Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday February 17 Ag News

Private Applicators Need Certification

All farmers who use restricted use pesticide must have a current certification card according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is conducting the following training sessions. Which are approved for renewal or initial certification according to University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Extension Educator Larry Howard of Cuming County.  Again this year, there will be a fee charged to support the cost of materials.  Producers are reminded to bring their old cards and the letter with the form at the bottom that they received from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture if they are re-certifying.

Each session last approximately three hours and will be held in West Point at the Nielsen Community Center on March 3 at 1:30 p.m. and again at 7:00 p.m.

For additional information, contact the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension office in Cuming County at 402/372-6006.

Again this year, the Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department’s Operation Heart to Heart will be available before the pesticide training (From 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.).  They are providing free cardiovascular screenings for farmers and their families.

A screening consists of measuring blood pressure, body mass index, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides and glucose.  Results are available within minutes.  Fasting 8 hours prior to the screening is recommended but not required.  A blood sample is taken from a finger poke.  No income or insurance guidelines or restrictions.  Operation Heart to Heart serves residents in Madison, Stanton, Cuming and Burt counties.

A light snack or lunch will be available.  Walk-ins are always welcome.

Extension Board Elects Officers

The 2014 Cuming County Extension board met for their reorganizational meeting in January.  Paul Knobbe of Dodge was re-elected to serve a one-year term as president.  He will preside at the monthly meetings of the Extension board as well as representing the Extension Board in any policy-making matters.  Members of the board elected Sandy Rasmus of West Point to serve as vice president and Cindy Bloedorn of Wisner recording secretary.

Other members of the Extension Board are Kay Raabe, Wisner; Terry Jahnke, Bancroft; Margarita Flores, West Point and Chris Kreikemeier, West Point.  Chris Schiller, Scribner, Alan Meiergerd, West Point and Kara Sweeny, Wisner represent the 4-H Council of the Extension Board.

The Extension Board is the policy making body for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program in Cuming County.  The next meeting of the Extension Board will be Monday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courthouse Meeting Room.

UNL Extension Offers Crop Scout Training in March

            Crop scouts will learn how to better manage corn and soybean pests during a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Crop Scout Training for Pest Managers program March 6.

            The training provides in-depth and detailed information from university specialists.

            Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the workshop is from 9 a.m-5 p.m. at the university's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead.

            Cost is $135. Fees include lunch, refreshment breaks, workshop materials and instruction manual. Registrants should preregister to reserve their seat and to ensure workshop materials are available the day of the training session. Updated reference materials are included in this year's take- home instruction manual.

            Topics include: how corn and soybean plants grow and develop; soybean and corn insect management; insect quiz; identifying weeds – plant morphology; using a key to identify weed seedlings; crop diseases and quiz; and nutrient deficiencies.

            Certified Crop Advisor continuing education credits are available with 4 in pest management, 1 in crop management and .5 in fertility/nutrient management.

            For more information or to register, contact UNL Extension at 402-624-8030, 800-529-8030, e-mail Keith Glewen at, or online at

            UNL Extension is in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Great Question Challenge Creates Local Solutions to Food Insecurity

            University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and DuPont Pioneer are partnering to develop a new youth program titled, "The Great Question Challenge."

            The Great Question Challenge is designed to empower high school students to create local solutions to issues of national and global importance. For 2014, the Great Question Challenge focuses on solutions to food insecurity.

            About 15 percent of all U.S. households are food insecure, and in Nebraska nearly 100,000 children are insecure as to their next meal. Creating locally appropriate solutions to this challenge will mobilize student community leaders to identify how to alleviate hunger and increase nutrition in their hometowns.

            An April 5 workshop at UNL will educate students about food insecurity and the role they play in becoming a catalyst to change.

            This day-long workshop will include interaction with industry leaders, discussion about food insecurity and the opportunity to network with students from across the state. Students will walk away from this experience with improved or new ideas of how to address food insecurity in their local communities.

            Registration for the spring workshop is open until March 28.

            Following the workshop, student teams from across the state are invited to submit proposals that address food insecurity in their local community.  Project proposals are due April 18.

