Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday May 20 Cattle on Feed+ Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.65 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 5% from last year.  Placements during April totaled 440,000 head, up 4% from 2021.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of April totaled 440,000 head, down 5% from last year. Other disappearance during April totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 590,000 head on May 1, 2022, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was down 2 percent from April and down 6 percent from May 1, 2021. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 565,000 head on feed, down 2 percent from last month but up 5 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,155,000 head, down 2 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April 2022 totaled 85,000 head, down 15 percent from March and down 14 percent from April 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 48,000 head, up 14 percent from March but down 17 percent from April 2021. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 133,000 head, down 6 percent from March and down 15 percent from April 2021.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April 2022 totaled 93,000 head, down 14 percent from March and down 3 percent from April 2021. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 55,000 head, unchanged from March but down 15 percent from April 2021. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 148,000 head, down 9 percent from March and down 8 percent from April 2021. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 5,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 2 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on May 1, 2022. The inventory was 2 percent above May 1, 2021. This is the highest May 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

On Feed, by State    (1,000 hd  -  % May 1 '21)

Colorado ......:                  1,090          105                
Iowa .............:                    590           94                
Kansas ..........:                  2,480          100                 
Nebraska ......:                  2,650          105                   
Texas ............:                  2,900          103                   

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.81 million head, 1 percent below 2021. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 355,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 270,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 415,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 489,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 210,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Placements by State  (1,000 hd - % April '21)

Colorado ......:                       165           103                
Iowa .............:                        85            86                
Kansas ..........:                       430            99                 
Nebraska ......:                       440           104                
Texas ............:                       395            96                

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.89 million head, 2 percent below 2021.  Other disappearance totaled 54,000 head during April, 2 percent below 2021.

Marketings by State  (1,000 hd - % April '21)

Colorado ......:                    170            97                  
Iowa .............:                      93            97                   
Kansas ..........:                    450           103                    
Nebraska ......:                    440            95                   
Texas ............:                    435            97                 

Total Red Meat Production Down 3 Percent from Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.55 billion pounds in April, down 3 percent from the 4.71 billion pounds produced in April 2021.

Beef production, at 2.33 billion pounds, was 1 percent below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.81 million head, down 1 percent from April 2021. The average live weight was up 7 pounds from the previous year, at 1,373 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.5 million pounds, 6 percent above April a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 28,100 head, up 2 percent from April 2021. The average live weight was up 8 pounds from last year, at 276 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.20 billion pounds, down 6 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.1 million head, down 7 percent from April 2021. The average live weight was up 3 pounds from the previous year, at 293 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 12.3 million pounds, was down 10 percent from April 2021. Sheep slaughter totaled 197,500 head, 12 percent below last year. The average live weight was 123 pounds, up 1 pound from April a year ago.

Red Meat Production, by State

                       (million lbs.  -  % April '21)

Nebraska ......:     640.8             95       
Iowa .............:     692.9             92       
Kansas ..........:     508.9            101       

January to April 2022 commercial red meat production was 18.5 billion pounds, down 2 percent from 2021. Accumulated beef production was up 1 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was down 5 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 11 percent.

Rural Mainstreet Economic Index Cools for May:mCash Rents Climbed by Almost 10% over Past 12 Months

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell from April’s healthy reading and remained above growth neutral for the 18th straight month, according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.       

The region’s overall reading for May declined to 57.7, its lowest level since February 2021 and down from April’s 62.0. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

“Much like the nation, the growth in the Rural Mainstreet economy is slowing. Supply chain disruptions from transportation bottlenecks and labor shortages continue to constrain growth.  Farmers and bankers are bracing for escalating interest rates — both long-term and short-term,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Farming and ranching:
The region’s farmland price index for May sank to a still strong 72.0 from 80.0 in April, marking the 20th straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral. Over the past several months, the Creighton survey has registered the most consistent and strongest growth in farmland prices since the survey was launched in 2006.

On average, cash rents have risen by 9.6% to $250 per acre for non-irrigated crop land over the past 12 months, according to bankers.

