Saturday, March 24, 2018

Friday March 23 Cattle on Feed + More Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.69 million cattle on feed on March 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 10 percent from last year.  Placements during February totaled 440,000 head, up 4 percent from 2017.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of February totaled 410,000 head, down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance during February totaled 10,000 head, down 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 730,000 head on March 1, 2018, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 1 percent from February 1, 2018 and up 12 percent from March 1, 2017. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 585,000 head on feed, up 1 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,315,000 head, up 1 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during February totaled 118,000 head, a decrease of 9 percent from last month but up 16 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 45,000 head, down 38 percent from last month and down 24 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 163,000 head, down 20 percent from last month but up 1 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during February totaled 106,000 head, down 1 percent from last month but up 19 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 38,000 head, down 24 percent from last month and down 10 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 144,000 head, down 8 percent from last month but up 10 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 9 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on March 1, 2018. The inventory was 9 percent above March 1, 2017.

Placements in feedlots during February totaled 1.82 million head, 7 percent above 2017. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During February, placementsof cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 325,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 335,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 537,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 420,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 150,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 50,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during February totaled 1.68 million head, 2 percent above 2017.  Other disappearance totaled 57,000 head during February, 2 percent above 2017.


All layers in Nebraska during February 2018 totaled 7.52 million, down from 8.64 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during February totaled 177 million eggs, down from 210 million in 2017. February egg production per 100 layers was 2,353 eggs, compared to 2,433 eggs in 2017.


Iowa egg production during February 2018 was 1.20 billion eggs, down 7 percent from last month and down 3 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average number of all layers on hand during February 2018 was 55.9 million, up slightly from both last month and last year. Eggs per 100 layers for February were 2,151, down 8 percent from last month and down 3 percent from last year.

U.S. Chickens and Eggs - February Egg Production Up Slightly

United States egg production totaled 8.14 billion during February 2018, up slightly from last year. Production included 7.10 billion table eggs, and 1.05 billion hatching eggs, of which 972 million were broiler-type and 73.7 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during February 2018 totaled 384 million, up 2 percent from last year. February egg production per 100 layers was 2,121 eggs, down 2 percent from February 2017.

All layers in the United States on March 1, 2018 totaled 386 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 386 million layers consisted of 324 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 57.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.49 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on March 1, 2018, averaged 76.0 eggs per 100 layers, down 1 percent from March 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 4 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during February 2018 totaled 50.5 million, up 4 percent from February 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 55.9 million on March 1, 2018, up 7 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 153 thousand during February 2018, down 15 percent from February 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during February 2018 totaled 735 million, up 1 percent from February 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 682 million on March 1, 2018, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 7.63 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during February 2018, down 3 percent from February 2017.

Record High Red Meat and Pork Production for February

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.06 billion pounds in February, up 3 percent from the 3.94 billion pounds produced in February 2017.

By State             
   (1,000 lbs  - % Feb '17)
Nebraska ....:          608.1            101 
Iowa ...........:          590.0            107      
Kansas ........:          418.0            105      

Beef production, at 1.98 billion pounds, was 3 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.42 million head, up 2 percent from February 2017. The average live weight was up 8 pounds from the previous year, at 1,368 pounds.

Veal production totaled 5.8 million pounds, 3 percent above February a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 41,100 head, up 2 percent from February 2017. The average live weight was up 1 pound from last year, at 242 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.06 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.64 million head, up 3 percent from February 2017. The average live weight was up 2 pounds from the previous year, at 286 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.8 million pounds, was up 5 percent from February 2017. Sheep slaughter totaled 164,800 head, 3 percent above last year. The average live weight was 143 pounds, up 3 pounds from February a year ago.

January to February 2018 commercial red meat production was 8.65 billion pounds, up 5 percent from 2017. Accumulated beef production was up 5 percent from last year, veal was up 4 percent, pork was up 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was up 4 percent.

USDA:  Cold Storage February 2018 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on February 28, 2018 were down slightly from the previous month but up 1 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 8 percent from the previous month and down 8 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 8 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 6 percent from last month and up 188 percent from last year.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on February 28, 2018 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from February 28, 2017.  Butter stocks were up 22 percent from last month and up 3 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen poultry supplies on February 28, 2018 were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 14 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 15 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 14 percent from last month and up 13 percent from February 28, 2017.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 10 percent from last month and down 21 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 1 percent from a year ago.

Former Nebraska Farm Bureau President Bryce Neidig Passes Away at the age of 86

Bryce Neidig, the second longest serving president of Nebraska Farm Bureau, was remembered for being an articulate and popular president who was enthusiastic about the future of Farm Bureau and agriculture. He died March 22 at the age of 86.

“Bryce Neidig was a tremendous advocate for agriculture and Nebraska Farm Bureau. You will not find a stronger champion for agriculture and Farm Bureau policy. Bryce drove thousands of miles, crisscrossing the state to attend local Farm Bureau meetings and to build relationships with government officials and others throughout the state. If I could cite only one of Bryce’s accomplishments, it would be raising Farm Bureau’s public profile through his willingness to be a tireless spokesman for agriculture,” Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president said March 23.

Neidig grew up on a farm near Madison, where his family raised corn and soybeans. He was elected as Nebraska Farm Bureau President in 1981 and served through 2002. He saw the value of working cooperatively with the news media to inform the public and policymakers about Farm Bureau’s viewpoints on agriculture. As he built relationships with government officials from across the state, he achieved respect from both sides of the political aisle.

“Bryce was a quick study when it came to learning about issues; as a trained Toastmaster and winner of Toastmaster competitions, he was an excellent extemporaneous speaker. Bryce excelled at explaining complex issues in a short and easily understood manner, often with real life stories,” said Rob Robertson, Nebraska Farm Bureau chief administrator.

In the past, Farm Bureau had often been content to let things happen, and not make waves. “We have changed that into an attitude of action. Today, Farm Bureau is willing and eager to attack problems that are affecting our members with a 'let's do something about it' attitude," Neidig was quoted as saying. This action-oriented approach was the hallmark of the Neidig presidency and the growth of Farm Bureau's image as the state's most influential agricultural organization.

“Bryce always said to keep going in a straight line, you have to keep an eye on the horizon, just like when you're disking,” Nelson said.

