Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday May 16 Crop Progress + Ag News


For the week ending May 15, 2022, there were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 10% very short, 27% short, 62% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 18% very short, 42% short, 40% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 62%, well behind 84% last year, and behind 77% for the five-year average. Emerged was 19%, behind 31% last year and 32% average.

Soybeans planted was 44%, well behind 68% last year, and behind 51% average. Emerged was 8%, behind 14% last year, and near 11% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 13% very poor, 18% poor, 41% fair, 26% good, and 2% excellent.  Winter wheat headed was 10%, near 7% last year and 11% average.

Sorghum planted was 4%, behind 15% last year and 17% average.

Oats condition rated 10% very poor, 21% poor, 25% fair, 41% good, and 3% excellent. Oats planted was 94%, behind 99% last year, but near 93% average. Emerged was 72%, behind 88% last year and 79% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 17% very poor, 24% poor, 46% fair, 13% good, and 0% excellent.


Significantly drier and warmer weather allowed Iowa’s farmers 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 15, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included spraying and planting.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 1 percent very short, 11 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 4 percent very short, 20 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus.

Farmers planted 43 percent of Iowa’s expected corn crop during the week ending May 15, 2022, to reach 57 percent planted, 2 weeks behind last year and 9 days behind the 5-year average. Eight percent of the corn crop has emerged, 11 days behind last year and 9 days behind average.

Thirty-four percent of soybeans have been planted, just over 2 weeks behind last year and 1 week behind the 5-year average. Just 3 percent of soybeans have emerged, 10 days behind the previous year and 6 days behind average.

Eighty-nine percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 16 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. Fifty-eight percent of the oat crop has emerged, 11 days behind last year and 1 week behind average.

Hay and pasture growth improved greatly with above normal temperatures. Iowa’s hay condition rating improved to 68 percent good to excellent. Some farmers have begun their first cutting of alfalfa.

Pasture condition improved to 53 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were good as they were turned out from muddy feedlots to pasture, although feed stocks were low.

USDA: Corn, Soybean Planting See Significant Jump

Farmers took advantage of a favorable weather window last week to push corn planting to near the halfway point and soybean planting past the one-quarter mark, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.


-- Planting progress: 49% nationwide as of Sunday, May 16, a jump of 27 percentage points from 22% the previous week. That pushed planting closer to the five-year average, but current progress is still 18 percentage points behind the average of 67%.
-- Crop development: 14% of corn was emerged as of Sunday, up 9 percentage points from the previous week and 18 percentage points behind the five-year average of 32%.


-- Planting progress: 30% nationwide as of Sunday, up 18 percentage points from the previous week. That is 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 39%.
-- Crop development: 9% of soybeans had emerged nationwide as of Sunday, 3 percentage points behind the five-year average of 12%.


-- Crop development progress: 48% of the winter wheat crop was headed nationwide as of Sunday, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 53%.
-- Crop condition: Nationwide, winter wheat was rated 27% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 27% the previous week.


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

Today, Nebraska Cattlemen and Farm Credit Services of America announced their 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


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) today announced that the controlled movement order cancelling all poultry events due to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that was issued on March 26, 2022, and extended on April 27, 2022, has been allowed to expire.

“While we continue our focus to protect the poultry industry, epidemiological information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates the spread of HPAI in Nebraska has been from wild birds and not from domestic flocks,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “It is important for Nebraska to allow our poultry producers and youth exhibitors to get back to a normal routine.”

Sale organizers are required to keep records, including contact information for all buyers and sellers. Exhibition organizers should also keep records, including contact information, for all participants and consider moving shows to a “show-and-go” type of format. NDA has created a guidance document for poultry shows and exhibitions as well as a “biosecurity for poultry events” document with information for poultry owners to consider. These guidance documents can be found at

“While NDA will allow poultry events to take place, I strongly advise that poultry producers continue to use extreme caution in attending such events. It is very important that poultry owners who choose to attend these events follow strict biosecurity measures, including isolating new birds for 30 days before introducing them to your flock,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Roger Dudley. “It is also important for poultry owners to continue to be aware of the signs and symptoms of HPAI and to contact NDA at 402-471-2351 immediately if you suspect HPAI in your flock.”

