Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tuesday June 10 Ag News

Alert: Phone Scam Alleging Association with USDA Farm Service Agency

It has been brought to the attention of USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) that a phone scam is being perpetrated on FSA customers.

The caller, who claims to be a Farm Loan Services representative out of Washington, D.C. states that FSA "owes" you disaster assistance funds and proceeds to request your checking account information or requests a credit card number alleging that funds will be credited to these accounts.

FSA warns that should you receive a similar call, do not, under any circumstances, provide personal or financial information to the caller.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Rained-on hay plagues all of us eventually.  The 'windrow disease' that often follows presents lingering problems.

Windrow disease — that’s the name I give to the striped appearance in fields where alfalfa windrows remained so long that regrowth was delayed.  Usually it’s due to rained on hay and sometimes, insects.

Windrow disease presents special challenges.  Weeds often invade, requiring spraying to maintain quality and protect stands.  And during the next growth period, plants that were not smothered regrow rapidly, while plants underneath the windrow suffer delays.  Part of the field often will begin to bloom while windrow-stressed plants are still short and tender.  So when do you harvest?  When the first plants begin to bloom or do you wait until injured plants are ready?

I suggest using two factors to tell you when to cut — the health and vigor of your stand and the nutrient needs of your livestock.  For example, is your alfalfa healthy and regrowing well?  If not, wait to cut until stunted plants begin to bloom so you can avoid weakening them even more.

But, if your alfalfa is in good shape, then cut when it will best meet the needs of your animals.  Dairy cows need alfalfa that is cut early, so harvest when the first plants begin to bloom.  Regrowth of injured plants may be slow after cutting, but this sacrifice is needed for profitable milk production.  Beef cows, though, do not need such rich hay.  So if the hay will be fed to beef cattle, let stunted plants recover, and then cut when they are ready to bloom.

Hopefully, by next cut, growth will be more uniform, plants healthy, and production back to normal.

Environment, swine health to be discussed at Iowa Pork summer conferences

Free seminars that address current environmental issues and the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) that has decimated the Iowa and U.S. swine herd will be held in July for Iowa hog farmers.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is partnering with the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University in Ames to offer five meetings around the state. IPPA encourages all Iowa pig farmers to attend one of these valuable meetings.

"IPPA is strongly committed to investing Pork Checkoff funds toward research and outreach that can advance our mission of educating for a sustainable, socially response, profitable and globally competitive industry," said Tyler Bettin, IPPA producer education director.

The featured presenters are IPPA legal counsel Eldon McAfee and Rodney "Butch" Baker, DVM, senior clinician and professor with the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

McAfee will discuss practical aspects of compliance with Iowa Department of Natural Resources' regulations, as well as other environmental compliance and protection. He will talk about state and federal regulatory efforts and provide current Iowa nuisance case information. McAfee also plans to cover details of the work plan between the Iowa DNR and EPA while offering considerations for farmers to be best prepared for on-site inspections.

PEDV has been devastating for many pig farmers over the past year and IPPA has committed nearly $350,000 toward PEDV research at ISU to better understand and control the disease. Dr. Baker will highlight research progress to date and discuss how producers may be impacted by recently announced USDA reporting requirements. He will highlight biosecurity and control considerations to help producers prevent exposure and limit impacts on the herd.

Conference dates and locations are as follows:
-    Tuesday, July 15 - Le Mars, Le Mars Convention Center
-    Thursday, July 17 - Carroll, Swan Lake Conservation Education Center
-    Tuesday, July 22 - Manchester, Delaware County Community Center
-    Wednesday, July 23 - Washington, Washington County Extension Office
-    Thursday, July 24 - Dows, Dows Community Center

All of the meetings will be held from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are free for those who pre-register or just $5 at the door. For more information or to pre-register, call IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or e-mail Lea Clemenson at

Strong Farm Incomes Hold Land Values in Check

Positive income results for farms, combined with a tight land supply, have buffered economists’ previously projected downturn of farmland values, according to Farmers National Company, the nation’s leading farm and ranch real estate company.