            Up to eight teams will receive funding to help implement and execute their community project. Teams will be mentored throughout their projects and a final event will be held in the fall to celebrate the success of the teams.

            For more information about The Great Question Challenge, visit or contact Shane Potter at

This week is National FFA Week

Stacey Agnew, Executive Director, NE FFA Foundation

Ignite. That's the theme of this year's National FFA Week - February 15-22. FFA is igniting leadership, growth and success in students. This week is a great opportunity for FFA members, alumni and sponsors to advocate for agricultural education and FFA. We love this unique opportunity to share what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day.

I'm also excited to talk about more growth in Nebraska's ag education. Next fall, Nebraska will add ag education and FFA programs in at least three more schools. Cross County, Auburn and Adams Central have all started the process of hiring an ag teacher for their schools. And just this week, Lincoln voter's approved a bond issue to finance the Capital Career Center, serving all of Lincoln Public School students. The career center is a joint venture with Southeast Community College and will feature education for students in four major career pathways, including Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The center will be open in fall of 2015.

There's a lot going on in Nebraska FFA right now. Yesterday, Easton Corbin, country singer and former FFA member held a free FFA forum for FFA members, FFA week events will be going on across the state next week, and we're gearing up for the 2014 Nebraska FFA Convention. Make sure you scroll down to learn more about the Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award and join us on social media to see photos of the Easton Corbin Forum and to celebrate National FFA week.

Thanks for your support as we ignite leadership, growth and success in our students during FFA week and throughout the year.

Students use National FFA Week to share importance of agriculture, value of agricultural education, history of organization

More than a half-million students in all 50 U.S. states this week will share the importance of agriculture in our daily lives, spread their passion for agriculture and host community-wide events to help others in need.

It’s National FFA Week and a host of activities are planned to raise awareness about the role the National FFA Organization plays in the development of the agriculture industry’s future leaders and the importance of agricultural education.

The week-long tradition started in 1948. Each year, National FFA Week runs Saturday to Saturday, encompassing President George Washington’s Feb. 22 birthday in recognition of Washington’s legacy as an agriculturist and farmer.

FFA was founded by a group of young farmers back in 1928. Its mission is to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. Founding members of the organization taught generations that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting — it involves science, business and much more.

Today, FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet new agricultural challenges by helping members develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. Members progress to enjoy careers as biologists, chemists, veterinarians, engineers and entrepreneurs.

National FFA Week is sponsored by Tractor Supply Co., National FFA Week activities can be followed on Twitter at #FFAweek.

According to responses on Facebook and Twitter, local FFA chapters plan to host parties in appreciation of their agriculture teachers and FFA advisors. Members will host local farmers’ markets, visit elementary and middle schools to talk about FFA and agricultural education, complete community-service projects, participate in spirit days at their schools to promote agricultural education and much more. A round-up of some planned National FFA Week activities:

•    Through Sunday, participating Tractor Supply Co. stores encourage customers to donate $1 at checkout to support FFA. Donations will fund $1,000 scholarships for FFA members while 10 percent will support state FFA association programs. Last year, Tractor Supply raised more than $362,000 in 45 states to provide 284 scholarships for FFA members to use for college.

•    The National FFA Organization is hosting a reception Tuesday at the National FFA Center in Indianapolis. Scheduled to attend are Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard; Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney; Ginny Cain, central Indiana regional director for U.S. Sen. Dan Coats; Chris Ready, director of U.S. and Canada food animal marketing for Elanco; and Ethan McNeely, Indiana FFA state officer and Southern Region vice president.

•    The Northwestern Clark FFA chapter in Ohio is having a “felfie” contest – members will take “selfie” photos with a farm animal of their choice and post on Twitter using #nefelfie.

•    Valders FFA chapter in Wisconsin is hosting a canned food drive during National FFA Week. In its first year last year, the drive resulted in more than 800 cans of food being donated to a local food bank.

