Thursday, July 18, 2019

Wednesday July 17 Ag News

Irrigation is featured at Made in America showcase in D.C.

On Monday, July 15, irrigation was featured at the White House during the third annual Made in America product showcase. For this event, businesses from each of the 50 states are invited to display their products made and produced in the United States.

T-L Irrigation, a center pivot manufacturer located in Hastings, Nebraska, represented the Cornhusker State at the event. For their company’s product display, T-L constructed a section of center pivot made in Nebraska on the South Lawn of the White House.

“When my mom and dad started this company 65 years ago, they would have never imagined the T-L pivot being on the lawn of the White House,” said Dave Thom, president of T-L Irrigation. “I’m sure they’d be very proud, just like all our workers here are proud of it. It’s just a nice honor. We really appreciate it.”

The irrigation industry is celebrating Smart Irrigation Month throughout July, so spotlighting irrigation during Made in America was a perfect complement to the other efforts happening throughout the month to recognize and promote the benefits associated with smart and efficient irrigation.

“We are excited that irrigation was one of the industries that received recognition during this event,” said Irrigation Association Government and Public Affairs Director John Farner. “Because July is also Smart Irrigation Month, the timing was perfect to showcase how the industry is promoting the efficient use of water through smart irrigation practices. Congratulations to T-L on this recognition and for their 65 years in business.”

NCIG - Lets Talk Health Insurance

Nebraska Cattlemen Insurance Group invites NC members to an exclusive insurance meeting in your part of the State. Come learn what the possibility of a health insurance group might be. All meetings will begin at 7:00pm.
    July 22 - 529 Social, 816 Ave E, Wisner
    August 5 - Riverside Convention Center, 265 33rd Ave, Columbus
    September 5 - Elks Lodge, 820 Ave J, Cozad
    September 17 - Prairie Winds Community Center, 428 N Main, Bridgeport
    September 18 - Sandhills Corral, 39359 Hwy 2, Thedford

If you are unable to attend the meeting please call us to discuss your insurance needs at 402.861.7000.


Roxie Rosenthal recently received the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council’s (NAYC) highest honor, the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute’s (NAYI) Award of Merit. Council members presented the award to Rosenthal during NAYI’s annual banquet, July 10, in Lincoln. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) oversees NAYC and NAYI.

Rosenthal worked at the Nebraska FFA Association in Lincoln from 1996 to 2018 before she started her current job as a staff assistant at the Nebraska Corn Board in February of this year. At FFA, Rosenthal’s main responsibilities included maintaining student membership and organizing the annual FFA state convention.

“In her 20 plus years with FFA, Roxie was the heart and soul of that organization, supporting, encouraging and providing guidance to thousands of Nebraska youth interested in agriculture,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

Rosenthal has been involved in agriculture her entire life. She lived on a farm until the 4th grade, her dad worked in the grain elevator business, and her uncles and aunts farmed in the area. In addition to FFA and the Nebraska Corn Board, Rosenthal’s life-long career in agriculture includes working at NDA and at the University of Nebraska’s Teachers College.

Rosenthal said she got to know a few of the NAYC members through their work as former FFA state officers, and that made receiving this award all the more special.

“This award means so much to me because it’s a reflection of my work and it shows that one person really can make a difference in a student’s life,” Rosenthal said. “My mom always said to be positive and that’s how I try to be with each and every person I meet along the way.”

On “Almonds Don’t Lactate” Anniversary, Dairy Farmers Call on FDA To Do Its Job

The National Milk Producers Federation today marked the one-year anniversary of then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s famous observation that “almonds don’t lactate” by reminding the agency it still has not resolved the issue and that citizens who heeded its call for comments with thoughtful responses deserve answers.

“An almond doesn’t lactate, I must confess,” Gottlieb said last July 17, admitting that FDA has been lax in enforcing its own rules on the use of dairy terms on products containing no dairy ingredients. “Have we been enforcing our standard of identity? The answer is, probably not,” he said, while pledging agency action in “something close to a year.”

“FDA’s longstanding inaction on enforcing its own standards of identity is perpetuating the marketing of products using milk and dairy terms when those products don’t match the nutritional content of the dairy products they are imitating,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Dairy farmers have never called for bans on fake-food competitors, nor have they called for market censorship. They do want the FDA to enforce its own rules defining what a product is and what it isn’t, in keeping with similar standards enforced in other countries around the globe. The clock is still ticking. We are not going away.”

