Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday March 28 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


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

Breeding hog inventory, at 400,000 head, was up 3 percent from March 1, 2013, and up 3 percent from last quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 2.65 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, but down 2 percent from last quarter.  

The December 2013-February 2014 Nebraska pig crop, at 1.79 million head, was up 4 percent from 2013.  Sows farrowed during the period totaled 170,000 head, up 3 percent from last year.  The average pigs saved per litter was 10.55 for the December-February period, compared to 10.50 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 175,000 sows during the March-May 2014 quarter, up 9 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.  Intended farrowings for June-August 2014 are 175,000 sows, up 6 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.  

Iowa Hogs and Pigs Down 3%

On  March  1,  2014  there  were  19.8  million  hogs  and  pigs  on  Iowa  farms  according  to  the  latest  USDA  National Agricultural Statistics Service Hogs and Pigs report. The March 1  inventory was down 3 percent  from December 2013 and 1 percent from a year ago. 

The December 2013-February 2014 pig crop was 4.90 million head. A total of 495,000 sows farrowed during this period, up 3 percent from  the last quarter.   The average pigs saved per  litter was 9.90 for the December-February period, down from 10.6 the previous quarter and the lowest pigs saved per litter in three years.  

As of March 1, producers planned to farrow 500,000 head of sows and gilts in the March-May 2014 quarter. Farrowing intentions for the June-August 2014 period are estimated at 510,000 as of March 1, 2014. 

United States Hog Inventory Down 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2014 was 62.9 million head. This was down 3 percent fromMarch 1, 2013, and down 5 percent from December 1, 2013.  Breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 2 percent from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 57.0 million head, was down 4 percent from last year, and down 5 percent from last quarter.

The December 2013-February 2014 pig crop, at 27.3 million head, was down 3 percent from 2013. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.87 million head, up 3 percent from 2013. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.53 for the December-February period, compared to 10.08 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.70 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.60 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.88 million sows farrow during the March-May 2014 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2013, but down 2 percent from 2012. Intended farrowings for June-August 2014, at 2.96 million sows, are up 2 percent from 2013, and up 1 percent from 2012.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up from 47 percent last year.

Breeding, Market, and Total Inventory - States and United States: March 1, 2013 and 2014
                      :         Breeding                :          Market                           :           Total          
                      :            :  2014  :2014 as :         : 2014 :2014 as:              :  2014   :2014 as
      State        :  2013   :           :percent  : 2013 :         :percent:       2013 :         :percent
                      :            :           :of 2013  :         :         :of 2013:               :         :of 2013
                      :     1,000 head   percent  -- 1,000 head --   percent  -- 1,000 head --   percent
Colorado ........:    145       160     110       575        520     90              720        680      94 
Illinois ............:    490       500     102      4,110     3,850   94           4,600      4,350      95 
Indiana ...........:    270       270     100      3,280     3,180   97            3,550     3,450      97 
Iowa ..............:  1,020     1,010      99     19,080   18,790   98          20,100    19,800     99 
Kansas ..........:    170       170     100     1,630     1,500    92           1,800      1,670      93 
Michigan ........:    110       110     100       950       910      96           1,060     1,020      96 
Minnesota ......:    570       550      96      7,080     7,250    102          7,650     7,800     102 
Missouri .........:    340       355    104      2,410     2,095     87           2,750     2,450      89 
Nebraska ........:    390       400    103      2,610     2,650    102          3,000     3,050     102 
North Carolina .:    870       870    100      7,830     7,130     91           8,700     8,000      92 
Ohio ...............:    165       170    103     1,935     1,850      96          2,100     2,020      96 
Oklahoma .......:    410       430    105     1,880     1,560      83          2,290     1,990      87 
Pennsylvania ...:    100        95      95     1,040     1,045     100         1,140     1,140     100 
South Dakota ..:    175       170     97       975      1,030     106         1,150      1,200     104 
Texas .............:    105       100     95       605      460        76            710         560      79 
Utah ...............:     80        75      94        660      635        96            740        710      96 
United States ..:  5,836    5,851   100     59,236  57,048     96         65,072    62,899      97 

Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture

Governor Dave Heineman

It has been another great year for Nebraska agriculture. Every year, I join with our farmers and ranchers to ask Nebraskans to take a moment reflect on the importance of the agricultural industry in our state.  Nebraska Agriculture Week lines up with the national week for citizens throughout our country to recognize how our ag families are feeding our families and feeding the world.

