Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Monday May 23 Crop Progress + Ag News


For the week ending May 22, 2022, there were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 12% very short, 31% short, 55% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 19% very short, 40% short, 40% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn planted was 85%, behind 94% last year, and near 88% for the five-year average. Emerged was 48%, behind 58% last year and 56% average.

Soybeans planted was 72%, behind 83% last year, but near 69% average. Emerged was 27%, behind 40% last year, and near 30% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 20% very poor, 21% poor, 28% fair, 25% good, and 6% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 27%, near 25% last year, and equal to average.

Sorghum planted was 24%, near 26% last year, and behind 31% average.

Oats condition rated 10% very poor, 13% poor, 27% fair, 48% good, and 2% excellent. Oats planted was 96%, near 100% last year, and equal to average. Emerged was 87%, behind 93% last year, and near 88% average.

Dry edible beans planted was 9%, near 10% last year and 5% average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 16% very poor, 23% poor, 34% fair, 26% good, and 1% excellent.


Weather conditions allowed farmers to gain ground on spring planting with 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 22, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included planting and spraying when winds allowed.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 3 percent very short, 17 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 5 percent very short, 22 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.

Farmers made good progress last week with 86 percent of Iowa’s expected corn crop planted, 13 days behind last year and 3 days behind the 5-year average. Forty-seven percent of the corn crop has emerged, 1 week behind last year and 3 days behind average.

Sixty-nine percent of soybeans have been planted, 12 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of the 5-year average. Eighteen percent of soybeans have emerged, 8 days behind last year and 4 days behind average.

Ninety-six percent of the expected oat crop has been planted with 82 percent emerged, 9 days behind last year and 5 days behind the 5-year average. Four percent of the oat crop has headed, 3 days behind last year but 2 days ahead of average. Iowa’s first oat condition rating for 2022 was 0 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 60 percent good and 15 percent excellent.

Five percent of the State’s first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed. Hay condition improved to 71 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition rose to 59 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were good with most cattle now on pastures.

USDA: Farmers Make Substantial Corn, Soybean Planting Gains Last Week

U.S. farmers logged another productive week last week, pushing corn planting to near the three-fourths completion mark and soybean planting to the halfway point, USDA NASS said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday. The gains came despite weather being a limiting factor to planting in some parts of the country.


-- Planting progress: 72% nationwide as of Sunday, May 22, another substantial jump of 23 percentage points from 49% the previous week. That continued to push planting closer to the five-year average, now 7 percentage points behind the average of 79%.
-- Crop development: 39% of corn was emerged as of Sunday, up 25 percentage points from the previous week and 12 percentage points behind the five-year average of 51%.


-- Planting progress: 50% nationwide as of Sunday, up 20 percentage points from the previous week. That is now 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 55%.
-- Crop development: 21% of soybeans had emerged nationwide as of Sunday, 5 percentage points behind the five-year average of 26%.


-- Crop development progress: 63% of the winter wheat crop was headed nationwide as of Sunday, 2 percentage points behind the five-year average of 65%.
-- Crop condition: Nationwide, winter wheat was rated 28% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 27% the previous week. That's the lowest such rating since the drought of 1989.



With the cold temperatures over the weekend, the NE Extension Pasture & Forage Team wanted to share this resource from NE Extension Forage Specialist Emeritus Bruce Anderson circa 2019:

Was your alfalfa damaged by a freeze or frost last week?  Frozen alfalfa usually needs some time to recover before damage can be estimated.

To assess the extent of the damage, don’t just look for frozen or wilting leaves.  You need to determine if the growing point was killed.  This growing point, also called the apical meristem, is where all new leaves, stems, and branches initially develop on alfalfa.  It is located inside the dense cluster of unfolded leaves at the top of the main stem.

Because it is inside a cluster of leaves, the growing point is somewhat protected from cold injury.  Exposed leaves and stems all around it can be frozen, wilted, and dying while the growing point cluster survives, waiting for warm weather before continuing to grow.  If the growing points in your alfalfa survived the freeze, just wait for growth to begin again.

