Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wednesday March 5 Ag News

West Point Ag Appreciation Dinner is March 25

840 KTIC and 107.9 The Bull are proud to be a co-sponsor of the "2014 Ag Appreciation Dinner." It'll be on Tuesday, March 25th at the Nielsen Center. The social hour starts at 6PM.

Humorist T. Marni Vos  will provide the entertainment.

In addition to the meal and entertainment, Feller Law Office will provide an Estate Planning Workshop at 3:30PM.

Elkhorn Valley Public Health Department will host health-screenings during the workshop and through the evening.

Get your tickets from sponsoring businesses.

840 KTIC and 107.9 will be there, and we'd like to meet you at the Ag Appreciation Dinner, on March 25th at the Nielsen Community Center.

PVC Monthly Meeting is March 17th

Brett Mueller, President, Platte Valley Cattlemen

After the bitterly cold temperatures we have been experiencing, spring will be a welcome time.  As calving season kicks off for some of us, all we can do is hope for warmer days ahead.  

Our March meeting will be on Monday, March 17th, at Wunderlich’s Catering in Columbus.  The topic for the evening will be presented by Gary Tibbitts of Zinpro Corporation. Gary will discuss spotting and treating lame cattle in the feed yard. 

Social hour will begin at 6:00 p.m. and is being sponsored by Settje Agri-Services & Engineering, Inc.  The meal will be at 7:00 p.m., sponsored by Gary Tibbetts, Zinpro Corporation. 

Missouri River Farmers/ Businesses Sue U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Over Devastating Flooding

Farmers, small businesses and other property owners along the Missouri River today filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging actions of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and seeking damages caused by devastating, recurrent flooding along the river from 2006 to the record flood of 2011 that lasted more than 100 days and was declared the worst in the region’s history.

“For decades these Missouri River residents invested their fortunes and futures in developing farms, businesses and communities on this land in reliance on the Corps managing the river in a way that would deter flooding. Valuable farm ground is being permanently destroyed and a way of life is now threatened,” said Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel R. Dan Boulware, a partner at national law firm Polsinelli.

Ideker Farms, Inc. et al v. United States of America was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by Polsinelli PC, based in Kansas City, Mo., and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, of Washington, D.C., on behalf of farmers and other property owners in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota for damages sustained from one or more floods that occurred in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.  All four floods received a Presidential Declaration for Disaster.

The claims are brought under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the unconstitutional taking of property without compensation.  According to the Plaintiffs, for at least six decades prior to 2004, the U.S. Corps of Engineers had prioritized flood control when managing operations of dams, reservoirs and other structures along the river.  During that time, floods were shorter and less frequent.  However, Corps policy changed beginning in 2004 to conform river operations with environmental laws and regulations, including the Endangered Species Act, The National Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Water Act, and the 2000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinions. 

For named plaintiff Roger Ideker of Ideker Farms, Inc., of Corning, Mo., a third-generation farming operation, the change in Corps policy has had a significant impact. “I know I speak for many farmers and others along the Missouri River when I say that the flooding we have experienced since 2006 has been much different than that of the past. The frequency and severity make it a real and continuing hardship and threat to our way of life.”

Plaintiffs’ Co-counsel Benjamin Brown, a partner at Cohen Milstein, added: “The Constitution essentially says that, if you are going to make people sacrifice their property for a public good like protection of native species of wildlife, then you have to pay them just compensation.  That’s what this case is about – ensuring that the federal government cannot place the entire financial burden of a broad societal initiative on the backs of a handful of farmers and communities.”

The lawsuit alleges that the Corps policy changes directly led to the recurrent flooding. These include:
-    Increasing the water storage levels and altering the schedule for water releases from the six large reservoirs located along the river’s upper basin upstream from Yankton, S.D.;
-    Changing the structure of dikes and dams along the river to scour the banks and make the river more shallow;
-    Creating secondary channels that increase the frequency and duration of floods.

In addition, the lawsuit states that after 2004, the Corps’ operating criteria for releases from the Missouri River reservoirs, as provided in the Corps’ Master Manual, no longer required that certain releases, including early releases, had to be made based upon the Corps’ forecast of the annual snowmelt and rainfall runoff.  And, as a result of that deviation from the prior mandatory release criteria, which deviation was done to serve the interests of fish and wildlife, flooding has occurred from 2007 to the present that would not have occurred under the prior criteria that prioritized flood control. 

“The U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers knew these changes would lead to the river spreading out, causing more substantial flooding for the surrounding lands,” stated Boulware and Brown.

For additional information including a copy of the complaint visit: or call 816-364-2117.

Nebraska Farmers Union Spring District Meetings

District 6 Spring District Meeting
Friday, March 14, 2014.  3:00 p.m. meeting with early supper to follow.
The Office Bar & Grill, 121 Main Street, Hooper.
NeFU District 6 Director Dennis Buse and President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention.  President Hansen will report on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Nebraska Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program.  Bring a friend or neighbor. 
For more information, contact District 6 President Paul Poppe:  402-380-4508 cell.

District 4 Spring District Meeting
Saturday, March 15, 2014.  9:30 morning meeting with noon meal to follow.
Valentino’s, 701 Court Street, Beatrice.
NeFU District 4 Director Vern Jantzen, NFU Delegate Merlin Friesen, and President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention.  President Hansen will report on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Nebraska Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program.  Bring a friend.  
For more information, contact Dist. 4 V.P. Gayland Regier:  402-228-0631 Home or 402-520-1094 Cell

District 7 Spring District Meeting
Monday, March 17, 2014.  6:30 p.m. supper on your own with meeting to follow.
Valentino’s Pizza Restaurant meeting room, 1025 South 13th Street, Norfolk
NeFU District 7 Director Martin Kleinschmit and President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention.  President Hansen will report on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Nebraska Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program.  Bring a friend.  
For more information, contact Keith Dittrich:  402-368-7777 home or 617-320-6281 cell.

District 3 Spring District Meeting
Tuesday, March 18, 2014.  6:00 p.m. meal on your own with meeting to follow.
El Agave, 548 North Minden Avenue, Minden
NeFU President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention, on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program. Bring a friend.  
For more information, contact Ron Meyer:  402-879-5800 cell.