Agriculture is our state’s largest industry. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to raise the food, fuel and fiber we use in our everyday lives. For these efforts, they deserve our appreciation every day, but especially during National Agriculture Week.

Farming, ranching and related agribusiness activities are responsible for just over a quarter of our state’s economic activity. Ninety-three percent of our state’s land is used for agricultural production, and we recently became the number one cattle feeding state in the nation. Our farmers raised the largest corn crop in history last year, and according to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the number of farms in Nebraska grew over the past five years.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture celebrated National Agriculture Week by unveiling the second edition of the “Nebraska Agriculture and You” magazine, a publication designed to share information about the Nebraska agriculture industry. The free, annually produced magazine will be available in places such as doctors and dentists office lobbies, as well as at public libraries, University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Cooperative Extension offices and chambers of commerce. You can also view the magazine online by visiting the Department of Agriculture’s website at

While telling the story of agriculture to consumers is important, sharing that message with our younger generation, many who are two or three generations removed from a farm or ranch operation, is also necessary. That’s why the Nebraska Department of Agriculture hosts a statewide agriculture poster contest each year. It is a way for elementary students to have the opportunity to discuss agriculture, while creating their own works of art. This year marks the 11th anniversary of the contest, with a theme of Nebraska’s Family Farms. The Department of Agriculture received over 2,000 poster contest entries this year and winners are posted on the department’s website.

The winners in the first and second grade division are Hope McDonald a 1st grader from Centura Elementary in Cairo, first place; Ellie Tramp a 2nd grader from St. Rose of Lima School in Crofton, second place; Dustin Kapke a 2nd grader from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Plymouth, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Lucas Urbanski a 1st grader from St. James Seton School in Omaha.

The winners in the third and fourth grade division are Faith McDonald a 4th grader from Centura Elementary in Cairo, first place; Alexis Mogensen a 3rd grader from Weeping Water School in Weeping Water, second place; Abby Gilreath a 4th grader from Rohwler Elementary in Omaha, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Kennady Schmidt a 4th grader from Howells Community Catholic School in Howells.

The winners in the fifth and sixth grade division are Dabatha Sanchez a 5th grader from Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island, first place; Zoey Kreikemeier a 6th grader from Guardian Angels Central Catholic in West Point, second place; Jazzlyn Nava a 5th grader from Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Chloe Hoffschneider a 6th grader from St. Paul’s in Arlington.

I want to thank the farmers and ranchers in Nebraska for their dedication and commitment to the land and animals in their care. If you see a farmer or rancher, please thank them for the important role they play in producing the food, fuel, and fiber we use every day.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for March 2014 averaged $7.15 per bushel, an increase of 68 cents from the February price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary March corn price, at $4.50 per bushel, increased 23 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary March sorghum price averaged $7.95 per cwt, an increase of 45 cents from February.

The preliminary March soybean price, at $13.50 per bushel, was up 50 cents from last month.

The preliminary March dry edible bean price, at $42.00 per cwt, was up $2.40 from February.

The March alfalfa hay price, at $133.00 per ton, was down $9.00 from last month. The other hay price, at $104.00 per ton, was down $1.00 from last month.

The preliminary March oat price was withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. The February price for oats was $4.12. 

Iowa Monthly Prices

The preliminary March 2014  average price  received by  farmers  for  corn  in  Iowa  is $4.60 per bushel  according  to  the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service  – Agricultural Prices  report. This  is up $0.17  from  the February price, but $2.53 lower than March 2013.

The preliminary March Iowa average soybean price, at $13.50 per bushel, is up $0.40 from the February price, but $1.10 lower than the previous March.

The preliminary March oat price is $5.20 per bushel, up $0.03 from February and $0.57 above March 2013. 

