Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday January 30 Ag News

Nebraska Young Farmers, Ranchers Excited about Technology, Concerned about Public Perception of Agriculture
Nebraska’s young farmers and ranchers say the growth in technology in farming and ranching is one of the most exciting things about being involved in agriculture today, while the growing public disconnect with where food comes from and how it is raised is their greatest concern. The findings come through a non-scientific survey of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference attendees held Jan. 24-25, in Grand Island, Neb. More than 220 young farmers and ranchers from across the state participated in the conference.

"The use of technology to improve production practices on the farm and to allow us to better protect the environment – our land and water – and grow more with less is important,” Todd Reed, chair of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers committee, said Jan. 30. “Having instant access to information and incorporating communication tools into agriculture is the ‘new normal’ and that’s not going to change.”

More than half, 52 percent, of those participating in the survey said the growth in technology, in seeds, machinery and the general scope of precision farming where inputs and management decisions are made on more detailed level, are the most exciting thing about being involved in agriculture.

Other top vote getters for the most exciting thing about agriculture included the recent rebound of profitability in the beef sector and optimism about growing opportunities for young people to be involved in agriculture, including opportunities not directly tied to the farm or ranch.

In terms of the greatest concerns about agriculture, nearly 25 percent of respondents said the growing public disconnect with farming and ranching as well as negative publicity surrounding some farming practices is most concerning.

“Nebraska Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference serves as a forum for a new generation of producers. A generation that's standing face to face with some issues they never ran into growing up on the farm, telling their stories to consumers. If we aren't telling our story somebody else will. And if we don't tell our story, we're not going to have a story to tell at some point,” Reed said.

Other areas of greater concern young farmers and ranchers identified in the survey included the growth in activist groups opposed to modern farming practices, the expansion of government regulations on farm operations and the challenges associated with getting young people back onto Nebraska’s farms and ranches and ensuring those that do return can remain viable for the long haul.

Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network Offers First Annual Conference

Maximizing the net benefits of irrigated crop production through appropriately designed agricultural water management programs is of growing importance in Nebraska, other western and Midwestern states, and in many regions of the world because many areas are involved in management and policy changes to conserve precious water resources.

In 2005, the Nebraska Agricultural Water Management Network (NAWMN, was formed from an interdisciplinary team of partners including the Natural Resources Districts, USDA-NRCS; farmers, crop consultants; and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and UNL Extension.  The Network has grown from 15 cooperators/partners in 2005 to 1,100 in 2013.

The Network leadership team is organizing the First Annual NAWMN Conference Feb. 7 at the City Auditorium in York, Neb. from 9:25 a.m.-3 p.m. with registration beginning at 9 a.m.  This conference is an opportunity for Network partners to talk about progress, new technologies for water conservation, and future plans. During the day, participants will learn about:
            – Update and Status of NAWMN
            – Sensor Research Update
            – Statewide NRD Update
            – Permanent Installation and Underground Wireless Soil Moisture System

Participants are also encouraged to bring examples and share their innovations they have developed for installing, removing and reading equipment. The UNL-IANR Vice Chancellor and NU Vice President Ronnie Green will deliver a keynote address to the Network participants during lunch time. Producers, crop consultants, NRD, DNR, NRCS, irrigation districts and other professionals are invited to attend.

Lunch is being sponsored by the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District and there is no charge to attend. Please RSVP for lunch count to Gary Zoubek at 402-362-5508 or

Since 2005, NAWMN cooperators report a 2-inch reduction of irrigation water withdrawal for corn and soybean consistently due to research-based irrigation management practices and methodologies taught/implemented with the Network. The Network has become the largest and most comprehensive agricultural water management network in the United States. Network participants represent approximately 1.5 million acres of irrigated lands. The total fuel energy saving due to reduction in water withdrawal exceeded $45 million since 2005.

