Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Monday October 14 Ag News

Practicing Fire Safety at Harvest
John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County


While harvest has been delayed in many areas of the state due to wet conditions, in other areas fields are dry and harvest is progressing. Each year volunteer fire departments across the state are called to respond to combine or field fires started during harvest operations. The following guides can help ensure a smoother and safer harvest season without fire emergencies.

Combine Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is key to preventing many of the fires that occur on farm equipment.
-    Keep all bearings and gears well lubricated to prevent heat buildup and keep lubricants at proper levels.
-    Repair any leaks in the fuel system and any damaged electrical wiring.
-    Repair or replace damaged or worn out exhaust systems. In addition to a good exhaust system, install a spark arrester to catch burning particles. They are easy to install and require little maintenance.

Before and during harvest operations check for a buildup of combustible crop residue around the engine and exhaust system; concealed drive belts and pulleys that can overheat due to friction when there is an accumulation of crop residue around them; and worn or frayed electrical wiring that can cause sparks and ignite grain dust, crop residues, or fuel vapors.

Refueling Safety

Too often during harvest, safe fueling practices are ignored to save time. The few seconds saved are insignificant when compared to the loss of expensive farm equipment or weeks or even months spent in a hospital burn ward. Follow these safety practices:
-    Never refuel equipment with the engine running. Always shut the engine off.
-    Allow hot engines to cool 15 minutes before refueling.
-    Extinguish all smoking materials before refueling.
-    If fuel spills on an engine, wipe away any excess and allow the fumes to dissipate before starting the engine.

Plan to Avoid Emergencies

Being prepared to respond to a fire if one should occur can save critical minutes.
-    Start harvesting a field on the downwind side. If a fire does occur, the flames will be pushed toward the harvested portion of the field.
-    Always carry a cell phone or alternative for communicating with others in case of an emergency.
-    Know the location of the field in relationship to letters or numbers on county roads. This seems obvious, but in the excitement of the moment, it’s easy to not be able to recall this information. More than once volunteer firefighters have been paged for a field fire “northeast of town” and then had to look for the smoke.
-    Always carry two fire extinguishers on the combine, one in the cab and one that you can access from the ground. Also, carry a fire extinguisher in your grain hauling equipment.
-    If a field or equipment fire does occur, call 911 before trying to extinguish it yourself.
-    Have a tractor hooked to a disk near the field you are harvesting, but located where it wouldn't be affected if a field fire should occur.
-    If using a fire extinguisher, stay between the fire and your path to safety.
-    When using a fire extinguisher, remember to PASS, which stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep.
       + Pull the safety pin on the extinguisher.
       + Aim it at the base of the fire.
       + Squeeze the handle.
       + Sweep the extinguisher back and forth while releasing the contents.

Following these safety tips may seem like common sense, but with the long hours and rush to get harvest done, sometimes these are forgotten.

For more information on fire safety at harvest, contact your equipment dealer, your local fire department, or your local Nebraska Extension office.



13th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit


The 13th Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus will be held Thursday, November 21st in the Animal Science Complex.

The Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars senior class, in cooperation with Nebraska Cattlemen, has been working diligently to bring this Summit to you. A variety of topics will be discussed at this year’s event.....
-    Panel Discussion: Weather Patterns - Martha Shulski, Galen Erickson
-    Trade – Stan Garbacz
-    Breakout Session:
         - Transitioning Back to the Operation – Mark Goes
         - Genetic Management
-    Alternative Meats – Jessie Herrmann
-    Market Volatility – Charley Fezter
-    Carcass Evaluation & Checkoff - Chris Calkins

Space is limited, so please send us your registration form, https://nebraskacattlemen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/summit-registration-form-2019.pdf, by November 14th to secure your place. The cost of this program is $50 and will cover lunch, speaker costs and other expenses for the event. After receiving your completed registration, we will send you additional event information. Parking permits are needed for lots on campus and will be provided at registration. They look forward to seeing you on November 21st.



