Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday March 3 Ag News

Farm to School Summit March 18 in West Point

The Nebraska Food Cooperative and Nebraska Farmers Union, along with the Nebraska Department of Education, are partnering with the Center for Rural Affairs in offering a Farm to School Summit on the afternoon of March 18 in West Point.

This informative, hands-on workshop will bring together cross-sector stakeholders (schools, growers/producers, and community members).

Producers of all sizes and all product offerings will find this Summit informational and actionable. From the hobby gardener to mid-sized growers, the emerging educational market needs you. Not only are fruits and vegetable growers desired, but also dairy, grains, and meat producers could find a market in the educational system. Being in the breadbasket of the country, Nebraska has been slow to jump on the farm to school wagon compared to the rest of the country, so it is now time to offer up Nebraska-grown foods to our growing young minds.

The breakout session for small to mid-sized farmers/growers will set you on the garden path to plot out the feasibility of farm to school as an emerging new market, identify barriers and opportunities, and develop an action plan based on your farm's needs. Implementing a farm to school market is not a 'one size fits all'. It will take many producers supplying various quantities to supply this new market.

At the Farm to School Summit, learn more about:
-- geographic preference
-- school procurement methods
-- food safety requirements
-- marketing to schools
-- starting conversations with key school personnel and community members

The registration deadline is March 10. If you have any questions, please feel free connecting with Caryl Guisinger at or 308-850-6041 or in the office at 308-357-1000.

Academics, intercollegiate teams featured at NCTA Open Houses

     College-bound students, families and school counselors can scout academic programs and collegiate teams, and tour campus during NCTA Open Houses on Monday, March 10 and Saturday, April 12 in Curtis.

     “We welcome high school junior or seniors and their families, transfer students, and any aspiring college students who want to see what a high quality, affordable education is all about at NCTA,” said Tina K. Smith, Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA).

     Major programs include AgriBusiness Management Systems, Agriculture Production Systems (livestock, equine, agronomy, range management, ag equipment, diversified ag, ag education and irrigation technician), Horticulture, and Veterinary Technology Systems, including Comparative Medicine.

     While NCTA has traditionally been a 2-year technical college awarding an Associates of Science degree, for the first time this Fall, NCTA will partner with its sister campus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to provide a venue for students earning a Bachelor of Applied Science degree through UNL On-Line and NCTA programs.

     In addition to exploring academic programs, Open House attendees can scout opportunities on the four inter-collegiate competition teams. Livestock Judging, Rodeo, Equestrian (Western and English riding), and Ranch Horse Teams align with some of NCTA’s key academic programs, says NCTA Dean Ron Rosati, PhD.

     “Our college has a unique mission in the University of Nebraska system. We focus on tangible learning activities and hands-on education relevant to modern agricultural careers,” Rosati notes. “At the end of a day of classes, students can look back on the past few hours and clearly see that they have developed specific skills that are immediately useful in various agricultural endeavors.”

     Preregistration for the 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. event is recommended.  See, and click on the “open house RSVP” link. Scholarship drawings for $500 will be featured at each Open House for students making an advance, paid application to attend NCTA. 

Show cattle fitting, feeding clinic March 22  in Curtis

     Livestock exhibitors know it takes a lot of hard work outside of the show ring to lead a steer or heifer into winner’s circle.

     The right combination of genetics, animal nutrition, and perfected grooming techniques can create a champion, notes Dr. Douglas Smith, animal science professor at the University of Nebraska-Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA).
     On Saturday, March 22nd, Smith will be among professional clinicians at the 3rd Annual Honor Show Chow and NCTA Feeding and Fitting Clinic.  Hands-on grooming classes and presentations will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the NCTA Livestock Teaching Center and Livestock Arena in Curtis.  Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

     Instructors will include Kevin Schlake of the North Platte Feed Center, and Bob May of Bobby May Show Steers, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, whose daughter Lauren exhibited the Reserve Champion Market Steer at the National Western Stock Show at Denver in January.

     “The clinic is for both first-year exhibitors and seasoned livestock feeders.  I am sure students, youth groups, leaders and families will gain from attending the daylong clinic,” said Smith.

