Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday March 13 Ag News

Feed High Quality Hay After Calving
Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

Good cow nutrition is crucial following calving to get cows rebred.   Cows need good feed after calving.  Each cow experiences much stress after calving because she is producing milk for her calf and she is preparing her reproductive system to rebreed.  As a result, nutrient demands are high.  Energy requirements increase about 30 percent and protein needs nearly double after calving.  Underfeeding reduces the amount of milk she provides her calf, and it can delay or even prevent rebreeding.  And if it gets cold, wet, or icy again, nutrient demands can sky-rocket.

Winter grass, corn stalks, and other crop residues are low quality right now because these feeds are weathered and have been pretty well picked over.  So it is critical that the hay or silage you feed will provide the extra nutrients your cows need.  Not just any hay or silage will do.  Your cow needs 10 to 12 percent crude protein and 60 to 65 percent TDN in her total diet.  If she is grazing poor quality feeds or eating grass hay, your other forages and supplements must make up any deficiencies.

Make sure your forage has adequate nutrients;  if you haven't done so, get it tested now for protein and energy content.  Compare this to the nutrient requirements of your cows.  Then feed your cows a ration that will meet their requirements.  But don't overfeed, either.  That is wasteful and expensive.

In summary, avoid underfeeding after calving;  it can delay rebreeding and slow down calf growth.  Use good quality forages with any needed supplements to provide adequate nutrition.  Your cows will milk well, re-breed on time, and produce healthy calves year after year.

Cuming County 4-H Beef Preview

The 40th annual Cuming County 4-H Beef Preview will be held Saturday, April 12 at the Cuming County Fairgrounds in West Point.  The show gives 4-H youth a chance to exhibit the progress of their beef projects.  The show is sponsored by the Cuming County Livestock Feeders Association and University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension in Cuming County.

According to Extension Educator, Larry Howard, events at the preview show will include showmanship, breeding heifers, market heifers and market steers.  Breeding classes will include Angus, Charolais, Chianina, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Limousin, Maine Anjou, Shorthorn and Simmental.  There is also a class for commercial breeding heifers.

Katie Ochsner from Torrington, Wyoming will be the judge of the show.

All projects must weigh-in and check-in on Saturday from 7:30-8:30 a.m.  The show will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 12.  The show is open to 4-H members from Cuming, Burt, Colfax, Dakota, Dodge, Stanton, Thurston, Washington, Wayne, Douglas and Sarpy counties.  For additional information, contact the Cuming County Extension office at 402-372-6006.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Are you interested in another market for your hay this year?  Maybe you should have it certified as “weed free”

               Normally when you think of selling hay you think of dairy cows, beef cows, feedlots, or horses.  But hay also is used to feed wildlife in national parks and as mulch along many roadsides or other disturbed soils.

               Selling hay for use in parks or on roadsides, though, can be a challenge, especially if your hay needs to cross state lines.  That’s because many state and federal agencies will buy your hay only if they can be guaranteed that it does not contain any noxious weeds.

               To prevent the spread of noxious weeds via hay, the North American Weed Free Forage Program was established.  This program has been adopted by most state Departments of Agriculture and is implemented in Nebraska by your county Weed Control Authority.

               To participate, your forage must be inspected in the field for noxious weeds or other designated weeds before you cut your hay.  If any of these weeds are found, the hay still might be able to be certified if prescribed treatments are followed; these treatments will vary depending on the type of weed.  Then, if your hay passes, you will receive an inspection certificate verifying the results.

               When shipping across state lines, a transit certificate or certification marking must accompany the hay to avoid rejection.  Contact your local weed control authority for more details.

               Certifying hay as “weed free” can offer other markets for your hay.  But be sure to take necessary actions long before cutting or it will be too late.

Nebraska Soybean Board Research Advisory Committee Meeting and March Board of Directors Meeting

The Nebraska Soybean Board will meet March 24 & 25, 2014, at the Embassy Suites, 1040 P Street, Lincoln, Nebraska. The Research Advisory Committee meeting will begin March 24, at 8:30 a.m. and end at 1:15 p.m.   The Board of Directors regular business meeting will then come to order at 1:30 p.m.  On Tuesday, March 25th the meeting will resume at 7:30 a.m. and adjourn at 1:15 p.m.  A complete agenda for the public meeting is available for inspection on the Nebraska Soybean Board website at

NePPA Hosting Three Industry Focus Meetings

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is hosting three Industry Focus Meetings around the state.  These regional, educational events will provide Nebraska's pork producers with timely information on a variety of topics from industry experts, industry supporters, and others. Producers, employees, managers, students, and others will leave each focus meeting armed with valuable information they can use now.
Please share this information with others as you see fit, and don’t forget to register yourself!

