Friday, November 1, 2019

Friday November 1 Ag News

Helping Cows Cope with Cold Stress
Mary Drewnoski, NE Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist

Cold stress increases a cow’s energy requirement and can pull down her body condition.  We think many cow/calf producers experienced this last year.  While we don’t know what mother nature has in store for us this year, it is good to think ahead and have a plan. A good start is to evaluate body condition score (BCS) now, and if cows are not at a 5 to 5.5 BCS, then taking steps to improve BCS before cold weather hits can help reduce the impacts of cold weather on the cows.

The threshold at which cattle have to start using energy to maintain their body temperature is called the lower critical temperature (LCT). Cows in good condition (BCS 5.0) that have a heavy winter coat that is dry do not need to use energy to maintain body temperature until the wind chill index is below 19°F.

Body condition is a risk management strategy and affects the LCT. A thin cow with a BCS 4 and a dry winter coat has a LCT of 27°F vs the 19°F of a cow in BCS 5.  Getting cows into good condition early in the winter can be useful for managing risk of bad weather in that they have condition they can lose but also because cows with higher BCS will lose less than those with lower body condition.  Additionally, a practical management strategy may be to consider putting thin cows in a group with your first calf heifers as both have higher energy requirement in the winter, which can allow for strategic supplementation. 

It is also important to understand that a wet hair coat is a completely different ball game. A wet coat increases the LCT of a cow in good condition to 53°F. Thus, essentially anytime a cow’s coat is wet in the winter they will be using energy to maintain body temperature.  Therefore, in winters with more precipitation, especially freezing rain, we often see greater decreases in BCS.

To figure out how much more energy a cow needs you would take the cow’s LCT minus the wind chill index and that would tell you the percent increase in energy requirement.  For instance, if ambient temperature is 20°F and wind speed is 10 miles per hour, the wind chill index is 10°F. For a BCS 5 cow with a dry winter coat and a LCT of 19°F, then 19 LCT- 10 WCI = 9% increase in energy needs.  A 1200 lb cow in late gestation has a 13 lb/d TDN requirement and the cold increased this an additional 1.2 lbs of TDN for a total of 14.2 lb/d. 

Now, this brings up another point. By providing wind protection, you can decrease energy needs by removing wind as a factor. If cows have protection from wind, the ambient temperature can be used to determine energy needs.  Providing wind protection in the winter can be huge for reducing supplementation needs due to cold in the winter.

It is not advisable to change rations daily, but for extended cold or wet periods, consider feeding more of the same ration, if cattle can eat more of the typical ration. If not, then providing a supplement is a good idea.  When feeding lower quality hay, dormant range grazing or corn stalk grazing, additional feed will be needed. One option is to change to feeding a higher quality hay source, if available.  Free choice high quality hay (58 to 60% TDN) can work down to temperatures of 34°F below the LCT of the cow ( -15°F for cows in good condition with dry hair or 19°F with wet hair). If cows are grazing, then supplementation with a high energy feed may be desirable. While corn can be used to provide more energy, it comes with risk. Feeding more than 2 to 3 lbs/hd/d can decrease forage digestion, especially if the forage is lower in protein.  This means that one could make up the difference of about 15°F between the LCT of the cow and the wind chill index temperature. For a cow in BCS of 5 with a dry coat, corn supplementation would cover the increased energy requirement down to 5°F, or for a cow with a wet hair coat only to about 38°F.

Distillers grains are another option.  Distillers is a good source of energy, it has more energy than corn, and because it is high in protein, it does not cause as much of a substitution effect (will not decrease intake of the forage much).  In the example above where the cow needed an extra 1.2 lbs of TDN,  feeding 1.2 lbs (as-fed) of dry distillers would provide the extra energy needed. In the case of distillers and gestating cows, the pounds of energy needed to account for energy used due to cold stress would be equal to the pounds of dry distillers that would need to be fed. Limitations on the amount of distillers that could be fed would be more based on budgetary concerns than digestive effects.

When wind chill temperatures are extremely cold or the cow has a wet hair coat, a lot of supplement would be needed to make up the greater energy needs and maintain body condition. For instance, if the wind chill was -10°F and the cows had a wet hair coat, 8.6 lbs of dry distillers would be needed to account for the increased energy requirement. However, feeding these levels is likely impractical.  A better approach would be to provide a smaller amount of supplemental feed and to continue to feed the extra feed after the weather has moderated to allow cows to regain energy lost during the storm.

