Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday November 12 Ag News

Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach will be in Ghana, Nov. 17-20, to explore opportunities and develop strategies for increasing Nebraska agriculture exports to several emerging markets in Africa. He will be part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission that is being led by USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden.

According to USDA, participants will meet with potential customers from more than a dozen countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

“To my knowledge this is the first time a Nebraska government representative has been on an official business trip to look at export opportunities to the continent of Africa,” said Ibach. “We’ve already laid the groundwork with Ghanaian and Ugandan officials, who recently have traveled to Nebraska. The hope is to eventually gain access to all sub-Saharan countries in Africa, which have a growing middle class and surging demand for agricultural products.”

The sub-Saharan region of Africa is considered to be all countries south of the Sahara Desert. Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to the region have grown by more than 50 percent, totaling $2.3 billion in 2014, according to USDA.

In separate meetings earlier this year, Ibach and other Nebraska state officials, university staff and business representatives met with Ghanaian and Ugandan officials in Nebraska. The visits were meant to begin building the diplomatic framework needed to open up the appropriate channels for Nebraska agricultural products and agronomic services to those countries.

“Trade agreements are not something that happens overnight,” said Ibach. “It takes a long-term commitment to work through the appropriate processes and make the right connections. Our past work with Uganda and Ghana has given us a strong foothold in those countries and created a precedent for developing additional opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.”

In 2014, Nebraska agriculture exports to Ghana were approximately $1.5 million and Uganda exports were approximately $257,000, according to NDA estimates based on USDA data. Total Nebraska agricultural exports to sub-Saharan African countries in 2014 were estimated at $65.8 million.

Nebraska Farm Bureau to Legislature: “Don’t Abandon Farm and Ranch Families, Rural Schools”

High property taxes on agricultural land is only a symptom of a much larger problem with inequity in the way Nebraska funds schools, and while band aid approaches to addressing high property taxes is a starting point, structural change is needed to address inequity in education funding. That’s the message Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson delivered to state legislators during a key Nov. 12 hearing on taxes and school funding.

“The question isn’t if we should have good schools. It’s not whether farmers and ranchers are willing to contribute. The answer is yes to both. The real question is, ‘What is an equitable way to pay for schools?’ Our overreliance on property taxes is not equitable or sustainable from our perspective and if we don’t work together to fix this problem, it will force farm and ranch families out of business and further consolidation in agriculture,” said Nelson in testifying before members of both the Legislature’s Revenue and Education Committees.

Nelson argued the structural inequity in school funding stems from the state’s overreliance on property taxes to fund schools and the failure of the state to more broadly distribute sales and income tax resources in the form of state equalization aid. In 2014, roughly two-thirds of Nebraska schools receive no state equalization aid, the majority of which were smaller in student numbers and rural in nature.

“Our reliance on property taxes combined with the lack of state support puts the school funding burden on the backs of a small number of farmers and ranchers. At the same time, the majority of those people’s sales and income tax dollars are transformed into state equalization dollars that go to fund students in larger districts,” said Nelson. “Property shouldn’t be the only measurement of wealth for school funding purposes and it’s vital we broaden the scope of sources to fund schools.”

In pointing out inequities, Nelson noted in many rural school districts it is common for property taxes generated from farm and ranch households to financially support five to six students in a school district while property taxes on non-farm households often don’t provide enough dollars to support a single student.

“With the school funding scales so far out of balance, farmers and ranchers are questioning whether the state has abandoned us and our rural schools,” said Nelson. “It’s my hope we can work together to balance this responsibility for school funding and prove that’s not the case.”

According to Nelson, failure to address the problem jeopardizes the future of Nebraska agriculture, the fabric of rural Nebraska and the state’s broader economy.

“I’ve had the opportunity to travel the state extensively the last few years. On far too many occasions I’ve had farmers tell me they are making real decisions about whether to sell land because they can’t afford the taxes. We’re talking about state tax policy driving people off the farm or ranch. It’s unbelievable we’re having this conversation in Nebraska, but that’s how serious the situation has gotten,” said Nelson. “If we can’t solve this problem we’ll push both current and future generations out of agriculture and fewer farmers isn’t a good thing for rural communities, nor is it good for Nebraska, regardless where you live.”