March 18th, Beatrice

Animal Handling Practices and Who's Watching presented by Mark Klassen, Elanco Animal Health
Aunt Mary's Center, 111 S 8th Street, Beatrice, NE 68210
5:30-6:00 p.m. – Networking Social sponsored by JES Environmental Services
6:00-6:30 p.m. – Dinner sponsored by Hog Slat, Inc., and the Nebraska Soybean Board
6:30-7:00 p.m. – Updates provided by JES Environmental Services, Hog Slat, Inc., and the Nebraska Soybean Board
7:00-7:10 p.m. – Nebraska Pork Producers Association Update
7:10-8:30 p.m. – Program: Animal Handling Practices and Who's Watching presented by Mark Klassen, Elanco Animal Health

March 25, Kearney

Genetics Detect Gilt Puberty, presented by Dr. Daniel Ciobanu, University of Nebraska-Lincoln,
Holiday Inn, 110 S 2nd Ave, Kearney, NE 68847
5:30-6:00 p.m. – Networking Social
6:00-6:30 p.m. – Dinner sponsored by TOPIGS, USA, DNA Genetics, and the Nebraska Soybean Board
6:30-7:00 p.m. – Updates provided by TOPIGS, USA, DNA Genetics, and the Nebraska Soybean Board
7:00-7:10 p.m. – Nebraska Pork Producers Association Update
7:10-8:30 p.m. – Program: Genetics Detect Gilt Puberty, presented by Dr. Daniel Ciobanu, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

April 1, Columbus

Animal Handling Practices and Who's Watching (Mark Klassen, Elanco Animal Health)
American Legion Hartman Post 84, 23rd St. Highway 30 & 3rd Ave, Columbus, NE 68601
5:30-6:00 p.m. – Networking Social
6:00-6:40 p.m. – Dinner sponsored by Elanco Animal Health
6:40-7:00 p.m. – Updates provided by Elanco Animal Health and the Nebraska Soybean Board
7:00-7:10 p.m. – Nebraska Pork Producers Association Update
7:10-8:30 p.m. – Program: Animal Handling Practices and Who's Watching presented by Mark Klassen, Elanco Animal Health

To register for any of the sessions, click here....

Nebraska Sorghum Board Seeks Applicants for Open Seats

Two directorships on the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board are open for appointment. The appointments will fill directorships to represent District 1 and a Governor-appointed At-large seat. The term for the members currently filling these seats will expire July 1, 2014. The filing deadline is no later than 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

District 1 includes the counties of Cedar, Dixon, Dakota, Wayne, Thurston, Stanton, Cuming, Burt, Colfax, Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Butler, Saunders, Sarpy, Seward, Saline, Lancaster, Cass, Otoe, Jefferson, Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee, and Richardson.

Sorghum growers interested in appointment to fill the open seats may place their name on a candidacy list by submitting to the board a completed application for gubernatorial appointment, a letter or statement of interest in serving on the board, two letters of endorsement from grain sorghum growers, and documentation substantiating qualification to serve as a member of the board (sales receipts, warehouse receipts, government loan documentation, or acreage certification).

Qualified candidates include those who are citizens of Nebraska, are at least 21 years of age, and derive a portion of their income from growing grain sorghum.

Applications for appointment can be obtained from the Governor’s office by writing Kathleen Dolezal, staff assistant for Boards and Commissions, Nebraska Governor’s Office, State Capitol, Box 94848, Lincoln, NE 68509-4848, PH: 402.471-1971; or the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, P.O. Box 94982, Lincoln, NE 68509; PH: 402.471.4276; or email:

Session to Highlight Emergency Disease Outbreak Messaging

If you want to learn the tips and tricks to effectively and efficiently communicate an emergency disease outbreak to constituents, livestock owners and other involved groups, then a 90-minute presentation on tap at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s Equine Committee, Tuesday, April 1, in Omaha, Neb., is for you. A representative from Weber Shandwick will share what to include in your message, how to position your message, the best delivery mechanism to alert intended audiences in a timely fashion and more.

“Weber Shandwick provides astute and actionable counsel for the digital age to many of the world’s leading companies and has successfully managed crises in a wide range of areas, and we are fortunate to have a Weber Shandwick PR staff member present during this committee meeting,” states Tom Lenz, DVM, co-chair of NIAA’s Equine Committee. “Malissa Fritz, vice president of Weber Shandwick’s Farm and Food Advocacy Team, will use a real-life equine case scenario—last summer’s herpes virus outbreak at the National Cutting Horse Association’s Western National Championships in Utah—to illustrate the power of messaging and delivery systems.

”This session will give us the tools and confidence needed so the messages we issue—whether on the local, state or national level—have the ingredients and the reach needed to avoid further disease spread—and without creating undue alarm within unaffected audiences.”

Dr. Lenz adds that this reaching-intended-audiences-through-effective-communication session is applicable not only to those working in the equine field but to all within animal agriculture.

"At the first sign of an outbreak, all players in the industry would need to implement enhanced biosecurity measures, and this session sponsored by Zoetis will outline how to effectively and efficiently reach those individuals," Lenz explains.

NIAA’s Equine Committee is one of 12 committee and council meetings conducted during NIAA’s Annual Conference, “The Precautionary Principle – How Will Animal Agriculture Thrive.” The Equine Committee will meet at 10:00 a.m. immediately following the conference’s Opening General Session, “The Precautionary Principle—Turning Prejudice into Policy.”