Farmers National Company recorded strong real estate sales for the first half of 2014, down somewhat from record sales experienced in 2013. Aggressive marketing by Farmers National agents and good demand for land have propelled this year’s sales.

“The big story is that the land market is stable, despite projections that farm income and land values would drop,” said Randy Dickhut, AFM, Vice President of Real Estate Operations of Farmers National Company.

“The anticipated large drop in  farmland values  hasn’t happened, as farm incomes  were stronger than expected going into 2014. Original income projections of 20 percent below last year were not realized.”

In late 2013, forecasters were pessimistic for the year ahead.   However, Dickhut said economic trends and key market factors shifted in a way that  paints a more positive picture for this year.

Experts predicted a softening in land values as grain prices started to decline. In fact , commodity price drops boosted worldwide demand for U.S. exports, resulting in higher grain prices than initially thought.   Higher grain prices and better farm incomes  actually stabilized land prices going into 2014.

“Market factors aligned to create an optimal situation for our industry,” Dickhut said. “Due to this, we continue to see a strong land market. While there are no record-setting top values currently, land prices  are not going down significantly.”

While land values nationally are slightly down a few percent or stable ,  Dickhut said values overall remain  historically strong.  The northern plains area has experienced the most softening of land values due to weather conditions and lower commodity prices last year.  Still, good quality farms sell well as demand continues from buyers.   In contrast, the  delta region has experienced land value increases of 13 percent due to good crop production.

Regionally, land prices remain fairly stable compared to the double-digit price increases seen in recent years. Prices per acre for high quality land range nationwide from $3,500 to as high as $12,500 per acre in parts of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Values in the Upper Midwest remain strong overall with sales reaching $9,000 per acre in some locations.
As demand rises, prices for grass land continue to increase in places like Nebraska and Texas. Livestock producers are rebuilding depleted cattle herds, which puts pasture land at a premium. Reduced feed costs for livestock have helped boost income levels in this ag sector, allowing operators to acquire land. 

 “The 2014  outlook for farms remains positive,” said Dickhut. “Farm owners continue to search for high quality land to expand their operations. I think economic forecasts overrated the demise of the U.S. land market. Things didn’t fall apart, but instead held steady and strong. Profitability for operations helped to ultimately keep property values strong.”


Selective demand for high quality farmland continues as prices have leveled somewhat in the north central region, including Iowa, according to Sam Kain, national sales manager for Farmers National Company, West Des Moines, Iowa.

“Buyers are definitely choosy right now, but will pay for quality land,” said Kain. “We just aren’t seeing the frenzy and competition for properties we did last year.  Whether or not we see a 10% or greater drop  in values is yet to be seen because supply of available properties for sale is low.  We still consider this a good land market based on historic trends.”

The land market in Iowa has been fairly strong with values holding, compared to some weakness in Minnesota due to cold and wet ground conditions impacting production.

Economic factors contributing to current land values in this area include slow commodity trading. Property price levels to date have not been impacted by the ethanol mandate.

In Iowa, top quality land is selling at more than $12,000 per acre, while Minnesota values are reaching $9,000 per acre.


Since January 2014, the wide region covering Colorado, western South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming has seen a high level, of land sales activity.  While land values have not increased significantly, they are still at a steady high level said JD Maxson, area sales manager for Farmers National Company, North Platte, Neb.

“Nebraska and South Dakota have enjoyed double digit increases in land value appreciation since 2006,” said Maxson. “Any slight declines in land prices going forward could be expected, but definitely not devastating, to producers and investors alike based on historical levels.”

Land auction activity across Nebraska and South Dakota has produced record grazing and pasture grass prices, according to Maxson. “We had two individual tracts of grass sell for $3,750 and $4,050 per acre, showing strong demand.” With livestock numbers still down from the 2013 Atlas Blizzard in South Dakota and northern Nebraska, high quality grassland/grazing pasture is in high demand among cattlemen and producers trying to rebuild their herds. In addition, farmers continue to accumulate and break grass acres for cropland, Maxson said.

