Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wednesday March 29 Ag News

Open House for the Lower Elkhorn River Basin Water Quality Management Plan

Landowners and residents of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) are invited to attend an Open House to learn about the Lower Elkhorn River Basin Water Quality Management Plan (the Plan). The Plan covers the lower portion of the Elkhorn River Basin, which is the watershed that created the boundary for the LENRD. The Plan provides a single coordinated strategy to identify water quality threats and needs, prioritize watersheds and areas for improvement, and identify practices and activities appropriate to address the known deficiencies in water quality.

The Open House will be located in the Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College, 601 E Benjamin Ave, Norfolk, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm on April 4, 2017. Representatives from the NRD and NDEQ will be present to discuss the intent of the Plan, key recommendations, and how the Plan will benefit the public as projects are implemented in the future.

LENRD Grant Coordinator, Kristie Olmer, said, “The biggest priority for the LENRD was to address water quality concerns for the Willow Creek Reservoir. The Plan includes specific actions that would need to take place in order to reduce the occurrence of toxic algae blooms at the lake. Other waterbodies considered a priority for additional monitoring include Maskenthine Lake, Maple Creek Lake, and Rock Creek.”

The Plan was funded through a grant received from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and the LENRD.

The public is encouraged to visit the LENRD’s website www.lenrd.org/water-studies for more information and to view a copy of the full draft plan. Please contact Kristie Olmer at 402-371-7313 or kolmer@lenrd.org to provide comments or input.



REDUCING COST OF PLANTING ROUNDUP READY ALFALFA

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Roundup Ready alfalfa seed is expensive.  But establishing a new field may not cost as much as you might think.

               With Roundup Ready alfalfa seed costing over seven dollars per pound, maybe it’s time to look for ways to reduce establishment costs.  Fortunately, the seed itself can provide much of that help.

               Research has shown that most growers can reduce seeding rates by fifteen to twenty percent compared to historical seeding rates when planting Roundup Ready alfalfa.  That means if you normally plant fifteen pounds of seed per acre, with Roundup Ready alfalfa you probably can do as well with just twelve pounds per acre.  That can lower your seed cost by more than twenty dollars per acre.

               However, there is a catch.  Isn’t there always a catch?  Fortunately, this is a pretty simple catch.  You see, in order to get good stands when using lower seeding rates of Roundup Ready alfalfa, you need to do a good job of following establishment recommendations.

               That starts with preparing a proper, firm seedbed.  Apply fertilizer and lime as needed according to soil test recommendations.  Use a correctly adjusted drill or seeder that will place the right amount of seed at the right depth.  Plant on time.  And, of course, spray Roundup before weeds and alfalfa seedlings get more than about three inches tall.

               That’s all there is to it.  If you take care of your part of this process, then the special seed coating, the excellent weed control with no crop injury that you get with Roundup, and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, will give you good stands from less seed.

               Roundup Ready alfalfa seed is expensive, but you can keep costs down by using less seed and better establishment practices.



 FORMER CALIFORNIA AG SECRETARY TO DELIVER HEUERMANN LECTURE


 Former California Secretary of Agriculture Arthur Gen "A.G." Kawamura will discuss water and global resources during the next Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The free lecture, sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will be at 4:30 p.m. April 12 at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.

A third-generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County, Kawamura was California's secretary of agriculture from 2003 to 2010. He is co-chair of Solutions from the Land, a project that is developing a sustainable roadmap for 21st century agricultural systems. He is also a national steering committee member of "25x25" a renewable energy coalition of farm, forest, conservation and environmental leaders focused on the multiple benefits and contributions that can be delivered from the agricultural and rural sectors of America.

As a progressive urban farmer, Kawamura has a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of southern California. He has stayed involved in policy areas of education, hunger and nutrition. Through his company, Orange County Produce, Kawamura is engaged in building an interactive urban agricultural exhibit at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

The lecture will be held in conjunction with the eighth annual Water for Food Global Conference, which will examine the work being done to ensure water for food security from local to global scales. The international conference is organized by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.

The Heuermann Lecture series focuses on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, along with securing the sustainability of rural communities, where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs. The lectures are funded by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips. The Heuermanns are longtime university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people. 

Lectures are streamed live at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu and air live on campus channel 4. Lectures are archived after the event and are later broadcast on NET2.



ICON Support Return of Cool Labeling in lieu of recent Investigations into JBS


The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) organization has been closely watching the investigations being conducted in Brazil which have uncovered corruption in the ranks of JBS and BRF.

Brazilian authorities suspect bribery involving health inspectors in packing plants operated by the two meat-packing giants. Practices which include adding cardboard and potatoes to products and the use of acids to mask products which may be rotten so they can receive the Brazilian stamp of approval.

Several countries from around the world have banned Brazilian products and as a result, there has been a drop in exports from the South American country.

The U.S. has not proposed a ban although several consumer groups and farmers and ranchers are favoring this type of action. Newly appointed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue has commented he would not support a ban because of the backlash from the Brazilians.

ICON supports a ban prohibiting the import of products from JBS and BRF citing public health issues as being more important than trade agreements. ICON joins Nebraska Farmers Union who has the same concerns.

The questionable practices in the Brazilian packing plants also call an alarm to the possible risk of reintroducing Hoof and Mouth Disease in the U.S., which has been nonexistent in the U.S. since the 1920s.

ICON is concerned a recent decision to relax regulations on imports of fresh and frozen meat from neighboring countries south of the border close to Brazil, which claim to be free of HMD, may allow the disease into the U.S. market and cause destruction to the U.S. cattle industry.

ICON joins Nebraska Farmers Union in urging Congress to reinstate Country of Origin Labeling for the best interests of the consumer world-wide and also impose a moratorium on Brazilian imports.



Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to Hold 2nd Annual BeefMeets


Iowa cattle producers will convene at four locations across the state in June for the second annual BeefMeets. In addition to several educational sessions, a full tradeshow and opportunities for networking, cattlemen will get a chance to share policy and industry issue concerns with ICA leaders. The four BeefMeets will be held June 13 in Dubuque, June 15 in Ottumwa, June 20 in Creston and June 22 in Le Mars.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is a grassroots membership organization, with a dedication to “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.” The organization has previously held a 3-day annual convention in Des Moines in December, but feedback from members led the association to launch the regional meetings in 2016.

“The regional format offers a lot of benefits for our members across the state. They are able to participate in the best parts of our convention without traveling a long distance or leaving their operations for several days,” says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.

Educational topics this year will focus on the current farm economy. Many farmers are experiencing tough times in this economic downturn, and BeefMeets are designed to help cattle producers weather the storm.

Time has been set aside at each BeefMeet for ICA districts to gather and provide input. “Our district breakouts will allow cattle producers to weigh in on topics that matter to their operations,” says ICA’s President Mike Cline. “As a grassroots organization, our policy is developed by members for members, and provides guidance for staff and leaders as we work on behalf of the industry.”

A tradeshow throughout the day and a “beef social” following the meeting will provide opportunities for networking. Registration includes a complimentary lunch. For more information or to register for BeefMeets, visit www.iacattlemen.org.



Register Now for AgGateway's Mid-Year Meeting, June 12-15 in Altoona, Iowa


Registration is now open for AgGateway's Mid-Year Meeting, June 12-15 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. The meeting provides valuable insights and networking for anyone seeking to expand eConnectivity in agriculture - from seasoned AgGateway members to professionals new to the organization. The working meeting provides multiple networking opportunities, as well as many open working group sessions where teams discuss ways to advance their collaborative initiatives.

"The AgGateway teams will discuss advances in grain traceability, interoperability for precision agriculture, efficiencies for the specialty chemical sector, resources for ag retailers, and much more," said AgGateway President and CEO Wendy Smith. "We invite companies to learn and participate. There are huge benefits in the efficient and accurate exchange of information all along the agricultural supply chain."

This year's meeting also features a half-day Ag Retail eConnectivity Forum for senior retail managers and directors. The forum will present information on the value of a company's investment in eConnectivity initiatives, particularly focused on the efficiencies and competitive advantages as retailers, manufacturers and distributors move to seamless electronic data exchange.

AgGateway has again set modest registration fees to encourage maximum participation in collaborative eConnectivity projects. Registration is just $150 for both members and non-members. In addition, those who register by Friday, April 27 will be entered into a drawing to win a special VIP attendee package, including a complimentary hotel room upgrade to a suite. The special hotel rate at Prairie Meadows available until May 22 is $107/night.

More information is available on AgGateway's Mid-Year Meeting webpage, found under "Events" at www.AgGateway.org. Explore sponsorship opportunities by reviewing the sponsorship program on the event webpage or email Sponsorship@AgGateway.org. Also find the meeting on Twitter at #AgGateway.