To register for NIAA’s Annual Conference and participate in the Equine Committee’s 90-minute communicating during an emergency disease outbreak session, please go online to or call NIAA at 719-538-8843.

AgriBank Announces 2014 Board of Directors

AgriBank today announced new officers and two new members for its 2014 Board of Directors. Douglas Felton was elected as the board’s new chairman, Matt Walther was elected as the new vice chair, and Dan Flanagan and Daniel Shaw were elected as new directors on the 18-member board. William Stutzman and Thomas Wilkie, III were re-elected to the board.

The elections took place last week at the AgriBank Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky.

Douglas Felton
Douglas Felton, of Northfield, Minn., owns and operates a 3,000-acre irrigated corn and vegetable production farm and also has cow/calf operations. He also is president of D&T Enterprise of Minnesota, Inc., Randolph, Minn., which is engaged in custom harvesting; and is managing partner of Great Western Industrial Park, LLC, an industrial development in Randolph. Felton has served on the AgriBank board since 1996 and began his Farm Credit service in 1983 at AgStar Financial Services.

Matt Walther
Matt Walther, of Centerville, Ind., has a farming operation consisting of corn, soybeans, wheat, cow/calf herd and finished cattle. He has served on the AgriBank board since 2011 and is a past chairman of the board of Farm Credit Mid-America.

Dan Flanagan
Dan Flanagan, of Campbellsville, Ky., is president of 4-E Flanagan Farms and Saloma Chick Litter Co., owning and operating a 1,000-acre grain farm. Flanagan also is a director of the AgriBank District Farm Credit Council and the National Farm Credit Council, and is a past director of Farm Credit Mid-America.

Daniel Shaw
Daniel Shaw, of Edgar, Neb., owns and operates Shaw Farms, LLC, a family farm raising corn, soybeans and wheat, and a commercial cow-calf herd; and Shaw Grain, LLC, a local elevator. Shaw is a past chair and vice chair of Farm Credit Services of America.

William Stutzman
Bill Stutzman, of Blissfield, Mich., operates a 3,500-acre family farm producing corn. He has served on the AgriBank board since 2003 and is vice chair of the Farm Credit Foundations Board of Directors.

Thomas Wilkie, III
Tony Wilkie, of Forrest City, Ark., owns a rice, soybean and wheat family farm in the Mississippi Delta of eastern Arkansas. He is also the owner of a drainage supply business serving agriculture, state and local governments, and construction in the state of Arkansas. He has served on the AgriBank board since 2010. Wilkie also serves on the boards of The Farm Credit Council, the AgriBank District Farm Credit Council and FCC Services.

NARD Board Elects Officers

New officers were elected during the March Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Board meeting. Terry Martin from the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (UPNRD) was elected President.  Martin has served 14 years on the URNRD Board and currently is board chair, and has served seven years as an NARD Board representative.  Martin previously held the Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer positions.

“I’m looking forward to serving as the President for the state association. This provides a great opportunity to help protect the future of Nebraska’s natural resources,” Martin said.

The NARD Board elected Jim Bendfeldt from the Central Platte NRD (CPNRD) to the Vice President position.  Bendfeldt has been a member of the CPNRD Board for ten years and is currently the board Vice-Chairman. In 2011, Bendfeldt was awarded the NARD Director of the Year. Currently, Bendfeldt serves on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program Board as a land acquisition member and previously held the associations Secretary/Treasurer position.

Larry Reynolds from Tri Basin NRD (TBNRD) was elected Secretary/Treasurer. Reynolds has been a member of the TBNRD Board for 29 years and served in the United State Air Force for eight years and in the Nebraska Air National Guard for 18 years. Reynolds currently farms and helps manage a cow/calf operation near Lexington.

The officers serve on the NARD executive committee along with chairs from the Information and Education committee, Legislature committee and the past NARD Board President. Martin re-appointed Jim Johnson from South Platte NRD as chair of the Information and Education committee and Jim Meismer as chair of the Legislative and Government Affairs committee. Joe Anderjaska will continue to serve on the executive committee as the past NARD Board President.  The NARD board consists of representation from each of the local 23 NRDs. The board members meet five times throughout the year and help guide the Association and the NRDs in decision making that protects lives, protect property and protects the future of Nebraska’s natural resources.

At the March Managers meeting Mike Clements, General Manager of the Lower Republican NRD, was elected Chair of the Managers Committee and Pat O’Brien, General Manager of the Upper Niobrara White NRD, was elected Vice-Chair of the Managers Committee.

Pork Industry Launches Three-Prong Strategy to Stem PEDV Spread

The National Pork Board has announced additional funds earmarked for research in the fight against the further spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), which was first identified in the United States last May. The funds – $650,000 through supplemental funding approved by the Pork Checkoff at last week’s Board meeting and $500,000 through a new agreement with Genome Alberta, will provide new opportunities for research.