If Nebraska were to experience additional cases of HPAI, a new order may be issued.  For additional information about HPAI and the response efforts in Nebraska, visit:


Todd Whitney, NE Extension Educator
Cattle producers needing forage may be considering harvesting small grains such as wheat, rye, triticale and oats as hay or silage. When deciding timing and method of harvest, begin with the end in mind; realizing that normally Spring windrow drying can be a challenge. For young growing cattle, small grain hay should be cut in the boot stage or as soon as possible following heading to ensure higher protein and energy content. Awnless (beardless) varieties are preferred if harvest is delayed past the full heading stage. Mature cow and feedlot managers may consider delaying their forage harvest until the hard dough development stage to increase forage quantity, since these cattle can utilize lower quality forage than younger beef animals.
In Nebraska Extension forage harvest studies, wheat and rye yields almost double by delaying Spring harvest just one month. Compared to early May (boot stage) harvest, early June (soft dough growth stage development) irrigation biomass yields on average increase from 12 tons per acre to 20 tons per acre. However, the trade-off for delaying forage harvest is that forage crude protein content decreases from 18% at the boot stage to 10% crude protein at the dough kernel grain stage. Another downside to delayed small grain forage harvest is shortening the growing season for double-crop annual forages planting such as corn or sudangrass for fall silage.
When small grains are chopped for silage (wheatlage or ryelage), there may be opportunity for adding a week onto the subsequent annual crop growing season. If silage is your small grain harvest choice, moisture content is critical; and the target moisture content for successful ensiling is 70-72% for proper packing. Generally, small grains have a 76-78% moisture content during the soft-dough grain stage with the moisture dropping 5% during the harvest process.

NRD Legacy Incudes Major Cost-Savings with Flood Infrastructure

Since their inception in 1972, Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) have been building and maintaining flood control structures to protect lives, property and the future.

From Gering Valley in the Nebraska Panhandle to Papillion Creek in the Omaha metro, NRDs across the state employ a watershed protection approach. Utilizing floodplain management measures, NRDs design and build dams, levees, dikes, drainage ditches and other structures to keep flood waters from taking lives or damaging crops, buildings and roads.

In many cases, NRDs partner with state and federal agencies like the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to off-set project costs.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for every dollar spent on flood mitigation, an average of $6 can be saved in post-disaster recovery costs. In Nebraska, the benefits often go beyond cost savings as highlighted in the following projects.

Central Platte NRD – Upper Prairie Silver Moores Project

On average, there is one flood event every year somewhere in the Central Platte NRD, with a major flood occurring every six years. In March 2019, the District completed the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Project to reduce flood risk in northwestern Grand Island. When the Bomb Cyclone hit in spring 2019, an estimated $47 million in damages were avoided by reducing the flood risk for approximately 800 homes and businesses and more than 14,500 acres of agricultural ground. The project also removed nearly 1,600 properties from the 100-year floodplain, saving home and business owners approximately $1 million in annual flood insurance premium costs.

“In our initial planning we assumed a benefit-to-cost ratio of 13:1 assuming a 50-year project life,” said Lyndon Vogt, Central Platte NRD general manager. “In one year, the project paid for itself two-fold.”

This $24.5 million project included dam sites as well as detention cells to prevent water from flowing too quickly into the creeks. The Upper Prairie Silver Moores Project is a collaboration between Central Platte NRD, City of Grand Island, Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, and Merrick and Hall counties.

Lower Platte North NRD – Wahoo Creek Watershed

This year, the Lower Platte North NRD was awarded funding from the Nebraska Legislature for the Wahoo Creek Watershed. In partnership with the Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission, Lower Platte North NRD selected 10 dam sites in Saunders County which have the greatest potential to reduce flood damages to agriculture, county roads and bridges, urban land, improve water quality, and enhance wildlife and aquatic habitats.

“This project will provide the final link for reducing flood damages in the Wahoo Creek Watershed,” said Tom Mountford, Lower Platte North NRD assistant manager. “After so many years of planning, it is very satisfying to see all components finally come together for completion by the end of 2026.”

Lower Platte North NRD directors considered several potential methods to control flooding in the watershed, including levees, wetland storage, conversion of cropland, raising roads and bridges, building small or large structures, and wet and dry dams. The $19.7 million project includes 10 wet dams on sites south of Prague, west of Weston and west of Wahoo.

