Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday March 16 Ag News

Ag Coalition Calls for Increased Flexibility on Truck Hauling Regulations

We Support Agriculture (WSA), a coalition of livestock stakeholders, has received numerous reports of livestock and agricultural haulers being pulled over, despite the recent additional 90-day Electronic Logging Device (ELD) wavier issued earlier this week and is asking for more flexibility from enforcement agencies.

“Despite promises from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of a ‘soft enforcement,’ it is clear haulers in Nebraska should exercise caution,” WSA Executive Director Kristen Hassebrook said. “We have asked for all interested parties to be brought together to work through these issues.”

The compliance date for drivers hauling agricultural products using ELDs, including livestock, was extended to June 18, 2018. However, livestock and other ag haulers operating under this exemption, will need to keep a copy of the federal register notice in their trucks at all times as required by the federal waiver regulation. To complicate matters, the federal register has not been updated to reflect the newest wavier, but a copy of the current register extending the compliance date to March 18, 2018 can be found here....

“While the extension of the ELD exemption will provide time to examine this regulation and work with FMCSA to address our concerns, the livestock and ag hauling community should keep in mind there are still requirements related to ELDs, and agriculture is absolutely still subject to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, an area where additional flexibility and common sense is needed,” Hassebrook said.

ELDs are a mechanism to ensure compliance with the underlying HOS rules, but for now, written logs are acceptable if the driver also has a copy of the federal register notice. WSA has received notice that drivers hauling livestock and other commodities in Nebraska have been asked to provide copies of the federal register, a requirement that was included when both waivers were issued.

“The livestock industry takes animal health and welfare, as well as food safety, very seriously. All of this highlights the need for increased flexibility in ELD and HOS rules to account for the uniqueness of hauling livestock and other agricultural commodities,” Hassebrook stressed.

Nebraska Corn Board Vacancies

Notice is hereby given that the terms for three members of the Nebraska Corn Development, Utilization and Marketing Board will expire June 30, 2018. The members represent Districts 6, 7 and 8.

District #6:
Includes the counties of Hayes, Frontier, Gosper, Phelps, Kearney, Hitchcock, Red Willow, Furnas and Harlan (Note:  Dennis Gengenbach, the current District 6 director, has indicated he will not pursue re-appointment.)

District #7:
Includes the counties of Boyd, Holt, Antelope, Garfield, Wheeler, Boone, Platte, Valley, Greeley and Nance.  (Note: David Merrell, the current District 7 director, has indicated he will pursue re-appointment.)

District #8:
Includes the counties of Sioux, Dawes, Box Butte, Sheridan, Scotts Bluff, Banner, Kimball, Morrill, Cheyenne, Garden, Deuel, Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, Rock, Grant, Hooker, Thomas, Blaine, Loup, Arthur, McPherson, Logan, Custer, Keith, Lincoln, Perkins, Chase, and Dundy. (Note:  Jon Holzfaster, the current District 8 director, has indicated that he will pursue re-election.)

Appointments to the board for Districts 6, 7 and 8 are made by the Governor. Any candidate for appointment may place his or her name on the candidacy list by filing a petition with the Nebraska Corn Board. Qualified candidates include those individuals who are citizens of Nebraska, are at least 21 years old, have been actively engaged in growing corn in Nebraska for a period of five years and derive a substantial portion of their income from growing corn. Board members who currently represent these districts are also eligible to re-petition.

Petitions may be obtained by writing the Nebraska Corn Board (P.O. Box 95107, Lincoln, NE 68509-5107), by calling 800-632-6761 or emailing A candidacy petition must carry the signatures of at least 50 corn producers from that district. All petitions must be received by the Nebraska Corn Board no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018.  Faxed copies do not qualify.

Deadline Approaches to File Candidacy Petitions for Nebraska Soybean Board July Election

This year, the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) will be seeking three soybean farmers to serve on the Board of Directors and to represent fellow soybean farmers and the industry.

How does the Election work?
The election is conducted by mail-in ballot in July. Soybean farmers who reside in counties that are up for election in 2018 will receive ballots and candidate information regarding NSB’s election process via direct mail.

What are the 2018 Election Districts and Counties?
District 1: Counties of Antelope, Boyd, Cedar, Holt, Knox, Pierce and Madison.
District 3: Counties of Butler, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders and Washington.
District 6: Counties of Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Seward and Thayer.

Who Can Be a Candidate for the NSB Seat on the Board?
· Be a resident of Nebraska
· Be a resident of the district in which the election is being held
· Be a soybean farmer in Nebraska for at least the previous five years
· Be 21 years of age or older
· Have submitted a NSB candidacy petition

Candidacy Must:
· Obtain a NSB Candidacy Petition by contacting NSB’s Executive Director, Victor Bohuslavsky, at (402) 432-5720
· Complete the petition and collect the signatures of 50 soybean farmers in their district
· Return such petition to the NSB office on or before April 15, 2018

Roles and Responsibilities of Soybean Board Member Representative:
· Attend every NSB Meeting – 8 day fiscal year commitment
· Attend/participate in other educational events sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff
· Receive no salary but are reimbursed for expenses incurred while carrying out board business
· Serve a three-year term that would begin October 1, 2018

Candidacy Must:
As an elected representative from NSB, you will help guide the Nebraska soybean industry in the areas of research, education, domestic and foreign markets, including new uses for soybeans and soybean products.