•    The Jackson County Central and Southwest Star Concept FFA chapters in Minnesota will celebrate National FFA Week will host an FFA Barnyard in the high school’s agricultural shop class. Local day care and preschool students and kindergarten through second-grade students can visit chickens, pigs, calves and rabbits while learning about farm safety.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Day 1:  Ranch Horse Competition

The 2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic moved to a weekend schedule to offer ranchers and horse enthusiasts an expanded offering of ranch horse events this year.  The Cattlemen’s Classic was rewarded with this decision by a standing-room only crowd to watch the day’s activities. The morning started off with the Ranch Horse Evaluation competition with Top Conformation Horse honors going to Lot 16, Pretty High Roller, consigned by Reuther Ranch, David Ruether of Broken Bow, NE.   Ranch Horse Versatility competition followed with Top Ranch Horse Versatility honors going to Lot 2, Awesome Misty, consigned by Hanging H Ranch, Neal Hansen, Sutherland, NE, and ridden by Railen Gilmore.  Open Roping and the Ranch Rodeo at 5:00 PM completed the day’s activities. 

Top Team Penning Members:  Ryan Ludeke, Ron Seimers, Mushy Stohlman

Top Doctoring Honors Team Members:  Dave Ruether, Haley Kouma, Matt Wilken

Top Trailer Loading Team Members:  Wes Roberts, Trey Wassenburg, Jake Mustard

Top Ranch Hand: Railen Gilmore
All-Around Ranch Horse:  Lot 2, Consigned by Hanging H Ranch, Sutherland, NE- Ridden by Railen Gilmore

The evening was topped off with a full-house of ranchers and cattlemen listening to Reggie Shaw who provided the live entertainment for the barn dance.  Sunday’s activities will include 7:00 AM -Cowboy Church, 8:30 AM- Working Cow Horse Competition, 12:30 PM- Working Dog Demonstration and 2:00 PM Ranch Horse Sale. 

2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Day 2:  Ranch Horse/ Working Dog Results

The 2014 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Working Ranch Horse Competition, Working Dog Demonstration and Working Ranch Horse Sale were held Sunday, February 16th in Kearney, NE.  The morning started off with Cowboy Church at 7:00 AM, followed by the Working Cow Horse Demonstration and Working Dog Demonstration.  31 horses competed for top honors during this two-day event and consignors showcased their horses to potential buyers.  An overflow crowd attended the sale in the afternoon and the new weekend format for the horse events was well-received by everybody participating in the Classic.

Taking top honors for Record-Setting High-Selling Horse, Supreme Ranch Horse, Top All-Around Horse, Top Versatility Horse was Lot 2, Awesome Misty sired by Awesome Cougarand, consigned by Hanging H Ranch, Sutherland, NE, and sold to Glenn Friendt. of Lincoln, NE, for $9,500.

High-Selling Gelding was Lot 21, Fritz Uno Chex, sired by Fritz Command Chex, consigned by Danny Elwood of Oberlin, KS, and sold to Kip Huhman, of Brewster, NE, for $5,500.  Sale Gross: $105,400 - 31 Lots Averaged: $3,400

Plan to attend and partake in Tuesday’s activities which include a Cattlemen’s Lunch, Cattlemen’s Meetings, Bill Rishel, Rishel Angus speaking on “Sustainability in the Beef Industry”, and the Cattlemen’s Barn Event & Old-Timer’s Fitting Contest.

Iowans Selected to Oversee National Beef Checkoff Program

Four Iowa beef producers were selected to serve on national committees to oversee the Beef Checkoff at the 2014 Cattle Industry Annual Convention held in Nashville, Tenn.

Terri Carstensen, Odebolt, and Scott McGregor, Nashua, will serve one- year terms on the Beef Promotion Operating Committee, which, following input from beef producers nationwide, will make final budget allocations for FY 2015 national Beef Checkoff Programs.

Dean Black, Somers, and Kent Pruismann, Rock Valley, were selected to serve on the Executive Committee of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Black and Pruismann, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, represent Iowa cattle producers on the Beef Board. The 11-member Executive Committee operates under the direction of and within the policies established by the full Board and is responsible for carrying out Beef Board policies and conducting business and making decisions necessary to administer the terms and provisions of the Act and Order between meetings of the full Board.