“This has become one of the most serious and devastating diseases our pig farmers have faced in decades,” said Karen Richter, a Minnesota producer and president of the National Pork Board. “While it has absolutely no impact on food safety, it has clear implications for the pork industry in terms of supplying pork to consumers. Our No. 1 priority is to address PEDV.”

Additionally, the Pork Checkoff announced a new collaboration with a number of industry players, including the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Protein Producers, which is made up of five member-companies throughout the United States and Canada.

Working together, this project will align swine, feed and veterinary groups to bring an even higher level of collaboration in the fight against the disease. Now active in some parts of Canada, PEDV continues to cause a heavy loss of piglets on farms across the United States.

“I am hopeful others will join our coordinated effort to specifically define risks and share information to contain the further spread of PEDV,” said Richter. The new effort was announced during the annual National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City this past weekend.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PEDV has surfaced in 26 states. Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics and a Pork Checkoff consultant, estimates the loss of more than 5 million piglets in the past several months, with 1.3 million lost in January alone.

“Losses of this magnitude will ultimately have a consumer impact through a reduction in supply,” Meyer said. “Some pork supply will be made up through producing higher market-weight hogs and through other loss mitigation actions, but today we are already seeing summer pork futures climb to record levels.”

Part of the Checkoff’s supplemental funding of $650,000 will be used for feed-related research to better understand thepotential role feed may play in PEDV transmission. Also, a portion of the funding will be used to identify ways to increase sow immunity and to better understand transmission and biosecurity risks. This brings the current level of Checkoff-funded research to approximately $1.7 million since June 2013.

“That investment will be centered on further containing PEDV with a specific focus on feed research and related issues, building the immunity of breeding herds and biosecurity measures,” said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of Science and Technology at the National Pork Board.

In a related move, Genome Alberta is cooperating with the National Pork Board to identify research gaps in understanding PEDV and stem its spread. Genome Albert has committed approximately $500,000 toward a coordinated U.S./Canadian effort and is seeking additional funds from Canadian, provincial and regional agencies.

2014 BIVI PRRS Research Awards Announced at AASV Conference  

The threat from emerging, and current diseases such as PRRS, reminds producers and veterinarians of the critical role ongoing research plays in helping find solutions.

For more than a decade, the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), Advancement in PRRS Research Awards has continued to provide practical approaches to disease management. Recently at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) Conference in Dallas, BIVI announced the 2014 recipients of its annual PRRS research awards.

“The recent emergence of PED virus reminds us of the importance of ongoing research in helping the swine industry deal with the constant threat of disease,” says incoming AASV President Michelle Sprague, DVM, with Audubon Manning Veterinary Clinic (AMVC) in Audubon, Iowa. “Longstanding research programs like the BIVI PRRS research awards do provide the practical, effective results that veterinarians can utilize to better diagnose, prevent and control PRRS. As a swine veterinarian, I see firsthand on swine farms the benefits these research programs provide.”

This year, BIVI awarded $75,000 to support three separate studies by independent swine disease researchers and practitioners in their investigations of novel ways to diagnose, control and eliminate PRRS. The selected PRRS studies focus on three important areas of disease research: the effect of maternal PRRS immunity in pigs vaccinated with PRRS MLV vaccine and subsequently challenged with a heterologous PRRSV; and helping veterinarians and producers differentiate new PRRS virus incursions from resident strains; and improving oral fluid diagnostics.

The BIVI-sponsored PRRS research awards have been critical in the development of less costly, more reliable diagnostic testing and sampling processes, as well as identifying more effective biosecurity, risk assessment and vaccination strategies. All total, the company has contributed $912,500 through the PRRS research awards to fund 37 separate research projects.

From the many PRRS research proposals submitted for the 2014 awards consideration, the three following recipients were selected, and their research proposals were recognized at the March AASV Conference in Dallas, Texas:

Brad Leuwerke, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minn. – Effect of maternal PRRS immunity on the response of pigs to vaccination with a homologous modified-live vaccine and subsequent response to heterologous PRRS virus challenge.

Andres Perez, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn. – Differentiating new PRRS virus incursions from resident virus strains.

Jeff Zimmerman, DVM, PhD, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa – Cleaning up oral fluid samples for improved diagnostics.

The three research proposals were selected based on established criteria that include potential for economic impact to the swine industry; originality and scientific quality; and probability of success in completing the study.  

Sprague, who also served on this year’s PRRS Research Review Board noted that the results from the years of the BIVI-funded PRRS research studies have had a significant and positive impact on swine farms across North America.    

“It is through this initiative that we have discovered many management practices that can give producers practical applications to implement to not only impact their own operations but also those of their neighbors.”

In addition to Sprague, members of the PRRS Research Review Board included: Bill Mengeling, DVM, Ph.D., Iowa State University/NADC (retired), Ames, Iowa; Montse Torremorell, DVM, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn.; Tim Loula, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minn.; Luc Dufresne, DVM, Seaboard Foods, Shawnee Mission, Kan.; and Daryl Olsen, DVM, Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic, Audubon, Iowa.   