EPA Administrator Pruitt Denies Petition to Ban Widely Used Pesticide


Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order denying a petition that sought to ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide crucial to U.S. agriculture.

Chlorpyrifos is the main ingredient in Lorsban, Dow AgroSciences' organophosphate insecticide targeting pests such as soybean aphids, spider mites and corn rootworm.

“We need to provide regulatory certainty to the thousands of American farms that rely on chlorpyrifos, while still protecting human health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Pruitt. “By reversing the previous Administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making – rather than predetermined results.”

“This is a welcome decision grounded in evidence and science,” said Sheryl Kunickis, director of the Office of Pest Management Policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “It means that this important pest management tool will remain available to growers, helping to ensure an abundant and affordable food supply for this nation and the world.  This frees American farmers from significant trade disruptions that could have been caused by an unnecessary, unilateral revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances in the United States. It is also great news for consumers, who will continue to have access to a full range of both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables. We thank our colleagues at EPA for their hard work.”

In October 2015, under the previous Administration, EPA proposed to revoke all food residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an active ingredient in insecticides.  This proposal was issued in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North America. The October 2015 proposal largely relied on certain epidemiological study outcomes, whose application is novel and uncertain, to reach its conclusions.

The public record lays out serious scientific concerns and substantive process gaps in the proposal. Reliable data, overwhelming in both quantity and quality, contradicts the reliance on – and misapplication of – studies to establish the end points and conclusions used to rationalize the proposal.

The USDA disagrees with the methodology used by the previous Administration. Similarly, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture also objected to EPA’s methodology. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) also expressed concerns with regard to EPA’s previous reliance on certain data the Agency had used to support its proposal to ban the pesticide.

The FIFRA SAP is a federal advisory committee operating in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act and established under the provisions of FIFRA, as amended by the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996.  It provides scientific advice, information and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on pesticides and pesticide-related issues regarding the impact of regulatory decisions on health and the environment.



Cattlemen Applaud Re-establishment of Congressional Beef Caucus


At a Capitol Hill news conference today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) applauded the re-establishment of the bipartisan Congressional Beef Caucus. The Beef Caucus will organize and educate Members of Congress and their staff on policy issues that impact America’s cattle and beef producers.

The Congressional Beef Caucus will be co-chaired by U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-28th District, Texas) and Kevin Yoder (R-3rd District, Kansas,) who joined NCBA at today’s news conference. The Beef Caucus currently stands 35 Members of Congress strong, hailing from 21 different states.

“On behalf of America’s cattlemen and women, I want to thank Congressmen Cuellar, Yoder, and every other Member who has already joined the Congressional Beef Caucus – and I’d encourage every other Member of Congress to join today,” said NCBA President Craig Uden, a fourth-generation cattleman from Nebraska. “From trade to taxes, and from federal lands to the farm bill, there are many issues that affect our ability to help provide the world’s safest and most abundant food supply. The Beef Caucus will help us highlight those issues on Capitol Hill so lawmakers know how those policies affect cattle producers back home in their districts.”

The announcement of the re-establishment of the Beef Caucus comes as hundreds of livestock producers storm Capitol Hill this week as part of NCBA’s and the Public Lands Council’s annual Legislative Conferences. The conferences kicked off on Tuesday, highlighted by a luncheon meeting with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Today, NCBA members will fan out across Capitol Hill to talk with their Senators and Congressmen, and tomorrow will huddle with a variety of officials from the executive branch.



R-CALF USA Praises Bipartisan Beef Checkoff Reform Legislation


Bipartisan legislation was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate to reform the most prominent government subsidy program in the U.S. cattle industry - the national beef checkoff program, which generates about $80 million annually from government-mandated producer assessments that many cattle producers refer to as "the cattle tax." Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act, S. 741. Also reintroduced today was the Voluntary Checkoff Act, S. 740, by Senator Lee.

The two bills were previously introduced during Congress' last session, but their introduction occurred too late during the election year to be properly considered. This year's early reintroduction will ensure the measures are considered by the full Congress.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said his group welcomes both bills because they both impart accountability and transparency to the beef checkoff program. He said approximately one-half of the current cattle tax, about $40 million dollars, flows to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), a lobbying group that represents some of the world's largest multinational meatpackers along with some cattle producers.

"Cross-subsidized by the current beef checkoff program, the NCBA lobbies against cattle-producer initiative on the basis that it does not want the government involved in the cattle industry. Yet, the NCBA is the single-largest benefactor of the $80 million government-mandated cattle tax that funds government speech.

"The bipartisan bill, S. 741, will end that conflict of interest by prohibiting lobbying groups from contracting with the program," said Bullard adding, "However, we think the best solution is the voluntary bill, S. 740, that allows producers to vote freely with their pocketbooks regarding whether they are individually satisfied with the checkoff's performance."

The national board for the beef checkoff program functions as a microcosm of the cattle industry by expanding and contracting depending on the size of the U.S. cattle herd and the quantity of imported cattle and beef. Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Agriculture initiated a rulemaking to reapportion the board by reducing the number of board seats for the domestic cattle industry by two and increasing the number of seats for importers by one.

"This outcome isn't what U.S. cattle producers bargained for when the checkoff was first started in the late 80s," Bullard concluded.



 Cargill reports fiscal 2017 third-quarter results


Cargill today reported financial results for the fiscal 2017 third quarter and nine months ended Feb. 28, 2017. Key measures include:
-    Adjusted operating earnings were $715 million in the third quarter, up 50 percent from $476 million in the year-ago period. Nine-month earnings totaled $2.58 billion, a 55 percent increase over last year’s $1.66 billion. 
-    Net earnings for the quarter on a U.S. GAAP basis were $650 million, up 42 percent from last year’s $459 million. Nine-month net earnings were $2.49 billion, a 5 percent increase year-on-year. In the prior-year period, Cargill realized large gains from business divestitures, which are excluded from adjusted operating earnings.
-    Third-quarter revenues rose 8 percent to $27.3 billion, for year-to-date revenues of $81.4 billion.

“We had strong results this quarter across our segments, evidence that we are on the right path forward,” said David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer. He cited gains in food ingredients, animal protein and industrials, as well as the progress of teams around the company to bring customers the full benefits of what Cargill has to offer. “All 150,000 people who work here are focused on executing at a high level as we serve our markets in an integrated way. We are eager to keep pursuing the opportunities that we are seeing.”
Segment results

With strong improvement over last year, the Food Ingredients & Applications segment was the largest contributor to adjusted operating earnings in the third quarter, with gains in sweeteners globally and plant-based bio-industrials in North America. A favorable product mix in salts for food applications also boosted results in North America, as did seasonal sales volume in deicing products. Cocoa and chocolate earnings rose on the strength of the European business, supported by origination in West Africa. The segment’s Asia-based business rebounded from a challenging year-ago period, lifted by good performance in corn-based starches and sweeteners in China and edible oils in India.

Earnings in Animal Nutrition & Protein rose significantly, lifted by strong performance in animal protein against a weak comparative period. Although below the earnings pace set in the first half, the North American protein business continued to benefit from renewed consumer demand for beef, which pulled more boxed beef and case-ready volume through its supply chain. It also realized steady foodservice demand for egg products. The poultry business gave protein results an additional boost, with higher cooked chicken exports out of Southeast Asia and improved processing yields and fresh chicken sales in Europe. Elsewhere in the segment, third-quarter earnings in global animal nutrition were below the year-ago level. Despite good performance in bulk feeds and premix products in India, Vietnam and other countries, sales volume softened due to competitive pressure in China and Russia, an avian influenza outbreak in Korea, and disruptive or unseasonable weather in other countries.

Origination & Processing earnings slightly lagged last year’s third quarter. The North America-based business remained a large contributor to segment earnings, thanks to steady grain export volumes; oilseed crush volume decreased late in the period as South America approached harvest season. Performance in South America trailed the prior year as the business dealt with reduced farmer selling and slowed processing in Argentina due to excess rain, as well as decreased corn exports out of Brazil due to last year’s drought. In contrast, segment earnings rose substantially in Asia Pacific, boosted by soybean crush activities in China, and grain origination and trading in Australia.

Cargill agreed to sell its 40 percent share in Allied Mills Australia, a flour milling joint venture, to Pacific Equity Partners, a Sydney-based private equity firm with investments in the bakery sector. With regulatory approvals in Australia received, the sale is expected to close early in the fourth quarter. Cargill remains committed to the food and agriculture sector in Australia, where it has played an important role since 1967.

Industrial & Financial Services put up a strong third quarter against a weak comparative period. Ocean transportation earnings rose sharply, aided by better market conditions in ocean freight, as well as in the mining and steel industries. Returns from asset management activities added to the segment’s improved performance. The energy businesses also contributed to the rebound.