District 1 Spring District Meeting
Wednesday, March 19, 2014.  10:30 morning meeting with noon meal to follow.
Hampton Inn, 301 West Hwy 26, Scottsbluff
NeFU District 1Director Mike Sarchet and President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention.  President Hansen will report on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Nebraska Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program.  Bring a friend or neighbor.  
For more information, contact Dist. 4 Director Mike Sarchet:  308-631-6171 Cell

District 2 Spring District Meeting
Thursday, March 20, 2014.  6:30 p.m. Potluck Supper with meeting to follow.
Public Library, 1301 Howard Avenue, St. Paul
District 2 Scholarship Fundraiser Silent Auction. Bring items to donate.
NeFU President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention, on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program. Bring a friend.  
For more information, contact Bill Rolf:  308-536-2976.

District 5 Spring District Meeting
Tuesday, March 25, 2014.  6:00 p.m. supper on your own.  7:00 meeting.
Harry’s Tavern, 308 W. 2nd St.,Valparaiso, NE 68065
NFU Delegate Ben Gotschall and President John Hansen will report on the NFU Convention.  President Hansen will report on the Farm Bill, COOL, & national issues, Nebraska Legislature issues, and the new “GO” membership recruitment program.  Bring a friend or neighbor.  
For more information, contact Ben Gotschall:  402-705-8679 cell.

NeFU Sponsors College Students Attendance to College Conference on Cooperatives

19 agricultural students and their professors from 3 different Nebraska Colleges traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota February 13-16 to learn about cooperatives under the guidance of Nebraska Farmers Union.  The participating colleges included Northeast Community College at Norfolk, Southeast Community College at Beatrice, and Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis.  The College Conference on Cooperatives brought a total of 130 students from 35 different colleges and universities, from New York to all the way to Hawaii, making it the largest College Conference on Cooperatives held to date.

The Cooperative Conference included tours of the CHS (Cenex Harvest States) Headquarters, the REI Sports Sales Coop, housing coops, food coops, and the Mill City Flour Museum.  The Conference brought in speakers from a vast array of areas including cooperatively owned grocery stores, ag coops, rural electric coops, credit unions, and new coops.  NeFU Public Affairs Director Graham Christensen said, “We had another great conference.  The feedback we received from the students and professors was very positive.  The students learned about a host of different ways cooperatives can serve communities, and the wide range of career opportunities available that utilize the benefits of the cooperative approach to economic development.  Everyone left Minneapolis excited about these new opportunities.”

The conference evaluations revealed that 48% of the students in attendance were from farms or ranches, 17% were rural, 21% were from small towns, and the remaining 14% were urban. Christensen said, “The College Cooperative Conference helps make more students aware of additional cooperative tools that can be used to create the economic opportunities needed to help our rural youth stay in their communities.  We are pleased to partner with these Nebraska colleges to help send Nebraska kids to this Conference.”

The annual College Cooperative Conference is co-sponsored by the CHS Foundation in cooperation with the National Farmers Union Foundation.  Nebraska Farmers Union was awarded a grant from the CHS Foundation to help defray the attendance costs for the Nebraska participants.


For the month of February, temperatures 6-9 degrees below normal during the month were hard on livestock and created challenges for livestock producers, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Crop producer activities revolved around tax work and machinery preparations for the spring planting season. Grains were being moved to market and seed was being delivered for the upcoming planting season. Available soil moisture continues a concern going into spring. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 15 percent very short, 42 short, 43 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 16 percent very short, 39 short, 45 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat  condition  rated  3  percent  very  poor,  15  poor,  39  fair,  36  good,  and  7 excellent. 

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report: Stock water supplies rated 6 percent very short, 8 short, 86 adequate, and 0 surplus.  

Hay and forage supplies rated 1 percent very short, 7 short, 88 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Cattle and calf condition rated 0 percent very poor, 4 poor, 19 fair, 70 good, and 7 excellent. Cattle and calf losses rated 5 percent below average, 91 average, and 4 above average. Percentage of cows calved since Jan 1 was 18 percent.

Sheep and lamb condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 23 fair, 73 good, and 4 excellent.  Sheep and lamb losses rated 1 percent below average, 97 average, and 2 above average.

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:,HP

Iowa Conditions Report for February 2014 

February  saw  average  temperatures  below  normal  with  lows  more  than 20 degrees below zero.   Precipitation  for  the month was above normal and fell often in the form of snow.  Soil erosion continued to be a concern with strong winds throughout the month.

As February  came  to  a  close, moisture  levels  rated  14 percent  very  short, 39 percent short, 46 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.   West Central Iowa was the driest in the state with 85 percent in very short to short.  The northeast  reported  the  most  soil moisture  with  91 percent  in  adequate  to surplus.

Grain  movement  rated  37  percent  none,  38  percent  light,  22  percent moderate, and 3 percent heavy.   February had a number of very cold days and  a  few  snowstorms  and  ice  that  caused  interruptions  to  grain transportation in some areas.

Availability of hay and roughage supplies was 17 percent short, 77 percent adequate,  and  6  percent  surplus  with  42  percent  of  the  supply  in  good condition.  Livestock conditions have been reported as mostly normal.  Hog and  pig  losses  in  February were  5  percent  light,  80  percent  average,  and 15 percent heavy.  The higher than normal losses resulted from the spread of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus  (PEDV).   Cattle and calf  losses were 9 percent light, 85 percent average, and 6 percent heavy.  A few respondents have started calving.


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship 

General  Summary.    
Temperatures  averaged  12.6  degrees  or  11.4 degrees below normal while precipitation  totaled 1.54  inches or 0.49  inches above normal.      This  ranks  as  the  7th  coldest  and  28th  wettest  February  among 142 years of  records.     A colder February was  last  recorded  in 1979 and a colder calendar month in December 2000.

The cold weather pattern that began in Iowa in mid-October continued  through February.     Temperatures averaged below normal on all but  five  days  (13th  and  17th-20th)  of  the  month.      There  were  no  days averaging as much as ten degrees above normal but were 18 days more than ten degrees colder  than usual.     Elkader reported  the  lowest  temperature of the month with  a  -29  degrees  reading  on  the  11th.     However,  bitter  cold prevailed  even  at  the  end of  the month with  a  -20 degrees  temperature on the  28th  at Cresco, with  temperatures  to  fall  even  further  in  early March.   Nevertheless,  portions  of  western  and  southern  Iowa  enjoyed  some  brief respite from the cold at mid-month with readings climbing above 50 degrees in  some  areas  on  the  13th,  15th,  17th,  18th  and  19th.      The  temperature  at Sidney  soared  to  67  degrees  on  the  afternoon  of  the  18th.     However,  the temperature  has  not  exceeded  42  degrees  at Charles City, Northwood  and Osage since November.   Spencer Airport recorded the lowest wind chill of the month at -42 degrees on the 10th. 

