La Nina Forecasted to Continue with Drought Expansion Likely According to CPC
Al Dutcher - Associate Nebraska State Climatologist
La Nina conditions are still persistent across the Equatorial Pacific and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has placed the odds of this event continuing through this upcoming summer (June–August) at 59% and a 50-55% chance that these conditions will persist through this fall (September–October). A look at the most current Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies indicates that a colder than normal temperatures continue to persist from Peru westward to just east of Papua New Guinea.
A pulse of warmer than normal water beneath the central Equatorial Pacific worked its way to the surface in early March and brought above normal SST’s into the eastern Pacific north of the Equator. This pulse of warm water has been mitigated over the past three weeks by another anomalous cold pool working toward the surface. This trend indicates that another warm pool is building eastward under the central Equatorial Pacific.
CPC’s forecast favoring continuing La Nina conditions is based upon their in-house climate model that is colder than the consensus of global dynamical and statistical models. The consensus models point toward La Nina conditions ending as the summer season begins. In fact, two of the three coldest models are products from NASA and the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). This is important in regard to the CPC seasonal outlooks because their greatest accuracy occurs when La Nina or El Nino events are ongoing.
The most recent seasonal drought forecast (Figure 4) favors the expansion of drought conditions from the central High Plains into eastern Kansas, northwest Missouri, Iowa, eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota. Since this most current outlook is directly tied to CPC’s three-month precipitation outlook, it should be no surprise that CPC favors above normal temperatures and below normal moisture for most of the central and southern High Plains region (Nebraska southward through Texas).
Since CPC also favors La Nina conditions through the summer and into this fall, their temperature and precipitation outlooks also favor warmer and drier than normal conditions across the central High Plains for the same time period. CPC indicates that above normal temperatures are favored for Nebraska through the July-September timeframe, while below normal precipitation is favored to last through the August-October timeframe.
With ongoing drought intensification due to persistent dryness from November through present across the western four-fifths of the state, CPC’s outlook would suggest that much of the state will continue to deteriorate as we move through the upcoming growing season. If the consensus statistical and dynamical forecasts verify, then abnormal warmth and dryness currently forecasted by CPC may be overly aggressive for the next six months.
Recent storm activity has resulted in significant snow activity during the past two weeks across the Dakotas, eastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming. Much of central and western North Dakota have received 30 to 50 inches of snowfall during this period, while most of Nebraska has failed to receive normal moisture during the same timeframe and excessively strong winds that have fueled widespread wildfire activity.
The persistent colder than normal temperatures this month have slowed down vegetative dormancy break across the western, eastern and northern Corn Belt. Air temperatures aloft are also colder than normal and should persist through at least the month of May. If we can continue to see atmospheric troughs moving through the western United States, there should be enough cold air aloft to create unstable atmospheric conditions and periodic bouts with severe weather and more widespread precipitation events across Nebraska prior to the official start of summer.
I continue to be optimistic that Nebraska will see some relief from drought conditions over the next 30 days. However, due to very dry topsoil and subsoil conditions, timely rainfall events will be required through late August to escape significant drought damage for dryland farmers and ranchers. There is respectable chance for widespread moderate to heavy precipitation (1-2 inches) with the storm forecast to move across the state Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, it will take many of these events to make up for the lack of precipitation over the past six months.
Two weeks ago, there was a lot of chatter about a repeat of 2021 drought conditions across western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Now complaints have shifted 180 degrees to worrying whether crops will get planted due to wet and cool conditions. That is how fast conditions can change when an area is in a favorable position relative to the prevailing storm track. Hopefully, this weekend’s storm system marks Nebraska’s opportunity to begin a sustained wet trend.
What things do I need to consider after a fire?
Randy Saner, NE Extension Educator
With the recent fires in Nebraska farmers and ranchers may have questions about what to do with their land and pasture?
What should I do with pastures?
For all perennial cool & warms season grasses, they should come back just fine with adequate moisture.
Cool-season grasses had started some growth (green up) at the time of the fire. They will be set back a little but will recover.
We have sometimes seen death or partial death of some little bluestem bunches if the fire got really hot within the bunch/crown of the plant. Fires usually moves through quickly though.
On pasture, an important point is loss of litter and residue which can increase loss of soil moisture; just like in crop ground.