In 2021, the 10-state region exported $10.6 billion of farm commodities, including livestock. Approximately 57.2% of those exports went to Mexico. Despite the rapid rise in the dollar against most currencies, the dollar has depreciated by almost 17% against the Mexican peso.  This has made Rural Mainstreet agriculture products more competitively priced in Mexico.  

Farm equipment sales:
The May farm equipment-sales index declined to 66.9 from April’s 67.6. This was the 18th straight month that the index has advanced above growth neutral. Readings over the past several months are the strongest string of monthly readings recorded since the beginning of the survey in 2006.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for May declined to 59.7 from April’s 62.9. The state’s farmland-price index rose to 74.6 from last month’s 62.2. Nebraska’s new-hiring index sank to 64.2 from 66.5 in April. “For 2021, the Nebraska export of farm commodities to Mexico represented 84.0% of all farm commodity exports. The depreciation of the dollar to the peso was very supportive of these exports in 2021,” said Goss.

Iowa: The May RMI for Iowa rose to 56.7 from 53.4 in April. Iowa’s farmland-price index declined to 71.0 from April’s 78.5. Iowa’s new-hiring index for May climbed to 69.8 from 62.1 in April. “For 2021, the Iowa export of farm commodities to Mexico represented 61.5% of all farm commodity exports. The depreciation of the dollar to the peso was very supportive of these exports in 2021,” said Goss.

The survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It provides the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey and launched it in January 2006.


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Fertilizing warm-season grass is a practice some producers do, but one should consider forage needs, the value of the forage, and fertilizer costs.

Warm-season grasses are very efficient at using water and nutrients. Where moisture is present, warm-season grasses will grow rapidly when air and soil temperatures increase. With fertilizer, growth will be more abundant resulting in more hay or grazing days. Mid-May to early-June is the window to fertilize.

How much fertilizer to apply depends on each operation. First, consider whether or not fertilizing is worth the cost. If extra growth won’t get grazed or extra hay won’t get fed, then fertilizing won’t be economical.

Knowing what species will be fertilized can also help with the decision. Taller growing warm-season grasses such as switchgrass, big bluestem, and indiangrass will be the most efficient with the fertilizer. Shorter warm-season grasses such as sideoats grama and little bluestem will respond less.

Moisture is the last key consideration. In eastern Nebraska, in a year with average or above average moisture, a rate of 50 to 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre will have a great response. In a drier year, the response will be lower/less. For central and western Nebraska, 40 pounds of nitrogen on subirrigated meadows will do well. Outside of subirrigated meadows, nitrogen may not pay off unless there is adequate moisture. Without moisture, the response may not be worth the cost.

Fertilizing warm-season grasses may be a benefit to an operation if done soon. Hay yield or grazing days may increase if managed well with fertilizer.

Webinar planned on post-pandemic agricultural outlook

A webinar exploring the post-pandemic economic factors that will shape agriculture’s outlook in the year ahead will be hosted by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at noon on May 26.

It will be presented by Nathan Kauffman, Omaha branch executive, vice president and economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

“Economic conditions in agriculture have rebounded dramatically in the past two years, alongside a sharp recovery in broader economic conditions,” Kauffman said. “While factors specific to the pandemic may continue to affect economic conditions to varying degrees, the path forward for agriculture will depend significantly on these broader economic forces.”

He mentioned high commodity prices, record farmland values and farm financial conditions that are considerably stronger than before the pandemic as factors that have contributed to the post-pandemic rebound. The webinar will discuss the outlook for economic conditions related to agriculture in the year ahead.

It will be hosted on Zoom and registration is open on the Center for Agricultural Profitability’s website,


All layers in Nebraska during April 2022 totaled 7.31 million, down from 8.08 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during April totaled 178 million eggs, down from 197 million in 2021. April egg production per 100 layers was 2,442 eggs, compared to 2,444 eggs in 2021.

IOWA: Iowa egg production during April 2022 was 872 million eggs, down 16 percent from last month and down 29 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during April 2022 was 34.5 million, down 14 percent from last month and down 29 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for April were 2,524, down 3 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last April.