Heating Degree Day Totals.   
Home heating  requirements, as estimated by heating  degree  day  totals,  averaged  27 percent  greater  than  last  February and normal.     Degree day  totals  thus  far  this heating  season  (since  July 1, 2013) are running 18 percent greater than last season and 13 percent greater than normal.

Precipitation was much more frequent during February than for  the prior  two months.     Monthly precipitation  totals were above normal at most  locations  and  well  above  normal  over  the  parts  of  eastern  Iowa.   Totals varied from 0.29 inches at Castana to 3.90 inches at Donnellson.   A higher  February  total  has  been  recorded  only  once  (4.25  in  2001)  at Donnellson since measurements began there in 1940.    The month’s largest precipitation event came on  the 20th with a wide variety of weather across Iowa.   This event began with rain in most areas but transitioned to moderate to heavy snow over much of  the northwest one-half of  the state.     Greatest snow  totals  were  reported  from  Algona,  Britt  and  Lake Mills  with  eight inches.   Meanwhile unseasonably heavy rain fell across far southeast Iowa with Donnellson  picking  up  2.21  inches.      Thunderstorms were  common across the southeast one-half of the state with hail up to one inch in diameter reported in Linn, Union, Warren and Wayne counties.   Blizzard conditions were reported across north central Iowa on the evening of the 20th with wind gusts  to 55 mph  at Mason City.     Other  than on  the 20th, nearly  all of  the remainder  of  the month’s  precipitation  fell  as  snow.      Snow  totals  varied from 6.9  inches at Hawarden  in  the northwest  to 29.2 inches at Keosauqua in the southeast.   The Keosauqua snowfall is the highest total for any month at that location (previous record 26.5 inches  in Feb. 2008 among 121 years of records).   The statewide average snowfall was 14.6 inches or 7.8 inches more than normal.   This was the sixth snowiest February among 127 years of records and the state’s snowiest calendar month since December 2009.

Winter Summary.  
The three mid-winter months of December, January and February  averaged  14.6  degrees  or  7.5  degrees  below  normal  while precipitation  totaled  2.61  inches  or  0.73  inches  less  than  normal.      This ranks as  the 9th coldest and 42nd driest winter among 141 years of  records.   A colder winter was last recorded in 1978-1979 and a drier winter in 2005-2006.     Persistent cold, with subnormal  temperatures prevailing since mid-October, has allowed  the soil under sod  to freeze  two  to  three feet beneath the surface and under roadways to depths as great as five and one-half feet.   Water main  breaks  have  become  common  across  the  state.      Frost  depths have remained relatively steady over the past two weeks and probably have reached their winter maximums.

Nebraska Agribusiness Club Pledges $5,000 in Matching Funds to the Food Bank of Lincoln

Did you know there are more than 50,000 food-insecure individuals in just 16 counties of southeast Nebraska? Food-insecure individuals are defined as those people who don’t know where their next meal will come from and more than 18,000 of them are children.

The Nebraska Agribusiness Club is an organization aimed at promoting the value of agriculture to the Lincoln community. The NE ABC has announced a partnership with the Food Bank of Lincoln by pledging $5,000 in matching funds to the Food Bank of Lincoln. The partnership with the Food Bank of Lincoln is an exciting way for the NE ABC to help feed people in Lancaster county and surrounding areas. For every $1 donated, the Food Bank of Lincoln can provide $5 worth of meals for those in need.

Together, we can raise $10,000 and spread the word about hunger issues in our area!  Together we can make a positive change!

All donations made to the Food Bank of Lincoln from now until March 30, 2014, will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000.  You can make a positive difference by donating here:  Or send a check to the Food Bank of Lincoln, 4840 Doris Bair Circle, Ste. A, Lincoln, NE 68504 with “Agribusiness Club” in the memo line.  Corporate donations will also be accepted and matched by the club.

This IS a tax deductible donation. Once your donation is complete, the Food Bank of Lincoln will email a form listing your contribution that you can use for tax purposes. 

Nebraska Farm Bureau “Top 10 List” Helps Farmers Navigate Farm Bill

Nebraska farmers will have a lot of different options to consider when it comes to farm programs under the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill. To help navigate through the changes, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) has developed a list of “Top 10 Things to Know About the 2014 Farm Bill” to aid farmers in evaluating what is included in the new bill and what it might mean for their farm or ranch. 

“Farmers are going to have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to participation in the new farm programs; and while the USDA rules for the programs aren’t expected until late 2014, it’s important farmers have a baseline of understanding of what the programs are and the type of decisions they will be asked to make if they participate. The ‘Top 10’ list provides a baseline of information to help them get started,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Farmers will have the choice of signing up for one of two versions of the new Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) commodity program or have the ability to participate in a new Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program that replaces direct payments and the ACRE program under the previous farm bill. Participation in the PLC program will also open the door for farmers to participate in a new crop insurance program known as the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO).

“In addition to the new programs, farmers will also find that they will have only one chance to make the decision on which program they will participate in over the life of the five-year farm bill, so it is critical they take a good look at their options and what makes the most sense for their farm operation,” said Jordan Dux, Nebraska Farm Bureau director of national affairs.

Of specific interest to Nebraska farmers and ranchers is the retro-active extension of numerous livestock disaster programs under the farm bill to aid those who suffered livestock and forage losses due to both drought and blizzard conditions going back to 2012. Livestock disaster sign-up begins April 15.

“Nebraska farmers will also note that the new farm bill allows them to select different levels of protection on irrigated versus dryland crop ground under crop insurance, which was not allowed under the previous bill. While this won’t kick in until 2015, it will allow farmers to customize their level of crop insurance coverage to better meet their individual needs,” said Dux.

The farm bill has also brought change to conservation programs. While the mainstay programs of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) remain, several of the previous land preservation and easement programs are now rolled into one program. Farmers will also find the farm bill now links conservation compliance to crop insurance.

“We know there are a lot of questions about the new farm bill and what it will mean for each individual’s situation. We’re committed to helping farmers and ranchers as they work through this process by putting good information in their hands and helping them jump start the process. The ‘Top 10’ list is simply a starting point,” said Nelson.