Grazing turnout should be delayed up to one month. This is both for fire recovery and drought potential. This will allow the grass plants to maximize growth given the current soil moisture conditions, and result in greater season-long production. Rotational grazing should be used to give pastures some time for regrowth and recovery if possible. If cattle are left to graze continuously after fire, plants could be further weakened resulting in reduced stand.
Stocking rates should be reduced with the objective of leaving adequate residue (which will become litter on the ground). This is to replace what was lost in the fire.
Rainfall in May and June will be most critical and should be the guiding factor affecting any of the above management decisions.
For the good stand of warm-season grass that was disked up as a fire break – It is likely that a good portion of the grasses were killed/damaged by the disking. So, one option could be to reseed with the same warm-season mix that was there. This should be done ASAP. The second option could be just to wait and see how much of the disked up grasses do come back. In both cases though, rainfall of course will be important. Option 3 could be to wait a few weeks and see if anything comes back. If not, one could plant a summer annual forage for some hay and cover. The grass replant could be done next spring. If the area is rough from disking, trying to smooth and firm it up might be a good idea. These areas should be fenced off to allow establishment or recovery from the disking operation as cattle will graze the new growth which would be detrimental to plant health.
Questions may arise about the strength and durability of barbed wire fencing. A study in Oklahoma https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/fire-effects-fencing.html?fbclid=IwAR2iwUhB4FMEiolGyREiBmYgnULA_AAKQaUd1jiVuict4XCjZ0jU6kSnabM has shown no impact on electric fence posts or barbed wire due to routine prescribed burning or wildfire. Wooden fence posts should be checked individually to be sure they do not break as a result of being partially burned. If new posts are needed, wooden fence posts are preferred, but steel T posts may be used in the short term.
What should I do about crops?
Flood Irrigating would get some of the alfalfa to grow, but it may be a poor stand. Refer to CropWatch article https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2021/pasture-and-forage-minute-assessing-alfalfa-and-fertilizer-needs on assessing alfalfa stands for productivity. Fields with marginal stands could be inter-seeded with a forage such as millet to increase forage production without terminating the alfalfa which could open the field up to wind erosion. Plus, one would have to deal with the winter annual weeds and it is a little late for that. Because alfalfa is a longer term investment (8 – 10 years), it is usually better to take the loss up front. So, one option could be to kill the weeds and in a couple of weeks plant a summer annual forage (sudangrass, pearl millet, or sorghum-sudan hybrid). Another option is to plant foxtail millet (a 1-cut hay crop). In both cases, the alfalfa could be replanted in August. There will likely be some alfalfa that still does come up, but that should preclude reseeding in August. Producers should pre-irrigate before planting.
Crop fields impacted by wildfire would benefit the most from rainfall. A living mulch such as oats, rye, winter wheat, cover crop mix could be planted as soon as possible after fire to protect the soil surface. The cover crop could be terminated after several weeks of growth to provide protective vegetation for newly planted field crops. Seeding cover crops in narrow spaced rows (7.5”) would provide more protection than field crops planted in wider spaced rows such as 30”. If planting field crops is delayed, short season maturity corn or grain sorghum can be planted in late May/early June and still provide considerable grain production provided adequate rainfall is received during the growing season. Forage sorghum or sedan grass could also be seeded in crop fields in later May/early June to provide protection and hay for a livestock operation. If rainfall is not received, then emergency tillage ( https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2022/using-emergency-tillage-control-wind-erosion ) may be required to limit the negative impacts of wind erosion. Tillage such as a deep ripper or chisel plow can be used to roughen the soil surface will reduce wind erosion. Emergency tillage is usually considered a last resort. If adequate forage is available and rainfall does not occur, livestock can be fed hay on crop fields could also be used to reduce the impact of wind erosion.
Web sites with more information to help producers with questions about after a fire or during a drought.
Livestock Indemnity Program information:
Livestock Indemnity Program
Items to remember:
Document losses -Take pictures of animals lost, if possible. If pictures are not available:
- Livestock owners must record all pertinent information (including the number and kind) of all livestock impacted resulting in either death losses or injury and sales of injured livestock at reduced price.
- Owners who sold injured livestock for a reduced price because the livestock were injured due to an eligible adverse weather event or eligible attack, must provide verifiable evidence of the reduced sale of the livestock. The injured livestock must be sold to an independent third party (such as sale barn, slaughter facility, or rendering facility). Documents that may provide verifiable evidence of livestock sold at a reduced price include but are not limited to:
Sales receipts from a livestock auction, sale barn or similar livestock facilities, processing plant receipts
Rendering facility receipts and/or Veterinarian records / calving records
The documentation for injured livestock sales must have the price for which the animal was sold and description.
