Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tuesday December 19 Ag News

Nebraska Farmers Union 104th Annual State Convention Completed

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) held their 104th annual state convention in Grand Island at the Hotel Grand Conference Center December 8-9.  The convention theme was:  “Harnessing the Power of Cooperation Since 1913”.  The attendance was good and the weather cooperated as NeFU members elected officers, set policy, and were informed on the issues facing agriculture in the year ahead.   

NeFU Election Results: 

            John Hansen was re-elected to his 15th two-year term without opposition. Hansen’s 28 years at the helm as president is the longest in the organization’s 104 year history. Elton Berck served 17 years from 1957 to 1974.

            Delegates from their respective districts elected two NeFU Board of Directors.  Al Davis of Hyannis was elected to his first three-year term for NeFU District 1. Ben Gotschall of Raymond was re-elected to his second three-year term for NeFU District 5. 

            Out of a field of 14 candidates, two from each of the 7 NeFU Districts, Mina Davis of Omaha, Bill Armbrust of Elkhorn, and Art Tanderup of Neligh were elected to represent NeFU as delegates to the upcoming National Farmers Union (NFU) Convention in Kansas City, Missouri March 4-6, 2018.  Katie Jantzen of Plymouth, Mary Stoltenberg of Cairo, and Ed Hansen of Newman Grove were elected first, second and third alternates.

            Katie Jantzen of Plymouth was elected by the membership to serve on the NeFU Foundation Board. 

President’s Award Winners:

            The President’s Award is NeFU’s highest award, and is presented to individuals who provide outstanding service and leadership to family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities at the state or national levels.

            This year’s President’s Award winners were Art and Helen Tanderup of Neligh.  Art is the NeFU District 7 President.  Art and Helen’s family farm is on the TransCanada pipeline route north of Neligh.  “This farm couple has showed extraordinary courage to stand up for their private property rights, and conducted themselves in a time of great conflict and pressure in a very positive manner.  They are great role models for all of us as to how to get informed, get constructively engaged, and harness the power of cooperation to fight for their interests.” said NeFU President John Hansen.  Art and Helen hosted the Willie Nelson and Neil Young concert opposing the pipeline on their farm, and have testified against the pipeline dozens of times at the local and state levels.  They also built a solar project on their farm and bought an electric vehicle.  “They practice what they preach,” Hansen said.

Friday Morning Highlights:

·         NeFU President Hansen reported on the NeFU and NeFU Foundation’s educational activities for the year.
·         KRVN General Manager Tim Marshall reported Nebraska Rural Radio Association’s activities.
·         Jeff Downing, General Manager of the Midwest Regional Agency described the growth of the Nebraska and Kansas insurance sales the past year.  He reported that the agency now has a total of 58 agents located in 44 communities, with 25 agents in 18 communities in Nebraska. He said he was continuing to add new professional agents, and was pleased with the quality and competitiveness of their insurance products.
·         National Farmers Union’s (NFU) new biofuels advisor Ann Steckel and Nebraska Ethanol Board’s Executive Director Todd Sneller provided updates on the status of the Renewable Fuels Standard and biofuel development and utilization challenges and opportunities.
·         Alan Guebert, nationally syndicated agricultural journalist and columnist, entertained the group as the Friday luncheon keynote speaker described his recent efforts to retrace the steps of his grandparents to find the farm south of Rising City in Butler County they were forced from during the Great Depression when his mother was a little girl.  NFU Historian Tom Giessel of Larned, Kansas described the organizational reasons for the NFU emblem and symbols, and why they teach us basic organizational skills.