In testimony, Nelson further acknowledge that the school funding issue is too big to completely fix in a short legislative session, but the Legislature has the opportunity to work on short-term fixes while examining long-term structural change.

“We’re clearly at a crossroads. Fixing this problem has been a long-time coming but we have to work towards a short-term solution to address the immediate property tax issue as well as finding long-term structural fixes to how we fund schools,” said Nelson. 

Engler scholarship application deadline is Feb. 1

    Students passionate about becoming an entrepreneur can apply for scholarships to the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Incoming and current College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students are eligible to apply. In 2015, about 40 students received scholarship support from the Engler program.

    Scholarships are awarded annually to Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship students ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 with some awards renewable up to three years dependent on student performance, said the program's director, Tom Field.

    To apply, students must complete an application and answer a series of essay questions at Applications are due by Feb. 1.

    The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program is a unique opportunity at UNL designed to empower enterprise builders. About 100 students at UNL are pursuing development of their entrepreneurial skills and capacity in the program.  Participation in the program is not restricted to scholarship recipients. 

    The Engler program began in 2010 with a $20 million gift over 10 years from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation. The purpose of the program is to identify students with the entrepreneurial drive and then foster development of professional skills conducive to success in applying entrepreneurism in agriculture and agribusiness.

    For more information about the program, visit

Curtis Aggies to celebrate 50 years as college

The University of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a public program and reception on Friday at the NCTA Education Center at 1:30 p.m., said NCTA Dean Ron Rosati.

Rosati will be joined in the anniversary program by the college’s previous superintendents or deans.  Keynote speaker will be Stan Matzke, Jr., of Lincoln, who served as the first superintendent from 1965-1969. Other guests include Elaine Siminoe of Kearney, Jerry Sundquist of Curtis, Weldon Sleight of Idaho, and Ron Yoder, associate vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska.

Campus tours will occur at 11 a.m. and 3:45 p.m., starting at Student Activities Center,  404 East Seventh Street.

Initially, the University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture (UNSTA) was dedicated as a college in November, 1965, and offered two programs, ag machinery mechanics and drafting, survey and soils. The statewide institution operated simultaneously with a residential high school at the campus for three years.  The two-year degree institution became the University of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, still housed at the 102-year-old campus.

Today, NCTA’s academics feature agribusiness management, agriculture production systems (animal science and agriculture education; agronomy, horticulture and ag mechanics) and veterinary technology, along with courses in general education and dual credit programs with high schools. Student teams include rodeo, livestock judging, ranch horse and a new trap club.

For information, call 1-800-3CURTIS or see

AgriBank Releases Insights Report on Slower Growth for Farmland Values

This harvest season, the focus for many is on lower commodity prices. A new report issued at this year’s National Association of Farm Broadcasters Trade Talk by AgriBank, the St. Paul-based Farm Credit Bank, takes a look at the resulting moderation of farmland values.

The report provides an overview of farmland values across the 15-state AgriBank District, including differences by sector and by state. It also reports the latest data on cash rents and looks ahead to how cropland values may fare in the future.

    Farmland Values Moderating: District average cropland and pastureland values slowed in growth, but did not decline, in 2015, driven by considerably lower commodity prices that result in lower net farm incomes in the grains and oilseeds sector.

    Cash Rents Down for Cropland, Up for Pastureland: District average cash rents for cropland declined for the first time in over 20 years, while District average cash rents for pastureland increased.

    AgriBank Benchmark Changes Vary Widely: District real estate values changed from -10.5 percent to 10.6 percent over the 12-month period ending June 30, 2015, according to the AgriBank District 2015 Benchmark Survey.

    Barometer of Farmland Values Holds Steady: The District’s “implied” cropland capitalization rate holds virtually steady above the 10-year Treasury rate over recent years, indicating that the market continues to build in a risk premium that exceeds the expected growth in returns to cropland.