Some buyers are drawn to purchase based on location of land and proximity to farm operations. These scenarios have contributed to the positive upturn in grass acre prices.

Moving into the last half of 2014, record exports in 2013 will have global impact, according to Maxson. “The continued export of U.S. grains will have a tendency to support a stabilized commodity market and help boost ag profitability,” he said.

Maxson reports that low, average and medium quality ground has leveled off as commodity prices adjust to current conditions.

Prices in these regions are ranging from $4,500 to $12,000 per acre for high quality tillable acres, with location, soils and topography dictating price. The range varies from west to east as well as by water availability and type of irrigation. There is a wide range of land values per acre depending on quality and if irrigated.


Supreme High Percentage Heifer – Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE- (Simmental)
·    Res. Supreme High Percentage Heifer – Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE- (Simmental)

    Other youth that competed for Supreme honors for high-percentage heifer were: Levi Bakenhus, Columbus (Shorthorn); Kendra Schulz, Pierce, (Limousin); Morgan Gall, Clarkson (Maine Anjou); Brant Benes, Albion (Charolais); Kellan Heavican, Rogers, (Red Angus)

Supreme Low Percentage Heifer – Allee Maronde, York NE –(Simmental)
Res. Supreme Low Percentage Heifer – Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE- (Simmental)

    Other youth that competed for Supreme honors for low-percentage heifer were: Audrey Brawner, Wood Lake, (Limousin); Miranda Raithel, Falls City (Maine-Anjou) and Miranda Raithel, Falls City (Charolais); Riley Eisenhauer, Farnam (Shorthorn); Kolton Rasmussen, Newman Grove (Chianina)

Supreme Market Animal – Jacob Gall, Clarkson, NE  - (Chianina)
Res. Supreme Market Animal – Braden Benes, Albion, NE – (Maine-Anjou)

    Other youth that competed for Supreme honors for market animal were: Will Sonderman, Columbus, (Shorthorn); Daniel Beller, Leigh, (Simmental); Carlie Benes, Valparaiso (Charolais).

Champion Bred & Owned- Miranda Raithel, Falls City, NE- Charolais/Simmental Cross Breeding Heifer
Res. Champion Bred & Owned – Katie Trail, Nebraska City, NE – Simmental Purebred Breeding Heifer

Supreme Senior Showmanship – Abby Nelson, Valparaiso, NE – Simmental
Res. Supreme Senior Showmanship – Shaila Bennett, Beemer, NE – Chianina

Other youth that competed for supreme honors for senior showmanship were:  Macy Bakenhus, Columbus (Shorthorn); Kellan Heavican, Schuyler (Red Angus); Bailey Hinrichs, Ayr  (Charolais).

Supreme Junior Showmanship – Jacob Gall, Clarkson (Chianina);
Res. Supreme Junior Showmanship – Miranda Raithel, Falls City, NE  - Maine Anjou (won both Maine and Charolais)
Other youth that competed for supreme honors for junior showmanship were:  Madison Hirschman (Red Angus); Brant Benes, Albion (Charolais); Kendra Schulz, Pierce (Limousin), Riley Eisenhauer, Farnam (Shorthorn), Daniel Beller, Leigh, NE (Simmental);

Supreme Overall Sr. in All Contests- Emmet Caldwell, Red Angus- Edgar, NE
Res. Supreme Overall Sr. in All Contests- Kaydee Caldwell, Red Angus- Edgar, NE

Supreme Overall Jr. in All Contests- Neleigh Gehl,- Chianina- Ericson, NE
Res. Supreme Overall Jr. in All Contests- McKenzie Beattie, Red Angus- Sumner, NE

$500 Scholarship Winners:
Gerrit Pearson, Roca, NE
Ty Dybdal, Newcastle, NE
Katie Trail, Nebraska City, NE

USDA Orders Mandatory PEDV Reporting for U.S. Pork Producers

On June 5, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued a Federal Order requiring pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive or confirmed positive occurrences of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), Porcine Deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV) or other novel swine enteric coronaviruses that meet the case definition.