If you have any questions regarding the election process, please contact NSB’s Executive Director, Victor Bohuslavsky, at (402) 432-5720. For more information about the Nebraska soybean checkoff, visit


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Alfalfa will soon green up and start to grow in many areas.  At least those plants that survived the winter.

               Alfalfa usually comes through the winter in pretty good shape in our area, so rarely do I worry much about it.  And I hope we will avoid serious losses this year.

               But this has been an unusual winter.  The lack of snow cover earlier this winter when we experienced sub-zero temperatures could have permitted cold injury.  Or more likely, it enabled dry winter winds to dry out and kill some exposed plants, especially in areas that were dry last fall.  In addition, more fields than usual were cut during alfalfa’s winterizing period last fall, increasing their risk of winter injury.

               Evaluate your own stands early this spring.  Older, dryland fields that have fewer than 30 new shoots per square foot coming from 2 or 3 plants may need to be planted soon to a different crop and new fields planted to alfalfa.  Very productive sites, such as irrigated and sub-irrigated fields, should have at least 40 shoots per square foot from 4 to 6 plants.  Anything less is a strong candidate for rotation.  We tend to lose about one tenth of a ton in yield potential for every shoot below these recommended numbers.

               Check for these densities in several areas of your fields when the early shoots are 4 to 6 inches tall.  Since some shoots begin growing later than others, stands with enough plants but slightly low shoot density may be alright, especially if shoot height and distribution is fairly uniform.  But, if plant density is low, or shoot growth is not uniform, yields probably will be lowered.

               Check your alfalfa stands soon after growth begins.  Then you will still have time to make any needed changes in your cropping plans.

Senator Hughes to address NCTA graduates

A Nebraska agricultural producer, businessman and state senator will deliver the commencement address for the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis on May 3.   

State Senator Dan Hughes of Venango will speak to NCTA graduates and guests at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony at the Curtis Memorial Community Center, announced Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.

“Senator Hughes is well respected across Nebraska and the nation as a state leader and wheat grower in Perkins and Chase Counties,” Rosati said.

Hughes and wife, Josie, have farmed southwest of Grant for 41 years. He has been active in agricultural leadership with Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Wheat Board, and was board chair of U.S. Wheat Associates in 2012 and 2013.

He has represented District 44 for four years in the Nebraska Legislature, chairs the Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Executive Board.

“Our NCTA Dean’s Council is honored to host Dan and Josie Hughes at the 2018 graduation events,” Rosati said. “We appreciate his frequent visits to campus and the interaction he has with our agricultural and veterinary technology students.”

The statewide, two-year college, which is part of the University of Nebraska system, will confer about 90 degrees or certificates to graduates who completed programs in December or May.

The public ceremony will be followed by a reception, also at the Curtis Community Center.

ISU Extension and Outreach Survey Shows Decline in Custom Rates

An overall decrease of 5.6 percent for custom work can be expected in 2018, according to results of a survey conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The 2018 Custom Rate Survey, which is available in the March issue of Ag Decision Maker or through the ISU Extension Store, was conducted by Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and extension economist at Iowa State.

“Even with an increase in the price of diesel fuel assumed, the majority of operations reported a rate decline,” Plastina said. “This is in response to tight margins continuing for farm operations across the state.”

While the cost of labor rose by 4.6 percent from a year ago, all other categories saw declines. The cost for harvesting and hauling grain dropped 9.4 percent while preharvest operations, harvesting forages and bin and machinery rental fell by more than 4 percent.

The survey received input from 124 farmers, custom operators and farm managers to determine estimated pricing for custom work. Custom rates are provided for tillage, planting, drilling, seeding, fertilizer application, harvesting, drying and hauling grain, harvesting forages, complete custom farming, labor, and bin and machine rental.

“We appreciate the respondents to the survey, as the information available in the Custom Rate Survey is only possible due to their responses provided each year,” said Plastina.

The reported rates are expected to be charged or paid in 2018, including fuel and labor. The average price for diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.95 per gallon. The values presented in the survey are intended only as a guide.

There are many reasons that the rate charged in a particular situation should be above or below the average. These include the timeliness with which operations are performed, quality and special features of the machine, operator skill, size and shape of fields, number of acres contracted, and the condition of the crop for harvesting. The availability of custom operators in a given area will also affect rates. Any custom rate should cover the cost of operating the farm machinery (fuel, repairs, depreciation, interest) as well as the operator’s labor.

The Ag Decision Maker website offers a Decision Tool (download Excel file at to help custom operators and other farmers estimate their own costs for specific machinery operations.

Dealing with Herbicide-Resistant Weeds Addressed in Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll

The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program was released in 2017, outlining a number of activities that will be pursued to help Iowa’s farmers and other agricultural stakeholders increase their awareness of and capacity to address pesticide resistance.