All hay prices  in Iowa averaged $167.00 per  ton in March, unchanged from  the February price, but $63.00 per  ton less than March 2013.  Alfalfa hay prices fell $68.00 per ton from one year ago, to $180.00 and other hay prices were $45.00 per ton lower than last year, at $115.00.  

Iowa dairy farmers received an average of $26.20 per cwt for milk sold in March, up $0.40 from February, and $6.40 per cwt above one year ago.

March Farm Prices Received Index Up 5 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in March, at 111 percent, based on 2011=100, increased 5 points (4.7 percent) from February. The Crop Index is up 2 points (2.2 percent) and the Livestock Index increased 6 points (5.0 percent). Producers received higher prices for broilers, hogs, corn, and cattle and lower prices for market eggs, grapefruit, and sunflowers. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of cattle, milk, and calves offset the decreased marketing of cotton, soybeans, and hay.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 1 point (0.9 percent) from March 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 121, increased 5 points (4.3 percent) from last month and increased 12 points (11 percent) from March 2013.

All crops:

The March index, at 95, increased 2.2 percent from February but is 15 percent below March 2013. The index increase for oilseeds & grains more than offset the index decrease for fruit & tree nut production.

Food grains: The March index, at 103, is 6.2 percent above the previous month but 3.7 percent below a year ago. The March price for all wheat, at $6.90 per bushel, is up 41 cents from February but 89 cents below March 2013.

Feed grains: The March index, at 76, is up 4.1 percent from last month but 36 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $4.54 per bushel, is up 19 cents from last month but $2.59 below March 2013. Sorghum grain, at $8.18 per cwt, is 53 cents above February but $4.02 below March last year.

Oilseeds: The March index, at 108, is up 3.8 percent from February but 6.9 percent lower than March 2013. The soybean price, at $13.60 per bushel, increased 40 cents from February but is $1.00 below March 2013.

Other crops: The March index, at 98, is up 2.1 percent from last month but 3.9 percent below March 2013. The all hay price, at up $173 per ton, is up $5.00 from February but $22.00 lower than last March.  The price for upland cotton, at 80.3 cents per pound, is up 1.3 cents from February and 2.8 cents above last March.

Livestock and products:

The March index, at 127, is 5.0 percent above last month and up 18 percent from March 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for milk, cattle, hogs, calves, eggs, and turkeys. The price for broilers is down from last year.

Meat animals: The March index, at 126, is up 5.0 percent from last month and 21 percent higher than last year. The March hog price, at $75.90 per cwt, is up $10.40 from February and $16.70 higher than a year ago. The March beef cattle price of $147 per cwt is up $3.00 from last month and $22.00 higher than March 2013.

Dairy products: The March index, at 126, is up 1.6 percent from a month ago and 33 percent higher than March last year. The March all milk price of $25.40 per cwt is up 50 cents from last month and $6.30 from March 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The March index, at 133, is up 9.0 percent from February and 0.8 percent above a year ago. The March market egg price, at $1.05 per dozen, decreased 18.0 cents from February but is 9.8 cents higher than March 2013. The March broiler price, at 65.0 cents per pound, is up 10.0 cents from February but 1.0 cent below a year ago. The March turkey price, at 67.0 cents per pound, is up 0.6 cents from the previous month and 2.0 cents higher than a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The March Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 107 (2011=100). The index is unchanged from February but 1 point (0.9 percent) above March 2013. Higher prices in March for feeder cattle, feeder pigs, concentrates, and nitrogen offset lower prices for LP gas, supplements, tractors, and complete feeds.

NCTA To Start Pilot Project with Omaha Home for Boys

An agriculture college in southwestern Nebraska is bringing a little bit of country to the city, and to the farm where urban youth can learn about raising crops and livestock.

     Next fall, high school students in Omaha area schools and adult learners interested in boosting their knowledge of horticulture and farm animals can enroll in courses offered by the University of Nebraska-Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) and the Omaha Home for Boys at the Cooper Memorial Farm, 8502 Mormon Bridge Road.

     Officials unveiled class details Friday at the Farm, located 3 miles north of downtown Omaha.