Friday Afternoon Highlights:

·         Tiffany Seibert Joekel, Policy Director of Open Sky Policy Institute provided an overview of Nebraska’s tax system that showed our state has altogether too much reliance on property taxes compared to income and sales taxes.   K-12 funding was the primary reason property taxes are way too high.
·         A lively panel discussion of “Three Paths in Search of Property Tax Relief, Adequate Education Funding, and a More Fair and Balanced State Tax System” described the particulars of current legislative, legal, and initiative options to bring long overdue property tax relief to struggling family farmers and ranchers.  The panelists included:  Tiffany Siebert Joekel, York Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Lucas, NeFU and Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska Board member Al Daivs, Nebraska Farm Bureau Vice President of Government Relations Bruce Rieker, and Legislative District 41 Legislative Assistant Edward Boone.  There was a great deal of interest in the subject matter, and many questions.   . 
·         The “Preview of the 2018 Legislative Session” with Senators LD10 Bob Krist of Omaha, LD35 Dan Quick of Grand Island, and Legislative Assistant Edward Boone who works for Sen. Tom Briese of Albion shared their view of issues facing the next legislature, including a budget deficit and property tax initiatives.
·          After the refreshment break, participants heard from candidates running for public office.
·         U.S. Senate candidate Jane Raybold; Governor candidate Sen. Bob Krist; Third Congressional District candidate Paul Theobald; Nebraska Legislature candidates Chuck Hassebrook—LD16, Mina Davis—LD8, and Don Schuller—LD30; and Public Service Commission candidate John Atkeison.

NFU President Roger Johnson was the keynote banquet speaker.  Ted Genoways, Nebraska author of “This Blessed Earth” that featured the challenges and rewards of family farmers and NeFU members, the Hammond family from Hamilton County.  Genoways shared photos while reading passages from his book.

Saturday Morning Highlights:

·         Vern Jantzen gave his NeFU Vice President and NEBFARMPAC reports.
·         “The Art of Cooperation” by NFU Historian Tom Giessel of Larned, Kansas.
·         Nate Belcher, Green Acres Cover Crops on “Uncovering the Upside Potential and Uses for Cover Crops”.
·         NFU President Roger Johnson provided the NFU legislative report at the closing NeFU luncheon that included the status report on the many issues NFU works at the national level. 

NeFU delegates set policy.  Under the guidance of Vern Jantzen, NeFU Policy chair, NeFU delegates adopted the 2017-2018 NeFU policy Saturday afternoon along with five Special Orders of Business.  The new policy and the Special Orders of Business are posted on the NeFU website at:

Iowa Pork Producers Association announces 2018 Iowa Pork Congress

The Iowa Pork Producers Association's 2018 Iowa Pork Congress will be held on Jan. 24 and 25 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

North America's largest winter swine trade show and conference will feature nine new seminars, a keynote address, 300 exhibitors, training sessions, fun social events and exciting youth activities.

"Pork Congress has something for everyone and it's our hope that attendees will join us and take advantage of the available opportunities," said IPPA President Curtis Meier, a pig farmer from Clarinda.

A strong lineup of free business seminars on the timely subjects and issues of greatest importance to pork producers and the industry will be offered. "Utilizing Livestock Manure in a Cover Crop Program" will be presented by Drs. Dan Anderson and Matt Helmers from Iowa State University; Dr. Steve Meyer will look to the future of prices and profitability; and Erik Potter from ISU will explain how not to fail an audit.

Matt Rush is the former New Mexico Farm Bureau CEO and an award-winning speaker and author. He'll present "There's a snake in my bumper" as the 2018 Iowa Pork Congress keynote speaker. Rush will explain why it's important for farmers to tell the agriculture story and why farmers must be viable, valuable and visible to remain successful. The keynote will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 24.

Hog farmers also will be able to obtain or renew their PQA Plus® and TQA® certifications, and a certification session for confinement site manure applicators is being offered.

Companies from Iowa, the U.S. and around the world that serve the pork industry will fill the Hy-Vee Hall trade show floor to offer solutions that help pig farmers become more efficient, profitable and successful. IPPA will once again have its booth and the Pork Information Plaza in Hall "A" and be joined by the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, Iowa State University, other affiliated organizations and commercial exhibitors.

Many other activities and events will be held in association with Pork Congress during the week. Events begin on Jan. 22 with IPPA's annual Taste of Elegance contest and reception at the Iowa Events Center. The association's annual meeting will be held on Jan. 23, followed by the Kickoff Reception and Auction. The Pork Congress Banquet is on Wednesday evening.

The 10th annual Youth Swine Judging contest will be held on Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 4-H and FFA members from around the state are invited to attend to learn more about the industry and compete for valuable scholarships.