Over the years he served as Nebraska Farm Bureau president, Neidig saw both a period of economic prosperity and uncertainty in the farm economy. He believed being a visionary would be the key to Farm Bureau and agriculture’s future.

“Bryce Neidig was a stark defender of Farm Bureau policy and agriculture. He was always ready to defend, interested in getting something done, and doing something positive,” Robertson said.

“He was a true visionary on water issues and always involved with farm policy nationally and school and tax policy in the state. For example, he was a leader in campaigns to get the State Constitution amended to value agricultural land on its productivity,” Robertson said.

Neidig was elected to the American Farm Bureau Board of Directors in 1988, on which he served until retirement, and represented Farm Bureau on a number of trade missions. He also accompanied Governors Nelson and Johanns on several trade missions to open and increase international markets with Nebraska.

“Many times, Bryce was called on by the American Farm Bureau to visit Washington, D.C. to present testimony before Congressional committees. Nebraska Senators Hagel and Kerrey also asked him to come to Washington, D.C. to present Farm Bureau’s perspective on pending agricultural legislation,” Nelson said.

Neidig married his wife Shirley in 1952 and is survived by her and their four children Neal, Kim, Kay, and Van. Neal and Van are the fifth generation to farm their Madison County land.


Greg Ibach, a fifth-generation farmer and rancher from Sumner, Nebraska, will be honored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Block and Bridle Club.

The Block and Bridle Club’s annual award recognizes an honoree who has contributed to Nebraska agriculture through leadership, service, youth projects, community activities and involvement with the university.

Ibach currently serves as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, where he sets national standards for the marketing of U.S. agricultural products, along with the health and care of animals and plants. He began his professional career working for Farm Credit Services of America.

In 1989, Ibach and his wife, Teresa, returned to the family farm. They served on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmer Rancher Committee, and Ibach was elected for two terms on the Nebraska Beef Council. He was on the executive committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association when he was appointed to be assistant director of agriculture by then-Gov. Mike Johanns, and later was appointed director by Gov. Dave Heineman and Gov. Pete Ricketts. Ibach is Nebraska’s longest-serving director of agriculture, with more than 12 years in the role.

Most of Ibach’s career has aligned with the Block and Bridle Club’s core objectives, which are to promote a higher scholastic standard and a more complete understanding of animal science among student members; to promote animal agriculture through development of a program of activities that will supplement students' study of the animal sciences; to enhance professionalism of students who will one day be leaders in the animal agriculture industry; and to bring about a closer relationship among all students pursuing some phase of animal agriculture as a profession.

In his spare time, Ibach plays an active role in his family’s central Nebraska farm and in youth activities. As the state’s director of agriculture, Ibach provided vision and support for the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council and Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute and has been involved in FFA chapters and 4-H clubs at local and state levels.

Ibach graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture. He served as an officer for the Block and Bridle Club and FarmHouse fraternity. Ibach serves as co-chairman of fundraising efforts for the new FarmHouse Chapter House, as well as serving as a mentor for FarmHouse student members.

Ibach and his family will be honored at the Block and Bridle Club Honors Banquet, 6 p.m. April 14 at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Dr., Lincoln, NE 68508. A reception for Ibach and his family, friends and past honorees is at 5 p.m. Tickets to the banquet are $25 and can be purchased by contacting Andi Hallberg at

The Block and Bridle Club is part of the Animal Science Department within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Colfax, Platte, and Stanton County Farm Bureaus Sponsor District 22 Candidate Forum

Those interested in learning more about the candidates running for the District 22 seat in the Nebraska Legislature are invited to a candidate forum to be held, Wednesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. (CDT) at Wunderlich’s Banquet Hall located at 304 23rd St., Columbus. The event is sponsored by Colfax, Platte, and Stanton County Farm Bureaus.

The forum will provide an opportunity for the public to meet and ask questions of the candidates who are seeking to represent the district in the Nebraska Legislature. The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open 30 minutes before the forum begins to enable attendees the opportunity to meet the candidates and submit written questions for consideration at the forum. The forum will last 90 minutes.

All of the filed candidates seeking to represent District 22 have indicated they will participate, including Francis Kuehler of Humphrey, Kenneth Leischner of Columbus, Mike Moser of Columbus, and Doug Oertwich of Pilger.

Legislative District 22 encompasses all of Platte county and parts of Colfax and Stanton counties. The seat is currently held by Sen. Paul Schumacher, who is unable to seek re-election due to term-limits.

Accepting Applications for the 2018 Nebraska Pork Youth Conference: Makin’ Bacon … and a Whole Lot More!

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high-schools across Nebraska  are encouraged to apply to participate in the 2018 Nebraska Pork Youth Conference: Makin’ Bacon … and a Whole Lot More! Applications will be reviewed and up to 32 students  will be selected to participate. The deadline to apply is April 13th. Students may apply for the opportunity by visiting the youth tab on

The conference will be conducted from Wednesday afternoon, May 3oth through approximately noon, Friday, June 1st, at the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s East Campus. Other than the youth’s transportation to and from Lincoln, there will be  no cost  to participate. All lodging, meals, and conference materials are covered!

Due to the activities in the meat lab, students must be 16 years or older at the time of the conference. Current seniors who will be graduating in May are also welcome to apply to participate in this conference.

Participants will evaluate market animals, grade carcasses, fabricate carcasses into wholesale and retail cuts, and exercise basic culinary methods on a variety of different pork products. Additionally, lab activities include a hands-on genetics lab, a food safety lab, and a biosecurity and animal health activity. Not only will youth learn about pork as a wholesome food product, but they will also learn how the pork industry is using science to address many significant challenges, plus, throughout the conference, participants will discuss consumer issues.

Finally, participants will enjoy engaging life skills activities will be intermixed throughout the program that focus on development of communication, leadership, and networking skills.

Upon conclusion of this workshop, our youth will have a more thorough understanding of the pork products produced, the consumers who purchase those products, and will have greater confidence in their ability to effectively communicate with one another regarding the many issues and challenges facing the pork industry.

The 2018 Nebraska Pork Youth Conference: Makin’ Bacon … and a Whole Lot More! is sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, as well as Nebraska Extension and the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Department of Animal Science.


Fellowship applications for Nebraska LEAD group 38 are now available for men and women involved in production agriculture or agribusiness.

“Up to 30 motivated men and women with demonstrated leadership potential will be selected from five geographic districts across our state," said Terry Hejny, director of the Nebraska LEAD program.