South Platte NRD – Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority

The Joint East Sidney Watershed Authority was formed in cooperation with the City of Sidney and the South Platte NRD to protect property in east Sidney. In addition to reducing flooding, the project also provides water quality benefits. The area upstream includes a mixture of agriculture land and commercial development, and stormwater runoff often contains high concentrations of sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen as well as oil and grease from parking lots.

The project includes vegetated bioswales (canals) and bioretention ponds that slow water and redirect it into the Lodgepole Creek while filtering runoff. The vegetated bioswales and bioretention ponds remove sediment, reduce soil erosion and filter pollution as the water drains. A fully functioning bioswale can remove up to 20-40 percent of pollutants and sediment from runoff. Construction on the East Sidney Watershed Project began in July 2018 and was completed November 2021 at a cost of $1.29 million.

Lower Big Blue NRD – Watershed Capital of Nebraska

The Lower Big Blue NRD contains 12 watersheds and is responsible for the maintenance of 260 flood control structures within the district. Structures include numerous small farm ponds, terracing, native grass seedings and earthen dams placed strategically along tributaries to provide flood prevention and soil conservation. The flood control and grade stabilization structures provide 110,000 acre-feet of flood storage, which is more than 35 billion gallons of water.

“The District’s flood control structures help limit flooding by controlling runoff from over 400,000 acres,” said Scott Sobotka, Lower Big Blue NRD general manager. “The structures protect lives and property while also providing stream augmentation, groundwater recharge, wildlife habitat, and public recreation opportunities.”

Today, the Lower Big Blue NRD working in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service continues to implement land treatment practices for flood prevention and soil conservation in southeast Nebraska.

Papio-Missouri River NRD – Papillion Creek Watershed

Perhaps the most flood-prone area within Nebraska, the Papillion Creek Watershed consists of 402 square miles and drains heavy rains and snowmelt from much of Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties – including the Omaha metropolitan area. The Omaha metro has long been prone to disastrous flooding.

“Papio NRD flood control structures protect billions of dollars in residential and commercial property, public/private infrastructure and economic activity from catastrophic flooding,” said John Winkler, Papio-Missouri River NRD general manager. “As our weather patterns begin to trend toward higher intensity rain events, in combination with rapid urbanization of our landscape, these flood control structures are more vital than ever before. It’s estimated that our flood control system generates a cost benefit ratio of at least $3 saved for every $1 spent.”
The Papio-Missouri River NRD is actively building flood reservoirs throughout the Omaha metro that provide both flood protection and recreation opportunities. Flood control projects are developed for multiple purposes and often provide the additional benefit of recreation including activities such as boating, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing and pedestrian trails.

Trails are built atop levees and flood-control reservoirs often develop into recreation areas. Habitat areas and wetlands are available for hunters and often preserved for interpretative nature study.

Nebraska’s flood-control structures are easy to take for granted as they quietly work behind the scenes. Visit more than 80 NRD recreation areas across Nebraska and consider the remarkable flood-reduction benefits they provide. For more information, visit

Throughout 2022, the NRDs will commemorate breakthroughs and achievements in conservation. To join in the celebration and follow the Natural Resources Districts’ special activities throughout 2022, visit and follow #Since1972 on social media.

USDA seeks feedback from producers about 2022 crops, stocks, inventories, and values

During the next several weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct two major mid-year surveys, the June Agricultural Survey and the June Area Survey. The agency will contact many producers in Nebraska and nearly 4,700 producers across Iowa to determine crop acreage and stock levels as of June 1, 2022.

“The June Agricultural Survey and the June Area Survey are two of the most important and well-known surveys NASS conducts,” explained Greg Thessen, Director of the NASS Upper Midwest Regional Field Office. “When producers respond to these surveys, they provide essential information that helps determine the expected acreage and supply of major commodities in the United States for the 2022 crop year. The results are used by farmers and ranchers, USDA, businesses, exporters, researchers, economists, policymakers, and others to inform a wide range of decisions.”

NASS gathers the data for the June Agricultural Survey online at, by mail, phone and in-person interview. They will be asked to provide information on planted and harvested acreage, including acreage for biotech crops and grain stocks. For the June Area Survey, agency representatives will interview farm and ranch operators in randomly selected segments. Producers will be asked to provide information on crop acreage, grain stocks, livestock inventory, land values, and value of sales.