"The IPPA Board and staff has worked hard over the last several months to produce another good show and we hope to see many producers from Iowa and the Midwest," said Meier.

Pork Congress will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 25.


Pre-registration to attend Pork Congress is available through Jan. 8, 2018. IPPA members can attend the trade show and conference at no cost by registering by the deadline at or by using the form in the November issue of the Iowa Pork Producer magazine.

Non-IPPA members can save $5 off of the normal $10 admission cost by registering online by the deadline. Registrations will be accepted after the deadline through each day of the show, but the cost will be $10.

For more information, contact IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or visit


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is reminding Iowa pork producers and their veterinarians of the importance of reporting and testing all potential cases of Senecavirus A (SVA) in swine.  SVA poses no threat to food safety and has no serious impact on pork production, but it is a serious concern for U.S. animal health officials because the symptoms mimic the signs of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a foreign animal disease that would have devastating economic consequences in Iowa and across the country.

“Foot and Mouth Disease rightly strikes fear in the hearts of everyone involved in the agriculture industry.  As we have worked to update our response plans for FMD and other diseases, we continue to see that identifying the disease as early as possible is critically important to an effective response.  We do not want to give FMD a chance to circulate for even a couple of days thinking it is ‘just another case of SVA.’  That is why we are asking farmers and veterinarians to remain vigilant and make sure all potential cases of SVA are submitted for testing,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.

Because SVA and FMD share the same symptoms, State and Federal animal health officials need producers’ and veterinarians’ help to identify potential cases for testing.  Laboratory testing is the only way to distinguish between the two diseases.

If a farmer sees any signs of blisters or lesions they should work with their veterinarian to report the situation to animal health officials immediately.  This includes if the symptoms are seen on the farm, a commingling point, a market, a buy station or at the slaughterhouse.  Farmers are asked to report signs right away so the animals can be tested as early as possible.

Farmers or veterinarians with potential SVA cases can contact the Department’s State Veterinarian’s office at 515-281-8601 or the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office in Iowa at 515-284-4140.

“It is important that no one becomes complacent. Failure to identify FMD quickly would likely result in significant and swift spread of the disease that would not only impact the swine industry, but also the cattle, sheep, and goat industries. Our trading partners would immediately block U.S. exports and the economic impact to our livestock farmers would be devastating,” Naig said.

Iowa has typically seen between 10 and 38 cases of SVA in recent years. Traditionally, veterinarians typically see a spike in Senecavirus A cases in the summer followed by a decline in the winter, but now there are cases throughout the year.

If testing finds SVA, pigs will still be allowed to move to their destination; the disease poses no risk to food safety and the animals will fully recover. The Department works with USDA to respond quickly to potential cases, conduct testing, and minimize any impacts or slow-downs to the industry. 

IFBF to Host 'Irrational Farm Decision Making' Webinar

To help Iowa farmers overcome the barriers of making farm decisions based on impulse reactions or inaction, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is offering a first of its kind webinar to address "Irrational Farm Decision Making" on Jan. 16 from 1 to 2 p.m.

"Even though many farm business decisions can be logically made, those decisions can be influenced by our internal human wiring when we don't even realize it," said IFBF Commodity Services Manager Ed Kordick. "It is important to recognize that other factors have an impact on farm decisions when it comes to everything from renting land to selling crops."

Kordick says the webinar will cover how "behavioral economics" influence decisions and how these choices impact income and risk. The goal of the IFBF webinar is to raise participants' awareness of their possible fixation on certain points or prices, what their current state of mind is when presented a decision and the behaviors that come from loss aversion. For example, is the range of possible crop prices still influenced by the high prices of 2011-2013? Experts say fixating on a past situation, or "anchoring," can really impact marketing plans and actions.

"Are landowners 'anchored' to the recent rent levels rather than remaining flexible so they can accept the going market rate? Learning about these concepts and more can help with decision making and improve the future economic sustainability of the farm," said Kordick. "We believe this webinar will help bring clarity to what's motivating farmers toward action, and help Iowa farmers adjust with the times to remain financially and emotionally solid."