Aurora Cooperative Announces Aurora Agronomy Expansion in Colorado

The Aurora Cooperative, a leading grain marketer and agricultural supplier based in Nebraska and serving America’s farmers in multiple states, today announced finalization of its Aurora Agronomy® expansion in Colorado with the acquisition of Tri County Ag, located in Wray and Paoli, CO.

The Colorado multi-site expansion was previously owned and operated by Kris and Laurie Jones and headquartered at Wray, CO.  The sites will continue to operate under the Tri County Ag brand, with the Jones’ family continuing to lead operations at the facilities, and assist in the expansion of  Aurora Ag Aviation; a sub-division of Aurora Agronomy®.

Tri County Ag is a full-service agronomy business, featuring aerial and ground application, scouting services, and crop protection and fertilizer sales.  Construction of a two million gallon liquid fertilizer terminal has begun at the Wray site, and will be operational for the upcoming crop year.

“The vision of the Aurora Cooperative is to be financially strong, innovative, independent and a farmer-owned agri-business…now, and for the next generation.  We are committed to delivering the finest products, service, and expertise to all farmer-owners in our expanding market area,” said George Hohwieler, President and CEO of the Aurora Cooperative.

“Within this expansion, Aurora’s ground and aerial agronomy capabilities are further enhanced.  Equally important is selecting businesses that share Aurora’s culture and vision,” Hohwieler said. “Kris and Laurie share our approach of building long-term relationships with our farmer-owners.  Aurora’s continued growth will be built upon these time-honored principles.”

Northey Gives Water Quality Initiative Update

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey appeared before two legislative committees on Jan. 30 to discuss the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

Northey highlighted the budget request for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, including a request for additional water quality funding, before the appropriations subcommittee.

Northey then joined Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Chuck Gipp before a joint House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to provide an update on the Iowa Water Quality Initiative.

A copy of the Iowa Water Quality Initiative 2014 Legislative Report that will be provided to legislators is available on the Department's website under "Hot Topics."

The report will highlight the eight watershed demonstration projects have been selected to participate in the water quality initiative over the next three years and the more than 1000 farmers in each of Iowa's 99 counties that received cost share to try new practices targeted at protecting water quality on their farm.

ASA, NOPA Partner on Letter to Ambassador Froman, Secretary Vilsack on TPP

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, ASA and the National Oilseed Processors Association reinforced the soy industry’s priorities in the ongoing Trans‐Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations. ASA CEO Steve Censky and NOPA President Tom Hammer restated their support for the agreement, but expressed dismay that at recent reports that the agreement may fall short of its original goals, especially with respect to market access for agricultural products.

On the subject, Censky and Hammer raised particular issue with recent demands from Japan for special exceptions and protections for what it calls sensitive agricultural products. “Each TPP country must be willing to put all products on the table and agree to eliminate all tariffs and other trade barriers over a reasonable transition period,” said the two leaders. “If exceptions are permitted for any nation, others will demand exceptions for their sensitive products and a comprehensive agreement will be lost.”

Censky and Hammer also noted the industry’s support for the TPP’s handling of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS), and called for both a dispute settlement mechanism and a Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to address shipment‐specific impediments to trade in perishable and time‐sensitive agricultural products.

“The U.S. soy industry has supported all recent U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) and has worked actively to ensure their approval by Congress,” they added. “We are pleased to support agreements that are comprehensive in product coverage and eliminate tariffs and other import barriers. Our FTAs have been as close to full free trade deals as any in the world. The TPP must include comprehensive liberalization in the agriculture sector, including by Japan, and must address the other important issues outlined above. If such an outcome cannot be reached, it is unlikely that we could support TPP.

“Most importantly, if Japan is unwilling to offer comprehensive trade liberalization,” Censky and Hammer continued, “we recommend that the U.S. and other participating countries give serious consideration to concluding the agreement without Japan, with the hope that Japan will be in a better position to undertake the necessary commitments when a second round of negotiations is launched with a new group of nations desiring TPP membership.”

