Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monday April 23 Crop Progress + Ag News

NEBRASKA CROP PROGRESS AND CONDITION

For the week ending April 22, 2018, there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 18 short, 76 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 25 short, 70 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 2 percent, behind 15 last year and 9 for the five-year average.

Soybeans planted was 1 percent, near 3 last year, and equal to average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 poor, 37 fair, 46 good, and 10 excellent.

Oats planted was 46 percent, well behind 79 last year and 78 average. Emerged was 15 percent, well
behind 37 both last year and average.



IOWA CROP PROGRESS REPORT


The week began with below normal temperatures and counties in the northern half of Iowa received snow at mid-week before temperatures warmed to near normal by the week’s end. Statewide there were 1.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending April 22, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. When conditions allowed farmers applied anhydrous and dry fertilizer to their fields and seeded oats with a few scattered reports of corn being planted.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 7 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 13 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Northern Iowa has received an abundance of snow, while southern Iowa is in need of precipitation with south central Iowa the driest.

Twenty-three percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, almost 2 weeks behind last year and the 5-year average. Below normal temperatures have delayed oat emergence, with just 1 percent of the crop being reported as emerged, the lowest level at this time since 2001.

Extended winter conditions have delayed pasture development. Calving losses have been reported as higher than normal in areas of northern Iowa.



Soybean Planting Starts on Average Pace


Soybean planting is on an average pace nationwide, but corn planting remains well behind average in the week ended April 22, according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service's weekly Crop Progress report released Monday.

Soybeans are 2% planted, compared to 5% last year and a 2% average. Corn planting is 5% complete, compared to 3% last week, 15% last year and a 15% average.

Winter wheat is 13% headed, compared to 9% last week, 30% last year and a 19% average. Winter wheat condition improved slightly to 6% excellent, compared to 5% last week.



Ricketts Issues Veto to Protect Ranchers


Today, Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed LB 449, which proposed repealing the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act.  LB 449 was introduced by State Senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha and opposed by agriculture groups, sportsmen, and local officials.  The bill was passed by the Legislature 26-13-10.

“This legislation repeals the authority of counties to prevent the spread of prairie dogs when an individual landowner refuses to implement effective control measures on his property,” said Governor Ricketts.  “My primary concern with LB 449 is that it fails to protect the individual property rights of those landowners who are detrimentally harmed by a neighbor’s inaction.  This bill has been represented to be a landowner protection bill; however, repeal of these statutes would actually infringe on the property rights of responsible landowners.”

The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act, passed in 2012, gives county governments the authority to manage prairie dog populations across Nebraska.  The bill empowered counties to manage invasive prairie dog populations.  Prairie dog populations create expansive tunnel systems, which can destroy farm and ranch land, hurt animals, and lower property values if left unmanaged.



Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Governor Veto of Bill Repealing Prairie Dog Management Act


“We greatly appreciate Governor Ricketts’ veto of LB 449, legislation to repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act. While we understand the importance of preserving native species in Nebraska, our members know all too well the reproductive capability and damage that prairie dogs cause when competing with cattle and other livestock for forage. Nebraska Farm Bureau has long supported proper prairie dog management and programs that help landowners control the spread of the species on their own land and onto neighboring property. Repealing this Act would be a step in the wrong direction. We thank Governor Ricketts for recognizing the importance of this issue to Nebraska’s agriculture producers.”



Controlling Horn Flies on Pastured Cattle 

Steve Niemeyer – NE Extension Educator 

Pasture fly season is approaching and now is the time to evaluate your horn fly management plan for the 2018 grazing season. First, re-evaluate last year’s plan. Did it provide adequate fly control? If yes, do you have a resistance management plan for the new fly season? If fly control was less than desired, now is the time to alter the plan and make necessary changes to reduce impact of horn flies on pastured cattle.

Large populations of horn flies on pastured cattle impose significant economic impacts in addition to affecting animal welfare. Horn flies on pastured cattle impact U. S. producers over a $ 1 billion annually. Nebraska studies have shown calf weaning weights were 10-20 pounds higher when horn flies were controlled on mother cows. Studies conducted in the U. S. and Canada have shown horn flies can impact calf weaning weights from 4 to 15 percent. On a typical 500 cow ranch that could equate to an $8000 to $16,000 increase in profit. Yearling cattle are also affected; other studies have shown yearling weights can be reduced by as much as 18 percent. Horn fly impact is measured by the economic injury level, which is defined as the lowest pest population density that will cause economic damage equal to the cost of treatment. The economic injury level (EIL) for horn flies is 200 flies per animal, and fly control should be implemented if the EIL is exceeded. Horn fly numbers on untreated Nebraska cattle can easily exceed several thousand during late summer.

Horn flies are smaller than house flies, approximately 3/16” long, and are usually found on backs, sides, and poll area of cattle. During a warm summer afternoon they may be found on the belly region of cattle. Horn flies, both male and female flies acquire more than 30 blood meals per day and are almost always found on the animal. After mating the female fly will leave the animal to deposit eggs in fresh cattle manure and then return to the animal to resume feeding. Eggs hatch within one week, and larvae feed and mature in manure, pupating in the soil beneath the manure pat. Newly emerged horn flies can travel several miles searching for a host. The entire life cycle can be completed in 10 to 20 days depending upon the weather. Multiple generations are produced during the summer with adult populations peaking in late summer.

Due to economic losses from horn flies, fly control is warranted. Many effective insecticide control methods are available to manage horn flies on pastured cattle. Selecting the most desirable control method for your operation will depend on efficacy, cost, convenience, and herd management practices. Current horn fly control delivery methods are described below.

DUST BAGS – Dust bags deliver insecticides that are incorporated into a very fine dust that filters through the bottom of the bag when cattle contact the bag. The most effective way to use this delivery system is to locate bags so cattle must pass under the bags on their way to water, feed or mineral. This can be accomplished by fencing around water tanks and suspending the bags in the entrance/exit opening. Studies have shown dust bags placed in a free-choice arrangement will provided between 25 -50 % less control compared with forced-use dust bags. One dusting location with two bags is adequate for treating approximately 50 to 60 head of cattle. Dust bags should be hung at mid-shoulder level (of the cow), so cattle make maximum contact with the bags. Bags should be checked on a regular basis and recharged with insecticide dust as needed.

BACK RUBBERS AND OILERS – As with dust bags, these devices are more effective when placed in a forced-use arrangement such as mineral stations or entrances to watering locations. Insecticides used with these devices should be mixed with No. 2 diesel fuel or mineral oil and should be recharged weekly. Do not use motor oil to dilute the insecticide as this will be harm to cattle.

POUR-ONS – Ready-to-use insecticide products applied in measured doses along the back line of animals. They provide fly reduction for several weeks, so re-application is required throughout the fly season depending on horn fly pressure.

ANIMAL SPRAYS – Insecticide sprays can be applied with low and high pressure sprayers or by mist blower sprayers. When using low and high pressure sprayers, cattle should be gathered and corralled to insure adequate spray coverage. Mist blower applications are made in the pasture where cattle are grazing, thereby reducing animal stress related to gathering and penning cattle. Animal sprays will provide 7-21 days of control and will need to be re-applied throughout the fly season.

ORAL LARVICIDES (feed additives) – Oral larvicides (feed additives, Insect Growth Regulators, IGR’s) are insecticides that are incorporated into mineral blocks, tubs or loose mineral. These products prevent horn fly larvae in manure pats from becoming adults. Oral larvicides are effective when consumed in sufficient quantities throughout the fly season. Adult horn fly numbers may appear unaffected if cattle consuming feed additives are in close proximity to an untreated herd. An untreated herd may provide enough flies to keep fly numbers above the economic injury level for both treated and untreated cattle.

INSECTICIDE EAR TAGS AND STRIPS- Ear tags and strips have one or more insecticides embedded in a plastic matrix. Movement of the head or grooming of the animal slowly releases small amounts of insecticide over time that travels through the hair coat of the animal. In Nebraska, ear tags and strips should be applied during the last week of May or the first week of June to achieve maximum control through the fly season. Ear tags and strips applied too early may decline in efficacy while fly numbers are still high and result in economic loss. Adult animals should receive two tags or strips, tagging just the calf will not provide the desired level of horn fly control. All insecticide ear tags and strips should be removed at the end of each fly season to help manage fly resistance.

COMPRESSED AIR APPLICATION – The Vet Gun™, a device similar to a paintball gun, applies an individual capsule of insecticide (VetCap) to an animal and can provide horn fly control between 21 to 35 days. VetCaps can be used on all beef cattle weighing at least 600 lbs.