April U.S. Egg Production Down 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.82 billion during April 2022, down 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.55 billion table eggs, and 1.27 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.18 billion were broiler-type and 93.8 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during April 2022 totaled 369 million, down 5 percent from last year. April egg production per 100 layers was 2,389 eggs, up 2 percent from April 2021.
Total layers in the United States on May 1, 2022 totaled 366 million, down 6 percent from last year. The 366 million layers consisted of 300 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 62.5 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.63 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on May 1, 2022, averaged 79.4 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from May 1, 2021.

Nebraska Cattlemen and Farm Credit Services of America Announce Livestock Risk Protection Webinar

The Nebraska Cattlemen and Farm Credit Services of America together will host a webinar titled, Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) and How It Can Benefit Your Operation on Tuesday, May 24th at 12:30 PM CT.

LRP is a federally subsidized risk management program that insures against declining market prices, allowing fed and feeder cattle producers to establish a floor price for protection while leaving upside price potential open.

The presenter, Mr. Landon Nelson, is an Insurance Services Officer at Farm Credit Services of America and focuses on supporting livestock producers through the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) and Livestock Gross Margin (LGM) programs. Additionally, he helps lead efforts in educating and supporting producers in LRP across five states. Prior to joining Farm Credit Services of America in early 2021, Landon spent several years in commodity merchandising.

Those interested are encouraged to register via Zoom.

For any questions regarding the upcoming webinar, please email Nebraska Cattlemen’s Director of Producer Education, Bonita Lederer, at

Nebraska Corn Board to Meet

The Nebraska Corn Board will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 – Thursday, June 2, 2022, at the Younes Conference Center, 416 W Talmadge Rd, Kearney, Neb.  The meeting is open to the public, providing the opportunity for public comment. The Board will conduct regular board business, consider funding requests and set the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.  A copy of the agenda is available by writing the Nebraska Corn Board, 245 Fallbrook Blvd, Suite 204, Lincoln, NE 68521, sending an email to or calling (402) 471-2676.

Women in ag plans workshop on developing communication skills, relationships

Developing communication skills to improve relationships will be the focus of a two-part virtual workshop hosted by Nebraska Extension’s Women in Agriculture program in June.

The workshop, “Tools for Effective Communication: Allowing You to Enhance Your Relationship with Yourself and Others,” will hold its first session from 1 to 3 p.m. Central time on June 2. The second session is scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. Central time on June 30.

It will be facilitated by Ashley Machado, a mental health consultant who works primarily with agricultural professionals and their families. She will offer tips and tools for effective communication and listening. The workshop will cover how to respond instead of react, and what it means to improve communication skills with not only the most important people in your life, but with the people around you as well.

Machado is an advocate of rethinking the ways that we support mental health in the agriculture industry and specializes in breaking down big ideas and deep feelings into simple, actionable strategies. She applies 15 years of experience to helping individuals and organizations in agricultural to develop the tools they need to maintain good mental health and operate and live fully.

Machado holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and a master’s in social work with an emphasis in clinical mental health. She grew up in the dairy industry and now lives in California with her husband, a rancher and almond farmer.

The workshop will be held via Zoom and participants should plan on attending both sessions. Registration is $20 per person and can be completed on the Nebraska Women in Agriculture website,

2022 Corn Grower Open Registration Now Open!

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association is excited to be able to host the 2022 Corn Grower Open this year on August 12th at Lochland Country Club in Hastings! Registration is now open and can be completed by filling out this form and submitting it to or mail to Nebraska Corn Growers Association at 245 Fallbrook Blvd, Suite 204, Lincoln, NE 68521. If circumstances change and the tournament has to be canceled, all sponsorship and registration money will be returned, minus any fees incurred. They look forward to another great year on the course celebrating Nebraska’s corn industry.

If you are interested in sponsoring any part of the tournament, please see this form that outlines all of the different opportunities available.


Governor Pete Ricketts has proclaimed the month of May 2022, as Nebraska Winery Month in response to a request submitted by the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association. The Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association established Nebraska Winery Month to encourage wine lovers to discover and embrace all that Nebraska Wines have to offer.

