Saturday, November 4, 2017

Friday November 3 Ag News

LENRD to host Open House Public Hearing regarding Drought Management Plan

The public is invited to an open house public hearing concerning the Drought Management Plan for this area.  The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) will hold the hearing on Tuesday, November 21st from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

The Drought Management Plan defines drought locally and identifies processes to respond to and manage the impacts of future drought events.  The open house public hearing will allow for public comment regarding the proposed integration of the Drought Management Plan into the LENRD’s Groundwater Management Plan.  The public is encouraged to spend as much or as little time as they like at the open house public hearing and it is important to note that written or oral comments carry equal weight in the decision-making process.  The hearing is the first in a multi-step decision process, and consideration of the adoption (or modification) of the proposed changes will be determined at a later date.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “If adopted, the integration of the goals and objectives of the Drought Management Plan into the Groundwater Management Plan, would allow the district to respond to the challenges of an acute drought situation.  The geographic area impacted by the modifications to the District’s Groundwater Management Plan is district-wide, all or parts of 15 counties in northeast Nebraska.”

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “The LENRD is taking proactive steps to reduce the impacts of future drought events.  One of these steps is the development of the Drought Management Plan.”  He continued, “We must ensure that we protect the water resources of all current users in the district because this is the law.  The protocol we are proposing for determining drought in the district is considered to be the most accurate method in the world.”

The full text of the proposed amendment is on page 105 of the Groundwater Management Plan, which is available at the LENRD office in Norfolk and on the district’s website at

Individuals with disabilities may request auxiliary aids and service necessary for participation by contacting the LENRD by November 14, 2017.  Testimony relevant to the purposes of the hearing may also be submitted in writing (prior to the close of the hearing) to the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resource District, 601 E. Benjamin Avenue, Suite 101, Norfolk, Nebraska 68701.

For more information on this planning effort, contact the LENRD at 402-371-7313 or

NE Pork Prod. hosts FMD Crisis Tabletop Exercise

The deliberate or accidental introduction of a highly contagious foreign animal disease, such as Foot and Mouth Disease, into the U.S. will have an immediate and drastic effect on agriculture.  In a first of its kind study funded by Pork Checkoff, a Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (CARD FAPRI) model estimated revenue losses to the pork and beef industries resulting from the introduction of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the U.S. would average $12.9 billion per year. Total cumulative revenue losses across the commodities modeled over a 10 year period was $199.9 billion including $57 billion for pork, $71.23 billion for beef, $0.98 billion for poultry, $44 billion for corn, $24.9 billion for soybeans and $1.8 billion for wheat.

Increasing foreign animal disease awareness and preparedness has been a pork industry priority and has resulted in the development and delivery of a unique tabletop exercise training tool for pork producers, veterinarians and stakeholders at the state and local level. The tabletop is an interactive training tool that utilizes a model of rural America including farms, livestock and a small town to help participants visualize what would occur locally during an animal disease disaster.

National Pork Board, NE Department of Ag, and NE Pork Producers Association invite pork producers, veterinarians, and stakeholders to attend Foot and Mouth Disease Crisis Tabletop in West Point on Wednesday, December 6th. Participants will walk through a Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak focusing on the effects at the local level through communications and operations that must occur to contain, manage, and eradicate the disease while maintaining business continuity to help stabilize the agricultural economy.

The exercise walks participants through a foot and mouth disease outbreak focusing on the effects at the local level and the communications and operations that must occur to contain, manage and eradicate the disease while maintaining business continuity to help stabilize the agricultural economy.

Participants rapidly become a part of the response effort from diagnosing the first case, mobilizing the local response, controlling and eradicating the disease, and getting back to “business as usual.”

Register online at

Nebraska Cattlemen Host 2017 Annual Convention & Trade Show

The 2017 Annual Nebraska Cattlemen Convention and Trade Show will be held in Kearney at the Younes Convention Center December 5th - 8th. This year's convention schedule is packed full of industry leaders, speakers and educational opportunities for all ages of cattlemen and women.

The week starts off on Tuesday, December 5, with the 2017 Cattlemen's College, sponsored by Zoetis. The event this year will be held at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds Ag Pavilion to allow for a full day of classroom speakers and time at the chute.  The program offers a wide range of speakers that will discuss nutrition, cover crops, vaccinations and so much more. This producer education program is designed to address issues that will improve production and profitability.  The college will wrap up with a networking reception, NCBA update and panel on labor issues.