Now in its 37th year, the Nebraska Leadership Education/Action Development program is designed to prepare spokespeople, problem-solvers and decision-makers for Nebraska’s agricultural industry.

In addition to monthly three-day seminars held across Nebraska from mid-September through early April, Nebraska LEAD fellows participate in a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a two-week international study/travel seminar.

Seminar themes include leadership assessment and potential; natural resources and energy; agricultural policy; leadership through communication; Nebraska’s political process; global perspectives; nuclear energy; social issues; understanding and developing leadership skills; agribusiness and marketing; advances in health care; and the resources and people of Nebraska’s panhandle.

Applications are available by emailing or calling 402-472-6810. Requests can also be sent to 104 ACB, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 68583-0940. Applications are due by June 15.

The program is operated by the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Other partners include Nebraska colleges and universities, business and industry, and individuals throughout the state.

For information about the selection process, go to


The Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council elected new officers and board members during its annual meeting on March 9.

Newly elected officers include: chairman of the board, Stephanie Liska of Wayne; vice chair, Brad Lubben of Eagle; secretary, Bryan Barrett of Gering; and treasurer, William Rhea III of Arlington.

Newly elected board members include: Jolene Messinger of McCook and Tracy Olson of North Platte. Re-elected for a second three-year term were: Lori Pankoke of Lincoln, Pat Rasmussen of Geneva, and Ed Woeppel of Firth.

Board members also include: Cindi Allen of Ogallala, Eric Brown of Lincoln, Kelly Brunkhorst of Lincoln, Jerry Catlett of Bruning, Gerald Clausen of Lincoln, Jim Farrell of Omaha, Galen Frenzen of Fullerton, Carol Hudkins of Malcolm, Royce Schaneman of Denton, Ray Ward of Kearney, and Dennis Nun of Lincoln who serves as the president of the Nebraska LEAD Alumni Association. The council’s president is Terry Hejny, who also serves as the Director of the Nebraska LEAD Program.

The Nebraska LEAD Program includes men and women, currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness and is a two-year leadership development program under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the University of Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 38 which will begin in September of 2018, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 ACB, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0940.  You may also call 402-472-6810 or email Applications are due June 15.

Study: Climate effects on ag yields vary by location, crop

The global emergence of climate change should get farmers thinking and acting locally, according to nearly a half-century of data analyzed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The new Nebraska study suggests that climate shifts between 1968 and 2013 drove about 25 percent of the collective fluctuations in corn, soybean and sorghum yields across the Great Plains.

“Both temperature and precipitation had their fingerprints on that quarter of the variability, which (itself) varied with location and crop,” said study co-author Meetpal Kukal, doctoral student in biological systems engineering. “There are clear signatures of climate in the crop-yield patterns that we quantified here.”

But the magnitude and direction of those climatic effects often differed within a state, sometimes even across neighboring counties. In certain counties, temperature and precipitation shifts accounted for up to 52 percent of the variance in crop yields; in others, those factors seemed to have virtually no effect. The study further found that corn, soybean and sorghum responded differently to similar changes in climate factors.

“People talk a lot about global climate change and continent-level change,” said senior author Suat Irmak, Eberhard Distinguished Professor of biological systems engineering. “Quantifying what’s happening globally is great, but we cannot generalize that to everywhere. We need to go into more local areas to look at those interactions so that effective region- or location-specific methods and strategies can be developed.”

“We have average, aggregated numbers over the (whole) region,” Kukal said. “But it’s always better to look at finer scales when possible.”

Irmak and Kukal analyzed U.S. Department of Agriculture data for 834 counties across nine states -- North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas -- that collectively produced 46 percent of U.S. corn yields, 89 percent of sorghum and 36 percent of soybean. The 46-year span is among the longest analyzed in a study of climatic effects on agriculture, the researchers said, with most prior studies covering a maximum of 30 years.

The study’s findings could help guide the allocation of vital but limited resources, Irmak said, including the aquifer-derived water used to irrigate crops. Because some areas of a state produce far greater yields than do others, even moderate shifts of temperature or precipitation in those areas could substantially affect the food and fuel production of an entire state or even a region, he said.

Whereas precipitation shifts explained the sorghum variance in just 17 percent of counties, for instance, those counties produced 49 percent of the sorghum in the Great Plains. And though only 18 percent of counties could pin their soybean variance on precipitation shifts, those counties produced 32 percent of the region’s soybean.

The three crops showed varying degrees of sensitivity to temperature increases, which occurred in 578 of the 834 counties. Irmak and Kukal concluded that corn -- followed by soybean, then sorghum – is most susceptible to rising temperatures. Despite this -- and further emphasizing the importance of county-level analysis – the researchers found that more counties actually saw their corn yields increase rather than decrease under a warming climate. How? Corn was often irrigated, which seemed to more than offset the potential effects of rising temperatures. Non-irrigated corn was roughly twice as sensitive to temperature increases, the study reported.

This buffering effect of irrigation, which aligns with prior research, also appeared when examining overall yields. The variance in yields of non-irrigated corn, sorghum and soybean was 77, 69 and 63 percent higher, respectively, than their irrigated counterparts.

Changes in climate accounted for just 8 percent of the yield variance in irrigated corn vs. 41 percent of non-irrigated corn; 4 percent vs. 35 percent of soybean; and 9 percent vs. 23 percent of sorghum. Yet the interactions between precipitation and irrigation differed among the crops: Non-irrigated corn was 43 times more sensitive than irrigated corn to shifts in precipitation, whereas non-irrigated soybean and sorghum were only about three times more sensitive.

Those nuances illustrate the value of collecting local data that accounts for different climate variables, crop types and growing conditions, the researchers said.

“I hope we are successful in getting across the message that there are changes in temperature and precipitation, (but) those changes are different over time and location, and they are having different impacts on our agricultural productivity,” Irmak said. “That can help high-level advisers, decision-makers and policymakers to identify locations where those impacts are greatest so that resource allocation or re-allocation can make (fields) even more productive.

“Our agricultural productivity has national implications on the economy, on jobs, on social issues – these are really important and big topics. I hope they take home the message that things are changing, and we need to be proactive and pay attention to those so that we can sustain our productivity.”