“NASS safeguards the privacy of all respondents, by keeping all individual information confidential and publishing the data in aggregate form only to ensure that no operation or producer can be identified,” said Thessen. “We recognize that this is a hectic time for farmers, but the information they provide helps U.S. agriculture remain viable and capable. I urge them to respond to these surveys and thank them in advance for their cooperation.”

NASS will analyze the survey information and publish the results in a series of USDA reports, including the annual Acreage and quarterly Grain Stocks reports June 30, 2022. Survey data also contribute to NASS’s monthly and annual Crop Production reports, the annual Small Grains Summary, annual Farms and Land in Farms and Land Values reports, various livestock reports, including Cattle, Sheep and Goats, and Hogs and Pigs, and USDA’s monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

These and all NASS reports are available at For more information, call the NASS Upper Midwest Regional Field Office at (800) 772-0825.

Dairy Farm to Host In-Season Manure Application Field Day

The Iowa State University Dairy Farm will host the in-season manure application field day on June 14. Solving nutrient water quality issues originating from agriculture requires the development of innovative strategies that are climate smart. Iowa State researchers are teaming up with industry partners for developing and demonstrating in-season manure and nutrient management strategy.

“Manure application past the V4 vegetative growth stage of corn has not been done mainly due to wet weather concerns and compaction issues,” said Kapil Arora, field agricultural engineer with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “As corn grows taller, higher clearance machines are required to apply manure past V4 corn growth stage.”

The field day will demonstrate one such technology, Agrometer SDS 8000, which enables manure application up to 3 feet corn plant height. The field day flyer explains the activities for the day. The program will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a free lunch for registered participants. Discussions will be held on the topics of in-season manure application strategy, corn plant nutrient needs and supply, economics of in-season manure application, and what it all means for overall on-farm manure management. Field demonstration will be held after the presentations and will conclude by 3 p.m.

Commercial and confinement manure applicators, agency staff involved in manure management, manure planners and consultants, watershed coordinators and other interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend. The field day is a collaborative effort between the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Agrometer and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.  

Registration is required. Register by June 10 to ensure a free meal. Call the ISU Extension and Outreach Story County office at 515-337-1601 or email

For more information, contact Kapil Arora at 515-291-0174, or Daniel Andersen, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and extension agriculture engineering specialist at Iowa State, at 515-294-4210.

USDA to Provide Approximately $6 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers Impacted by 2020 and 2021 Natural Disasters

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to offset crop yield and value losses.

“For over two years, farmers and ranchers across the country have been hard hit by an ongoing pandemic coupled with more frequent and catastrophic natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As the agriculture industry deals with new challenges and stressors, we at USDA look for opportunities to inject financial support back into the rural economy through direct payments to producers who bear the brunt of circumstances beyond their control. These emergency relief payments will help offset the significant crop losses due to major weather events in 2020 and 2021 and help ensure farming operations are viable this crop year, into the next growing season and beyond.”


On September 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43), which includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. FSA recently made payments to ranchers impacted by drought and wildfire through the first phase of the Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP). ERP is another relief component of the Act.

For impacted producers, existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) data is the basis for calculating initial payments. USDA estimates that phase one ERP benefits will reach more than 220,000 producers who received indemnities for losses covered by federal crop insurance and more than 4,000 producers who obtained NAP coverage for 2020 and 2021 crop losses.

ERP Eligibility – Phase One

ERP covers losses to crops, trees, bushes, and vines due to a qualifying natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 and 2021. Eligible crops include all crops for which crop insurance or NAP coverage was available, except for crops intended for grazing. Qualifying natural disaster events include wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms, freeze (including a polar vortex), smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought, and related conditions.

For drought, ERP assistance is available if any area within the county in which the loss occurred was rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a:
    D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks; or
    D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity.

Lists of 2020 and 2021 drought counties eligible for ERP is available on the emergency relief website.

To streamline and simplify the delivery of ERP phase one benefits, FSA will send pre-filled application forms to producers where crop insurance and NAP data are already on file. This form includes eligibility requirements, outlines the application process and provides ERP payment calculations. Producers will receive a separate application form for each program year in which an eligible loss occurred. Receipt of a pre-filled application is not confirmation that a producer is eligible to receive an ERP phase one payment.