If the growing point was killed, however, growth will cease on that stem.  Any new growth must come from new crown shoots or from lower branches.  While the existing plant remains intact, regrowth often is delayed.  But you don’t have to harvest this damaged growth; plants will begin to grow again on their own although it might take a little longer.  Cutting off damaged plants often hastens development of regrowth from good, healthy fields.  But cutting also adds extra stress to the plants so if you do cut the damaged plants, before you take your next cutting, wait until plants get a little more mature.  I suggest cutting now only if there is enough growth to justify the time and expense of harvest, which is unlikely for most fields.

Check your alfalfa plants to truly see if the tops and growing point are dead or if recovery has begun.  Then decide whether to harvest or just wait for growth to renew naturally.

NDA Releases Guidance for Enlist Herbicide Runoff Prevention Label Requirements

Jennifer Weisbrod – Assistant Extension Educator

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has shared a document on its website providing runoff mitigation guidance to users of the herbicides Enlist One and Enlist Duo. Both Enlist herbicide labels require the applicator to select mitigation measures to avoid product runoff from the application site and subsequent surface water contamination. Each mitigation measure is worth a certain number of “credits.”

For example, use of contour buffer strips is worth two (2) credits. Applicators must know the Hydrologic Soil Group (HSG) for the area to be treated. If the application will be made to soil in Hydrologic Soil Groups A or B (sand, loamy sand, sandy loam, or sandy clay loam), the applicator must employ enough mitigation measures to add up to at least four (4) credits. If the application will be made to soil in Hydrologic Soil Groups C or D (silt loam, loam, clay loam, silty clay loam, sandy clay, silty clay, or clay), the applicator must employ enough mitigation measures to add up to at least six (6) credits.

NDA’s new guidance document helps applicators use an online USDA tool to determine which HSG(s) are present in their field. If multiple HSGs are present in a field, NDA recommends following the more restrictive requirements for the entire field. If a grower plans to hire a custom applicator to apply an Enlist herbicide, the grower should communicate this soil information to the custom applicator. Lastly, a field’s HSG(s) should not change over time. Therefore, NDA recommends that growers save a permanent record of this information for their fields for use in the future.

U.S. Share of World Production Shrinking . . .

NE Farm Bureau newsletter

The U.S. share of world grain and oilseed production over time is shrinking say agricultural economists at the University of Illinois. And the decline is due to a decline in the U.S. share of world crop acres. The economists examined production changes between 1975 and 2021 for several grains and oilseeds including corn, sorghum, wheat, and soybeans. According to the researchers, the U.S. share of world grain and oilseeds production declined from approximately 20 percent in the 1970s to 16 percent now. U.S. production increased 73 percent but increases in the rest-of-the-world (ROW) outpaced the U.S., growing 133 percent.

U.S. yields still surpass the ROW—the ratio of U.S. yields to the ROW currently exceeds 1.75, roughly the same as in the 1970s. What’s changed is the number of acres in production in the U.S. verses the ROW. U.S. acres declined by 18 million since the 1970s while acres in the ROW increased by 383 million. Most of the growth in acres occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa and South America with a gain of over 310 million. As a result, the U.S. share of harvested acres declined from an average of 12.3 percent in 1975-1979 to 9.6 percent in 2017-2021.

Why did acres decline in the U.S. and expand in the ROW? The researchers offer these explanations, “Part of the story is the role of sodbuster and swampbuster. These farm bill provisions deny certain farm program benefits for breaking out new lands or draining wetlands for crop production. Another part of the story is that, despite the crop prosperity of 2007-2013, returns never got high enough for long enough for farmers to feel comfortable incurring the costs to bring new land into production. A potential implication of the bigger story is that the US has reached a cropland acreage maximum given societal support of existing environmental regulations and programs.”

Acres planted to field crops in Nebraska haven’t declined over time, but they haven’t grown either. Between 1993 and 2021, the average annual change in acres was .11 percent. If the Illinois researchers are correct, Nebraska like the U.S. as a whole, has seen its crop acreage peak and the U.S. share of world crop production will continue to dwindle in the foreseeable future.

