives



Iowa pig farmers set to celebrate October Pork Month


October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pig farmers and share their stories with consumers.

"If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day," said Iowa Pork Producers Association President Jamie Schmidt, a hog farmer from Garner. "October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world."

In 2008, hog farmers adopted six We CareSM ethical principles at the National Pork Industry Forum. The pork industry follows the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply. Farmers are committed to:
-    Producing safe food
-    Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices
-    Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry's other ethical principles
-    Contributing to a better quality of life in communities
-    Protecting and promoting animal well-being
-    Ensuring practices to protect public health

"The ethical principles define our values and who we are," Schmidt said. "Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using these ethical principles."

Pork is the world's most widely eaten meat, representing 37 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Some 81 percent of the population consumes pork in-home at least once in an average two-week period. As of May 2014, real per capita pork expenditures were up 7.5 percent for 2014 compared with the same time period a year ago.

According to retail scanner data from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, the top five most popular pork cuts sold are boneless New York chops, back ribs, bone-in chops, spareribs and boneless tenderloin. In terms of sales, boneless New York Chops accounted for more than $847 million, back ribs more than $612 million, bone-in chops more than $404 million, spareribs more than $387 million and boneless tenderloin more than $369 million.

"Consumers recognize the versatility of serving pork in their homes," said Schmidt. "Cook pork until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest. This will ensure flavorful and tender pork on the plate."



Red Meat Production Down 10 Percent From Last Year


Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.80 billion pounds in August, down 10 percent from the 4.20 billion pounds produced in August 2013.

Beef production, at 2.02 billion pounds, was 10 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.50 million head, down 11 percent from August 2013. The average live weight was up 19 pounds from the previous year, at 1,329 pounds.

Veal production totaled 7.1 million pounds, 22 percent below August a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 43,600 head, down 32 percent from August 2013. The average live weight was up 37 pounds from last year, at 277 pounds.

Pork production totaled 1.75 billion pounds, down 10 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 8.27 million head, down 13 percent from August 2013. The average live weight was up 11 pounds from the previous year, at 282 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.7 million pounds, was down 15 percent from August 2013. Sheep slaughter totaled 181,400 head, 13 percent below last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, down 4 pounds from August a year ago.

Selected States  (Aug '14 prod in mil #s, % of Aug '13)

Nebraska .....:     610.2             96      
Iowa ............:     508.1             91      
Kansas .......:     432.9             90      

January to August 2014 commercial red meat production was 31.2 billion pounds, down 4 percent from 2013. Accumulated beef production was down 6 percent from last year, veal was down 12 percent, pork was down 2 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 1 percent.



NAWG Participates in McFadden Symposium on Wheat Improvement

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) attended the Edgar S. McFadden inaugural Symposium on Wheat Improvement this week honoring Edgar S. McFadden and other global leaders in wheat research.

NAWG was well represented at the inaugural event with Gordon Stoner, NAWG second vice president and Jim Palmer, NAWG CEO both taking part in the schedule of events. Stoner, a wheat farmer from Outlook, Mont. discussed the unique nature of wheat and the importance of increased wheat research funding. Palmer participated in a panel discussion with wheat leaders and experts on policy and international trade.

“Wheat accounts for 20 percent of caloric intake for people around the world, and as the world population continues to increase so will demand for wheat. We need to meet this demand. Increased and intensified wheat research is the first step in doing that,” commented Stoner.

The Symposium was held to honor Edgar McFadden and his wheat research breakthrough in conferring genetic resistance to stem rust at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brooking, S.D.

To recognize the important contribution of McFadden and to continue his legacy, SDSU has established the Edgar S. McFadden Endowment for Wheat Improvement to continue research on new varieties and other technologies that serve wheat producers.

“The farmer leadership of NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) are committed to working with wheat industry stakeholders to expand the industry,” stated Palmer. A few short years ago NAWG, NWF, U.S. Wheat Associates, the North American Millers Association and the American Bakers Association with the support from industry started a collaborative group in the creation of the Wheat Innovation Alliance (WIA). WIA is committed to responsibly advancing innovation in wheat production to help grow more and better wheat.”



U.S. Soybean Farmers Witness Direct Impact of Soy Checkoff’s Efforts


Ten U.S. soybean farmers participated in the United Soybean Board’s (USB's) 2014 See for Yourself program to learn about their customers beyond the elevator and the soy checkoff’s role in marketing U.S. soy to those customers. This year, the farmers visited St. Louis, Panama and Ecuador, from Aug. 14-22. A total of 70 farmers have taken advantage of this unique opportunity over the past seven years.