An occurrence of these swine enteric coronaviruses may be the initial detection of disease or a reoccurrence of previously detected disease. If a sample is submitted to a National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) laboratory for testing and is found to be positive, duplicate reporting by the herd owner, producers, veterinarians and others with knowledge of the disease is not required. Reporting by producers or veterinarians must be directed to the state animal health official or the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at 5940 South 58th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68516. Phone: (402) 434-2300 E-Mail:

USDA requires the following specific reporting information to be submitted:
Premises identification number (PIN) or an alternative premises location identifier. In Nebraska contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (402- 471-6894 or 800-572-2437) for a PIN.
·    Type of unit being sampled (e.g., sow, nursery, finisher)
·    Test methods used to make the diagnosis
·    Diagnostic test results

In addition, the producer must develop and implement, in collaboration with the herd veterinarian, state veterinarian or APHIS veterinarian, a herd management plan that addresses the following:
1.    Diagnostic testing to monitor the status of the herd infection and to assess efficacy of control strategies (laboratory costs subsidized by APHIS)
o    Along with the samples submitted, producers and their veterinarians need to include a valid Premises Identification Number (PIN) or an alternative premises identifier on all diagnostic laboratory submission forms.

2.    Herd plans will follow the best management and disease control practices known to date. The following four general areas of biosecurity will be identified and described by herd veterinarians and may change as new information becomes available.
o    Employee and visitor biosecurity enhancement
o    Pigs coming onto a site
o    Trucks and trucking personnel
o    Feed components
3.    Producers will be required to maintain up-to-date records on pig movements on and off the facility and to make them accessible to animal health officials when needed.

Herd owners or veterinarians failing to promptly report a presumptive or confirmed positive case or to follow a herd management plan may be subject to civil penalties, revocation of veterinary accreditation and may have additional requirements (hold order, quarantine, permitting or other restrictions for movement of pigs) placed on their premises by state or federal animal health officials.

All USDA documents related to this new Federal Order and additional supporting documents can be found on the USDA website.

2014 World Pork Expo reflects positive producer outlook

Wrapping up its 26th year, the 2014 World Pork Expo attracted nearly 20,000 pork producers and other professionals from 32 countries to Des Moines, Iowa, June 4-6. Brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo featured the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, with some 375 commercial exhibits from companies throughout the world. The three-day event also set records for number of pigs entered in the World Pork Expo Junior National and creation of the world’s largest pork burger, while attracting standing-room-only crowds in some of its educational seminars. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also visited Expo to announce a new reporting program for porcine endemic diarrhea virus (PEDV).

“World Pork Expo is a place where producers can get together, share ideas and see what’s new, whether it involves herd health and management, or technology and equipment,” says Howard Hill, NPPC president and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “It’s a showcase of our business and this year, producers had a truly positive outlook about what the future holds. Expo probably offers the best display of what modern pork production is all about.”

Upbeat and looking to the future

Featuring more than 310,000 square feet of exhibit space, the trade show is the heart of World Pork Expo. Producers shopped the aisles for new products, services and technologies for three action-packed days, with Expo exhibitors commenting on the brisk activity.

“Expo is a showcase of not only the United States, but also the world,” says Craig Jarolimek, manager of marketing development, USA, for Topigs Norsvin, which is based in Vught, the Netherlands. “As you walk through the trade show, you see producers and companies from all over the world — it’s truly a world-class event.”

With record-setting U.S. hog prices and reduced feed costs offering a profitable outlook, Expo exhibitors reported that producers are optimistic about U.S. pork production and are formulating plans for the future. The general consensus is that producers are focused on upgrading, remodeling and reinvesting.

“Today’s producers are very professional and precise,” says Mark Hayden, national sales manager for Automated Production Systems, which is headquartered in Assumption, Illinois. “They are looking for new technologies and innovative ways to make their jobs easier and more efficient.”

Another record-setting youth show

In just 11 years, the World Pork Expo Junior National has grown from 120 hogs to this year’s record of more than 1,600 head exhibited by nearly 750 youth from 25 states. Hosted by the National Junior Swine Association and Team Purebred, the World Pork Expo Junior National has become a premier event for young swine exhibitors, and includes showmanship competitions, judging contests and educational sessions.