Early in the fourth quarter, Cargill agreed to sell its petroleum trading business to Australia’s Macquarie Group, a global financial services provider based in Sydney. Pending regulatory review, the sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of Cargill’s fiscal 2018.



Ethanol Stockpiles at 1-Year High


U.S. ethanol stockpiles increased last week alongside a ramp up in plant production, with total inventories surging by about 700,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.9%, to better-than-one-year high of 23.3 million bbl after falling for three prior weeks, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday, March 29.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week-ended March 24 shows domestic fuel ethanol inventories were 200,000 bbl higher year-on-year. Supplies are at the highest level since March 4, 2016, when 23.307 million bbl of ethanol were in storage.

Domestic plant production climbed 20,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.0%, to 1.054 million bpd last week, the highest since the week-ended Feb. 3, while 62,000 bpd, or 6.3%, higher than a year earlier. For the four weeks ended last week, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.041 million bpd, up 50,000 bpd, or 4.8%.

Net refiner and blender inputs of ethanol, a gauge for demand, fell by 4,000 bpd to 911,000 bpd during the week-ended March 24. On a year-over-year basis, refiner and blender inputs were up 21,000 bpd, or 2.4%, last week. For the four-week period ended March 24, blending demand was up 22,000 bpd, or 2.5%, to 903,000 bpd.



State of Georgia Confirmed First Case of H7 Avian Flu


The Georgia Department of Agriculture said that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation in Chattooga County has tested positive for H7, a presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI). This marks the state's first case of the avian influenza in domestic poultry. Avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply, and no affected animals entered the food chain. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low, according to the GDA.

The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening for the commercial facility and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. As a precaution, the affected flock has been destroyed. Officials are testing and monitoring other flocks within the surveillance area, and no other flocks have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs, according to the state release.

"Poultry is the top sector of our number one industry, agriculture, and we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of the many farm families that are dependent on it," Georgia Ag Commissioner Gary Black said. "In order to successfully do that, it is imperative that we continue our efforts of extensive biosecurity."

The announcement follows similar confirmations from Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee in recent weeks. The Tennessee case involved the more lethal avian flu's HPA1 strain, which is known to be deadly to domesticated poultry such as chickens, turkeys, guineas, quail and peafowls. Officials, however, stressed that the HPA1 avian flu posed no risk to the food supply and very low chance of human infection.



NFU Urges Trump Administration to Oppose Dow-DuPont Merger


Following European Union approval of the proposed merger between Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co., National Farmers Union (NFU) is calling on the Trump Administration to block the deal. The merger, if approved by the U.S. Justice Department, would create the largest biotechnology and seed firm in the U.S.

“The reduction in competition that would be wrought by a Dow-DuPont merger will result in less innovation, higher prices, and less choice for farmers,” said NFU President Roger Johnson in a letter to President Trump. “Given the damaging and lasting effects this merger will have on family farmers and rural America, we urge you to oppose this merger,” he said.

Johnson noted that the Dow-DuPont merger occurs amidst a massive wave of consolidation in the agricultural inputs sector. The combination of the two companies, coupled with the concurrently proposed mergers of Bayer-Monsanto and ChemChina-Syngenta, threatens to limit major players in the agrichemical and seed sectors to just four companies.

And that is bad news for farmers who rely on competitive pricing for their inputs.

“The merger of Dow and DuPont, the 4th and 5th largest firms, would give the resulting company about 41% of the market for corn seeds and 38% of the market for soybean seeds,” said Johnson. “If the Dow-DuPont and Bayer-Monsanto mergers were both approved, there would effectively be a duopoly in the corn and soybean seed markets.”

Johnson noted that the merger would limit choice in the marketplace for farmers. As Dow and DuPont look to leverage any efficiencies from the merger, there will be reductions in seed portfolios.

He also noted that the merger will likely diminish innovation competition, as the elimination of direct competition from one another will reduce the incentive to develop new products.

“Dow and DuPont biotechnology pipelines contain overlapping input and output traits in development for corn, soybeans, and cotton, as well as crop protection,” said Johnson. “Innovation is key to farmers and ranchers’ ability to increase crop production and improve crop quality. Without standalone competition between Dow and DuPont incentivizing innovation, farmers’ profits and consumers’ access to affordable food are at risk.”

While Dow and DuPont agreed to sell some of their key research and development assets, mergers in this consolidated of an environment are difficult, if not impossible, to remedy, he concluded.

“It is highly likely that many of those assets will be purchased by companies among the Big 6.  Therefore, any reallocation of share within the large incumbents through divestitures would only result in a game of market concentration ‘musical chairs.’”



Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tuesday March 28 Ag News

Experts Highlight the Power of Local Lessons to Help Feed the World

The 2017 Water for Food Global Conference will welcome a record 100 speakers and global experts to share ideas and help find solutions to the world's pressing water and food security needs.

The flagship event of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska, held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Drought Mitigation Center, will be April 10-12 at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. More information, including the speaker list, agenda and registration details, are available on the conference website: http://waterforfood.nebraska.edu/2017wfc.

Researchers, practitioners, policymakers, farmers, faculty, students, thought leaders and industry experts will explore "Water for Food Security: From Local Lessons to Global Impacts,"a theme inspired by the notion that global breakthroughs come from local action.Participants can expect three full days of learning and networking.

"We are energized to bring together such a dynamic and diverse group of speakers and experts to the University of Nebraska," said Peter McCornick, executive director. "This year's conference will push us further toward finding real-world solutions - locally and globally - to the complex challenge of ensuring water and food security."

Joining Heuermann Lecture and closing plenary speaker Arthur Gen "A.G." Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture, are:
-    Ann M. Bartuska, Acting Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Washington, D.C.
-    Robert Bertram, chief scientist, Bureau for Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development; Washington, D.C.
-    Mbogo Futakamba, Ministry of Water and Irrigation; Tanzania
-    Marlos De Souza, Secretary, Water Platform, Land and Water Division; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Rome, Italy
-    Chandra Madramootoo, James McGill Professor, Bioresource Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, McGill University; Quebec, Canada
-    Sithembile Ndema Mwamakamba, Climate Smart Agriculture Program Manager; Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network; Johannesburg, South Africa
-    Timothy Prewitt, CEO, iDE; Denver, Colorado 
-    Jeff Raikes, co-founder, Raikes Foundation; Board Chair, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute; Seattle, Washington
-    Brian Richter, director, Global Freshwater Strategies, Nature Conservancy; Crozet, Virginia
-    Steven Schonberger, practice manager for Middle East and North Africa Region and global lead for Water in Agriculture, Water Global Practice, World Bank; Washington, D.C.
-    Timothy Williams, director for Africa, International Water Management Institute; Accra; Ghana

Topics include:
-   Creating and expanding farmer-led irrigation solutions in sub-Saharan Africa
-    Developing market-based approaches to drought management
-    Enhancing high productivity irrigated agriculture, highlighting challenges and opportunities from the Great Plains to sub-Saharan Africa
-    Improving water management and governance for food security in great river basins of the world
-    Transforming water policy to develop sustainable and equitable water management practices in local regions around the world
-    Understanding the view from the field - how farmers from different parts of the world are using technology and best practices to increase yields
-    Engaging students, stakeholders and future leaders through science literacy and citizen science to examine the relationships between water, food and energy, as well as agriculture and public health.

Regular registration is $550 and will close after April 1. Special registration discounts are available to all academic faculty, staff and students.For assistance with registration, please contact Amber Poythress at apoythress@nebraska.edu or (+1) 402.472.5175.

In addition to the rich variety of programming, the event includes two evening receptions with live music and globally inspired food; Nebraska bar-be-que dinner at Roca Berry Farm; student poster competition; photography competition and exhibit and multimedia artwork by students and professionals.  
The 2017 Water for Food Global Conference is a North American Regional Event for the 8th World Water Forum, the world's largest water-related forum organized by the World Water Council.

Generous support for the 2017 conference is provided by the Robert. B. Daugherty Foundation, the University of Nebraska, Monsanto Co., Senninger Irrigation Inc., the Nebraska Corn Board and LI-COR Biosciences. Media partners include the Water Network and AgWired.



 NE Dairy Ambassadors Off to a Fast Start


The 2017 Nebraska Dairy Ambassador class is off and running. This program, working in partnership with Kim Clark, Nebraska Dairy Extension educator, has five college students enrolled to serve as ambassadors for the Nebraska dairy Industry at school and consumer events throughout the year.

The ambassadors attended a portion of the Nebraska Dairy Convention in February, and participated in a training session in early March presented by Midwest Dairy communications and industry relations staff. During this training, they were coached in ways to respond with good answers to the tough questions they may receive.

During their ambassador year, they will participate in Ag Literacy festivals for students, as well as the Annual Moo at the Zoo event in June and at the State Fair. They will also write blogs about their experience, and shadow someone within the dairy industry for a day. Upon satisfactory completion of the yearly requirements, they will be awarded a scholarship.