Additionally, producers must have the following forms on file with FSA within 60 days of the ERP phase one deadline, which will later be announced by FSA’s Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs:
    Form AD-2047, Customer Data Worksheet.
    Form CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan for an individual or legal entity.
    Form CCC-901, Member Information for Legal Entities (if applicable).
    Form FSA-510, Request for an Exception to the $125,000 Payment Limitation for Certain Programs (if applicable).
    Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, if applicable, for the 2021 program year.
    A highly erodible land conservation (sometimes referred to as HELC) and wetland conservation certification (Form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification) for the ERP producer and applicable affiliates.

Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in FSA programs, will likely have these required forms on file. However, those who are uncertain or want to confirm the status of their forms can contact their local FSA county office.

ERP Payment Calculations – Phase One

For crops covered by crop insurance, the ERP phase one payment calculation for a crop and unit will depend on the type and level of coverage obtained by the producer. Each calculation will use an ERP factor based on the producer’s level of crop insurance or NAP coverage.
    Crop Insurance – the ERP factor is 75% to 95% depending on the level of coverage ranging from catastrophic to at least 80% coverage.
    NAP – the ERP factor is 75% to 95% depending on the level of coverage ranging from catastrophic to 65% coverage.

Full ERP payment calculation factor tables are available on the emergency relief website and in the program fact sheet.

Applying ERP factors ensures that payments to producers do not exceed available funding and that cumulative payments do not exceed 90% of losses for all producers as required by the Act.

Also, there will be certain payment calculation considerations for area plans under crop insurance policies.

The ERP payment percentage for historically underserved producers, including beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers will be increased by 15% of the calculated payment for crops having insurance coverage or NAP.

To qualify for the higher payment percentage, eligible producers must have a CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, form on file with FSA for the 2021 program year.

Because the amount of loss due to a qualifying disaster event in calendar years 202 and 2021 cannot be separated from the amount of loss caused by other eligible causes of loss as defined by the applicable crop insurance or NAP policy, the ERP phase one payment will be calculated based on the producer’s loss due to all eligible causes of loss.

Future Insurance Coverage Requirements

All producers who receive ERP phase one payments, including those receiving a payment based on crop, tree, bush, or vine insurance policies, are statutorily required to purchase crop insurance, or NAP coverage where crop insurance is not available, for the next two available crop years, as determined by the Secretary. Participants must obtain crop insurance or NAP, as may be applicable:
    At a coverage level equal to or greater than 60% for insurable crops; or
    At the catastrophic level or higher for NAP crops.

Coverage requirements will be determined from the date a producer receives an ERP payment and may vary depending on the timing and availability of crop insurance or NAP for a producer’s particular crops. The final crop year to purchase crop insurance or NAP coverage to meet the second year of coverage for this requirement is the 2026 crop year.

Emergency Relief – Phase Two (Crop and Livestock Producers)

Today’s announcement is only phase one of relief for commodity and specialty crop producers. Making the initial payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both speed implementation and further encourage participation in these permanent programs, such as Federal crop insurance, as Congress intended.

The second phase of both ERP and ELRP programs will fill gaps and cover producers who did not participate in or receive payments through the existing programs that are being leveraged for phase one implementation. When phase one payment processing is complete, the remaining funds will be used to cover gaps identified under phase two.

Through proactive communication and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program details are made available. More information on ERP can be found in the Notice of Funding Availability.

Additional Commodity Loss Assistance
The Milk Loss Program and On-Farm Stored Commodity Loss Program are also funded through the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act and will be announced in a future rule in the Federal Register.

More Information

Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on, including the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.

NAWG Applauds USDA’s Announcement of Disaster Aid Implementation

Today, the Administration announced that it would be making a $6 billion disaster relief payment through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program for crop years 2020-2021 available to farmers to offset crop yield and value losses. FSA will be sending out pre-filled applications to producers soon with information about eligibility requirements and payment calculations.

“The announcement earlier from USDA is a welcome relief to wheat growers across the country who experienced unprecedented drought and other extreme weather events in 2020 and 2021,” said NAWG President Nicole Berg. “Last year in my home state of Washington, wheat production was nearly half what it was in 2020 due drought, low soil moisture, and extreme heat– with temperatures reaching as high as 120 degrees. Unfortunately, this was a familiar story across many wheat-producing states and regions in 2021, and this assistance will play a critical role in providing relief to wheat growers.”