     NCTA Agriculture Production System (APS) students will assist in conducting the clinic, which features nutrition for other species of show livestock as well.  Smith chairs the APS Division, coaches the NCTA Livestock Judging Team and is a noted judge and clinician for youth livestock contests. 

     Participants are encouraged to preregister online with the link at, contacting Smith at (308) 367-5286 or, or calling Schlake at (308) 532-5010.

     The clinic is free of charge to all participants.  Lunch will be available at the NCTA cafeteria.  Honor Show Chow is a registered livestock feed of Purina Mills, Smith said. 

ICA Names Young Producers in 2014 Leadership Program

Twenty-four young Iowa cattle producers from around the state are participating in the 2014 Young Cattlemen's Leadership Program (YCLP). The Iowa Cattlemen's Association program is designed to develop personal, organizational, and community-focused leadership qualities in young producers.

The first meeting of the group focused on learning more about each other, the Iowa Beef Industry Headquarters, and meeting and talking with state agency leaders and Iowa legislators.

Participants, listed by county, are: Bremer -- Bob Schellhorn, Fredericksburg; Carroll -- Kyle Musfeldt, Coon Rapids, and Brian Behrens, Templeton; Cedar -- Lance Schiele, West Liberty; and Clarke -- Lizzy Lohr, Osceola and Jennifer Pollard, Osceola.

Clay - Cole and Mandy Danner, Curlew; Clinton -- Kendall Claeys, Calamus, and Tyler Adrian, Delmar; Crawford -- Robert Riesselman, Manning; Davis - Aaron Amstutz, Bloomfield; Fayette -- Mark Putney, Elgin; and Fremont -- Jeremy Walter, Farragut.

Also, Greene -- Justin Robbins, Scranton; Hardin -- Josh Hobson, Eldora; Jackson -- Cody Foust, Zwingle, Brandon Moore, Maquoketa, and Isaac Sutton, Maquoketa; Jefferson -- Dan Delaney, Fairfield; and Madison -- Isaiah Shnurman, Prole.

Finally, Marshall, Austin Gacke, Melbourne; Montgomery -- Josh Reed, Red Oak; and Sioux -- Vaughan Ranschau, Rock Valley.

The second event for the group will be March 7-8. The event will be in Ames with a focus on leadership training provided by Alan Feirer of Winterset. Feirer has provided training across the country as well as with many association groups in Iowa.

The YCLP members will also get together for training and meetings on June 10-11, Aug. 29-30 and Dec. 8-10.

Wheat Growers Elect New President at Annual

Kansas wheat farmer Paul Penner was elected as the new president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) at the Association’s Board of Directors meeting Thursday.

“I’m very excited to serve as NAWG president and am looking forward to a productive year. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as president and will work hard to live up to the expectations set forth,” said Penner.

Penner farms near Hillsboro, Kans. where he owns and manages a cash grain farm and serves as treasurer of Risely Township. His principal crops are wheat, soybeans, grain sorghum, corn and grass hay. Paul also operates a custom farming enterprise.

Prior to becoming a NAWG officer, Penner held multiple leadership positions at the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, including serving as the association’s president.

Penner holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics with a concentration in accounting from Tabor College. He is also a graduate of the wheat industry’s two leadership training programs, the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow program and the Wheat Organization Leaders of the Future program.

Penner and his wife have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Other NAWG officers elected and installed at the Thursday meeting include:
-    Brett Blankenship, Washtucna, Wash., as first vice president;
-    Gordon Stoner, Outlook, Mont., second vice president;
-    David Schemm, Sharon Springs, Kans. secretary-treasurer; and
-    Bing Von Bergen, Moccasin, Mont., immediate past president.

Members of NAWG’s Executive Committee, known as officers, commit to serve five years when they first run for the role of secretary-treasurer. The NAWG Nominating Committee and NAWG Board reaffirms their selection each year as they move into new roles on the officer team.

Soy Checkoff Honors Orf, Muench for Research Contributions

The soy checkoff recently presented its highest honors to two men: one who has devoted more than 30 years developing new soybean varieties that U.S. soybean farmers are using in their fields today and another who helped pioneer the soy checkoff’s groundbreaking production-research program.