It is also important to remember that lactating cows have a much greater energy requirement than pregnant cows. Given this, the combination of cold stress and lactation can pull down BCS quickly. Thus, if lactating cows are also subjected to cold stress, increasing their energy intake prior to observing loss of condition is advisable.

Fall Sampling for SCN

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

The post-harvest period is an excellent time to sample for soybean cyst nematodes (SCN), the most yield-limiting pest in soybeans. Soybean cyst nematodes often go undetected but cause more yield loss in Nebraska and across the U.S. than all other soybean diseases combined.

Yield losses of over 30% have been documented in healthy looking soybean fields. SCN often goes undetected because the microscopic roundworm attacks the roots of soybean. Because feeding is underground, unless the SCN population is extremely high, it usually does not cause any aboveground symptoms such as stunting or yellowing.

The extent of yield reduction depends on the number of nematodes feeding on the root system. SCN remove nutrients as well as disrupting water and nutrient uptake in the roots, retarding root growth and reducing the number of nodules formed by the beneficial nitrogen-fixing bacteria that are necessary for optimum soybean growth.

If you can’t see soybean cyst nematodes, how do you know if they’re there? While they may not be visible, signs of their activity are. The most common sign is a field of soybeans, or even areas within a field that don’t yield as much as they should. If you have low-yielding fields or areas on your yield maps that you can’t explain because of soil type, weed or insect pressure, herbicide injury, flooding, compaction, or other yield-limiting factors, there’s a good chance SCN could be the culprit.

Another sign of SCN is when a field has patches of sudden death syndrome or brown stem rot. Both of these diseases live in the soil and enter soybean plants through the roots. Both of these can cause the disease on their own, but SCN hastens the development of symptoms and increases their severity, leading to greater yield losses.

Sampling for SCN

Late fall is a good time to sample for SCN. After harvest low-yielding field areas are fresh in your mind and hopefully things have slowed down a bit. The best way to know for sure if you have SCN in your field is by taking a soil sample. The really good news is the Nebraska Soybean Board continues to support a program that covers the cost of the SCN test, normally $20 per sample. To get sample bags to submit for a free SCN analysis, contact your nearest Nebraska Extension office.

Each sample should include at least 15 to 25 soil cores, 6 to 8 inches deep, from the area you are testing. Thoroughly mix the cores and submit a composite sample. If you are also sampling for next year’s fertilizer recommendations, submit half of the sample for fertility recommendations and the other half for SCN analysis. If you have a co-op or crop consultant pulling soil samples, ask them to split the sample for both tests.

If you had low-yielding areas in a field, pull one sample from a low-yielding area and another sample from a nearby area where yields were higher, then compare the SCN egg counts from both samples. It is not uncommon to have both samples test positive for SCN, but often the sample from the low-yielding area will have significantly higher egg counts.

Managing SCN

Management of SCN includes using resistant soybean varieties and rotating soybeans with a non-host crop. Sample fields about every six years to measure the effectiveness of your management practices. It is important to test at the same time of year and following the same crop as your original sample. If you sampled in the fall following soybeans six years ago, your sample six years later should be taken in the fall following soybeans. If the field is in corn six years later, wait a year so you sample following the same crop.

The SCN egg count should be lower after six years of rotation and resistant varieties. If egg counts are level or increasing, it could indicate the population of SCN in the field can reproduce on the most common source of resistance, PI 88788, which is found in over 98% of resistant soybean varieties.

If SCN egg counts in your fields are increasing in spite of following best management practices for SCN, it may be necessary to plant a soybean variety with a different source of resistance such as Peking (PI 548402). However, be aware that your variety choices will be much more limited.

For more information on identification and management of SCN, contact your local Nebraska Extension office.

Market Facilitation Funds for Alfalfa Growers

Bruce Anderson - NE Extension Forage Specialist

Thanks to the trade war, alfalfa growers may qualify for market facilitation payments. When China imposed retaliatory tariffs and non-tariff barriers on exports of agricultural goods from the United States, the federal government developed the Market Facilitation Program. It provides financial assistance to farmers with commodities impacted by tariffs.