The $6 billion is part of a larger package of $10 billion that was included in the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which was signed by President Biden on September 30, 2021. The payments will go to farmers that experienced disasters during crop years 2020 and 2021, such as droughts in much of wheat country, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters. Funds will come in two tranches. The second tranche will fill gaps and cover producers that didn’t participate in or receive payments through the first round.

NAWG looks forward to working with the Administration and USDA to ensure aid gets delivered to impacted farmers in a timely manner.

USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs of Organic, Transitioning Producers

Agricultural producers and handlers who are certified organic, along with producers and handlers who are transitioning to organic production, can now apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) and Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), which help producers and handlers cover the cost of organic certification, along with other related expenses. Applications for OTECP and OCCSP are both due October 31, 2022.

“By helping with organic certification costs – long identified as a barrier to certification – USDA has helped producers participate in new markets while investing in the long-term health of their operations,” said Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We launched the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program to build on the support offered through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program and provide additional assistance to organic and transitioning producers weathering the continued market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, in response to stakeholder feedback, we have aligned the signup dates for these two organic programs and encourage producers to work with the local USDA Service Centers and State agencies to complete the applications. The FSA, and the USDA broadly, are committed to making sure our Nation’s organic producers and handlers have the tools they need to continue positively shaping our local and regional food systems.”

Cost Share for 2022
OTECP covers:  
    Certification costs for organic producers and handlers (25% up to $250 per category).
    Eligible expenses for transitional producers, including fees for pre-certification inspections and development of an organic system plan (75% up to $750).
    Registration fees for educational events (75% up to $200).
    Soil testing (75% up to $100).

Meanwhile, OCCSP covers 50% or up to $500 per category of certification costs in 2022.  

This cost share for certification is available for each of these categories: crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling and State organic program fees.   

Producers can receive cost share through both OTECP and OCCSP. Both OTECP and OCCSP cover costs incurred from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022.  Producers have until October 31, 2022 to file applications, and FSA will make payments as applications are received.  

How to Apply

To apply, producers and handlers should contact the Farm Service Agency (FSA) at their local USDA Service Center. As part of completing the OCCSP applications, producers and handlers will need to provide documentation of their organic certification and eligible expenses. Organic producers and handlers may also apply for OCCSP through participating State agencies.   

Additional details can be found on the OTECP and OCCSP webpages.

Opportunity for State Agencies   

FSA is accepting applications for State agencies to administer OCCSP through July 18, 2022. If a State department of agriculture chooses to participate in OCCSP, both the State department of agriculture and FSA County Offices in that State will accept OCCSP applications and make payments to eligible certified operations. However, the producer or handler may only receive OCCSP assistance by either FSA or the participating State department of agriculture.  

More Information   

OTECP builds upon OCCSP, providing additional relief to help producers during the pandemic. OTECP uses funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; OCCSP is funded through the Farm Bill.

U.S. Retaliatory Tariffs Required as Canada Refuses its USMCA Obligations, Says U.S. Dairy

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today called on the U.S. government to levy retaliatory tariffs on Canada after Ottawa made clear that it refuses to meet its signed treaty obligations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) concerning dairy market access.

In January, a USMCA dispute resolution panel initiated by the U.S. found that Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) system violates the terms of USMCA. Canada issued a new TRQ proposal in March which included only inconsequential changes. Today’s announcement shows no indication that Canada intends to comply with its USMCA commitments on dairy TRQs.

“Canada made a clear choice to thumb its nose at both the United States government and its international treaty obligations. It has completely disregarded the USMCA agreement signed just a few short years ago,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Ottawa’s decision today is clearly designed to test our resolve by doubling down on its longstanding dairy trade violations, ignoring both the spirit and the letter of its trade agreements. That decision demands retaliatory action by the U.S. government. Otherwise, our trade agreements will be seen as toothless before the ink is dry.”

“USTR, USDA and scores of members of Congress from both side of the aisle have worked diligently to ensure American dairy farmers and manufacturers benefit from USMCA. They deserve our deepest thanks for bringing us this far,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Unfortunately, Canada simply refuses to institute real reform, and such actions must have consequences. Retaliatory tariffs are both fair and necessary in this circumstance, as clearly provided for by USMCA.”

As an April 5 bipartisan letter on the matter sent to Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack from several leading members of the U.S. House of Representatives stated, “A deal’s a deal; it’s not too much to ask that our trading partners live up to their end of the bargain.”