Regardless of your choice of application method, you need a Resistance Management Plan. Many horn fly populations in Nebraska exhibit a level of resistance to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. The recommended practice to manage resistance is to alternate insecticide classes, and that applies to dusts, insecticide ear tags, animal sprays, pour-ons, feed-throughs (IGR’s) and compressed air application devices.

Insecticides have been placed into numbered Insecticide Mode of Action groups (MoA) based on how they work against insects. Continual use of products from a single group against a pest species can lead to reduce control (resistance to all products in the group). To improve fly control and minimize resistance, do not apply insecticides within the same group number repeatedly. Rotate between (MoA) groups during the fly season.



Nitrogen Fertilizer Stabilizers in Corn

Charles Wortmann - NE Extension Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist


Nitrogen (N) is essential to plant growth and development. On average, 1.2 lbs of N is needed to produce a bushel of corn, with a 200 bu/ac corn crop needing 240 lbs N/ac. This high demand is partially met through the application of N fertilizer.

Partial factor productivity of N (PFPN), a measure of how many pounds of grain are produced per pound of fertilizer N, can be used to inform N use efficiency (NUE) at the farm level. On average, Nebraska corn farms have a PFPN of 65 lbs grain per pound of N. Assuming a grain N concentration of 1.3%, this means that 0.84 lbs of N is exported in the grain for each pound of N applied as fertilizer. While PFPN does not differentiate N sources (like from fertilizer, soil organic matter, mineralization, residual nitrate, manure and previous crop), it is a starting point for NUE benchmarking. Under high N fertilizer loss scenarios, PFPN will decrease. This means that either 1) less grain was produced due to N stress, or 2) a similar amount of grain was produced at a higher-than-normal N rate to compensate for losses.

In situations with a high potential for N loss coupled with inappropriate management for loss prevention, low NUE may be due to high N loss because of excessive N supply and asynchrony between N supply and plant N demand. Most agricultural N losses occur due to nitrate leaching, ammonia volatilization, and denitrification.

The degree to which N is lost by different mechanisms depends on
-    fertilizer management practices like N application timing, N source, N placement, and N rate, and
-    environmental conditions like soil type and weather patterns.

While a nutrient management plan can help decrease the chance for N loss, weather can still play a major role. One way to decrease the impact of unpredictable weather is by using an N fertilizer stabilizer. The decision to use one, however, can be complicated as the decision needs to be made before you know the effect weather will play in a given season. Because of that, it becomes important to understand your management practices, production environment, and how different stabilizers work in order to select the most profitable strategy to reduce N losses, improve NUE, and improve or maintain yields.

Types of Nitrogen Fertilizer Stabilizers
Nitrogen fertilizer stabilizers can be classified into three major types:
-    nitrification inhibitors,
-    urease inhibitors, and
-    slow-release coated fertilizers.

Nitrification inhibitors (NIs) are compounds mixed with ammonium-forming N fertilizers to decrease the rate of transformation of ammonium (NH4+) to nitrate (NO3-). Both N forms are plant-available, but nitrate is prone to leaching and denitrification. Leaching of nitrate-N can cause losses of up to 50% of fertilizer N applied on sandy soils. Denitrification can account for about 15% N losses under low-lying, heavy-texture soils in extreme conditions. Despite this high loss potential with nitrate-N, an NI is only expected to have a positive impact on grain yield when weather patterns favor losses large enough that N becomes insufficient to meet crop needs.

Urease inhibitors (UI) are compounds mixed with urea-based fertilizers to decrease the rate of urea hydrolysis by temporarily blocking the active site of urease enzyme. UIs can be especially important when urea-based fertilizers are surface-applied on high-pH soil and in high-residue conditions like no-till as crop residue contains high concentrations of urease. If unprotected, urea hydrolysis on the soil surface can lead to about 30% fertilizer N lost through ammonia volatilization. UIs protect urea from being quickly hydrolyzed and potentially volatilized before it is incorporated (mechanically or via more than 0.25 inch of rainfall/irrigation) and becomes protected in the soil. Similarly to NI, the UI effect on yield is weather dependent and may only be beneficial if no rainfall/irrigation occurs in the first five days after fertilizer application on drying soil conditions.

Slow-release coated fertilizers are conventional fertilizers such as urea coated with sulfur, polymers, or both. Release of fertilizer through coating is a function of coating characteristics affected by soil water and temperature. Once urea is released through coating, it is exposed to the same transformations in the soil as non-coated fertilizer. The coating technology can provide a gradual supply of N for the developing crop. Soil and climatic conditions can alter the effectiveness of coatings.

Stabilizers, Weather and Yield

In a 28-year study near Clay Center where the NI nitrapyrin was evaluated along with spring-applied anhydrous ammonia on a silt loam soil, a positive yield response was observed 36% of the time. However, a negative yield response from using NI was observed 18% of the time, with the remaining 46% having no effect on yield. NI had a positive impact on yield (from 8 to 13 bu/ac higher than fertilizer alone) when weather during the six weeks after N application included
-    moderate-volume, well-distributed rainfall, or
-    higher-volume rainfall coupled with higher temperatures.

UIs also were tested in central Nebraska the last three years. Nitrogen fertilizer in the form of urea or urea-ammonium nitrate was surface-applied near corn planting time with and without UI. UI only had a positive effect on yield at one site, where UI+urea produced 20 bu/ac more than urea alone. This site received 2.3 inches of rain 5-10 days after fertilizer application. (Also, at four and five days after application, it received rain of 0.03 and 0.09 inches.) Rainfall volumes less than 0.25 are not enough to move fertilizer into the soil yet allow for urea hydrolysis on the surface, increasing volatilization potential. In other years, UI had no effect on yield. In all years, using UI decreased potential ammonia volatilization losses from 3.6 to 13.3 lbs N-NH3/ac less than fertilizer alone, which meant 3%-7% of applied N was not lost.

The three-year study in coarse-textured soil in south-central Nebraska demonstrated the benefit of using polymer-coated urea (ESN®) irrespective of inter-annual climatic variation. ESN consistently improved corn yield compared to UAN at various rates of N application. Averaged across N rates, corn yield with ESN was greater than with UAN by 49%. A laboratory study simulating those field conditions suggested that ESN reduced ammonia loss by 15% in a dry year while in a wet year, it reduced nitrate leaching by 60% compared to UAN.

Recommendations

-    N fertilizer stabilizer use will only have a positive impact on yield if weather conditions are conducive to N losses to the point of N becoming limiting in relation to crop demand.
-    NI may increase yield with a single application of ammonium-forming fertilizer on irrigated fields. Timing of NI use should allow for high effectiveness in May and June when greatest nitrate-N leaching commonly occurs.
-    UI is more likely to have a positive impact on yield when urea-based fertilizer is surface-applied on high-pH (more than 7) and low cation exchange capacity soil with high residue cover, where no incorporation (mechanical or rainfall) occurs in the first five days after application on a drying soil.
-    ESN is more likely to have a positive impact on yield when field conditions  represent extremes for weather risk of N loss to leaching, volatilization, or denitrification.

Nitrogen Loss Assessment Tool

Producers can use the Nitrogen Loss Assessment Tool (N-LAT, Wortmann et al., 2014) to better understand how their N management practices can be impacted by county-specific soil and weather data. Based on this information, N-LAT calculates long-term average N loss associated with different N management practices for given fields.

For more information about N-LAT, including a link to download the spreadsheet, see the Nebraska Extension publication, Nitrogen Loss Assessment Tool (N-LAT) for Nebraska: Background and Users Guide.



NPR Showcases the Benefits of the Burgeoning Soil Health Movement


Don't think dirt is beautiful? You don't know Deb Gangwish. She has a thing for soil and openly espoused her infatuation recently in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR). And Del Ficke, another Nebraska farmer, understands her crush completely.

Gangwish, who serves on the National Corn Growers Association Freedom to Operate Action Team, is part of a growing legion of farmers at the forefront of a swelling soil health movement. And this movement is turning the historic soil management "evolution" into more of a "revolution" because of the momentum and accelerated change.