Irmak and Kukal reported their findings in the journal Scientific Reports. The study is available at


California’s Department of the Environment this week held a public hearing in San Francisco on the implementation of the Antibiotic Use in Food Animals Ordinance signed on Oct. 24, 2017, and effective Nov. 23, 2017. The ordinance requires 120 large grocery retailers in San Francisco to report annually on antibiotics used in meat sold in their stores.

Witnesses at the hearing countered those who support the measure by noting the unintended consequences of the ordinance. Diane Sullivan, an anti-hunger advocate, cited existing federal regulations that already ensure food safety and responsible antibiotic use and expressed concern about increased food costs caused by unwarranted regulations like this in a city where one in four struggle with food insecurity.

A representative from the California Farm Bureau testified that responsible antibiotic use is a priority for agriculture and that healthy animals lead to decreases in food borne illnesses. The California Grocers’ Association said adherence to the ordinance would be a challenge since grocers do not have the ability to compel information from producers.

ASA DuPont Young Leaders Explore Issues, Participate in Leadership Training

The 34th class of American Soybean Association (ASA) DuPont Young Leaders completed their training, Feb. 25 – March 2, 2018 in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show in Anaheim, Calif.

“The ASA DuPont Young Leader Program has provided the soybean industry and all of agriculture strong and well-connected leaders,” ASA President John Heisdorffer said. “The program fosters innovation, provides a forward looking training opportunity that fosters collaboration and strengthens the voice of the farmer. We are grateful to DowDuPont for their commitment to this program and for helping secure the future of the soybean industry.”

While in Anaheim, the Young Leaders participated in leadership and marketing training, issues updates and discussion and were recognized at ASA’s annual awards banquet.

The 2018 class of ASA DuPont Young Leaders includes: James Wray (AR); Rick Dickerson (DE); Jonathan Snow (DE); Joshua Plunk (IL); Chris Steele (IN); Chris Gaesser & Shannon Lizakowski (IA); Kevin & Kim Kohls (KS); Jared & Kimy Nash (KS); Clay & Lindsey Wells (KY); Caleb & Jordan Frey (LA); Walter & Kristen Grezaffi (LA); Brian & Michelle Washburn (MI); Scott & Polly Wilson (MI); Adam & Melanie Guetter (MN); James Locke (MS); Tyler Clay (MS); Dane Diehl & Erica Wagenknecht (MO); Kevin & Heather Kucera (NE); Scott Langemeier (NE); Philip & Lindsay Sloop (NC); Logan Ferry (ND); Justin Cowman (OH); Kevin & Brianna Deinert (SD); Jordan & Samantha Scott (SD); Charlie & Bettye Jane Roberts (TN); AJ Teal (TN); Tanner Johnson (WI); Pat & Sheri Mullooly (WI); and Ann & Jeff Vermeersch (Ontario, Canada).

“It is critically important that our industry have strong leaders who are well-equipped to advocate for policies that benefit farmers,” said Krysta Harden, Vice President, External Affairs & Chief Sustainability Officer, Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™. “I am so proud of these young leaders who are stepping forward to ensure the farmer’s voice is heard.”

Step Up and Lead! Members Called to Higher Service

With only one week remaining, the National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that they are invited to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the NCGA Leadership At Its Best Program, sponsored by Syngenta, or through the DuPont New Leaders Program.

Growers interested in the LAIB Program must be nominated by their state corn association for either program.  Interested members should contact their state associations.

Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership At Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels.  The first session, held in August in Greensboro, N.C., addresses interpersonal communications skills, strategic social media engagement, and media training. The second session, which will be held in January of 2019 in Washington, D.C., focuses on public policy issues, meeting with your congressional delegation and parliamentary procedure.  Through this program, participants build the skill set needed to become a more confident public speaker with a solid advocacy background to be a more effective leader for their state corn grower or marketing associations.

For more than three decades, NCGA, state corn associations and, most importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the Syngenta co-sponsored Leadership At Its Best Program.  More than 600 growers have gained invaluable knowledge and skills in media, communications, association management and public policy over the lifetime of the program.

Those interested should contact their state corn organization, which will submit nominees for the program. To learn more, click here.

The DuPont New Leaders Program, designed for corn growers who are newly active or considering involvement in agriculture leadership, helps them build their communications skills so they can better serve their peers.

Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from NCGA's affiliated states, such as those considering a board position. Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, active in corn farming, NCGA members and not currently serving as an officer on their state affiliate board.
The first session will be held the week of June 18th in Des Moines, Iowa and will feature small-group, interactive workshops focusing on storytelling, social media, and advocacy. The second session will be held during agriculture's largest farmer-led trade show, Commodity Classic, in Orlando, Florida next February. Applications are due Friday, March 30, and will be reviewed by the NCGA and forwarded to the appropriate state affiliate association for approval.

Participants accepted for the program will be notified in late April. All program-related travel and lodging expenses will be covered, per NCGA policy and procedures. For more information or to fill out the online application, please visit

USMEF News Release: WH Group CEO to Address World Meat Congress

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) announces that Long Wan, executive director, chairman and chief executive officer of WH Group, will be a featured speaker at the World Meat Congress (WMC), May 31-June 1 in Dallas. 

Formerly known as Shuanghui International, WH Group is the largest pork company in the world. It is the majority shareholder in Shuanghui Development, China’s largest meat processor, and owner of Smithfield Foods.

“Long Wan has played a leading role in the growth and success of WH Group, and is a strong champion of international trade,” said Philip Seng, USMEF CEO emeritus. “Mr. Wan brings a unique perspective on how to succeed in an ever-changing global environment, and how to attract customers in a wide range of markets.”

In addition, the WMC will feature several expert panel discussions, including On the Cutting Edge: What’s New in the Red Meat Supply Chain? In this session, the red meat industry’s brightest scientific minds will introduce participants to cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping meat production around the world and provide a preview of what is coming next. Highlights include: 
-    Dr. Martin Wiedmann, professor of food safety at Cornell University and co-director of the New York Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, will share his insights on how whole genome sequencing research is being applied to food safety systems, its application to modern microbiological testing and its role in combating antibiotic resistance.
-     Gary Rodrigue, one of IBM’s foremost food industry block chain experts, will present how block chain traceability is used to track meat products at the retail level and the future applications of this emerging technology.
-    Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, cooperative extension specialist at the University of California-Davis, will explain the practical applications of gene editing, from the perspective of current use and how the technology will apply to the livestock and meat industries moving forward.

