Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wednesday June 12 Ag News

Nebraska Farm Bureau to Hold Agriculture Issue Regional Listening Sessions

The Nebraska Farm Bureau will hold a series of regional listening sessions across the state in June. Two more sessions will happen in August. The sessions are open to the public and will provide farmers and ranchers with the opportunity to share their thoughts on issues impacting their operations.

“I hope people will take advantage of the opportunity to come to one of our listening sessions and share their thoughts. The input we received during these meetings last summer was extremely valuable. Nebraska Farm Bureau was founded by farmers and ranchers who understood the importance of working together to solve problems and these sessions are another way in which we can work together today to identify and address issues impacting our farm and ranch families and our rural communities,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Regional Listening sessions are scheduled for:

Wednesday, June 19 – Nehawka
6:00 p.m.
Lance Ross Farm
6908 66th Street
Nehawka, NE

Tuesday, June 25 – Alliance
6:00 p.m.
Ackerman’s Ag Services and Supply
115 Cody Ave.
Alliance, NE

Thursday, June 20 – Farnam
6:00 p.m.
Peiper Seed Solutions
75023 Rd. 410
Farnam, NE

Wednesday, June 26 – Taylor
6:00 p.m.
Taylor Community Park
4th St. & Murray St.
Taylor, NE

Thursday, June 27 – Miller                                     
6:00 p.m.                                                                
Apache Ag Building                                                  
2 mi. West of Miller                                                  
Hwy 40 & Apache Rd./450 Rd.                                 
Miller, NE

Monday, August 12 – West Point
6:00 p.m.
Nielsen Community Center
200 Anna Stalp Ave.
West Point, NE

All listening sessions will begin with a social at 6:00 p.m. local time, to be followed by a meal and program. Those interested can RSVP by texting LISTENING SESSIONS to 52886 or online at RSVPs are appreciated, but walk-ins are welcome.

Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm Plans Field Day

Producers can learn about the latest in agronomics and weed management during the annual Iowa State University Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm Field Day, July 10.

Located in O’Brien County, the 272-acre farm will feature at least four different presentations led by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach professionals, and a talk by John Lawrence, Iowa State's vice president for extension and outreach.

Erin Hodgson, associate professor and extension entomology specialist, will give a presentation on soybean gall midge, a new pest emerging in western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

“Researchers are just now trying to get a handle on what it is and how it lives,” said Joel DeJong, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

DeJong will give a talk on agronomic issues in the current growing season, along with Paul Kassel, extension field agronomist.

Alison Robertson, professor and extension plant pathology and microbiology specialist, will talk about corn diseases and fungicide research.

Prashant Jha, associate professor and extension weed specialist, will discuss herbicide technologies and resistant weed management strategies in northwest Iowa.

Farmers in northwestern Iowa faced the same issues with a wet spring and late planting as many others across the state. However, as of mid-June, DeJong said many were hoping for some more rain, to help break up crusted soils and provide the needed moisture for late-planted crops.

The field day will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon. There will be time for networking and questions. A free lunch will be provided and there is no pre-registration.

The Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm is located at 6320 500th St., Sutherland, Iowa. The farm is a quarter-mile east of Highway 59, on B-62, about two miles south of Calumet.

For more information, call Joel DeJong at 712-546-7835, or email

Pork Checkoff Seeks 2019 #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces Team

The National Pork Board is seeking applicants for the 2019 student social forces team. The applications are open now through July 8 at

The social forces team will advocate for pig farming through social media usage. Selected applicants who successfully complete all outlined milestones will be eligible for a $500 scholarship.

“Last year, the team generated over 670 positive posts about pig farming in a five-month period,” said Claire Masker, director of sustainability communications for the National Pork Board. “This year, we anticipate more discussion about pig farming while the students expand their professional network.”

The Checkoff’s #RealPigFarming social media campaign gives pig farmers, academics, youth, veterinarians and allied industry members an opportunity to discuss today’s pork production across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Applications are open to students, age 18 to 23, who are involved in the swine industry and who are pursuing a post-secondary degree. Applicants should understand the importance of pork production and have basic communication skills. The team is expected to be active from July through December.