Soybeans are the most well known and highest ranking among crops covered by the program; however, some other crops are also covered. Prior to the trade war, China was the number one importer of alfalfa hay from the United States. As a result, alfalfa hay also qualifies for Market Facilitation payments.

You don’t need to have been selling your hay for export. All alfalfa growers are eligible for payments, including growers who feed all their alfalfa on-farm to their own livestock. Payments are based solely on planted acres as long as conservation compliance requirements are met.

To receive payments, apply at your local Farm Service Agency office by December 6.  In order for a field to qualify, it must contain at least 60% alfalfa.  At this time it’s unclear how the amount of alfalfa in alfalfa-grass mixtures is going to be determined, but it probably will be done locally. If you do apply, make sure you report your acres as alfalfa. Do not report it as alfalfa-grass because mixtures are ineligible for payments.

Take advantage of Market Facilitation payments for alfalfa. They may not be particularly high, but something is better than nothing.

Farmers Encouraged to Keep the Stubble During No-Till November

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is once again encouraging Nebraska farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields and improve soil health during No-Till November.

First launched in 2017, the NRCS project is mirrored after the national cancer awareness No Shave November campaign that encourages people not to shave during the entire month. The NRCS campaign encourages farmers to keep crop stubble on their fields and keep tillage equipment in their machine sheds this fall. In the past two years, the campaign has reached more than 1 million people.

“No-till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money,” said Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson. “One of the first soil health principles is ‘do not disturb’. This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between no till and soil health.”

Improving soil health increases soil biological activity, which provides erosion control, nutrient benefits, and can simulate tillage.

The campaign grew from an idea shared by NRCS Area Soil Scientist Neil Sass. “The impact has been much wider-reaching than I’d expected. I’ve seen #StubbleSelfie cutouts in Co-ops and ag services offices, but also in labs, schools and lots of fun media,” he said. “I think that this promotion has been a fun way to draw awareness to soil health, just like the No Shave November promotion has done for cancer awareness.”

For more information about soil health and the No-Till November campaign, please go to


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) today announced its selection of the 2019-2020 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC). NAYC members are college students who promote Nebraska agriculture and teach young Nebraskans about agriculture and the many careers available in the ag industry. NDA sponsors NAYC and its activities throughout the year.

“NAYC is a great opportunity for student leaders to share their passion for agriculture and make a difference in the lives of young Nebraskans,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “It’s quite an honor and a responsibility to serve on NAYC. I look forward to working with these talented students and supporting them as they promote Nebraska agriculture to those who will follow in their footsteps.”

NAYC is entering its 49th year with the installation of this Council. Throughout the year, NAYC members coordinate and participate in a wide range of activities and events that focus on agriculture. Council members visit elementary schools to talk about where food comes from, take urban youth on farm tours to experience life on a farm, and visit with high school students about career opportunities in agriculture. The primary focus of NAYC is to coordinate the annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI), a five-day summer conference for high school juniors and seniors that is full of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

The 2019-2020 NAYC leadership includes:
Head Counselors: Felicia Knoerzer, Elwood, and Courtney Nelson, Monroe;
President: Cooper Grabenstein, Smithfield;
Secretary: Grant Dahlgren, Bertrand;
Vice President of Social Media/Communications and Promotions: Kelli Mashino, Spencer;
Vice President of Alumni Relationships: Colton Thompson, Eustis;
Vice President of NAYI Improvement: Kelsey Loseke, Blair.
Vice President of Youth Outreach: Wesley Wach, Hayes Center; and
Vice President of Sponsorship: Isaac Stallbaumer, Oconto.

Additional NAYC members include: Nick Birdsley, Omaha; Miles Eggleston, David City; Emily Hatterman, Wisner; Colin Ibach, Sumner; Cole Kalkowski, Omaha; Layne Miller, Oakland; Creighton Niemeyer, DeWitt; Tyler Perrin, Ogallala; Ralston Ripp, Kearney; Megan Schroeder, Wisner; Clayton Thomas, Bloomington, IL; and Josie Thompson, Wayne.

To learn more, visit NAYC’s website at or search for Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute on Facebook.


The Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference & Exhibition recently concluded its 12th annual event on October 29-30, 2019 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, NE. This year’s conference attracted over 320 attendees, 28 exhibitors, and featured 60 speakers and moderators from the wind and solar industries. Individuals came from across the country to participate in 18 general sessions and workshop presentations that shared the latest information on wind and solar energy development. Those who attended represented a diverse set of stakeholders that included private sector developers, public officials, landowners, environmental interests, wildlife interests, public utilities, as well as the public at large attended.

Conference attendees were welcomed on Tuesday by Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Director Jim Macy, who detailed the status and prospect of both wind and solar development in the state. Next, AWEA Senior Vice President of government and public affairs Amy Farrell provided the big-picture view of renewable energy development and Nebraska’s increasingly important role in both wind and solar development. She cited Facebook’s purchase of 200 megawatts of wind energy from the Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Dixon County, and Hormel Foods’ plan to buy power from a wind farm near Milligan that will be opening next year. The conference continued with discussions on the growing impact of electric vehicles on the grid, and four representatives from Holt county detailed the extremely positive economic benefits that wind energy development has had in their county, including the school funding and additional income for landowners.

Noon luncheon speakers included executives from Nebraska’s three largest public utilities: Lincoln Electric System, Omaha Public Power District, and Nebraska Public Power District. Tuesday afternoon sessions featured planning and zoning for all sizes of solar development; renewable energy education and outreach; the growing role of renewables in the Southwest Power Pool; and how Nebraska renewable energy fits into the Southwest Power Pool. The first day concluded with a policy and legislative update from Nebraska State Senators Tom Brandt, Wendy DeBoer, Myron Dorn, Rick Kolowski, John McCollister, and Dan Quick.

Wednesday morning was kicked off by a session on the state of the national solar industry with HDR Renewable Energy Practice Lead Gretchen Dolson and GenPro Energy Solutions Vice President of Energy Production Molly Brown. Sessions that followed included panels on community-scale renewable energy; the changing economics of battery storage; FERC regulations; and Nebraska stakeholder and community support for wind projects.

The keynote luncheon featured Valmont Utility Group President Aaron Schapper, who discussed his Nebraska-based manufacturing company’s growing involvement in wind and solar energy and how it is an increasingly important component of the company’s revenue. The conference wrapped-up with discussions on repowering and decommissioning wind turbines and research regarding Nebraska’s renewable energy.

Conference Chair John Hansen, commented “Thanks to our “Nebraska Nice” collaborative approach and our “Can Do” attitude, Nebraska continues to make good progress in momentum in renewable energy development.”

Free Ag Law and Farm Finance Clinics this November

Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers at five sites across the state in October. The clinics are one-on-one meetings with an agricultural law attorney and an agricultural financial counselor. These are not group sessions, and they are confidential.

The attorney and financial advisor specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial and business planning, transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, debt structure and cash flow, agricultural disaster programs, and other relevant matters. Here is an opportunity to obtain an independent, outside perspective on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates
    Norfolk — Thursday, November 7
    North Platte — Thursday, November 14
    Fairbury — Thursday, November 14
    Grand Island — Wednesday, November 20
    Norfolk — Monday, November 25

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258. Funding for this work is provided by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Legal Aid of Nebraska, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


Rural Nebraskans are confident that higher education can lead to a good job, according to the 2019 Nebraska Rural Poll.

While 70% of respondents to the Rural Poll — the largest annual poll of rural Nebraskans' perceptions on quality of life and policy issues — agree that a high school diploma can lead to gainful employment, more agree that an associate degree (82%) or bachelor’s degree (77%) can lead to a good job.

In addition, most rural Nebraskans surveyed believe their education was worth the financial cost and that it taught them important skills. Sixty-two percent of respondents agree that their education was worth the cost and 74% agree that they learned skills that they use in their day-to-day life. In fact, those with the highest education levels were most likely to agree with those statements: 74% of persons with at least a four-year college degree agree that their education was worth the cost and 84% agree that they learned useful skills.

However, this year’s poll shows mixed results in how rural Nebraskans regard higher education, mirroring national trends. Those surveyed are less likely to see the importance of a college education today than they did four years ago.

Fifty-three percent of rural Nebraskans surveyed agreed in 2015 that increasing the number of people who get college degrees is necessary to build a strong economy. However, only 33% agree with that statement this year. The proportion agreeing that getting a college education today is more important than it was 10 years ago declined from 70% in 2015 to 44% this year. And those agreeing that to get ahead in life, it is necessary to get a college education decreased from 65% to 38%.