Other featured WMC speakers include U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FutureCast President Jeff Fromm, a best-selling author and expert on marketing to Millennials and Generation Z.

More details, including the full agenda, registration and lodging information are available on the WMC website.

NCBA Calling for Nominations for Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards

Award applications for the 12th annual National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards now are being accepted. The 2019 National BQA Awards recognize five winners in the areas of beef, dairy, marketing and education:
-    The BQA Cow Calf and BQA Feedyard awards recognize producers who best demonstrate the implementation of BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their respective operations.
-    The BQA / FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) award honors those dairy operations that demonstrate the best in animal care and handling while implementing the BQA and FARM programs at the highest levels.
-    The BQA Marketer Award acknowledges livestock markets, cattle buyers and supply-chain programs that promote BQA to their customers and offer them opportunities to get certified.
-    The BQA Educator Award celebrates individuals or companies that provide high quality and innovative training to individuals that care and handle cattle throughout the industry chain.

The National BQA Awards are selected by a committee of BQA certified representatives from universities, state beef councils, sponsors and affiliated groups. Nominations are submitted by organizations, groups or individuals on behalf of a U.S. beef producer, dairy beef producer, marketer or educator. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, though the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. Past nominees are encouraged to submit their application under the new nomination structure. Previous winners may not reapply.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association manages the BQA program as a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. Funding for the BQA Awards is made possible by the generosity of Cargill, which has supported the program since its inception, and Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, which sponsors the BQA Educator Award.

Find the application and nomination requirements here. Applications are due by June 1, 2018.  For more information about BQA visit

Smith Statement on Passage of “Grain Glitch” Fix

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, released the following statement today after voting to address the “grain glitch” as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.

“By fixing the ‘grain glitch’ we are ensuring producers and buyers across agriculture will benefit from an improved tax code without unnecessarily shifting the commodity marketplace.  Replicating the Section 199 treatment of cooperatives under the previous tax code, combined with the lower rates and simplified compliance, will ensure as many producers as possible see tax cuts, which was the intent of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  I appreciate the willingness of cooperatives, non-cooperative buyers, and end users to collaboratively solve this issue, and the efforts of Chairman Brady to work with me to ensure this is enacted as soon as possible.

“While I share the concerns of the President and many Nebraskans about the overall spending level in this bill, it enacts many important priorities, including regulatory relief for agriculture, properly funding our military, and beginning work on the border wall.”

Other provisions beneficial to agriculture in the Consolidated Appropriations Act include the FARM Act, prohibiting the regulation of farms and ranches as toxic waste sites, of which Smith is an original cosponsor, and an extension of the Electronic Logging Device exemption for agriculture through Fiscal Year 2018.  The bill also funds the Department of Defense at the President’s requested level and provides $1.6 billion for fence construction on the southern border.

NGFA praises Section 199A fix in omnibus spending bill

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended Congress for voting to pass and President Donald Trump for signing into the law the stakeholder-driven provisions included in the omnibus fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill that correct the unintended consequences of Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

The House voted on the omnibus legislation (H.R. 1625) on March 22, with the Senate subsequently voting to pass the bill late last night. Trump signed the bill earlier today prior to the midnight deadline to avert another shutdown of the federal government. The provisions amending Section 199A are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who during his keynote address at NGFA's 122nd annual convention had stressed the need to rectify the unintended consequences of Section 199A, issued a media statement today saying that "fixing Section 199A was a fundamental issue of fairness."
"We should not be picking winners and losers through the federal tax code by favoring one side over another," Perdue said. "During my travels across the country, I met with countless farmers and members of the agriculture community who were affected by this so-called 'grain glitch.' I applaud Congress for hearing their voice."

The NGFA and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives had issued a joint statement on March 13 supporting prompt enactment of the legislative language, which was developed by the tax-writing committees of Congress after months of collaboration and extensive analysis among and with stakeholders. The provisions replicate to the greatest extent possible the tax benefits accorded to farmer-owned cooperatives and their farmer-patrons under the previous Section 199 (also known as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction, or DPAD), while also restoring the competitive landscape of the marketplace as it existed in December 2017 so that the tax code does not provide an incentive for farmers to do business with a company solely because it is organized as a cooperative or private/independent firm.

NGFA President Randy Gordon today commended and expressed profound appreciation to the dedicated tax experts from NGFA-member companies -- half derived from cooperatives and half from private/independent organized businesses -- who provided "sound, factual advice and analysis in a totally professional and above-board process throughout the two-plus months that it took to develop and analyze the real-world impacts of an equitable concept to correct Section 199A."
He also praised what he called the "indispensable and critical involvement" of hundreds of NGFA-member companies that took the time to repeatedly contact their members of Congress to urge enactment of the solution.

NGFA noted that great care was taken by stakeholders to develop a concept that provides tax relief to farmers, as envisioned in the tax-reform law, while restoring to the maximum extent possible the competitive balance of the marketplace. NGFA verified that the final language to correct Section 199A included in the omnibus legislation accurately reflected the concepts developed by NGFA and NCFC.

Perdue Praises Section 199A Tax Code Fix in Omnibus

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today regarding the fix of Section 199A of the federal tax code found in the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald J. Trump:

“Fixing Section 199A was a fundamental issue of fairness.  We should not be picking winners and losers through the federal tax code by favoring one side over another. During my travels across the country, I met with countless farmers and members of the agriculture community who were affected by this so-called ‘grain glitch.’ I applaud Congress for hearing their voice.”


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December of 2017 was meant to spur economic growth across the entire American economy, including the agriculture sector, and its positive results can already be felt. However, the unintended consequences of Section 199A, originally designed to preserve benefits for cooperatives and their patrons, disadvantaged the independent operators in the same industry. Many members of the agriculture community began to raise questions about the potential market effects on cooperatives and independent grain-related businesses.

The solution passed by Congress, to equalize federal tax treatment of cooperatives and non-cooperates, is overwhelmingly supported throughout the agriculture community. Secretary Perdue and members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) leadership, including Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach, have voiced the agriculture community’s concerns throughout the year in statements and speeches across the country.

Soy Growers Welcome Ag Measures in Omnibus

The American Soybean Association (ASA) today applauded measures in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill which will fund and revise many key agriculture measures.