Iowa Food & Family Project hosts evening of GMO discussion: “What’s the fuss all about?”

                Journalist and author Nathanael Johnson was skeptical of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) when he began a six-month investigative series about their use in food production. He opposed what they stood for, not necessarily that they were unsafe.

                Twenty-six stories later, the food writer for Grist – an online environmental magazine based in Seattle, has a different view. “What’s the fuss all about?” Johnson now says with conviction.

                Johnson talked about his research and findings March 10 during “An Evening with Nathanael Johnson,” hosted by the Iowa Food & Family Project. The event was held at the Iowa FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. About 150 people --- farmers, foodies, students, agribusiness officials, etc. --- attended the event, which featured Johnson talking about GMOs and his conclusions, a panel discussion with Iowa farmers and a question and answer period.

                “In the end, I ended up figuring out that GMOs aren’t necessarily going to save the world, but they aren’t a problem,” Johnson said. “It’s a useful tool.”

                Grist editors tasked Johnson with thoroughly exploring all aspects of GMOs, which continue to be a polarizing topic worldwide and in Iowa. Most of the soybeans and corn raised in the state and fed to livestock are genetically altered to kill or resist pests, withstand herbicides, better tolerate drought and other reasons.

                Johnson said at some point society has to move on and trust science. He explored health, environmental, social, scientific, agronomic and other aspects of GMOs. Exhaustive research, countless interviews with scientists and government officials and talking with people on both sides of the issue all led to the same conclusion.

                “If I want to be on the side of science, I had to accept (GMOs) are as safe as science can suggest. I don’t know if it’s worth the passion that gets poured into it,” Johnson said.

                Ultimately, he said a lot of fact finding didn’t matter because much of the skepticism and fear of GMOs comes from the great disconnect between “eaters,” as Johnson likes to call consumers, and production agriculture. The vast majority of Americans, including people in the Heartland, are several generations removed from the farm.

                “(People) are fundamentally alienated from their food supply. They want their food dollar to make the world a better place, and they are not convinced (GMOs) will,” Johnson said.

                Farmers and commodity organizations need to continue to tell the story of agriculture and relay how food is grown, said Cliff Mulder who farms near Pella and serves on the Iowa Soybean Association board of directors. He said it’s a slow process, but a critical one.

                “Nathanael had a negative perception of GMOs when he first approached this project, but he kept an open mind, followed the facts and reported the science that proves this technology’s safety,” Mulder said. “I would hope we, as a board and producers, will continue to work to inform others that the food we grow is safe.” The soybean group is a founding member of the Iowa Food & Family Project (IFFP).

                Amanda Rinehart with DuPont Pioneer said Johnson provided insight into “real” questions consumers have about their food, how it is grown and who produces it. DuPont Pioneer is one of more than 35 IFFP partners.

                “It’s refreshing to hear from a consumer who truly wants to better understand the food and ag system and take others along on his journey,” Rinehart said. “I hope everyone in attendance walked away with motivation to tell their own food and ag story.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 3/7/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 869,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 36.50 million gallons daily. That is down 25,000 b/d from the week before and the lowest in eight weeks. Rail transportation challenges continue to suppress production volumes. The four-week average for ethanol production is 893,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.69 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 15.9 million barrels. That is a 2.4% decrease from last week and the lowest level of stocks of the year. Stocks are well below the 20-day supply mark for the second week in a row.

Imports of ethanol were zero b/d for the 23rd consecutive week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 375.9 million gallons daily, the highest of the year and a 6% increase over last week. Refiner/blender input of ethanol reached 841,000 b/d, down slightly from last week.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 9.71%, marking an 18-week low.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.176 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 96,983 metric tons of livestock feed, 86,461 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.53 million pounds of corn oil daily.

House Acts on Regulatory Relief Bills

(from NAWG)

This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 311, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act. The legislation will increase the farm exemption for the aggregate above ground storage capacity to less than or equal to 10,000 gallons. It will allow self certification for aggregate above ground storage capacity of between 10,000 and 42,000 gallons if a there is no history of a spill and require a professional engineer if there has been a history of a spill or the aggregate above ground storage capacity is 42,000 gallons or greater. This legislation will now proceed to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Today, the House Agriculture Committee approved H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act which addresses the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for pesticide applications.  H.R. 935 clarifies that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act requirements are sufficient regulation for pesticide applications and a duplicative permit under the Clean Water Act is not necessary. During the 112th Congress, the House of Representatives passed another version of the bill, H.R. 872, but the Senate failed to act necessitating a new version of the bill in the 113th Congress.

USDA Begins Farm Bill Listening Sessions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held listening sessions this week to hear from stakeholders regarding the implementation of the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the Farm Bill. NAWG staff participated in the session regarding conservation and research programs operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Agriculture Resource Service. NRCS was given authority in the farm bill to keep programs operating this year with slight modifications, so please visit your local service center for information on enrolling in conservation programs. USDA hopes to have new regulations for consolidated conservation programs completed this spring or summer. Information on the upcoming sessions can be found on USDA’s website at

House Passes Water Rights Protection Act

The Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hail the passage of the Water Rights Protection Act (WRPA), H.R. 3189, by the U.S. House of Representatives by a 238 to 174 vote. Introduced by Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), the legislation reiterates the limits to federal agency jurisdiction of water.