Wednesday will kick off at the Younes Convention Center with the Young Cattlemen's Round-table, sponsored by the YCC Class of 2016.  The goal of the round table is to inspire members to get involved in the Nebraska Cattlemen and experience the benefits of the organization.  Attendees will be able to discuss what is happening in the beef industry and what it means to them. Council meetings will fill the rest of the day and Wednesday will conclude with the General Session and time to mingle at the Welcome Reception in the Trade Show.

After a full day of committee meetings, Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Lunch and trade show happenings the annual banquet will wrap up the evening on Thursday, December 7th beginning at 7:00 p.m. As always a few cattlemen will be recognized for their dedication to the industry, great items will be up for grabs during the live auction and phenomenal food to be enjoyed by all. Convention will come to an end on Friday after the Market Outlook Breakfast and the Annual Business Meeting. The entire schedule can be viewed at

 Engineering Research Focusing on Next Generation of Ag Technologies 

The next generation of agricultural technologies and systems is the focus of three USDA-funded research projects within the Biological Systems Engineering Department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The projects were announced Oct. 17 by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

“Technology is front and center in agricultural production,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA is investing in research on precision and smart technologies to maximize production efficiencies, including water and fertilizer use, and to produce nutritious food, new biofuels and bioproducts.”

The projects focus on high-resolution depth sensing of soils, next-generation spray drift mitigation and variable rate irrigation technology. Work in these areas has already been established and with support from AFRI, Nebraska researchers can continue to develop these technologies.

“Three of the 17 agricultural technology projects recently funded by the USDA are led by Nebraska’s Biological Systems Engineering Department, which is a testament to the innovative approach by our researchers,” said David Jones, interim department head of biological systems engineering. “Through these research projects, we will be able to bring the latest engineering technology to Nebraska’s biological systems.”

The three projects are:

High-resolution depth sensing of soils. Yufeng Ge, assistant professor and advanced sensing systems engineer, was awarded a three-year $499,896 grant to develop an instrumented soil penetrometer for gathering real-time and simultaneous prediction of a number of soil properties.

Innovation in drift reduction technologies.
Research led by Joe Luck, associate professor of biological systems engineering and precision agriculture engineer, is focused on reducing negative impacts to society and the environment resulting from spray drift of pesticides. The four-year, $499,916 project will introduce next-generation technologies for controlling spray droplets during field applications.

Advancing variable rate irrigation technology using unmanned aircraft systems.
Advancing variable rate irrigation technology across the Great Plains and the Midwest through improved water efficiency of irrigated, row-crop agriculture is the focus of a three-year, $499,978 grant awarded to Christopher Neale, professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department and director of research at the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.

Online Crop Residue Exchange Links Growers and Grazers 

Daren Redfearn - NE Extension Forage Crop Residue Specialist

The Crop Residue Exchange is an interactive, online tool designed to help farmers and cattle producers connect and develop mutually beneficial agreements for using crop residue for grazing. A recent UNL survey funded by USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education showed that 17% of farmers list lack of access to cattle as the major reason cattle aren’t used to graze residue on their farmland. This new online exchange serves as a way for corn and other crop producers to market their crop residue to cattle producers.

The Crop Residue Exchange is available online at After establishing a log-in account, farmers can list cropland available for grazing by drawing out the plot of land available using an interactive map and entering in basic information about the type of residue, fencing situation, water availability, and dates available. They also provide their preferred contact information. Livestock producers can log in and search the database for cropland available for grazing within radius of a given location of interest.

While the primary objective of this exchange is to assist in the development of farmer-cattle producer relationships, it’s expected that in the near future the exchange will provide educational material and tools to support these relationships. Items under development include
-    a lease template to help cattle owners and farmers develop a contract;
-    links to tools and guidelines to help farmers and cattle owners correctly stock crop residue fields,
-    summary information on crop residue grazing rates.

These tools will be available to all registered users of the exchange.  Development of the Crop Residue Exchange was made possible with funding support from the Nebraska Extension Innovation Grants Program.

Soybean stem canker research brings Serbian scientist to South Dakota State

Scouting soybean fields and identifying diseases are some of the tasks that Kristina Petrović performs as a research associate at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Serbia. She is expanding her work on pathogens that affect soybeans as a visiting scientist at South Dakota State University, where she is working with field crops pathologist Febina Mathew, an assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science.