This month is a means to promote and develop: the Nebraska wine and grape industry, our members’ interests and activities, industry excellence and quality assurance, and education for our members and the greater community.

Nebraska Winery Month encourages individuals to raise awareness and understanding of the Nebraska Wine industry. The NWGGA is dedicated to leading the industry toward economic viability and sustainability.

Nebraska Winery month inspires wine lovers to explore the association’s 25 member wineries and 7 member tasting rooms through our passport program, and the annual TOAST Nebraska Wine festival.

The Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association hosts the largest gathering of Nebraska wineries in the state at the annual TOAST Nebraska Wine Festival. TOAST Nebraska is a two-day celebration of Nebraska Wines. Visit to learn more about our annual event.

We would like to thank Governor Pete Ricketts for joining the efforts to urge all citizens to increase their understanding and awareness of the wine industry, and the many services it provides.

For more information on the NWGGA, please visit: or call 402-405-1291

Iowa Learning Farms Webinar: Nutrient Recycling from Swine Manure using Biochar and Zeolite

The Iowa Learning Farms conservation webinar taking place May 25 at noon CDT will feature Iowa State University environmental research scientists Chumki Banik and Santanu Bakshi.

Banik and Bakshi collaborate on research regarding the management and utilization of manure as organic fertilizer in ways that can improve soil health while limiting nutrient loss to waterways. Their work includes assessment of the impacts of biochar-manure mixtures on the physical and chemical structure of agricultural soils. In addition, their current research focuses on the use of zeolite, a highly absorbent mineral, and biochar in concentrating and recovering nutrients from swine manure for efficient recycling to cropland while reducing nutrient leakage and improving air quality within the swine production system.

Iowa Learning Farms is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program.

In the webinar, “Using Biochar and Zeolite to Recycle Phosphorus and Nitrogen from Swine Manure: An Integrative Approach,” Banik and Bakshi will discuss the efficacy of utilizing biochar and biochar-zeolite mixtures to help recover nitrogen and phosphorus from swine manure. They will also highlight the potential environmental and economic benefits and impacts of agroecosystems which employ organic fertilizer processes such as those currently being investigated.

“We anticipate this study will provide significant data and outcomes to help identify potential positive impacts on climate change mitigation strategies, reduction of pollutants in natural water bodies and long-term sustainability of a broad range of farm systems,” said Banik. “This study should also help to inform and encourage farmers regarding the positive economic and environmental benefits of using sustainable organic fertilizer methods.”

Participants in Iowa Learning Farms Conservation Webinars are encouraged to ask questions of the presenters. People from all backgrounds and areas of interest are encouraged to join.

Webinar access instructions  

To participate in the live webinar, shortly before noon CDT May 25:
    To access online, click this URL, or type this web address into your internet browser: Or go to and enter meeting ID 364 284 172.
    To join from a dial-in phone line, dial +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 876 9923 with meeting ID 364 284 172.
The webinar will also be recorded and archived on the ILF website, so that it can be watched at any time.

A Certified Crop Adviser board-approved continuing education unit has been applied for. Those who participate in the live webinar are eligible. Information about how to apply to receive the CEU will be provided at the end of the live webinar.

Upcoming webinars in the series
June 1: Lindsey Hartfiel, Iowa State University
June 8: Peter Kyveryga, Iowa State University
June 15: Matt Rurak, University of Wisconsin-Madison
June 22: Chad J. Penn, USDA-ARS

IDALS Lifts HPAI Quarantine Restrictions on Three Iowa Poultry Sites

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship this week released three Iowa poultry sites from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) quarantine restrictions. The restrictions prohibited the movement of poultry and poultry products on or off the affected premises and were lifted on May 16 after these sites were cleared from HPAI.

“This is a notable step forward in our state’s collaborative response to avian influenza, but our work is not done,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “I am extremely proud of our ability to move quickly to implement our response plans that minimize virus spread, protect the health of Iowa’s poultry flocks and ensure farmers can continue farming. Moving forward, the Iowa Department of Agriculture, along with USDA, producers and other industry stakeholders will continue efforts to effectively manage this outbreak.”