H.R. 3189 comes as a means to combat the Federal Government by way of the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management from seizing water rights in exchange for land use permits, without just compensation. An issue that arose in a USFS directive applicable to ski areas was seen by industry as an issue that could threaten all water users, including ranchers, as they depend on water rights on public and private land to keep their businesses viable.

“With 40 percent of the western cow herd spending some time on public lands, the ability to have secure water rights is imperative, not only to producers but to the economy,” said NCBA President Bob McCan, a rancher from Victoria, Texas. “This legislation is a commonsense bill that provides certainty to ranchers and leaves water management to the states where it belongs. The federal agencies must be accountable to citizens and the states and cannot, at will, circumvent state water laws at the expense of landowners.”

The legislation will prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from requiring the transfer of water rights without adequate and just compensation. Additionally, the bill supports long-established state water laws, clarifying that the federal government does not have jurisdiction.

“Our members face the same threats as ski companies do—perhaps with more at stake as they are individuals and families depending on these water rights for their livelihood”, said PLC President Brice Lee,  a rancher from Hesperus, Colo. “It is important to include all industries that may be impacted, to keep our rural communities thriving. Rep. Tipton’s bill accomplished the purpose of protecting all water right holders, including ranchers.”

PLC and NCBA supported an amendment by Rep. Tipton that made revisions to the legislation which clarified the intent of the bill. We opposed an amendment by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) that would have severely limited the legislation to become applicable only to ski operations, eliminating the efficacy of the bill for ranchers.

NCGA Seeking a Few Good Growers

The National Corn Growers Association invites farmers to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the Leadership at Its Best Program, co-sponsored by Syngenta.  Growers must be nominated by their state corn association.  With applications due April 11, interested members should contact their state associations now for further information and get completed applications in to state offices by April 9.

"Since it began in the mid 1980s, Leadership at Its Best has helped train strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent work at the state and national level," said NCGA President Martin Barbre.  "This year, we again ask that farmers come forward and act upon their desire to give back to their peers. NCGA depends upon grassroots leadership and, I personally can attest that the time and effort dedicated are repaid in full through the incredible relationships built with like-minded individuals."

Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership at Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels.  The first session, held in August in Greensboro, N.C., addresses personal communications skills, public speaking and association management.  The second session, which will be held in January of 2015, addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure.  Through this program, participants build the skill set needed to become a more confident public speaker with a solid background in the procedures and processes used by NCGA and many state organizations.

Participants must be registered members of NCGA.  Those interested should contact their state corn organization which will submit nominees for the programs.

Since 1986, the National Corn Growers Association, the state corn associations and, most importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the Syngenta- co-sponsored Leadership At Its Best Program.  More than 550 growers have gained invaluable media, communications, association management and public policy knowledge and skills over the lifetime of the program.

Leadership At Its Best acts as a vital leadership incubator for honing the skills of state leaders on "the way up" and stimulating further involvement in and greater commitment from state growers to NCGA.

ASA Honors Stabenow with Soy Champion Award

The American Soybean Association (ASA) presented Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) with the Soy Champion Award at the annual March meeting of ASA's board of directors in Washington, D.C. this morning. The award recognizes Chairwoman Stabenow for her outstanding leadership and advocacy on behalf of soybean farmers.

ASA Michigan Director Matt Stutzman, who farms in Blissfield, pointed to the Chairwoman's persistence in representing farmers nationwide in a long and protracted battle over the farm bill. "... From day one, she has been a champion not only for soybean farmers but for all of agriculture," he noted. "Chairwoman Stabenow has been a driving force for progress on risk management, biobased products and renewable fuels, trade, agricultural research, conservation, and so many other issues that impact our success on the farm every day. Throughout the three year process, she went to bat for us time and time again, and when the farm bill landscape looked the bleakest, she regrouped, and went to bat for us once more, all with a smile on her face."

"We owe so much of soybeans' success in the farm bill to the Chairwoman's leadership," added ASA President Ray Gaesser, a farmer from Corning, Iowa, who visited on multiple occasions with Chairwoman Stabenow and her staff during the three-year farm bill process. "This award honors the champions of our industry on Capitol Hill, and Chairwoman Stabenow has been the perfect example."

The award is given annually by the farmer leaders of ASA to a member of the Senate or House of Representatives who has done exemplary for the industry.

Tolman to Retire as NCGA Chief Executive Officer

The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre.

“Earlier this week, Rick Tolman shared with the NCGA Corn Board his desire to step down as chief executive officer of NCGA at the end of September.

“Rick has been a tireless advocate for corn farmers and our organization. However, Rick told us – as much as he loves representing our way of life – he is ready to enjoy more time with his wife, Linda, and their five children and eight grandchildren, and other pursuits. As he said it, we all put off things until ‘someday,’ and, for him, ‘someday’ has finally come, after 14 years of service to the organization and a 37-year career in agriculture.