"For years, talk of "healthy soil" was mostly limited to organic farmers and others on the fringes of mainstream American agriculture. No more. Articles about soil health fill major farm publications. It's the subject of  several recent books . Big food companies are on board, and some of them are discussing a new eco-label for food, alongside "organic" and "fair trade," that would reward farmers for adopting practices that build healthy soil - what many are calling "regenerative agriculture." Dan Charles - NPR

Farmers have been discussing, adopting and tweaking agronomic practices that are better for the soil for decades but more in the context of saving soil from wind and water erosion rather than how to keep soil "healthy." Keeping soil in the field became a growing priority in the 1990s which spawned many ways to farm under the heading of conservation tillage and no-till.

But today, the quest for healthy soil is saving the soil and a whole lot more. Farmers are developing techniques that capture carbon, cut the need for adding as much fertilizer, and literally build new, more productive soil.

Efforts are being aided by the Soil Health Partnership and NCGA. SHP is leading and facilitating efforts to identify, test and measure management practices to improve soil health to assist in assessing the economic and environmental benefits to farmers' operations.



NEBRASKA CHICKEN AND EGGS


All layers in Nebraska during March 2018 totaled 7.69 million, down from 8.42 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nebraska egg production during March totaled 198 million eggs, down from 225 million in 2017. March egg production per 100 layers was 2,571 eggs, compared to 2,675 eggs in 2017.

IOWA CHICKEN AND EGGS

Iowa egg production during March 2018 was 1.35 billion eggs, up 12 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during March 2018 was 56.8 million, up 1 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for March were 2,377, up 11 percent from last month but down 4 percent from last year.

March U.S. Egg Production Up 1 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.10 billion during March 2018, up 1 percent from last year. Production included 7.93 billion table eggs, and 1.17 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.08 billion were broiler-type and 83.0 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during March 2018 totaled 386 million, up 3 percent from last year. March egg production per 100 layers was 2,355 eggs, down 2 percent from March 2017.
                                   
All layers in the United States on April 1, 2018 totaled 387 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 387 million layers consisted of 324 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 59.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.52 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on April 1, 2018, averaged 75.9 eggs per 100 layers, down 2 percent from April 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 4 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during March 2018 totaled 58.1 million, up 4 percent from March 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 56.2 million on April 1, 2018, up 8 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 181 thousand during March 2018, down 4 percent from March 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during March 2018 totaled 828 million, up 1 percent from March 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 683 million on April 1, 2018, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 8.11 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during March 2018, down 2 percent from March 2017.



Who Buys Ag Land?

Randy Dickhut, Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations, Farmers National Company


In the land market, it is important on several levels to know who the buyers and sellers of agricultural land are. Previously we discussed the topic of who sells land. Today, we will take a look at who normally is buying farm and ranch land. The information provided by Iowa State University and the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers is fairly representative of what is happening in other agricultural states except for the few where investor purchases might be higher.

In Iowa, latest statistics show that farmers buy 77% of the ag land that is sold, local investors buy 11%, non-local investors purchase 8%, and "others" take 4% of the sales. Illinois shows farmers purchasing 70% of the land for sale, local investors buying 15%, non-local investors at 8%, institutions buying 6%, and "other" at 1%. You will notice that Illinois buyers include the category of "institutions". This points out the difference in state laws and regulations concerning ownership of agricultural land. Illinois allows corporate ownership of farmland whereas Iowa has restrictions on corporate ownership as do other states.

The real story shown by the current statistics on who is buying ag land is that farmers, ranchers, and local investors normally purchase 85-90% of the farms that come up for sale. Out of area or out of state investors and institutions buy 8-14%. Again, these statistics on who is buying land will vary somewhat by state and will also vary during the ups and downs in land price cycles. In the end, it takes both local and non-local buyers of land to make a functioning land market.



Iowa Corn Promotion Board to Hold Director Elections for USDA Crop Reporting Districts 4, 5, 8, and 9


Since 1978, Iowa corn growers have elected their peers to serve on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff program.

On July 17, 2018, corn growers in Crop Reporting Districts 4, 5, 8, and 9 can vote at their local county ISU extension office for their representation on the Iowa Corn Promotion Board for a 3-year term. The Board’s primary priorities and responsibilities include domestic and foreign market development, research into news and value-added corn uses, and education on corn and the farmers who grow it.

Corn producers within Districts 4, 5, 8, and 9 who have produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year (September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017) and are interested in running for a position may still file a petition with the ICPB. Petitions can be obtained by contacting the Iowa Corn office and must contain the signatures of 25 corn producers from the same district as the prospective candidate. Completed and notarized petitions must be delivered to the Iowa Corn office no later than 4:30 p.m. on April 27, 2017. Once all grower petitions have been received, a final list of candidates will be generated, and all names will be listed on the election ballots.

Current candidates are as follows:

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

USDA Crop Reporting District #5 (Boone, Dallas, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, Tama, and Webster)
-    Michael Fritch, Jasper County
-    Rod Pierce, Boone County 

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

USDA Crop Reporting District #9 (Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Mahaska, Van Buren, Wapello, and Washington)
-    Paul Gieselman, Louisa County
-    Stan Nelson, Des Moines County

Anyone who has produced and marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year is eligible to vote in the election. Producers unable to visit the local ISU extension office on July 17 may vote by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots can be requested beginning May 30, requests must be made no later than June 25 by contacting the Iowa Corn office at (515)225-9242 or on our website at www.iowacorn.org. Absentee ballots must be postmarked or returned to the Iowa Corn Office no later than July 17. Results of the election will be made public on July 22.



3 WATER QUALITY DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS TO EXPAND WORK IN TARGETED WATERSHEDS


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that three locally-led watershed-based demonstration projects will be expanding their work in targeted watersheds to accelerate implementation of practices that improve water quality.

“We are excited for the next phase of these three projects as they focus on accelerating adoption of practices and broadening their reach to even more farmers and landowners,” Naig said. “The 55 rural and urban demonstration projects in place across the state have played a critical role in reaching out and demonstrating new water quality focused practices and encouraging Iowans to try something new.”

The projects receiving extensions are:
Headwaters North Raccoon River Water Quality Initiative Project: The project is led by the Buena Vista and Pocahontas Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership Water Quality Initiative, formerly the Elk Run Watershed Water Quality Initiative Project: The project is located in Carroll, Sac, and Calhoun Counties and led by Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance.

Leading a New Collaborative Approach to Improving Water Quality in the Squaw Creek Watershed: The project is located in Boone, Story, and Hamilton Counties and is led by Prairie Rivers of Iowa Resource Conservation & Development.

These projects had a number of successes during the first three years, for example:
-    The Headwaters North Raccoon River project had a more than 400% increase in cover crop adoption from 2016-2017
-    The North Raccoon Farm to River Partnership project developed an effective edge-of-field strategy for implementation of bioreactors and saturated buffers
-    The Squaw Creek Watershed project partnered with the local Watershed Management Authority to support implementation and outreach efforts.

Looking forward to the next phase of implementation, these projects will focus on further developing partnerships and local leadership, targeted practice installation, development of actionable, locally-led watershed plans, and continuing to effectively leverage resources.

Thirteen new partners have joined the existing 39 partners currently involved in these projects. Partners include agriculture organizations, institutions of higher education, private industry, the local, state and federal government, and others, all working together to move conservation-based water quality efforts forward.

More details about each of the projects can be found at https://www.cleanwateriowa.org/farm-1/.

These projects will receive a total of $1.43 million in additional funding through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative over the next three years. In addition to the state funds, these three projects will access over $2.27 million in matching funds to support water quality improvement efforts as well as other in-kind contributions.

These funds will allow the projects to focus on scaling up implementation of conservation practices identified in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy and continue to build on existing assessment and evaluation methods.  Also, an additional $475,000 of funds has been allocated for these projects which will be targeted towards implementation of edge-of-field nutrient reduction conservation practices such as wetlands, saturated buffers and bioreactors.

“Extending these projects will allow us to build on the strong foundation that has been created in these watersheds and continue learn more about the best ways to get water quality focused practices on the land. These projects are hitting their stride in terms of engaging farmers, getting practices on the ground and coordinating with partners and stakeholders.  We have always understood that it would take a long-term commitment to improvement in these watersheds and I’m excited to continue this important work,” Naig said.



USDA Cold Storage March 2018 Highlights


Total red meat supplies in freezers on March 31, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 1 percent from the previous month but down slightly from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up slightly from the previous month and up 12 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 21 percent from last month and up 188 percent from last year.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on March 31, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 5 percent from March 31, 2017.  Butter stocks were up 3 percent from last month and up slightly from a year ago.

Total frozen poultry supplies on March 31, 2018 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 14 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 8 percent from last month and up 8 percent from March 31, 2017.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 11 percent from last month and down 22 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 9 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.