The webinar is being offered at no cost and is open to all. An archive of the webinar will be available to Iowa Farm Bureau members only. Register online today at:

Another Record Year for U.S. Soybean Exports

Farmer investments in international markets produced strong results in the 2016/2017 marketing year. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. soybean farmers exported a record 2.6 billion bushels of U.S. soy and soy products, valued at over $28 billion last year. It marked the second year in a row that exports exceeded 60 percent of U.S. soybean production. 

But record soybean production is no longer enough to ensure markets for U.S. soy.

“Soy production is growing worldwide and end users have choices,” says Derek Haigwood, soybean farmer from Newport, Arkansas, and director on both the United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Export Council. “To position the U.S. as a preferred supplier, we need to differentiate our product and farming practices to customers around the world.”

Global economic growth is increasing demand for soy worldwide. To maintain and grow market share globally, the soy checkoff is making investments in areas where U.S. soybean farmers have the greatest opportunity to differentiate their product. More specifically, the checkoff is focused on growing sustainable soybeans that produce better quality meal and oil for end users.

“While exports are rising, U.S. soybean farmers can take even more market share if we differentiate ourselves in the global marketplace,” says Haigwood. “Improvements to meal and oil will help us keep a strong foothold in these crucial overseas markets.”

November Milk Production in the United States up 1.0 Percent

Milk production in the United States during November totaled 17.3 billion pounds, up 1.0 percent from November 2016.  Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,839 pounds for November,
9 pounds above November 2016.  The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.40 million head, 53,000 head more than November 2016, but unchanged from October 2017.

 Milk production in Iowa
during November 2017 totaled 425 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous November according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during November, at 219,000 head, was the same as last month and 4,000 more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,940 pounds, up 35 pounds from last November.

Larger Placements Likely in the Upcoming Cattle on Feed Report

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Dept of Ag Econ, Texas A&M University

Friday December 22nd brings the next USDA Cattle on Feed report.  The last few months delivered large levels of marketings and placements, and growing numbers of cattle on feed.  Good retail beef demand and good demand for live cattle from profitable packers has pulled cattle ahead through feedlots and that continued by pulling feeder cattle ahead into feedlots.

The December cattle on feed report should bring more of the same.  Marketings should be around 3.3 percent more than a year ago.  That would be the largest November marketings since the Cattle on Feed report began in its current form.   There is some evidence that marketings are beginning to slow from the fast pace seen earlier in the year.

Market analysts, again, have a wide range of expectations for placements, from up about 3 percent to over a 10 percent jump.  Placements towards the top end of the range would be the largest since the mid-2000s, while placements up about 6.7 percent would the largest since 2011.  A growing cow herd continues to provide the base for more placements.  It is likely that dry conditions in the Southern Plains hindering winter pasture development may have forced more to feedlots.  Feeder cattle imports from Mexico were up about 50,000 head in November compared to a year ago.  Normally, many of those cattle would be going to winter pastures, but perhaps more went to feedlots given dry conditions.  There were also, likely, some good opportunities to place cattle, especially early in the month.  The expectation is that many more heifers are being placed reflecting more heifers born to the larger cow herd, but fewer being held back to replace cows.

Combining marketings and placements leaves expected cattle on feed for December 1 up 6.9 percent from a year ago.  That would be the most December cattle on feed since 2011, as the drought was pushing more cattle to feedlots.  Beef and live cattle demand will be critical in the coming months to avoid large price declines given this number of cattle on feed.

USDA also has a Hogs and Pigs report coming out later this week.  While this newsletter focuses on cattle and beef, competing meat supplies are going to be an important factor in 2018 beef prices.  USDA is expected to report that hog producers are expanding their breeding herd to the tune of about 1 percent over a year ago.  All hog and pig inventories are expected to be up about 2 percent.  Hog slaughter last week set a new all-time weekly record of 2.573 million head.  There will be plenty of pork to compete with record beef supplies next year.

NSP Announces Annual Yield Contest Winners

National Sorghum Producers is proud to announce the winners of the 2017 NSP Yield Contest. Farmers from 24 states entered to win this year’s contest. Producer yields are highlighted in 10 different categories with this year’s top yield at 228.07 bushels per acre.