“We’re glad to see issues important to soy growers like rural broadband, waterways infrastructure and agriculture research included in the Omnibus and we now urge a swift passage,” said ASA President and Iowa soybean farmer John Heisdorffer.

Specific to soy, the Omnibus includes language requiring transparency and scientific justification by the Defense Logistics Agency prior to regulating food ingredients in military rations, including soy products, which ASA has previously advocated for and strongly supports.

ASA supports the resolution of the Section 199A tax issue, which has created significant uncertainty for farmers, ag cooperatives, and grain processors since enactment of the tax reform bill in December.

Additionally, ASA applauds the inclusion of $600 million to launch a pilot loan-and-grant program for deploying broadband in rural America, which adds funding to existing USDA broadband programs.

ASA also cheered the increased and record funding levels provided for inland waterways infrastructure and port and harbor maintenance in the Energy & Water Appropriations portion of the Omnibus Appropriations bill.

Another funding increase important to ASA is $400 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which is a $25 million funding increase from last year.

“Soy is America’s top agricultural export, and all of these funding increases in the Omnibus Appropriations bill will enhance soy grower’s ability to farm, find markets for and transport beans. We urge the Congress to pass this bill, and look forward working on other legislation that benefits rural America.”

NBB Again Disappointed by Failure to Renew Biodiesel Tax Credit

Today, the U.S. Congress is expected to pass an omnibus spending bill to fund the government that did not include a reinstatement of the biodiesel tax credit.

“The National Biodiesel Board is again disappointed that Congress has failed to provide pro-growth tax certainty for a domestic energy industry that has broad, bipartisan support. The lack of urgency by Congress to extend this expired tax credit continues to frustrate the producers, blenders and marketers of biodiesel,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). “We will work to educate members of the economic and environmental benefits of increased use of biodiesel, so that Congress is poised to drive investments in this American energy industry.”

In February 2018, Congress passed a retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax incentive for 2017 only. But producers continue to operate in 2018 without a tax credit, which is forcing biodiesel producers nationwide to carry the risk of the uncertainty caused by the lack of the tax credit. For some small biodiesel producers, that can be the difference between keeping the lights on or shuttering down.

NBB has engaged in aggressive legislative outreach on this issue, taking meetings with elected officials each week on Capitol Hill, participating in a recent Congressional hearing on the issue and sending multiple letters to Congressional leaders making the case for renewal of the biodiesel tax incentive.

Congressional Spending Bill Advances Several NMPF Priorities

CERCLA, Section 199 Provisions, Dairy Labeling Fix Included in Omnibus Measure

The massive congressional spending bill approved today by the Senate and just signed into law by the president contains several important achievements for America’s dairy farmers, including relief from potential regulation under the CERCLA law, according to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

The omnibus bill contains a provision strongly supported by NMPF that would relieve dairy and other livestock producers from having to report manure-related air emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). NMPF helped organize a coalition of farm groups to urge Congress to clarify that the measure – aimed at monitoring emissions from hazardous waste sites – was never intended to generate reports on low levels of emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from farms.

“Because of recent court decisions, the CERCLA law was poised to require farms to generate meaningless reports that regulatory agencies do not want and will not use,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We worked very hard to build bipartisan support for this legislation, which represents a common-sense fix to this looming legal dilemma.”

The congressional spending measure also includes a provision to recreate the Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD) tax provision that was repealed by last year’s tax reform bill. The measure largely refashions the DPAD to help preserve the competitive position of farmer-owned cooperatives in the marketplace. NMPF worked with other agricultural organizations to address the competitive implications created by last year’s tax law, emphasizing the need to maintain the prevailing tax treatment of dairy cooperatives and their farmer members in this area.

The omnibus bill also expresses Congress’ concern that many plant-based foods and beverages are not properly labeled, building on language from the DAIRY PRIDE Act (DPA), a bipartisan bill introduced last year in both chambers of Congress to compel FDA to act against misbranded imitations.

Given the existing definition of milk as a product of a dairy animal, NMPF said that Congress’ instructions to FDA in the omnibus bill should restrict the ability of beverages made from plant foods from using the term “milk” on their labels. This will also affect products misusing other dairy food names such as “cheese” and “yogurt” that are defined in the Code of Federal Regulations and cited in the congressional bill.

Mulhern expressed NMPF’s appreciation for the support of congressional members in both parties to ensure the spending bill included these and other priority issues of importance to dairy producers.

“It’s shaping up to be a difficult year economically for many dairy farmers, and the passage of these provisions is a bright spot for our members,” Mulhern said.  “We will continue to work with the House and Senate on other priorities, such as additional improvements to the dairy safety net, and changes to our immigration policies that address the labor needs of our farmers.”

Farmers Again Exempt From Reporting Air Emissions

The catch-all federal spending legislation approved by the Senate and House and now on its way to President Trump for his signature restores the exemption for farmers from reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard emissions from the natural breakdown of manure on their farms. The National Pork Producers Council applauded inclusion in the so-called Omnibus bill of the exemption provision, which had strong bipartisan support in both legislative chambers.

“This is fantastic news for hog farmers,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “NPPC thanks the more than 100 members of both houses of Congress who supported restoring the farm emissions exemption through legislation and by voting in favor of the provision in the Omnibus bill.”

Companion bills were introduced earlier this year in the Senate by Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Ranking Member Tom Carper, D-Del., and in the House by Reps. Billy Long, R-Mo., and Jim Costa, D-Calif. The Senate legislation had 20 original cosponsors – 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats – while the House measure had 85 cosponsors. Both bills sought to fix a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

CERCLA, more commonly known as the “Superfund Law,” is used primarily to clean hazardous waste sites but also includes a mandatory federal reporting component.

The appeals court ruling would have forced tens of thousands of livestock farmers to “guesstimate” and report the emissions from manure on their farms to the Coast Guard’s National Response Center (NRC) and subject them to citizen lawsuits from activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States.

“America’s pork producers are grateful to Sens. Fischer, Donnelly, Barrasso and Carper and Congressmen Long and Costa for their efforts to fix this problem,” Heimerl said. “EPA exempted farms from emissions reporting because it was unnecessary and impractical, and we’re pleased so many members of Congress recognized that and voted to restore the exemption.”