Carstensen and McGregor represent the Iowa Beef Industry Council on the Federation of State Beef Councils, which is an alliance of 45 state beef councils that collect the $1 per-head beef checkoff. Beef councils forward 50 cents of the $1 beef checkoff to the national Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) and retain the other 50 cents for in-state use or to re-invest with the Federation to extend national beef promotion efforts.

Each year the beef checkoff undergoes a producer-driven budget and program planning process. The Operating Committee, with 10 Federation members and 10 CBB members, approves the final national plan. National programs are funded by investments from the Federation (from state beef council investments) and the national 50 cents, collected through the Cattlemen's Beef Board. The Operating Committee will approve plans for FY 2015, which begins Oct. 1, 2015.

The beef checkoff is a $1-per-head assessment a majority of cattlemen voted upon themselves in 1986 to spend on advertising, beef safety research, product enhancement, new product development, foodservice and retail programs and consumer education. Importers are assessed a comparable amount for beef products they import into the United States.

Support for the beef checkoff, at 78 percent, is the highest recorded in the past 21 years, according to a recent survey of 1,225 beef and dairy producers nationwide. For more information about checkoff programs, visit

BQA Tab Picked Up By Boehringer Ingelheim

Beef and dairy producers, who enroll in the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program before April 15, can save the $25 to $50 certification or recertification fees thanks to corporate sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIVI).

BQA is a beef checkoff-funded program that gives producers a set of guidelines for producing safe, high-quality beef. Producers can be BQA certified after they have participated in web-based or local training programs.

BQA web-based training includes certification modules customized to fit each segment of the cattle industry, including cow-calf, stocker, feedyard and dairy operations. Management practices covered in the training include proper handling and administration of vaccinations and other products, eliminating injection site blemishes, better cattle handling, management of feedstuffs and record keeping.

"One of the challenges that beef producers face is having all of their employees become BQA certified," said Dr. Jerry Woodruff, professional services veterinarian with BIVI. "BIVI's partnership with BQA helps offset some of those expenses. We encourage producers and their employees to use the web-based training programs."

This is the second year for this offer from BIVI. Last year more than 3,500 producers took advantage of the certification sponsorship.

To have the costs of the BQA program paid by BIVI, go to or contact your BIVI rep. More information on the BQA program can be found at

High crop production set to challenge Brazil’s infrastructure again

Rabobank expects another year of record production for several of Brazil’s major agricultural crops in 2014, including soybeans and, depending on weather developments, sugarcane. However, according to a recent research note, international prices for many of Brazil’s agricultural commodities fell in 2013 and could decline further in 2014. Infrastructure and logistics remain key points of concern for the country for 2014, particularly for the export market. With production and export volumes set to rise again, and further increases in transport fuel costs implemented at the end of 2013, there is little chance of lower logistics costs in 2014.

“Due to slowing economic growth and high inflation in Brazil, the domestic market will have limited scope to drive growth in sales in 2014,” explained Rabobank analyst Andy Duff. “It is possible that some growth may come from exports, but with declining global commodity prices, revenue growth would have to come from an increase in export volumes, or a declining exchange rate, or both.”

In the case of soybeans, the outlook is an increase in export volumes in 2014. Brazil’s soybean area in 2014 is estimated to be 7 percent, or 2 million hectares, up on area in 2013, as a result of favorable economics for soybeans vis-à-vis corn. If trend line yields are achieved, a harvest of 91 million tons is expected for the 2013/14 crop year, versus 81 million tons in 2012/13.

Brazil’s beef industry is also expecting 2014 to be another year of rising exports. With major competing exporters facing challenges in raising output, Brazil is well-placed to capitalize on growing import demand. The decline in the value of Brazil’s currency over the last year has also boosted the industry’s export competitiveness, and a further gradual decline in the BRL/USD exchange rate over 2014 is expected to sustain this competitive advantage.