The soy checkoff presented its Outstanding Achievement Award to University of Minnesota researcher and educator James Orf, Ph.D. Orf is credited with creating more than 50 general-purpose soybean varieties, as well as more than 60 special-purpose varieties in use throughout Minnesota.

The soy checkoff’s Excellence in Meal Award went to Stephen Muench, Ph.D., who for 15 years served as a liaison between United Soybean Board (USB) and many of the scientists conducting checkoff-funded research before retiring in 2013. Muench helped lay the foundation for USB’s production-research activities and was instrumental in the development of USB’s soybean composition breeding programs, which served as the beginning of the Better Bean Initiative, the beginning of USB’s efforts at soybean quality improvement.

“This is a great honor, and it makes me want to work even harder to make sure that the things I do have value not only for the farmers who grow soybeans, but for all consumers who use these products,” says Orf.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for March 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for March 2014. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for March is 0.125 percent, unchanged from 0.125 percent in February.

The interest rate for commodity and marketing assistance loans disbursed during March is 1.125 percent, unchanged from 1.125 percent in February.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for March are as follows, 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.375 percent in February; 2.750 percent with 10-year loan terms, down from 3.000 percent in February and; 2.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 3.125 percent in February.

US Chickens & Eggs Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production  totaled 8.21 billion during January 2014, up 2 percent from  last year. Production included 7.13 billion table eggs, and 1.08 billion hatching eggs, of which 997 million were broiler-type and 78 million were egg-type. The  total  number  of  layers  during  January  2014  averaged  351 million,  up  2  percent  from  last  year.  January  egg production per 100 layers was 2,336 eggs, up slightly from January 2013. 

All layers in the United States on February 1, 2014 totaled 351 million, up 2 percent from last year. The 351 million layers consisted of 294 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 53.1 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs,  and  3.23 million  layers  producing  egg-type  hatching  eggs.  Rate  of  lay  per  day  on  February  1,  2014,  averaged 74.9 eggs per 100 layers, up slightly from February 1, 2013.

Egg  production  in  Iowa  for  during  January  2014  was 1.25 billion  eggs,  down  1  percent  from  last  month,  but up 1 percent  from  last year, according  to  the  latest Chickens and Eggs  release  from  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics Service. 

The  total  number  of  layers  on  hand  during  January  was 53.8 million,  down  fractionally  from  last  month,  but  up 2 percent from the 52.8 million in January, 2013. Eggs per 100 layers for the month of January were 2,331 down slightly from last month, and down 1 percent from 2,348 last year.


The United States wasted about 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of its food supply in 2010 with a value of about $161.1 billion, according to a report released Monday by USDA's Economic Research Service.

Retail-level food losses repre­sented 10 percent, or 43 billion pounds, and consumer-level losses represented 21 percent, or 90 billion pounds, of the available food supply of 430 billion pounds of food in 2010, the study said.

The report said the top three food groups in terms of share of total value of food loss were meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent, $48 billion); vegetables (19 percent, $30 billion); and dairy products (17 percent, $27 billion). The total amount of food loss represented 387 billion calories, the report said.

The study said, the average amount of food loss in 2010 per American was 429 pounds, of which 139 pounds at the retail level and 290 pounds at the consumer level went uneaten. At the consumer level, 59 pounds of vegetables, 52 pounds of dairy products, and 41 pounds of meat, poultry, and fish per capita from the food supply in 2010 went uneaten.

The losses represent the amount of edible food, post-harvest, that is available for human consump­tion but is not consumed for any reason, the study said. It includes cooking loss and natural shrinkage; loss from mold, pests, or inadequate climate control; plate waste; and other causes.

Further, the study said it includes edible items going unconsumed, such as food discarded by retailers due to blemishes or plate waste discarded by consumers.

"Food loss is becoming an increasingly important topic both domestically and internationally," the report said. "Better estimates of the amount and value of food loss, including food waste, could help serve as quantitative baselines for policymakers and the food industry to set targets and develop initiatives, legislation, or policies to minimize food waste, conserve resources, and improve human nutrition."