Farmers and Ranchers Play a Key Role in Kicking Off Summer Grilling Season

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff for the summer grilling season. The smell of fresh cut grass, a good BBQ, and pool parties are common experiences that bring people together for the weekend. What most people don’t know is that agriculture plays a fundamental role in the long weekend ahead.

“Food is a part of agriculture. The food we enjoy at our tables exists because of the dedication of America’s farmers and ranchers. The burgers and brisket on your plate this weekend may have started out as a beef cow raised right here in Nebraska. Our farmers and ranchers are dedicated to the care of animals to raise them into a safe and healthy product for enjoyment this weekend,” said Courtney Shreve, director of outreach education for Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

Consider the last time you went to the grocery store. Did you stop and think about where all the food comes from? People in the United States are lucky, as we have access to the world’s safest supply of food. At the same time, farmers and ranchers face many challenges, such as drought and increased animal feed costs.

“This year’s growing conditions have been dry across much of our state, and most of the state has been in drought conditions for months. Farmers and ranchers have watched the drought eliminate or reduce their pastures and other forages they depend on to feed their animals, forcing many to reduce or even liquidate herds. Beef, pork, poultry, and dairy farmers are also feeling financial pressures as the price of corn and soybeans, primarily used for animal feeds, have climbed considerably,” Shreve said.

The demand for meat in the marketplace is being met by the work and dedication of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. With cattle outnumbering Nebraskans nearly four to one, beef production represents Nebraska’s single largest industry and the engine that powers the state’s economy.

“Retailers will work this weekend to draw shoppers’ attention toward the meat case. Statistics show that 56 percent of American’s will grill on Memorial Day. Some of the top choices for grilling will be burgers, steak, hot dogs, and chicken. Memorial weekend is a great opportunity to take advantage of the supply of meat provided in Nebraska by throwing another steak, burger, or hot dog on the grill,” Shreve said.

Nebraska farmers and ranchers are dedicated and provide for the health, well-being, and comfort of animals entrusted to their care. “They take pride in knowing they can deliver a product that is safe for your plate,” Shreve said.

Wheat Disease Update: May 19

Stephen Wegulo - NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Recently, many parts of Nebraska received varying amounts of much needed rainfall. However, dry conditions prevailed early in the wheat growing season. These drought-like conditions slowed the onset of diseases in wheat fields.

In a grower’s field in Jefferson County in southeast Nebraska on May 19, only trace levels of disease were observed, with the field looking luxuriant green. Wheat in this field was just starting to flower. Diseases observed at trace levels included wheat streak mosaic on isolated plants, fungal leaf spots, and barley yellow dwarf.

At the Havelock Farm in Lincoln (Lancaster County) on May 18, diseases were similarly at trace levels. The most notable diseases were fungal leaf spots and barley yellow dwarf.

Fusarium Head Blight

Wheat in the eastern half of the state is heading or starting to flower. It is at the flowering growth stage that the Fusarium head blight fungus infects wheat heads. Currently (May 20), the Fusarium risk tool is showing a low risk for Nebraska. However, localized rainfall can increase the risk for Fusarium head blight in individual fields. If your wheat is headed or flowering and your area recently received heavy rainfall and/or rain is in the forecast, consider your wheat field to be at an elevated risk.

Management strategies for Fusarium head blight include planting moderately resistant varieties and application of a fungicide at the early flowering growth stage. Fungicides that have good efficacy on Fusarium head blight include Miravis Ace, Prosaro Pro, and Sphaerex. These fungicides are also highly effective in controlling foliar fungal diseases.

Stripe Rust and Leaf Rust

Monitor reports from southern states. The last report from Kansas on May 9 indicated that none of the three rust diseases (stripe, leaf, and stem rust) had been observed in the state. The possibility remains that we may see stripe and leaf rust in Nebraska. If we do, it is likely to be later in the growing season and the prevalence, incidence and severity will depend on the weather, with drier conditions limiting and wetter conditions favoring disease development.