The FDA in January concluded a comment period exploring the issue of consumer confusion regarding the nutritional content of dairy products versus plant-based imitators, with organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics offering evidence of nutritional deficiencies caused by confusion over the contents of plant-based versus dairy beverages while dairy’s detractors submitted thousands of off-topic creeds. After carefully considering comments and noting consumer survey data that clearly demonstrates confusion over nutrition, NMPF in February released its own road map offering solutions to how public health, product integrity and free speech could be protected through updated regulations. That Citizen Petition is currently open for comment.

NMPF also supports the DAIRY PRIDE Act, a potential legislative prod for FDA action.

Corn Congress Delegates Urge President Trump to Uphold RFS

Delegates to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress today approved a “Sense of the Corn Congress” urging President Trump to uphold his commitment to America’s farmers and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We, the assembled voting delegates of the National Corn Growers Association, ask President Donald Trump to uphold his commitments to protect the RFS and support farmers by ensuring EPA’s administration of the RFS does not undermine the law and the benefits of renewable fuels,” the resolution states.

NCGA delegates offered the statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ongoing practice of providing RFS waivers to big oil companies. These waivers have reduced RFS requirements by 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons through refinery exemptions, with 38 more exemptions pending. Undermining the benefits of renewable fuels, the waivers have also reduced corn use for ethanol production, lowered domestic ethanol consumption and blend rate, and will limit growth of higher ethanol blends such as E15.  

Corn Congress delegates will take this message to Capitol Hill this week, urging members of Congress to press the Administration to support the integrity of the RFS and support legislation that would seek to stop waiver abuse and address the harm these waivers cause (H.R. 3006 and S. 1840).

Also this week, NCGA began re-airing an ad featuring NCGA First Vice President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross appearing at an ethanol plant with President Trump in recognition of the Administration’s support of year-round E15. During the event, Ross thanked the President for delivering on that promise but cautioned, “The EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works.”


Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington this morning elected four farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2020 fiscal year, are new board members Mike Lefever of Colorado and Dennis McNinch of Kansas. Current board members Chris Edgington of Iowa and Tom Haag of Minnesota were re-elected. All were elected to three-year terms

“During these challenging times, it serves as testament to the importance of NCGA’s work that so many talented, well-qualified candidates stepped forward,” said NCGA Nominating Committee Chairman Kevin Skunes. “These remarkable candidates already have impressive histories of service to American agriculture. I look forward to seeing the work they will do for the benefit of corn farmers across the country in coming years as they share their valuable perspectives and insights with the Corn Board.”

The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokesmen for the NCGA and enhance the organization’s public standing on all organizational and policy issues.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/12/2019

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending July 12, ethanol production averaged 1.066 million barrels per day (b/d), an increase of 18,000 b/d, or 1.8%. This is equivalent to 44.77 million gallons daily. However, the four-week average ethanol production rate decreased 0.4% to 1.066 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 16.34 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks expanded 1.5% to 23.4 million barrels, an eight-week high. Virtually all of the stocks built in the Gulf Coast district (PADD 3).

Imports of ethanol were 23,000 b/d, or 6.76 million gallons for the week. This was the third time in six weeks that imports were logged. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of May 2019.)

The volume of gasoline supplied dropped 5.5% to 9.214 million b/d (387.0 million gallons per day, or 141.25 bg annualized). Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol eased 3.5% to 910,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.95 bg annualized. Both were lower following the July 4 holiday week.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production moved to a 22-week high of 11.57%.

One of the largest E85 suppliers, Pearson Fuels, to share experience selling in California market at ACE August conference

A flex fuel retailer panel will be part of the general session lineup again this year at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) 32nd annual conference, August 14-16 in Omaha, Nebraska. ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty will moderate a panel entitled “RINs, Carbon Credits, and other E15 and Flex Fuel Marketer Math” between panelists Mike Lewis, co-founder of California-based Pearson Fuels, and Randy Gard, Chief Operating Officer of Bosselman Enterprises, owner of the Nebraska-based Pump & Pantry convenience store chain.

