Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday June 4 Ag News

Johanns Urges EPA to Withdraw Overreaching Proposal to Regulate U.S. Waterways

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb.), a member of the Senate Ag Committee, took to the Senate floor today to fight for our ag producers by encouraging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to abandon a proposal that would bury our farmers and ranchers in unnecessary permit applications. The proposed rule would regulate every U.S. waterway that has even a remote or temporary connection with the traditional navigable waters that are subject to federal law.

Highlights of Johanns’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
·         “EPA has thrown down the gauntlet with this massive expansion of federal jurisdiction. This new rule in its essence declares almost every body of water to be within their federal regulatory jurisdiction.

·         “By conjuring up even the most remote connection to a navigable body of water, EPA is now claiming they can regulate ponds, ditches, and even low-lying areas that may actually be dry during most of the year.  EPA seems to think it has jurisdiction if there’s just a chance that a speck of dirt can travel from a stream, pond, or even a field, to a traditional navigable water.  And that’s clearly not what Congress intended.

·         “While the tendency of this Administration has been to overregulate from day one, there’s still an opportunity to withdraw the rule and admit they went too far on this one…if Administrator McCarthy is serious about having a relationship with ag producers, it would send a powerful signal to withdraw from this misguided approach. Call a time out and mean it when you say you want to listen.”

R&D Dairy Open House is Backdrop for Dairy Month Proclamation

Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann will proclaim June Dairy Month in Nebraska on Saturday, June 14, at  R&D Dairy at 1540 Highway 51, Bancroft. The farm will open its barn doors to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. with the proclamation taking place at 2 p.m. Farm owners Ron Guenther and his wife, Doris, and their sons, Andy and Mike, plan to showcase their 575-cow dairy for people who want to see a modern dairy farm.

The event includes tours of the new facilities including the milking parlor and bedding pack barn. Refreshments will be provided by Nebraska Veterinary Services, Associated Milk Producers, Inc., and Midwest Dairy Association.

The Guenther family has a rich tradition of dairy farming in northeast Nebraska. “My grandparents moved to this farm in 1929,” says Ron Guenther, who purchased the farm in 2000. His sons are working toward a partnership in the business. With the goal of developing a sustainable dairy that can support their families as well as prepare for the fifth generation, the Guenthers strive to work closely as a team to ensure a successful family business.

“We have a lot of respect for each other,” Andy Guenther says. “Dad has a lot of experience and he gives us opportunities to develop our personal management skills in operating the business.”

June Dairy Month celebrates the efforts of Nebraska dairy farmers while they continue to produce a wholesome, nutritious product. Dairy farming also makes significant contributions to state and local communities’ economies. In Nebraska, dairy farming generates more than $232 million in milk sales annually.

Food, Farm Tour and Kids Activities at Dairy Open House June 26

To celebrate June Dairy Month, dairy farmers across western Iowa are inviting the public to a family-friendly event at Plymouth Dairy Farms near Le Mars. The event will include a dairy farm tour, free food and kids' activities from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 26. Parking is available at the farm, located at 23505 K-49 (four miles south of Le Mars on K-49, or 5 miles east of Merrill on C-44, then south on K-49). The June Dairy Month Celebration is sponsored by Western Iowa Dairy Alliance and Midwest Dairy Association.

Visitors will tour Plymouth Dairy Farm, including opportunities to see where cows are milked, where they are housed and fed, and learn about the role of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet. Following the tour, guests will enjoy a free meal of cheeseburgers or hot dogs, as well as Blue Bunny ice cream treats provided by Wells and milk provided by Dean Foods.

The open house will feature an expanded kids' games and activity area. Activities will include a petting zoo, obstacle course, and games, as well as lots of great information about milk and dairy products. Mariah Schmitt, Iowa State Dairy Princess, and the Sioux County dairy princess will attend and kids can make their own crowns to be royalty for a day.

"We're excited to host this year's open house and invite everyone to come see where the dairy products they purchase get their start and how we care for our cows and the environment," said Kurt Wierda, general manager of Plymouth Dairy Farms. "We're proud of our role in providing nutritious milk and dairy products to a growing world population."

Plymouth Dairy Farms was founded by the Feuerhelm family in the spring of 2000. The first cows were milked on August 25, 2000. There are currently about 2,850 cows milked three times each day at the state-of-the-art farm. Plymouth Dairy is committed to using the latest technology, resources and talent of employees in producing large quantities of high quality milk while protecting the environment and providing a positive way of life for its employees.