Drying and Storing Expected High-moisture Corn

Ken Hellevang - North Dakota State University Extension Agricultural Engineer


A killing frost is expected from Nebraska to North Dakota this weekend, which will end corn development in much of the Northern High Plains.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, nearly 100% of the corn in Nebraska had reached full dent on October 6. Only 74% had reached maturity.

“It is important to check [the moisture content of] each field because these values will vary depending on planting date, corn maturity rating and growing degree days during the year,” Hellevang says. For the 18 states producing the majority of the corn in the U.S., only 58% of the corn was mature on Oct. 6. Across Midwest states, the percent mature ranged from only 22% in North Dakota and 52% in Iowa to 87% in Missouri.

The amount of drying in the field depends on parameters such as corn maturity, hybrid, moisture content, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed.

Iowa State University has developed a Corn Dry Down Calculator that covers several Midwest states, including Nebraska. You select your location on a map and input estimated grain moisture content and the start of the dry-down period. For example, it estimates that if corn in south-central Nebraska is at 35% moisture on Oct.10, it will, on average, dry to about 22% by Oct. 30. (See this ISU Integrated Crop Management article for more information https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/blog/mark-licht-sotirios-archontoulis/corn-dry-down-calculator-goes-live.)

Field drying normally is more economical until mid to late October in North Dakota and mechanical high-temperature drying normally is more economical after that, Hellevang notes. The midportion of the corn-producing states, including Nebraska, will have a more rapid field dry down due to the warmer temperatures. Natural-air drying also is more feasible there due to the warmer November temperatures, Hellevang said.

For example, corn reaching maturity in Nebraska on Oct. 11 is expected to dry in the field to about 21% on Oct. 30. The average November temperature in Nebraska is about 40°F, so air drying likely is feasible in November. However, with an airflow rate of 1 cfm/bu, drying may not be completed in November.

Corn field losses will depend on stalk strength, ear shank attachment to the stalk, winter conditions and wildlife. A September 27 story in CropWatch noted widespread stalk quality issues in Nebraska this year. Accumulated winter snow adds water to the soil as it melts. Plus, standing corn shades the ground, which reduces drying and may lead to wet fields in both the fall and spring.

Natural-air and low-temperature drying are limited to initial corn moisture contents of about 21%. Even at that moisture content, air drying is limited in the northern states due to the colder outdoor temperatures in late October and November.

The moisture-holding capacity of air is very small at temperatures below about 40°F. Expect to store the wet corn for the winter by cooling it to 20 to 30°F and finishing the drying in the spring when outside temperatures average above 40°F.

Provide an airflow rate of at least 1 cubic foot per minute per bushel (cfm/bu) to complete the drying before corn deterioration affects the market quality. The required fan size to provide the needed airflow can be determined using a fan selection program such as that developed by the University of Minnesota.

High-temperature corn drying may face challenges with high-moisture corn. The kernel color of immature corn may be affected during drying due to sugars still being in the kernel. Hellevang recommended reducing the dryer temperature to reduce the potential for affecting the kernel for corn that was not mature at the time of the first hard freeze.

Hellevang also warns that corn at moisture contents above about 23% may have enough surface moisture on the kernels that the kernels freeze together in the bin and will not flow.

For more information on grain drying and storage see the Grain Storage Management section of CropWatch, the NDSU Grain Drying and Storage website https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/graindrying, or the Grain Storage tag linking to grain storage news articles in CropWatch.



Stakeholders’ Help Needed to Identify Nebraska Weed Issues

Shawn McDonald - UNL Graduate Research Assistant

As part of a master’s project, I and UNL weed scientists are collecting stakeholder information on weed management practices and problems across Nebraska. The goal for this project is to identify the current state of cropping systems and the weed issues growers face to provide direction for future UNL research.

Nebraska Agronomist, CCA, and Farmer Input Needed

For this project we are asking Nebraska stakeholders to provide agronomic information specific to farms/fields they manage. With this data, we can conduct an analysis of weed issues across all the different cropping systems in Nebraska. Along with stakeholder survey data from previous years, data collected from this survey will provide great insight into changes in weed and systems dynamics that have occurred over time.