“In 2003, we built an alternative fuel education center and station with 10 different fuels available to the public, and E85 was one of the 10 fuels,” Lewis said. “It was the first E85 dispenser on the West Coast of the U.S.; we sold that gas station but are now the largest E85 supplier in California, supplying over 155 retail and government locations.”

“With almost 1.9 million flex fuel vehicles on the road today in California, the potential for growth of E85 at the retail station level is enormous. E85 has become 90 percent of our overall business,” Lewis added. “I think one of the main factors that hold other retailers back from offering E85 and flex fuels is they get stuck in what they know.”

“With all the buzz surrounding E15, we want to make sure people don’t forget E85 and other flex fuels move massive amounts of ethanol and could move more. In fact, Pearson Fuels sold more new ethanol gallons in E85 in California last year alone than we’ve ever sold in E15 – since it was approved in 2011,” Lamberty said. “This year’s retail panel will focus on the importance of understanding the history and economics of selling E15 and higher blends, including low carbon fuel credits and RINs [Renewable Identification Numbers], to sell meaningful volumes like Pearson Fuels has. Mike will talk about how his company leveraged RINs and California LCFS credits to grow the company’s E85 sales in California and what he sees for the future.”

“I’ll also ask Mike about Pearson Fuels’ efforts in California and on Capitol Hill to incentivize manufacturers to continue making more flex fuel vehicles,” Lamberty added. “As is always the case with our conference retailer panel, we’ll give the panelists the opportunity to offer advice to the ethanol industry on what we can do to help them sell more of the product we produce.”

Visit to view the full agenda and register.

New University and Government Reports Set the Record Straight on Ethanol’s GHG Benefits

Two new academic studies released this week provide further evidence that grain-based ethanol is significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and call into question the reliability of recent “land use change” analyses based on flawed satellite imagery-based methodologies.

These studies add to a large body of existing literature that debunks falsities spread by well-funded opponents about the role ethanol plays in protecting the environment.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association, this new research will allow policymakers and regulators to focus on the fact that corn farmers and ethanol producers alike are making great strides forward in sustainability and efficiency.

“As the Environmental Protection Agency considers the GHG impacts of expanded ethanol consumption under the Renewable Fuel Standard, we urge them to strongly consider the latest science and data regarding ethanol’s tremendous carbon benefits,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “At the same time, we implore EPA to exercise great caution and prudence when considering the results of flawed land use change studies reliant on data from satellites that, frankly, can’t tell the difference between a pasture and a parking lot. The land use research relied upon by EPA for its Second Triennial Report to Congress was so flawed and erroneous that it simply cannot be used for regulatory decision-making, and we urge EPA not to make the same mistake as it considers future regulatory actions on the RFS.”

The first new study, conducted by the Laboratory for Applied Spatial Analysis at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE-LASA), exposes fundamental flaws in satellite imagery-based research regarding land use change that was quoted in the EPA’s Second Triennial Report, released in 2018. SIUE-LASA’s review of the data sets and methodologies that were used in the prior research revealed some remarkable errors.

A series of papers by Tyler Lark, Holly Gibbs and Christopher Wright relied heavily on use of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cropland Data Layer (CDL), which assigns land type categories using satellite imagery. Their research suggests there has been conversion of grassland and other “native” lands to cropland since the Renewable Fuel Standard was established. However, the CDL has shortcomings that render it poorly suited for this type of analysis, notably the inability to differentiate between grassland types (native prairie, Conservation Reserve Program, grass hay, grass pasture and fallow/idle grasslands), a problem USDA itself has recognized.

In one egregious example where the CDL failed, a body of water was misclassified as deciduous forest and grass pasture. Click here for the image example. This example is symptomatic of the errors associated with the CDL, underscoring why the research based on this data should not be used for regulatory decision-making.

Additionally, the research by Lark, Gibbs, and Wright (much of which was funded by the National Wildlife Federation) is prone to reflecting “false change,” in which a higher share of actual cropland is recognized in the newer, more-accurate CDL versions than in older, less-accurate versions, thus giving the appearance that cropland expanded. 

For example, SIUE-LASA examined conditions in Iowa, since it is a leading producer of corn and ethanol and previous research asserted Iowa was an area with significant land use change. Using data from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, SIUE showed that from 2008 to 2012 in Iowa there was a net increase of only 38,000 acres of cropland as opposed to 263,468 acres and 295,100 acres claimed in two satellite data-driven papers cited by the EPA in its 2018 report.