As many as 200,000 farmers were facing a May 1 deadline for reporting emissions. Some farmers tried filing reports on the initial court-ordered Nov. 15 deadline, but the Coast Guard’s NRC system was overwhelmed. In some instances, NRC operators refused to accept reports for more than a single farm per call because they didn’t want phone lines tied up, and in one case, an operator sent notices to more than 20 state and federal response authorities, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a state police agency, after receiving a report. (Given the confusion, the appeals court twice delayed the reporting deadline.)

“The pork industry was prepared to comply with the reporting mandate,” Heimerl said, ”but EPA, the Coast Guard and state and local emergency response authorities said they didn’t want or need the information, which could have interfered with their legitimate emergency functions.”

Cattlemen Applaud Final Approval of Omnibus Bill

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Kevin Kester today issued the following statement in response to President Trump signing the omnibus spending bill, which includes several provisions that will directly benefit cattle producers:

"Thanks to our dues-paying NCBA members and the hard work of our team in Washington, this omnibus spending bill includes several provisions that represent major victories for America's cattle producers.

"First, we were able to kill the notion that our farms and ranches will be regulated like toxic Superfund sites under the CERCLA law. Second, we were able to secure another delay of the Electronic Logging Device mandate for livestock haulers. And finally, we were able to get Congress to address the 199A tax issue.

"These are all provisions that will help producers, and I want to thank all of our allies on Capitol Hill who helped secure them in the final legislation.

"I also want to again thank all of our dues-paying members - without them these victories almost certainly wouldn't have been possible."


    CERCLA Reporting: A provision would relieve livestock producers of the emissions reporting requirements under CERCLA, protecting 200,000 farms and ranches around the country. NCBA has been urging affiliates and members to support stand-alone legislation in the House and Senate that would also exempt agricultural producers from CERCLA reporting requirements. Passage of the omnibus spending bill would achieve the same goal.

    Electronic Logging Devices: The bill includes a provision that would grant livestock haulers an exemption from ELDs until September 30, 2018. A further delay will provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) more time to educate our livestock haulers on the ELDs while industry works on solutions to the current Hours of Service rules that do not currently work for those truckers driving livestock across this great nation. Recent NCBA actions on this issue include:
        September 2017 – NCBA and allied groups petition Department of Transportation for ELD waiver.
        September 2017 – NCBA and affiliates ask Congress to support one-year delay of ELD implementation for livestock haulers.
        November 2017 – NCBA helps secure 90-day waiver from ELD implementation
        March 2018 – NCBA and allied groups successfully petition for another 90-day wavier from ELD implementation.

    Section 199A Fix: The 199A fix included in the bill will equalize tax treatment of commodity sales to cooperatives and non-cooperatives, while also providing flow-through deduction from co-ops to their members similar to the old Section 199 deduction for domestic production activities.

Chinese Retaliation On U.S. Pork Exports Will Harm The Rural Economy

The National Pork Producers Council warned that possible Chinese tariffs on U.S. pork could have a significant negative impact on rural America. China has indicated it will impose the duties in response to U.S. tariffs and restrictions – announced today – being placed on a host of Chinese goods.

“We sell a lot of pork to China, so higher tariffs on our exports going there will harm  our producers and undermine the rural economy,” said NPPC President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers.”

Last year, the U.S. pork industry exported $1.1 billion of product to China, making that country the No. 2 value market for U.S. pork.

Many economists, including Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, have cautioned that tariffs on U.S. agricultural products could disrupt exports to China. Lost sales would have severe economic consequences for America’s farmers, who shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to the Asian nation in 2017.

The U.S. restrictions on Chinese imports come after an inquiry by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) into China’s practices related to technology transfer, licensing and intellectual property rights. USTR’s Section 301 – of the 1974 Trade Act – investigation determined that U.S. companies have lost billions of dollars from being forced by China to disclose intellectual property and to transfer technology.

“When it comes to trade, we expect all countries to follow international rules and to trade fairly,” Heimerl said. “We also expect all countries to resolve trade disputes in a way that doesn’t harm businesses, farmers and consumers.”

USMEF Statement on Possible Retaliatory Duties on U.S. Pork

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom

The announcement by the Chinese government that it is placing pork on a list of U.S. products that could be subject to increased import duties is cause for great concern in the pork industry. USMEF is seeking further details on this announcement and on the likely timing of any action by the Chinese government.

China is a key market for U.S. pork and especially for pork variety meat. In 2017, the U.S. industry exported 309,284 metric tons (mt) of pork and pork variety meat to China, valued at $663.1 million – our third-largest international market by volume and fourth-largest by value. For variety meat exports only, China was our largest destination in both volume (181,351 mt) and value ($425.2 million). In fact, China accounted for more than one third of U.S. pork variety meat exports last year.

Variety meat exports make a very important contribution to hog carcass value, and last year these exports to China alone equated to more than $3.50 per U.S. hog slaughtered. China is a price-sensitive market, so any tariff rate increase would affect the competitive position of U.S. pork.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding President Trump Ordering Stiff Tariffs on China

“Today’s action by President Trump to impose tariffs on a number of Chinese goods in order to address the United States’ trade imbalance with China is cause for great concern.”

“This move has the potential to launch the U.S. into a trade war with China. While we anticipate retaliatory measures to be both strategic and overtly political, it is likely, a number of agricultural products will be targeted for retaliation.”

“China remains the number one customer of U.S. soy, buying more than one of every four rows of soybeans growing in U.S. farm fields. With Nebraska farmers and ranchers already suffering through a 50 percent drop in net farm income in the past five years, this action has the potential to make this situation considerably worse.”

“These tariffs may be aimed at China, but the cost will be incurred on American consumers who will pay more at the checkout line for the items they shop for every day. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of trade and how concerning this latest action by the Trump administration is for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and consumers.”

White House announcement on China tariffs poses grave threat to Iowa, U.S. soybean farmers

Iowa soybean leaders said today’s announcement by the White House of its intentions to impose up to $60 billion in tariffs and sanctions against China poses an immediate and grave threat to their industry and Iowa agriculture.

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Bill Shipley said it also jeopardizes more than three decades of efforts to establish relationships with soybean processors, buyers and traders.

Shipley, who farms near Nodaway in southwest Iowa, provided the comments from China where he is currently participating in a week-long trade mission. It includes stops in Beijing, Wuhan City, Zhanjiang and Shenzhen.