“The student social forces team serves as another resource for consumers to ask questions about food safety, sustainability and other key areas,” Masker said. “The students play a key role in helping pork producers share their farms and to answer consumer questions.”

The team will gather at the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa, in September. The meeting will expose students to the Pork Checkoff program, to communication strategies and to other aspects relative to advocacy and the swine industry.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 6/7/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending June 7, ethanol production expanded by 52,000 barrels per day (b/d), a 5.0% increase, at an average of 1.096 million barrels per day (b/d). This is equivalent to 46.03 million gallons daily and the largest volume in 44 weeks. The four-week average ethanol production rate moved 2.5% higher to 1.067 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.36 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks dropped 3.3% to 21.8 million barrels—the lowest volume in 46 weeks. Stocks declined across all five regions (PADDs).

Imports of ethanol were 44,000 b/d, or 12.94 million gallons for the week. This was the first time in 30 weeks (and first of 2019) that import volumes were logged. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of April 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied rose 4.6% to 9.877 million b/d (414.8 million gallons per day, or 151.41 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol grew 2.4% to 953,000 b/d, equivalent to 14.61 bg annualized.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production increased to 11.10%.

Growth Energy Steps Up Against E15 Challenge

Today, Growth Energy filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to intervene in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule allowing year-round access to gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol, or E15. The final rule is being challenged by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) who filed the lawsuit on Monday, June 10.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor expressed confidence in EPA’s authority to implement this law:

“It’s no surprise that oil companies want to block consumer choice at the fuel pump. We saw the same kind of frivolous challenges when Growth Energy first secured approval of E15 in 2011. We beat them then, and we’ll beat them now.

“The oil industry wants to inject uncertainty into the marketplace and discourage more retailers from offering clean, affordable options like E15. But the law is on our side. We know – and the EPA has said – the agency has clear authority to implement the law through appropriate regulations. A move toward cleaner fuels is exactly what Congress intended under the Clean Air Act.”


Under the Clean Air Act, judicial challenges to EPA’s E15 rulemaking may be brought as a “petition for review” within 60 days of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.  Interested parties such as Growth Energy may also file a motion to intervene in the petition for review to protect their interests. Upon approval of the court, intervenors may participate in the litigation.  

Retail Urea Prices Continue to Trend Higher

Retail urea prices continue to trek higher, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the first week of June 2019.  Overall, prices of eight major fertilizers remained mixed, keeping with the general trend of the past several months.

Four fertilizers were higher compared to last month with none up a significant amount, which DTN considers to be a price move of 5% or more. Potash had an average price of $392/ton, up $1; urea $434/ton, up $16; UAN28 $271/ton, up $4; and UAN32 $314/ton, up $4.

Two fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month but, again, the move lower was fairly minor. Anhydrous and DAP prices both declined $4/ton to $591/ton and $497/ton respectively.

In addition, two fertilizers were unchanged from the previous month. MAP had an average price of $527/ton and 10-34-0 $487/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 4% more expensive, both potash and 10-34-0 are all 11% higher, UAN28 is 12% more expensive; UAN32 is 14% higher, urea is 17% more expensive and urea is 19% higher compared to last year.


The National Corn Growers Association applauded the Administration after President Donald Trump signed the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order yesterday. This important declaration will streamline the approval process for agricultural products produced through biotechnology while reinforcing the move toward a product and not process-based approach.

The order promotes a science- and risk-based program that will lay out a clear, predictable and efficient regulatory framework. This will offer cost savings to technology developers, open the pipeline for product approval to a larger sphere and allow farmers more rapid access to the tools that they need in the field.

This order also furthers policies important to farmers by expanding markets by urging USDA, along with USTR and the Department of State, to work with our trade partners abroad to synchronize approval processes internationally and help remove barriers to trade created by non-transparent and non-science-based regulatory approval processes.