“States heavily concentrated in corn and soybean production experienced declines in cropland values, while values in states with more diversified crops, including wheat and rice, continued to increase, albeit at a more moderate pace,” said Jeff Swanhorst, AgriBank executive vice president of credit and chief credit officer. “The outlook for most crop producers looks challenging for the next five years with most forecasters projecting corn and soybean prices to be at or near break-even levels. Producers may benefit from USDA commodity title programs that could be triggered by lower commodity prices. These programs, combined with disciplined risk management practices and the generally strong financial condition of borrowers comprising the District’s crop portfolio, are expected to mitigate the initial impact.”

AgriBank Farm Credit Bank provides financial solutions to meet the needs of production agriculture in America’s heartland. We feature our research and analysis in AgriBank Insights as part of our AgriThought initiative to help inform the financial decisions among those we serve.

View the report here:

Federal Reserve: Farmland Prices Decline Across Parts of Midwest

Farmland values fell in parts of the Midwest in the third quarter, reflecting a downdraft in the agricultural sector driven by three years of lower crop prices, according to Federal Reserve reports on Thursday.

The average price of "quality" farmland in the St. Louis Fed's district, which includes parts of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri, dropped 2.6% from a year earlier, as farm incomes weakened considerably, the Fed bank said.

In the Kansas City Fed's district, which includes Kansas and Nebraska, irrigated-cropland values declined 1%, while the average price of nonirrigated land rose 0.4%, the bank said. Irrigated farmland depends on man-made water systems rather than rainfall.

In the Chicago Fed's district, which includes Illinois and Iowa, prices for farmland remained largely the same in the third quarter compared with a year ago, and rose 1% versus the second quarter of this year, the bank said.

The reports largely underline a slowdown in the agricultural economy that has softened farmers' demand for cropland after a years-long run-up in prices. Both crop prices and land values rose sharply for much of the past decade, driven higher by drought and burgeoning demand for grain from ethanol producers and overseas buyers. That led flush farmers to bid up land values.

This autumn, however, farmers for the third straight year are harvesting bumper corn and soybean crops, further elevating global supplies and adding pressure to prices that have fallen by more than half since 2012.

Midwestern bankers surveyed by the Fed banks in both the St. Louis and Kansas City districts said farm income fell significantly in the third quarter, and many expect a continued cooling of land values in the current quarter as farmers adjust to leaner times.

"Because of some concern about the fall harvest and the recent dip in livestock prices, agricultural bankers have a rather dour view of farm income prospects in the fourth quarter of 2015," the St. Louis Fed said in its report on Thursday.

The Chicago Fed said most Midwestern lenders it surveyed think farmland values will drop in the current quarter, implying that the lack of an overall decline in the third quarter "was merely a pause in a longer-term correction," wrote David Oppedahl, senior business economist at the Chicago Fed, in Thursday's report.

The report cited stable prices for corn in the third quarter, as well as a lack of available farms for sale as likely factors propping up land values in the Chicago region.

Agricultural land values in Iowa and Illinois, the two largest corn-producing states, both declined from a year earlier, though the losses were offset by higher prices in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Average ranchland values rose both in the St. Louis and Kansas City Fed's district, though bankers in both regions expect prices for the land used to raise livestock to decline versus year-ago levels in the current quarter.

Both the Chicago and Kansas City Fed districts said financial conditions for farmers weakened in the third quarter, with loan repayment rates down and expected to decline further as the year wraps up. Mr. Oppedahl said an index of repayment rates for loans excluding real estate in the Chicago region could drop to the lowest level since 1999, while more farmers facing financial strain could be forced to hold farm sales or sell off assets in the next three to six months compared with year-ago levels.

"Land values have definitely been declining," said Brandon Rutledge, 34 years old, who grows corn and soybeans and raises livestock in Le Roy, Ill.

Less farmland than normal is going on the market in Mr. Rutledge's area because nearby land prices have dropped, he said.

The farmer added that he plans to drive a hard bargain with seed suppliers and apply less fertilizer to his cropland to cut costs and stay profitable for this year. Still, he said, "it's going to be tight."

Letter Urges President to Reverse EPA's Course on Ethanol

National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling has urged President Obama to reverse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed cuts in the Renewable Fuel Standard's volume obligation and adhere to the statute of the law itself.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Bowling noted that the most recent estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast a larger than expected crop at 13.65 billion bushels, and lower projected price for corn - nearly a dollar per-bushel lower than the cost of production.