“I am happy when I find disease,” Petrović quipped. She was the first to report that three species of Diaporthe, the pathogen that causes stem canker of soybean, were triggering Phomopsis seed decay in Serbia. Petrović published two papers on her findings in Plant Disease, an American Phytopathological Society journal. When she told the journal editor that she wanted to do postdoctoral research in the United States, he circulated her credentials among the society’s members.

“After four days, Febina invited me to South Dakota State University to examine the Diaporthe species causing soybean disease in the United States,” Petrović recalled. Her 10-month residency, which began in August, is supported by a grant from the Serbian government and funding from the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops. She also received support for her SDSU research from the North Central Soybean Research Program and the South Dakota Agricultural Experimental Station.

The world has two main types of stem canker—the Northern variety, which likes cool temperatures and affects both South Dakota and Serbian soybeans, and the Southern, which can survive high temperatures. Both types like moisture, Petrović explained.

Plants are infected when raindrops hit pathogen-containing plant residue and splash the fungus spores onto the young soybean plants. “At the end of July or beginning of August, when soybeans are in their pod-fill stage, we see the first symptoms, dark brown lesions that spread up and down the plant,” she said.

“Planting resistant genotypes is the best option for producers,” Petrović explained.  In Serbia, she said, “Our genotypes have good field resistance, but not complete resistance. However, we are trying to find the most resistant or tolerant soybean genotypes.”

In the United States, five Diaporthe species are causing soybean disease, according to Mathew. She and North Dakota State University Extension Plant Pathologist Sam Markell found Diaporthe gulyae, which causes Phomopsis stem canker in sunflowers, associated with stem disease on soybeans.  

Recently plant scientists have seen an increase in soybean diseases caused by Diaporthe (Phomopsis) species in the United States, according to Mathew. Petrović’s research will help identify the pathogens behind this increased disease prevalence. 

“I want to know more about the relationship among the Diaporthe species,” said Petrović. To do this, she’ll examine the pathogens’ diversity using phylogenetics. She and Mathew will also screen soybean genotypes to identify sources of resistance to Diaporthe species that will help breeders develop resistant soybean cultivars.

This research will help scientists develop strategies to manage the disease that will benefit farmers not only in the United States, but also in Serbia.

USMEF Members Examine Challenges ahead, Elect New Officer Team

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) concluded its Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona, Friday with the election of new officers for 2017-2018. Dennis Stiffler, Ph.D., who has served in many volunteer leadership roles for USMEF, was elected USMEF chairman.

“This is a very exciting time for USMEF – we have an extremely engaged executive committee with a lot of talented people,” said Stiffler, who is president of the Texas Division, Halpern's Steak and Seafood, headquartered in Atlanta. He recently retired as chief executive officer of Mountain States Rosen, a fabricator, processor and distributor of lamb and veal products. “Also, we are getting ready to embark on new executive leadership at USMEF, and it will be exciting to follow that transition through. It is going to be an important role for USMEF officers to play.”

Stiffler has 30 years of livestock, meat industry and international marketing experience, and spent 10 years at major universities involved in teaching, research and extension services. During his tenure in academia, Stiffler traveled abroad on numerous occasions representing both USMEF and the U.S. Grains Council in education and market development programs.

His first interaction with USMEF was back when he was on the faculty at Texas A&M University. He later held various positions in the red meat industry, including the export business. In 2010, as a member of the American Lamb Board, Stiffler was appointed to the USMEF Executive Committee.

“I believe it’s notable that in the 41-year history of USMEF, I am the first chairman representing the lamb sector,” said Stiffler. “I bring that background with me, along with my experience across the entire red meat industry. I was asked many times to go into international markets to work on technical aspects such as meat quality, production practices, product performance and food safety – giving me credibility in that area. “From a business standpoint, we are in the business of moving product into markets, and to do that you have to match science with consumer preferences.”

Stiffler lauded USMEF staff for its work at the Denver headquarters and in USMEF’s international offices. He also praised longtime USMEF CEO Philip Seng and Dan Halstrom, who succeeded Seng as USMEF president on Sept. 1 and will assume the title of president and CEO on Dec. 1.

“Phil has been a true leader and an icon in this industry, and we all owe him a great deal of gratitude,” said Stiffler. “I want to personally thank him for his leadership, his commitment, his passion for the international marketplace and his tireless dedication to this organization.”

Stiffler then introduced Halstrom, who thanked Seng and recalled their long relationship in the U.S. red meat industry.

“Phil’s tutelage, his guidance and his vison for this industry has been second to none,” said Halstrom, who then shared his thoughts about USMEF’s future opportunities and challenges.