Additionally, it will aid in furthering public acceptance through the creation and support of programs that promote the public approval of agricultural products created through biotechnology both at home and abroad.

Soybean Industry Applauds Biotech Executive Order

The American Soybean Association (ASA) applauds the President, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their work to improve the regulatory process for biotechnology by ensuring decisions are transparent, timely and based firmly on sound science, and evaluation of risk.

President Trump signed June 11 the Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products Executive Order.

Kentucky soy grower and ASA President Davie Stephens said, “Soybean farmers appreciate the steps toward a more consistent, coordinated approach to the biotech regulatory system domestically and abroad.”

By promoting agricultural innovation and confidence in new technologies, farmers, small agribusinesses, researchers, and others have the opportunity to pursue advanced ways to grow our food, fight plant pests and disease, reduce reliance on fertilizers and other resources, and respond to consumer demands to reduce the impact of agriculture on the environment, in keeping with farming’s ongoing good stewardship efforts.

ASA looks forward to working with the responsible agencies to help move these improvements forward.

Biotech Executive Order Vital for U.S. Agriculture

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall

“Having an updated, transparent and scientifically sound regulatory system for agricultural biotechnology is critical if American farmers and ranchers are to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.  I applaud President Trump for his Executive Order that will foster policy to spur agricultural innovation, encourage engagement and alignment at the global level and provide a firm foundation for the future of gene edited crops and animals.  Innovative solutions have been a creed for American agriculture for a long time and with yesterday’s action by the President, it ensures a framework and directive for agricultural innovation well into the future.”

Farmers Need New Water Rule, Farm Bureau Tells Senate

The EPA’s latest proposal to define which waters can be regulated by the federal government and which by state and local authorities is a vast improvement over previous efforts, Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom told the Senate Subcommittee on Fisheries, Waters, and Wildlife today.

Expensive professional services needed to comply with the Clean Water Act, he said, too often make it impossible for farmers to use their own land to its fullest.

“Farm Bureau cannot overstate the importance of a rule that draws clear lines of jurisdiction that farmers and ranchers can understand without needing to hire armies of consultants and lawyers,” Fornstrom told the subcommittee. “The (Clean Water Act) carries significant fines and penalties for persons who violate the Act’s prohibitions. Historically, farmers and ranchers have chosen to forfeit full use and enjoyment of their land rather than go down the onerous and expensive path of seeking CWA 404 permits. The cost to obtain a general permit can exceed tens of thousands of dollars and individual permits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Farmers and ranchers know these costs exceed the value of their land, which leads them to simply stay out of the regulatory quagmire by forgoing the use of their land without compensation.”

Fornstrom praised the latest proposed rule for its preservation of the Clean Water Act’s partnership among federal, state and local regulators.

“The CWA requires the federal government to work hand-in-hand with states, because the federal government cannot and should not regulate every single wet feature in every community, he said. “By drawing clear lines between waters of the U.S. and waters of the state, the proposal strengthens the cooperative federalism Congress envisioned and that the Supreme Court has long recognized as fundamental to the Clean Water Act.”

Crop Scientists Looking for Ways to Beat the Heat

Can a small circuit board, barely the size of a credit card, help the world's wheat to beat the heat?

Kansas State University researchers think so, and they say that they've built the world's first facility to help them prove it.

K-State's work is funded for two more years by the National Science Foundation through its Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program, known as EPSCoR. K-State is working on the study in partnership with the University of Nebraska and Arkansas State University, which currently is looking to build its own heat tents.

In a lush field north of the university's Manhattan campus, the scientists are testing more than 300 wheat cultivars under heat-controlled tents to show that high nighttime temperatures are robbing the nation's wheat growers of both the quantity and quality of their crop.

"A small computer, called a Raspberry Pi, is used to monitor temperature and adjust conditions inside the tents so that the researchers can determine the cultivars that are less -- and more -- susceptible to high temperatures," said Dan Wagner, a graduate student in computer science who built the system.