Nebraska Farm Bureau has developed a 2014 Farm Bill Breakdown web page to provide background information and resources related to the farm bill. The site also allows individuals to submit farm bill questions. The “Top 10 Things to Know About the 2014 Farm Bill” and other resources can be accessed by visiting

Top 10 Things to Know About the 2014 Farm Bill – A Farmers Guide to Get Started

10.          USDA Rules Should Be Out by Late 2014
Many of the rules governing this farm bill have yet to be written. Because there are new commodity programs, the USDA still has to work out how they will administer certain provisions, and there could be several kinks to work through. Deadlines for program sign-up also remain uncertain.

9.            Nebraska Corn and Soybean Farmers Should Start by Looking at ARC
Farmers will have a choice of signing up for one of two versions of the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program or the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program that replaces direct payments and the ACRE program. This decision will be made for each Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm. In general, ARC would pay out when actual county crop revenue is below the county ARC revenue guarantee for a crop year. Farmers will have to choose between ARC and PLC, but early indicators suggest ARC might be a better bet and a good place to start investigating farm bill options.

8.            Is County or Individual ARC Better for You?      
Farmers will have the option to choose between two versions of the ARC program: County-ARC or Individual-ARC. The County-ARC program allows producers to participate on a crop by crop basis and protects based off of county revenue losses. The individual-ARC program provides individual farm level protection, but all of a farm’s commodities must be enrolled in the program if the farmer selects this option. Early analysis indicates County-ARC might be more popular among corn and soybean producers. Individual-ARC is more complicated than its County-ARC counterpart.

7.            Don’t Overlook PLC and the New Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO)
The new PLC target price program operates similarly to the old Counter-Cyclical payment program. Under the new program, a payment would trigger if the U.S. average market price for the crop year is less than the set reference price. While the target price program was a non-factor in recent years, USDA’s price projections for 2014 might make this attractive for farmers who worry about crop prices more than revenue.

Farmers that sign up for PLC can also utilize the new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). SCO is a crop insurance program that provides farms the option to purchase county level insurance that would cover part of the deductible under their individual yield and revenue loss crop insurance policies. A farmer is not eligible to participate in SCO if they are enrolled in ARC. This program would be available beginning in the 2015 crop year.

6.            You Get One Shot to Get It Right…
Like the decision to sign up for ACRE in the last farm bill, farmers will have one chance to make a decision as to which program (County-ARC, Individual-ARC or PLC) they will participate in through the life of the five-year farm bill. If a farmer does not choose an option, they are automatically enrolled in PLC but will receive no benefits for their 2014 crop. Also, landowners will have the one-time option to reallocate base acres. Participating in the PLC program will also offer landowners a one-time opportunity to update base yields.

5.            Conservation Compliance and Crop Insurance are Now Linked
Farmers purchasing crop insurance will have to be in compliance with conservation provisions with highly erodible lands and wetlands in 2015. While farmers were obligated to meet similar requirements for commodity payments, the linkage to crop insurance is new and will provide more options for complying than under the compliance provision for commodities.

4.            Irrigated and Dryland Crops Can be Insured at Different Levels
Different than in previous years, the new farm bill allows farmers to select different levels of protection on irrigated versus dryland crop ground. While it will not be available until 2015, this will allow farmers to customize their level of crop insurance coverage to better meet their individual needs.

3.            Conservation Program Opportunities Might be Tighter
The big three conservation programs of CRP, EQIP and CSP remain in the 2014 Farm Bill, but there are fewer dollars collectively for these programs this time around. Another change is that the land preservation and easement programs in the previous farm bill are now all rolled into one program.

2.            Livestock Disaster Sign-Up Begins April 15
The much anticipated retro-active extension of numerous livestock disaster programs occurred under the 2014 Farm Bill. Producers who suffered livestock and forage losses due to drought and blizzard conditions going back to 2012 will be able to begin the sign-up process at local FSA offices beginning April 15.

1.            There is A Lot to Chew On…
There will be a lot of options for farmers to think about this time around which means communication with landlords and lenders will be very important as you consider which safety-net programs will work best for your operation. Key among these considerations is the fact that program payments will not be issued until October of the following crop year (i.e. 2014 crop year payments will be issued in Oct. 2015).

For more details on each of these programs visit for Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2014 Farm Bill Breakdown page.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Good cow nutrition is crucial following calving to get cows rebred.  Today let's review some guidelines to make sure we do the job right.

               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, rebreed on time, and produce healthy calves year after year.

Annual Nebraska LEAD Recognition Banquet March 14 in Lincoln

            Chuck Schroeder, Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute will be the keynote speaker at the annual LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program recognition banquet March 14.

            Schroeder's address will provide insight on leadership development while addressing the need for quality leadership at all levels during the banquet honoring Nebraska LEAD Group 32 at the Nebraska East Campus Union on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus.

            Prior to the banquet, the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council will conduct its annual meeting at 4:45 p.m. The council will elect 2014-15 officers to its board of directors.

            Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the 6:30 p.m. banquet.

            Banquet reservations are $25 and may be made by calling the Nebraska LEAD Program office at 402-472-6810 no later than March 10.

            Nebraska LEAD 32 Fellows in alphabetical order are: Matt Boos, Kearney; Aaron Broz, Hayes Center; Bryan Buskirk, Alliance; Chris Cornelius, Madrid; Warren Coulter, Ravenna; Jessi Doke, Norfolk; Bonnie Downing, Dunning; Christine Erquiaga, Rushville; Omaha; Chris Hartwig, Grand Island; Brian James, Nebraska City; Mackenzie Johnston, Milburn; Andrew Kabes, Grant; Darrell Kahler, David City; Kurt Kircher, Kearney; Jeff Larson, Axtell; Brett Mueller, Columbus; Miles Mundorf, Cozad; Stephanie Perry, Omaha; Tyson Schimmer, Grand Island; Leslie Smith, Mitchell; Alyssa Smola, Lincoln; Steve Stroup, Benkelman; Jeff Swenson, Morrill; Justin Troudt, Kearney; Sam Vakhidov, Lincoln; and Shanna Waterman, Osmond.

            The purpose of the Nebraska LEAD Program is to prepare and motivate men and women in agriculture for more effective leadership.

            The Nebraska LEAD Program is under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, a non-profit organization in cooperation with the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and is supported by Nebraska colleges, universities, businesses, industries and individuals throughout the state.

            Nebraska LEAD Program offices are located at the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

            For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 34, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 318 Biochemistry Hall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0763, telephone 402-472-6810 or email Shana at The application deadline is June 15.

Johanns: President’s Budget is Election-Year Politics

U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today made the following statement on the President’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015, which includes $56 billion in new spending this year and $791 billion in spending increases over the next decade, paid for with tax hikes on American families.