Stiffler succeeds Bruce Schmoll, a corn and soybean producer from Minnesota, as USMEF chair.

Conley Nelson is the new USMEF chair-elect. Nelson is general manager of Smithfield Foods’ hog production division in the company’s five-state Midwest region and served as president of the National Pork Board in 2012-13. Serving as USMEF vice chair is Idaho cattle feeder Cevin Jones, who operates Intermountain Beef, a custom feedlot.

The newest USMEF officer is Secretary-Treasurer Pat Binger of Wichita, Kansas, who heads international sales for Cargill Protein Group. A 30-year Cargill employee, Binger first became involved with USMEF more than 25 years ago. He sees USMEF’s role in the export game as more vital than ever.

“The supply of red meat will continue to grow, so in order to benefit our industry we are going to need to export more product, and we fully expect to be able to do that,” said Binger. “For member companies, the many capabilities USMEF has are extremely important. I feel very good about being a part of this association.”

Friday’s closing business session also included a presentation titled “Spotlight on Brazil” in which panelists took an in-depth look at Brazil from several different angles – not only as a competing supplier of red meat, but also as a trading partner and a potential destination for U.S. beef, pork and lamb. (The Brazilian market recently reopened to U.S. beef but is currently closed to imports of U.S. pork and lamb.)

USMEF trade analyst Jessica Spreitzer presented a detailed overview and comparison of Brazil’s red meat production, consumption, exports and imports with that of the United States. Bob Macke, who leads the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), addressed the broader U.S.-Brazil trading relationship, covering a range of agricultural sectors.

Otavio Migliorini, a native of Brazil who is a partner of PMI Foods operations while also serving as general manager of its South American division, focused on the challenges involved in doing business in Brazil, potential opportunities for U.S. beef and pork in the Brazilian market, and Brazilian consumers’ perceptions of U.S. meat products. Jessica Julca, USMEF’s South America representative based in Lima, Peru, highlighted the early promotional activities USMEF has conducted in the Brazilian market and previewed plans to expand promotions once more U.S. suppliers obtain clearance to ship product to Brazil. The panel was moderated by USMEF Technical Services Manager Cheyenne McEndaffer, who works closely with USMEF member companies to help them meet eligibility requirements in Brazil and other Latin American markets.

USMEF members also approved a resolution on market access for U.S. lamb – an amended version of a resolution originally adopted in 2012. It notes that U.S. lamb recently gained access to Taiwan and Guatemala but voices support for U.S. government efforts to negotiate access in key Asian and South American markets that remain closed due to issues related to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

The Strategic Planning Conference opened Wednesday with an address from Seng in which he discussed pressing issues affecting international meat trade, including the need for improved market access in key destinations such as Japan.

Seng explained that he fields many questions about the potential for a free trade agreement with Japan. While such an agreement is sorely needed, Seng doesn’t see U.S.-Japan negotiations anywhere on the horizon.

“The Japanese government has made it clear in its public statements that it doesn’t want to discuss an FTA with the United States at this point in time,” Seng said, noting that Japan is deeply involved in negotiations with the remaining participants in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and is looking to eventually expand TPP to include other East Asian countries in the agreement. Japan also recently completed negotiations on an economic partnership agreement with the European Union.

Seng also previewed the upcoming 2018 World Meat Congress, a biennial event that USMEF will co-host with the International Meat Secretariat May 30-June 1 in Dallas. The World Meat Congress is the world’s premier gathering of beef, pork, lamb and veal industry leaders. The conference brings together producers, exporters, marketing specialists, policy analysts, economists and meat scientists to exchange ideas and experiences on key issues affecting the international meat and livestock sectors.

“Hosting the World Meat Congress allows us to extol the U.S. model for agriculture,” Seng said. “We have a science-based agricultural industry, and we embrace science, so this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our way of production and our way of food safety assurance.”

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, followed with a detailed overview of current market conditions and opportunities in China, which is a mainstay market for U.S. pork and recently reopened to U.S. beef.

Conference attendees also learned how the evolution of shopping and dining habits in key international markets is playing a major role in determining USMEF’s strategies for promoting U.S. red meat. Panelists included Taz Hijikata, USMEF senior manager for consumer affairs in Japan, Gerardo Rodriguez, USMEF director of marketing and trade development in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, and Jihae Yang, USMEF director in South Korea.