"This is not just the wheat grown in Kansas," said crop physiologist Krishna Jagadish, an associate professor of agronomy. "These lines represent the entire U.S. hard red winter wheat collection."

Jagadish walks among eight sections of wheat, each split into 40 rows containing one wheat cultivar. It adds up to 320 wheat cultivars, many of the hard red winter wheat or their offshoots that are grown somewhere in the country.

The researchers have built six such tents, each growing the same 320 cultivars but held under different environmental conditions. There is no facility like this in the world, Jagadish said, noting that the project will provide researchers with precious data to help them generate newer wheat varieties with tolerance to heat.

"We will be harvesting each of the cultivars through the end of June," said Raju Bheemanahalli, a post-doctoral fellow in K-State's Department of Agronomy. "Then we will analyze the size and number of grains, protein content and more. From that, we will identify the genomic regions that will help in developing markers controlling heat tolerance."

Eventually, he said, those markers can be used by wheat breeders to develop varieties that yield well even under more intense heat.

Regardless of where it's grown, all wheat is susceptible to heat, and researchers now believe that high nighttime temperatures can be equally damaging as high daytime temperatures.

The tents that K-State has built are designed to expose wheat to typical field conditions while comparing it closely to wheat grown under more controlled conditions.

"We have three control tents in which we don't roll the side walls and end walls down so that we let fresh air in," said Nathan Hein, an assistant scientist in K-State's Department of Agronomy. "And then we have three heated tents that we completely shut down overnight."

The heated tents are kept at a temperature 4 degrees Celsius above the outdoor temperature. Six sensors inside each tent are strategically located to make sure the temperature is held uniformly across the 320 wheat cultivars.

"The Pi (computer) operates like a thermostat in your house," Hein said. "Once the temperature drops too low, it flips the relay and turns the heater on. When the tent's temperature is 4 degrees Celsius above the outside temperature, then the Pi shuts the heaters down."

Jagadish said that causing stress uniformly to the cultivars in a common setting provides valuable clues to which ones will perform better in actual field conditions.

"We may find that specific lines coming from a region are more susceptible to heat, and that the quality of the wheat gets even worse as nighttime temperatures increase," he said.

The researchers have been studying the effect of nighttime temperatures for more than a year, first in a smaller pilot project and now in a more expanded, fully operational facility. Jagadish said it's clear that high nighttime temperatures cause a deterioration in the wheat crop; the key is to minimize the damage.

"When exposed to high nighttime temperatures during grain filling, the grain weight, yield and starch content goes down, and the protein content increases," Jagadish said.

"That changes the dynamics of what is required for maintaining the quality of bread, including the elasticity, and qualities like that. High level of protein with increasing nighttime temperature will make the bread crusty, which means that you may not get the loaf of bread as you really like it."

Jagadish said that much of Kansas State's work in the past has been directed toward ensuring quality bread wheat, but his team's current study also has some implications for another growing industry -- craft beer.

Brewers prefer grains that are plump, but high nighttime temperatures tend to shrink the size of the grain. Jagadish said there are indications that smaller wheat grains will not only affect the quantity of beer but also the quality.

In addition, the concept of using tents to test heat stress on wheat can be applied to other farm crops, notably corn and sorghum. "This facility can be used for any crop," Jagadish said. "That's how it's built."

South Carolina Law Bans Lab Grown Protein from Advertising as Meat

South Carolina has passed a new law that keeps protein grown in a laboratory from stem cells as advertising as "meat."

Primary sponsor Republican Rep. Randy Ligon of Chester says he didn't want people to confuse lab-grown protein with the real thing, reports the Associated Press.

The lawmaker and member of the South Carolina Cattlemen's Association told The Post and Courier of Charleston he doesn't want to stop research into the alternative food, but he does want to make sure consumers understand what they are getting.

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and Gov. Henry McMaster signed it into law last month.

Lab-grown meat hasn't made it into stores yet, but federal agencies have announced how they will regulate the industry.

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