Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tuesday July 23 Ag News

2019 Platte Valley Cattlemen Golf & Grill Event

Monday, August 12, 2019
Steepleview (Humphrey) & Club 91(Leigh)

-12:30 pm check-in and 1:00 pm shotgun start at Club 91
- 1:30 pm check-in and 2:00 pm shotgun start at Steepleview
- 4 person scramble, make a team or we will assign you one
-PVC directors will assign each team to a course
- Pin & team prizes awarded following the meal in Humphrey - Must be present to win
- Steak Dinner will be served at approximately 6 pm at Steepleview

Any business or individual interested in sponsoring a hole and/or pin prize, please contact Boyd Hellbusch at (402)920-0699 or

Aggie dean set to retire from NCTA

Ron Rosati, dean of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis, plans to retire Aug. 5 from NCTA. Rosati was tapped as head administrator for the University of Nebraska’s sole two-year institution in July 2013.

Before completing his University of Nebraska service at year-end, Rosati will serve as senior advisor for the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) in Kigali, Rwanda. Opening in September, RICA is an English language institution dedicated to educating and inspiring a new generation of innovators in agriculture in Rwanda.

“Under Ron Rosati’s leadership, NCTA truly reached new heights in providing academic and financial access to higher education, as well as career preparation in the ag and veterinary technology industries,” said Mike Boehm, NU vice president for agriculture and natural resources, and Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“I want to thank Ron for his exemplary service and dedication over the past six years and wish him the best as he transitions into retirement.”

Kelly Bruns, director at NU’s West Central Research and Extension Center based in North Platte, has been named NCTA interim dean, while continuing to serve in his WCREC role. Bruns will lead NCTA campus administration with associate dean Jennifer McConville.

“It has been a privilege for me to serve NCTA as dean,” Rosati said. “The college is an exceptional place to work due to its small size, focus on agriculture and veterinary technology, and its emphasis on experiential learning.”

Rosati is a native of New York and has earned degrees in agricultural education and agronomy. He earned his doctorate from Iowa State, masters and bachelor’s from Cornell University, and associate degree from SUNY Farmingdale. Prior to moving to Nebraska, Rosati served in administrative capacities as provost at Southeast Missouri State University, provost at Alfred State College, State University of New York, and was a dean at Texas A&M University, Kingsville.

Rosati taught agricultural engineering technology and aquaculture for 19 years at Texas A&M University–Kingsville, Illinois State University, The Ohio State University – Agricultural Technical Institute, and Iowa State University.

Rosati led strategic initiatives at NCTA including a 28.5% enrollment growth from 2013-2018, increased fiscal strength from deficit to fiscal health, and added academic programs in agricultural welding, equine industry management, a general agriculture online degree certificate, and partnerships in dairy and poultry management.

“NCTA has been recognized nationally for the quality of its academic programs and the success of its graduates. It’s been very rewarding for me to work with the faculty and staff who are responsible for those successes,” Rosati said.

Other administrative progress at NCTA the past six years included developing new procedures and policies for advising, admissions, registration, student payment procedures, student transfers, academic catalogs, student and employee handbooks, and Title IX and ADA compliance.

Increased appropriations by the Nebraska Legislature enabled significant campus progress in programs, student resources, and pay equity for faculty. New initiatives in public relations and recruiting, federal approval for enrolling international students, and reaccreditation were further benchmarks.

Bruns, who holds a doctorate in animal science, has served as director of WCREC since Nov. 2015. Jerry Volesky, longtime range and forage specialist, will serve as interim associate director at WCREC.

A national search will be launched to identify a new permanent dean of NCTA.


All layers in Nebraska during June 2019 totaled 8.91 million, up from 7.91 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during June totaled 222 million eggs, up from 201 million in 2018. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,490 eggs, compared to 2,542 eggs in 2018.


Iowa egg production during June 2019 was 1.39 billion eggs, down 5 percent from last month but up 4 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 June 2019 was 57.3 million, down 2 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last year. Eggs per 100 layers for June were 2,430, down 3 percent from last month but up 5 percent from last year.

June Egg Production Up 2 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.16 billion during June 2019, up 2 percent from last year. Production included 7.99 billion table eggs, and 1.17 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.09 billion were broiler-type and 85.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during June 2019 totaled 392 million, up slightly from last year. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,334 eggs, up 2 percent from June 2018.
All layers in the United States on July 1, 2019 totaled 390 million, down slightly from last year. The 390 million layers consisted of 327 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 59.3 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.40 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on July 1, 2019, averaged 77.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from July 1, 2018.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Down 2 Percent

Egg-type chicks hatched during June 2019 totaled 51.9 million, down 2 percent from June 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 47.6 million on July 1, 2019, up 3 percent from a year ago.  Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 242 thousand during June 2019, up 36 percent from June 2018.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent

Broiler-type chicks hatched during June 2019 totaled 832 million, up 1 percent from June 2018. Eggs in incubators totaled 692 million on July 1, 2019, up slightly from a year ago.  Leading breeders placed 8.72 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during June 2019, up 5 percent from June 2018.