Concluding Expo’s swine exhibition was the open show, with nearly 600 hogs. At the sales on Saturday, June 7, a crossbred gilt shown by Ashlee Daniels of McKinney, Texas, was the top-selling gilt, setting a world record at $50,000. The highest-selling boar was the reserve champion Duroc shown by Nathan Weisinger, Fort Madison, Iowa; it sold for $90,000.

More 2014 Expo highlights

The world’s largest pork burger was assembled at this year’s Expo as part of a special outreach to the community, thanks to the joint efforts of Hog Slat, NPPC and Vinny’s BBQ. The precooked weight of the mammoth burger, including bun, was 348 pounds — breaking the record set at the 2012 World Pork Expo. The majority of the burger was donated to Des Moines’ Youth Emergency Services & Shelter, with MusicFest attendees also able to sample the record-breaking burger.

Every year, Expo features lots of tasty pork, including at the Big Grill. Volunteers of the Tama County Pork Producers Association once again manned the grill and served up more than 10,000 free pork lunches.

Always popular, and a vital part of Expo, were the nearly 20 free business and PORK Academy seminars providing insights into animal handling, marketing and production management, as well as updates about PEDV infection rates, research efforts and prevention strategies.

Looking ahead to next year, NPPC announced the dates for the 2015 World Pork Expo — June 3-5, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

“World Pork Expo is certainly an event that everyone in pork production needs to put on their calendar,” Hill says. “It is the place to learn about new innovations, designs and engineering that help us raise our animals responsibly wherever we farm.”

June 9 Declared 'Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Day' by Branstad

Monday, Governor Branstad signed a proclamation, declaring it as Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Day. Throughout the Iowa and Iowa State sports seasons, Iowa Corn is proud to sponsor the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series as a way to talk to Iowans about the importance of corn in their everyday lives.

"Today marks a special day, because we aren't just celebrating the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, but we are celebrating both Universities, the coaches, athletes and the farmers who make the partnership work," said Chris Edgington, a farmer from St. Ansgar and the current Vice President of Iowa Corn Promotion Board. "Not unlike building on the traditions that this interstate rivalry represents, we hope that whether or not you are a cyclone or a hawkeye, whether you like football, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, track or swimming, men's or women's athletics, it is about being Iowan."

The official proclamation states, "Whereas, the series salutes the tradition and significant role that agriculture has in the history and the future of our great state; and the series is about celebrating the games, academics, the people of Iowa, and awarding points to the winner in various head to head match ups."

The Iowa --Iowa State football game on Sept. 13 will launch the 4th year for the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series. For more information about the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, visit

I-LEAD Class 7 Applications Now Being Accepted

Iowa men and women with a commitment to the future of Iowa agriculture and an interest in developing their leadership potential are invited to apply for Class 7 of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development Program (I-LEAD), sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB).

"Iowa's agriculture has a history of great leadership built on generations of individuals who have a passion for agriculture. The ICPB and ICGA recognize that the future depends on developing new leaders," said Bob Hemesath, chairman of the Iowa Corn Grassroots Network Membership & Checkoff Committee and a corn farmer from Calmar.

Each I-LEAD class meets for a series of nine workshops over a two-year period to build leadership skills. I-LEAD participants will learn the value of grassroots leadership, gain skills to be an effective leader and communicator, explore personal leadership styles and learn how to work as a team. Featured speakers help class members expand their knowledge of agriculture around the world.

I-LEAD class members come from diverse backgrounds, but they share a common commitment to the future of agriculture in Iowa. Individuals, who are involved in production agriculture, food and agriculture industry, agriculture media, education, and government, are encouraged to apply. To participate, candidates must be an Iowa resident and commit to attend all nine sessions.