"Contrary to the erroneous criticism spread by the oil industry, biofuels have not driven up the price of food or fuel," Bowling wrote. "Your administration's proposed blending targets will decrease the availability of renewable fuels, further exacerbating already low corn prices, and causing further, significant, harm to the agriculture sector."

Rural America cannot afford this, Bowling told the president.

"We urge you to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed reduction in the RVO and adhere to the statute. This action will provide a crucial demand signal to commodity markets, benefit rural economies, and solidify your commitment to a lower carbon future. The EPA's recommendation is one we cannot afford in America's heartland."

Farm Groups Make the Case for TPP to Farm Media

Representatives from six U.S. farm organizations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made the case for the recently-finalized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement at a press conference held Wednesday in conjunction with the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s (NAFB’s) annual convention.

Speakers from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Association of Wheat Growers explained to the crowd of reporters the benefits this agreement would hold for their particular sectors, focusing on the potential for expanded exports of U.S. products.

USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, a farmer from Nebraska who spoke at the event, said the agreement would allow for expanded coarse grain trade in some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, which have increasing demand for meat, dairy and eggs.

He described the advantages of the agreement, including locking in zero tariffs in some markets, reducing non-tariff barrier challenges and providing a framework for additional countries to join, further expanding the potential for TPP's impact.

“Trade agreements crack open new markets for our farmers, allowing organizations like ours to go in, build demand and capture new sales in the short term and build loyal buying relationships for years to come,” he said.

“We are excited to see the benefits of TPP come alive – from changing the game in Japanese agriculture, deepening our long-term relationships with our buyers there, to giving us new competitive advantages in Vietnam, the fastest growing feed grain market in the world.”

In addition to farmer representatives, Phil Karsting, the administrator of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), spoke in support of the delicately-negotiated agreement.

Despite some concerns voiced in Congress, the Obama Administration is moving forward with the steps needed for TPP to become U.S. law.

The Administration formally requested analysis of the agreement from the International Trade Commission late last week, and President Barack Obama said this week that he is eager to sign TPP into law, indicating he believes that it will pass Congress before his term ends in January 2017.

Soy Growers Urge Congress to Restore Section 179

Soy growers and  others in the agricultural industry sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives this week, urging them to restore the higher Section 179 expensing limits and 50 percent bonus depreciation, both of which expired on Dec. 31, 2014.

With the significant need for farmers and ranchers to continuously invest in machinery, equipment and other depreciable assets, the need to renew the higher Section 179 small business expensing limits and 50 percent bonus depreciation is great.

“Section 179 and bonus depreciation allows them to write off capital expenditures in the year that purchases are made rather than to depreciate them over time,” the groups state in the letter. “The ability to immediately expense capital purchases also provides an incentive for farmers and ranchers to invest in their businesses and offers the benefit of reducing the record keeping burden associated with the depreciation.

The expired law states that the maximum allowable amount that a small business can immediately expense when buying business assets, rather than depreciating them over time is $25,000. The letter encouraged Congress to restore the maximum amount of expensing under Section 179 to $500,000 as it was previously set in 2014, as well as requesting the reinstatement of 50 percent bonus depreciation tax incentive for the purchase of new capital assets.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is a supporter of the renewal of the expired tax code Section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation and hopes to see it included in a multi-year extenders package.

Brazil's Truck Strike Peters Out

Alastair Stewart, DTN South America Correspondent

The Brazilian truckers' protest appeared to have fizzled out Thursday to the relief of the country's grain and meat exporters.

Drivers blocked just one highway, in the northern state of Tocantins, as of 0930 local time, according to highway police.

A federal government offensive against the strikers appears to have been successful -- it tripled the fine for blocking a highway and sanctioned the confiscation of vehicles and suspension of licenses.

It became obvious the protest was politically motivated with the main demand being the ousting of President Dilma Rousseff. None of the main truckers' unions supported the strike.

In February/March, a better-supported two-week truckers strike caused delays to soybean and meat deliveries to port. The latest strike has not really affected corn deliveries.

25x'25 Transitioning to Solutions from the Land

25x'25, an alliance of nearly 1,000 partner organizations promoting the development of renewable energy in rural America, announced today that it will transition to become a special project of Solutions from the Land (SfL).