June Dairy Month is a great opportunity to celebrate the efforts of Iowa's dairy farmers as they deliver a wholesome and nutritious supply of milk and dairy products and make a significant contribution to the state's economy and rural communities. Dairy is the fifth largest agricultural business in Iowa, generating $4 billion a year in economic activity from farming to dairy processing. There are about 1,400 dairy farms in the state, and about 98 percent of the state's farms are family-owned.

Dairy foods help make healthy eating easy. Three daily servings of dairy -- milk, cheese or yogurt -- provide excellent nutrition, value and taste. Few foods deliver dairy's powerhouse of nutrients in such an affordable, appealing and convenient way. You can find dairy recipes, nutrition information and more information on dairy farm families at

For more information about the open house, visit or "Western Iowa Dairy Alliance" on Facebook, or contact 712-441-5308 or

Western Iowa Dairy Alliance is a non-profit organization working as an advocate for the dairy producer and all those who support this industry. Midwest Dairy Association is a non-profit organization funded by dairy farmers to build demand for dairy products through integrated marketing, nutrition education and research. Midwest Dairy is funded by checkoff dollars from dairy farmers in a 10-state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

June Webinar Covers Saturated Buffers for Nitrate Removal

This month’s Iowa Learning Farms webinar will be Wednesday, June 18 at 11:30 a.m. The webinar is part of a free series, hosted by ILF, through Adobe Connect. The webinars are held on the third Wednesday of each month. They are free and all that is needed to participate is a computer with Internet access.

This month’s presenter is Dan Jaynes, a research soil scientist at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, in Ames, and a collaborating professor in Agronomy at Iowa State University. He will be discussing his work with saturated buffers for nitrate removal.

Riparian buffers are areas of natural plants and trees located between waterways and farmland. They are a proven technology for reducing sediment, phosphorus and nitrate contamination of surface waters, and help to reduce nitrate from shallow groundwater that flows through the buffer. Unfortunately, in tile-drained areas of the Midwest, buffers are not particularly effective in removing nitrate from the groundwater, because the tile lines discharge directly into surface waters, bypassing the buffers. Saturated buffers are an attempt to “re-plumb” the riparian buffer, redirecting some of the field tile drainage into the buffer as shallow groundwater flow.  As the water flows through the buffer, both denitrification and uptake by the perennial plants in the buffer remove nitrate and keep it out of the adjacent stream.

Jaynes has studied the fate and transport of agrichemicals in the landscape for the past 30 years and authored 110 peer-reviewed scientific publications. Current areas of research include characterizing the impact of farming practices on nitrate losses to surface waters, investigating the spatial and temporal patterns of yield variations in corn and soybean fields, and developing new designs and management practices for tile drainage to reduce nitrate losses to surface waters.

To connect to the webinar, go to at 11:30 a.m. on the morning of the webinar and log on using the “guest” option.

Iowa Soybean Research Center gets green light from Iowa Board of Regents

The Iowa Board of Regents today approved the formation of the Iowa Soybean Research Center at Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames.

The center, a partnership between the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and ISU, will take soybean research and disseminating information to a new level. It will facilitate collaboration between public and private entities aimed at meeting the needs of Iowa soybean farmers.

Ultimately, the center will enable producers to profitably provide the highest yielding, highest quality soybeans and soybean products to a growing global market in a sustainable way.

“It will bring the industry together,” said Brian Kemp, ISA president who farms near Sibley. “The Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University and private industry will work together with a singular focus --- improving competitiveness of soybeans.”

The center will provide a more disciplined approach when it comes to funding and identifying priority-driven research, ISA officials say. Goals include:
-        Forge strong public-private partnerships
-        Sustain extension and outreach communication and collaboration with growers and industry
-        Increase training of students and other personnel for soybean-related research, education and production
-        Increase public and private funding of soybean-related research and education

“It’s providing an organization for innovation,” said Greg Tylka, who will serve as center director. Tylka is professor of plant pathology with extension and research responsibilities in management of plant-parasitic-nematodes. “One major new thing that will come from the center is to create new, stronger partnerships with industry.”

ISA officials approached ISU more than a year ago about forming a center, with the goal of increasing soybean acres and profitability. As international demand for soybeans escalates, focus on soybean research will only increase.

Since Iowa traditionally leads the nation in soybean production (411 million bushels last year, according to government records), Tylka said ISU is the perfect place for the center given the university’s reputation as a leader in soybean research.

“We want to help Iowa farmers increase yields and preserve them,” he said.