“With soaring annual deficits and nearly $18 trillion in debt hovering over our economy, our country is in need of serious budgeting that spends responsibly and reins in the heavy hand of government,” Johanns said. “Unfortunately, what the President proposed today isn’t serious at all. It’s merely an election-year political tool that spends more, taxes more and fails to address much-needed entitlement reforms. His proposal would be laughable if millions of American families weren’t struggling under the same tax-and-spend policies that have failed our country for the past five years.”

“I’ve always said I’m willing to work with anyone who is serious about fixing our budget crisis, but the President made clear today that he’s more interested in pandering to his political base than working on any real solutions.”

Fischer Statement on FY15 Budget

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) released the following statement in reaction to release of President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget:

“In the past, the president’s budget has served as a starting point for spending negotiations with Congress. However, this year’s budget is ‘dead on arrival’ – and it’s not because of Republican opposition. Senate Democrats have made it perfectly clear they have no intention of passing a budget this year, despite legal requirements to do so. While I don’t support the higher taxes, increased spending, and damaging debt contained within the president’s budget, I appreciate his willingness to at least have a conversation – a conversation the Senate majority refuses to allow.”

On Friday, Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) indicated Senate Democrats have no intention of passing a budget this year.

Vilsack on the proposed FY 2015 budget

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the proposed FY 2015 budget:

“The President’s 2015 USDA budget proposal achieves reform and results for the American taxpayer; fosters opportunity for the men and women living, working and raising families in rural America; and supports innovation through strategic, future-focused investments.

The budget focuses on creating jobs and building a foundation for future economic growth, particularly in rural America, where 85 percent of our nation’s persistent poverty counties are located.

It supports farmers, ranchers and growers as they achieve net farm income well above the average of the previous decade. Mid-sized farms and livestock producers continue to face challenges as a result of prolonged drought. We are hopeful that implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, which restores disaster assistance and invests in programs to help beginning, small and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, will provide much-needed stability for producers moving forward.

To support hardworking Americans as they find and keep jobs and transition out of nutrition assistance programs, we have invested in programs that will build the skills they need to get back into the workforce.

The budget continues to fund programs that, since 2009, have helped more than 800,000 families buy, repair or refinance a home; extended new or improved broadband service for more than 7 million Americans and 364,000 rural businesses; improved or constructed more than 90,000 miles of electric line; invested in 6,700 water and wastewater projects for nearly 20 million Americans; and provided grants and loans to assist nearly 75,000 rural small and mid-sized businesses in rural America, creating or saving more than 377,000 jobs.

To help America’s producers break into new exports markets for farm and ranch products, and building off of President Obama’s recently announced Made in Rural America export initiative, we will continue funding for trade promotion and market expansion. Last fiscal year, farm and ranch exports reached a record $141 billion and supported nearly one million American jobs.

Here at home, we continue to capitalize on nearly limitless opportunities to use what is grown and raised on our farms and ranches in innovative and unexpected ways. Supported by the recently signed 2014 Farm Bill, the budget makes targeted investments in biobased product manufacturing, local and regional food systems, and specialty crops and organic production.

Building on historic efforts underway across rural America, the budget adds about 23 million acres of land to USDA conservation efforts and sustains 25 million acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, ensuring clean air, clean and abundant water and critical wildlife habitat for generations to come.

The budget also proposes a new approach to wild land fire suppression, which will allow the Forest Service to stabilize and invest in programs that more effectively restore forested landscapes and support those living in communities impacted by wildfire to avert and minimize damage from future wildfires.

The 2015 budget makes strategic investments that further innovation and encourage creative approaches to solving rural America’s most pressing challenges. The budget provides increased funding of $325 million for our premier competitive grants program to support the cutting edge research that will help producers adapt and succeed in the face of modern challenges, including a changing climate. It also provides $25 million each to three public-private innovation institutes that focus on biobased product manufacturing, pollinator health, and anti-microbial resistance research, respectively.

At the same time, the 2015 budget recognizes fiscal realities. It supports USDA’s ongoing efforts to modernize and update the way we do business. It builds off of our efforts through the Blueprint for Stronger Service, which in recent years has saved the American taxpayer a total of $1.2 billion while ensuring that USDA customers receive the best possible service. Our leaner workforce continues to find ways to implement increasingly complex programs with fewer resources.

The security of our nation’s food and fiber supply depends on what we do today to support a rural America that is increasingly nimble, diverse and responsive to changing consumer tastes. The 2015 budget proposal, and the tools provided in the new farm bill, will help to create jobs and drive long-term, sustainable economic growth in rural America, while equipping our farmers and ranchers with the tools they need to survive and thrive.

Link the Budget Highlights:

Link to the Budget Summary:

NFU Statement on President's FY 2015 Budget

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued a statement following the announcement of President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget:

“The president has submitted a forward-looking budget that builds on the agricultural economy’s successes while investing in innovative solutions to future challenges.

"The president’s proposed Climate Resilience Fund will provide farmers and ranchers with much-needed assistance after extreme weather events, which are occurring with increasing frequency. I hope Congress follows the president’s lead and takes action to comprehensively address global climate change in a way that engages and recognizes the valuable contributions the agricultural community can make to reducing our nation’s carbon footprint.

“The 2012 Census of Agriculture confirmed what farmers and ranchers have known for some time: the average age of farmers continues to rise and mid-sized farms are disappearing. The proposed budget wisely invests in lending for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to help grow the next generation of agriculture.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s workforce has suffered a 5 percent reduction in recent years after facing mandatory budget cuts due to sequestration and prolonged budget impasses. Given this reality, it will be difficult for farmers, ranchers and rural residents to expect the same level of local services they have enjoyed before. Sec. Vilsack and his team stretch resources as far as they can, but spending cuts have consequences.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration to ensure smart investments that support family farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

Iowa’s David Ausberger Honored as ASA’s National Conservation Legacy Award Winner

The American Soybean Association (ASA) honored Jefferson, Iowa, soybean farmer David Ausberger as the national winner of ASA’s Conservation Legacy Awards program. The program is sponsored by BASF, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board and Corn and Soybean Digest, and recognizes soybean farmers across the country for their outstanding environmental and conservation practices, while maintaining profitable farming operations.

“David is a shining example of the innovation that happens every day on soybean farms across the country. He isn’t simply maintaining the environmental quality of his land, he is improving it,” said ASA President and fellow Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser. “The unique work that David is doing reaches far beyond his farm, and will help other farmers in their efforts to continue productive operations while remaining excellent stewards of the land.”