On April 19, USDEC and NMPF filed public comments on the matter with Global Affairs Canada. The filing noted, “Canada’s proposed allocation and administration policy changes in response to the CUSMA report continue to fall woefully short of full compliance with Canada’s CUSMA obligations. This has consequences not only for the agreed-upon CUSMA benefits denied U.S. and Canadian stakeholders, but also for the credibility of CUSMA enforcement procedures undergoing their first test in this dispute and for the success of CUSMA itself. We urge Canada to consider its larger interest in the success of the CUSMA and modify its dairy TRQ allocation and administration policies to give effect, in good faith, to Canada’s CUSMA commitments.”

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative: Canada continues to undermine dairy in USMCA

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative said today the Canadian government continues to undermine dairy provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the co-op urged U.S. officials to reject Canada’s latest proposal for tariff-rate quotas (TRQs).

A dispute settlement panel earlier had found Canada was noncompliant with the USMCA in its use of the quotas for dairy by blocking key export opportunities for U.S. farmers and processors.

In a message to industry today, Canada shared its new proposal, which Edge said remains unfair and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said was unacceptable. Among other things, the plan would not allow U.S. exporters to ship directly to the lucrative retail sector ― a major concern for Edge’s members throughout the Midwest.

“We are disappointed to see that Canada has not changed its tune regarding the country’s dairy tariff-rate quotas. Since signing the USMCA, Canada has worked to undermine the spirit of the agreement’s dairy provisions,” said Brody Stapel, president of Edge, the third largest dairy co-op in the U.S.

“Improved access to the country’s dairy market was meant to be beneficial for the U.S. dairy industry and Canadian consumers alike, but instead our northern neighbors continue to put up roadblocks. Edge appreciates Secretary Vilsack’s forceful opposition, and we urge U.S. trade officials to stand firm against Canada’s diversions and hold the country accountable for its commitments,” Stapel said.

Under USMCA, U.S. dairy producers were granted increased market access to Canada by way of preferential tariff rates for in-quota quantities of certain products. Less than a year after implementation of the agreement in 2020, the Biden administration requested a dispute settlement panel be established to consider Canada’s failure to comply with the dairy TRQ provisions.

The panel determined that Canada’s implementation of the TRQs restricted access of U.S. dairy products by setting aside quotas specifically for Canadian processors. Per the findings of the panel, Canada is required to come into compliance. The country submitted a draft proposal of changes to the U.S. government on Feb. 2 that U.S. dairy producers insisted remained unfair. Canada formally published the proposal today.

Combined United States and Canadian All Wheat Ground for Flour Down 1 Percent From 2020

This publication is a result of a joint effort by Statistics Canada and USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service to release the flour milling production information for both countries within one publication. United States flour milling production numbers for 2021 were previously released on May 2, 2022. Canadian flour milling production numbers were released on April 28, 2022.

Combined United States and Canadian all wheat ground for ground for flour was 1.03 billion bushels in 2021, a decrease of 1 percent from 2020.  Flour production totaled 474 million hundredweight compared to 480 million hundredweight in 2020.

Combined United States and Canadian durum wheat ground for flour and semolina was 71.8 million bushels in 2021, down 10 percent from 2020.  Durum flour production totaled 33.7 million hundredweight, down 11 percent from 2020.

Considerations when Planting Continuous Soybeans

When it comes to planting continuous soybeans, wise management is essential to get the most from the crop. Learning the proper management steps can give growers another planting option each season.

“When planting a mono-crop, we want to do things that build up yield potential,” said Pioneer Field Agronomist Matt Montgomery. “We want to get beans in the ground earlier. Each day is an additional pod or node, offsetting potential pod attrition and minimizing yield losses.”  

Another important area of focus in second-year soybeans is disease management. The best strategy for disease mitigation is to avoid planting into fields that were diseased the previous year.

Soybean variety selection and seed treatment can help fight pests and diseases, regardless of a field’s history.

“A vigorous, multimode of action seed treatment package is a must,” Montgomery said. “You cannot skimp on seed treatment if you’re talking about beans on beans.”

Preemergent herbicides with multiple modes of action can help combat weeds. Selecting mostly weed-free fields is important, as previously weedy fields can present even greater problems for second-year soybeans.

Soybean after soybean planting also often requires additional fertilizer and nutrients. Soybeans need adequate potassium so a potassium fertilizer may be valuable.

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