Farm Sector Debt at 30 Year High, But Interest Remains Low

Farm sector debt has reached levels near the peak levels of the late 1970s and early 1980s. High levels of debt increase a farm's risk of going out of business. From 1993 to 2017, real (inflation-adjusted) farm debt increased by 87 percent, or 4 percent per year on average.

USDA's Economic Research Service forecasts farm debt to increase 2 percent in both 2018 and 2019. When adjusted for inflation, total farm sector debt in 2019 is forecast to be 4 percent ($4 billion) below the peak reached in 1980. Interest paid on farm debt remained relatively stable from 1990 through 2013, as interest rates declined.

However, interest expenses in 2019 are forecast to increase 38 percent ($6 billion) compared to 2013.

Interest expenses in 2019 are forecast to be 18 percent above the 30-year average, 19 percent above the 10-year average, but 55 percent below the peak in 1982.

Farmer Urges President to Listen to Rural America in New Growth Energy Ad Campaign

Today, Growth Energy, the nation’s largest ethanol association, launched a new ad campaign featuring a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer who is asking President Trump to ensure that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers the devastating impact some of the agency’s policies are having on family farms.

The ads spotlight Scott Henry, of Longview Farms in Nevada, Iowa, who asks the president to continue listening to rural America: “President Trump has been our greatest champion for ethanol, for family farms, for rural America. We do not want President Trump to be undermined. These unelected bureaucrats at the EPA are rigging the system for these oil companies on the backs of family farmers. We hope President Trump will continue to listen to us.”

Slated to run during primetime spots on Fox News in Washington, D.C. and in states across the country, the new ads “put a face to the farm crisis across the country and give a voice to those in rural communities who are most impacted by EPA’s failure to follow the law,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “EPA’s recent 2020 RVO proposal failed to account for the 2.6 billion gallons of American biofuel lost due to the indefensibly high number of refinery exemptions granted in recent years. At every opportunity, EPA is taking liberties that stagnate or shrink vital markets for our family farmers at a time when they need demand for grain the most.”

“We're at a critical junction,” continued Skor, “and the president has an important decision to make: is he going to let EPA continue down this destructive path, or stand up for the hardworking farmers he has vowed to protect?”

The ads comes after EPA recently released the renewable volume obligation numbers for 2020, which sets the biofuel blending targets for forthcoming years. The blending targets fail to account for the billions of gallons lost due to small refinery exemptions and offer no path forward for growth in ethanol demand - stalling innovation in advanced biofuel. EPA also chose to flout the 2017 court ruling requiring the agency to revisit 500 million gallons of biofuel that were inappropriately waived. Additionally, EPA is still sitting on 38 pending applications for refinery exemptions for 2018 and did not account for the granting of any waivers in the 2020 targets, meaning yet again – the numbers fall short of America’s homegrown energy potential.

China Planning More Purchases of U.S. Ag Products

China is making plans to purchase agricultural products from the U.S., a gesture experts said shows Beijing's sincerity and goodwill to push forward the bilateral trade negotiations, and also a firm step of realizing the consensus made by the two heads of state during the G20 meeting. Whether the two will take further steps and make progress in their trade talks depends on the U.S. side, they noted.

Unidentified Chinese enterprises have inquired with US exporters about the purchase of agricultural products, and also applied for the lifting of Chinese tariffs on the farm products in accordance with the regulations of the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency on Sunday, citing Chinese authorities.

"It sends a positive signal for the upcoming trade negotiations between the two governments and is also a firm step of realizing the consensus made by the two heads of state during the G20 meeting" in Osaka, Japan, Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of, a website specializing in grain news, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"China always holds a positive and open attitude toward the bilateral trade relationship. The move shows that China is now stepping up efforts to avoid worsening the trade tensions, which would be harmful for both countries."

A tit-for-tat trade conflict between the world's two largest economies has been ongoing for months, and the stalled talks will resume after leaders of the two countries reached a truce last month.

In the latest sign of progress, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He talked with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the phone at the latter's invitation late Thursday.

Brazilian Soybean Crop Shows Decreased Protein Content

The protein content in Brazilian soybeans fell for the first time in four harvests in 2018, according to preliminary government data, a development that has already cost Brazilian companies business with top buyer China.

According to Reuters, declining protein levels in Brazil, the world's top soybean supplier, spell trouble for exporters who are faced with the prospect of cancellations, selling beans at a discount or stricter contracts requiring quality assurances with buyers who want to guarantee a nutrient-rich purchase.

The protein content in Brazil's 2018 soy crop harvested around January of that year slipped to an average of 36.83% from 37.14% in the previous crop according to preliminary findings, Marcelo de Oliveira, researcher at government research agency Embrapa, told Reuters. The data will be adjusted by September, when the final Embrapa soy quality report is due, he said. In a statement, Embrapa said annual variations in Brazil's soy protein content are not statistically relevant, and indicate the levels of that component of the grain have remained stable.

Cesar Borges, board executive at food processor Caramuru Alimentos SA, said in an interview the company had to turn down a potential sale to China this week because it could not guarantee the minimum protein levels required by the Chinese importer.