Applications are due to the Iowa Corn office by June 27. The I-LEAD application and program details are available at, or contact Alyssa Smola (

President Signs Water Resources Development Act, Oil Rule Fix

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation

“Earlier today the President signed into law H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA). The signing of WRRDA into law provides much needed funding for construction and the dredging and repairs to our ports, locks and dams for the efficient transport of agricultural commodities and we are greatly appreciative of these actions.”

“While WRRDA is instrumental to keeping agriculture competitive both domestically and abroad, H.R. 3080 also contains significant steps to fix problems related to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule which has been a thorn in the side of farmers and ranchers.”

“The implementation of WRRDA will change the way in which oil and fuel containers are counted for purposes of determining a farmers’ obligations under SPCC. Previous to this measure, containers as small as 50 gallons were required to be counted towards a farmer’s aggregate fuel or oil storage, with a capacity of 1,320 gallons of aggregate storage triggering SPCC requirements.”

"Under WRRDA, only containers of more than 1,000 gallons will be counted toward aggregate storage. Furthermore, the measure raises the threshold triggering SPCC rule compliance to more than 6,000 gallons of aggregate fuel storage on an interim basis, until completion of a U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA study identifying an appropriate aggregate threshold. Due to the changes in WRRDA many farmers and ranchers will no longer be affected by this costly and burdensome regulation saving farmers and ranchers thousands of dollars.”

“We thank the members of Nebraska’s congressional delegation for their support and efforts to help secure the infrastructure needs for transport of agricultural commodities into the future and for their efforts to fix a regulatory burden that has been troublesome for many Nebraska farm and ranch families.”

NCGA Thanks President for Signing WRRDA, Urges Further Action

The National Corn Growers Association thanked President Obama for signing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. This final reauthorization bill, which will improve the reliability and efficiency of the U.S. inland waterways system, was passed by the House on May 20 and the Senate on May 22.

“This legislation provides an important step toward the infrastructure improvements vital to our nation’s inland waterway system, and we thank the President for signing this bipartisan bill into law,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “Our locks and dams transport our cargoes today, but were built in the 1920s and 1930s to accommodate far smaller loads and far less river traffic. For farmers in particular, this is crucial, as more than 60 percent of the nation’s grain exports are transported by barge. The need is urgent; U.S. farmers and businesses rely upon this transportation channel to create economic opportunities at home and supply markets abroad. Now, it is imperative that we continue our momentum related to waterways improvements by passing the diesel user fee.”

WRRDA will bring a greater degree of accountability to the Army Corps of Engineers project delivery system by prioritizing authorized improvements based upon risk of failure and economic return to the nation. The report includes four recommendations originally issued in the Capital Development Plan which was developed in concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and unanimously endorsed by the Congressionally-chartered Inland Water Users Board in 2010.

    Federalize the project at the Olmsted Locks and Dams. This would create a permanent cost-sharing arrangement for the remaining cost of the project, with 85 percent of funding taken from the general fund and 15 percent taken from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. This would make approximately $105 million per year available for funding other Trust Fund priority projects.

    Redefine major rehabilitation projects eligible for funding through the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, increasing the current level defined in law from $14 million to $20 million. The level would also be adjusted annually to account for inflation.

    Prioritize projects solely upon the basis of risk of failure and economic benefit to the United States.

    Reform project delivery to achieve on-time and on-budget performance.

With this final reauthorization bill signed into law, NCGA urges Congress to quickly move to address the proposed increase to the diesel fuel user fee which would provide additional revenue to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. By increasing this tax between six and nine cents per gallon of fuel, the industries using the waterways would be able to provide needed funds for the improvement and maintenance of the infrastructure on which they rely. Notably, all parties which would be subject to this tax have publicly stated their support and recognition that the revenue raised would play a vital role in maintaining infrastructure key to their economic well-being.


H.R. 4800 — Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015
(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 4800, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes.  The bill undermines key investments in financial oversight, injects political decision-making into science-based nutrition standards, and includes objectionable language riders.  If the President were presented with H.R. 4800, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on an orderly appropriations process that supports economic growth, opportunity, and our national security while avoiding unnecessary fiscal crises that hold the Nation's economy back.  This process should include reconciling funding levels for individual appropriations bills to promote economic growth and national security, and passing bills without ideological provisions that could undermine an orderly appropriations process.