The sites released from quarantine include: a commercial pullet site in Franklin County, a commercial turkey site in Hamilton County and a site of commercial breeding chickens in Humboldt County, Iowa. Quarantines will be lifted on remaining sites as requirements for release are met. These requirements include, but are not limited to, cleaning, disinfection and environmental sampling of the infected premises.

“For over 25 years Iowa’s turkey farmers and poultry industry leaders have worked on response plans with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and the USDA to prepare for detection and steps to end Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Iowa’s poultry flocks,” said Iowa Turkey Federation Executive Director Gretta Irwin. “The Department has communicated expectations to the farmers through presentations and tabletop exercises.  Because of this inclusive process, Iowa’s turkey farmers know the process for eradicating this virus.  The quarantine releases this week demonstrate the effectiveness of response plans.”

“We are extremely pleased that we are beginning to see quarantines lifted and repopulation of flocks slated to occur in the near future. This step leads us to celebrate the efforts made on behalf of farmers, in partnership with USDA and IDALS animal health officials,” said Iowa Poultry Association Executive Director, Kevin Stiles.

Cattle industry gearing up for the Iowa Governor's Charity Steer Show

The Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and Office of the Governor of Iowa are gearing up for the 40th anniversary of the Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show (GCSS). This year, we strive to raise $400,000 for the 40th anniversary. All proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Iowa, with houses in Des Moines, Iowa City, and Sioux City.

“During the 39th annual Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show, we raised more than $375,000,” Tanner Lawton, Iowa GCSS Co-chair said. “To date, we have raised $4.5 million for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. This year, we hope to reach new heights and raise $400,000 for the 40th anniversary. Chances are, you know a family who has utilized the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. The Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show helps support Iowa families during their time of need, and we hope you will join us in supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa by attending this year’s show, slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 13.”

The Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and Office of the Governor of Iowa cordially invite you to join us for this year’s kickoff event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday, May 27. The event will be held at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Iowa, located at 1441 Pleasant St., Des Moines, Iowa 50314. Gov. Kim Reynolds will provide remarks, as well as executive directors from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. Other guests include: Iowa Agriculture Sec. Mike Naig, Deputy Sec. Julie Kenney, and families benefiting from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa. Please let us know if you plan on attending by emailing Anna Hastert at

Now accepting applications for 5th annual IAWA Iowa Watershed Awards

Do you know someone who is making an impact on Iowa’s water quality? The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) and partners want your help in recognizing watershed coordinators and other dedicated individuals for exceptional work to improve water quality and implement Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS).

The awards program is a partnership among IAWA, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and Conservation Districts of Iowa (CDI).

One Watershed Coordinator of the year will win $5,000 for their watershed and $1,000 for professional development. If the honoree cannot accept outside funding for professional development, the funding will go toward the local watershed project. In addition, one individual in the private sector, and one in the public sector will be honored with Impact awards for their work to improve water quality.

“It’s inspiring each year to discover and share the highly effective and unique ways that Iowa’s watershed coordinators and other water quality professionals in the public and private sectors are working with local stakeholders to improve Iowa’s water quality and help advance implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” said Sean McMahon, Executive Director of IAWA.

Colton Meyer was the 2021 Iowa Watershed Coordinator of the Year for his successful work with the West Branch of the Floyd River Watershed.  

“The funding provided through the IAWA Watershed Award has been a blessing to our Water Quality Initiative project. We continue to see double-digit first-time users of no-till, cover crops, and low disturbance manure application every single year,” said Meyer.

Meyer used his professional development funding to take grant writing classes that allowed him to secure additional funding for his watershed project. He also used the funds to attend a soil health conference where he met his wife.

Nominations and applications will be accepted at until June 30, 2022. Winners will be announced at the 2022 Iowa Water Conference in September, hosted by the Iowa Water Center.

