Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Monday March 19 Ag News

Burt Co. Cattlemen's Ladies Night
Sat Mar 24th 6:30pm - Tekemah Auditorium, Tekemah NE

Saunders Co. Livestock Assoc.
Tue Mar 27th 6:00pm - 4H Building Saunders Co. Fairgrounds - Wahoo NE
6pm social - 7pm meal

Washington County Cattlemen Banquet
Sat Mar 31st 6:00pm - Washington County Fairgrounds, Arlington NE
It's at a new location this year, in the Rybin Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds.  Social sponsored by Washington County Bank with meal and auction to follow.  Highlighted auction item is a brand new John Deere 825i UTV!

Transitioning to Regenerative Farming in Fremont Event on March 26th

Monday March 25, 2018 - 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
YMCA Hazel Keene Lodge, 3402 W Military Ave, Fremont, NE 68025
FREE and Open to The Public - RSVP: bit.ly/RegeNErateFreemont

RegeNErate Nebraska, a growing community of local farmers, community groups, urban consumers, tribes, and everyday citizens working together for more local control over how their food is produced and distributed, will be holding a FREE community event at the YMCA Hazel Keene Lodge just west of Fremont. The discussion will cover numerous topics ranging from diversifying farm operations while regenerating the soil, transitioning from conventional to regenerative at low cost and increasing access to locally produced food. Additionally, the event will discuss scaling up regenerative poultry as a safer alternative to Costco’s contract grower poultry system, which will subject area residents to air and water pollution and put area farmers at risk. The workshop will also reveal recent FOIA’d USDA lab testing results on livestock and increasing glyphosate levels in humans.

When it comes to farmers transition to regenerative agriculture, local farmer Del Ficke makes the reasoning clear, “It’s not rocket science, it’s not even arithmetic, it’s just common sense.”

“As a fifth-generation farmer, it’s been painful to watch industrial agriculture’s impact to family farmers and our rural communities,” said RegeNErate co-founder Graham Christensen. He added, “more urban and rural people alike realize that the transition to regenerative agriculture is in the best interest of the people and the planet.  These events are an overdue first step in bringing new people together to develop rural to urban food pipelines and break down food access issues, while regenerating the soil and Nebraska communities at the same time.

“Modern farming techniques are letting this country down,” said Nebraska Communities United President Randy Ruppert.  “We have more food insecure people than any time in our history, and we lead western civilization in food related diseases.  We need to re-examine where our food comes from, we need to know the food we eat is healthy, and we need to ensure that we are contributing to a health community, state, and nation.  RegeNErate Nebraska addresses the solution to these growing problems.”

The RegeNErate Fremont Event will also feature a FREE local prepared dinner with regenerative beef and side products produced from Nebraska Regenerative Farmers.

NCW Beef Ambassador Contest

Are you passionate about the Beef Industry?  The Nebraska Beef Ambassador Contest provides an opportunity for youth to become spokespersons and future leaders in the beef industry.  If public speaking or industry advocacy is your thing, you should compete.

June 6, 2018
1:00 pm
College Park Grand Island, NE

Registration deadline: Friday, June 1

More Information...   http://nebraskacattlemen.org/CMDocs/NebraskaCA/2018BAContest.pdf.

Applications for Innovative Youth Corn Challenge Due by April 1

Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Corn Board are offering the seventh Innovative Youth Corn Challenge contest. This contest, open to 4-H members (ages 10 and older as of January 1) or FFA members (in-school members), guides participants through all aspects of corn production, as well as agricultural careers related to corn production.

As a team (two or more participants), youth will be challenged to implement a production practice different than normal to determine if they increased yield. Economics and sustainability of the practice also will be considered. Yields, cropping history, and production information will be collected in the Corn Yield Challenge management summary.

Cash prizes and plaques are given. First place receives $1,000, second place receives $500, and third place receives $250.  Sustainability, crop scouting and “extra mile” awards are also given as cash awards.   

To participate in 2018, youth must complete and return an entry form by April 1 to the Extension Office in Geneva. Forms can be downloaded at https://cropwatch.unl.edu/youth/cornchallenge.

For more information, contact Brandy VanDeWalle at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu.

Northeast seeks Ag-ceptional Woman of the Year nominations

Each year, Northeast Community College recognizes the vital role that women play in agriculture and honors one individual each year during its AG-ceptional Women’s Conference. 

Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2018 AG-ceptional Woman of the Year Award, which will be presented during the 10th Annual AG-ceptional Women’s Conference on Friday, November 16, in the Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. The recipient will be featured in a video tribute sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.

Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science, said she looks forward to honoring all women in agriculture during the annual event.

“This will be our 10th annual conference and we expect it to be the best conference so far!  At Northeast Community College, we recognize the contributions women make as advocates for agriculture, in their own operations, and in their communities. They make a difference and we want to provide a day to educate, motivate and celebrate these special people. The AG-ceptional Woman of the Year Award draws attention to the importance of their role in agriculture. We encourage you to nominate a deserving woman in agriculture for this award.”

Liz Doerr, Creighton, was honored as the 2017 AG-ceptional Woman of the Year for her dedication, strength, skills, and impact on agriculture. She was nominated by several individuals, including her husband, Gary, who said his wife, “always has a very positive attitude and a smile on her face. She enjoys being a problem solver, and isn’t afraid to take on a challenge.”

Other past AG-ceptional Woman of the Year honorees include: Bonnie Schulz, Battle Creek, in 2010; Jan Miller, Belden, in 2011; Nancy Kirkholm, Homer, in 2012; Jan Frenzen, Fullerton, in 2013, Dawn Winkelbauer, Norfolk, in 2014, Karen Grant, Meadow Grove, in 2015, and Anne Meis, Elgin, in 2016.

The deadline for nominating the 2018 AG-ceptional Woman of the Year recipient is April 30. Nomination forms may be accessed at: www.northeast.edu/agceptional.

For additional information, contact Morris at (402) 844-7361.

GROW Act strengthens conservation programs

Late last week, Iowa’s Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) as well as Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) introduced the Give our Resources the Opportunity to Work, or GROW, Act (S. 2557).

The act would maintain funding and acreage levels for the farm bill’s three largest conservation programs: the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

“The GROW Act demonstrates clear support for our nation’s farmers to strengthen conservation efforts across the landscape,” said Anna Johnson, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “At a time when building healthy soils and protecting water quality are of utmost importance, any cuts to these conservation programs would weaken farmers’ ability to preserve these important natural resources.”

Johnson said the GROW Act provides avenues for farmers to access higher levels of conservation.

“Some of the exciting proposals in the bill are that it incentivizes cover crops under CSP, increases set-aside funds for conservation buffers within continuous CRP, and maintains an emphasis on water quality under EQIP in support of farmers who steward natural resources for future generations,” Johnson said. “We thank Sens. Ernst and Grassley for demonstrating such strong support for farmers in the stewardship of their land.”

The Center for Rural Affairs also supports a similar bill, Strengthening Our Investment in Land (SOIL) Stewardship Act of 2018 (H.R. 5188), introduced in the House last week by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).

Adding Grass to Thinning Alfalfa Offers a Win-Win

Amy Timmerman – Extension Educator

Thin alfalfa stands can be rejuvenated by interseeding grasses and converting them to pasture or haying as a grass-alfalfa mixture.

Most alfalfa fields start to lose stand and production ability after cutting hay for several years. Sometimes winterkill thins stands, As your stands begin to get thin, consider interseeding grasses into it. Not only might you extend the useful life of your alfalfa field by several years, you also will develop excellent hay or grazing for your livestock.

The most common grasses interseeded into alfalfa are orchardgrass and smooth brome, but other grasses like endophyte-free tall fescue, meadow brome, festulolium, and wheatgrasses also can be used. If you plan to use this field as pasture, include other legumes like red clover for short-term pasture or birdsfoot trefoil if you plan to graze this as pasture more than three years. This will add diversity to animal diets and help assure good legume growth for several more years.

You must get these new seedlings off to an early start, so be sure to interseed as soon as soils thaw and conditions allow tractor and drills to operate properly. If your alfalfa still is relatively thick and vigorous, also take a very early hay cutting well before buds form, probably during the first week of May. This will allow sunlight to continue to reach new seedlings below the alfalfa. Then use your good judgment regarding competition from the existing alfalfa for subsequent hay cuts. By mid- to late summer you could be able to start rotational grazing. The new seedlings won’t contribute much forage this year, but next year they should be a welcome addition.

Interseeding grass into existing alfalfa takes timely planting and haying, but can improve both the land and the livestock.