The President's fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget provides a roadmap for making investments to accelerate economic growth, expand opportunity for all hard-working Americans, and ensure our national security, while continuing to improve the Nation's long-term fiscal outlook.  At the same time, the Budget takes key steps to both continue and enhance the Administration's efforts to deliver a Government that is more effective, efficient, and supportive of economic growth.  The President's Budget adheres to the FY 2015 spending levels agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) and shows the choices the President would make at those levels—increasing rental assistance for rural families, supporting critical nutrition programs for mothers and young children, and providing resources to implement the critical financial protections established in the Wall Street Reform Act.  However, the levels agreed to in the BBA are already below FY 2007 funding levels adjusted for inflation and are not sufficient—either in FY 2015 or beyond—to ensure the Nation is achieving its full potential.  For that reason, the Budget also includes a fully paid for Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative—evenly split between defense and non-defense priorities—that presents additional investments to grow the economy, expand opportunity, and enhance security.  The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative would support over $270 million in priority research in areas such as advanced genetics, earth science, and climate change resilience.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill and urges the Congress to resolve these issues during the FY 2015 appropriations process.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Mixed

Retail fertilizer prices moved little this past week, as has been the case in recent weeks, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the first week of June 2013.
Urea was slightly lower in price the first week of June 2013 compared to last month with an average price of $544 per ton. (DTN chart)

Two nitrogen sources, urea and UAN, were slightly lower in price compared to last month, but the move was slight. Urea had an average price of $544 per ton and UAN32 was $404/ton.

Six of the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN were higher compared a month earlier, but again were up only slightly. DAP had an average price of $597/ton, MAP $631/ton, potash $482/ton, 10-34-0 $562/ton, anhydrous $708/ton and UAN28 $357/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.59/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.64/lb.N and UAN32 $0.63/lb.N.

Despite DTN tracking fertilizer prices generally higher in recent months, the eight major fertilizer forms remain lower in price compared to June of 2013.  DAP is now down 1%, MAP is 2% less expensive and urea is 3% less. 10-34-0 is down 8%, UAN32 is 9% less expensive and UAN28 is down 10%. Anhydrous is now 15% less expensive while potash is down 17% compared to a year earlier.

NMPF to FDA: Instead of Issuing New Labeling Regs, Enforce Those on Dairy Imposters

In a May 5 letter, the National Milk Producers Federation questioned why the FDA is focused on clarifying the use of terms like “dried cane syrup” or “evaporated cane juice” at the same time it allows soy, rice, nut, and hemp products to repeatedly define themselves as milk in violation of FDA’s own long-standing food standards.

“It seems rather disingenuous for the Agency to utilize its often-referenced ‘limited resources’ to issue additional labeling guidance, while simultaneously not enforcing existing regulations pertaining to the identity of foods” like imitation dairy products, NMPF wrote. “The Agency has blatantly disregarded the names displayed on the lab els of imitation dairy products (e.g., ‘soy milk’, ‘rice yogurt’, etc.) in the current marketplace. 

“While the FDA has made its position clear through warning letters to several manufacturers … these actions have been too infrequent to be effective, essentially creating a labeling landscape free of enforcement,” NMPF said. 

The letter was the latest in a long series of NMPF attempts to get the FDA to enforce requirements for the labeling of these imposters, many of which are not nutritionally equivalent to real dairy products. 

“Manufacturers of these imitation products have misled American consumers for far too long – making a mockery of current labeling regulations – by usurping the ‘dairy halo’ associated with wholesome and nutritious milk and dairy products,” the letter said.