     “The joint effort between NCTA and the Omaha Home for Boys is a pilot project for anyone in the Omaha area.  It is designed to support locally-produced food, produce job-ready agricultural graduates, and foster social and economic development for youth and adults,” said Ron Rosati, PhD, NCTA Dean. “Omaha Home for Boys is a real gem in guiding young men and women on their life path.

     “Our NCTA faculty and staff are fortunate to be part of this new academic venture with OHB, by providing hands-on learning here in Omaha in gardening, horticulture, and animal science,” Rosati said.

     Courses offered this Fall will be organic and alternative agriculture, and livestock and carcass evaluation.  Spring, 2015, classes will include plant propagation, and seed stock preparation and marketing (feeding and fitting livestock to show in 4-H or FFA).

     In future semesters, if students garner sufficient hours of college credits, they may be eligible for a college certificate or an Associates Degree.  Livestock classes will include a summer camp in preparation for showing and grooming (fitting) livestock for county fair exhibit.

     The project is a good fit for the urban classroom offered by two long-standing institutions, said Jeff Moran, president and CEO of the Omaha Home for Boys.  OHB was founded in 1920 as an orphanage and today educates boys and girls, young men and women, ages 12 to 24.

     The community-based organization includes Inspiration Hill residential care, Jacobs’ Place transitional living, Branching Out independent living and the Cooper Memorial Farm.  Students attend various high schools in Omaha.

     “The Omaha Home for Boys is excited to partner with NCTA in offering an agricultural academic program on our Cooper Memorial Farm,” Moran said. “We believe this collaboration with classroom and experiential education will provide both youth and adults in the greater Omaha metropolitan area an opportunity to explore an agricultural curriculum within an urban setting.”

     Based in Curtis, Nebraska, since 1913, the agriculture school was first a residential high school for 55 years.  Many individuals from western and southwestern Nebraska and the Sandhills area attended school at Curtis.

     When it became part of the University of Nebraska system in the late ‘60s, NCTA offered an Associate’s degree program and is the only NU institution emphasizing two-year, open enrollment programs.  NCTA also teaches computer-based online and distance learning courses for high school students concurrently earning college credits.  In the Omaha program, NCTA will provide faculty, curriculum and supplies.  The OHB provides the site, farm manager and laboratory support.

     While Omaha-area schools consider adding agricultural or horticultural sciences to their curriculums, the pilot project helps meet that demand, Rosati said.  It may complement the urban ag and natural resources classes and FFA recently added at Bryan High School.

     “I see the partnership with NCTA as a win, win, win,” said Jeff Hallstrom, M. Ed., OHB program manager-educational services. “We see the potential in having our youth participate and work on various agriculture projects.  For example, we would like to work towards a farmers market where our youth learn how to grow healthy, locally grown produce that can be eaten in our Dining Hall and be sold to the community. Members of our community will also benefit as there will be educational opportunities for traditional college students and adult learners.”

     For further information on the OHB-NCTA Collaborative Agricultural Education Program, see or contact 1-800-3CURTIS.

USDA Seeks Nominees for Cattlemens Beef Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Vacancies for producer and importer member positions will occur in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, the Southwest Unit (California and Nevada), and the Importer Unit.

Any beef producer within the United States that owns cattle or any importer who imports cattle or beef can be considered for nomination. All eligible producers and importers are invited to seek nomination by June 1, 2014. A beef producer must be nominated by a USDA Certified Producer Organization and submit a completed application.

USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by its industry. Diversity includes gender, race, disability, length of service, and size and type of operation.

For the contact information of the Certified Producer Organizations in your state or region, visit:

Currently composed of 103 members representing 35 states and six geographically contiguous units, the board administers a research and promotion program authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. The Secretary of Agriculture selects appointees from producers nominated by Certified Producer Organizations.

Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, were authorized by Congress, and date back to 1966. Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 21 research and promotion boards. They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.

For more information, contact Angie Snyder, Deputy Director, Research and Promotion Division, Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, STOP 0251, Room 2092-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251; tel. (202) 680-3714, e-mail; or fax (202) 720-1125.