“Before I went on the See for Yourself program, I knew the checkoff was important, but I really couldn’t put a finger on exactly why,” says LaVell Winsor, See for Yourself participant and farmer from Grantville, Kansas. “I feel like I have a much greater understanding now of how checkoff dollars are used, and where the investments are both at home and abroad. I think it is money well spent by U.S. farmers.”

See for Yourself invites farmers to see their funds and the checkoff’s efforts in action. The stops on the program examined domestic and international transportation, high oleic soybeans, biodiesel and the use of soybean meal for animal feed.

Domestic Transportation
The program started with a visit to a barge-loading facility on the Mississippi River. The efficiency and reliability of the U.S. transportation system give U.S. soybean farmers a distinct advantage over other soybean-growing counties. The group heard about the need to upgrade U.S. highways, railways and waterways to keep the infrastructure in good repair and maintain this competitive edge.

High Oleic Soybeans
Next, the group visited Monsanto’s research campus outside St. Louis to hear about the checkoff’s investment in high oleic soybeans and see other research in action. The checkoff’s high oleic commitment allows seed companies DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto to expand breeding programs and bring more varieties to the market in a shorter time frame. High oleic varieties have the ability to recover lost food-oil demand for U.S. soybean farmers. Additionally, these innovative varieties can help gain new customers by expanding into new markets.

Biodiesel
The last domestic stop was Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, which uses biodiesel in much of its on-site equipment. The facility utilizes a B20 blend (20 percent biodiesel, 80 percent petroleum diesel) in nearly all of its stationary generators, airport equipment, and rescue and firefighting equipment. Soybean oil remains the primary feedstock for U.S. biodiesel production, using the oil from more than 400 million bushels of soybeans in 2013.

International Transportation
In Panama City, Panama, the farmers observed the inner workings of the Panama Canal. Soybeans are the No. 1 ag commodity that utilizes the Panama Canal; 560 million bushels of U.S. soybean exports passed through the canal in 2012. Plans for an expansion of the canal, scheduled to be complete in 2015, could make soybean exports even more cost-efficient and beneficial to U.S. farmers’ bottom lines.

Animal Agriculture
Ecuador was the final stop in this year’s program. There, the group learned how and why soybean meal is used by animal agriculture and aquaculture producers throughout the country. They visited a shrimp farm in Guayaquil, and a poultry producer in Quito. In the United States and abroad, animal agriculture is the largest customer of U.S. soybean meal. In fact, U.S. soybean meal has 85 percent market share in Ecuador, according to the checkoff-funded U.S. Soybean Export Council.

“I think our participants received an eye-opening look at the ways the checkoff works for them and how their soybeans are used domestically and internationally,” says Keith Tapp, vice chair of USB’s Audit and Evaluation Committee, which supports See for Yourself.  “And, as a member of USB, the See for Yourself program allows me to hear firsthand feedback about checkoff investments from farmers located around the country. The program is beneficial for both the farmer-participants and USB.”



NCGA Brings a Corn Farmer's Perspective to Climate Conversation


National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member Paul Taylor, a farmer from Esmond, Ill., participated in the inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. The meeting brought together partners of the alliance to discuss the organization of the alliance in its inception year and a program of work.

The meeting followed the official launch of the alliance on Tuesday at the United Nations Secretary General's Climate Summit.

"With increasing public focus turning to the climate, farmers must take a seat at the table to ensure our interests and concerns on this topic are accurately represented," said Taylor. "American corn farmers have a dynamic story of constant improvement to share. We have a long history of finding innovative ways to meet ever-evolving challenges and activities such as this help us engage in a productive dialogue about this issue."

As currently established, Global Alliance for CSA members recognize the urgent need to act at scale and to contribute towards three "aspirational outcomes": sustainable and equitable increases in agricultural productivity and incomes; greater resilience of food systems and farming livelihoods; and reduction and/or removal of greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture (including the relationship between agriculture and ecosystems) where possible.

This meeting, only one of an extensive list taking place in conjunction with Climate Week NYC, brought international leaders in agriculture together to address issues important to the future of the industry. In its sixth year, Climate Week NYC provides a global summit for government, business and thought leaders to drive innovation, build coalitions and deliver practical solutions.

In addition to Taylor, representatives from American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association and the National Farmers Union also participated on behalf of U.S. farmers. U.S. participants in the meeting were organized by 25 x '25.



USDA Unveils Key New Programs to Help Farmers Manage Risk


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled highly anticipated new programs to help farmers better manage risk, ushering in one of the most significant reforms to U.S. farm programs in decades.

Vilsack also announced that new tools are now available to help provide farmers the information they need to choose the new safety net program that is right for their business.