CWT Assists with 3.9 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 and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) to sell 2.138 million pounds (970 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese, 440,925 pounds of butter (82% butterfat) and 1.250 million pounds (567 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, South America and North Africa. The product will be delivered June through November 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 56.403 million pounds of cheese, 46.725 million pounds of butter and 12.022 million pounds of whole milk powder to 40 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.651 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, 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 in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. 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 Helps with another 14.2 Million Pounds of Dairy Exports

Cooperatives Working Together helped member cooperatives sell another 14.2 million pounds of dairy products overseas in May. The voluntary, farmer-funded program will provide assistance on 53 overseas sales from seven different cooperatives: Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association and Upstate-O-AT-KA. The products included 7.1 million pounds of American-type cheese, 4.2 million pounds of butter, and 3 million pounds of whole milk p owder. All will be delivered before the end of the year.

This brings the year-to-date total to over 111 million pounds of dairy product export sales assisted by CWT, the equivalent of 1.618 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Brazil's Ag Ministry Raises Corn, Wheat View

Brazil's Agriculture Ministry Tuesday raised its second-crop corn forecast as farmers appear to have planted more acres than originally thought.

Second-crop output, planted after soybeans, will reach 45.7 million metric tons (mmt) in 2013-14, up from 43.7 mmt in May but still slightly lower than the 46.9 mmt produced last season, the ministry's crop supply company, or Conab, said.

The adjustment brings the government figure in line with local private estimates, which currently sit around the 45 mmt to 46 mmt mark.

As the crop enters the harvest phase, the second-crop corn looks generally good after ample rains in March and April. That despite the fact a large portion was planted after the recommended window.

Total Brazilian corn production will reach 77.9 mmt in 2013-14, not far behind the record 81.5 mmt harvested last year.

Conab Cuts 13-14 Brazil Soy Crop

Brazilian crop agency Conab trimmed its forecast for the country's soy crop following slightly worse weather conditions in some regions.

The agency forecast a soy harvest of 86.1 million metric tons for the 2013-2014 season, which would still be a record, compared with its May forecast of 86.6 million metric tons. In the 2012-2013 season, Brazil produced 81.5 million metric tons, also a record.


Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC and Cheminova, Inc. jointly announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved important label changes for FORTIX® Fungicide, a product jointly marketed and sold by the two companies.

FORTIX is currently registered for use on corn and soybeans to control the major foliar diseases. The fungicide combines fluoxastrobin, the fast-acting strobilurin, from Arysta LifeScience and flutriafol, the longest-lasting triazole, from Cheminova.  The EPA approved modifications to the FORTIX label for corn that shorten the preharvest interval (PHI) for application from 80 days to 30 days.

“With this label modification, growers will find FORTIX is more flexible than ever.  They can apply FORTIX as early as V5 in corn and R1 in soybeans for season long disease control, or they have the option to apply at a later growth stage” said Kevin Staska, Fungicide Market Manager, Arysta LifeScience.

The EPA approved additional label modifications for FORTIX. Minimum water volume recommended for aerial application has been reduced from five gallons to two gallons per acre. Plus, new rotational crops have been added: peanuts, (no plant back interval); sugar beet (30-day plant back interval), cotton and sweet corn, (180-day plant back interval).

“In its second year of use, we expect FORTIX to continue to set the standard for fungicide performance,” says Deneen Sebastian, North American Marketing Director, Cheminova. “Growers can depend on FORTIX. It is convenient, flexible and easy to use. Growers can spray FORTIX early in the season and reap yield-enhancing fungicide benefits all season long. If weather conditions push back application or late season disease pressure occurs, FORTIX will still provide outstanding performance when applied later in the season with no concerns about the PHI.”

For more information on FORTIX, visit or contactyour crop protection dealer or your local Arysta LifeScience or Cheminova salesrepresentative.

Caterpillar to Close Three Illinois Facilities

Caterpillar Inc. said it will close two production plants and a distribution facility in Illinois and shift the work to a plant in Michigan.

The move is a cost-cutting measure, the company said, and will mean the loss of about 170 jobs.

The three plants--two in Sterling and one in Dixon--belong to Anchor Coupling, a subsidiary of Caterpillar. Anchor Coupling makes hydraulic hose assemblies for Caterpillar machines.

The transition is expected to be completed in the first quarter 2015. Caterpillar said employees who are displaced will be offered severance packages from the company.

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