“While we are certainly happy for Rick and his family, it was with great trepidation that we heard the news initially. Change is hard for some to accept. Once we all realized that we could not talk Rick out of his decision, we offered him a hearty thank you for his dedicated service. Rick is definitely riding into the sunset on a high note.

“We all want to leave things better than we found them, and Rick can certainly be proud of his legacy at NCGA. As we look forward to the next chapter in professional association management, I want to assure NCGA members, affiliated state organizations and other stakeholders that NCGA has a sound, methodical process and plan in place for an orderly CEO succession. While this year will be one of transition, it will not be one of turmoil. Rick Tolman will be our CEO until Sept. 30.

“I will soon be announcing members of a CEO Search Committee, and we’ll share additional details as they become available.”

Urea, DAP Lead Fertilizer Higher Again

Retail fertilizer prices were still on the rise the first week of March, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. All eight of the major fertilizers had higher prices compared to a month earlier for the third straight week.  Leading the way higher once again are urea and DAP. Both fertilizers were 6% higher compared to a month previous. Urea has an average price of $531 per ton while DAP was at $553 per ton.

The remaining six fertilizers all had slight price moves higher. MAP had an average price of $570/ton, potash $474/ton, 10-34-0 $511/ton, anhydrous $622/ton, UAN28 $343/ton and UAN32 $389/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.58/lb.N, anhydrous $0.38/lb.N, UAN28 $0.61/lb.N and UAN32 $0.61/lb.N.

With urea moving higher in recent months, seven of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits lower in price compared to February 2013.  Urea is now down 7%, DAP is 11% less expensive and both UAN28 and UAN32 are both 12% lower. MAP is 14% less expensive while 10-34-0 is down 17%. Potash is 20% less expensive while anhydrous is 28% lower than a year earlier.

National FFA Organization partners with 8 Major League Baseball teams for ‘FFA Day at the Ballpark’ to raise funds, community awareness

FFA members, their friends and family members and FFA supporters can catch a Major League Baseball game this summer and take advantage of specially discounted ticket rates, help raise funds for FFA and heighten awareness of the organization.

FFA Day at the Ballpark games will be in June and July from Washington, D.C., to Washington state:
•    7:10 p.m. Friday, June 14: Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers at Safeco Field in Seattle
•    7:10 p.m. Friday, June 20: Kansas City Royals vs. Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Field in Kansas City
•    1:10 p.m. Sunday, June 22: Cincinnati Reds vs. Toronto Blue Jays at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati
•    1:15 p.m. Sunday, June 22: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium in St. Louis
•    7:10 p.m. Friday, June 27: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Colorado Rockies at Miller Park in Milwaukee
•    7:05 p.m. Friday, July 11: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia
•    1:35 p.m. Sunday, July 20: Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
•    2:10 p.m. Sunday, July 27: Colorado Rockies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at Coors Field in Denver

Each game is a fundraising event for FFA; a portion of each ticket sold will benefit FFA at the state level.

Based on ticket sales, FFA has the potential to share how the organization makes a positive difference in the lives of agricultural education students throughout the country with nearly 500,000 baseball fans in the combined eight markets.

To order specially discounted tickets online for any of the FFA Day at the Ballpark games, visit

Brazil's Ag Ministry Lowers Soy View to 85.4 MMT

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry Wednesday lowered its soybean forecast by 4.6 million metric tons (mmt), following on from reductions by private consultants in recent weeks.  The Ministry's CONAB agency pegged output at 85.4 mmt, up 4.8% on the year before.  The number is in line with recent local forecasts that peg the crop at 85-86 mmt, which is a far cry from the 91-93 mmt estimates circulating in January.

The losses were principally in the south, where in Parana the crop has been hit hard by the absence of rains and high temperatures and in Rio Grande do Sul by badly distributed rains over the last 30 days.  In the center-west, a lack of rain in Goias state caused issues, while in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, drought has also hurt the crop.

Corn production is pegged at 75.2 mmt, slightly down from its February number if 75.5 mmt.

Council Presses Biotech, Market Access at T-TIP Negotiations

"The collapse of U.S. market share in corn exports to the EU coincided with the introduction of biotech events in corn, and that's not an accident," said Floyd Gaibler, the U.S. Grains Council director of trade policy and biotechnology. "It is clear that the EU uses biotechnology regulation to fence out U.S. imports, and that needs to change. That is a key goal in T-TIP."

Gaibler presented the case directly to U.S. and European agricultural trade negotiators this week in Brussels, at the fourth round of negotiations on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The Council joined agricultural groups from both the United States and Europe in briefing the negotiating teams on key industry concerns.

Between 1987 and 1996, Gaibler noted, the United States enjoyed the lion's share of EU corn imports. Beginning in 1997, however, the U.S. share plummeted to single digits and has remained at generally low-levels since then. The increasingly slow EU biotechnology approval system is a major factor in constricting U.S. sales.