We have put together a three-page survey on systems information and weed issues that we would like you to fill out. Specifically, we are requesting information related to the 2019 growing season in terms of crops raised, tillage practices, herbicide usage, and weed issues. All cropping systems and management styles are acceptable.

You may have already filled out a copy of this survey at one our UNL Weed Science field days. If not, an online copy is now available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZV8Z2T (full page version). There’s no need to send in a completed form, just follow the link and complete and submit the form online.

We look forward to receiving your submission. All data that is submitted will be kept strictly confidential. In this project, our objective is to work for you, our Nebraska producers. It’s our goal that with the data collected from these surveys, we can provide better information and research on the weed issues facing growers.



Nebraska Cattle Confinement Symposium Set for Dec. 16-17 in Kearney


Nebraska farmers who may be interested in expanding or diversifying their operations are invited to the two-day Nebraska Cattle Confinement Symposium scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 16 and 17 at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

The event will run from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. Monday and from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $55 each, but early bird tickets are available for $35 for those who register online prior to December 1 at cattleconfinement.com.

The symposium is sponsored by the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN), Nebraska Cattlemen, Central Confinement Service of Columbus, Neb., and Accu-Steel, Inc. of Audobon, Iowa.

Topics to be discussed by producer and supplier experts include facility design and ventilation considerations; financing a new facility; trends in cattle markets; confinements and vet protocols; and managing nutrition in confinement operations. In addition, two sessions will provide virtual barn tours and producer panel discussions. The symposium will conclude December 17 with the Cattlemen’s Lunch featuring guest speaker Matt Rush, “inspirational speak and farm boy.” For agenda details, go to www.cattleconfinement.com.

“Many area farmers are considering diversifying their operations because of the trend in declining row crop income amid surplus foodstuffs, as well as the increasing cost of land ownership,” says Will Keech, AFAN director of livestock development. “Others are looking for ways to strengthen their operations so younger family members will be able to run the farm into the future. The purpose of this symposium is to provide farmers with key information and insight they need to decide whether to add a cattle confinement component to their operation.”



FALL HAS SOIL SAMPLING ADVANTAGES

Randy Pryor, NE Extension Educator, Saline County


   This past week I was doing some soil sampling on an on-farm research soybean study in the Tobias area.  The cooperator was comparing soybeans that were later planted at 160K population and no foliar fungicide and insecticide applied versus early planted soybeans at 130K with foliar fungicide and insecticide applied.  The plots are randomized and replicated and will be a part of the 2019 Nebraska Extension on-farm research results one of 104 studies! You have to admire the farmers involved in these studies for the work involved and willingness to share the unbiased statistically based results published by Extension.

   My soil samples for nutrient status at the site were not easy because of the wet soil.  It took a fair amount of WD-40 on the sampling tube to keep the soil from sticking. Fortunately WD-40 does not affect the soil sample results.  I also sampled for soybean cyst nematode.  It reminded me that fall is the best time to take soil samples, for several reasons: After corn and soybeans have been harvested it’s easy to walk between the rows of stubble; the pressure of spring planting and crop harvest is over; and soil analyses are more reliable than analyses from samples taken in early spring. The results can really help in planning for the next year’s fertilization program.

   I had a client this week ask if he should grid sample again as in the past or try a different approach.  That was a great question and the proper answer is it depends!  With today’s agricultural economy farmers are questioning everything on the cash flow sheet that they can to lower expenses.  In looking at the Nebraska Farm Business Association data of the top third profitability producers, they all performed higher in lowering expenses to a small degree in all categories. The nickels and dimes do add up.

   If you grid sample some fields this fall, I suggest that grid samples be collected every five years for phosphorus. Ag lime application, according to recommendations, should amend soil pH for 8-10 years. Even if variable rate lime application has occurred according to a grid-sampled map of pH, it should not be necessary to grid sample for soil pH for 8-10 years after application.