NDA REPORTS 8TH CASE OF HPAI IN NEBRASKA
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing an eighth confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The eighth farm, a small backyard mixed flock, is in Washington County.
According to NDA State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley, the farm has been quarantined and the birds will be humanely depopulated and disposed of in an approved manner. Additionally, NDA will be establishing a 6.2-mile surveillance zone, as is USDA policy, around the affected premises. Poultry producers in that surveillance zone should know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying birds.
Additionally, NDA has been notified of a confirmed case of HPAI in a backyard flock in Republic County in Kansas. The surveillance zone for this flock does extend into Nuckolls County in Nebraska. Poultry producers in that area should know the signs and symptoms of HPAI and notify NDA immediately of sick or dying birds.
HPAI is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily among birds through nasal and eye secretions, as well as manure. The virus can be spread in various ways from flock to flock, including by wild birds, through contact with infected poultry, by equipment, and on the clothing and shoes of caretakers. Wild birds can carry the virus without becoming sick, while domesticated birds can become very sick.
Symptoms of HPAI in poultry include: a decrease in water consumption; lack of energy and appetite; decreased egg production or soft-shelled, misshapen eggs; nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing; incoordination; and diarrhea. HPAI can also cause sudden death in birds even if they aren’t showing any other symptoms. HPAI can survive for weeks in contaminated environments.
NDA is encouraging bird owners to prevent contact between their birds and wildlife and to practice strict biosecurity measures. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flock, they should report it to NDA immediately at (402) 471-2351. More information for producers can be found at https://nda.nebraska.gov/animal/avian/index.html or http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.
Six college students look forward to internships sponsored by Nebraska Corn
Six college students are beginning internships supported by the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA). These internships are designed to provide students with an overview of Nebraska’s corn industry through real-world professional experiences.
Six college students are participating in Nebraska Corn’s internship program, including Savannah Peterson (from Gothenburg), Emily Hatterman (from Wisner), TaraLee Hudson (from Belvidere), Emma Hoffschneider (from Burwell), and Samantha Oborny (from Garland, and Emma Dostal (from Roscoe, Illinois).
These interns will work in various locations across the U.S. with key cooperators of NCB. These cooperators include the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), U.S. Grains Council (USGC), U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), NCB and NeCGA. Most of these internships will conclude at the end of the summer, but two are year-long experiences.
Two summer interns will be hosted by NCGA. Savannah Peterson is majoring in agricultural communications and animal science at Casper College. She will be interning with NCGA in St. Louis, focusing on communications and outreach. Emma Hoffschneider, who is majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural & environmental sciences communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will be spending her summer in Washington, D.C. working on policy with NCGA.
“I applied for the Public Policy Internship with the National Corn Growers Association because I wanted to gain a broader perspective on the policy that affects our growers both at a state and national level,” said Hoffschneider. “After my internship this summer, I want to have a stronger understanding of the entire policy process, from the formation to the execution. As well as learning about potential career opportunities as I enter my senior year of undergrad.”
Emma Dostal will also be stationed in Washington, D.C. this summer as she completes her internship with USGC. Dostal is majoring in advertising, public relations, and global studies at UNL.
“Grains farming is crucial to my family history,” said Dostal. “As the daughter of a 4th generation farmer, I applied to this internship in hopes to give back and support farmers because of the importance that the lifestyle has had in my life.”
TaraLee Hudson, majoring in animal science and agricultural economics at UNL with a minor in the Beef Industry Scholars program, is interning with USMEF in Denver, Colorado. She looks forward to being pushed outside of her comfort zone and exploring experiences outside of Nebraska.
The two yearlong internship experiences are located in Lincoln with NCB and NeCGA. Emily Hatterman and Samantha Oborny are both agricultural and environmental sciences communication majors at UNL. Hatterman will be interning for NCB, and Oborny for NeCGA. These students will assist with communications and promotional efforts during their internship experiences.
“Growing up in an area so heavily involved in agriculture, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career within the industry. This internship with the Nebraska Corn Board presented a great opportunity to use my communication skills while staying involved in agriculture,” said Hatterman. “I’m looking forward to growing my skills as well as connecting with those in the industry from across the state.”