COMMENTS TO EPA ABOUT THE IMPORTANT OF GLYPHOSATE DUE BY APRIL 30, 2018


The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released for public comment the draft human health and ecological risk assessments for glyphosate, one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States. EPA's risk assessment concludes that gylphosate is NOT likely to be a carcinogenic to humans.  The agency found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label.  These scientific findings are consistent with conclusions of science reviews by a number of other countries as well as the 2017 National Institutes of Health Agricultural Health Survey.

Please consider submitting comments by the EPA announced deadline as it is critical the agency hears from ARA members on the importance of this class of pesticide products. The EPA public comment period closes on April 30, 2018.

Glyphosate is a versatile herbicide used by American farmers, land managers, and gardners to safely and effectively control unwanted weeds and other vegetation.  Since their introduction in 1974, glyphosate-based products have become the most commonly user herbicides in the United States. This widespread adoption is the result of the products ability to control a broad spectrum of weeds while providing extensive economic and environmental benefits.



CWT Assists with 3.4 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales


Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 12 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Land O’Lakes, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), and United Dairymen of Arizona. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 881,849 pounds (400 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 2.547 million pounds (1,156 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from May through October 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 32.730 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 9.556 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 25 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 517.179 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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



Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday April 20 Cattle on Feed, Milk Prod., + Ag News

NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED UP 9 PERCENT

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.69 million cattle on feed on April 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 9 percent from last year. 

Placements during March totaled 480,000 head, down 3 percent from 2017. 

Fed cattle marketings for the month of March totaled 465,000 head, unchanged from last year.  Other disappearance during March totaled 15,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.



IOWA CATTLE ON FEED REPORT


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 740,000 head on April 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 1 percent from March 1, 2018 and up 10 percent from April 1, 2017. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 570,000 head on feed, down 3 percent from last month and down 7 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,310,000 head, down 5,000 head from last month but up 2 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during March totaled 107,000 head, a decrease of 9 percent from last month and down 8 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 38,000 head, down 16 percent from last month and down 46 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 145,000 head, down 11 percent from last month and down 22 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during March totaled 93,000 head, down 12 percent from last month but unchanged from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 51,000 head, up 34 percent from last month but down 9 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 144,000 head, unchanged from last month but down 3 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 6,000 head.



United States Cattle on Feed Up 7 Percent

   
Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on April 1, 2018. The inventory was 7 percent above April 1, 2017. This is the second highest April 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.54 million steers and steer calves, up 4 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 64 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.19 million head, up 14 percent from 2017.

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 1.92 million head, 9 percent below 2017. Net placements were 1.85 million head. During March, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 315,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 285,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 530,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 531,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 185,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 75,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.84 million head, 4 percent below 2017. Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during March, 20 percent above 2017.



March Milk Production up 1.5 Percent

                       
Milk production in the 23 major States during March totaled 17.8 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from March 2017. February revised production at 15.9 billion pounds, was up 1.8 percent from February 2017. The February revision represented a decrease of 12 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 2,038 pounds for March, 22 pounds above March 2017. This is the highest production per cow for the month of March since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.74 million head, 29,000 head more than March 2017, but 2,000 head less than February 2018.

IOWA:   Milk production in Iowa during March 2018 totaled 450 million pounds, up 2 percent from the previous March according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during March, at 220,000 head, was unchanged from last month but 4,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,045 pounds, unchanged from last March.

January-March Milk Production up 1.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the January - March quarter totaled 54.4 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from the January - March quarter last year.

The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.41 million head, 9,000 head more than the October - December quarter, and 38,000 head more than the same period last year.

NEBRASKA Q1 MILK PRODUCTION

Milk production in Nebraska during the January-March 2018 quarter totaled 366 million pounds, up 3 percent from the January-March quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 60,000 head, unchanged from the same period last year.



BE REALISTIC WITH IRRIGATED PASTURES

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Many folks are planting irrigated pastures this spring.  While it might be your best crop choice, don’t expect miracles.

               Many farm advisors, including myself, suggest you consider planting irrigated pasture due to poor crop prices and high pasture costs.  But sometimes, in our enthusiasm, we cause you to expect too much.  So let’s try to set the record straight.

               Irrigated pasture takes more management skill and dedication and work than other crops.  Growing the crop is easy.  But timing harvest or irrigation, plus grazing properly to get the most out of pasture takes knowledge, experience, and a little luck.  These decisions are made almost daily.  So don’t expect to relax just because your grass has water.  Even with water, many plants won’t grow much when it gets too hot.

               If you are using annual forages like oats, sudangrass, and millet, be sure you have some backup feed.  On paper, it looks great to stagger plantings so grazing is available all season long.  But what happens if cool weather slows growth or rain delays planting a new section or hail wipes out a month’s worth of feed?  Or what if you simply try to graze too many animals for your pasture?

               If planting perennial grasses and legumes, you must be patient.  It can take two or three years before maximum production levels are reached.  And that assumes you don’t limit plant root development by grazing too much, too soon.  And speaking of legumes – they won’t replace all your nitrogen needs unless you have over 50 percent legume in your pasture, which then could lead to bloat problems.  So plan to strategically fertilize.

               Irrigated pastures are a wonderful resource.  But they aren’t magic.  The weather, your soils, and you make them work.



FUNDS AVAILABLE TO HELP MITIGATE EMERALD ASH BORER IMPACTS


Nebraska is the home of Arbor Day and known as the “tree planters state,” but the Emerald Ash Borer will put Nebraska’s tree-planting prowess to the test as the small insect starts to wipe out ash trees.

To help ease the blow, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing funding to mitigate the impending devastation caused by the Emerald Ash Borer. Through the NRCS Emerald Ash Borer Initiative, landowners can apply for funding to renovate windbreaks on their land. Landowners have until May 18 to apply.

EABmap(State Level)State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “The goal of this initiative is to help landowners be proactive in removing and replacing the ash trees in their windbreaks before they become infested. This will help slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer and help protect landowners from further tree damage.”

Landowners from across the state are eligible to apply, but applications closest to locations currently infested with Emerald Ash Borer will receive the highest priority (see map). For more information, or to apply for funding through this initiative, visit an NRCS field office before May 18.



National Dairy FARM Program, Beef Quality Assurance Program Seek Nominations for Joint Dairy Award


The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program is partnering with the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program to collect nominations for the first-ever joint FARM/BQA Dairy Award for 2019. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2018.

The awards honor outstanding beef and dairy producers and marketers that demonstrate the best animal care and handling principles as part of their day-to-day operations. This is an opportunity for NMPF member cooperatives and FARM participants to recognize dairy farmers that they believe demonstrate a strong commitment to quality animal care. In 2017, NMPF member Chris Kraft and his family were recognized for the care provided on their two operations in northern Colorado, Badger Creek Farm and Quail Ridge Dairy.

“The FARM Program is excited to continue working with BQA by jointly presenting this award,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, director of the FARM Animal Care program. “By partnering with BQA, we can grow our pool of nominations and celebrate even more dairy farmers for their commitment to the highest animal care standards.”

The winner of the BQA/FARM Dairy Award is selected by a committee of animal scientists, FARM staff, BQA staff and industry representatives. The winning dairy operation will be chosen based on a set of five criteria:
-    The farm’s collective BQA and FARM practices, accomplishments and goals;
-    Relevant local, regional and national BQA and/or dairy promotion group or cooperative leadership;
-    Promotion and improvement of animal care practices, BQA or FARM program and consumer perception of beef or dairy industries;
-    Effectiveness in promoting and implementing BQA practices; and
-    Completion of the FARM Version 3.0 Animal Care Evaluation and implementation of program requirements.

The award was previously offered solely by BQA, whose awards recognize outstanding members of the beef industry in five categories: Cow-Calf, Feedyard, Dairy, Marketer and Educator.

Any individual, group or organization can nominate a single dairy operation for the award. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, though they can be involved when preparing the application.

NMPF and its National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care Program partners with both NCBA and BQA, working closely to create valuable producer resources on stockmanship, dairy beef welfare and quality, and animal care.



SOLICITOR GENERAL TO REVIEW CASES CHALLENGING STATE AGRICULTURE LAWS


The U.S. Supreme Court this week requested the U.S. Solicitor General – whose job is to defend federal laws – to weigh in on two cases challenging state agriculture laws that affect interstate commerce and, thus, have the effect of dictating the livestock production practices of farmers in other states.