   Choose grid sampling if previous management has altered soil nutrient levels such as manure, land leveling, if you take on a new field with no sampling history or if you have a small field with different cropping histories that have been merged into one.  Another reason would be if you need an accurate organic matter map of the field.  Farmsteads with livestock history will likely leave areas of higher organic matter and higher phosphorus levels. Pastures which were not converted to farmland for many years are likely to show up clearly. There is very likely to be considerable difference between upland, side-slope, and lower areas of fields influenced by past years of erosion history. On irrigated fields the most common variance is caused by leveling for furrow applications done some time in the past. Old channels of streams are also quite apparent.  Do not save money by doing 4 or 5 acre grids. This reduces the samples in half compared to 2.5 acre grids but sacrifices too much accuracy of the results.

   An alternative is to take past grid sample information, yield maps, soil type and other precision ag data and sample in zones or directed soil sampling.   These samples could be georeferenced but that will add cost.  Zone management assumes uniformity based on experience and information.  Georeferencing the zone samples adds cost but still makes variable rate application a possibility.

   The bottom line is both grid and directed soil sampling are valid options for precision soil sampling — each has advantages and disadvantages. Unless the grid is dense enough, grid sampling may miss patterns and boundaries that are evident from looking at soil surveys or yield maps. Grid sampling is very expensive — both to collect and to analyze the samples. Directed sampling uses other sources of spatial information to make informed decisions on where to sample, however, there may be patterns in soil fertility which are not detectable except with grid sampling.  For more information go to: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/ssm/soilsampling.



Avoiding Harvest Compaction in Wet Soils

Paul Jasa - NE Extension Engineer

With fall harvest underway across Nebraska, rains have left fields soft and ruts are being cut into the soil in some areas. These ruts leave the soil surface rough and have severe compaction below them. This compaction can impede the crop's roots next season and increase runoff because of reduced infiltration. Grain carts and the large tractors pulling them can add to the compaction problem when the fields are soft.

If the combines and grain carts aren't leaving a rut, don't worry about compaction from the heavy equipment. Compaction is the loss of pore space between soil particles and occurs when that space is squeezed out of the soil and reappears somewhere else, such as in the form of a rut. If a rut wasn't formed, there was enough soil structure present to support the weight without causing additional compaction.

If ruts were formed during harvest, tillage can break up compaction but the soil must be dry to fracture compaction. If the soil was wet enough to cause ruts, the odds are that it is too wet to do tillage. Tilling a wet soil causes more compaction as the soil particles are lubricated and easily slide under the weight of the tractor and tillage implement. This compaction is harder to see because the entire soil surface is compacted, even though the surface looks loosened. Deep tilling a wet soil often only cuts slots and smears the soil rather than fracturing compaction.

Regardless, tilling destroys soil structure and more tracks will be formed with future passes. Typically ruts are as deep as the soil was tilled, down to the compaction layer from the tillage. The majority of compaction is caused primarily by tillage. It breaks up the existing soil structure and packs the soil below the tillage depth. With little soil structure in the tilled layer, the next pass easily compacts the soil, either full width with tillage or in tracks with traffic.

10 Tips to Avoid Compaction on Wet Soils
    Wait until the soil dries enough to support the combine.
    Don't use grain bin extensions or fill the combine as full.
    Use wide tires with lower inflation pressures.
    Keep trucks out of the field. Consider unloading at the ends of the field, not on the go.
    Grain cart should track the same rows as the combine.
    Don't turn around in the middle of the field.
    Don't fill the grain cart as full, unload more often.
    Establish a grain cart path and stay on it.
    Don't till wet soils as they are easily compacted.
    Use cover crops to help build soil structure.

Controlling Traffic, Controlling Compaction

Producers should practice controlled traffic to reduce the areas in the field with wheel traffic compaction. Eighty to 85 percent of soil compaction damage is done with the first pass of the tires. If additional passes are made on the same traffic lanes, little additional compaction occurs. Because once a traffic lane has been driven on and the soil has been firmed up, subsequent passes have little effect on the amount of compaction. By using the same traffic lanes year after year, the soil structure and water infiltration in the untrafficked areas greatly improve.