Not only will students gain real-world experiences from these internship experiences but will also acquire valuable insight on possible future careers.
Interns will document their learning experiences through written updates and social media posts. To keep up with these students and their experiences, visit nebraskacorn.gov or follow the Nebraska Corn Board on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
NC Cow-Calf Council Announces Webinar Series on Drought-Driven Decisions
The Nebraska Cattlemen Cow-Calf Council is proud to announce their four-part webinar series titled “Market Information for Drought-Driven Decisions.” This webinar series aims to help provide cattle producers with the necessary resources to navigate through the ongoing droughts across Nebraska.
The Nebraska Cattlemen Cow-Calf Council said, “We look forward to helping our fellow cattle producers as we work together to overcome the ongoing drought. While we continue to pray for rain, it is important we support one another through the difficulties that accompany a season of drought. Our expert speakers from various sectors will be presenting invaluable information and we hope to see a lot of participation.”
Tuesday, May 3rd - Part One: Factors Affecting 2022 Calf and Yearling Values – Jeff Stolle
Thursday, May 5th - Part Two: Herd Liquidation Yet the Cull Markets are Strong – Roger Wallace
Thursday, May 12th - Part Three: Feed Price Outlook and Will There Be By-products Available? – Jed Christensen and Kenny Prinz
Tuesday, May 17th - Part Four: Marketing Options If You Need to Depopulate – Jake Maurer, Rich Robertson, and Bryce Dibbern
Event Details are as follows:
The Market Information for Drought Driven Decisions webinar is a four-part series, and each will provide a forty-five-minute presentation followed by questions. This series will be hosted via Zoom and participants will receive a link after submitting an RSVP here https://nebraskacattlemen.org/producers/webinar-series/expert-webinar-series-market-information-for-drought-driven-decisions/.
Every session will begin at 8:00 PM CDT / 7:00 PM MDT.
Free Farm and Ag Law Clinics Set for May
Free legal and financial clinics are being offered for farmers and ranchers across the state in May. The clinics are one-on-one in-person 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.
Wednesday, May 4 — Fairbury
Wednesday, May 11 — Norfolk
Wednesday, May 18 — Grand Island
Wednesday, May 25 — Norfolk
Thursday, May 26 — Valentine
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 and Legal Aid of Nebraska.
May Beef Month: Recognizing the importance of beef production in Iowa
The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association thanks Gov. Kim Reynolds for proclaiming May as “Beef Month” in Iowa. Each year, roughly 20,000 beef cattle operations generate more than $7 billion of economic activity in the state.
During “Beef Month,” the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association invites producers and consumers across the state to join our efforts in sharing how Iowa cattlemen feed a growing population, while stewarding the land, water and natural resources. Gov. Reynolds signed the “May Beef Month” proclamation, which reads:
WHEREAS, Iowa is a major beef producing state with more than 3.85 million head of cattle and calves as of January 1, 2022; and
WHEREAS, the beef cattle industry generates more than $7.32 billion of economic activity in the state; and
WHEREAS, today’s beef is a naturally nutrient-rich food providing protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins with more than 30 beef cuts that meet the government’s definition for “lean”; and
WHEREAS, cattle producers are the original stewards of the land, working to improve productivity by conserving and making optimum use of natural resources; and
WHEREAS, Iowa is a leader in the export of value-added agriculture products, shipping high-quality Iowa beef to other countries around the world; and
WHEREAS, there is an ever-increasing need for better understanding of the benefits that the beef cattle industry provides to all Iowans:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of May 2022 as BEEF MONTH
in Iowa, and urge all citizens to appreciate the contributions the beef cattle industry continues to provide to our state.
CME Announces Resetting of Price Limits for Grain, Oilseeds, Lumber
Effective Sunday, May 1, for trade date Monday, May 2, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. (CME) will reset price limits for grain, oilseed and lumber futures, according to a recent news release.
"This is the first of the two price limit resets in 2022 that is stipulated by the variable price limits mechanism pursuant to each product's respective Rulebook Chapter," stated the news release.
Corn futures price limit will go from 35 cents per bushel to 50 cents, with extended price limit at 75 cents. Oats futures price limit will go from 40 cents per bushel to 45 cents, with extended price limit at 70 cents.