Thursday’s conference highlights included a look ahead at opportunities and challenges in the beef and pork exports markets, with CattleFax CEO Randy Blach leading a discussion that drew expertise from Binger and Jack Shao, Hormel Foods Corporation’s sales and marketing manager for Japan, Korea and international pork.

Anne Dawson, a senior trade advisor in her 19th year of service with FAS, received the USMEF Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes an individual for leadership and lifetime contributions toward the achievement of USMEF’s export goals.

For more details on the conference, please visit


The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment next Thursday will hold a hearing on a “discussion draft” bill that would protect farmers from citizen lawsuits related to solid waste such as manure. The legislation – the “Farm Regulatory Certainty Act” – sponsored by Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., would amend the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to prohibit third-party citizen suits against an agricultural operation related to manure or crop residue that is stored or returned to the soil as fertilizer or soil conditioner if the state or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already is working with the operation through a civil, criminal or administrative action to address identified problems.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week hosted The Future of NAFTA: The Stakes for American Agriculture and Business, an event featuring past National Pork Producers Council president Randy Spronk, who represented the U.S. pork industry during a panel discussion that also included Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes. Following remarks by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the panel discussion highlighted the considerable harm a NAFTA termination would cause.

In his remarks, Spronk said, “If the administration follows through on its threats to withdraw from NAFTA, the giant sucking sound would be the air going out of the economy of rural America as farmers and ranchers take a major financial hit.”

Official renegotiation talks on the agreement are scheduled to resume Nov. 17 in Mexico City, with additional rounds extending into next year. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to remain committed to NAFTA and to maintain zero-duty market access for pork exports to Canada and Mexico. A U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA would cost the U.S. pork industry $1.5 billion.

RFA: US Ethanol Exports Down

The United States exported 86.4 million gallons of fuel ethanol in September, down 16% from August shipments, according to an analysis of government data by the Renewable Fuels Association.

RFA said the data shows Canada was again the top destination for U.S. exports at 28.8 mg or one-third of the total exports, but down 5% from August.

India was the surprise major player in the global ethanol market, raising its import rate of U.S. ethanol by 126% to 20.3 mg in September, edging out Brazil as the second-leading export destination.

U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations for the first three quarters of 2017 stood at 992.9 mg, an annualized export volume of 1.32 billion gallons.

For the first time in 16 months, Brazil was not one of the top two customers of U.S. ethanol exports, the data shows. The likely reason is a 20% tariff on imports of U.S. ethanol imposed by Brazil in early September.

Ethanol exports to Brazil decreased to 19.1 mg, down 29% from August and 70% below the peak of 64.3 mg in May.

Canada, India and Brazil accounted for a whopping 79% of all shipments in September while another 20% was parsed out among nine other markets.

September exports of undenatured fuel ethanol increased by 5% to 48.7 mg. India imported 20.3 mg after an August absence. The Philippines (2.1 mg), Netherlands (2.1 mg), Mexico (1.7 mg), and Jamaica (1.5 mg) rounded out the top five largest markets for undenatured product.

U.S. exports of denatured fuel ethanol fell in September by 39% to 31.7 mg. Both Canada (27.8 mg or 88%) and Peru (2.3 mg) cut their purchases by 5% from August, while Oman was quiet after making larger purchases in August.

Overseas sales of denatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes expanded to the highest volume in nine months at 3.3 mg. Belgium (1.3 mg) and Sweden (1.3 mg) were the largest markets.

Exports of undenatured ethanol for non-fuel, non-beverage purposes decreased 25% to 2.7 mg, with South Korea (1.2 mg) and Canada (1.0 mg) as our primary customers.

For the fifth straight month, the U.S. recorded meaningful ethanol import volumes with 10.7 mg of Brazilian undenatured ethanol on the books in September. Year-to-date fuel ethanol imports total 52.8 mg, an annualized volume of 70.4 mg.

Beef Checkoff Contractor Accused of Undermining Trump's Trade Policy

In a complaint and request for investigation filed with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, R-CALF USA accused a major Beef Checkoff Program recipient, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), of attempting to influence governmental policy and action.

The Beef Checkoff Program is a federal program that disseminates government speech by assessing every U.S. cattle rancher a $1 tax on every head of cattle they sell and then giving that tax money to organizations to promote domestic as well as imported beef. Documents show the USMEF recently received about $9 million in checkoff dollars.

Recipients of the checkoff tax are prohibited from using the tax money in any manner to influencing governmental policy or action.