Controlled traffic lanes improve traction, soil load-bearing, and timeliness of planting and harvesting operations while minimizing potential yield reduction from compaction. Compaction is managed, not eliminated, and the area subjected to compaction is minimized. The concept is to separate traffic zones from root zones. Controlled traffic keeps compaction where it is less detrimental to root development and uptake of nutrients and water. Fertilizer placement and furrow irrigation practices can be modified as these traffic zones are established and the traffic lanes are known.

To minimize wheel compaction at harvest time, grain carts should be following the same tracks as the combine. A lot of grain cart drivers think they should move over a few rows and spread out compaction, but this will only compact more of the field. Likewise, grain trucks shouldn't be driven in the field as the axle loads and tire pressures are not suitable for soils.

If ruts were cut at harvest, wait until the soil is dry to smooth them out to avoid causing additional compaction. This smoothing operation may be a light tillage operation next spring before planting. Deeper tillage in the spring will usually cause more compaction as the soil is wet and the tillage will break up soil structure.

To fracture the compaction in the ruts from this year's harvest, a producer may have to wait until next fall before the soil is dry enough. However, often the compaction in the bottom of the ruts extends deeper into the soil than most producers will be able to till. This is a case where prevention is far more effective than the cure. It's best to build soil structure and not drive on wet soils if possible. Controlled traffic, no tillage, and cover crops will all help build soil structure and reduce compaction concerns.



NE Agri-Business Assoc. Research Symposium

Scott Merritt, President, Nebraska Agri-Business Association


Please join us for this year's annual Research Symposium, co-sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources and the Nebraska Agri-Business Association! There will be eight speakers presenting cutting edge research being performed in the agronomy and agriculture fields. Many of you will find this meeting to be very beneficial in your career.

Research Symposium is on Friday, November 22, 2019, at the Holthus Convention Center in York, NE.  Registration will begin at 8:00 am, with speakers starting at 8:30 am.

The speakers and topics are:
    Tyler Williams - 2019 Weather Recap and the Impact on Nebraska Agriculture
    Joe Luck - Crop Management
    Amit Jhala - Management of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds in Nebraska
    Amy Schmidt - Benefits and Barriers to Manure Use in Cropping Systems
    Jenny Rees - Cover Crops in Cropping Systems On-Farm Research Update
    Daran Rudnick - Overview of Irrigation scheduling Technologies
    Tom Clemente - Innovations in Agriculture
    Michael Kaiser - Effects of Soil Management on Soil Organic Characteristics

The cost of registration covers rolls & coffee, lunch, and all speaker handouts. A registration form is included for you to register for Research Symposium or you can register online at http://bit.ly/ResSym2019.  Please contact Sarah Skirry at sskirry@na-ba.com or (402) 476-1528 if you have any questions. We hope to see you in York at this year's Research Symposium!



Huge Beef Quality Price Spreads

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M


Beef production has dipped below a year ago over the last couple of weeks, leading to some higher fed cattle prices and a widening Choice-Select price spread.

Over the last four weeks total beef production is more than half a percent below the same period a year ago. As we all know, not all beef is the same. Over this period, fed steer and heifer slaughter is down 1.7 percent, while cow slaughter is up 4.2 percent. Digging in a little deeper, fed steer slaughter is down 6.5 percent while fed heifer slaughter is up 6.7 percent. Dressed weights continue to be down about 2 pounds per head over the last month for steers, heifers, and cows. Combining weekly slaughter and dressed weights leaves fed beef production about 2.2 percent lower than a year ago while cow beef is up 3.8 percent.

To dig in a little deeper, the percent of carcasses presented for grading over the last month that are grading Prime and Choice are running about 1.6 and 2.6 percent below a year ago, respectively. About 7.7 percent more carcasses are grading Select than a year ago. Combining the percent of carcasses by grade and pounds of fed steer and heifer beef produced indicates that over the last month Prime beef production has been almost 4 percent below a year ago. Choice beef production is almost 5 percent lower than a year ago, while Select production is about 5 percent higher.