Soybean futures price limit will go from 90 cents per bushel to $1.15, with extended price limit at $1.75. Soybean oil futures price limit will go from 40 cents per pound to 50 cents, with extended price limit at 75 cents. Soybean meal futures price limit will go from $25 per ton to $30, with extended price limit at $45.
Chicago wheat futures and Kansas City wheat futures price limit will go from 85 cents per bushel to 70 cents, with extended price limit at $1.05. All other price limits affected can be found in the link below.
In 2014, CME Group put a new percentage-based daily price limit procedure in CBOT grain and oilseeds products, including corn, soybeans, CBOT wheat, Kansas City wheat, soybean meal, soybean oil, oats and rough rice. CME noted, "The new methodology is a more flexible, transparent and market based price-limit setting mechanism. It would allow price limits to expand under high prices, but also allow price limits to retract when prices fall."
EPA URGED TO EXEMPT LIVESTOCK FROM EMISSIONS REPORTING RULE
In a bipartisan letter sent late last week to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 19 senators asked the agency to “continue the longstanding exemption for livestock odors” from the reporting requirements of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA).
EPA in February was ordered by a U.S. District Court to revise its rules for EPCRA, which requires certain entities to notify state and local authorities about accidental spills and releases of hazardous materials and chemical explosions; it exempted agricultural producers from reporting routine emissions from their farms. While a U.S. Court of Appeals in 2017 rejected the exemption, a bipartisan Congress in 2018 overwhelmingly approved the Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act, which again exempted farms from reporting emissions from animal waste.
Extremist groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the Waterkeeper Alliance, in 2018 sued to have the FARM Act regulations vacated and to force farms to immediately begin reporting emissions. But EPA in a backroom deal agreed to settle the case with the activists and have the FARM Act rules remand to the agency to be redrafted. The National Pork Producers strongly support the emissions reporting exemption for livestock producers, and they have pointed out that first responders have been clear they consider such reports unnecessary and burdensome.
USDA Data Reveal: Cattle Sale Revenues Grew 16% in 2021
Following two Congressional hearings on the beef and cattle markets largely focused on prices producers receive for their cattle, the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) today said the latest USDA annual report on livestock income clears up misconceptions about the state of cattle markets and shows cash receipts for the sale of cattle and calves increased 16 percent, from $63.1 billion in 2020 to $72.9 billion in 2021.
“As our members said in their testimony, prices are improving for cattle producers due to supply and demand reflecting the cyclical nature of cattle production,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Due to the shrinking herd and sustained consumer demand, cattle prices are at seven-year-highs without federal intervention in the market.”
Cattle prices today are the highest they have been since the record highs in 2014 and 2015, when the overall cattle herd was at its smallest since 1952 (for context, that was during the Truman Administration). Those record prices incentivized rapid herd expansion among producers which led in part to the oversupply of cattle in 2020.
The report, compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, is the Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2021 Summary . It says, “Cash receipts from marketings of cattle and calves increased 16 percent, from $63.1 billion in 2020 to $72.9 billion in 2021. All cattle and calf marketings totaled 61.4 billion pounds in 2021, up 4 percent from 2020.”
The report also breaks down cattle revenue by state. Many states’ producers saw increases higher than the nationwide aggregate of 16 percent. For example: Nebraska’s producers’ earnings grew 18 percent, Montana 22 percent, Kansas 18 percent, Kentucky 21 percent, North Dakota 28 percent, and South Dakota 26 percent.
“More and more data are showing that while the industry had to overcome significant challenges in 2020, markets behaved predictably,” said Potts. “As our members told Congress, the markets will continue to improve for producers.”
IRFA Thanks Biden EPA for Issuing E15 Emergency Order
Today EPA followed through on President Joe Biden’s promise earlier this month to take emergency action to ensure E15 can be sold nationwide this summer. In response, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw made the following statement:
“We thank President Biden and EPA Administrator Regan for upholding the promise to ensure E15 can be sold nationwide this summer. It was very important this action was taken today before May 1 when fuel terminals would have had to start discontinuing the distribution of E15 to retailers. This way terminals and retailers can have certainty and there will be absolutely no interruption in consumer access to cleaner-burning, lower-cost E15.”
NCGA Thanks EPA for Following Through on President Biden’s E15 Emergency Waiver
The following is a statement from NCGA President Chris Edgington on today’s announcement from the EPA issuing an emergency fuel waiver for E15 sales.