"Congratulations to the 2017 NSP Yield Contest Winners. I look forward to meeting each one at the upcoming Commodity Classic," said NSP board of directors Chairman Don Bloss. "The yield contest highlights the continued efforts of sorghum growers and their dedication to yield and production enhancements across the nation."

The 2017 first place winners of the NSP Yield Contest were Winter Johnston of Pennsylvania in the Dryland Conventional-Till category with a yield of 228.07 bushels per acre; Stephanie Santini of New Jersey in the Dryland Double Crop category with a yield of 192.11 bushels per acre; Harry Johnston of Pennsylvania in the Dryland No-Till category with a yield of 226.31 bushels per acre; Robert Santini Jr. of New Jersey in the Dryland Reduced-Till category with a yield of 198.00 bushels per acre; Ball Farms of Idaho in the Irrigated Conventional-Till category with a yield of 212.70 bushels per acre; Jeff Scates of Illinois in the Irrigated Double Crop category with a yield of 188.22 bushels per acre; Robert Santini Sr. of New Jersey in the Irrigated No-Till category with a yield of 220.49; Mike Baker of Nebraska won the Irrigated Reduced-Till category with a yield of 202.25 bushels per acre; Ron Robinson of Nebraska won the Irrigated National Food-Grade category with a yield of 191.43; and Ron Robinson of Nebraska won the Non-Irrigated National Food-Grade category with a yield of 161.88 bushels per acre.

NSP also recognizes Ki Gamble as our newest inductee into the Sorghum Yield Contest Hall of Fame. Gamble had the highest yield in the 2003, 2007 and 2012 contests in the irrigated conventional-till category planting Pioneer 84G62 in Kiowa County, Kansas.

The national winners and new hall of fame member will be further recognized at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California, on Feb. 28, 2018, at an awards dinner sponsored by DuPont Pioneer.

To see a complete list of the NSP Yield Contest national, state and county results, or to learn more about the contest, visit

Conaway: Tax Reform Delivers for Ag

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) today praised House passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1 (115), which delivers historic tax relief to families, farmers, ranchers and small businesses. Following passage, Chairman Conaway issued the below remarks:

“Today, Congress has delivered the fairer, simpler tax code that American families and small businesses deserve. This historic tax relief package both simplifies our broken system and sets the economy on a course to stimulate growth and create jobs. As chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I’m pleased that Chairman Brady and his team have produced a bill that acknowledges the unique tax challenges faced by those in agriculture. From lower marginal rates to the treatment of pass-through income to improved small business expensing, this bill delivers for farmers, ranchers and all rural America.”

5 Steps Farmers Should Take in Response to House-Passed Tax Bill

The national ag accounting and business advisory firm K·Coe Isom said the  tax bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today presents opportunities for many farmers but only if they develop plans taking into consideration changes to the tax code.

“Most farm businesses will want to take a step back and be careful about how they file their taxes this year and what type of planning they should do early in the first quarter of 2018,” said Doug Claussen, a Principal and CPA with K·Coe Isom.

“In consultation with their tax professional, farmers should consider the following year-end strategies:

1.      Defer income to next year and pay deductible expenses this year.  Depending on your individual circumstances, you could have lower tax rates in 2018.

2.      Pay all assessed 2017 property tax and any likely amount of personal 2017 state income taxes.  Note however that payments could be subject to limitations if you are subject to the alternative minimum tax.

3.      Make year-end purchases of new and used equipment.  Under the tax bill, 100% bonus depreciation starts for property placed in service on or after September 28, 2017.  This includes used equipment so there could be advantages to year-end purchases.

4.      The ability to carryback net operating losses for farming operations will be reduced from a five year carryback to two years after 2017, so this year will be your last opportunity to recoup some income taxes from five years ago.

5.      Make your charitable donations in 2017.  If you are going to make charitable donations in 2018, consider making some or all of them in 2017 in case your standard deduction is more beneficial next year.

In addition to year-end tax planning, K·Coe Isom recommends that businesses take a fresh look at their operations in 2018 and think about whether restructuring or adjusting operations will make sense in light of the changes in this bill.