SfL itself began as an offshoot of 25x'25, conceived and led by a team of respected agriculture, forestry, conservation, academic and industry leaders who came together in 2009 to explore integrated land management solutions that can help meet food security, public health, economic development, climate change and conservation of biodiversity goals.

SfL President Ernie Shea and 25x'25 Co-Chair Bart Ruth made the announcement today at the 72nd convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.

25x'25 was founded 10 years ago as a self-directed special project of the Energy Future Coalition (EFC), a non-partisan alliance that seeks to identify and advance energy policy options with broad political support. Ruth, a corn and soybean producer from Rising City, NE, and a former President of the American Soybean Association, noted that at that time only 5.6 percent of total energy consumed in the United States came from renewable sources of energy.

"Today that has grown to more than 10 percent, and thanks to the tireless efforts of 25x'25's volunteer leaders and partners, our nation is well on its way to achieving the 25x'25 vision, in which America's working lands - especially its farms, ranches and forestlands - will meet 25 percent of our nation's energy needs with renewable resources," said Ruth, who along with Dr. Allen Rider, former president of New Holland North America, will represent 25x'25 on the SfL Board of Directors.

Reid Detchon, Executive Director of the Energy Future Coalition, said, "We are proud of our role in incubating both of these important initiatives, and the time has come to reboot 25x'25 and move it to Solutions from the Land."

Ruth noted, "SfL is a perfect fit for 25x'25, as its mission is to support and advocate for the full range of goods and services that sustainably managed farms, forests and ranches can deliver from the land - food, feed, fiber, energy and a wide range of ecosystems services. Going forward, 25x'25 will form the foundation of SfL's clean energy platform. SfL's two other areas of focus will be large-landscape, working lands, conservation initiatives and climate-smart agriculture."

Together with its partners, Solutions from the Landis advancing and demonstrating a new land management model in which American agriculture, forestry and conservation take effective, collaborative steps toward facing 21st century challenges. Rather than managing land through top-down programs designed to address individual objectives (e.g., food, fiber, clean water, energy, habitat, health, wildlife and biodiversity) and/or challenges separately, the SfL model embraces an integrated approach through which multiple public and private stakeholders join forces to improve the resiliency of agricultural and forestry landscapes and deliver multiple goods and services.

Under the SfL land management model, stakeholders work collaboratively to implement landscape-scale solutions and partnerships, building broader and empowered coalitions of land managers, regulators, scientists, and civil society around agro-forest ecosystems or landscapes to ensure continued production of essential food, feed, fiber, energy, and similar products, while improving the delivery of environmental, economic and public health values from the land. SfL will also work to harmonize policy frameworks, streamlining overlapping and often contradictory regulations and policies.

Another priority for SfL is ensuring that the stewardship of ecosystem services is rewarded. SfL aims to structure new markets for ecosystem services, which have the potential to substitute for conservation payments, to adequately provide returns comparable to traditional production. SfL is also seeking to energize and coordinate research to develop a reliable base of information and knowledge to achieve SfL goals.

Among the projects in which SfL has already engaged are:

    The Delmarva Land & Litter Challenge brings together a diverse group of organizations representing grain producers, chicken growers, poultry integrators, conservationists and academic partners, along with agribusiness, finance and service providers to collaborate on a new way forward for managing poultry-related nutrient pollution on the Delmarva Peninsula.

    North Carolina ADAPT is a highly respected and well-networked group of agriculture and forestry thought leaders in North Carolina, that came together to engage farmers, foresters and livestock producers on the topic of adaptation.

    The North American Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA) is a platform for knowledge sharing and application of climate science to agriculture that will give farmers, ranchers and foresters the opportunity to collaborate with industry, academia, government and NGO partners in developing ways to improve production resiliency, and mitigate current and future risks of changing climatic conditions.

NACSAA farmer leaders will be in Paris in early December for COP21, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, where they will be explaining how agricultural systems, forests and other land uses can be sustainably managed to simultaneously satisfy domestic and global demand for: safe, abundant and affordable food, feed and fiber; economic security and sustainable development; reductions to hunger and malnutrition; improvements to soils, water and air quality; and enhancements to biodiversity and ensured ecosystem health, while also delivering mitigation and adaptation solutions to a changing climate.