USMEF Statement on Study Confirming Effectiveness of Export Market Development Programs

On May 18, the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) released an economic impact study confirming the effectiveness of export market development programs in expanding demand for U.S. agricultural products and generating a strong return on investment. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Grains Council on behalf of USAEDC members. U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

The remarkable rate of growth for U.S. red meat exports would not have been possible without critical investments available through the USDA Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. More recently, the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program also helped offset the impact of retaliatory measures imposed by some trading partners.

The USAEDC study quantifies the effectiveness of these programs and confirms the positive impact these investments have on the bottom line of U.S. farmers and ranchers and everyone in the U.S. supply chain. USMEF thanks USAEDC and the U.S. Grains Council for organizing the study and for making this information available to policy makers and key stakeholders.

 Growth Energy, EPA Reach Settlement on Deadline for Issuing 2023 RVO

Following settlement discussions with Growth Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to file a notice in the Federal Register on Monday seeking comment on a proposed judicial consent decree that would require EPA to propose the 2023 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) by no later than September 16, 2022 and finalize it no later than April 28, 2023. EPA’s notice comes after Growth Energy filed a notice of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court in response to the agency’s violation of the deadlines to issue RVOs established by Congress for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

"Securing a deadline for the 2023 RVO is a significant victory in our mission to ensure certainty when it comes to biofuel blending, especially as we face a new era of the RFS,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “2023 is the first year where required volumes of renewable fuel are not specified by Congress and must be set by EPA. Releasing the proposed RVO is the first step for EPA to keep the RFS program on sound footing for 2023 and beyond. We look forward to EPA releasing an RVO that sets biofuel blending at levels that reflect a move toward more lower-carbon, lower-cost fuel in our transportation system."


For 2023 and beyond under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), EPA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is required to set RVOs through rulemaking, taking into consideration six statutory factors, including environmental, economic, and energy security. EPA is required to set the 2023 volume requirements at least 14 months prior to the calendar year in which it is to take effect.

 EQIP Program Improves Cover Crop Adoption

The American Soybean Association (ASA) recently led an analysis of federal conservation programs to determine which programs were the most beneficial to farmers and led to greater adoption of conservation practices. The economic analysis showed that the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding to farmers increased cover crop acres more efficiently than the whole-farm Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). In addition, neither program moved the needle forward on no-till practice adoption.

The analysis was funded through a grant ASA received from the Walton Family Foundation. ASA Economist Scott Gerlt teamed up with Roderick Rejesus and Yuyuan Che, North Carolina State agricultural economists, to take a deep dive into 2009-2020 USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) data. Both EQIP and CSP are voluntary cost-share government programs that provide financial and technical assistance to increase farmer practices that improve soil, water, air, wildlife and climate impact. Results of the economic analysis provide additional guidance for ASA’s advocacy efforts related to proposed conservation programs under the 2023 Farm Bill.

Ariel Wiegard, Director of Government Affairs for ASA, likens these results to recent grower surveys and Farm Bill listening session comments. “This study underscores what we hear from growers as we clarify our conservation priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill.”

The largest soil-health related purpose category for EQIP and CSP is Cropland Soil Quality. It focuses on practices that improve soil health: enhancing organic matter, avoiding excessive tillage, managing pests and nutrients sufficiently, preventing soil compaction, keeping the ground covered, and diversifying cropping systems. In 2020, for example, 3.9 million EQIP acres enrolled for this purpose were contracted in these categories: nutrient management (20%), cover crops (18%), reduced tillage (16%), crop rotation (9%), other (37%).

In comparison, CSP had 5.9 million whole-farm acres contracted for Cropland Soil Quality in 2020 in the following categories: integrated pest management (39%), nutrient management (27%), reduced tillage (14%), cover crops (9%), crop rotation (7%), other (31%).

Acreage and costs

National EQIP acreage has stayed in the 10-12 million/year range since 2009, except for the 2012 drought year when it hit 20 million acres. Soybean states show a consistent 2 million acres/year. National costs per acre have doubled from 2009 to 2020 from $60 to $120/acre; soybean states increased from $80 to $150/acre.