Top 10 Best Burgers in Iowa Announced

Iowans submitted nearly 9,200 nominations between February 12 – March 12 to kick off the quest to find the best burger in Iowa. Nominations were accepted online by the the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. The number of votes each restaurant received determined the 2018 Top Ten restaurants. The restaurants making the Top Ten list (in alphabetical order) include:
BurgerFiend, Cedar Rapids
Cafe Beaudelaire, Ames
The IowaStater Restaurant, Ames
Moo’s BBQ, Newton
Morgan’s Corner, Ottumwa
Rides Bar & Grill, Fort Dodge
Robin’s Nest Cafe, Clarinda (formerly Vaughn’s Cafe and Bakery)
Saucy Focaccia, Cedar Rapids
The Twisted Tail Steakhouse, Logan (BeeBeeTown)
Wrangling Grace Cafe, Bancroft

"Iowa has over 27,000 beef producers, and this contest is a great way to celebrate the beef they produce and the impact they have on Iowa," says Katie Olthoff, Director of Communications for the Iowa Cattlemen's Association.

To qualify, the burger must be a 100% beef patty or patties, although other ingredients may be added such as spices, and served on a bun or bread product. Burgers may include any combination of condiments, sauces, cheese or toppings.

“We moved all of the voting to online this year and set a new record with over 700 restaurants receiving at least one nomination,” comments Brooke German, Director of Marketing for the Iowa Beef Industry Council. “In total, we had over 300 towns and cities across Iowa represented which proves that there are a lot of great tasting burgers all across the state.”

Seven restaurants are new to the contest’s Top 10 list and include: BurgerFiend, Cedar Rapids; Cafe Beaudelaire, Ames; Iowa Stater Restaurant, Ames; Moo’s BBQ, Newton; Morgan’s Corner, Ottumwa; The Twisted Tail Steakhouse, Logan; and Wrangling Grace Cafe, Bancroft.

Returning contestants include: Ride’s Bar and Grill, Fort Dodge; Robin’s Nest Cafe, Clarinda (formerly Vaughn’s Cafe and Bakery); and Saucy Focaccia, Cedar Rapids.

The quest for the winner of the Iowa’s Best Burger will now begin. All Top Ten restaurants will be visited by a panel of anonymous judges who will evaluate the burgers based on taste, appearance, and proper doneness (160 degrees fahrenheit). The judges’ scores and comments will be accumulated and the winner will be crowned on May 1.

“We encourage everyone to visit the Top Ten restaurants,” says German. “These are only a few of the many restaurants in Iowa that do an outstanding job of promoting and serving our beef product to their customers on behalf of Iowa’s beef farmers.”

To learn more about the contest and the Top Ten restaurants, including addresses and hours, visit www.iabeef.org.



Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig highlighted the ongoing biosecurity efforts by Iowa turkey, egg and broiler farmers and the preparations undertaken on the state and federal level following the confirmation of low pathogenic avian influenza in Missouri and Texas in recent weeks.

Low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus strains occur naturally in wild migratory waterfowl and shorebirds without causing illness.  LPAI can occur in domestic poultry, with little or no signs of illness. However, there is the potential for low pathogenic viruses to evolve into highly pathogenic viruses, which are extremely infectious, often fatal to domestic poultry, and can spread rapidly from flock-to-flock.  As a result, it is important to monitor and respond to both low-path and high-path avian influenza detections.

“The low path avian influenza cases in Missouri and Texas highlight again the risks facing our poultry producers. We have seen poultry farms investing in biosecurity improvements in recent years to protect their birds and keep them healthy.  That is their focus all year long, but as we enter the spring migration season it is important they remain diligent in their biosecurity efforts,” Naig said.

Biosecurity Important for Farmers

Iowa turkey, egg and broiler farmers have updated their biosecurity measures and made significant investments to help prevent the disease from getting on their farm. They focus every day on biosecurity in recognition of the potential that Avian Influenza and other diseases are always a risk.  All poultry farms need to have a biosecurity plan to qualify for USDA indemnification.

Iowa's egg, turkey and broiler companies have implemented company-wide biosecurity plans. The Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University, College of Veterinary Medicine has produced numerous materials to help farmers update biosecurity measures on their farm.  More information about their suggestions can be found at http://poultrybiosecurity.org/.