The 2017 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll surveyed farmers to learn about their perspectives on the potential effectiveness of several hypothetical approaches to addressing herbicide-resistant weeds. The poll presented nine different resistance management approaches and asked farmers to rate their likelihood of success on a 5-point scale from very unlikely to very likely.

The two highest rated options were “quick fix” approaches using new technology. “Private company discovery and development of new herbicides” and “private company discovery and development of new herbicide-tolerant crops” received 69 and 68 percent likely or very likely responses, respectively. “Land grant university discovery and development of new weed management strategies” was close behind with 62 percent likely or very likely responses.

“Farmers would love to have new products and technology that they could easily add to their weed management strategies,” said J. Arbuckle, associate professor and extension sociologist at Iowa State University. “Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be major new herbicide products in the pipeline.”

A second set of items focused on financial incentives and mandates as potential approaches to address herbicide resistance. Farmers rated these as the least likely way to reduce the spread of herbicide resistant weeds. Only about a third (36 percent) of respondents thought financial incentives provided by private companies would be likely or very likely to work, while 34 percent said they were unlikely to work (31 percent selected “neither likely nor unlikely”). Similarly, just 35 percent rated financial incentives through the government as likely to be effective, and 35 percent rated them as unlikely to work. Government-mandated weed best management practices requirements were seen as unlikely to work by nearly half (46 percent) of farmers, while only 20 percent thought they would be effective.

“That most farmers didn’t think financial incentives to support weed best management practice adoption would be effective was surprising, because cost-share is a familiar way to help farmers with soil and water conservation practices,” said Arbuckle.

A series of cooperative approaches were also presented, proposing partnership scenarios among farmers and between farmers and key agricultural stakeholders to manage herbicide resistance. The cooperative scenario that farmers thought would have the best chance of success was the broadest coalition: “local farmers, agricultural input supplier representatives, Iowa State University research and extension staff, state agency staff, and commodity group staff working together to improve adoption of weed Best Management Practices.” This approach was thought to be likely or very likely to succeed by 64 percent of respondents. Local farmers and agricultural input supplier representatives working together was seen by 61 percent as likely or very likely to succeed. Local farmers working together earned just 39 percent likely or very likely, while 31 percent thought it was unlikely or very unlikely.

“The finding that two-thirds of farmers rated the most complex cooperative resistance management scenario as likely to succeed is important,” Arbuckle said. “Cooperation between farmers and other agricultural stakeholders is a cornerstone of the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Program, and these results suggest that most farmers think such approaches are potentially effective.”

The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been in existence since 1982, surveying Iowa farmers on issues of importance to agricultural stakeholders. It is the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation.

USDA Rejects Mercy for Animals Humane Bird Slaughter Request

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has rejected a petition from an animal rights group that sought more humane treatment for turkeys and chickens sent to slaughter.

California-based Mercy For Animals filed a petition in November asking the USDA to include poultry in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, a 1958 law that makes it a crime to abuse or neglect pigs and cows during slaughter.  The head of the USDA's Office of Food Safety said in denying the petition that other regulations ensure humane poultry treatment.

Mercy for Animals says it has proof chickens are abused or scalded to death in tanks of hot water and sometimes have legs and wings cut off while still conscious.  The group's attorney said Friday legal options to overturning the decision are under consideration.


NPPC Newsletter

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee met this week to discuss reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) and the Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (AGDUFA). Set to expire Sept. 30, both grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permission to collect fees from the makers of new animal drugs, including generic animal drugs, which are used to support the agency’s approval and market introduction programs. Senate and House bipartisan draft reauthorization legislation includes a requirement that all requests for new animal drugs be submitted electronically beginning Oct. 1. Dr. Steven Solomon, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, testified before the subcommittee and affirmed the agency’s objective to work with Congress to advance the legislation.  The National Pork Porducers Council supports the reauthorization of ADUFA and AGDUFA, which are crucial for ensuring that animal health, human health and food safety are protected. Failure to renew the laws by the deadline will result in a major disruption for the livestock production industry.

Walmart Files Six Patents for AgTech Projects

Not to be outdone by Amazon, Walmart has rolled out a series of updates to its grocery business recently, including a partnership between its Sam's Club wing and Instacart, the acquisition of Parcel, and the recent announcement of its Eden technology, which could help save the giant retailer $2 billion in food waste costs over the next half-decade.

But as a new research brief from CB Insights points out, all these endeavors could benefit from Walmart's getting involved in the other end of its grocery store supply chain-that is, farming the crops that eventually wind up on its store shelves.

To that end, the retailer giant recently applied for a series of six patents aimed at farm automation.

These include an application that uses machine vision for identifying pests and monitoring crop damage, drones that shoot targeted sprays of pesticides instead of the usual cloud, and the "robot bee" patent, which would carry pollen from plant to plant. There's also potential for drones to act as the next generation of "scarecrows or shiny devices" to scare away hungry birds, according to the patent.

No comments:

Post a Comment