Guest-Worker Reforms Essential as Enforcement Increases

The federal government’s announcement of plans to expand and expedite the deportation of undocumented workers prompted a forceful call for guest-worker reforms by American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

“We are a nation of laws and farmers believe our laws must be followed, but our laws also ought to allow for an adequate, legal workforce,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers deserve better than to be forced to leave crops in the field because there aren’t enough workers to help with harvest. Stronger immigration enforcement should be coupled with an improved and more affordable H-2A guest-worker program. Currently, farmers with year-round worker needs, such as dairy and livestock, are unable to use the program and that’s not right. An adequate workforce is needed to address issues ranging from food waste to farm sustainability. America disagrees on many things, but surely we can agree we need to keep putting healthy food on the table.”

Costco’s Wilson Elected President of The Center for Food Integrity Board

Costco’s Craig Wilson is the new president of The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) Board of Directors. Wilson, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at Costco Wholesale Corporation, is among a new slate of officers and board members who represent the diversity of today’s food and agriculture industries and will bring unique perspectives to CFI’s mission of earning trust in today’s food system. Wilson was elected by the CFI board at its July meeting in Kansas City.

In addition, the board named Bill Even as vice president. He is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Pork Board and previously served as the Global Industry Relations Lead for DuPont Pioneer. Secretary/Treasurer is Kirk Merritt, executive director of Ohio Soybean Council. Directors elected to the executive committee are David Fikes, Food Marketing Institute; Monica Massey, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.; and Emily McMillan, Chick-Fil-A, Inc.

The CFI Board of Directors includes industry leaders Keith Dailey, The Kroger Company; Robin Kinney, American Farm Bureau Federation; Stewart Leeth, Smithfield Foods; Sean Leighton, Cargill; Tammy McElroy, Sysco Corporation; Debra Miller, Ph.D., National Confectioners Association; Sara Payne, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation; Ernst van Orsouw, Genus/PIC; Judson Vasconcelos, DVM, Ph.D., Merck Animal Health; and Mindy Whittle, Bayer. Serving as CFI CEO is Charlie Arnot and CFI Executive Director is Terry Fleck.

CFI extends its appreciation to the following individuals for their commitment and support to the board as their time serving comes to an end: CFI Board President Doyle Karr, Corteva; John Baugh, Purdue University; Leon Bruner, Grocery Manufacturers Association; Len Heflich, Grupo Bimbo; Philip Lobo, SmithBucklin; and Amy Roady, Illinois Soybean Association.

Now in its 12th year, CFI is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to help today’s food system earn trust, with a vision of a transparent, sustainable food system in which practices align with consumer expectations and the public discussion is well-informed and balanced. CFI represents the diversity of today’s food system through its many members and partners.   

At the July meeting, the board approved a multi-year Strategic Direction plan for CFI, which will help members and the entire industry more effectively build trust and continue working on critical topics affecting the industry as it moves forward.  

Farmers Union Announces New Education Priorities

Today’s farmers have to do more than just grow food; running a successful operation requires a broad range of skills, including marketing, business management, mechanical repair, and agronomy. To more effectively meet the growing needs of family farmers and ranchers, National Farmers Union Foundation (NFUF) has refocused its general farm education programs around the Farm and Ranch Business Health Assessment (BHA) and a new Farm Business Toolbox. These free resources will help farmers identify their operations’ strengths and weaknesses and offer opportunities to improve their business acumen.

“Whether you’re growing wheat for global markets or tomatoes and zucchini for local chefs, strong farm management skills are critical to your success,” said NFUF Director Tom Driscoll. “Family farmers can rely on the BHA, the Farm Business Toolbox, and NFU’s education programs as they work to improve their operations and address vulnerabilities.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS), average net farm income was $43,053 in 2017, a $697 decrease since 2012. The challenges to profitability farmers face demand rigor and sophistication in farm business management. The BHA organizes management topics into the following categories: Business Formation, Land and Succession Planning, Accounting, Taxation, Labor and Contractors, Production and Marketing, Credit, and Miscellaneous, which includes Business Planning, Insurance, and Energy.

Looking for opportunities to hear from experts on these topics? Three of NFUF’s general farm education programs are structured around the Farm Business Toolbox model:
•      Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI), a free training program for new producers of all ages and operation type/size.
•      Growing for the Future (GFTF), a free, online, interactive conference focused on beginning farmer and rancher issues.
•      National Farmers Union’s Women’s Conference, which focuses on the concept of agricultural community building, education, and networking.

These programs and the Farm Business Toolbox are modeled after the BHA, a diagnostic tool, authored by farm advisor Poppy Davis, and originally developed in 2017 by California FarmLink and Sustainable Agriculture Education (SARE), with funding from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). The 2019 update, funded by Farm Credit Council, follows two years of field testing in partnership with training organizations around the country.

After using the BHA to identify farm business improvement priorities, participating farmers can consult the NFUF Farm Business Toolbox for additional information on those topics. The toolbox compiles resources from California Farmlink, Compeer Financials, Cornell University, Farm Commons, Farm Credit East, Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation, Land Grant University Tax Education Foundation, Inc., National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Northwest Farm Credit Services, and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).

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