“We thank EPA Administrator Michael Regan for following through on the president’s recent announcement in Iowa and taking the action needed to ensure drivers maintain access to lower-cost, lower-emissions E15,” said NCGA president Chris Edgington. “We also agree with EPA’s assessment that treating E15 the same as regular fuel in the market maintains air quality. By acting today, and commitment to act through the summer, the Biden Administration will help increase the fuel supply by relying on more domestic biofuels and reducing our dependence on oil.”
Environmental Benefits of E15:
- E15 has a lower RVP than E10 and, therefore, results in lower evaporative emissions, the goal of RVP regulation.
- Blending more ethanol to make E15 displaces and dilutes the most toxic aromatic hydrocarbon components in gasoline, reducing exhaust emissions for cleaner air.
- Ethanol results in 44 to 52 percent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than gasoline. Higher ethanol blends like E15 result in fewer GHG emissions.
Earlier this month, corn farmers applauded President Biden for using existing authority to give consumers more options at the pump that are lower-cost and environmentally friendly. Ethanol has been priced an average of 80 cents less per gallon than unblended gasoline at wholesale through March, and drivers currently save up to 20 cents or more per gallon with E15.
RFA Thanks EPA For Quick Action on Emergency E15 Waiver
The Renewable Fuels Association today welcomed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s emergency waiver allowing E15 (gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol) to be sold during the summer driving season. The following is a statement from RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper:
“We commend Administrator Regan and his team at EPA for acting quickly and decisively to implement the emergency fuel waiver announced recently by President Biden. As U.S. and global gasoline stocks continue to shrink as a result of Putin’s war on Ukraine, EPA’s action will help prevent summertime fuel shortages while also protecting air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Extending the fuel supply with larger volumes of lower-cost, lower-carbon ethanol makes perfect sense, and we thank the Biden administration for turning to America’s farm fields for help instead of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. Today’s emergency waiver will ensure cost-conscious drivers across the country will continue to have access to more affordable E15 all summer long. The E15 blend has typically been priced 20-30 cents per gallon below regular gasoline in recent months, offering an important measure of relief to consumers during this time of surging inflation.”
The waiver follows an April 12 announcement from President Biden that such an action was forthcoming. Following that announcement, RFA released a review of myths and facts about the E15 blend, pointing out especially that it will have a positive effect on reducing summertime air pollution. EPA’s release today notes that the agency “…does not expect any impact on air quality” from the summertime waiver and states that “consumers can continue to use E15 without concern that its use in the summer will impact air quality.”
In addition to today’s action, eight Midwest governors from both political parties notified EPA yesterday that they are exercising the authority granted to them under the Clean Air Act to forgo the statutory summertime E10 waiver starting in 2023, which would allow retailers and marketers in their states to permanently sell E15 unincumbered in the future.
Growth Energy Welcomes EPA Action on Summer E15 Fix for 2022
Growth Energy welcomed today’s action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement President Biden’s plan to hold down fuel costs for working families by lifting barriers on sales of E15 this summer.
“We’re grateful to EPA Administrator Michael Regan for working quickly to fulfill President Biden’s commitment to deliver relief at the pump by ensuring unrestricted access to lower cost E15 this summer,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, who joined President Biden for the April 12 announcement at the POET Biorefinery in Menlo, Iowa. “Not only has E15 been saving drivers as much as 60 cents per gallon, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has lower fuel volatility and smog-forming potential, and supports economic growth across rural America.
“America is the world’s largest producer of biofuels, and we should be making use of our full capacity in the push for greater energy security and a healthy climate. Unfortunately, outdated restrictions that are unsupported by science and drafted before E15 was available stand in the way of allowing consumers to enjoy a cleaner, more affordable choice at the pump.
“We are grateful to President Biden and champions like U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, EPA Administrator Regan, and our bipartisan champions in Congress for supporting swift action on E15, but we know the fight isn’t over. Lifting outdated restrictions on E15 through this temporary waiver buys time for policymakers to implement a permanent fix, and it’s vital that this administration and leaders in Congress work swiftly to restore year-round access to E15 in the years ahead.”
ACE Thanks EPA for Delivering on E15 Executive Action
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is issuing a national, temporary emergency waiver so E15 can continue to be sold this summer, which will help increase fuel supplies, give consumers more choice to get lower prices, and provide savings to many families. American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings issued the statement below following the announcement:
“ACE thanks EPA Administrator Regan for making good on President Biden’s promise to American consumers, the ethanol industry, and farmers by issuing a national emergency waiver for E15 this summer starting May 1.