“No winners emerge from a trade war and that’s particularly true when it involves food and nutrition,” he said. “It’s very clear from our conversations this week in China that our most important customer of U.S. soybeans doesn’t desire a trade war. The people just want to do business.

“So, too, do Iowa and U.S. farmers, particularly as we prepare to go to the fields and plant what could be a record number of acres.”

China, with a population of more than 1.4 billion, imports 62 percent of global soybean production. Nearly 39 percent of China’s soybean imports originate from the United States valued at nearly $14 billion.

Iowa and U.S. agricultural officials have long warned the White House about the negative implications for the soybean industry if sanctions and tariffs are imposed. In just five years, farm income has declined 50 percent while crop prices have dropped 40 percent.

Retaliation by U.S. soy’s largest trading partner will place a further drag on prices received by soybean producers and further hurt the already-challenged farm economy.

Ironically, agricultural trade nets the United States one of its few trade surpluses, with soybeans among the most valuable, Shipley said.

Soybean officials have heard directly from the Chinese government that soybeans are a prime target for retaliation. The move would significantly endanger a relationship that goes back more than 30 years when China’s population was approaching 800 million.

“A trade war with China involving soybeans would be devastating,” said ISA CEO Kirk Leeds. “With U.S. commodity prices struggling and other countries ramping up soybean production, this is precisely the wrong time for the U.S. to retreat as a trusted source of high-quality soybeans. South America will be the primary beneficiary if we do.”

Last year, Iowa soybean farmers produced 562 million bushels of the oilseed valued at more than $5 billion.

The impact of the tariffs will have reverberations far beyond Iowa’s soybean fields. Iowa soybean production involves numerous and important sectors of Iowa’s ag economy including seed, transportation, processing and manufacturing.

Leeds, who’s also participating in this week’s ISA-led trade mission to China, echoed calls by other agriculture officials for the White House to quickly reconsider its call for such massive and immediate sanctions.

“Unfortunately, agricultural trade is often the first casualty in any trade war or retaliation,” he said. “When that happens, everyone loses.”

Soy Growers: Retaliation by China Will Cost Farmers Their Livelihoods

Following the announcement of approximately $60 billion in tariffs against Chinese goods under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 Thursday, the American Soybean Association (ASA) reiterated its significant concern about the potential for China to retaliate against U.S. soybeans. China is the largest purchaser of U.S. soybeans, consuming nearly a third of U.S. production worth $14 billion annually. ASA President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer issued the following statement:

“Multiple reports indicate the Chinese have U.S. soybeans squarely in their sights for retaliation, and this decision places soybean farmers across the country in financial danger. Farm incomes are down nearly 50 percent from 2013. There is a real struggle in agriculture to keep everything going right now. It’s extremely frustrating to have the administration taking aim at our largest trading partner.

“If there was any question about the likelihood of retaliation by China after previous actions by the administration to protect domestic manufacturers, that doubt was erased today. American soybean producers oppose this decision by the administration that puts exports of our soybeans to China in jeopardy.

“American agriculture has tremendous potential to improve our trade balance. Soybeans can lead this growth in China, which is projected to significantly increase soybean imports over the next ten years. We should be talking about actions that grow this important market, not risk losing it.

“Agriculture is not like other industries that can sustain extreme volatility in markets and prices. If demand drops and prices collapse, soybean farmers will go out of business. Not in five or ten years, but this year and next. Trade is an existential issue for soybean farmers. We export over half of our crop. China is the largest driver of world demand for soybeans. The tough line the administration is taking on China will lead to retaliation that will cost many farmers their livelihoods.

“We previously requested a meeting with President Trump to discuss our concerns and have received no response to date. On National Ag Day Tuesday, the president tweeted that his administration is delivering for farmers. But delivering for farmers means supporting trade and, for soybean farmers, that means supporting trade with China.”

 Trump Administration Unveils Trade Actions Against China

The Trump administration today unveiled trade actions against China that will likely spur significant retaliatory measures aimed at U.S. agricultural products. The move is in response to a U.S. Trade Representative office investigation on China’s violations of intellectual property rights.

National Farmers Union (NFU), a family farmer-led organization who supports aggressive efforts to fight unfair trade practices, lamented the administration’s apparent lack of a plan to safeguard the interests of family farmers. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement:

“Our trade agenda for the past 30 years has been to promote free trade at all costs, ignoring countries cheating on intellectual property rights and currency manipulation. While we’re appreciative of the administration’s focus on creating fair trade between the U.S. and our trading partners, their ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to fixing our trade woes is dangerous.

“Family farmers and ranchers are always the first to be hit by retaliatory tariffs, and in the case of China, significant exports markets are likely to be the first casualty. NFU is very concerned about the effects that China’s proposed retaliatory efforts would have on all agricultural products, particularly given our already burdensome inventories of grains. The President must have a plan in place to protect family farmers before seeking to remedy unfair trade practices."

Wheat Grower Organizations: Enforcing Trade Rules is Best Done Within the Rules

While U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) understand and support the need to enforce international trade rules, we are very concerned about the implications of the Trump Administration’s decision today to impose more than $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

We agree that unfair Chinese government policies create unnecessary trade distortions that hurt U.S. farmers and other industries. Our organizations urged the U.S. government to challenge China’s domestic price support and tariff rate quota compliance that led to cases disputing these policies within the World Trade Organization (WTO). Such cases served notice to China and our trading partners that the United States would lead a legitimate effort to enforce existing trade rules — by following those rules. We believe that it is in the nation’s best interests, and the interests of the wheat farmers we represent, to challenge trade distorting policies to the maximum extent possible within WTO rules.

It is unfortunate that the well-intentioned decision to challenge other Chinese trade policies has been implemented in a way that violates the rules outlined in Article II of the GATT Agreement. Recent actions including withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and implementing steel and aluminum tariffs on the basis of national security have already undermined U.S. leadership in international trade. Now this action further erodes historical support for rules-based trade policies, even though China will likely bring a case against the tariffs within the WTO dispute settlement process.

In addition, USW and NAWG fear that applying unilateral tariffs could invite retaliation that, as recent history shows, would be aimed at U.S. agricultural products. This could very well include China throwing up road blocks to U.S. soybeans, wheat, corn and other commodity imports, which would cut into already unsustainable farm incomes.

We welcome the administration’s strong support for enforcing trade rules. We only wish it would have challenged China’s state-driven policies in ways that complied with and strengthened existing trade rules.

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