The first case – Missouri v. California – challenges a law approved in 2010 by the California Legislature that bans the sale in the state of out-of-state eggs produced from laying hens housed in so-called battery cages. (California voters in 2008 banned such cages, as well as housing used for sows and veal calves; an initiative on this year’s state ballot would extend the out-of-state sales ban to pork and veal.)

The second case – Indiana v. Massachusetts – contests Massachusetts’ ban on the sale of out-of-state pork, veal and eggs from animals raised in housing systems prohibited by the state.

In both cases, the plaintiffs argue that the state statute violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which prohibits – in most instances – states from regulating interstate commerce. 



Brazil Soybean Harvest Approaching End


Brazilian farmers finished 91% of their harvesting work as of Thursday, according to Brazilian agricultural consultancy AgRural. The figure is close to the 92% pace on the same date last year and the 90% average over the past five years, according to the consultancy.

Harvesting work in the states of Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo and Rondonia has already finished, and is almost done in Minas Gerais, Parana and Tocantins, AgRural said.

Brazil is the world's second-biggest producer of soybeans after the US, where farmers are just beginning to plant their crop for harvesting in late September through November.



Senators Call for Scrutiny in Brazilian Beef Deal


Farm-state senators want a national security review for the latest purchase of a US agriculture company by a foreign-based entity. Brazil's Marfrig Global Foods this month agreed to buy a majority stake in National Beef, the fourth-largest cattle processor in the US, raising eyebrows among US lawmakers who noted last year's corruption probe into Brazil's meat safety system -- which they say included some shipments from Marfrig.

Senators including Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) want the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US to probe the National Beef deal, which follows China National Chemical Corp.'s purchase last year of pesticide maker Syngenta, and the 2013 purchase of Smithfield Foods by China's WH Group.



Thieves Take 8,000 Disneyland Tickets From California FFA


Thieves made off with 8,000 Disneyland tickets worth about $800,000 when they stole a box trailer from a youth agricultural education organization that was going to distribute them to participants at a conference in Southern California. The trailer owned by the California FFA was stolen Wednesday from the group's office in Galt, south of Sacramento.

The California Highway Patrol says security footage shows a dark pickup truck backing up to the trailer and driving it away. FFA Director Matt Patton said the thief broke through a gate and broke a lock before hooking the trailer to the pickup truck.

The trailer also was loaded with another $800,000 in audio and visual equipment for use at the group's upcoming annual leadership conference in Anaheim, which starts Sunday.

Disneyland has since canceled the tickets and is working to print new ones for the California students attending the four-day conference so they can visit Disney's California Adventure Park on Tuesday.



Fake Vet Consents to Findings in $4.7 Million Cattle Fraud Case


Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's Securities Division announced a consent order Thursday with Robert D. Hawkins, who consents to findings that he aided Cameron J. Hager in allegedly soliciting over 90 investors from at least 21 different states in a $4.7 million cattle fraud scheme.

The division's findings allege that Hawkins posed as a veterinarian for Hager's company, 5A Holdings LLC, to show investors cattle that he claimed were owned by 5A.

Per the order, Hawkins will pay $20,000 to the Investor Education and Protection Fund, with $10,000 suspended for 10 years so long he doesn't violate the Missouri Securities Act or the terms of the order. He is restrained from selling securities and barred from registering as an investment agent in Missouri. Hawkins will also cooperate with the division in any pending proceedings in this matter.

Hager, 42, Clinton, Mo., was charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City in late March.

The federal indictment alleges that Hager, who operated 5A Holdings engaged in the fraud scheme from July 17, 2015, to March 28, 2018. Hager allegedly induced victims to invest in a "cattle fund" that was used to purchase herds of cattle to be sold later at a substantial profit, although he never actually purchased or intended to purchase any cattle.

According to a federal forfeiture complaint, filed in a separate but related civil proceeding, Hager received approximately $4.7 million dollars from approximately 89 investors. Investment amounts ranged from $1,000 to $267,000.

According to the indictment, Hager told victim investors that he would arrange to purchase herds of cattle from farmers or ranchers who had reasons to sell their herds because of financial distress and inability to maintain their herds. Hager and his organization, he allegedly claimed, evaluated the cattle, including having the cattle examined by a "seasoned veterinarian," and determined that a predictable profit could be realized by maintaining and feeding the cattle until an optimum time for marketing the cattle. Hager allegedly claimed that 5A Holdings realized net returns greater than 20 percent on investments in herds of cattle during 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Hager induced other individuals to recruit investors, the indictment says, although he knew the representations they made to potential investors were false. Hager used money obtained from investors to pay commissions, for the purpose of perpetuating referrals of additional investors.

Before the scheme unraveled, according to court documents, Hager used the majority of investor funds for his personal living expenses, including paying his home mortgage, travel expenses, lodging, airfare, payments for religious conferences, numerous Amazon purchases, ATM withdrawals, building supplies, credit card payments, paying taxes and purchasing personal vehicles.

In some cases, money obtained from investors was used to provide "returns" to other investors with the false representation that the "returns" of money resulted from the sale of cattle. Any money that was returned to investors was money that had been supplied by other investors and not money resulting from sales of cattle. As a result of Hager's misuse of investors' funds, the total loss to his victims is currently estimated at $3.5 million.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Hager to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $394,074 in an Equity Bank account, his 46.6-acre residential property (currently listed for sale with an asking price of $899,000), a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a 2006 Toyota 4Runner and two 2017 Winnebago travel trailers.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thursday April 19 Ag News

 NEBRASKA’S PESTICIDE CONTAINER RECYCLING PROGRAM IN ITS 27TH YEAR

When dropping off your clean agricultural pesticide containers for recycling at one of Nebraska’s 18 participating recycling collection sites, you can feel good knowing the containers will be recycled into useful products that stay in the U.S.

Now in its 27th year, the recycling program encourages producers to bring clean, dry, intact containers to a nearby collection site. Clyde Ogg, coordinator of Nebraska Extension’s Pesticide Safety Education Program, notes there is no charge to producers. They must, however, triple- or pressure-rinse containers and drain them before dropping them off.  Containers will be collected, ground up and reused in industry-approved products such as drain tile, underground utility conduit, pallets, landscape edging and nursery pots.

At collection sites, clean jugs are bagged and temporarily stored, often inside truck trailers. In the Midwest, G. Phillips & Sons (GPS) transports the jugs to Iowa City, Iowa. The family-owned company based in Stanwood, Iowa, processes nearly 500,000 pounds of scrap plastic per day.

Using stringent standards, GPS makes pallets for seed and ag chemicals produced in the U.S., said Stacey Bruinsma, GPS procurement manager. No GPS recycled plastic is exported, she added, so it doesn’t end up manufacturing something like children’s toys.

It takes 24, 2.5 gallon jugs, with other plastics blended in, to make one 40x48-inch pallet, Bruinsma said, noting pallets last years and can be recycled again.

The Virginia-based Ag Container Recycling Council (ACRC) contracts with GPS and oversees the national pesticide container recycling effort for its 44 member states.

ACRC Executive Director Mark Hudson said in 2017 Nebraska collected nearly 89,900 pounds of containers, approximately 28,000 pounds more than in 2016.

Nationally, ACRC contractors again collected 11 million pounds of containers last year. ACRC programming is funded by crop protection product manufacturers and distributors.

Nebraska sites this year has four locations open May-August, while several sites are open year-round. Other sites are open by appointment or specific dates.

To see additional sites that may be added, a container preparation checklist and more, see http://pested.unl.edu/recycling.

County Collection Sites


YEAR-ROUND

    Buffalo: Kearney Recycling Center, Kearney, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Cass: Wiles Bros. Fertilizer, Plattsmouth, call 402-298-8550 to schedule, accepts drums
    Cuming: West Point Transfer Station, West Point, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., accepts drums
    Dawson: Country Partners Cooperative, Lexington, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
    Lincoln: ABC Recycling, North Platte, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday by appointment, accepts drums
    Sarpy: Farmers Union Coop, Gretna, call 402-332-3315
    Scotts Bluff: Gering Landfill, Gering, Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., accepts drums
    Thurston: Papio MRNRD Shed, Walthill, Fridays only, accepts drums

MAY-AUGUST

    Antelope: Central Valley Ag, Royal, accepts drums
    Dawes: Solid Waste Association of Northwest Nebraska, Chadron, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums
    Kearney: Cooperative Producers Inc., Minden, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saunders: Reids Farmacy, Ashland, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums

OPEN SPECIFIC DAYS

    Dakota: Central Valley Ag, South Sioux City, June and July, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon, accepts drums
    Lancaster: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Waverly, June 15, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Otoe: Midwest Farmers Co-op, Nebraska City, July 23-27, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., accepts drums

BY APPOINTMENT

    Burt: Tekamah Transfer Station, Tekamah, year-round, by appointment, 402-374-1255
    Custer: Custer County Recycling, Broken Bow, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by appointment, 308-870-0313, accepts drums
    Lincoln: North Platte Transfer Station, year-round, by appointment, 308-535-6700, accepts drums

How-to for Rinsing Pesticide Containers

Nebraska’s pesticide container recycling program accepts 1- and 2.5-gallon plastic agricultural pesticide or crop oil containers; in some locations, 15-, 30- or 55-gallon drums are accepted.