The Prime boxed beef cutout has averaged $279.55 over the last month compared to $214.81 last year. Over the same period the Choice cutout has averaged $215.76 versus $202.48 last year. That leaves the Prime-Choice spread at $63.80 per cwt this year compared to $12.33 last year. The average Choice-Select spread has grown to a whopping $25.76 per cwt over the last month compared to about $11 last year and $11 over the last 5-years. The Choice-Select spread tends to increase seasonally this time of the year and that seasonal trend is again occurring, but at a much higher price level this year.

There is a lot of data shoved into this little article, but it highlights that even though beef production remains large, the makeup of those supplies is important. We are producing a little less fed beef and a little more cow beef relative to last year. Fewer cattle grading Prime and Choice are tightening up supplies even more. Relatively tight supplies of Prime and Choice beef are contributing to historically wide price spreads and high values for high quality grade beef.



Participants From 60 Countries Gather For First Global Ethanol Summit In Washington, D.C.


Industry and government officials from 60 countries are meeting with U.S. officials in the nation’s capital this week at the Global Ethanol Summit to learn about changing biofuels policies in countries around the world and prospects for expanded global ethanol use.

“In the spirit of global collaboration, access to free trade and increased use of ethanol worldwide, we look forward to hosting, along with our partners, this meeting that focuses on ethanol’s role in improving human lives around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) president and CEO.

“The number of countries with ethanol policies on the books has grown exponentially in the last 18 months, and ethanol trade around the world remains strong, showing the level of commitment these countries have to reaping the benefits of this biofuel. The Council is proud to bring this group together in Washington, D.C.”

This week's Summit, sponsored by the Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), features high-level government and industry officials from Algeria to Vietnam, who are working together to expand the global use of ethanol by developing policies with a role for trade.

Building on the success and momentum of 2017’s Ethanol Summit of the Americas and 2018’s Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific events, the Global Summit seeks to capitalize on potential markets around the world as demand increases for higher-level biofuels policies – including decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving clean air quality. The Council and its partners are working in all of these countries to highlight ethanol's benefits and address constraints to expanding ethanol's use.

“The Summit highlights policy conversations going on in governments around the world, scientific rationale for the increased use of ethanol and market development opportunities for U.S. ethanol,” LeGrand said. "The benefits of ethanol use provide common ground for countries to collaborate as they seek to meet their societal goals.”

The Summit also allows senior-level officials from agriculture, environment and energy ministries from around the world to discuss environmental, human health and economic benefits of ethanol use with industry leaders, while it fosters collaboration and trade across the region.

The two-day conference will feature remarks from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky and Foreign Agricultural Service’s Associate Administrator Daniel Whitley, who will speak on collaboration and trade and the U.S. energy renaissance, respectively.

The conference also includes views and analysis on the overall global ethanol outlook; a focus on Brazil and Canada’s changing environmental policies; the costs of inaction on both air quality and related human health consequences; a look at industrial ethanol use and the bioeconomy; octane economics; vehicle compatibility; perspectives from ethanol retailers; and prospects for the future use of ethanol.

The U.S. ethanol industry’s efforts, including conferences like the Summit, establish the United States as the resource for experience in developing an ethanol industry and as a trading partner.

The United States exported 6.1 billion liters (1.62 billion gallons, or 609 million bushels in corn equivalent) of ethanol in 2018, valued at $2.7 billion. According to analysis of USDA data, the volume of U.S. ethanol exports grew by 18 percent per year over the last five years, making ethanol the fastest growing U.S. agricultural export.

Because building collaboration creates additional markets, the U.S. Grains Council is sponsoring several pre- and post-Summit tours so participants are able to see the full production and value chain of ethanol in the U.S. These tours will highlight ethanol in Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.