Rust diseases are controlled with variety resistance and fungicide application timed to protect the flag leaf. If your wheat is headed or flowering and your field is at an elevated risk for Fusarium head blight, one application of a Fusarium head blight fungicide will also effectively protect the crop from rust and leaf spot diseases.

Cash Rental Rates Rise Significantly across Iowa

Stronger commodity prices and farmland values are leading to higher cash rents across most of the state. The most recent annual survey of cash rental rates for Iowa farmland showed that rates increased an average of 10.3% in 2022, to $256 per acre.

This is the third consecutive and largest uptick in cash rents since 2013, when rents peaked at $270 per acre – a level 5.5% higher in nominal terms than in 2022. In comparison, nominal corn and soybean prices received by farmers in Iowa declined by 16 and 11%, respectively, since mid-2013.

“Higher cash rents means lower margins on rented land, but current corn and soybean prices should support positive margins for most tenants in 2022,” said Alejandro Plastina, associate professor in economics and extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Somewhat more concerning is the picture for 2023, with expected higher input costs across the board and stagnant to declining crop prices.”

The survey was based on 1,401 responses from farmers, landowners, professional farm managers and realtors, agricultural lenders and others with knowledge of cash rents for farmland.

They supplied information based on their best judgments about typical cash rental rates for high, medium and low quality cropland in their counties, as well as for land devoted to production of hay, oat and pasture. Information about rents for individual farms was not collected.

There was considerable variability across counties in year-to-year changes, as is typical of survey data, but 95 out of the 99 Iowa counties experienced increases in average rents for corn and soybeans. Only Buchanan, Davis and Mahaska counties experienced declines in their overall average cash rents, while Black Hawk county experienced no change in average rent.

District 4 (west-central Iowa) average cash rental rate

  - 2021 - $247/acre   
  - 2022 - $276/acre

All land qualities have seen their average cash rents increase by similar percentages. High quality land experienced an 11.2% increase, from $267 per acre in 2021 to $297 in 2022.

Medium quality land experienced a 9.4% increase, from $233 per acre in 2021 to $255 in 2022. Low quality land experienced a 10.2% increase, from $197 per acre in 2021 to $217 in 2022.

Due to reporting deadlines, survey data typically lags the current year. The typical cash rents reported in the survey reflect the economic conditions during the months of July and August of the previous year through February of the current year. The survey has historically been implemented at the same time each year to avoid interfering with cash rent negotiations or re-negotiations.

Survey information can serve as a reference point for negotiating an appropriate rental rate for next year, said Plastina. However, rents for individual farms should be based on productivity, ease of farming, fertility, drainage, local price patterns, longevity of the lease, conservation practices, and possible services performed by the tenant.

“The cash rent survey results are based on opinions and should not be used to set prices without proper discussion of the relevant circumstances around an individual farm,” said Plastina.

Other resources available for estimating cash rents include the AgDM Information Files C2-20, Computing a Cropland Cash Rental Rate; C2-23, Computing a Pasture Rental Rate; and C2-21, Flexible Farm Lease Agreements. All of these fact sheets, and more, are on the Ag Decision Maker Leasing page and include decision tools (electronic spreadsheets) to help analyze individual leasing situations.

Corn Growers Weigh-In on Redefining WOTUS

EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are holding ten regional roundtables to gauge the implications of recently proposed changes to the definition of Waters of the U.S.

Megan Dwyer, Director of Conservation and Nutrient Stewardship at Illinois Corn Growers Association, is participating in one of the agency’s roundtables today.

“Farmers and ag groups have embraced the need to tackle challenges around conservation and are more than ready to continue our efforts,” she said. “I plan to ask EPA to work collaboratively with farmers to address actual, real on the ground needs as a practical and realistic alternative to making  these features Waters of the United States and getting in the way of farmers’ efforts.”

Last November, EPA released a proposed rule to re-establish the pre-2015 definition of “Waters of the United States,” often referred to as WOTUS. The proposed rule removes the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, eliminating the long-overdue certainty and clarity for farmers affected by the scope of WOTUS jurisdiction.