Current economic conditions may account for some of these differences, according to Brad Lubben, extension associate professor and policy specialist at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

“In a tight job market like we now have, employers may be happy just to have a good candidate, so the extra value of having a degree with higher skills or qualifications may not be rewarded or immediately noticeable,” Lubben said.

Rural Nebraskans also see value in apprenticeships. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed are confident that completing an apprenticeship program can lead to a good job and 84% agree that apprenticeships should be promoted as an alternative to higher education for getting a good job.

Some of the declines in the importance of higher education may be attributed to perceptions of the affordability of higher education and the value of college degrees, according to Becky Vogt, survey research manager for the Rural Poll. Seventy percent of respondents disagree that getting an education after high school is affordable for most people. While 42% agree that most people who enroll in higher education see a return on their investment, 27% disagree. Forty-seven percent agree that college degrees aren’t worth as much as they used to be and 26% disagree.

“We can’t say definitively what caused these shifts in opinions, especially since higher education leads to higher median incomes and most rural Nebraskans see the value of their own education,” said Jason Weigle, associate extension educator with Nebraska Extension. “Colleges and universities may need to engage with their alumni to learn more about the return on investment of their degrees, particularly their cost-benefit tipping point, and how this can be improved.”

This year’s Rural Poll was sent to 6,260 households in 86 Nebraska counties in March and April. Responses were received through June 10. Results are based on 1,776 responses, a response rate of 28%. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2%. Complete results are available at

The university's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute.

Cereal Rye Cover Crop Seeding Date Extended to Dec. 1 Statewide

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Kurt Simon, State Conservationist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), have extended cover crop seeding deadlines due to weather delays.

Farmers participating in state cost-share and most federal financial assistance programs now have until Dec. 1 to plant their winter hardy cereal rye cover crop and still qualify for assistance.

“Farmers have had an unusually tough year dealing with weather, which is creating significant harvest delays,” said Secretary Naig. “Even a later seeded cover crop can provide conservation benefits and this extension gives farmers the opportunity to seed cereal rye after harvest.”

Cereal rye should be planted immediately following the harvest of the principal crop for best results. The cover crop will be no-till drilled into the crop residue and the recommended seeding rate of cereal rye should be increased to 75 pounds per acre to account for reduced tillering.

Kevin McCall, State Resource Conservationist for NRCS in Iowa, says late seeded cereal rye can still be established this fall and provide key soil health and environmental benefits if allowed to grow to at least an 8-inch height in the spring.

This seeding extension does not apply to all programs. Contact your local NRCS office for additional information about federal or state funded assistance programs.

Cover crops play an important role in locking in nutrients and preventing soil erosion. It is one of many conservation practices that farmers can use to help the state advance towards the water quality goals outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

USDA Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production

Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 455 million bushels in September 2019. Total corn consumption was down 10 percent from August 2019 and down 9 percent from September 2018. September 2019 usage included 91.3 percent for alcohol and 8.7 percent for other purposes. Corn consumed for beverage alcohol totaled 3.30 million bushels, down 1 percent from August 2019 but up 18 percent from September 2018. Corn for fuel alcohol, at 407 million bushels, was down 11 percent from August 2019 and down 10 percent from September 2018. Corn consumed in September 2019 for dry milling fuel production and wet milling fuel production was 90.1 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.

Oilseed Crushings, Production, Consumption and Stocks

Soybeans crushed for crude oil was 4.87 million tons (162 million bushels) in September 2019, compared with 5.32 million tons (177 million bushels) in August 2019 and 5.09 million tons (170 million bushels) in September 2018. Crude oil produced was 1.90 billion pounds down 7 percent from August 2019 and down 2 percent from September 2018. Soybean once refined oil production at 1.41 billion pounds during September 2019 decreased 7 percent from August 2019 and decreased 4 percent from September 2018.