Growth Energy CEO Highlights International Biofuels Growth at Global Ethanol Summit


Today, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor addressed more than 400 attendees from 60 countries at the first-ever Global Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C. The Global Ethanol Summit is sponsored by Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council, and the Renewable Fuels Association, bringing together industry and government officials to learn about biofuels policies and global ethanol use.

In her remarks, Skor spoke on retailer adoption of ethanol bends and the fuel's growing popularity in the U.S. and abroad:

“Some of the most well-known U.S. retailers like Kwik Trip, Casey’s, Sheetz, not only carry the nation’s standard 10 percent ethanol blend – but they are also among the over 1,900 stores who are offering E15, a fifteen percent blend of ethanol. And we’re seeing that number of retailers offering this fuel choice continuing to grow. That’s because these retail giants know ethanol’s value, and so do their customers. They are comfortable, and excited, about putting their million and even billion-dollar brands behind engine-smart, earth-kind biofuels…Ethanol blended fuel is becoming the new global norm for consumers, and along with it, the promise of a low-carbon future.”

Additionally, Skor highlighted that “this growing trend of adoption across the globe shows that governments are looking to biofuels to meet their climate goals with a choice that drivers feel good about.”

During the summit, attendees have the opportunity to hear from experts ranging from decarbonizing our transportation fuel and the human health benefits of ethanol to favorable policies and ongoing trade discussions. The summit is being held in from Oct. 13 – 15 in Washington, D.C.



Global Ethanol Summit Highlights Environmental, Human Health Benefits Of Increased Biofuel Use


Delivering on the potential that could be captured from expanded global use of ethanol took center stage on Monday during the first full day of the Global Ethanol Summit, an event with attendees from more than 60 countries, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“In the last 18 months, 11 markets – nearly all in which the Council has active ethanol engagement – made announcements of new or updated ethanol policies with a role for trade,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO, who delivered a keynote address that was translated into nine languages for attendees.

“All of us are united by the goal of finding transport energy solutions to make our environmental and human health commitments a reality while also making economic sense. Our presence in Washington, D.C., this week is a testament to the fact that we are collectively concerned about the long-term health of our citizens and the environment and recognize the real economic opportunity that’s available through greater adoption of ethanol.”

The meeting began with a pulse-check on U.S. ethanol supply and demand including a rundown of policy drivers that could affect the outlook for the commodity, including calls by an increasing number of nations to identify permanent solutions for climate change, cleaner air, improved health and less expensive fuel.

Case studies from Brazil and Canada, the two largest markets for U.S. ethanol, were employed to highlight existing ethanol realities and new benchmarks for the environmental benefits it can provide. Additional input from the European Union's experience with ethanol rounded out the morning sessions.

The afternoon included two panels focused on the chemical properties and societal impacts of ethanol use, as well as experiences with ethanol in India and Nigeria. Speakers addressed the intersection between biofuels use and electrification of transport fleets as well as the benefits specifically to women and children of ethanol for cooking fuel.

Miguel Ivan Lacerda Oliveira, director-biofuels for Brazil's Ministry of Mines and Energy, underscored the benefits outlined by the day's presenters, saying, "The future is ethanol, and why is that? Because there is no future outside of ethanol."

In his comments, LeGrand emphasized that the Council and its partners in ethanol export market development are poised to help the attendees from more than 60 countries who are considering expanded ethanol use operationalize their plans.

"My hope for you is that no one walks away from this meeting wondering if ethanol will work for your country," said LeGrand. "The answer, as we hope to show, is yes."

The Global Ethanol Summit continues tomorrow with a scheduled address by U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky who will speak about global collaboration and trade of ethanol.



New Campaign Sheds Light on Beef Animal Care Standards


Consumers will soon learn about the steps beef farmers and ranchers take to care for their animals and to produce high quality beef in a new promotion and advertising campaign about the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program. BQA trains farmers and ranchers on best practices and cattle management techniques to ensure their animals and the environment are cared for within a standard set of guidelines. The program began 30 years ago, and today more than 85 percent of beef produced in the U.S. comes from a farmer or rancher who has been BQA certified. 