The land use research (“Critical Review of Supporting Literature on Land Use Change in the EPA’s Second Triennial Report to Congress”) was conducted for Renewable Fuels Association by Joshua Pritsolas and Dr. Randall Pearson of SIUE-LASA. In summary, the authors found, “…there are major concerns regarding both the data and the methods that were used by the researchers [Lark, Gibbs, Wright], which call their findings into question.”

The second new study, a worldwide meta-analysis funded in part by the Department of Energy and USDA, determined that corn residue (“stover”) retained on fields—which is the common practice—results in the sequestration of approximately 0.41 metric ton of carbon per hectare per year in the soil. This implies not only that the carbon intensity of corn-based ethanol is significantly below current estimates by EPA, the California Air Resources Board, and others, but also that leaving more residue on the field can have a larger carbon benefit than significant removal and conversion of the residue into ethanol.

Based on this research, properly accounting for the soil carbon sequestration benefits of corn production would reduce the existing lifecycle “carbon intensity score” of corn ethanol by some 20-25 percent, meaning most dry mill corn ethanol produced today would result in a 50-65 percent GHG savings compared to gasoline.

The soil carbon sequestration research was conducted by a team of environmental and soil scientists from the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, South Dakota State University and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. They used 409 data points from 74 stover harvest experiments conducted around the world. The paper, titled “A global meta-analysis of soil organic carbon response to corn stover removal,” was recently published in GCB Bioenergy, an international journal.

Fertilizer Prices Remain Mixed

Retail fertilizers tracked by DTN for the second week of July 2019 show more of the same with prices once again mixed. As has been the trend in recent weeks, no fertilizer price moved significantly in either direction.

Five fertilizers were higher compared to last month with none up a sizable amount. DAP had an average price of $497/ton, MAP $532/ton, potash $392/ton, UAN28 $276/ton and UAN32 $317/ton.

Three fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month but again the move lower was fairly small. Urea had an average price of $431/ton, 10-34-0 $485/ton and anhydrous $585/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 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 6% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 10% higher, potash is 11% more expensive, both UAN28 and UAN32 are 14% higher, anhydrous is 16% more expensive and urea is 18% higher compared to last year.

New Feature Helps Producers Find Farm Loans that Fit Their Operation

A new online tool can help farmers and ranchers find information on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) farm loans that may best fit their operations. USDA has launched the new Farm Loan Discovery Tool as the newest feature on, the Department’s self-service website for farmers.

“Access to credit is critical in the agriculture industry, especially for new farmers,” said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “This new interactive tool can help farmers find information on USDA farm loans within minutes. We are working to improve our customer service, and part of our solution is through improving how farmers can work with us online.”

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers a variety of loan options to help farmers finance their operations. From buying land to financing the purchase of equipment, FSA loans can help. Compared to this time last year, FSA has seen an 18 percent increase in the amount it has obligated for direct farm ownership loans, and through the 2018 Farm Bill, has increased the limits for several loan products.

USDA conducted field research in eight states, gathering input from farmers and FSA farm loan staff to better understand their needs and challenges.

“We received suggestions from both farmers and our staff on how to improve the farm loan process, and we wanted to harness this opportunity to be more efficient and effective,” Northey said. “This feature is one step in our efforts.”

How the Tool Works

Farmers who are looking for financing options to operate a farm or buy land can answer a few simple questions about what they are looking to fund and how much money they need to borrow. After submitting their answers, farmers will be provided information on farm loans that best fit their specific needs. The loan application and additional resources also will be provided.

Farmers can download application quick guides that outline what to expect from preparing an application to receiving a loan decision. There are four guides that cover loans to individuals, entities, and youth, as well as information on microloans. The guides include general eligibility requirements and a list of required forms and documentation for each type of loan. These guides can help farmers prepare before their first USDA service center visit with a loan officer.

Farmers can access the Farm Loan Discovery Tool by visiting and clicking the “Start” button. Follow the prompts and answer five simple questions to receive loan information that is applicable to your agricultural operation. The tool is built to run on any modern browser like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or the Safari browser, and is fully functional on mobile devices. It does not work in Internet Explorer.