Flex-Fuel Vehicle Makes and Models

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has been a leader in the ethanol industry promoting the production and use of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) and the expansion and distribution of E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline). RFA’s newly updated 2014 flex-fuel vehicle brochure ( explains in detail which makes and models are available as FFVs. There are more than 16 million FFVs on the road today and more than 3,200 stations nationwide that offer E85.

“Flex-fuel vehicles come in many different makes, models, shapes and sizes,” said Robert White, RFA’s director of market development. “I would encourage anyone looking to purchase a new vehicle to consider a flex-fuel vehicle which offers more choices when filling up at the pump.”

According to the average price of E85 in Michigan today is $2.65, compared to today’s average gasoline price of $3.22. E85 prices dipped as low as $1.99 today in Lake Odessa, Mich.

E85 stations can easily be located through an app on any iPhone or Android system in addition to Garmin and TomTom GPS devices. For more information on flex-fuel vehicles and E85 please visit

US Sorghum Sales to China Surge

The U.S. Grains Council reports that U.S. sorghum sales to China have surged in the current 2013/2014 marketing year that began Sept. 1, 2013, up from zero last year to more than 1.6 million metric tons (62.9 million bushels) of combined exports and outstanding sales this year through Jan. 24. U.S. sorghum exports and outstanding sales to Japan also are up this year – from 91,700 tons (3.6 million bushels) last year to 270,400 tons (10.6 million bushels) this year.

China provides a new opportunity for U.S. sorghum sales partly because of access barriers to U.S. corn in China. Although China's domestic corn prices are well above world market levels, biotechnology issues and tariff rate quotas have limited importation of U.S. corn. In spite of an excellent domestic corn harvest in 2013, China's total feed demand exceeds domestic availability. The price of imported corn and sorghum is cheaper than domestic corn in key regions, and the constraints on corn imports have shifted some of this demand to sorghum.

At the same time, China's sorghum demand has boosted U.S. sorghum price above that of corn, resulting in Mexican grain importers shifting to corn. So far in the current marketing year, U.S. corn exports and outstanding sales to Mexico are up more than 5 million tons (196.8 million bushels) – from 3.13 million tons (123 million bushels) last year to 8.15 million tons (320.8 million bushels).

Brazil Soy Shipments Off To Flying Start

Brazil's soybean season just gets earlier every year.  Ships are already busy loading beans and meal at Santos and Paranagua port, a month before the export season traditionally starts.  In total, shipments of some 187,000 metric tons of soybeans will start loading in late January and nearly 4 million metric tons of soybeans and meal are scheduled for February, according SA Commodities, a local shipping agency.

Brazil doesn't normally send soybeans in January, it only shipped 280 mt of soybeans last year, and relatively little in February, only 959,000 mt of beans 12 months ago.  Exporters have been able to name ships earlier because Brazil planted earlier and more and more farmers are using short-cycle beans to allow enough time to plant a second crop.

According to Agroconsult, a local farm analytics firm, the harvest peak this season will be between Feb. 15 and Mar. 15, two months earlier than a decade ago.

RAM Sponsors First Ever FFA Day at Cattle Industry Convention

Ram Trucks will be promoting youth in agriculture and the National FFA Organization (FFA) with the first ever FFA Day at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show on Thursday Feb. 6, during the Cattle Industry Convention. The first 300 FFA members to register for convention will be covered in partnership with RAM Trucks.

“This is a great partnership and an opportunity to showcase what America’s cattlemen and women stand for,” said NCBA President and Cody, Wyoming cattleman Scott George. “The student members of the FFA are the future leaders of our association and the cattle business. Bringing Ram Trucks and FFA youth together to the Cattle Industry Convention to network, learn and see the cattle industry in action is a great opportunity.”

This will be an annual opportunity during future Cattle Industry Conventions for all FFA members to attend.  With more than 300 exhibitors and 7,000 cattle industry professionals in attendance, FFA members can be assured of an engagement that will educate them on the this attractive agricultural industry.

No comments:

Post a Comment