Members of this year's class include Jessica Sayers, Maranda Kegley and Dawn Klabenes, students at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Emily Finkhaus, a student at Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture; and Dalton Anderson, who attends Southeast Community College.



Nebraska Soybean Farmers “See for Themselves” How Checkoff Dollars Support International Marketing Efforts

Earlier this month, a group of 14 Nebraska farmers and agribusiness professionals traveled to Washington to take part in the annual See for Yourself International Marketing mission funded by the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB). The mission gave farmers the opportunity to see firsthand how their soybean checkoff is working to increase their productivity, demand for their crops and profitability. Roughly half of Nebraska’ssoybean crop is exported annually, and understanding how and where their soybeans are being shipped is important for farmers.

Participants toured the Ports of Grays Harbor and Tacoma to learn about the export process. They visited export facilities operated by Omaha-based Ag Processing Company (AGP) and the Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO). At TEMCO participants toured a Panamax ship being loaded with corn from the Midwest bound for South Korea. Other stops included the Boeing manufacturing plant near Everett and a local BNSF railway office, where they learned about the logistics of moving products across the country and challenges facing the transportation industry.

While on the tour, farmers quickly learned about the amount of capital invested in export facilities in the Pacific Northwest. The group saw an innovative solution to help TEMCO continue operations during frequent wet weather. Rainfall once caused the facility to shut down for the equivalent of one month out of the year. The solution—a roof nearly an acre in size to keep out the rain—allows them to fill 10 more ships per month, which translates to 220–230 million bushels per year.

Gabe Gubbels, a farmer from Osmond, said the tour helped him gain perspective on the exporting process. “Touring the Ports of Grays Harbor and Tacoma was a great experience. The size of the ships being loaded at these ports was unbelievable.”

AGP recently expanded its footprint in Nebraska, increasing the capacity of its Hastings soy processing plant from 30 million to 50 million bushels per year. AGP is a major soybean processor and the world’s largest farmer-owned cooperative. Its location in Hastings is currently the westernmost soy processor in the U.S., giving the company a significant advantage for shipping products to Asia and the Pacific through Grays Harbor. In fact, 80 percent of the soybean meal produced in Hastings will head through Grays Harbor to customers overseas.

Also featured during the tour of Grays Harbor was Renewable Energy Group’s (REG) biodiesel plant. Completed in 2007, it is currently the second largest biodiesel facility in the U.S. in terms of production. The facility has the capacity to manufacture 100 million gallons per year and is the only biodiesel plantwith tri-modal capabilities, meaning it has the ability to export using rail, truck and waterways.

Dan Smydra, a participant from St. Paul, said the tour was well worth the time. “I would strongly encourage any producer interested in exploring beyond their local production and markets to apply for a spot on one of these tours—not only to learn about how your soybean checkoff dollars are invested, but also to understand your connection and role in the global marketplace. Not to mention all the great folks you’ll get to know on the trip!”

For more information about NSB’s See for Yourself program, including future opportunities, please call the Nebraska Soybean Board office at 402-441-3240or visit their website at NebraskaSoybeans.org.



Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey Shares Custom and Machinery Rental Rates


Performing custom work can be an additional source of income for farm operators around the state. For others, custom work is a full-time career. When labor is available, and another party has equipment, renting equipment for a short term is also a common practice. While only a small portion of Iowa farmland is 100 percent custom farmed, many farm operations rent equipment or hire out for one or two tasks that need to be completed on their farm each year.

The 2017 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey canvassed 441 farmers, custom operators and farm managers from the state, putting together a guide for pricing custom machine work. Of those receiving the survey, 152 usable responses were received from Iowa farmers, custom operators and farm managers. Twenty-one percent of the respondents perform custom work, 13 percent hire work done, 41 percent indicated doing both, 1 percent indicated doing none and 25 percent did not indicate whether they perform or hire custom work.

The publication, which can be found online at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Store as FM 1698 or on the Ag Decision Maker website as Information File A3-10, provides rates for custom work in the following categories: tillage, planting, drilling, seeding, fertilizer application, harvesting, drying and hauling grain, harvesting forages, complete custom farming, labor and both bin and machine rental. All rates include fuel, repairs, depreciation, interest, labor and all other machinery costs for the tractor and implement unless otherwise noted.

The average rate and range for each machine work function were compiled into the survey as usual, as well as the median charge and number of responses for each category. For the survey, the average is calculated as the simple average of all responses. The median is the response that splits all the ordered responses (from smallest to largest) in half.

The survey found there was an 8.5 percent price increase across all surveyed categories. When the categories with the 5 percent highest and lowest change were removed, the average increase in rate became 2.1 percent.

“After an overall decline in rates in 2016, the slight rate increases in the 2017 survey are similar to a trend observed from 2012-2015,” said Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “We appreciate the respondents to the survey, as the information available in the Custom Rate Survey is only possible due to their responses provided each year.”

The reported rates are expected to be charged or paid in 2017, including fuel and labor. The average price for diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.15 per gallon. The values presented in the survey are intended only as a guide. There are many reasons the rate charged in a particular situation should be above or below the average. These include the timeliness with which operations are performed, quality and special features of the machine, operator skill, size and shape of fields, number of acres contracted and the condition of the crop for harvesting. The availability of custom operators in a given area will also affect rates. Any custom rate should cover the cost of operating the farm machinery as well as the operator’s labor.

The Ag Decision Maker website offers a Decision Tool to help custom operators and other farmers estimate their own costs for specific machinery operations. Plastina and Ann Johanns, program specialist in economics with ISU Extension and Outreach, authored the publication.

To join the 2018 Custom Rate Survey mailing list, send mail or e-mail address to: Alejandro Plastina, Iowa State University, Department of Economics, 478 E Heady Hall, 518 Farm House Lane, Ames, IA 50011-1054, 515-294-6160, plastina@iastate.edu.



Farm and Rural Life Poll Examines Conservation Practice Use


The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was implemented in 2013 and efforts to track progress toward its goals are ongoing. The INRS recommends that farmers use a number of soil and water conservation best management practices to reduce nutrient loss into waterways. The 2016 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll asked farmers if they were using or considering use of many of those practices.

A list of 20 practices was provided and farmers who plant row crops were asked to select one of three responses: the practice was not used in 2015, no plans to use it; not used in 2015, might use it in the future; and used the practice in 2015. Three types of conservation practices were covered: tillage and cover crops, nitrogen management and structural practices such as buffers and terraces.

“The scientists who conducted the science assessment for the INRS have concluded that to meet targeted reduction goals, most Iowa farmers will have to increase their use of a diverse mix of practices that are appropriate for their farms,” said J. Gordon Arbuckle, associate professor of sociology at Iowa State University. “This year’s survey tried to get a handle on what practices farmers are using now, and which ones that might be willing to try.”

Among in-field practices listed, no-till was the most commonly used, with 42 percent of respondents reporting employing the practice on at least some of the land they farm. Conservation tillage, excluding no-till and strip tillage, was second, used by 35 percent. Twenty-one percent reported use of cover crops on at least some land.

“Minimizing tillage and use of cover crops are effective ways to reduce erosion and nutrient loss while also improving soil health,” Arbuckle said. “Overall, about 57 percent of farmers reported using some kind of reduced tillage on at least part of their land.”

The survey also asked about nitrogen management practices that can reduce nitrogen loss. The use of nitrogen stabilizers was reported by 38 percent of respondents. Twenty-eight percent reported that they applied nitrogen during the growing season, and 15 percent used a variable rate N application. The corn nitrogen rate calculator, which was developed by Iowa State and partner universities to help farmers determine economically sound N fertilizer rates, was used by 18 percent of respondents.

“The INRS science assessment estimates that farmers can reduce nutrient loss by about 10 percent by using the N rate calculator,” said Arbuckle. “They could also save money on fertilizer.”

Buffers along streams or field edges to filter nutrients and sediment from runoff were the most commonly reported conservation practice, with 46 percent of farmers indicating they were used in 2015. Terraces were reported by 37 percent of respondents and 25 percent used in-field buffer strips. Sedimentation basins (18 percent), extended rotations (15 percent) and converting some cropland from row crops to perennial crops such as hay (14 percent) were also reported.

“The survey results show that many Iowa farmers are using recommended best management practices to some extent,” said Arbuckle. “That said, the majority of Iowa crop farms could incorporate practices such as cover crops and in-field or edge-of-field filter strips to further reduce nutrient loss, yet minorities of farmers report using these and other proven practices. So, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Arbuckle noted that the survey also asked farmers if they might consider using best management practices in the future, and results were encouraging.

“Many farmers indicated that they are open to the idea of using practices such as cover crops, the N rate calculator, and variable rate nitrogen application,” said Arbuckle. “That suggests that we need to continue to work with farmers and their advisors to help incorporate more of these practices into more farm operations.”