Prior to his recognition as the program’s national winner, Ausberger was named the Midwest Regional winner of the Conservation Legacy Award for his use of no-till—or as he describes it “never till”—and expansive cover cropping, a practice he says enables him to better manage soil and water quality, disease, weeds and insects. An active participant in multiple federal conservation programs, Ausberger also pointed to innovative strategies like the strategic application of nutrients through an extensive composting program that makes use of poultry litter from a nearby operation, and waste wood chips from the City of Jefferson.

“Conservation is a legacy that goes both forward and backward for me and my family,” says Ausberger. “It is a way to preserve the land for my kids (or somebody else’s kids) who may be farming it in the future. It is also a way to honor my dad’s ideals and commitment. Whether my kids and their children are walking this ground or live a thousand miles away when they grow up, I hope they do not have to worry about the water they drink or the air they breathe.”

Through cooperation with the Iowa Soybean Association and participation in multiple ISA initiatives, Ausberger developed a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to reduce nutrient loss and better manage inputs. As a Certified Conservation Farmer, Ausberger shares his success with advanced conservation measures with other farmers in his area through more than 40 hours of classroom and field experience. Finally, Ausberger is part owner of a seven-turbine wind farm that generates enough electricity for his entire community.

ASA presented the award to Ausberger on Friday during the association’s annual awards banquet at Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Nominations are open for the 2015 Conservation Legacy Awards Program online at

ICGA Proposed Resolutions Accepted at Commodity Classic

Iowa corn farmers joined with other corn farmer members from 26 states representing the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) at the annual Commodity Classic meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Iowa's grassroots policy process brought forth 6 resolutions that were accepted by the national delegation last week.

NCGA farmer delegates discussed issues related to crop insurance, biotechnology, communications, farmer confidentiality, ethanol and farm bill. The Iowa resolutions included:
-- Support maintaining or increasing funding of research at all levels to improve corn quality, lower input costs, and increase the use of corn.
-- Support the protection of farmers who have planted approved biotechnology products without threat of judicial proceedings requiring them to terminate crops.
-- Support a complete, science-based, yet expeditious, regulatory process in the U.S. for all biotechnology events.
-- Support a farm bill that includes both farm programs and a nutrition title.
-- Support no hard dollar cap on the government's share of the crop insurance premium.
-- Support the current public/private partnership for the delivery of the federal crop insurance program and keep implementation with private crop insurance agents, not government agencies.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden also visited with the group and answered questions in regards to farm bill implementation.

"We are proud of the thorough process that we have in Iowa and the grassroots policy development we go through to bring Iowa farmer concerns to the national platform. It starts with our local roundtable meetings, to our Annual Meeting, and now onto National policy in Corn Congress at Commodity Classic," said Roger Zylstra, a farmer from Lynnville, Iowa, and the current president of the ICGA. "Iowa farmers here are hard at work representing the policy positions that matter back at home in Iowa."

Additional NCGA policy discussions took place on Saturday afternoon. "Mother Nature has dealt us some interesting weather the last couple of years," said Zylstra. "Our task at Commodity Classic is to make sure we have and maintain sound policy for Iowa's corn farmers."

Northwest Iowa Meeting to Address Current Feedlot Issues

The Primghar Community Center is the location of a March 25 meeting for area beef producers and agri-business staff. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the O’Brien County Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The Primghar Community Center is located on the corner of 1st St NE and Hayes Ave. 

“We will cover issues that impact area beef producers,” said Beth Doran, ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist. “These are issues that affect how our beef producers both manage and market cattle.”

The meeting features the following topics and speakers...

Iowa DNR Work Plan for Beef Feedlots
This topic will be covered by Iowa Department of Natural Resources Staff from Field Office 3.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is operating under a new work plan committed to environmental improvement. This involves a comprehensive survey of all large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and medium-size animal feeding operations (AFOs) within five years. The survey may be either an on-site inspection or desk-top evaluation and is estimated to involve 8,500 facilities in Iowa.

Pro-Active Approach to Feedyard Assessments (Care and Handling)
Doug Bear, director of industry relations with Iowa Beef Industry Council, will speak about this topic. Consumers want to know how the beef they consume is raised. To address this need, the National Beef Quality Assurance program is now offering materials to help a feedlot producer document how cattle are managed and cared for. These materials are available from the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

Market Situation and Outlook
The folks at Kooima and Kaemingk Commodities Inc. know that market prices will be a priority question for attendees. Prices for both feeder animals and market-ready animals have reached record levels. Will feedlots and cow-calf producers continue to see high prices or are the markets positioned for a downturn? Will consumers continue to buy beef at current prices or will they opt for other meats? 

Participants are invited to attend and ask questions about these important issues. There is no fee to attend but participants are encouraged to pre-register by March 21 with the O’Brien County Extension Office, by calling 712-957-5045 or e-mailing in order to prepare materials and refreshments.

For more information on the meeting, contact Dave Grooters, O’Brien County Cattlemen’s board member at 712-348-1960 or Beth Doran, extension beef specialist at 712-737-4230. See this program and other local programming from ISU Extension and Outreach at

Iowa Learning Farms to Host Spring Cover Crop Workshops, Field Day

Iowa Learning Farms, as part of the Iowa Cover Crops Working Group, will host four cover crop workshops across Iowa in March and April to support the growing popularity of cover crops in Iowa.

When cover crops are added to a corn-soybean rotation, they can help reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increase soil organic matter and reduce soil erosion. When cover crops are used in combination with other conservation management practices, point and nonpoint source pollution is reduced in Iowa waters and downstream. That is why cover crops are one management practice included in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Other conservation management practices include strip-tillage or no-tillage, grassed waterways, extended crop rotations, installing buffers, wetlands and bioreactors.
Cover crop workshops scheduled for late March and early April
-    March 25 – Osage, VFW Post 7920, 3693 US Highway 218 - RSVP by March 11 to Mitchell County Extension, 641-732-5574
-    March 26 – Chariton, Chariton Community Center, 915 Osage Street - RSVP by March 12 to Lucas County Extension, 641-774-2016
-    April 8 – Arcadia, Neil Vonnahme farm, 13628 220th Street - RSVP by March 25 to Carroll County NRCS office 712-792-1212, ext. 3
-    April 9 – Oakland, Oakland Community Building, 129 Harrison Street - RSVP by March 25 to East Pottawattamie Extension 712-482-6449

All workshops will be from 10 to 12:30 p.m. They are free and include a complimentary lunch. An RSVP is requested.