National CSP acreage has steadily declined since 2011, going from 13 million to 6 million acres in 2020, with soybean states showing a similar decline (5 to 1.75 million acres). In the same timeframe, per-acre costs rose from $40 to $300/acre; soybean states increased from $40 to $190/acre.

“To answer whether these payments increase cover crops and no-till adoption, the study used satellite OpTIS data at the county level in 12 Corn Belt states from 2006 to 2015,” says Gerlt. “It also included data on EQIP and CSP payments, planted acreage and weather variables.”

EQIP boosts cover crops

The analysis shows:
    Over time, farmers are automatically adopting more cover crops.
    Increasing rainfall reduces cover crop adoption.
    Warmer weather increases cover crop adoption.
    EQIP payments increase adoption: Each $1 spent increases adoption by 0.0673% (or $100 EQIP payment increases cover crops by 7%).

“CSP payments tell a different story, meaning that increasing CSP payments corresponds to a decrease in cover crop adoption,” Gerlt says. “While that seems counterintuitive, anecdotal evidence from farmers points to a reluctance to put all their acres into cover crops, as required by CSP contracts, compared to targeting certain acres under EQIP.”

No conclusions can be drawn when examining the same satellite and variable data from a no-till adoption perspective. “There are no statistically significant results that show either EQIP or CSP increasing no-till practice adoption,” Gerlt adds.

For more information on this study and other conservation projects ASA has completed in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, visit the Sustainability and Conservation issues section of the ASA website at

Genetic insights help rice survive drought and flood

Plants — they’re just like us, with unique techniques for handling stress. To save one of the most important crops on Earth from extreme climate swings, scientists are mapping out plants’ own stress-busting strategies.

A UC Riverside-led team has learned what happens to the roots of rice plants when they’re confronted with two types of stressful scenarios: too much water, or too little. These observations form the basis of new protective strategies.

“This one crop is the major source of calories for upwards of 45 percent of humanity, but its harvests are in danger,” said Julia Bailey-Serres, UCR geneticist and study lead. “In the U.S., floods rival droughts in terms of damage to farmers’ crops each year.”

While it is possible for rice to flourish in flooded soils, the plants yield less food or even die if the water is too deep for too long. This work simulated prolonged floods of five days or longer, in which plants were completely submerged. It also simulated drought conditions.

In particular, the researchers examined the roots’ response to both types of conditions, because roots are the unseen first responders to flood and drought-related stress.

Their work is described in a new paper published in the journal Developmental Cell.

One key finding is about a cork-like substance, suberin, that’s produced by rice roots in response to stress. It helps protect from floods as well as from drought.

“Suberin is a lipid molecule that helps any water drawn up by the roots make it to the shoots, and helps oxygen from shoots to reach roots,” Bailey-Serres said. “If we reinforce the plant’s ability to create suberin, rice has better chances for survival in all kinds of weather.”

The researchers were able to identify a network of genes that control suberin production and can use this information for gene editing or selective breeding.

“Understanding suberin is particularly exciting because it is not susceptible to breakdown by soil microbes, so carbon that the plant puts into suberin molecules in the roots is trapped in the ground,” said Alex Borowsky, UCR computational biologist and study co-author. “This means that increasing suberin could help combat climate change by removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.”

The researchers also identified the genes controlling some of rice’s other stress behaviors.

“One of our interesting findings is that when rice plants are submerged in water, the root cell growth cycle goes on pause, then switches back on shortly after the shoots have access to air,” Bailey-Serres said.

In the future, the research team plans to test how modifying these stress responses can make the plant more resilient to both wet and dry conditions.

“Now that we understand these responses, we have a roadmap to make targeted changes to the rice genome that will result in a more stress-tolerant plant,” Bailey-Serres said.

Though heavy rains and droughts are both increasing as threats, Bailey-Serres has hope that new genetic technology can increase its resilience before it’s too late.

“With genome editing, the fact that we can make a tiny but targeted change and protect a plant from disease is amazing. Though our crops are threatened, new technologies give us reasons to hope,” Bailey-Serres said.

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