Containers must be pressure- or triple-rinsed and drained. Rinsate must be returned to the spray tank and used appropriately, said Clyde Ogg, extension educator and Nebraska PSEP coordinator.

Remove and throw away any labels, booklets and slipcover plastic labels on the containers. Glued paper labels may be left on, and container caps should be rinsed off before disposing. Before being accepted, containers are thoroughly inspected.

Properly rinsing pesticide containers saves money, protects you and the environment, and meets federal and state regulations for pesticide use, Ogg said.

Saves money: It’s very easy to leave 6 or more ounces of pesticide in a 2.5 gallon container, or about 2 percent. Not rinsing means you basically throw product away then, or later when product left in the container gets sticky and difficult to remove.

Apply rinsate immediately to the load and spray on a labeled site; never dispose of it on the ground, in water or any other nonlabeled area.

Protect yourself: Follow these six steps for proper container rinsing:
-    Wear the same PPE (personal protective equipment) while rinsing containers as the label requires for handling and mixing. This may include a heavy-duty apron and goggles, in addition to the standard long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, and liquid-resistant gloves and shoes. Most pesticide poisoning occurs when product gets absorbed by the skin and into the blood.
-    Remove container cap, empty all pesticide into the spray tank. Allow container to drain for 30 seconds, then rinse immediately, before product becomes sticky and hard to remove.
-    Fill container 10-20 percent full of water or rinse solution; replace cap.
-    Swirl liquid within container to rinse all inside surfaces. Remove cap and pour rinsate into the spray tank, again allowing container to drain for 30 seconds.
-    Repeat previous steps two more times, for a total of three times.
-    Puncture container so it cannot be reused.

Never store unused pesticide in any container other than the one it came in.

For easy-to-follow instructions on triple-rinsing drums and pressure-rinsing, see G1736, “Rinsing Pesticide Containers,” http://extensionpubs.unl.edu/publication/9000016364796/rinsing-pesticide-containers/.  



AG YOUTH COUNCIL CONNECTS CITY KIDS TO LIFE ON FARM


This week, the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) will introduce elementary-school students in the city to life on the farm. The NAYC’s annual Urban Youth Farm Tour connects students from Lincoln with nearby farmers and ranchers so the children can experience agriculture up close and learn how food is produced. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) sponsors the NAYC.

On Friday, April 20, the NAYC members will be joined by nearly 250 students and their teachers from elementary schools in Lincoln as they visit operating beef, dairy and grain farms near Wahoo. The Nebraska Corn Board sponsors transportation costs for the students to attend the tour.

“These tours are really important because they help children learn about agriculture, Nebraska’s number one industry,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “The tours also give the NAYC members a chance to teach young students not only about farm animals and where food comes from, but also the responsibility of caring for animals.”

The NAYC consists of 21 college-age men and women who have been selected by NDA based on their enthusiasm, interest and leadership in agriculture. The NAYC is celebrating 47 years of promoting agriculture to Nebraska youth, from preschoolers to high school students.

“The Urban Youth Farm Tour is always a fun event,” said Wellman. “I’d like to personally thank the farmers and ranchers in the Wahoo area who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to host these tours and share the story of Nebraska agriculture.”



SARAH POLAK NAMED EXPERIENCE COORDINATOR AT RAISING NEBRASKA


Nebraska native Sarah Polak has been named experience coordinator at Raising Nebraska, the award-winning agricultural literacy experience at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds.

Polak brings more than two decades of administrative and agricultural experience to the position. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumna previously held responsibilities with the Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center and Plainsman Museum.

"The daughter of an irrigation well-driller and a science teacher, my parents instilled in me a strong foundation and love for Nebraska," Polak said. "Raising Nebraska offers an opportunity to help others understand Nebraska and the importance of agriculture to our state."

Through interactive exhibits and displays, Raising Nebraska is designed to let people see agriculture from virtually every angle — including water conservation, soil health, animal wellbeing, food safety, invention, innovation, economic impact and global hunger.

"As our world becomes increasingly urban, we tend to lose connection with where our food comes from," Polak said. "Raising Nebraska showcases the present and future of agriculture to help people connect with their food again."

Raising Nebraska is open Monday through Friday throughout the year. The exhibition is a cooperative effort between the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Nebraska.

For more information, visit http://raisingnebraska.net.



Ricketts Announces 2018 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award Recipient


Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined Sand County Foundation, the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), Cargill, and the Nebraska Environmental Trust to announce the O’Rourke Family’s RuJoDen Ranch as the recipient of the 2018 Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award®.  The annual award honors Nebraska landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

“Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Congratulations to the O’Rourke family on this great honor.  Their work at the RuJoDen Ranch demonstrates how private land owners consistently help feed the world while caring for and conserving the land and habitat they utilize every year.  People like the O'Rourke family are helping set the standard for farmers and ranchers across our state and the nation.”

ABOUT THE O’ROURKE FAMILY’S RANCH NEAR CHADRON

Jim O’Rourke’s grandparents, Frank and Jerene, became the second family to steward this land along the Pine Ridge south of Chadron in northwestern Nebraska in 1950.  A sign they erected, which reads, “O’Rourke - RuJoDen Ranch - Wildlife Habitat,” reflects the family’s commitment to a land conservation ethic.

Previously cultivated fields have been seeded with perennial grasses to stabilize and rebuild soil health.  Grazing management along the riparian areas of Chadron Creek, has resulted in a multi-age class of hardwoods as well as increased tree and shrub diversity, ideal for a variety of wildlife.  Stable banks, overhangs and shady, cool water provides for good fish habitat.  Invasive cedar trees were removed from the riparian areas and uplands to further improve wildlife habitat.  The ponderosa pine forest was thinned to improve tree health and reduce fuel loads, which proved effective in saving the majority of the timber stand during the 2012 wildfire.

The O’Rourke family realizes the increasing number of smaller acreage ranches need to be diversified to be sustainable and have implemented a myriad of practices including, beekeeping, pasture raised poultry, deer and turkey hunting, a horse-motel and an agro-tourism endeavor.  Guests have the opportunity to stay in historic sheep herder wagons and hunt, fish, hike or simply “un-plug” from the modern world.

Through multiple generations, the O’Rourke family continues to carry on a traditional land ethic which is guided by a wisdom that all systems are connected and must work together to achieve true land conservation.

The Leopold Conservation Award is presented in honor of renowned conservationist and author Aldo Leopold, who called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.  Award applicants are judged based on their demonstration of improved resource conditions, innovation, long-term commitment to stewardship, sustained economic viability, community and civic leadership, and multiple use benefits.

“Governor Ricketts understands that Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers are integral to the health of the state’s natural resources,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President.  “We appreciate the Governor’s continued participation in this important celebration of sustainable agriculture on private lands.”

“AFAN is proud to support the Leopold Conservation Award and we are excited that the O’Rourke family from the Pine Ridge area is joining the ranks of many Nebraska landowners who have won this prestigious award,” said Emily Skillett, AFAN livestock programing coordinator.  “Conservation on private land is alive and well in all sectors of agriculture.  The O’Rourke family has used conservation practices to protect their land and to create sustainable wildlife habitat.”

“The Nebraska Environmental Trust is proud to be part of the annual Leopold Conservation Award in Nebraska recognizing families that do so much for conservation like the O’Rourkes,” said Mark Brohman, Nebraska Environmental Trust Executive Director.  “The O’Rourkes have educated so many people not only in the classroom and on their property, but all over the Midwest and even internationally.  From forest thinning to reduce fire danger, reseeding past fields, promoting wildlife and showcasing diversity to be sustainable, they have done so much and are very deserving of the Leopold Award.”