The formally producer-facing BQA program, will now be introduced to consumers via a campaign designed to meet their desire to learn more about how beef is produced. The integrated marketing and communication campaign includes a new video from Beef. It's What's for Dinner. bringing the BQA program to life by highlighting how cattle farmers and ranchers across the country raise cattle under BQA guidelines. The video will be used in marketing efforts and is available to consumers on the new BQA section of BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com. Consumers will also be able to learn more about BQA through interactive "BQ&A" Instagram stories addressing common questions about how cattle are raised. The video, website and social activations provide consumers with an overview of the BQA program and the ongoing commitment of cattle farmers and ranchers to caring for their animals and providing the safest and highest quality beef possible.

"According to market research, the majority of consumers say they consider how and where their food is raised when making a meal decision," said Josh White, executive director of Producer Education at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. "The BQA program offers consumers assurance that there are consistent animal care standards in place across the beef industry. BQA exemplifies what beef farmers and ranchers have always cared about – a commitment to caring for their animals and providing families with the safest and highest-quality beef possible, and we look forward to introducing this important program to consumers."

The foundation of BQA is a set of educational resources promoting animal care practices that are based in science and align with governmental regulations. These resources are reviewed by an expert advisory group consisting of farmers and ranchers, veterinarians and animal scientists who meet quarterly to evaluate the program, discuss trending topics, review the latest research and make recommended changes or updates, as needed.

The BQA program specifically addresses and provides training in the following areas, among others:
    Cattle handling
    Cattle health
    Cattle nutrition
    Cattle transportation

"With the vast majority of the beef supply in the U.S. today coming from a BQA certified farmer or rancher, and many packing plants and restaurant chains setting BQA requirements, consumers should have the utmost confidence in the beef they consume and purchase both at restaurants and supermarkets," White added

Cattle farmers and ranchers can become BQA certified by either attending a classroom course taught by a network of hundreds of state BQA coordinators and trainers or by completing a series of robust online courses. Certification is good for three years, after which time farmers and ranchers must become re-certified to ensure they have the most up-to-date information and are trained on the latest BQA guidelines.

Not only does the BQA program provide guidelines for proper animal care and welfare, these management guidelines also result in the production of higher quality beef. In fact, the beef industry is producing more high-quality beef today than ever before, with more than 80 percent of beef grading the highest available USDA quality grades of Prime or Choice.i

For more information about the BQA program and the high-quality beef produced today by U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers, visit BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.



Soy Growers Hope Partial Agreement is Step Toward Ending Trade War


Reports of a partial agreement came Friday after a week of meetings between the Trump Administration and Chinese officials. The American Soybean Association is hopeful this "Phase 1" agreement will signal a deescalation in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

While it’s good news to hear the U.S. and China have reached a partial agreement in this conflict, ASA is still awaiting additional information on the initial agreement, and the potential impact on U.S. soy growers. We remain hopeful this is a step toward rescinding the tariffs and helping restore certainty and stability to the soy industry.



Implications of China Trade Deal for American Farmers Still Unclear


President Donald Trump Friday announced the United States had reached a deal with China to put the brakes on a trade dispute between the two countries. The United States will delay additional tariffs on Chinese imports and, in exchange, China has agreed to what are thus far unspecified changes to intellectual property policies and currency guidelines. The country will also reportedly import between $40 billion to $50 billion worth of agricultural goods from the United States over an unspecified period of time.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in response to the news:

“While we are glad to see a d├ętente in this seemingly endless trade war, the tangible benefits to American family farmers and ranchers are unclear.

 “There are many questions that still need to be answered: What will these agreed to policy reforms look like? How will they be enforced? And over what time frame will the $50 billion of agricultural purchases—an amount that is double our peak annual farm exports to China—take place?

“Regardless of the answers to these questions, this deal should not be the end of our efforts to address China’s transgressions. Their unfair and manipulative trade practices are clearly still a problem that need to be fixed through substantive and meaningful reforms. Moving forward, the administration should work with our friends and allies to determine what those reforms should look like.”



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