"Had the United States maintained its pre-1997 market share in Europe," Gaibler said, "U.S. cumulative sales to date would have been 40 million metric tons (1.6 billion bushels) higher, at a value of nearly $3 billion. While the rise of Black Sea production would presumably have cut into that figure somewhat, it is clear that a dysfunctional regulatory system is a major culprit."

In Brussels, the Council continued its advocacy for greater predictability, transparency and timeliness in the EU biotechnology approval system. Improvements are also needed in approving stacked events, and in development of a trade enabling policy on low level presence of unapproved events. In addition, the Council emphasized that negotiations should ensure that the risk assessment of biotech events remains science-based and that efforts be made to acknowledge mutual recognition of approvals with other countries.

"This is important for U.S. producers and exporters," Gaibler said. "And it is important for European consumers, who continue to pay very high food prices because they are denied free access to global markets. A high quality T-TIP agreement is urgently needed, even if it takes longer to negotiate. We should settle for nothing less."

US DDGS Exports on the Rise in Southeast Asia

In 2013, Southeast Asia imported just over 1 million metric tons of distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) from the United States, an increase from 2012.

The numbers for January 2014 are strong and tracking ahead of 2013 in year-over-year comparison: 110,112 tons for 2014 versus 93,304 tons in 2013. One reason for this – other than Vietnam increasing its imports by more than 22,000 tons – is the addition of Myanmar (Burma) to the list of importing countries.

The U.S. Grains Council's initial foray into Myanmar happened in late-2012 when Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director for Southeast Asia, traveled to Yangon, Mandalay and Shan provinces to meet local feed millers and traders.

"At the time, DDGS was an unknown product to the majority of feed companies and traders," Yusupov said.

In June 2013, Yusupov made his second trip to the country. This time he brought Dr. Kim Koch, North Dakota State University professor and Northern Crops Institute feed production center manager. The goal was to educate a group of feed millers on feed technology and DDGS use in poultry and swine nutrition.

"We held seminars and one-on-one meetings to share information about DDGS use in animal nutrition, DDGS production, product qualities and trade," Yusupov said. "The result of these successful trips is that we're seeing exports of U.S. commodities pick-up in markets such as Myanmar."

CWT Assists with 2.9 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 12 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Tillamook County Creamery Association and United Dairymen of Arizona to sell 912,714 pounds (355 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese, 1.355 million pounds (615 metric tons) of 82% butter and 606,271 pounds (275 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the South Pacific. The product will be delivered March through August 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 26.985 million pounds of cheese, 11.774 million pounds of butter and 1.305 million pounds of whole milk powder to 19 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 514.3 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

In the long-term, assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

The Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Export Assistance program is funded by voluntary contributions from dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers. The money raised by their investment is being used to strengthen and stabilize the dairy farmers’ milk prices and margins. For more information about CWT, visit

U.S. Tractor Sales Remain Strong in Early 2014

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in February 2014, were down 0.8% compared to the same month last year.  For the month, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were up 2% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were down 0.4%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP down 6%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were down 13%.  Combine sales were down 22% for the month.

For the two months in 2014, a total of 20,710 tractors were sold which compares to 20.639 last year.  So far this year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are unchanged over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP are down .9%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are up 3%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are down 9%.  Sales of combines for the year totaled 1,068 compared to 1,074 in 2013.

Zoetis Introduces ONE SHOT® BVD

Zoetis today announced the addition of ONE SHOT® BVD to its comprehensive vaccine portfolio. The new vaccine helps provide combined respiratory protection against Mannheimia haemolytica and bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) Types 1 and 2 viruses in a single dose.

ONE SHOT BVD helps cattle producers expand respiratory vaccination programs that currently include INFORCE™ 3 respiratory vaccine, which is used to help protect beef and dairy calves. Young calves need additional respiratory protection due to underdeveloped immune systems and exposure to environmental stressors, which can cause them to fall victim to respiratory infection.

“The superior respiratory protection of INFORCE 3 against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) and the complementary M. haemolytica and BVD protection of ONE SHOT BVD offers producers a convenient and effective way to help combat bovine respiratory disease (BRD),” said Jon Seeger, DVM, managing veterinarian, Zoetis Cattle and Equine Technical Services. “These vaccines help provide the respiratory protection calves need until they are sold or move to the next production phase.

As the second-most significant disease impacting dairy operations1 and the leading cause of death in beef calves between three weeks of age and weaning,2 BRD can negatively impact the health, productivity and profitability of young calves.

“INFORCE 3 and ONE SHOT BVD help provide the antigens that young calves need to build their immunity before being commingled or turned out to pasture,” Seeger continued. “Using the right antigens, at the right time, helps offer comprehensive respiratory protection from BRSV, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus, parainfluenza 3 (PI3) virus, M. haemolytica and BVD Types 1 and 2 viruses.”

ONE SHOT BVD is available in 10- or 50-dose vials and can be purchased through veterinarians or animal health retailers.

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