“While we are grateful EPA intends to issue new waivers effectively covering the 2022 summer season, a permanent remedy to expand consumer access for E15 long term is still necessary. That’s why we encourage Administrator Regan to respond to the formal request by the bipartisan group of governors to allow year-round E15 access in their states, and work with Congress on a legislative fix.”
NMPF Co-op Member Outlines Dairy Needs in Farm Bill Kickoff Hearing in Michigan
Michigan dairy farmer Ashley Kennedy, a member of the Michigan Milk Producers Association, testified on behalf of MMPA and the National Milk Producers Federation at the Senate Agriculture Committee’s first hearing dedicated to the upcoming Farm Bill, the twice-a-decade reauthorization of all USDA programs.
“I couldn’t have come back to the family farm if it were not for many of these programs,” said Kennedy, whose family milks 240 cows in east-central Michigan, at the field hearing held Friday at Michigan State University in East Lansing. “Being a part of the conversation is essential to see a future that reflects opportunity and success.”
Addressing Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who presided over the hearing, Kennedy discussed her perspective as a third-generation farmer on the successes and shortcomings of current dairy policies and programs Congress must address in the next reauthorization. Kennedy thanked the committee, and Chairwoman Stabenow in particular, for overhauling the dairy safety net during the last farm bill and providing producers with access to crop insurance-like risk management tools, which puts dairy farmers on par with producers of other commodities.
Kennedy praised the Dairy Margin Coverage program as “essential to our farm and family’s financial success last year” and called attention to recent improvements that accounted for modest production increases and better reflect dairy farmer feed costs.
Still, the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic for the dairy sector in Michigan and nationwide need to be incorporated into the next reauthorization of federal farm programs, she said in her written testimony. The effects of federal programs on milk pricing deserve special attention, she said. “The combined effects of the change made to the Class I mover in the last farm bill, and the government’s heavy cheese purchases, cost dairy farmers over $750 million in Class I skim revenue during the last six months of 2020.”
The dairy industry, under NMPF leadership, is seeking consensus on a range of improvements to the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, including but not limited to the Class I mover, that can be taken to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for consideration in a national order hearing.
Beyond economic policy, Kennedy also advocated for additional investments in conservation programs to help dairy farmers build on their ongoing sustainability work; urged a doubling of funding for key trade promotion programs; and spoke to the importance of farm bill nutrition programs as “the bedrock of linking the food we produce as farmers to households across the country.”
Kennedy closed by offering a personal take on the need for significant mental health policy in the farm bill. “Stress in rural America is not talked about enough, which is unfortunate, because it’s a problem we can only solve by working together.” Kennedy thanked the committee for reauthorizing the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the last farm bill but urged that even more robust resources be provided.
The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to hold an additional field hearing in Arkansas, the home state of Ranking Republican John Boozman, in the coming weeks.
Senate Agriculture Committee Holds Farm Bill Field Hearing
National Association of Wheat Growers Past President and Cass City, MI wheat farmer Dave Milligan attended the Senate Agriculture Committee’s first field hearing on Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: 2023 Farm Bill Perspectives from Michigan. The hearing is the first Senate Agriculture Committee review of the 2018 Farm Bill and will focus on farm programs, conservation, rural development, research, and the other Farm Bill titles. Past President Milligan also provided written testimony to complement the witnesses who provided oral testimony.
Dave Milligan’s written testimony highlighted key programs in the 2018 Farm Bill and how they impacted wheat growers. In the testimony, Milligan noted how COVID-19, the severe drought and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have all impacted the economic conditions in wheat country and emphasized the importance of preserving farm safety nets for economic disruptions.
“It was good to see the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee in Michigan today holding the first field hearing of the 117th Congress,” Milligan said. “NAWG is continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of the farm safety net programs and how we can improve them going into Farm Bill reauthorization. As the Senate Agriculture Committee begins looking at key titles of the Farm Bill, NAWG looks forward to testifying before the committee on how these programs ensure that our food supply is safe, affordable, and can meet the challenges of feeding a growing world.”
NAWG looks forward to working with the Senate Agriculture Committee as it continues to hold Farm Bill hearings and craft a bill that benefits wheat farmers across the United States.
Friday, April 29, 2022
Friday April 29 Ag News
La Nina Forecasted to Continue with Drought Expansion Likely According to CPC