The report said reducing food loss would likely reduce food prices in the United States and the world, though the effects depend on the nature of supply, including import and export considerations.

EPA said food waste accounted for 34 million tons, nearly 14 percent, out of the 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in the United States in 2010 as measured before recycling.

Beginning Farmer Institute Application Period Extended

National Farmers Union (NFU) has extended the application deadline for its 2014 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program to April 7, 2014, due to additional sponsorships that will allow for more participants.

The annual program, now accepting its fourth class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.

"The Beginning Farmers Institute underscores NFU's commitment to growing a new generation of family agriculture," said NFU President Roger Johnson. "One unique feature of the Institute is that participants direct the agenda, allowing them to gain information on topics that will be most relevant to their particular operations. The size and diversity of the group also ensures valuable interaction and learning opportunities among the participants."

The BFI program helps students gain insight and practical skills needed by beginning farmers and ranchers, including business plan writing, financial planning, and researching available programs to help starting up and sustaining a successful operation.

Applicants accepted into the 2014 program will attend three separate education sessions. One session will be in Washington, D.C., one in Minneapolis, Minn., and a final session culminating at NFU's convention in March 2015 in Wichita, Kan. Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing.

Interested applicants can download the 2014 application on the NFU website, as well as visit NFU's education Facebook page for updates and further information on NFU's youth and young adult education programs. Applications must be postmarked on or before April 7, 2014.

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the FUI Foundation, Farm Credit, CoBank, CHS Foundation and the NFU Foundation.

Ukraine, Russia Starts Spring Grain Planting

Ukraine's farmers have begun planting spring grain for the 2014 harvest on time, despite the current political uncertainty, and the planting will be carried out within the optimal timeframe for the development of the crops, the agriculture ministry said Monday.

The ministry said planting had begun in the southern Zaporozhye, Kherson and Nikolaev regions and in the Crimea Peninsula, while planting in other areas would start within days. Ukraine planted spring grains up to March 1 on 25,100 hectares.

The ministry said planting this year began later than last year, but earlier than in previous years, when planting was delayed by inclement weather. In 2013, Ukraine had planted spring grain on 34,000 hectares up to Feb. 25.

In 2012, Ukraine planted spring grain on 32,200 hectares up to March 20, while in 2011, it planted spring grain on 113,300 hectares up to March 17.

In 2010, planting was also delayed by bad weather, with no spring grain reported planted up to March 16. In 2009, 200,000 hectares were planted up to March 16 and in 2008, 400,000 hectares were planted up to March 16.

Russia started spring grain planting for the 2014 harvest earlier than last year, with spring grains planted on 14,700 hectares to March 3, the agriculture ministry reported Monday.

The ministry didn't give figures for comparison with last year's planting pace but, according to the ministry's past reports, in 2013 spring crops were planted on 634,600 hectares at April 3, which comprises about a week of planting.

In 2012, spring grains planting didn't start before April 3 and the ministry reported that spring grains were planted on 655,700 hectares to April 10.

The Andersons Declares 70th Consecutive Dividend

The Andersons, Inc. announced a post-split second quarter 2014 cash dividend of 11 cents ($0.11) per share payable April 22, 2014, to shareholders of record on April 1, 2014.

The dividend reflects the three-for-two stock split that went into effect on February 19, 2014. Had the split not occurred, the dividend rate would have been $0.165 per share, matching the Company's first quarter dividend.

This is The Andersons' 70th consecutive quarterly cash dividend since its listing on the Nasdaq on February 20, 1996. There are approximately 28.2 million common shares outstanding.


QS has released its second annual ranking of the world's best Agricultural Colleges.  The top 10 include:

1. Univ Of California--Davis
2. Wageningen Univ--the Netherlands
3. Cornell
4. Univ of Wisconsin--Madison
5. Iowa State Univ
6. Univ of California--Berkley
7. Oregon State Univ
8. Purdue
9. Texas A&M
10. Ohio State Univ

Numbers 1 thru 4 repeat their last year's rankings.  New to the ranking are UC-Berkley and Ohio State.  Iowa State jumped from #10 to #5.

To view the entire list, click here...">

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