“The changes in the tax code made by this bill are complex and could affect farmers in unexpected ways,” added Claussen.  “We encourage every ag business to take a fresh look at their operations early in 2018 and consider whether there are further adjustments they should make in light of these changes to the tax code.”

“We will be working closely with leading ag businesses to assess their individual tax situations and look at operational changes they may want to make given this significant rewrite of the tax code,” said Brad Palen, a Principal and CPA with K·Coe Isom.  “This bill doesn’t make things simpler – in many respects it actually raises new questions for ag businesses.  While some farmers may see reduced taxes from this bill, many more will need to carefully evaluate their individual circumstances to take advantage of these changes.”

RFS Analysis Finds 'Tremendous Progress' Made Toward Meeting Energy, Environmental, Economic Goals of RFS2

Ten years ago today, Dec. 19, President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act, greatly expanding the scope and impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the decade since passage, significant progress has been made towards greater energy security, cleaner air and boosting local economies, according to a new analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association, "The RFS2: Then and Now."

The RFS requires oil companies to blend increasing volumes of renewable fuels with gasoline and diesel, culminating with 36 billion gallons in 2022.

"A decade after the RFS2 was adopted, tremendous progress has been made toward achieving the objectives of this landmark policy," according to the analysis, which compares key data points from 2007 to 2017.

Among the highlights:
    The number of operational U.S. ethanol plants has nearly doubled from 110 in 2007 to 211 in 2017, a 92% increase, while U.S. ethanol production has grown 143% from 6.5 billion gallons in 2007 to 15.8 billion gallons in 2017;

    U.S. ethanol industry jobs grew 42% from 238,541 in 2007 to 339,176, with the value of industry output increasing 74% from $17.8 billion in 2007 to $31 billion in 2017;

    The production of advanced and cellulosic biofuel increased 469% from 490 million gallons in 2007 to 2.79 billion gallons in 2017;

    U.S. corn production grew 12% from 13 billion bushels in 2007 to 14.6 billion bushels in 2017, while corn acres planted fell 3% from 93.5 million acres in 2007 to 90.4 million acres in 2007 and average corn yields increased 16% from 150 bushels per acre in 2007 to 175.4 bushels per acre in 2017;

    The number of retail stations offering flex fuels like E85 increased 238% from 1,208 in 2007 to 4,077 in 2017, while the number of flex fuel vehicles on the road grew from 6.7 million in 2007 to 24.5 million in 2017, a 266% increase; and

    The greenhouse gas emissions avoided from using ethanol has increased 291% from 12.7 million tons CO2e in 2007 to 49.6 million tons CO2e in 2017.

Meanwhile, the doomsday outcomes threatened by RFS opponents have simply not materialized.

    U.S. cropland area fell 6% from 402 million acres in 2007 to 376 million acres in 2017, while U.S. grassland area has increased 5% from 1,296 thousand square miles to 1,359 thousand square miles.

    The deforestation rate in the Amazon fell 43% from 4,498 square miles in 2007 to 2,558 square miles in 2017;

    The greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural soil management, urea fertilization, and liming fell 7% from 278.7 million metric tons CO2e in 2007 to 260.1 million metric tons CO2e in 2017;

    Overall food inflation was 4% in 2007, but 1% in 2017;

    Prices for red meat, poultry, fish, cereals and bakery items, and dairy were unchanged in 2017 from the previous year, as compared to a 3.8% increase in 2007; and

    World grain supply for coarse grains, wheat, and rice increased 31% to 3.23 billion metric tons in 2017, as compared to 2.46 billion metric tons in 2007.

"By any measure, RFS2 has been a huge success, bringing about greater consumer choice while helping to make the air cleaner, stimulate economic activity and enhance energy security," said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "As this analysis shows, consumers have greatly benefitted from this vital program. These benefits have rippled throughout our economy and we look forward to even greater success of the RFS for years to come."

House Disaster Aid Package Offers First Steps to Fixes for Cotton and Dairy

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee last night unveiled an $81 billion disaster aid package that includes important provisions for cotton growers and limited support for dairy producers. Farmers in both industries are in need of appropriations fixes prior to the start of the next farm bill.