USDA Proposes to Reapportion Membership on Beef Promotion Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing to reapportion membership on the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board from 103 to 99 members. The law authorizing the board requires the board’s size to change with shifts in cattle inventory levels.

This decrease is due to changes in cattle inventories since the last board reapportionment in 2011. Under the proposal, domestic cattle producer representation on the board would decrease from 96 to 93, and importer representation would decrease from seven to six. The decrease is based on requirements of the Beef Promotion and Research Order, authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. The Order provides for a review of geographic distribution of U.S. cattle inventories and the volume of imported cattle, beef, and beef products at least every three years and not more than every two years. Board membership then must be reapportioned accordingly.

A state or unit must have an inventory of 500,000 head of cattle to be represented on the board and is entitled to an additional member for each additional 1,000,000 head of cattle. In considering reapportionment, the board reviewed cattle inventories, as well as cattle, beef, and beef product import data, for 2010 through 2012. The revised representation would be effective with nominations in 2014 for appointments effective early in the year 2015.

In addition, technical amendments would be made to update and correct information in the Order and regulations.

Details of the proposed changes will appear in the March 25, 2014, Federal Register. Comments may be submitted online at, or sent to Angie Snyder, Deputy Director; Research and Promotion Division, Room 2092-S; Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program; AMS, USDA, STOP 0249; 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.; Washington, D.C. 20250-0249; telephone number (202) 720-5705; fax (202) 720-1125. Copies of the proposed rule and additional information are available from the same address.

Iowa Soybean Association encourages close review, farmer input on EPA proposed rule

A proposed rule released this week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifying its jurisdiction over waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act deserves a thorough review and farmer input, says the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

“This rule will impact farmers,” says ISA Policy Director Carol Balvanz. “What is required is time to fully digest and comprehend the full report and encourage farmers to provide their unique insights to make sure the rule works for those who will be most impacted by its implementation and enforcement.”

The proposed rule will soon be open for public comment. Balvanz encourages farmers to make their opinions heard during the 90-day comment period that will begin once the rule is published in the Federal Register. To access the rule and to make a comment, go to

Soybean farmers, Balvanz says, are pleased that the rule recognizes 53 conservation practices established by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Farmers are extremely interested in how the directives and definitions will be implemented.

“The details will matter,” says Balvanz. “This is too important of an issue to engage only in a battle of sound bites and headlines. That is why our members will thoroughly review the language in the proposed rule and evaluate how its implementation may impact soybean farmers.”

Roger Wolf, ISA director of Environmental Programs & Services (EPS), adds that farmers are active participants in environmental issues and frequently engage with the EPA. The ISA, he says, recognizes the work of EPA head Gina McCarthy and her commitment to listening to and learning from farmers.

“Farmers recognize the public benefits of clean water and that what occurs in the landscape impacts water downstream,” Wolf says. “They have increased their adoption of practices designed to improve environmental performance and invested millions of dollars during the past year to match Water Quality Initiative funding provided by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Wolf says the ISA’s EPS department and On-Farm Network® bring credible and reliable data and research programs to the table to improve the long-term sustainability of soybean production and improve the competitiveness of soybean farmers.

New Probiotic Improves Pig Health, Reduces Manure Output

A new probiotic for pigs could mean less manure to manage, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists conducted the first published investigation of the use of bacteria as a probiotic to increase fiber fermentation rates and reduce manure output in pigs that consume high-fiber diets. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Pig producers would like to supplement livestock feed with dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and other agricultural coproducts generated from biofuel production. But adding hard-to-digest fiber to livestock diets also increases the production of manure.

Microbiologist Cherie Ziemer and animal scientist Brian Kerr at the ARS Agroecosystems Management Research Unit in Ames, Iowa, fed the pigs in their study either a typical diet or a high-fiber diet. The high-fiber diet contained 10 percent soybean hulls and 20 percent corn DDGS.

The pigs were also given one of three bacterial supplements the scientists developed from different strains of Bacteroides ovatus, which had been obtained from human fecal samples and cultured in fiber-rich media. The three bacterial supplements were designated Bacterium B, C, and D.