“Cargill applauds Jim and Lora O’Rourke for their life long devotion to conservation and agriculture,” said Sammy Renteria, general manager of Cargill in Schuyler.  “Like many other Nebraskans, the O’Rourke’s have cultivated a conservation ethic handed down to them by their family.  They not only implement it on their land but work tirelessly to educate others on how to do the same.  We are proud to support the recognition of such a deserving family.”

The Leopold Conservation Award in Nebraska is made possible thanks to the generous contributions from Cargill, Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska, Farm Credit Services of America, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Audubon Society, Ducks Unlimited, Green Cover Seed, Nebraska Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Sandhills Task Force, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Assoc. and the World Wildlife Fund.



Nebraska Farmers Union PAC Announces Primary Endorsements


NEBFARMPAC, the political action committee of the Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska’s second largest general farm organization with over 3,500 farm and ranch families announced its Primary endorsements.  Additional endorsements will be made for the fall election. 

NEBFARMPAC Secretary John Hansen said “This year’s set of primary endorsements includes many of our own members.  Nebraska Farmers Union encourage our members to become educated on the issues, to get constructively engaged in the public policy process, be fair, honest, independent, and take the long view.  We are always pleased when our members step up and assume the risks and responsibilities to run for public office at all levels of government.  We honestly believe public service is a noble calling.”

NEBFARMPAC Board endorsements are based on candidate positions on family farm and ranch issues and input from county and district officers.  The NEBFARMPAC Board of Directors announced the following endorsements for candidates for the Primary election with NeFU members in bold:

Third Congressional District:  Paul Theobald.

Nebraska Legislature:
LD 2:   Susan Lorence             LD 6:   Machaela Cavanaugh              LD 8:   Mina Davis
LD 10: Wendy DeBoer            LD12:  Steve Lathrop                          LD 16: Chuck Hassebrook
LD18:  Scott Winkler              LD 20: John McCollister                     LD 26: Matt Hansen
LD 28: Patty Pansing Brooks      LD 30: Myron Dorn                         LD 30: Don Schuller
LD 32: Tom Brandt                    LD 34:  Curt Friesen                            LD 36: Matt Williams
LD 38:  Marsha Fangmeyer        LD 40: Timothy Gragert                   LD 46: Adam Morfeld
LD 48: John Stinner

State Board of Education:
District 5—Patricia Timm      District 6—Maureen Nickels          District 8—Deborah Neary

Board of Regents University of Nebraska:  District 4—Larry Bradley and District 8—Barbara Weitz.

Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors:  District 2—Jake Seeman

Nebraska Public Power District:  Subdivision 11—Fred Christensen.

Omaha Public Power District: 
            Subdivision 1—Amanda Bogner        Subdivision 6—Eric Williams
            Subdivision 7—Janece Mollhoff       Subdivision 8—Linda Duckworth

Lancaster County Commissioner:  District 1—Sean Flowerday.

NEBFARMPAC President Vern Jantzen of Plymouth said “We have endorsed a very good set of candidates for the primary.  The candidates we support are from different political parties that support family farm and ranch agriculture, renewable energy development, adequate funding for education, property tax reform and relief, and the non-partisan independence of the Legislature.”  



FARMERS REMINDED TO UPDATE INFORMATION ON IOWA SENSITIVE CROP DIRECTORY


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today encouraged eligible farmers and apiarists to register or re-save their data in the Iowa Sensitive Crop Directory for the 2018 growing season. Two new mobile apps have been released to make it easier for members to access and input data.

“Iowa partnered with FieldWatch just last year to update and improve our state’s Sensitive Crop Directory and have been pleased by the positive response from applicators as well as specialty crop farmers and beekeepers.  Hopefully these new apps will make the directory even more user friendly for everyone,” Naig said.

The FieldCheck app is designed to give applicators more functionality from their mobile device and while in the field.

The BeeCheck app is specifically for beekeepers and will provide the same functionality as the online platform, but will make changing the entered location of beehives easier and faster for the beekeepers. Ease of use is key in the ability of producers and beekeepers to maintain current data in the FieldWatch system.

Both apps are available free of charge on Android and iOS and by found by searching for Field Check or BeeCheck in the app store.

FieldWatch, Inc. launched the two new mobile apps earlier this month. FieldWatch is a non-profit company that helps applicators, growers of specialty crops and beekeepers communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve stewardship.

“As we prepare for another growing season, now is a great time for farmers raising pesticide sensitive crops and beekeepers to register their sites or make sure their information is up to date,” Naig said.

Iowa had more than 1,500 producers of pesticide sensitive crops that have registered 740 Iowa fields covering almost 33,000 acres in 2017.  Apiarists in the state registered over 1,700 apiaries containing over 11,000 beehives.

Of the 14 states that participated in the FieldWatch program in 2017, Iowa ranked number one in listed beehives, second in apiaries, third in the number of registered producers, and fourth in the number of registered fields.  Pesticide applicators have also embraced the registry. The 513 registered applicators in Iowa was first among the participating states in this category in 2017.

Apiary sites, half an acre or larger commercial vineyards, orchards, fruit and vegetable grow sites, nursery and Christmas tree production sites, and certified organic crops are included in the registry.

Once registered, producers can log in any time and edit contact and site information.  The Iowa Sensitive Crops Registry, and links to the FieldWatch login page can be found at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/Horticulture_and_FarmersMarkets/sensitiveCropDirectory.asp .  Questions can also be directed to IDALS State Horticulturist, Paul Ovrom, at paul.ovrom@iowaagriculture.gov or 515-242-6239.



NFU Applauds Introduction of FARMERS FIRST Bill in Senate


A bipartisan group of Senators today introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to provide mental health resources in rural America to address the alarmingly high rate of suicide amongst farmers and ranchers.

The bill, Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental Health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times (FARMERS FIRST), would reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and authorize $50 million for the program, which has yet to be funded since being first authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. FRSAN provides grants to extension services and nonprofit organizations that offer stress assistance programs to individuals engaged in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations. FARMERS FIRST is sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

National Farmers Union (NFU) president Roger Johnson applauded the Senators on the introduction of the bill:

“Farming and ranching is a highly stressful occupation. As the downturn in the farm economy worsens, many producers are finding themselves in a state of crisis. The FARMERS FIRST Act would provide farmers with support they need to weather these tough times. NFU has long advocated for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, and we applaud the efforts of these Senators to expand the program and set a funding target. We urge Congress to reauthorize FRSAN and provide it with robust funding in the next Farm Bill.”



Farm Bill Includes First Definition of Plant Biostimulants


A draft of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill provides the first definition for plant biostimulants by the U.S. government. It requires the USDA to perform a study on the potential regulatory and legislative reforms needed to ensure appropriate review, approval and uniform national labeling for biostimulant products. Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Michael Conaway (R-Texas), released the bill.

The draft Farm Bill defines plant biostimulants as "a substance or micro-organism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield."

"The inclusion of a definition for plant biostimulants in the Farm Bill represents a critical initial step in the legislative process that will ultimately support the development of new sustainable technologies for agriculture and U.S. farmers," said David Beaudreau, Director of the U.S. Biostimulant Coalition. "This bill will need to be considered and possibly amended by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before adoption and signature by the President."

This is the first definition of plant biostimulants in any proposed U.S. legislation and it is largely consistent with the definition currently under review within the European Union," said Keith Jones, Executive Director of the Biological Products Industry Alliance. He called it a major step forward for biostimulant manufacturers.



Record High Pork Production for March


Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.52 billion pounds in March, down slightly from the 4.54 billion pounds produced in March 2017.

Beef production, at 2.20 billion pounds, was 2 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.70 million head, down 2 percent from March 2017. The average live weight was up 8 pounds from the previous year, at 1,358 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.1 million pounds, 6 percent below March a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 43,700 head, down 3 percent from March 2017. The average live weight was down 7 pounds from last year, at 240 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.30 billion pounds, up 1 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.7 million head, up slightly from March 2017. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 286 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 14.2 million pounds, was up 3 percent from March 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 201,600 head, 3 percent above last year. The average live weight was 140 pounds, unchanged from March a year ago.

By State:        million lbs.    --   % March '17

Nebraska ....:          673.5             95      
Iowa ...........:          660.3            103      
Kansas ........:          471.4             99      

January to March 2018 commercial red meat production was 13.2 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 3 percent from last year, veal was up slightly, pork was up 4 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 3 percent.



Record High Total Red Meat and Pork Production for 2017


Total red meat production for the United States totaled 52.1 billion pounds in 2017, 3 percent higher than the previous year. Red meat includes beef, veal, pork, and lamb and mutton. Red meat production in commercial plants totaled 52.0 billion pounds. On-farm slaughter totaled 87.6 million pounds.