"The 2014 Farm Bill represented some of the largest farm policy reforms in decades. One of the Farm Bill's most significant reforms is finally taking effect," said Vilsack. "Farming is one of the riskiest businesses in the world. These new programs help ensure that risk can be effectively managed so that families don't lose farms that have been passed down through generations because of events beyond their control. But unlike the old direct payment program, which paid farmers in good years and bad, these new initiatives are based on market forces and include county – and individual – coverage options. These reforms provide a much more rational approach to helping farmers manage risk."

The new programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are cornerstones of the commodity farm safety net programs in the 2014 Farm Bill, legislation that ended direct payments. Both programs offer farmers protection when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices and/or revenues. Producers will have through early spring of 2015 to select which program works best for their businesses.

To help farmers choose between ARC and PLC, USDA helped create online tools that allow farmers to enter information about their operation and see projections about what each program will mean for them under possible future scenarios. The new tools are now available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. USDA provided $3 million to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri and the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M (co-leads for the National Association of Agricultural and Food Policy), along with the University of Illinois (lead for the National Coalition for Producer Education) to develop the new programs.

"We're committed to giving farmers as much information as we can so they can make an informed decision between these programs," said Vilsack. "These resources will help farm owners and producers boil the information down, understand what their options are, and ultimately make the best decision on which choice is right for them. We are very grateful to our partners for their phenomenal work in developing these new tools within a very short time frame."

Starting Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, farm owners may begin visiting their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices if they want to update their yield history and/or reallocate base acres, the first step before choosing which new program best serves their risk management needs. Letters sent this summer enabled farm owners and producers to analyze their crop planting history in order to decide whether to keep their base acres or reallocate them according to recent plantings.

The next step in USDA's safety net implementation is scheduled for this winter when all producers on a farm begin making their election, which will remain in effect for 2014-2018 crop years between the options offered by ARC and PLC.

Today's announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.



Study Monitors Long-Term Impacts of Feeding GM Crops to Livestock


Recently, Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam and research assistant Amy E. Young completed the most comprehensive study of genetically modified (GM) crops ever, set to be published in the Journal of Animal Science after Oct. 1. It represents the longest-term monitoring of the health-impact of GM crops in history as it examines at 29 years of livestock productivity and health data from both before and after the introduction of GM crops into animal feed formulations.

“The broiler information set is the most powerful because we looked at 9 billion birds that were fed mostly GM crops,” Van Eenennaam said. “There was improved feed-to-gain ratios and decreased age to market, which suggests that feeding GM crops did not having any detrimental effects to the birds’ health.”

The U.S. Grains Council uses studies like this one to encourage policymakers around the world to develop biotechnology policies that are science-based, risk-appropriate and consistent. The new findings could have implications for the international marketplace as some countries continue to reject GM crops based on non-science based safety concerns.

“We are going to have more rejections (for unapproved biotech events) in the future and the potential for trade disruptions is going to increase,” Van Eenennaam said. “This is going to increase the cost of food everywhere, which has real implications for food security.”

Asynchronous approvals result when countries approve biotech traits at different rates. Van Eenennaam believes that the problem of asynchronous approvals will continue to grow as more GM crops, including those optimized for animal feed, are released for commercial use.



National Pork Producers Council Statement On The Transpacific Partnership Negotiations


The National Pork Producers Council thanks U.S. trade officials for diligently working to achieve an outcome in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that would benefit all sectors of our nation’s economy, including agriculture. At the same time, we must also express our deep disappointment in Japan’s continuing rejection of the fundamental terms of a successful TPP agreement, as agreed upon by leaders of all participating TPP nations prior to Japan’s entry into the negotiations last year.

Japan continues to demand exemptions from tariff elimination for an unprecedented number of agricultural products. Its negotiators have declared that products such as pork, dairy, beef, wheat, barley, sugar and rice are “sacred” and cannot be opened to free trade in the TPP. Japan has employed this or similar arguments in all of its prior free trade agreements, so it is not surprising that some in the United States might accept this as reality, submit to Japan’s demand and accept the crumbs from its table.

Acquiescing to Japan’s demand would represent a radical departure from past U.S. trade policy, which has held to the principle that free trade agreements must cover virtually all trade between the parties. The exemptions from tariff elimination demanded by Japan would be more than all of the tariff line exemptions contained in the previous 17 FTAs combined the United States has implemented this century. Pork never has been excluded from tariff elimination in a U.S. free trade agreement.