Dr. Ed Anderson, ISA senior director of Supply & Production Systems, said the center will provide more relevant, deeper and timely communications between the public and private sectors pertaining to soybean management and emerging disease and pest issues. Anderson believes it will soon be recognized for excellence in soybean research, teaching and outreach. That will attract even more funding, he said.

“I envision it being a model, if not the premier soybean research center, in the country,” Anderson said.

The center will be housed in Agronomy Hall on the ISU campus, the hub of soybean research programs and supporting faculty and staff. Funding will be provided by ISA via the soybean checkoff, ISU via state funding to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Agriculture Experiment Station and industry contributions.

Momentum behind water quality improvements in Iowa continues

Iowa Soybean Association President Brian Kemp of Sibley

Momentum behind the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy will continue despite Gov. Terry Branstad’s recent veto of $11.2 million in one-time water quality funding.

We recognize the veto was the result of challenges associated with the budgetary process. While it presents a temporary setback, it does not change the long-term commitment Iowa is making to improved water quality. The Governor and legislature have offered strong, bipartisan support of the nutrient reduction strategy while recognizing the importance of private-public partnerships. We know this will continue.

The success of the nutrient reduction strategy is not solely dependent on public funding. Farm families have demonstrated their commitment to enhancing environmental performance by investing their own time and money on better technology and improved soil and water quality management.

Since spring 2013, Iowa farmers have matched nearly $13 million in water quality initiative cost-share funding. Keep in mind this represents just a fraction of the resources allocated via private sources, including significant investments made by Iowa soybean farmers and their soybean checkoff.

Iowa is a recognized leader in science-based methods to proactively address and improve water quality. The Iowa Soybean Association is committed to continuing this progress by:
·         Working with the Governor and legislature to restore stable, long-term funding for shared public and private partnerships;
·         Engage  with farmers to achieve greater adoption of environmentally sound cropping systems;
·         Continue to advocate the importance of a process and practices that best meet the unique needs of individual farmers and watersheds.

AgriGold, Kinze Partner on Multi-Hybrid Planter

AgriGold has announced its collaboration with Kinze Manufacturing Inc. to conduct on-farm testing of the world's first electric multi-hybrid concept planter in Iowa.

The multi-hybrid technology provides farmers with the ability to change the seed hybrid they are planting automatically as the planter moves through the field.

Kinze has developed a true multi-hybrid planter. Two hybrids with different genetic backgrounds can be loaded into the planter and will switch on-the-go based on a multi-hybrid prescription map loaded into the monitor.

This planter can also deliver a variable-rate seeding prescription.

AgriGold is working with growers in Iowa using the planter this spring.

Moderator And Panelist Line-up Announced For Food Dialogues®: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing Event On June 10

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) today announced the moderator and list of panelists participating in the upcoming Food Dialogues: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing event, on June 10 at the InterContinental Hotel. Thirteen-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, author and Dr. OZ consumer and investigative correspondent, Elisabeth Leamy, will moderate.

Formerly the consumer correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America, Leamy is known as a strong and influential consumer advocate. Her dedication to putting herself in the consumer's shoes – sometimes literally – to find the truth behind the marketing makes her an ideal moderator for this event, which explores how companies use marketing efforts to respond to consumers' increasing demand for transparency.

"I'm thrilled to moderate the Food Dialogues: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing conversation," states Leamy. "Consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it's produced, and companies are responding in a wide variety of ways. As the demand for information grows, so, too, does the food industry's responsibility to market products with integrity."

The panel is comprised of farmers and ranchers, food industry executives, marketing ethics academia and consumer representatives, all well-known in their respective fields for their expertise in how food is marketed. Panelists include:
-    Dawn Caldwell, family farmer from Edgar, Neb.; Communications Manager for the Aurora Cooperative; Lady of Ag blogger
-    Clarke Caywood, professor and tenured member of the Integrated Marketing Communications Department, Northwestern University
-    Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change
-    Mike Donahue, former CCO of McDonald's, now owner and brand architect of LYFE Kitchen
-    Alan Moskowitz, Director, Communispace
-    Emily Paster, food writer, West of the Loop
-    Connie Tipton, CEO, International Dairy Foods Association
-    Chuck Wirtz, Iowa pork producer from Whittemore, Iowa

The panel and moderator were carefully chosen to lead this dialogue, which is inspired by USFRA's research suggesting that nearly 60 percent of people feel it's extremely important for grocery stores and restaurants to provide information about how the food they sell is grown and raised. The Food Dialogues: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing will explore how food professionals – from farmers to food manufacturers, marketers to foodservice and retail executives – can share information on complex food-production issues while not confusing, misrepresenting or alarming consumers.