Beef production totaled 26.3 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the previous year. Veal production totaled 80.2 million pounds, down 1 percent from last year. Pork production, at 25.6 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year. Lamb and mutton production totaled 150.2 million pounds, down 3 percent from 2016.

Commercial cattle slaughter during 2017 totaled 32.2 million head, up 5 percent from 2016, with federal inspection comprising 98.5 percent of the total. The average live weight was 1,349 pounds, down 14 pounds from a year ago. Steers comprised 52.9 percent of the total federally inspected cattle slaughter, heifers 27.2 percent, dairy cows 9.4 percent, other cows 8.8 percent, and bulls 1.7 percent.

Commercial calf slaughter totaled 512,300 head, 5 percent higher than a year ago with 98.2 percent under federal inspection. The average live weight was 250 pounds, down 16 pounds from a year earlier.

Commercial hog slaughter totaled 121.3 million head, 3 percent higher than 2016 with 99.3 percent of the hogs slaughtered under federal inspection. The average live weight was unchanged from last year, at 282 pounds. Barrows and gilts comprised 97.2 percent of the total federally inspected hog slaughter.

Commercial sheep and lamb slaughter, at 2.18 million head, was down 3 percent from the previous year with 88.9 percent by federal inspection. The average live weight was down 1 pound from 2016 at 133 pounds. Lambs and yearlings comprised 94.8 percent of the total federally inspected sheep slaughter.
    
By State:             '17 mill lbs.   --  '16 mill lbs. 

Nebraska .....:        8,113.2              8,007.8
Iowa ............:        7,229.5              7,055.2
Kansas .........:        5,691.3              5,418.2

There were 834 plants slaughtering under federal inspection on January 1, 2018 compared with 814 last year. Of these, 666 plants slaughtered at least one head of cattle during 2017 with the 13 largest plants slaughtering 57 percent of the total cattle killed. Hogs were slaughtered at 636 plants, with the 13 largest plants accounting for 59 percent of the total. For calves, 5 of the 190 plants accounted for 72 percent of the total and 2 of the 537 plants that slaughtered sheep or lambs in 2017 comprised 38 percent of the total head.   

Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas accounted for 49 percent of the United States commercial red meat production in 2017, unchanged from 2016.



Farm Bureau Encourages Lawmakers to Support Death Tax Repeal Bill


Many farms and ranches will be helped by the recently enacted estate tax exemption of $11 million per person indexed for inflation and the continuation of stepped-up basis, but the threat of a return to the $5.5 million per-person exemption in 2026 highlights the need for permanent relief, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017, temporarily doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person through 2025. In addition, the legislation preserves stepped-up basis and continues to allow the transfer of any unused exemption to a surviving spouse. Farm Bureau supports making the $11 million per-person exemption permanent as a step toward the eventual repeal of the estate tax.

“The new exemption level will protect the vast majority of our nation’s farms and ranches from the devastating consequences of estate taxes, but a potential return to a $5.5 million per-person exemption in 2026 is troublesome. Instead of spending money to upgrade buildings, purchase equipment and further invest in livestock herds, farmers and ranchers will have to continue to divert resources to pay for estate planning and life insurance,” Farm Bureau wrote in a recent letter to House members urging them to cosponsor the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 5422).

Tax laws must protect the families that grow America’s food and fiber, often for rates of return that are already miniscule compared to almost any other investment they could make, Farm Bureau said.

“What is needed are permanent tax policies that do not punish capital-intensive businesses like farms and ranches, and that do not hinder sons and daughters from continuing the agricultural legacy of their parents. The American Farm Bureau Federation continues to support estate tax repeal,” the group wrote.



ACE returns to Mexico to address ethanol retail questions


American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty returns to Mexico this week for the second time this spring to speak at a meeting of Mexican petroleum equipment installers and retailers in Monterrey about equipment compatibility and other practical considerations when switching over a station to offer E10 for the first time. This meeting is part of a U.S. Grains Council’s series of technical workshops to address questions from local station owners as Mexico’s transportation fuel sector continues to evolve. 

“Some of the station owners in Mexico have the same entrepreneurial spirit the splash blenders had back when ethanol was first being introduced in the U.S.,” Lamberty said. “For the first time in their lives, these marketers are free to buy fuel from someone other than the state-owned oil company. Now, on top of that, we’re introducing them to opportunities ethanol can provide to them. Everything from offering lower cost, higher quality fuels, to becoming a splash blender and actually competing with the oil company that ran their lives for so long. It’s pretty exciting to play a role in the transition to E10 in Mexico.”

The USGC is conducting the workshops throughout Mexico in conjunction with AMPES, the Mexican association of service station equipment providers. The first workshop Lamberty spoke at was held earlier in April in Tijuana. The sessions focus on questions that have emerged about using ethanol following changes in Mexican law that took effect in June 2017 that allow up to an E10 blend outside of three major cities (Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara).

Last year at the request of USGC, Lamberty traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to meet with members of Association Mexicana De Empresarios Gasolineros (AMEGAS), Mexico’s largest group of gasoline station owners, to discuss challenges and opportunities with offering ethanol blended gasoline. Lamberty emphasized how retailers can make money and the practical implications of implementing and selling up to E10 blends. As ACE gets more actively involved in export promotion, the organization will continue to work with USGC to provide information to retailers and others who want to sell more ethanol.



Chinese Pork Production on the Rise


China's pork output rose 2.1 percent to 15.4 million tonnes in the first quarter compared with the period during the prior year, official data showed on Tuesday, after farmers rushed to slaughter their pigs amid a rapid decline in prices.

According to Reuters, the falling price led some farmers to send more hogs to slaughter amid worries prices would come under further pressure later in the year.

The number of hogs slaughtered rose 1.9 percent to 199.8 million head, the National Bureau of Statistics said, while the total herd declined by 1.2 percent to 415.2 million head.

China is the world's top producer of pork and its herd accounts for more than half the global total.

In addition to expansion by large farms, heavy snow in Eastern and Central China before the Lunar New Year holiday in mid-February delayed the transport of pigs from the north to the south, boosting pig supplies in the market after the holiday when demand is typically much weaker, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs told reporters at a briefing.



Kansas State University and Deere & Company continue research partnership


Kansas State University hosted Deere & Company leaders recently to explore research partnerships. Deere & Company representatives met with a number of university officials and researchers and toured facilities before reconfirming a commitment to collaborate on future projects.

Richard Myers, Kansas State University president, said the university is poised to provide expertise in a range of areas that are important to Deere.

"K-State strives to be Deere & Company's preferred partner on talent and innovation related to production agriculture and engineering," Myers said. "K-State has immense research strength and capacity in engineering systems and manufacturing as well as technologies associated with planting, growing and harvesting various crops."

Kansas State University and Deere & Company recently extended a master research agreement for five years. According to Peter Dorhout, the university's vice president for research, master research agreements help expedite university-industry collaborations when specific research projects are identified.

"Extending our master research agreement with Deere & Company will help us provide expertise as needed to solve problems and look to the future of our global food systems," Dorhout said. "We enjoyed introducing the company to our capabilities in terms of both people and facilities and learning how these might apply to the Deere business."

Deere, founded in 1837, is a global company with headquarters in Moline, Illinois. The company's distinctive leaping deer logo is instantly recognizable on its agricultural, construction, forestry and turf care equipment. The worldwide company does business in more than 130 countries and is well known for its core values of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation.

Deere & Company has hired more than 50 Kansas State University graduates in the past six years and regularly supports students through internships and senior design capstone projects. The company is also a K-State Career Center corporate partner. John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture, said the university's graduates and researchers are a natural fit for Deere & Company.

"Both Deere & Company and K-State have a long history of supporting agriculture and generating innovations that help producers improve their efficiency and feed the world," Floros said.

Bradley Kramer, head of the industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department in the university's College of Engineering, said his department anticipates building on past efforts.

"We've collaborated with Deere for a number of years by providing manufacturing expertise and support through our Advanced Manufacturing Institute and we look forward to exploring additional projects," Kramer said.

Visitors from Deere & Company met with multidisciplinary researchers from agronomy, animal science, engineering and physics. They also heard presentations about relevant efforts in K-State Research and Extension, the College of Business Administration, and systems and resources related to precision agriculture. As Kansas State University's strategic partner for philanthropy, the KSU Foundation continues to lay the groundwork with Deere & Company for future partnerships that benefit students, faculty and Kansas.