Dunn: 2018 Farm Bill Already Helping Support Integrity of National Organic Program

Today, the House Agriculture Committee’s Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee held a hearing to examine the National Organic Program. After the hearing, Subcommittee Ranking Member Neal Dunn (FL-2) made the following remarks:

“Consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to provide market incentives for U.S. farmers and ranchers across a broad range of products. The 2018 Farm Bill made great strides to help maintain the integrity of the National Organic Program and protect American farmers by requiring additional import documentation and stronger oversight of certifying agents operating in foreign countries to name a few. I thank Under Secretary Ibach for his work on this and will continue working with USDA to ensure that the National Organic Program remains a strong marketing tool for farmers and ranchers.”

Comfrey Farm Ready to Disrupt the Pork Case with Succulent Flavor: All-Natural Certified DUROC® Pork and No Antibiotics Ever

Comfrey Farm was founded to deliver the highest-quality, all-natural pork and, today, the company announces the nationwide launch of its two programs: Certified DUROC pork, and No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) Certified DUROC. A unique and valued partnership with four designated family farmers, all within a 150-mile radius of the Comfrey Farm plant, is the underpinning of this family-owned company’s mission to restore consumer trust and bring the best-tasting, most wholesome pork products to market.

“Our trusted family farmers share our passion and commitment to investing the necessary time, care and money into pedigreed animals and healthy raising practices in order to produce the antidote to the pale, dry pork found in most grocery stores today,” said Ernie Davis, CEO. “Our ruby-pink meat is a visible sign that shoppers will be purchasing pork that is consistently more tender, juicier and flavorful.”

Comfrey Farm pigs are sired by registered, purebed Durocs specially bred, not for production efficiency or leanness, but for exceptional meat quality characteristics. Animals are fed a 100 percent vegetarian, vitamin- and mineral-packed diet consisting of locally-grown grains with no artificial ingredients or growth promotants, including no Paylean.

“We’re proud to offer a USDA all-natural, Certified DUROC program,” said Davis. “Today’s consumers want to know where their pork is coming from, and more and more U.S. high-end grocers and restaurants are telling us that their preference is to carry ‘no antibiotic ever’ meat.”

Comfrey Farm’s Windom facility boasts a best-in-class barn, along with a plant that combines precision temperature control, advanced robotics, and the hand-trimming expertise of skilled butchers to lock in flavor and freshness and enhance the meat’s appearance. Together, the pedigreed genetics, consistent farm and feed regimen, and plant protocols work together to deliver a consistently extraordinary eating experience. The result is pork with extensive marbling, ruby-pink color, and optimal pH levels.

Product and Marketing Availability

Comfrey Farm Certified DUROC and NAE Certified DUROC pork are packaged in stay-fresh, leak-proof Cryovac bags with innovative, attention-getting graphics and meaningful story-telling, including the call-out of grams of protein front-of-pack since information on protein is highly sought out by shoppers. Compelling point-of-sale materials help drive demand in-store for the following available cuts: Pork Loin Center Cut (Boneless and Bone In), Pork Loin Half Center Boneless, Pork Loin Bone In (Frenched and Unfrenched), Tenderloin, Sirloin, Shoulder Butt (Boneless and Bone In), Back Ribs, St. Louis Style Sparerib, Pork Shoulder Picnic (Bone In), and Pork Belly (Half and Full Sheet). Uncured, naturally smoked Applewood Duroc Bacon and Bourbon Brown Sugar Duroc bacon are also available for retail and foodservice.

Comfrey Farm Certified DUROC is available at these fine establishments:

About Comfrey Farm

Comfrey Farm is bringing back juicy, tender, flavorful pork through its Certified DUROC®, and No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) Certified DUROC pork programs. Owner, American businessman Glen Taylor, was raised on his family farm in Comfrey, MN, 15 miles from the Prime Pork processing plant. Comfrey Farm partners with four high-integrity, family farmers (within 150 miles of the plant) who pledge to raise amazing heritage Duroc pigs with the utmost dedication and care. Comfrey Farm pigs are sired by registered purebred Durocs specially bred for their exceptional meat quality characteristics such as marbling, ruby-pink color, and optimal pH levels. The animals are fed a 100% vegetarian, vitamin-packed grain diet with no artificial ingredients or growth promotants, including no Paylean.

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