Pigs that received the bacterial supplements designated as Bacterium B reduced their manure output by 20 percent. These pigs also gained more weight and had improved blood cholesterol and glucose levels, both indications of an improved energy status, compared to pigs not given probiotics.

Ziemer believes the probiotic could improve pig performance and reduce manure volumes, which in turn would increase producer profits and reduce the environmental footprint of pork production. She thinks the bacterium could be fed in a liquid supplement or possibly freeze-dried and mixed with feed.

This work was supported by a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of the Intestinal Fortitude Program, which investigates how to help people obtain more energy from fiber. Results were published in the Journal of Animal Science in 2012. Read more about this work in the March 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

USDA Prepares to Accept MAL and LDP Requests; Sets 2014 MAL Loan Rates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting requests for marketing assistance loans (MALs) and loan deficiency payments (LDPs) for eligible 2014 commodities. Notice of the authorization is published in today’s Federal Register.

MALs and LDPs for the 2014 crop year become available to eligible producers beginning with harvest/shearing season and extending through a specific commodity’s final loan availability date.

Sugar commodity loans for 2014 crop will be available to sugar processors beginning Oct. 1, 2014.

MALs and LDPs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed grains, soybeans, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, rice, peanuts, cotton, wool, mohair and honey. MALs provide producers interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows. Allowing farmers to store their products at harvest facilitates a more orderly marketing of commodities throughout the year. A producer who is eligible to obtain a loan, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available.

Marketing loan provisions and LDPs are not available for sugar and extra-long staple cotton.

The 2014 Farm Bill also establishes payment limitations per individual or entity not to exceed $125,000 annually on certain commodities for the following program benefits: price loss coverage payments, agriculture risk coverage payments, marketing loan gains (MLGs) and LDPs. These payment limitations do not apply to MAL loan disbursements. Please consult your local FSA office for details.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provisions were modified by the 2014 Farm Bill, which states that a producer whose total applicable three-year average AGI exceeds $900,000 is not eligible to receive an MLG or LDP.

The 2014 Farm Bill establishes national loan rates for the 2014 crops of wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, pulse crops, milled rice, peanuts, extra-long staple cotton, wool, mohair, sugar and honey. The 2014 Farm Bill requires the upland cotton base quality loan rate to be determined annually according to the applicable statutory provisions. The 2014 crop loan rates are:

Wheat    $2.94 per bushel
Corn    $1.95 per bushel
Grain Sorghum    $1.95 per bushel
Barley    $1.95 per bushel
Oats    $1.39 per bushel
Soybeans    $5.00 per bushel
Other Oilseeds    $10.09 per hundredweight for each "other oilseed"
Small Chickpeas    $7.43 per hundredweight
Large Chickpeas    $11.28 per hundredweight
Dry Peas    $5.40 per hundredweight
Lentils    $11.28 per hundredweight
Long grain rough rice    $6.50 per hundredweight
Medium/short grain rough rice     $6.50 per hundredweight
Peanuts    $355.00 per ton
Upland Cotton    $0.52 per pound *
Extra Long Staple Cotton    $0.7977 per pound
Graded Wool    $1.15 per pound
Nongraded Wool    $0.40 per pound
Mohair    $4.20 per pound
Raw Cane Sugar    $0.1875 per pound
Refined Beet Sugar    $0.2409 per pound
Honey    $0.69 per pound

*The 2014-crop upland cotton loan rate was previously announced in a separate press release on Feb. 18, 2014.
County loan rates also are announced for the 2014 crops of wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans and other oilseeds (sunflower seed, flaxseed, canola, rapeseed, safflower, mustard seed, crambe and sesame seed); national milled rice loan rates by class and state rough rice loan rates by class for the 2014 rice crop; and regional loan rates for 2014 pulse crops (dry peas and lentils). The rates are posted on the FSA website at

Later announcements will include peanut loan rates by type, refined beet sugar loan rates by region, raw cane sugar loan rates by state, and the schedule of premiums, discounts and other related information.