The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been in existence since 1982, surveying Iowa farmers on issues of importance to agricultural stakeholders. It is the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation.



EPA Now Limited On Farm Data It Can Release


A federal judge yesterday approved a settlement agreement between the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, limiting EPA’s release of information on livestock farmers.

Under the agreement, the agency only may provide under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request the city, county, zip code and Clean Water Act permit status of a concentrated animal feeding operation. The agreement also requires EPA to conduct training on FOIA, personal information and the federal Privacy Act.

The settlement stems from the February 2013 release by EPA’s Office of Water to several activist groups, which filed a FOIA request, of extensive private and personal information the agency collected on farmers in 29 states. (EPA gathered the information despite being forced in 2012 to drop a proposed data reporting rule for large farms because of concerns about the privacy and biosecurity of family farms.)

“We’re pleased with this agreement, which will protect the personal and private information, including cell phone numbers and health information, of America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “EPA’s 2013 release to activist groups of sensitive materials on more than 100,000 farmers and ranchers was an outrageous abuse of its power and trust. This settlement helps ensure that won’t happen again.”

Following the 2013 release and after objections from NPPC, the Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups, EPA requested that the activist organizations return the data, but the agency subsequently was prepared to release additional farm information it collected from seven other states. NPPC and the Farm Bureau also objected to the additional release, and in July 2014 filed suit against EPA in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

That court in late 2015 dismissed the lawsuit, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit in St. Louis reinstated it, and last September it ruled that EPA “abused its discretion in deciding that the information at issue was not exempt from mandatory disclosure under Exemption 6 [personal privacy interests] of FOIA.”

“NPPC will continue vigorously defend the rights and privacy of its producers against outrageous and unethical government actions,” Maschhoff said.



ASA’s Moore Testifies on Title I Programs Before House Ag Subcommittee


In testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Tuesday, American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Illinois soybean farmer Ron Moore spoke on the need for robust programs within the risk management framework of the nation’s farm legislation. Moore contrasted the successful farm economic landscape in which the 2014 Farm Bill was written with the more troubling financial situation many farmers find themselves in today, and called on the committee to make the necessary investments in farm bill programs—including increases where appropriate—so that each can work to its full potential.

“Farm prices are down by 41 percent and farm income is down by 50 percent. Due to continued low prices, estimates for 2017 show a further decline in income of 7.1 percent,” Moore said. “Land rents and input costs remain stubbornly high, and producers are having increasing difficulty obtaining operating loans. In view of these circumstances, ASA [asks] Congress to write the 2018 Farm Bill based on the very real need by U.S. producers for a stronger safety net rather than extending existing programs… Correcting shortcomings in the 2014 Act and funding other important programs whose effectiveness has diminished over time will require additional resources from outside the farm bill.”

Moore’s specific asks of the committee on behalf of ASA included a robust federal crop insurance program, noting that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of the program will decline by an average of $1 billion annually. Moore also called on the committee to improve and build upon the current Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs included in Title I rather than develop new ones, maintaining that a choice for producers between a price-based PLC program and a revenue-based ARC program appropriately reflects differences between crops and regions. In his discussion of ARC and PLC, Moore highlighted the need to continue the decoupling of Title I programs from planted acres, citing the potential market distortions caused by tying payments to current-year planting decisions.

Moore also noted that other crops, particularly cotton, may require fixes to their programs, and reaffirmed ASA’s support for such fixes, provided their funding does not come from elsewhere in the farm bill and that such a fix is WTO-compliant.

Capping his testimony, Moore reiterated ASA’s vocal support for including nutrition and anti-hunger programs alongside agricultural programs in the farm bill, as has been the case in each previous version of the legislation, and called on the committee to affirm its support for both producers and consumers of food.

“The only groups pushing for them to be split into two bills are critics from outside the agriculture community whose common goal is to defeat rather than to pass a new farm bill,” Moore said. “… An affirmation that the next farm bill must include programs that support both producers and consumers of food would send a strong message to farm bill critics, as well as to farm and anti-hunger organizations that support this goal.”



Spurlock Testifies on Farm Bill Programs at House Hearing


The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) risk management program and crop insurance have been critical to helping corn farmers during a weak farm economy and should be maintained in the next farm bill, National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock testified today at House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee hearing.

“Together, crop insurance and the ARC-County program have helped many farmers weather the storm of a weak farm economy and avoid bankruptcy,” said Spurlock, who raises corn, cotton, wheat, sorghum, and beef cattle in the Texas Panhandle.

Spurlock noted that corn prices have averaged below $4.00 per bushel since 2013, and are projected to average just $3.40 this marketing year.

“At that price, few corn farmers have a positive net income. Meanwhile, we face a lot of uncertainty about federal policy on renewable fuel and trade, and how that will impact our bottom lines,” testified Spurlock. “We must work together to rebuild a strong farm economy – but in the meantime, strong farm bill programs are essential to support farmers. ARC was designed to be a market-based program that provides support only when needed, and now is that time. By and large, the program is working as intended.”



Plan Ahead to Maximize Spring Nitrogen Applications in Corn


It’s not too early to plan spring and early-summer nitrogen applications in corn. In fact, with lower corn prices, it’s more important than ever that growers take strategic action to protect yield and return on investment.

Because corn is receptive to – and requires significant amounts of – nitrogen for optimal productivity, in-season application can be a viable option to supplement fall-applied or early pre-plant nitrogen fertilizer applications. Agronomists recommend timing nitrogen topdress applications prior to periods of maximum crop growth to achieve the optimum amount of uptake, usually between the V6 growth stage and tasseling in corn.

Urea or UAN applied to the surface or banded within 2 inches of the soil surface can be vulnerable to ammonia volatilization losses. To prevent this form of loss, many university agronomists in the Corn Belt recommend adding AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabilizer to protect urea and UAN against volatilization.

In areas that receive excessive spring rainfall, growers can consider SUPERU® fertilizer, which contains both a urease and a nitrification inhibitor to minimize volatilization, leaching or denitrification. For UAN applications, AGROTAIN® PLUS stabilizer can be added; its two modes of action work together to minimize the three forms of nitrogen loss.

Steve Cromley, CCA, and technical sales agronomist with Koch Agronomic Services LLC (KAS), the maker of the AGROTAIN® line of nitrogen stabilizers and SUPERU® fertilizer, says recommended nitrogen rates vary widely by geographic area. In fact, optimal nitrogen rates vary by region and even by field. It’s important for growers to use tools that help evaluate proper rates such as soil profile nitrate samples, crop models and crop canopy sensors. Ultimately, though, one of the most important tools is the grower’s knowledge and experience. Regardless of the application method, “The closer the application rate is to the optimum nitrogen rate, the more critical it becomes to protect the applied nitrogen,” adds Cromley.

As with any nitrogen application throughout the crop year, KAS recommends growers follow the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship – Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place – to minimize nutrient loss and maximize uptake.



Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday March 27 Ag News

Status of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Nebraska 
Amit Jhala - NE Extension Weed Management Specialist


There are 480 unique cases of herbicide-resistant weed biotypes globally in 252 weed species (147 dicots and 105 monocots). Weeds have evolved resistance to 23 of 26 known herbicide sites of action and to 161 herbicides (http://weedscience.org/). Control of herbicide-resistant weeds is one of the greatest challenges for crop producers in Nebraska. Repeated and intensive use of herbicide(s) with the same site of action can rapidly select for weed shifts and the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds, especially without integrating other weed control options.

Six weed species — common ragweed, common waterhemp, marestail, kochia, giant ragweed, and Palmer amaranth — have been confirmed resistant to glyphosate in Nebraska. Management of glyphosate-resistant weeds is challenging because no-till corn and soybean growers are primarily depending on glyphosate for post-emergence weed control.

Four weed species have also evolved resistance to multiple herbicides. For example, common waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have evolved resistance to atrazine and HPPD inhibitors (Calliso, Laudis, Armezon/Impact), which made weed control in seed corn and popcorn more challenging in Nebraska. Additionally, marestail and common waterhemp have evolved resistance to glyphosate and acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibiting herbicides. Kochia resistance to glyphosate and ALS inhibitors is now widespread in western Nebraska.

Preserving the efficacy of herbicides and herbicide resistance technology depends on awareness of the increasing resistance of weeds to herbicides and coordinated action to address the problem at the farm level and beyond.



Nebraska Farmers Union Board of Directors Call for a Ban on Brazilian Food Imports


At their spring meeting, the Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) Board of Directors issued a renewed call for the reinstatement of Country of Origin labeling following the breaking news over extensive corruption involving the Brazilian meat-packing giant, JBS and BRF, the largest poultry packager in the world.  The Board also called for the imposition of a ban on importation of product from Brazil pending the results of further investigation by Brazilian authorities. 