However, an Oct. 31 article in Meatingplace reported the CEO of the USMEF, Phil Seng, issued a warning about President Trump's trade policies, particularly his stated policy option of potentially withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

R-CALF USA seeks an investigation to determine if Seng's salary, office, communications services, or travel are cross-subsidized in any manner by Beef Checkoff Program tax dollars in direct violation of the federal Beef Checkoff Program.

The complaint states that unlike the multinational meatpackers whose interests the USMEF represents, America's ranchers have been harmed for decades by the NAFTA-generated trade deficit in the trade of cattle, beef, beef variety meats and processed beef. The letter states that trade deficit was $3.8 billion in 2014, $4.9 billion in 2015, and $3 billion in 2016.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said that this is a striking example of the swamp that President Trump needs to drain.

"Here you have a government-subsidized organization, with its hands deep inside the government's pockets, that is working in clear public view to undermine the very policy positions that President Trump was elected to fulfill.

"This needs to stop and we hope Secretary Perdue and Ambassador Lighthizer will put a stop to it right away," Bullard concluded.

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency and Rural Development State Directors

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Rural Development (RD) State Directors, all serving as appointees of President Donald J. Trump.  FSA State Directors help implement U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies in planning, organizing, and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office.  Similarly, RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.

The following is a partial list of State Directors Perdue released today:

Nebraska: Nancy Johner
Nancy Johner comes to the USDA with over 25 years of senior executive leadership in county, state and federal government as well as the private sector.

Iowa: Amanda De Jong
Amanda De Jong most recently held the position of Senior Policy Advisor at the Iowa Corn Growers Association and she has also served in prior roles with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and the USDA.

Kansas: David Schemm
David Schemm has served as President of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and President of National Association of Wheat Growers.

“These state directors will help ensure that USDA is offering the best customer service to our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers across the country,” Secretary Perdue said. “FSA and RD both play a critical role in helping the people of agriculture, and are able to connect with people in their home states.  They are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers.  Our goal is to help rural America prosper, and these state leaders will be of great assistance in that task.”

Zoetis Reports Higher Quarterly Revenues, Net Income

Zoetis Inc. reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2017 and raised its full year guidance for revenue and net income.

The company reported revenue of $1.3 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 9% compared with the third quarter of 2016. Net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $298 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, an increase of 25% and 27%, respectively, on a reported basis.

Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $322 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, an increase of 25%, on a reported basis. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2017 excludes the net impact of $24 million for purchase accounting adjustments, acquisition-related costs and certain significant items.

On an operational basis, revenue for the third quarter of 2017 increased 8%, excluding the impact of foreign currency. Adjusted net income for the third quarter of 2017 increased 25% operationally, excluding the impact of foreign currency.

Disney Supports Feeding America

The Walt Disney Company announced a contribution of $1 million to Feeding America, Chiago, to help food banks expand their local fresh produce sourcing and distribution programs that serve kids and families who need it most. The funds will be distributed to 60 food banks throughout the country. The announcement was made on ABC's "The Chew" today and kicked off Disney's "Share the Joy" campaign, inspiring families around the world to help others and make a positive impact in their community during the holidays.

This year, as part of Disney's "Share the Joy" campaign, Feeding America and Disney will expand access to healthy living options in neighborhoods where kids and families live, work and play. Increasing access to nutritious foods is part of Disney's long-standing commitment to create healthier generations. Disney|ABC Television Group will also inspire audiences to donate nutritious foods through Feeding America with a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that will run on ABC, Freeform, Disney Channel and Disney XD through December. Additionally, ABC-owned television stations in local markets will host volunteer events with local food banks.

During "The Chew" segment, Kids Cafe, a child nutrition program of the Houston Food Bank, was featured along with some volunteers. Carla Hall and Chew Super Fan Rhonda Russell (Houston, TX) help to give back to the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with a visit to the food bank. The Houston Food Bank was one of several Feeding America food banks directly impacted by hurricanes that made landfall earlier this year. To support Feeding America and the food banks' disaster relief efforts, Disney made an additional donation of $500,000 earlier this year.

Feeding America is the largest hunger-relief and food rescue organization in the United States, with a network of 200 member food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs. Feeding America's goal is not only to provide meals for people in need, but also to provide nutritious foods that are the building blocks to a healthy life. Thanks to funding from Disney, food banks nationwide have been able to create strategic produce plans to grow local produce channels that help meet the needs in their service area. Funds have also supported investments in assets and infrastructure to help reduce barriers to sourcing and distributing fresh produce to the people they serve.

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