The June 10 event marks the return of the award-winning Food Dialogues panel series to Chicago. After the morning session, being held from 10-11:30 a.m., a closed lunch session will take place for food professionals only, featuring a more in-depth look at this and related topics. To sign up for updates and more information, visit the Food Dialogues: Chicago section on The morning panel will also stream live online.

"USFRA succeeds in bringing communities together to have important conversations about how food is grown and raised and marketed in the U.S. today, whether they're easy conversations or not," Stallman states. "The Food Dialogues: Chicago. Integrity in Food Marketing will be an important discussion for consumers and the entire food chain."

Beef Remains the Top Protein in Foodservice

Beef experienced significant volume growth in the past year and continues to be a mainstay on the menu, according to the 2013 Usage and Volumetric Assessment of Beef in Foodservice report, proprietary research from the Beef Checkoff Program.

The annual survey of protein purchasing executives showed that beef remains the number one protein in foodservice – in volume, in market share and in the dollars it brings to operations. Specific findings include:
-    In the last year, the pounds of beef sold in foodservice increased by 79 million pounds to a total volume of 8 billion pounds.
-    Beef represents about one-third (32 percent) of the total protein market share in foodservice.
-    97 percent of restaurant operators feature beef on the menu.
-    Volume was up in every major beef category across the board, including steaks, roasts, ribs, ground beef and pre-cooked roast beef.
-    Since 2009, beef represents the largest pound increase of any protein, totaling 178 million pounds.
-    Beef growth has outpaced growth of the foodservice industry over the past 5 years.

“This research supports what we already know to be true: no other protein can satisfy like beef. Operators understand the value that beef brings to their business and they know beef is – and must continue to be – a mainstay on the menu due to strong consumer demand for beef,” said Sid Viebrock, a beef producer from Washington and chairman of the checkoff's Value Subcommittee.

In addition to beef’s overall performance in foodservice, the research looked at the sales of specific beef cuts. Traditional steaks such as Sirloin, Top Loin and Ribeye continue to be mainstays on the menu, while emerging cuts like the Petite Tender, Flat Iron Steak, Tri-Tip and Chuck Eye Roast also experienced growth. The detailed findings on these beef categories is available at:

The annual Usage and Volumetric Assessment of Beef in Foodservice is conducted by Technomic on behalf of the Beef Checkoff Program to understand the usage of beef in the foodservice industry. The study evaluates the penetration of beef usage in various foodservice segments and the sales of beef in pounds and dollars. Respondents included protein purchasing executives within 180 of the Top 250 restaurant chains representing $41 billion of 2012 foodservice industry sales.

New White Paper Warns of Gasoline’s Growing Health Risks

Gasoline exhaust is a much greater source of toxic emissions than previously reported, and lethal, ultra-fine particulates are not being adequately regulated and controlled. according to a new White Paper released here today.

The paper was written by David E. Hallberg, the founder and first president of the Renewable Fuels Association.  Hallberg writes that the petroleum industry is refining gasoline with high levels of toxic aromatics that combust into benzene and other carcinogenic pollutants. This gasoline that is reaching consumers represents a serious health threat but cost effective alternatives are available. 

The paper provides references and sources a range of studies that Mr. Hallberg believes establish science-based evidence of adverse health effects ranging from asthma to autism. He also criticizes US Environmental Protection Agency( EPA)  modeling that under-reports the threat and shows that real time measurements of particulates in urban areas proves there is a much bigger problem than EPA acknowledges. These particulates are formed when aromatics used to boost gasoline octane resist complete combustion and produce tiny, invisible particles that can directly enter the bloodstream and travel further and persist longer than the larger particulates currently sourced to power plants and diesel.