Nevertheless, the positive impact of the weakening of the BRL/USD exchange rate on Brazil’s export competitiveness has been at least partially offset by rising costs, especially in services and logistics. For example, diesel prices have risen three times since the beginning of 2013, with the most recent hike of 8 percent at the end of November 2013, Given the long distances between major crop production regions and the country’s ports, sustained major investments in infrastructure over the coming years remain pivotal if the country is to continue to expand production and export volumes while remaining competitive.

“Although Brazil is slowly addressing its bottlenecks, this will take years,” notes Duff. “For 2014, with higher fuel costs and another large grain harvest, logistics costs for Brazilian agribusiness are unlikely to decline.”

All Hands to Long Beach: America's Second Busiest Port Hosts 2014 Winter Meeting

Approximately 250 delegates rendezvoused in Long Beach, Calif., this week for the U.S. Grains Council's 11th International Marketing Conference and 54th Annual Membership Meeting. Headquartered at the Hyatt Regency just a block from the boardwalk of the nation's second busiest port, the winter annual meeting was three days of meetings, speakers and conversation dedicated to developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives.

While California's sunny Mediterranean climate beckoned outside,the real action was indoors, as the Council's Advisory Teams tackled dozens of issues preparatory to developing the USGC's Unified Export Strategy for Fiscal Year 2015. From biotechnology to trade negotiations to market development strategies in key countries around the world, the A-Teams provided the expertise and strategic guidance that keep the Council ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing international marketplace.

A keynote address by IBM's Dr. Bob Sutor on cutting edge technology trends ... discussions of logistics and a review of current developments in China ... and detailed market assessments from the Council's international directors were among the highlights. Martin Fraguio, executive director of MAIZAR, Argentina's corn and sorghum association and a partner in MAIZALL, offered a South American perspective on the challenges facing corn exporters today. The Council paused also to pay tribute to Dr. Owen Newlin, whose leadership over more than 40 years has been second to none in establishing and maintaining the status of the United States as the world's most reliable supplier of feed grains.

This edition of Global Update touches on a few of the highlights from Long Beach. It is also a reminder to mark your calendar today for the Council's summer gathering, the 55th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting, which will be held in Omaha, Neb., on July 28-30, 2014. We hope to see you there!

“It Makes a Difference:” Delegates Hear How Corn Quality Reports Open Doors

In just its third year, the U.S. Grains Council's Corn Harvest Quality and Corn Export Quality Reports are scoring points around the world. Reporting to Council delegates in Long Beach, Calif., USGC Director of Trade Development and Government Relations in China Kevin Roepke and USGC Manager of Global Trade Alvaro Cordero discussed the many marketing opportunities unlocked by the reports. Roepke and Cordero, along with the Council's international directors, have been the frontline presenters of the reports to stakeholders abroad.

"The reports are conversation starters," Roepke said. "First and foremost, our buyers want the information."

Intense buyer interest was echoed by Duane Aistrope, district seven representative of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, who accompanied Roepke on a presentation tour in north Asia where Aistrope provided a producer perspective on the U.S. corn crop.

"In Japan, for example, we had expected about 100 people, and there were 250," Aistrope said. "And we recieved many questions. It is clear they were eager for the information."

But that is only a starting point, Roepke explained. The Council already enjoys a reputation as a reliable provider of relevant and accurate information, and in the corn quality reports, the Council has a tool that is unmatched by competitor countries. This invites comparisons.

Cordero agreed.

"In our travels, we are constantly shown poor quality corn from competitor countries. Price is important, but price is not the only thing. When there is a quality issue with corn from India or Thailand or Ukraine, or a delivery issue due to logistical problems in Argentina or Brazil, the corn quality reports give us good, hard data, not just anecdotes, to market U.S. quality and reliability," Cordero said.

"It does make a difference," Cordero and Roepke agree. The reports were initiated in response to quality issues in the 2009 U.S. corn crop. Three years later, they are reinforcing the United States as the world's most reliable, high quality producer of corn -- and of the Council as a trusted partner in fostering long-term relationships that benefit both buyer and seller.

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