Topics at the workshops range from using cover crop mixtures, selecting the right cover crop for your farm, using cover crops to enhance soil and water quality, cover crop effects on soil health and more. Speakers include local farmers who are using cover crops on their fields, and specialists from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Practical Farmers of Iowa.
Cover Crop field day on April 3

In addition to the workshops, a field day is scheduled for Thursday, April 3 at the Joe Kriegel farm near Malcom, Iowa. The field day runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is free and includes a complimentary lunch; RVSP by March 24 to the Poweshiek County NRCS office by calling 641-528-4115, ext. 3. Attendees will meet at the Malcom Auditorium, 212 Main Street, Malcom; then car pool to the Kriegel farm to view three cover crop sites. The group will return to the auditorium for lunch and follow-up questions.

The Iowa Cover Crop Working Group’s goal is to increase the amount of living cover on Iowa agricultural lands. The group provides a unified voice from academy, non-profit and industry sectors on the importance of cover crops and the encouragement of their use in cropping systems across the state.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website:

PEDv Confirmed in North Dakota

North Dakota is the latest state to confirm a case of a deadly pig virus which has killed an estimated 4 million pigs in the United States since its discovery in the spring of 2013. The first North Dakota case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, was confirmed in the eastern part of the state this week, the North Dakota State University Extension Service said in a statement last week.

Reuters reports that confirmed PEDv cases increased by 304 in the week of Feb. 16 week bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,856 in 25 states, according to data released on Thursday from the USDA's National Animal Health Laboratory Network. The data did not include the North Dakota case.

The virus does not affect humans and is not a food safety risk.

Four Canadian provinces have also confirmed cases of the virus, which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs. While older pigs have a chance of survival, 80 to 100 percent of piglets that contract it die.

The U.S. hog industry expected to see tightening pig supplies in the spring and summer of 2014, but the virus has spread quickly, constricting the supply of slaughter-ready hogs and increasing costs of pork packers, Midwest hog dealers say.

United States and Canadian Cattle Inventory Down 2 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States and Canada combined totaled 99.9 million head on January 1, 2014, down 2 percent from the 101.6 million on January 1, 2013. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 43.1 million head, were down 1 percent from a year ago.           
All cattle and calves in the United States as of January 1, 2014, totaled 87.7 million head, 2 percent below the 89.3 million on January 1, 2013. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 38.3 million head, were down 1 percent from a year ago.

All cattle and calves in Canada as of January 1, 2014, totaled 12.2 million head, down 1 percent from the 12.3 million on January 1, 2013. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 4.86 million, were down 1 percent from a year ago.

United States and Canadian Hog Inventory Down Slightly

United States and Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs for December 2013 was 78.7 million head. This was down slightly from December 2012, and down slightly from December 2011. The breeding inventory, at 6.97 million head, was down 1 percent from a year ago and down 1 percent from 2011. Market hog inventory, at 71.7 million head, was down slightly from last year and down slightly from 2011. The semi-annual pig crop, at 73.1 million head, was down slightly from 2012 but up slightly from 2011. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 7.08 million head, down 1 percent from last year and down 2 percent from 2011.

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2013 was 65.9 million head. This was down 1 percent from December 1, 2012 and down 2 percent from September 1, 2013. The breeding inventory, at 5.76 million head, was down 1 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 60.2 million head, was down 1 percent from last year, and down 2 percent from last quarter. The pig crop, at 29.3 million head, was down slightly from 2012 and down slightly from 2011. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 2.88 million head, down slightly from 2012 and down 2 percent from 2011. 

Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs on January 1, 2014 was 12.7 million head. This was up 1 percent from January 1, 2013 and up 1 percent from January 1, 2012. The breeding inventory, at 1.22 million head, was up slightly from last year but down slightly from 2012. Market hog inventory, at 11.5 million head, was up 1 percent from last year and up 1 percent from 2012. The semi-annual pig crop, at 13.6 million head, was down 4 percent from 2013 and down 5 percent from 2012. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 1.27 million head, down 4 percent from last year and down 6 percent from 2012.

United States and Canadian Sheep Inventory Down 2 Percent

All sheep and lambs in the United States and Canada combined totaled 6.10 million head on January 1, 2014, down 2 percent from the 6.24 million on January 1, 2013. Breeding sheep, at 4.55 million head, were down 2 percent from a year ago and market sheep and lambs, at 1.55 million head, down from last year's 1.58 million head.
All sheep and lambs in the United States as of January 1, 2014, totaled 5.21 million head, 2 percent below the 5.34 million head on January 1, 2013. Breeding sheep, at 3.88 million head, were down 2 percent from a year ago, while market sheep and lambs, at 1.33 million head, and were down 2 percent from last year.

All sheep and lambs in Canada as of January 1, 2014, totaled 893 thousand head, down 1 percent from last year's number of 902 thousand. Breeding sheep, at 673 thousand head, were down 1 percent from last year. Market sheep and lambs, at 220 thousand head, were down 1 percent from a year ago.

USGC: Ukraine Update

The U.S. Grains Council today addressed the ever-changing political situation in Ukraine, outlining both short- and long-term realities of grain trade in the region.

“Events in Ukraine will have a direct impact on U.S. farmers in the international marketplace,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. “The Council is a global organization and has staff and consultants around the world representing the best interest of the U.S. grain trade.”

Ukraine reported a record corn harvest in the 2013/2014 marketing year of more than 30.9 million metric tons (1.2 billion bushels). The USDA projected in February that exports for the year will reach 18.5 million tons (728 million bushels).

Cary Sifferath, USGC regional director for the Middle East and Africa, estimates that approximately 15 million tons (591 million bushels) of this total has already been shipped, leaving approximately 3.5 million tons (138 million bushels) in projected exports between now and June. How this will be affected by the current turmoil is uncertain.

“Ports are open and vessels are loading but shipments are becoming increasingly difficult,” Sifferath said. “We’re seeing farmers holding grain to hedge against a devaluing currency. We hope for a peaceful and speedy resolution of Ukraine’s crisis, but the instability is creating opportunities for additional U.S. exports to North Africa, the Middle East, and China.”

Ukraine’s winter wheat and barley were planted before the onset of the crisis, but corn planting is due to start in the next 30 to 45 days, and credit availability may become an issue.

“The economic instability will affect Ukrainian farmers looking to plant this year’s crop,” Sleight said. “Ukraine is in a tough spot financially, and planting season is just around the corner. The Council will continue to monitor this situation closely.”