Collaboration key to moving forward in antibiotic stewardship

Human and animal health experts came together in Atlanta, GA this past week to discuss issues related to antibiotic resistance and to work toward increased antibiotic stewardship in both human medicine and animal health. Throughout the dialogue, attention was focused on specific areas which can be measured in order to verify the progress made in reducing antimicrobial resistance.

Convened by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) and supported by several industry stakeholders, commodity groups, and public health entities, the national symposium brought together a broad cross-section of professionals to share relevant science and develop consensus on those key areas in which the most progress may be made.

“Antibiotics have been critical in human and veterinary medicine since the 1940’s and antibiotic resistance has been a challenge almost as long,” said Dr. Robert Tauxe, Deputy Director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Thus, with the ever changing antibiotic landscape, research, education and constantly improving stewardship is imperative.”

“Stewardship is a cycle, it is not something we do and then forget,” said Dr. Mike Apley, Professor of Production Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology at Kansas State University. “Stewardship is a commitment to a cycle.”

With increased antibiotic stewardship comes a greater need for more detailed record keeping and data management. “Emphasis on treatment records will be relied upon like they never have been before,” Apley said. “Increased federal regulations and requirements on veterinary feed directives and veterinary-client-patient-relationships, producers and veterinarians will have to keep treatment records like they do their finances.”

Key stakeholders in the battle against antimicrobial resistance within the livestock and human health communities worked on developing pathways to accomplish this goal. Under the direction of Tom Chapel, Chief Evaluation Officer for the CDC, attendees worked in groups to develop a roadmap to decrease antibiotic resistance while continuing to provide a safe and adequate food supply.

All sides of the table were represented in these discussions, including the retail community. Representatives from Costco, Tyson Foods and Yum Brands shed light on what the consumers are demanding and what they are doing in order to answer those demands.

“For consumers this is not a scientific discussion, it is an emotional one,” Donnie Smith, Chief Evaluation Officer of Tyson Foods. Parents want to know that they are doing the right thing for their children and that when their children need an antibiotic that it is going to be effective.

This requirement is also being asked of the human health community making it a no-brainer for veterinary and human health communities to work together. “Challenges are really too complex for any group to address alone,” said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC.

NIAA plans to continue this discussion with future events and the production of the symposium’s proceedings which will be available soon at Also a White Paper on the event will be available by the end of 2015.

Commodity Classic Registration and Housing Open November 18

2016 Commodity Classic registration and housing reservations open online at 10 a.m. CST Wednesday morning, Nov. 18. Rooms at the first-time venue city of New Orleans are expected to book quickly, so those interested should register as soon as possible.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Commodity Classic to New Orleans for the first time ever – a city famous for great food and Southern hospitality,” said ASA Commodity Classic Co-Chair Sam Butler. “It’s going to be a world-class event with a bigger-than-ever trade show, terrific educational and networking opportunities, and lots of exciting new things planned for our growers.”

The 21st annual farmer-focused, farmer-led event is scheduled for March 3-5, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Commodity Classic hotels are within easy walking distance or provide complimentary shuttle services to and from the convention center.

Full Commodity Classic registration includes:
    Access to the largest-ever Trade Show, including lunch on Thursday and Friday and a mid-morning snack on Saturday
    Main Stage presentations in the Trade Show
    A General Session Friday morning that will be enlightening and entertaining
    A full schedule of educational sessions, including Learning Centers, What’s New Sessions, Mini What’s New Sessions and Early Risers
    Complimentary access to video recordings of the 2016 Learning Centers, Early Risers and What’s New Sessions (keep your badge for access)
    ASA or NCGA banquet (based on space availability, and not guaranteed)
    An Evening of Entertainment on Saturday to close out the week, featuring the country music of Sawyer Brown

For growers and their families, as well as media and state or national commodity organization staff, full registration also includes the Welcome Reception on Wednesday evening.

The 2016 Commodity Classic trade show currently has 47 percent more exhibit space than 2015, with additional space available. Visit the event website for information on being a part of Commodity Classic, where America's best farmers come to see what's new.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

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