USDA Announces the Extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract Program for 2014

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced the extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program.

The extended MILC protects dairy farmers enrolled in the program against income loss through Sept. 1, 2014, or until a new Margin Protection Program for dairy producers (MPP), established by the 2014 Farm Bill, is operational.

Contracts for eligible producers enrolled in MILC on or before Sept. 30, 2013, are automatically extended until the termination date of the MILC program. Dairy operations with approved MILC contracts will continue to receive monthly payments if a payment rate is in effect.

MILC compensates enrolled dairy producers when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight (cwt), after adjustment for the cost of dairy feed rations. MILC payments are calculated each month using the latest milk price and feed cost, just as in the 2008 Farm Bill. The payment rate for October 2013 through January 2014 marketings is zero. Payment rates during the months after January 2014 until the termination of the MILC program will be determined as the appropriate data becomes available.

Since MILC payments are limited to a maximum amount of milk production each fiscal year, dairy operations may select a production start month other than October 2013 (the start of fiscal year 2014). Producers who want to select a different production start month must visit their local FSA office between April 14, 2014, and May 30, 2014.

FSA will provide producers with information on program requirements, updates and sign-ups as the information becomes available. For more information on MILC, contact a local FSA county office or visit the FSA website at

NFU Applauds Appellate Court’s Decision Not to Enjoin COOL Labels

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs’ appeal of a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction would prevent revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations from remaining in effect while the plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the COOL regulations proceeds. Today’s ruling affirms a Sept. 11, 2013, decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that also denied the request for a preliminary injunction. As a result of today’s decision, the revised COOL regulations will remain in place while the case is pending.

“I am extremely pleased with today’s decision,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (NFU) president. “Yet again, claims that the revised COOL regulations are unconstitutional or inconsistent with the COOL statute have been rejected in federal court.”

“Today’s decision notes that COOL advances legitimate values, including consumer information and consumer choice. The Court of Appeals also explained that COOL labels can be seen as a sign that retailers ‘take pride in identifying the source of their products.’ NFU’s family farmer- and rancher-members certainly take pride in the products they produce, and I am glad that consumers will be able to continue to identify their products at retail as a result of today’s decision.”

Today’s decision is the latest setback for plaintiffs who filed the case in an effort to have the revised COOL regulations invalidated. The case was filed on July 8, 2013, by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, North American Meat Association, American Association of Meat Processors, National Pork Producers Council, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.

NFU, together with the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America, intervened to defend the COOL regulations from challenge, and they actively participated in a briefing at the District Court and the Court of Appeals, as well as the preliminary injunction hearing at the District Court.

Johnson is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the World Farmers Organization’s fourth general assembly, where many of the speakers have discussed the need for farmers to connect more directly with consumers and be more transparent to enhance consumer confidence.

“I note that plaintiffs may seek to have today’s decision reheard by the full Court of Appeals. If they do so, NFU will continue to defend COOL on behalf of our members,” said Johnson. “In the meantime, producers and consumers will continue to benefit from improved origin information as the revised COOL regulations remain in effect.”

Administration’s Methane Strategy Recognizes Ag’s Role in Climate Change Mitigation

Today National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule issued the following statement on the administration’s release of its strategy to reduce methane emissions as a part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:

"NFU is pleased that the administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions recognizes that farmers and ranchers are important partners in the effort to solve our nation’s climate challenges. These efforts build on the robust support for renewable energy production included in the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

“Technologies such as methane digesters are underutilized, but can significantly reduce methane emissions. The strategy’s voluntary on-farm methane reduction opportunities, supported by financial and technical assistance, will add to farmers’ bottom lines and support rural economies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“I urge Congress to build on the Climate Action Plan and do its part to mitigate climate change by enacting legislation that puts a price on non-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

“Agencies must consider the impact on the climate when proposing regulatory changes, such as reducing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets, as both corn-based and cellulosic ethanol have been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as compared to gasoline. Although I applaud the administration for today’s announcement, I hope it takes a consistent, comprehensive, long-term approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by restoring the original RFS volumes.”

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