“At a time when the petroleum industry is spending millions to discredit clean octane products that can be used to protect public health, EPA needs to re-assess their protocols and recognize this growing threat” said Hallberg.   He added that mid-Level  ethanol blends can provide significantly greater emission  health, and economic  benefits than EPA  models indicate.,
The paper was released at a workshop held by the Energy Future Coalition in Washington, D.C.  This workshop followed  a previous workshop held at the National Academy of Sciences examining the health impacts of these ultra-fine particulates.  Today’s workshop brought together leading experts and policymakers to discuss fuel and filter technology options for avoiding or controlling such particles and the toxic substances that can accompany them, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
The White Paper  is part of an ongoing series and was published by the Ethanol Across America Education campaign.  It  is available on line at

ACE says outdated EPA rule forces E15 to sidelines for summer; drivers will see lower octane, higher price

ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty today said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s outdated interpretation of Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations is preventing the sale of E15 in most of the country during the busy summer driving season, adding billions to travelers’ fuel costs. By unnecessarily limiting the sale of E15 to only flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) owners from June 1st to September 15th in areas where most gasoline is used, Lamberty says EPA is effectively requiring drivers to purchase lower octane fuel for 5 to 40 cents more than E15. Importantly, E15 performs even better than E10 from an ozone perspective, but because of idiosyncrasies in EPA’s rules, this less expensive and cleaner fuel will not be available unless EPA changes its ruling this summer.
RVP is a generic term for gasoline volatility and the EPA regulates the vapor pressure of gasoline sold at stations during the summer ozone season (June 1 to September 15) to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline. “Ironically, E15 has a lower RVP than the fuel 95% of drivers are using, so EPA’s unwillingness to change a 25 year-old regulation effectively mandates higher evaporative emissions and higher prices during the busiest driving season of the year,” said Lamberty.
“Frankly, this regulation limits E15 availability during the rest of the year, too.   Even though the number of cars built and warrantied to run on E15 is increasing by 15 million a year, and with E15 having been tested and approved by EPA for cars 2001 and newer, stations are balking at offering E15 because they have to meet requirements and obey rules that they don’t have to deal with when selling other fuels that create more pollution.   It’s tough enough to fight E15 bans that oil companies have put in place for branded stations, without also having to fight EPA effectively enforcing that ban for Big Oil.”

Weekly Ethanol Production for 5/30/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 938,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 39.40 million gallons daily. That is up 11,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 928,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.23 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.3 million barrels. That is a 4.4% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol remained unchanged at zero b/d.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 382.4 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.30%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.222 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 104,684 metric tons of livestock feed, 93,326 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.89 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

USDA Announces Programs to Conserve Sensitive Land and Help Beginning Farmers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that farmers, ranchers and landowners committed to protecting and conserving environmentally sensitive land may now sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The Secretary also announced that retiring farmers enrolled in CRP could receive incentives to transfer a portion of their land to beginning, disadvantaged or veteran farmers through the Transition Incentives Program (TIP).

"CRP is one of the largest voluntary conservation programs in the country," said Vilsack. "This initiative helps farmers and ranchers lead the nation in preventing soil erosion, improving water quality and restoring wildlife habitat, all of which will make a difference for future generations."

Vilsack continued, "The average age of farmers and ranchers in the United States is 58 years, and twice as many are 65 or older compared to those 45 or younger. The cost of buying land is one of the biggest barriers to many interested in getting started in agriculture. The Transition Incentives Program is very useful as we work to help new farmers and ranchers get started."

The Conservation Reserve Program provides incentives to producers who utilize conservation methods on environmentally-sensitive lands. For example, farmers are monetarily compensated for establishing long-term vegetative species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as "covers") to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat.

CRP consists of a "continuous" and "general" sign-up period. Continuous sign up for the voluntary program starts June 9. Under continuous sign-up authority, eligible land can be enrolled in CRP at any time with contracts of up to 10 to 15 years in duration. In lieu of a general sign-up this year, USDA will allow producers with general CRP contracts expiring this September to have the option of a one-year contract extension. USDA will also implement the 2014 Farm Bill's requirement that producers enrolled through general sign-up for more than five years can exercise the option to opt-out of the program if certain other conditions are met. In addition, the new grassland provisions, which will allow producers to graze their enrolled land, will enable producers to do so with more flexibility.

The Transition Incentives Program provides two additional years of payments for retired farmers and ranchers who transition expiring CRP acres to socially disadvantaged, military veteran, or beginning producers who return the land to sustainable grazing or crop production. Sign up will also begin June 9. TIP funding was increased by more than 30 percent in the 2014 Farm Bill, providing up to $33 million through 2018.

As part of the 2014 Farm Bill, participants meeting specific qualifications may have the opportunity to terminate their CRP contract during fiscal year 2015 if the contract has been in effect for a minimum of five years and if other conditions are also met.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers CRP, will coordinate the various CRP program opportunities. For more information on CRP and other FSA programs, visit a local FSA county office or go online to

Both the CRP and TIP were reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

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