It is also recommended all livestock premises that have one or more animals have an official premises identification number, which may be obtained for free by contacting the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

The Department is in the process of contacting farmers who have previously registered a livestock premises in an effort to update the Iowa Premises Registration database. Farmers are asked to respond to the letter and either confirm the information is correct or respond with their updated information.

Farmers can update their premises information or receive information on how to obtain premise identification number at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/animalIndustry/premiseIdentificationProgram.asp or by calling the Department toll free at 888-778-7675.

Animal Health Emergency Preparations Continue

The Department continues efforts to update response plans for potential animal disease emergencies. As part of those efforts, the Department hired an Emergency Management Veterinarian for Iowa.

The Department received an additional $100,000 from the Iowa Legislature to support preparations for a foreign animal disease outbreak and a portion of that funding is being used for this position.  This new position supports the Departments efforts to ensure emergency response plans are up to date, organize disease response exercises and work with industry partners.

The Iowa response to Avian Influenza operates under a Unified Command involving the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services.  We also work closely with partners in the Poultry industry as well as other state agencies, including the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

ISU Extension and Outreach Celebrates National Ag Day

Agriculture is important to Iowa. Iowans grow crops and raise livestock that feed our state, nation and global community.

Celebrating the efforts of American agriculture and reminding citizens that agriculture is part of all of us is the focus of 2018 National Ag Day. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: Food For Life” and the day will be celebrated across the country.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is committed to helping farmers grow more sustainable and profitable enterprises through objective, scientific solutions to the issues and opportunities unique to agriculture in Iowa.

“Research that is conducted on campus and by our field specialists helps improve the lives of farmers across the state,” said Jay Harmon, interim director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach at Iowa State. “This research reaches Iowans through programming conducted by extension specialists and county staff.”

ISU Extension and Outreach saw its impact felt through a variety of avenues in 2017:
-    Over 6.7 million people visited ISU Extension and Outreach webpages.
-    Specialists made 1,900 presentations at agriculture and natural resources meetings, workshops and field days, coming in contact with more than 195,900 people.
-    68,000 people subscribed to 39 ISU Extension and Outreach agriculture-related newsletters.
-    ISU Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources specialists wrote 1,200 articles, with more than 1.9 million print publications being distributed and downloaded. Specialists also were interviewed more than 2,900 times for popular press articles.
-    Face-to-face connections remained popular, with 7,931 meetings between agriculture and natural resources extension specialists and their clients.

“ISU Extension and Outreach specialists serve their communities and Iowa agriculture by providing timely, relevant information that impacts the lives of those they come in contact with,” Harmon said. “This has always been our mission, and it is what we will continually strive to do.”

CWT Assists with 2.6 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 17 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association and United Dairymen of Arizona. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 2.361million pounds (1,071 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and 220,462 pounds (100 metric tons) of butter to customers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from March through June 2018.

CWT-assisted member cooperative 2018 export sales total 25.234 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 4.896 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 18 countries on four continents. These sales are the equivalent of 343.081 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Totals adjusted for cancellations.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

U.S. Corn Sales Break Records

U.S. corn merchants have sold in excess of 650 million bushels since early January, shockingly more than usual for any time of year, and the demand prospects continue to look good as of mid-March with the U.S. product plentiful and attractively priced. According to Reuters, this comes despite earlier doubts from industry analysts that the 2017-18 U.S. export campaign could be as successful as the prior year amid increasing competition from South America and relatively elevated global stocks.

The 650 million bushels of corn sold within the nine weeks ended March 8 represent more than a quarter of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual target of 2.225 billion bushels. It is also the largest-ever volume of net U.S. corn sales for a nine-week period since records began in 1990.

Just two months ago, USDA's forecast called for a much more modest 1.925 billion bushels of corn to be shipped during the 2017-18 marketing year, which would have represented a 16 percent decline from the previous year.

But things are certainly looking up as of late, and USDA has recognized it with a pretty historic adjustment. If the trend continues, USDA will likely need to lift the annual target again in the coming months, which could help bring domestic year-end supply near or below 2 billion bushels, reports Reuters.

At the beginning of the 2017/18 marketing year on Sept. 1, sales were sluggish and the hopes for U.S. corn exports were looking fairly bleak relative to the prior year. Late in September, total net sales were about 35 percent behind where they were a year earlier.

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