It also would diminish the overall outcome in the TPP since negotiators from the other 11 participating nations will not want to explain to producers of sensitive products in their countries why they are not being provided similar exemptions. Furthermore, exemptions, whether in agriculture or in other sectors, will become normative in the TPP and will be taken for granted by future acceding nations when TPP expands. Moreover, the outcome on rules and other areas of the TPP negotiation undoubtedly will be affected by Japan’s market access package. Every nation will examine the overall package and will have to balance its obligations with the concessions it receives.

In addition to prompting the unraveling of the TPP as a “gold standard” agreement, submitting to Japan’s demand will signal to the European Union that the same – or more likely a bigger – basket of U.S. products can be exempted from full tariff liberalization in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks and that this will be acceptable to the United States.

Creating a precedent in the TPP that shelters the agriculture sector from competition and, therefore, puts upward pressure on global food prices has national security implications. Governments rise and fall based on the price of food. The correlation between political unrest and food prices is axiomatic. The protectionist farmers in Japan are not thinking about the global security implications of adding 3 billion people to the world’s population in the next 30 years. But someone better be thinking about this. What may be politically appealing today may be catastrophic tomorrow.

The United States should not accept an offer from Japan that is anything less than what it has demanded of, and received from, its other FTA partners, including many developing countries. Most of those nations had, and continue to have, serious sensitivities in agriculture, and they must wonder why Japan, one of the most advanced nations on Earth, is more deserving of such privileged treatment. The TPP, as with other FTAs, should not be about whether to move to free trade in virtually all products but how and when.

The U.S. pork industry has benefitted enormously from prior trade agreements, which are the major reason U.S. pork exports have quadrupled since 2000. The TPP could result in even greater gains for U.S. pork, but Japan is the key. It must be willing to phase out its tariffs over a reasonable transition period and abolish its trade-distorting Gate Price system. The difference between Japan’s offer as reported in the Japanese press and the elimination of the Gate Price and tariffs on pork is eye popping. When the impact on all the “sacred” agriculture products is added, both in Japan and in future FTAs, the loss of exports and jobs in the United States is staggering.

There is a long history of fraud and criminal activity related to the Gate Price – with some Japanese importers inflating invoices to prices above the Gate Price to minimize import duties – which has been well documented in the Japanese press. [Click here to read news articles on Gate Price fraud.] We find it odd (to say the least) that anyone in the Japanese government would defend a system that generates fraud and criminal behavior. More than 20 years of fraudulent activity demonstrates that the system is unworkable.

In the United States, some may countenance Japan’s demand since an agreement between the two countries, even with significant exemptions by Japan, would be a net plus for the United States. Japan no doubt is hoping that the United States will buy into the idea that “meaningful market access” should be the metric in evaluating its market access package. We should not. Had the United States been willing to accept half a loaf in past FTA negotiations, U.S. exports would be much lower and its FTAs would look more like the FTAs of Japan and the European Union. But the deal being offered by Japan is not even a half loaf for U.S. pork and the other “sacred” commodities. The U.S. trade policy metric that has governed all past U.S. FTAs must continue to govern the TPP negotiation: elimination of tariffs.

The tail is wagging the dog in Japan. A small protectionist group of farmers is holding hostage a 12-nation regional trade negotiation. It is incumbent on others in Japan to overcome the opposition of this small group of farmers, which is keeping Japanese food prices among the highest in the world. Economic studies show that Japan will benefit tremendously from the TPP. Among other things, consumers will spend less of their income on food. The politics of trade – and food in particular – are always difficult. Korea and other past U.S. FTA partners, many of which were developing nations, had sensitivities in agriculture equal to or greater than those in Japan.

Multilateral trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization are on life support. The United States has the unprecedented opportunity to set the bar high on a regional FTA that has the potential to become the platform for global trade liberalization for the next 30 years. Japan should not expect the United States to hand the keys to the bus to a bunch of protectionist farmers who want the United States to depart from its longstanding approach to trade policy and to create a precedent that will diminish U.S. exports and jobs for the next 30 years.

Finally, Japan needs to understand that the U.S. Congress must approve any FTA and that members have no stomach for extending special treatment to Japan and accepting a TPP deal that has a substandard market access package from Japan and that would be a step back from the high-standard deals recently implemented with Colombia, Korea and Panama.

The solution is very simple: Japan must be held to the same high standard as all other U.S. FTA partners. The ball has been, and continues to be, in Japan’s court. Either Japan will agree to do what all other TPP nations are prepared to do – eliminate tariffs on virtually all products – or the standoff will continue. If Japan continues to refuse, the United States and the other TPP countries should close the negotiation without Japan.