Press reports said Brazilian authorities recently conducted extensive undercover investigations in packing plants in Brazil controlled by the two entities, which uncovered the bribery of health inspectors in which payments were made to avoid health inspections; the addition of cardboard and potatoes to some of the products produced; and the use of a cancer-causing acid on some products so that they could acquire the Brazilian stamp of approval despite being rotten or of questionable origin.

NeFU President John Hansen said “In light of this food safety scandal, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Switzerland and the European Union have all banned the importation of Brazilian product, resulting in a dramatic decline in exports from the South American nation.  Those countries took decisive actions to protect their nation’s food safety and food consumers.  The Trump Administration should act decisively and do likewise.”

The United States has not imposed a ban, despite unrest among consumer groups and farmers and ranchers across the nation.  Sonny Perdue stated in his confirmation hearing that he would oppose instituting a ban because this could result in retaliatory actions by the Brazilians.  But clearly, public health issues should have priority over any other considerations, including trade considerations.

In addition to food safety risks, the NeFU Board was also concerned about the potential risk of reintroducing Hoof and Mouth disease into the United States.  Hoof and Mouth Disease was eradicated in the United States in the l920s, but remains endemic in South American herds.  Recently the United States relaxed impositions on the importation of fresh and frozen meat from regional states in Brazil which are free of Hoof and Mouth, but the corruption uncovered by Brazilian authorities in the investigation of JBS should cause USDA to reconsider the risks and the potential horrific costs to the American livestock industry should Hoof and Mouth Disease reappear in the United States. 

Nebraska Farmers Union is also urging our Congressional Delegation to support Montana Senator Jon Tester's bill which would immediately impose a 120 day moratorium on the importation of Brazilian into the United States. 



PLAN HERBICIDE USE FOR LATER FORAGE CROPS

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Got your herbicides selected for your corn, beans, and other crops?  Better double check if a cover crop, pasture, or hay planting is a possibility during the next year and a half.

               Many of our biggest success stories with forage and pasture crops recently have come from using annuals.  No matter when you could use something to graze, including winter, an annual plant could be found that would work well if managed properly.

               Many times a small grain like oats or rye fit our needs.  Other times it’s been a brassica like turnips and forage rape.  Once in a while we’ve used millets.

               But there have been frustrations.  One of the biggest frustrations has been herbicide limitations.  Many forages are affected by herbicide carryover, such as from atrazine.  Often we identify a cover crop or a forage to plant but the risk of failure is too high due to herbicides.  This problem isn’t limited to annual forages, either.  Perennial grasses and alfalfa also are sensitive to herbicide carryover.

               Legal replant and rotation restrictions also cause herbicide limitations.  With many herbicides it may be okay to plant a cover crop, but that cover crop cannot be used legally as a forage.

               So, is this important to you?  Do you want to fly rye or turnip seed into your standing corn later this year for extra fall pasture?  How about planting triticale this fall or oats next spring?  Or maybe irrigated pasture or alfalfa?

               These options may not be available if you use many common herbicides.  So keep you options open.  Rethink your herbicide plans.  Maybe you can control weeds and maintain the flexibility to plant any forage just by making a small change in the herbicides you use now.

               Then you, too, can build a success story from annual forages.



Nebraska Farm Bureau Celebrates Its Centennial; 100 Years of Representing Nebraska Farmers and Ranchers


Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural dignitaries from across the state will help honor the 100th anniversary of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) in a year-long celebration. A new centennial web page is launched and Governor Pete Ricketts issued a proclamation to recognize Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 100 years and its ability to unite thousands of Nebraska farm and ranch families under a common banner—doing together what they can’t do alone.

“100 years of engagement, 100 years of passion for Nebraska agriculture, and 100 years of representing Nebraska farmers and ranchers, the very people who grow our food, fuel, and fiber. It is not very often that an organization can say they have reached this milestone. I am very excited about our yearlong centennial celebration,” said Steve Nelson, NFBF president Feb. 14.

As part of honoring the past, renowned Nebraska sculptor Sondra L. Johnson, of Cambridge, will create a cast bronze bas-relief sculpture to mark the centennial. The sculpture, in the shape of the State of Nebraska, includes the many landscapes and crops found across the state. Looking to the future, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation announced the Cornerstone Campaign. “Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future” is the theme of the fundraising campaign to provide a financial foundation for its programs that promote an understanding of and appreciation for Nebraska agriculture.

“Through our new Foundation, we will equip the next generation of Nebraskans for careers, leadership positions, and consumer roles that intersect with agriculture,” said Nelson. “Foundation programs such as Agriculture in the Classroom, student scholarships, and leadership development are an investment in the continued success of agriculture and all of Nebraska.”

The cast bronze centennial sculpture and corresponding Cornerstone Campaign donor recognition wall will be installed at the Nebraska Farm Bureau state office in Lincoln. An unveiling is planned for March 30, 2017.

Throughout this centennial year, Nebraska Farm Bureau will hold other statewide events including events for members in Western Nebraska, to be held in Scottsbluff June 8, Northeast Nebraska in Norfolk Aug. 8, and a tailgate will be held prior to the Sept. 22, Nebraska Husker football game against Rutgers in Lincoln. You can find out more about the celebration at our website www.nefb.org/centennial.

“As part of our centennial, Nebraska Farm Bureau continues to look ahead to the next century of possibilities, especially for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Helping them get excited about agriculture and Nebraska Farm Bureau is vital to strengthening the future of our organization and Nebraska agriculture,” Nelson said.



GREEN, PAULSEN NAMED NATIONAL 4-H LUMINARIES


University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green and Chief Communication and Marketing Officer Teresa Paulsen were named 4-H Luminaries by the National 4-H Council March 21 in Washington, D.C.

Luminaries are an exclusive group of accomplished and influential 4-H alumni who will help raise awareness of 4-H's life-changing impact and generate support for bringing 4-H to more youth. Green and Paulsen are part of the 40-member inaugural class. Other Luminaries include Grammy award-winning artist Jennifer Nettles, NBA star Kent Bazemore, Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth and MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin.

Chancellor Green was a 4-H member in Botetourt County in Virginia. Paulsen is an alum of Nebraska 4-H and is a National 4-H Council Trustee.

"I'm humbled to be part of this inaugural group of people who were influenced by 4-H, which today is the largest youth development organization in the U.S.," Green said. "Millions of people across the nation are testament that 4-H membership is a strong predictor of lifelong success and leadership."

Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of the National 4-H Council, said: "Whether they are running Fortune 500 companies and performing to sold-out crowds or leading community programs and volunteering to empower local youth, 4-H alumni represent the epitome of true leadership. These remarkable alumni are committed to paying it forward and ensuring the next generation has the opportunity to benefit from the 4-H experience."

The prestigious group is part of the 25 million 4-H alumni across the nation.

In Nebraska, one in three age-eligible youth participates in 4-H, which is present in all 93 counties. These youth, ages 5-18, participate through camps, clubs, school enrichment and after-school programs. All 4-H programs place strong emphasis on life skills, such as problem solving, responsibility, citizenship and leadership. To learn more about Nebraska 4-H, visit http://4h.unl.edu.



Nebraska Farmers Union 2017 Spring District Meetings

District 7 Spring Meeting: Valentino’s, 1025 S. 13th St, Norfolk, NE 68701
Thursday, March 30, 2017, 6:00 pm buffet supper on own with meeting to follow.
· District 7 Director’s Report:  Martin Kleinschmit
· NFU Convention, state & national issues:  John Hansen
· Featured speaker:  Michael  J. Sieh, Superintendent from Stanton Community Schools will share information and perspective with us on property tax relief and
adequate funding for education.
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member.
For more info, call Art Tanderup (402) 278-0942 or (402) 887-1396.

District 3 Spring Meeting:  The Speakeasy Restaurant, 2993 S. Rd, Holdrege, NE 68949

Friday, March 31, 2017, 6:00 pm supper on your own with meeting to follow.
· District 3 Director’s Report:  David Mohlman
· NFU Convention, state & national issues:  John Hansen
· Featured speaker: A leader in the education community who will share information and perspective with us on property tax relief and adequate funding for education.
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member.  
For more information, call Darrell Buschkoetter (402) 469-3451

District 4 Spring Meeting:  Valentino’s, 701 Court Street, Beatrice.

Monday, April 3, 2017.  6:00 pm buffet supper on your own with meeting to follow.
· District 4 Director’s Report:  Vern Jantzen
· NFU Convention, state & national issues:  John Hansen
·Featured speaker: John Skretta, Superintendent for Norris School District will share information and perspective with us on property tax relief and adequate funding for education.
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member.
For more info call Karen Sysel (402) 946-6561 or (402) 381-8047.