The House proposal offsets part of the costs of the changes by initiating nutrition infrastructure reforms.

National Farmers Union (NFU) supports comparable, meaningful changes for each industry, yet remains opposed to farm programs being pitted against nutrition programs. NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response:

“The cotton and dairy industries both face major economic hardships. Both need financial assistance. While NFU supports the cotton and dairy changes included in the bill, much more must be done. It is very disappointing that House appropriators provide significantly lower levels of assistance for dairy producers, who are struggling tremendously with low milk prices, market uncertainty, and a deeply flawed safety net program. We urge the Senate and House negotiators to find ways to provide more real, meaningful help.”

“We should also avoid cuts to nutrition program infrastructure outside of the farm bill reform debate. Broad coalitions, over the course of the last year, have repeatedly stated that one farm bill program should not be an offset from the other. We stand by that sentiment.”

 Trump to Address Farm Bureau Members in January at Annual Convention in Nashville

Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, will address farm and ranch families from across the nation at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 99th Annual Convention, Jan. 5-10 in Nashville, Tenn.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation is honored to host our nation’s president,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall, a beef and poultry farmer from Georgia. “President Trump has said all along that he would make sure agriculture has a seat at the table when it comes to the top issues facing America’s farmers and ranchers. Now, it is our privilege to reserve a spot for him at our podium.”

Duvall considers President Trump’s announced speech as a sign of the high regard in which the nation’s chief executive holds America’s farm and ranch families.

“Farmers and ranchers and our rural communities are the bedrock of our nation. President Trump knows that, and his willingness to devote his time to talk directly with Farm Bureau members will be a memorable occasion,” Duvall said.

After three consecutive years of decline in farm sector profits, President Trump will speak to Farm Bureau members during a period of prolonged economic challenge across farm country. Profits have fallen and many farmers have seen declines in equity. Though the Agriculture Department forecasts that farm profits will be relatively stable in 2017, action on key issues on the president’s agenda could help farmers turn the corner as they head into the new year.

“President Trump is fully aware of the economic difficulties farmers and ranchers have gone through these past few years,” Duvall said. “The economic issues he has outlined, including reform of our nation’s tax and regulatory systems, match many of the issues on Farm Bureau’s agenda.”

President Trump’s executive order establishing the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, led by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, highlights the importance his administration places on rural America, according to Duvall.

“President Trump has assigned his team to focus on important pocketbook and quality-of-life issues to strengthen rural America, and those issues are front and center on his to-do list,” Duvall said. “We look forward to hearing the strategies that he and Secretary Perdue share for taking agriculture and rural America down the road toward renewed prosperity.”

Ardent Mills and the National FFA Organization Announce National Partnership

Denver-based Ardent Mills, the premier flour-milling and ingredient company, today announced its three-star partnership with the National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America.

As a three-star partner, Ardent Mills will provide monetary support to FFA at the national level, supporting the Living to Serve platform. The Living to Serve platform empowers every student in every classroom to make a positive impact in their community. FFA provides quality programs, resources, recognition and opportunities for members to put leadership into action through service engagement. The partnership will also make connections to local FFA chapters in both rural and urban settings across Ardent Mills' U.S. and Puerto Rico footprint.

Ardent Mills CEO Dan Dye states, "We are excited to partner with FFA for several reasons. We see alignment in the FFA's mission and vision to our own vision and values, along with our brand promise of Nourishing what's next™. The FFA has many platforms that will complement areas of focus for Ardent Mills, including safety, hunger, health and nutrition. Each of our U.S. and Puerto Rico community mill sites will have the opportunity to partner with a local FFA chapter within just a few miles of the facility. We are committed to growing this relationship on both the local and national levels over time. Our intent is to make a positive difference in the communities where our team members live and work, identify future frontline leaders and strengthen the agriculture and milling industries."

"Our vision is to grow our members into leaders who strengthen agriculture while building communities," says Mark Poeschl, National FFA Organization CEO. "We're excited about this partnership with Ardent Mills as it allows us to provide resources to local FFA chapters to help them continue the work they are doing through service learning."

No comments:

Post a Comment