Before we undermine longstanding U.S. trade policy, before we see an unraveling of the TPP and before we face accepting future FTAs on similar terms, the talks with Japan in the TPP should be suspended and an agreement with the other TPP nations sent to Congress. Japan, when it is ready, can be invited to begin negotiations again with a second group of nations from the Americas and Asia.



NMPF Provides Narrated Slide Presentation Explaining How Farmers Can Take Advantage of New Dairy Safety Net
The National Milk Producers Federation has posted a slide presentation on YouTube to help dairy farmers understand the new federal dairy safety net, known as the Margin Protection Program (MPP), as part of its ongoing effort to educate farmers about the new program.

There are links to the narrated presentation on both the NMPF website, and the Future for Dairy website serving as NMPF’s information hub for the new MPP program, which was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture September 2nd.

The 21-minute, 34-slide presentation walks the viewer through the details of the program, including who is eligible, how to sign up, and what the fees and payments might look like under various scenarios. Also covered are the basic concept of the program, what it replaces, and how it compares to the previous dairy safety net. This narrated presentation is a video file to accompany a more basic, slides-only version already available online.

“Dairy farmers are now making their decisions on participation in the new program,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, who narrates the slide presentation. “Along with other tools NMPF has developed, this presentation should help them make the best choices for their individual circumstances.”

Meanwhile, dairy producers attending next week’s World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, can find out what they need to know about the new dairy safety net at a special, 90-minute briefing set for Thursday morning, October 2nd.

Sponsored by NMPF, the briefing will feature Mulhern along with noted University of Missouri dairy economist Scott Brown. It will start at 8:30 a.m. in Mendota Room No. 4, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Held each fall, World Dairy Expo attracts more than 70,000 dairy producers and industry experts from 90 counties. The five-day event has long been recognized as the premier annual meeting for the global dairy industry.

The briefing is titled “Covering Your Assets: Why Farmers Need to Enroll in the Margin Protection Program.” In addition to the briefing and the narrated slide presentation available through www.nmpf.org and www.futurefordairy.com, NMPF has produced a five-page written summary of the new program, and an online calculator to help farmers select their coverage levels.

The new dairy safety net was included in the 2014 farm bill. It allows producers to protect their margin – the difference between milk prices and feed costs – rather than supporting milk prices.

Producers have until November 28th to sign up for the program for the remainder of 2014, all of 2015, or both.

NMPF was instrumental in constructing the new safety net. The organization developed the program after extensive discussions with farmers in 2009 and 2010, and then worked with Congress to include the plan in the 2014 farm bill. More recently, NMPF worked closely with Agriculture Department on implementation issues.



Merck Animal Health Releases New Dairy Care365TM Training Module


     Merck Animal Health today introduced its newest training module in its Dairy Care365™ series. “Handling Dairy Calves and Heifers: A Low-Stress Way to a Profitable Herd” focuses on helping dairies create and maintain a low-stress animal handling approach, as well as a safe, positive environment for young animals. A low-stress approach is not only better and safer for the animal, but it also reduces the risk of injury to the handler.

     Specifically, the new module will address training calves to move and adjust to new situations, knowing how to move, process and handle heifers safely and efficiently, and learning how to train fresh heifers to be milked.

     “In addition to safety and animal well-being, using low-stress handling when working with youngstock positively impacts the performance of those animals,” said Mike Bolton, D.V.M., technical services manager for Merck Animal Health. “In fact, research results have shown the connection between handling stress and milk production. Heifers experiencing stress while entering the milking parlor produced three pounds less milk per day, lost 30 pounds more weight and experienced more lameness. Results also showed that dairy cattle’s fear of humans can result in a 30 to 50 percent difference in the level of milk production between herds.”1

     This module was developed in partnership with Ben Bartlett, D.V.M., well-known Michigan State University extension educator, who noted that this training is an ideal resource for dairies that are committed to making continuous improvement in their herds’ performance.

     “For dairies to perform at their best, it’s vital to have a unified animal handling approach that is shared by owners, managers and workers, and is based on handling cattle safely, efficiently and in a low-stress manner,” Dr. Bartlett explained.

     This training module presents the information in an easy-to-understand format that explains how to raise calves that respect people and respond to handler movement requests. It is available in English or Spanish and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. At the end of the course, participants can take a short quiz to test their knowledge. Dairy managers also can use the results of the training to help identify areas for improvement.       

     Merck Animal Health developed Dairy Care365™ to train, equip and support dairy farmers and their employees so they’re able to provide the best possible care for dairy animals every day. The new module and previous Dairy Care365™ courses, including “Introduction to Dairy Stockmanship” and “Milk Parlor Handling,” are available by sending an email to info@DairyCare365.com.