District 6 Spring Meeting:  Office Bar and Grill Restaurant, 121 N Main St., Hooper, NE

Tuesday, April 6, 2017, 6:00 pm supper on your own with meeting to follow.
· District 6 Director’s Report:  Graham Christensen
· NFU Convention, state & national issues:  John Hansen
· Featured speaker will be a leader in the education community who will share information and perspective with us on property tax relief and adequate funding for education.
Bring a friend, neighbor or family member.
For more information, call Paul Poppe (402) 380-4508.

District 5 Spring Meeting:  Harry’s Restaurant, 308 W. 2nd Street, Valparaiso.

Thursday, April 13, 2017.  6:00 pm supper on your own with meeting to follow.
· District 5 Director’s Report:  Ben Gotschall
· NFU Convention, state & national issues:  John Hansen
· Featured speaker:  Mike Lucas, Superintendent of York Public Schools will share information and perspective with us on property tax relief and adequate funding for education.
Bring a friend, neighbor, or family member who needs to be a member.
For more information, call Zack Hamilton (402) 875-1433.



Lawrence Named Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach


John Lawrence, associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and director of extension and outreach, has been named interim vice president for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Lawrence will succeed Cathann Kress, who is leaving to become vice president of agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. He will become the acting vice president on March 31, and assume the interim role April 29.

“John was raised on a crop and livestock farm in southwest Iowa, and has decades of experience serving Iowans,” notes Jonathan Wickert, Iowa State's senior vice president and provost.

“He’s also a great servant of Iowa State, and an excellent choice to serve as interim leader of extension and outreach,” Wickert said.

Lawrence joined Iowa State as a professor of economics in 1991, after serving as an extension livestock economist, assistant director of the Agriculture Experiment Station, and director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State. He currently leads the Iowa Nutrient Research Center, which was established in 2013 to develop a science-based approach to reduce the amount of nutrients delivered to Iowa waterways and the Gulf of Mexico.

Wickert said a national search for a permanent vice president will be launched in the coming months, and expressed thanks to Kress for her many contributions to the university, and to the state of Iowa.



Prepare for Sometimes Contrary Spring Weather


No one wants to think about a disaster, but floods and tornadoes are two of Iowa's most common hazards.

Heavy rains, flooding, tornadoes, ice storms, blizzards and heavy snow -- hazardous storms have caused most of Iowa's 27 Presidential Disaster Declarations since 2000.

"Being prepared is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from severe weather," says Adam Broughton with DNR's field services' emergency response. "March 27 to 31 is Severe Weather Awareness Week -- a good opportunity to check your supply kit and review your communications plan."

Broughton suggests putting together a supply kit with food and water for three days--enough time for emergency responders to reach you in extreme situations. Other essentials include batteries and solar-powered or hand-cranked chargers, a light source, medicine and prescription lists, doctors' numbers, insurance cards and pet supplies. It's good to have supply kits for home, work and on the road.

Having a communication plan ensures friends and family stay in touch. Take time to review it together, discussing where to meet during an emergency and who to notify. Update emergency contacts, including listing someone out-of-town as a central contact. In an emergency, use texts and short calls to avoid tying up phone lines needed by emergency responders.

Get organized by storing important documents in the Cloud or on a secure flash drive. Include insurance, identification and banking information. Place important print documents in a fire and waterproof safe.



U.S. Beef Industry to President Trump: Please Help Get U.S. Beef Back into China

 
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today sent a coalition letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to raise the restoration of U.S. beef access to China when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. Leaders from the U.S. Meat Export Federation and the North American Meat Institute also signed the letter.

American beef producers have been denied access to China – a $2.6 billion import market -- since 2003. Last fall China announced that it had lifted its ban on imports of U.S. beef, but attempts since then to negotiate the technical terms of access have been unsuccessful.

“We believe that access to the large and growing Chinese beef market is essential to the future health of the U.S. beef industry,” read the letter, which was signed by NCBA’s CEO, Kendal Frazier. “We understand that you have many important issues to discuss with President Xi, but we strongly encourage you to take this important opportunity to convey the urgent need for China to reopen its market to U.S. beef.”

In 2016, American beef producers sold $6.3 billion worth of U.S. beef to customers around the world, with three of the industry's top foreign markets located in Asia.



XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology - Now Approved for Tank-Mixes with Certain Glyphosate Products


Monsanto on Monday received approval for certain glyphosate tank-mixes with XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology.   They then listed the following products containing potassium salt formulations of glyphosate on www.xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com as approved tank-mix products, including:
·         Roundup PowerMAX®Herbicide
·         Roundup PowerMAX® II Herbicide
·         Roundup WeatherMAX®Herbicide
·         Honcho® K6™ Herbicide
·         Abundit® Edge Herbicide

Monsanto is committed to offering growers the lowest dicamba volatility potential solutions we can offer them. Monsanto believes that tank mixes of dicamba with potassium salt formulations of glyphosate have lower volatility potential than tank mixes with IPA and DMA salts of glyphosate based on humidome testing via published ASTM methodology.  For this reason, Monsanto plans to include only glyphosate products containing potassium salt of glyphosate as approved tank mix products with XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology to the website at this time.

Approved glyphosate products will be limited to a maximum use rate of 32 fl oz per acre for each application when tank-mixed with XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology for in-crop use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans and cotton with XtendFlex® technology.  This maximum use rate for glyphosate is consistent with expert recommendations for effective weed management within Roundup Ready PLUS® Crop Management Solutions.  In addition, the listed glyphosate options will require the use of SPECIFIC approved drift reducing adjuvants (DRAs) when tank-mixed with XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.

In addition to the newly listed glyphosate products, we added two additional approved drift reducing adjuvants, AG16098 and CapsuleTM, providing additional DRA options along with the previously approved product Intact™.  Specific DRAs are required for certain products specified on the tank mix website.  Monsanto supports enabling flexibility for growers to tank mix the most appropriate combinations for the best weed management recommendations specific to each grower’s field.

As a reminder, only after tank-mix products and/or nozzles are listed on the established tank-mix website are they considered approved and lawful to use or recommend as stated on product labels. All approved tank-mix products and nozzles for XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology are listed on: www.xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com.



New Legislation an Investment in Agriculture’s Future


A pair of recently introduced bills gives a boost to young people in agriculture by allowing 4-H and FFA students to keep more of the modest income they earn. The students can turn around and put the money toward their education or future agricultural projects.                    

The Agriculture Students Encourage, Acknowledge, Reward, Nurture (EARN) Act (S. 671) and the Student Agriculture Protection Act (SAPA) (H.R. 1626) would create a tax exemption for the first $5,000 of income students 18 years of age or younger earn from projects completed through 4-H or FFA.

The Farm Bureau-supported measures were introduced by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

“The long-term sustainability of agriculture depends on talented young people pursuing careers in farming and ranching and other agricultural production and food chain professions. Student agricultural projects increase awareness of and foster an interest in fields of study that will provide the next generation of farmers and ranchers, food scientists, agricultural engineers, agronomists, horticulturalists and soil scientists,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to Moran, Ernst and McCaul.



Representatives from Domino’s and investor engagement firm to speak at 2017 Summit


Two expert speakers – Tim McIntyre of Domino’s Pizza and Kathryn Hembree Night of CamberView Partners – will give attendees at the 2017 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit advice for handling activist investors and responding to shareholder resolutions. The 2017 Summit, themed “Connect to Protect Animal Ag” will be held May 3-4 in Kansas City, Mo. The panel, titled “Extremists in the Boardroom: Responding to Activist Investors” is sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council and will be moderated by Lyle Orwig of Charleston|Orwig.

Orwig will lead McIntyre, executive vice president, communication, investor relations and legislative affairs at Domino's Pizza, Inc., and Night, principal, CamberView Partners LLC., through a conversation on how activist groups are connecting with investment firms as well as using the shareholder resolution process to pressure consumer-facing brands into changing their policies for suppliers of milk, meat, poultry and eggs.

“We continue to see activist groups attempting to influence the policies of brands by purchasing shares themselves or reaching out to investment firms,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “It is essential for animal agriculture to understand this tactic and learn how we can help our restaurant, retail, foodservice and branded company partners respond to these pressures and make informed decisions. I personally cannot wait for this lively discussion and know it will be a highlight of the Summit.”

McIntyre has been with Domino’s for 31 years, serving many communications roles over the years before being appointed to his current position in March 2016. He is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and serves on its College of Business Marketing Advisory Board. He is a board member of Food Gatherers, an Ann Arbor based organization which exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in the community. Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza is the recognized world leader in pizza delivery, ranking among the world’s top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 12,500 stores in over 80 international markets.