USDA Flour Milling Products Highlights

All wheat ground for flour during the third quarter 2019 was 232 million bushels, up 3 percent from the second quarter 2019 grind of 225 million bushels but down slightly from the third quarter 2018 grind of 233 million bushels. Third quarter 2019 total flour production was 107 million hundredweight, up 3 percent from the second quarter 2019 but down 1 percent from the third quarter 2018. Whole wheat flour production at 4.92 million hundredweight during the third quarter 2019 accounted for 5 percent of the total flour production. Millfeed production from wheat in the
third quarter 2019 was 1.66 million tons. The daily 24-hour milling capacity of wheat flour during the third quarter 2019 was 1.67 million hundredweight.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for November 2019

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for November 2019, which are effective November 1-November 30, 2019. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for November is 1.625 percent, down from 1.750 percent in October.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during November is 2.625 percent, down from 2.750 percent in October.  Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for November are as follows: 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, same as in October;  1.500 percent with five-year loan terms, same as in October; 1.625 percent with seven-year loan terms, same as in October; 1.625 percent with 10-year loan terms, same as in October; and 1.750 percent with 12-year loan terms, same as in October.

Industry Cannot Compromise on Restoring Mandatory COOL

Speaking yesterday to the 128th Annual Convention and Trade Show of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard told the crowd that restoring mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef was one of four core principles that independent cattle producers cannot compromise.

"Every industry has certain core principles that cannot be compromised under any circumstance, and for our industry, restoring mandatory COOL is among the most important," Bullard said adding, "Non-core issues may be compromised when the outcome does not harm your opportunity to remain profitable, but restoring mandatory COOL is not on that list."

Bullard scorned a recent legislative proposal by South Dakota's U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds known as the U.S. Beef Integrity Act that makes changes to voluntary labeling, saying the proposal only addresses one of the numerous problems that have surfaced after Congress repealed the mandatory COOL law for beef in 2015.

"When a South Dakota rancher delivers calves to the auction yard or loads them in a truck for shipment to a buyer, he or she must have the assurance that the beef from those animals will be labeled as born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States.

"Only the full restoration of mandatory COOL for beef will provide that assurance and we must not accept anything less," he said.

Bullard said the Sens. Rounds and Thune proposal falls well short of this requirement and he urged the audience to instead support the resolution by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) that was filed in Washington, D.C. the morning of the convention.

The Tester resolution calls on Congress to reinstate County-of-Origin labeling for pork and beef to allow consumers to make an informed and free choice about where their food comes from.

Bullard said mandatory COOL is the only tool that producers have to compete against the growing tide of cheaper, undifferentiated beef and cattle that are imported into the U.S. market.

This is what our industry needs, and our industry must direct all of its resources to accomplish the full reinstatement of mandatory COOL.

He also said that opponents of mandatory COOL are experts at placating the industry with minimalist legislation that does not address the core problem and that the Sens. Rounds and Thune legislation was such an example because it only tweaks the current and ineffective voluntary COOL program.

Bullard's message was somewhat ominous as he said if the cattle producers in the room did not dig their heals in the ground and fight until they win their core issues, then only a handful of the children of the ranchers in the room would have the opportunity to carry on the ranching legacy in South Dakota.

"This is serious, it can no longer be business as usual," Bullard concluded.

U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Spike in September

U.S. farm bankruptcies in September surged 24% to the highest since 2011 amid strains from President Donald Trump's trade war with China and a year of wild weather.

According to Bloomberg, growers are also becoming increasingly dependent on trade aid and other federal programs for income, figures showed in a report by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation's largest general farm organization.

The squeeze on farmers underscores the toll China's retaliatory tariffs have taken on a critical Trump constituency as the president enters a re-election campaign and a fight to stave off impeachment. The figures also highlight the importance of a "phase one" deal the administration is currently negotiating with Beijing to increase agriculture imports in return for a pause in escalating U.S. levies.

Almost 40% of projected farm profit this year will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, federal subsidies and insurance payments, according to the report, based on Department of Agriculture forecasts. That's $33 billion of a projected $88 billion in income.

The trade war and two straight years of adverse weather rattled farmers already facing commodity price slumps.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings in the 12 months ended September rose to 580 from a year earlier. That marked the highest since 676 cases in 2011 under the chapter of the bankruptcy code tailored for farms. The total "remains well below" historical highs in the 1980s, the federation said.

Nebraska had three more Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings in September, bringing the year-to-date total to 35. That's eight more than all of last year and more than in any full year since 2003, Bloomberg reports.

Recent bankruptcies were concentrated in the 13-state Midwestern region, a key battleground in the presidential election where grain, soybean, hog and dairy farms have been hit by trade disputes. More than 40%, or 255 filings, were in the region.

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