The unrest in Ukraine comes on the heels of the Council’s statement last week about the importance of strict adherence to an aggressive stewardship program for biotechnology to minimize the risk of export trade disruption. Ukraine exports corn to the European Union and China, both markets in which biotechnology approval issues currently impede U.S. corn sales. If those buyers turn to the United States, it is important that non-approved events be kept out of export channels.

The statement – from Sleight – read, in part:

“It is important for all sectors of the value chain – individual farmers, technology providers, shippers and exporters alike – to recognize the potentially significant international implications of their actions… The U.S. Grains Council represents a wide variety of members across the value chain committed to maintaining an open and fair grain trading system around the world. We recognize the desire of producers to deploy new technology as soon as it becomes available. We recognize also that continued technology development is essential to achieving global food security and creating new opportunities for producers and agribusinesses...

“There is no easy solution to these conflicting goals. In the short term, we urge all stakeholders to weigh the consequences of their actions, recognize the international implications of planting and marketing decisions, and stringently adhere to their stewardship responsibilities. In the long run, we encourage all parties to join the Council in working for a resolution of the low-level presence and asynchronous approval issues, which is the solution ultimately needed to serve the common interests of producers, agribusinesses, and consumers around the world."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 2/28/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 894,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 37.55 million gallons daily. That is down 11,000 b/d from the week before and the lowest in seven weeks. The slow-down in production is likely related to ongoing rail transportation challenges. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 901,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.81 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 16.6 million barrels. That is a 2.4% decrease from last week and the tightest level of stocks in seven weeks. Stocks dropped below the 20-day supply mark for the first time in nine weeks.

Imports of ethanol were zero b/d for the 22nd consecutive week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 353.3 million gallons daily, down slightly from last week. Refiner/blender input of ethanol hit a 10-week high at 846,000 b/d.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.63%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.555 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 99,773 metric tons of livestock feed, 88,949 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.66 million pounds of corn oil daily.

CWT Assists with 3.9 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from Foremost Farms USA, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 782,641 pounds (355 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese and 3.142 million pounds (1,425 metric tons) of 82% butter to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered in March through June 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 26.072 million pounds of cheese, 10.418 million pounds of butter and 698,865 pounds of whole milk powder to 19 countries on four continents. These sales are the equivalent of 475.3 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 impacts their milk price.

USDA Dairy Products January 2014 Production Highlights

Total cheese output (excluding cottage cheese) was 951 million pounds, 1.6 percent above January 2013 but 1.9 percent below December 2013.  Italian type cheese production totaled 418 million pounds, 4.6 percent above January 2013 but 1.2 percent below December 2013.  American type cheese production totaled 380 million pounds, 1.1 percent above January 2013 and 0.7 percent above December 2013.  Butter production was 182 million pounds, 3.0 percent below January 2013 but 12.9 percent above December 2013.

Dry milk powders (comparisons with January 2013)
Nonfat dry milk, human - 140 million pounds, down 2.3 percent.
Skim milk powders - 58.8 million pounds, up 22.6 percent.

Whey products (comparisons with January 2013)
Dry whey, total - 70.0 million pounds, down 22.8 percent.
Lactose, human and animal - 95.2 million pounds, up 7.4 percent.
Whey protein concentrate, total - 45.3 million pounds, up 23.1 percent.

Frozen products (comparisons with January 2013)
Ice cream, regular (hard) - 55.7 million gallons, down 0.7 percent.
Ice cream, lowfat (total) - 27.7 million gallons, down 2.9 percent.
Sherbet (hard) - 2.92 million gallons, down 2.7 percent.
Frozen yogurt (total) - 4.82 million gallons, up 32.0 percent.

Bayer Reports Higher Earnings

The Bayer Group continued its successful course in 2013. There was continuing momentum in the Life Science businesses: HealthCare achieved pleasing gains with its recently launched pharmaceutical products, while CropScience was very successful in a positive market environment.

Overall, Bayer achieved its operational targets in the Life Science businesses despite substantial negative currency effects. The business of MaterialScience continued to be affected by a difficult market situation.

Sales of the Bayer Group climbed by 1.0 percent in 2013 to EUR 40,157 million (2012: EUR 39,741 million).

Earnings were diminished by net special charges of EUR 839 million (2012: EUR 1,711 million). The special charges mainly included EUR 358 million in restructuring expenses and EUR 276 million in additional charges related to legal claims. EBIT before special items advanced by 2.4 percent to EUR 5,773 million (2012: EUR 5,639 million), while EBITDA before special items rose by 1.5 percent to EUR 8,401 million (2012: EUR 8,280 million).

Negative currency effects diminished Group earnings by about EUR 260 million overall. In addition, expenses for long-term stock-based compensation increased by EUR 70 million in light of the pleasing market performance of Bayer stock. Net income grew by 32.7 percent to EUR 3,189 million (2012: EUR 2,403 million), and core earnings per share advanced by 5.8 percent to EUR 5.61 (2012: EUR 5.30).

Innvictis Announces New Crossover Insecticide/Fungicide

Innvictis Crop Care, LLC,, announces the launch of a first of its kind crop protection product.  Crossover is an insecticide plus fungicide premix formulated into a convenient and stable Emulsifiable Concentrate.

“Crossover is a product we developed as a ‘jack of all trades’ to fit into several windows.  Because it combines a triazole fungicide with a pyrethroid insecticide, it brings a truly unique foliar pest spectrum.  Priced affordably, it can serve as an all-in-one in early season wheat markets where many fields often have a combination of rust and insects that are easily controlled by this mixture.  Crossover can also be used in soybeans as an early season foliar "recharge” or in the R5 and R7 windows when early season pests and disease attack the crop.  It can be mixed with strobilurin fungicides to round out disease control in both corn and soybean applications.  Frankly, it is a very flexible product with a  truly unique foliar pest spectrum,” states Casey McDaniel, Director of Commercial Operations at Innvictis Crop Care, LLC.

With a unique pest spectrum that includes diseases like rust, leaf blight and powdery mildew as well as insects such as cutworm, armyworm, earworm, grasshoppers, stinkbugs, thrips and aphids, Crossover was created to offer convenient and cost effective control of diseases and pests when treatment threshold levels of these pests exist.  “As growers become larger and fields become bigger, Crossover is able to help take pest variability out of the equation as growers drive yield increases through pest control.  Crossover is an ideal “bolt on” to many foliar applications that can help round out pest control,” says McDaniel.

Crossover has been approved by the U.S. EPA and will be available to sale in the 2014 growing season.

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