Night joined CamberView - which provides independent, investor-focused advice to help public company management teams and boards build strong, productive relationships with institutional investors – in 2014. Previously, Night was an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group at Goldman Sachs in New York. While in the M&A Group, she helped deliver advice to companies in connection with shareholder activism, proxy fights, contested mergers, cross-border transactions, special committee situations, and complex corporate governance issues. Night graduated with honors from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a B.A. in chemistry and philosophy.

Orwig is the founding partner and chairman of Charleston|Orwig, a communications agency with a special focus on reputation management, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. From his youth on a family farm in east-central Illinois through his rise to state office in FFA and graduation from the University of Illinois’ College of Agriculture and, ultimately, the founding of Charleston|Orwig, Lyle Orwig has maintained his focus on and passion for agriculture, marketing communications, reputation management and corporate social responsibility programs. He leads the agency’s crisis communications work and continues to be intimately involved in working with clients.

Be sure to check the Alliance website for the most up-to-date Summit information. You can also follow the hashtag #AAA17 and #ActionPlease2017 for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact summit@animalagalliance.org or call (703) 562-5160.



Discovery opens ‘new field of research’ into SCN resistance


Five years ago, a team of scientists led by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Khalid Meksem discovered which gene was key to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistance in soybeans. Now they are learning which genes work as partners to combat the pest.

Soybeans are a major element in the Midwest economy. In Illinois, for example, soybeans alone are worth nearly $6 billion a year in direct sales, not counting money and employment in soybean processing and other post-harvest jobs. The soybean cyst nematode, a microscopic roundworm that feeds on soybean roots, can be a big problem for more than just the farmer.

“This year alone, the soybean cyst nematode cost the soybean industry $1.2 billion in damage,” Meksem, professor of plant genetics and genomics, said. “Nematicides are harmful to the environment and expensive for the farmer to control the disease. The best way to manage the disease is to use the soybean’s disease resistant genes and plant resistant soybean lines in infected soils.”

Meksem and his team made soybean history in 2012 when they discovered which gene – GmSHMT08 -- was crucial to SCN resistance. Now, in 2017, he, and scientists from SIU and the University of Missouri Columbia, are finding out more about how a major partner gene called GmSNAP resists the SCN. They had already learned that the gene codes an SCN-resistant protein. Now they are finding out more about how that happens, and how the two partners work together for optimum SCN resistance.

The most common SCN-resistant type soybeans grown in the United States derive their resistance either from a soybean line called PI 88788 or Peking. Meksem’s team found that resistance in the Peking-type soybean requires the two different genes (GmSNAP and GMSHMT) with a specific allele combination to trigger SCN resistance. An allele is an alternative form of a gene, one member of a pair, located in a specific position on a specific chromosome. Based on this different allele requirement, and differences in amino acids in resistant soybeans and susceptible soybeans, the researchers conclude that the Peking-type GmSNAP18 gene is performing a different role in SCN resistance than the PI 88788-type GmSNAP 18 gene.

“This opens up a whole new field of research,” Meksem said. “We should not be looking at one gene and one mechanism of that gene. We need to find more about their allele partners to understand how they sense the presence of the SCN, how do they recognize the threat, what is the trigger?

“To our best knowledge, this is the first report of a gene that evolved to possibly use two mechanisms to ensure the same function within the same species – in this case, resistance to a pathogen,” Meksem said. “The knowledge from this study can be readily used to improve nematode resistance in soybeans.”

Meanwhile, the nematode isn’t idly waiting in the field, picking only on plants with less disease-resistance. It is evolving and adapting and changing its own gene sequences to find ways to attack even those plants with strong gene-resistance. Consequently, even a consistently SCN-resistant variety of soybean can lose its resistance over time. That’s one reason it is important to understand how SCN disease-resistant genes function.

There is some urgency for this research, Meksem said. The possibility of the soybean cyst nematode building complete resistance to the PI 88788 line could be catastrophic. The answer, Meksem said, is genetic diversity in the soybean – using other disease-resistant genes and develop more sources of SCN resistant soybean lines -- which, to be successful, requires a better understanding of disease-resistant genes. Meksem’s research is a step in that direction.

In the meantime, he suggests adding a new element to current SCN management. Farmers already rotate crops to manage the SCN. In Illinois, that often means soybean rotating with corn, and sometimes with winter wheat as well. Meksem said adding another element to the crop rotation -- rotating the type of soybean resistant lines used – would make it harder for the SCN to develop immunity to the disease-resistance type deployed in the field, or at least will slow this process.  

The paper detailing the work and results of the research teams, “The GmSNAP18 is the Peking-type rhg1-a Gene for Resistance to Soybean Cyst Nematode,” appears online in “Nature” today (March 27). “Nature Communications” is widely considered the top scientific journal, especially as far as its impact on the international scientific community and on the public as well. Publication in “Nature Communication” is a career highlight for any scientist, Meksem said, noting that it is often a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. This paper, though, is his second in the “Nature” journal family.



QuikTrip Joins Prime the Pump, Will Expand E15 Availability in Dallas-Fort Worth to 44 Stores


Today, QuikTrip, the Oklahoma based chain of convenience stores, has joined major retailers selling E15—a biofuel that contains 15 percent ethanol—by announcing it will sell the fuel at 44 of its locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area in Texas.

QuikTrip joins, Family Express, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuels, RaceTrac, Sheetz, and Thorntons in offering their customers expanded fuel choices at the pump.  Approved for use in all vehicles 2001 and newer, E15 is a high-octane fuel that burns cleaner and cooler than traditional gasoline, giving consumers improved vehicle performance and savings of up to 10 cents per gallon, while contributing to a greener environment.

“We are pleased to have QuikTrip join our retailer family and look forward to expanding access to clean-burning, homegrown E15 with them,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “QuikTrip is clearly committed to providing exceptional value for its customers at the pump. E15 is a high-performance fuel that has higher octane and burns cooler, providing better engine performance, and saving consumers money. Thanks to QuikTrip, drivers in the Dallas-Fort-Worth area will now be able to make the smart choice for E15.”



ACE 2017 DC fly-in promotes RVP relief, RFS support


The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and over 70 of its grassroots members lobbied Members of Congress last week in Washington, D.C., during the organization’s ninth annual fly-in. The two-day event brought together retailers, ethanol producers, investors, corn growers, service and product providers, and more to participate in over 120 meetings on Capitol Hill.

This year’s fly-in was focused on encouraging co-sponsorship of bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House and Senate (S. 517, H.R. 1311) to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 to allow its use year-round, as well as expressing that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) works; it’s an America first energy policy and supports a strong rural economy. “People who have been on multiple ACE fly-ins reported that there is more awareness on Capitol Hill about ethanol and the RFS,” said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President.

A handful of retailers, including representation from Jetz Convenience Centers, Cresco Fast Stop, Midway Service, Good and Quick, Sheetz, and Propel Fuels, provided lawmakers with real-life examples of the importance of the RFS and RVP regulatory relief. Attendees met with both ethanol supporters and opponents, inside and outside of the corn belt.

“We’re encouraged by our meetings because there seemed to be growing support for RVP legislation, even with Members of Congress from outside the corn belt,” Jennings said. “When you explain to them that retailers aren’t allowed to sell E15 in the summer months, even though E15 has lower evaporative emissions than gas and E10, they see this as a problem that needs to be fixed, whether Congress takes that step or EPA decides they can do it on their own.”

This year’s fly-in agenda included a visit from Eric Branstad, Senior White House Advisor to the Department of Commerce. He addressed the crowd at the Wednesday evening reception. “At the end of the day, you have the White House and the President’s support because you’ve earned it,” Branstad said. “I want to make sure Washington D.C. is educated on ethanol and it’s so important that you share that message.”

Adam Gustafson with Boyden Gray & Associates was another guest speaker, who provided insight on the Urban Air Initiative’s regulatory strategy for higher octane fuels.



CWT Assists with 2.4 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales


Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 21 requests for export assistance from member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 2.381 million pounds (1,088 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses plus 52,360 pounds (23.75 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from March through June 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 21.483 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 1.427 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 12 countries on four continents. The sales are the equivalent of 207.252 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.



President Signs Resolution to Repeal BLM Planning 2.0


President Trump today signed a congressional resolution directing the Bureau of Land Management to repeal their Planning 2.0 Rule. Wyoming rancher and NCBA and PLC member Joel Bousman was in attendance at the White House for the signing. Ethan Lane, executive director of PLC and NCBA federal lands, applauded the action and called it a significant victory for western ranchers.

“BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule would have caused a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing ‘social and environmental change’ over ensuring the multiple use of public lands,” said Lane. “When you couple the wholesale shift away from multiple-use with the elimination of stakeholder and local input, the rule was unworkable for western communities. We applaud the action by President Trump and look forward to working with the new Administration to bring together a streamlined planning process that works for livestock ranchers and the western communities that depend on the use of BLM lands.”