USDA Cold Storage April 2022 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on April 30, 2022 were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 16 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 18 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 9 percent from the previous month and up 16 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 3 percent from last month and up 67 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on April 30, 2022 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 1 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 1 percent from the previous month but up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 8 percent from last month but down 8 percent from April 30, 2021.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on April 30, 2022 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 2 percent from April 30, 2021. Butter stocks were up 6 percent from last month but down 23 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks on April 30, 2022 were up slightly from last month and up 8 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 5 percent from last month and down 1 percent from a year ago.

Lots of Cattle on Feed Remain

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

USDA released the May Cattle on Feed report on Friday, May 20th and it showed continued large numbers of cattle on feed. The headline numbers were: placements, 99.1, marketings, 97.8, and cattle on feed, 101.7, all reported as a percent of last year’s numbers. Placements and the number on feed were larger than the average pre-report estimates and so the report was regarded as being a negative one for the market.

Digging into the report a little deeper indicates some news that is more positive than at first blush. Marketings were below April 2021. But, given that there was one fewer slaughter day this year than last means that daily average slaughter and marketings were higher. Cattle were processed at a faster rate, about 2,100 head per day more.

Placements were 99.1 percent of a year ago, 1.809 million head. While below a year ago for three out of the four months this year, it is a relatively large number. For the January-April period, 7.651 million feeders have been placed. That is the second largest number, behind only 2019, in the last 20 years. Maybe more important, it is the largest number of placements as a percent of January 1 cattle outside of feedlots. So far this year, placements have totaled 30 percent of the January 1 feeder cattle supplies.  Again, more evidence of pulling feeders ahead and it implies tighter supplies of feeder cattle as the year goes on.

Sometimes it’s worth remembering that the report rounds the estimates to the nearest whole number. In this case, the May 1 number of cattle on feed was reported as up 2 percent over last year, but it was actually up 1.7 percent. That is, maybe, only cosmetically important because there is a large number of cattle on feed. The next quarterly cattle will have some more evidence of heifers on feed. Given the rate of placements of available feeder cattle, heifers as a percent of cattle on feed should remain large, meaning continued herd contraction from the replacement side, as well as the cow side.

On a brighter note, a cold front came through over the weekend bringing much cooler temperatures and even more needed rain to some. It provided a break from unseasonably hot temperatures.  

Ag Groups Call For Withdrawal of Solicitor General’s Supreme Court Brief on Glyphosate That Would Create a Patchwork of Problems

In a letter to President Biden, 54 agricultural groups expressed grave concern with a recent amicus brief submitted by the U.S. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court advising the court against taking up a case regarding pesticide labels. The groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council, and American Sugarbeet Growers Association, listed in full here in the letter, called on the president to swiftly withdraw the brief. They warned the new policy would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the science-based regulatory process. The groups are worried this new policy, along with having environmental impacts, could ultimately hinder the ability of U.S. farmers to help meet growing global food needs intensified by the invasion of Ukraine.

In the May 10 brief, the Solicitor General advised the court against taking up a case concerning whether state pesticide labels can conflict with federal labels.

Brad Doyle, soy farmer from Arkansas and president of the American Soybean Association, stated, “Federal law is clear that pesticide labels cannot be false or misleading. Allowing states to require health warnings contrary to decades of sound science is beyond disturbing and obviously not in line with federal law. I and other farmers are concerned this new policy will open the floodgate to a patchwork of state labels that will undermine grower access to safe, effective pesticides needed to farm productively and sustainably.”

At question is whether the state of California can require a cancer warning label for the popular herbicide glyphosate when thousands of studies, decades of robust scientific consensus, and numerous global regulatory bodies—including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—agree the herbicide is not a carcinogen.

The new position expressed by the Solicitor General is a stunning reversal from previous, bipartisan administrative policy. The brief asserts federal law and regulations do not prevent states from imposing their own labeling requirements, even if those labels run counter to federal findings.

"Supplying wheat to the world is more important than ever given the unprecedented times with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Together, Russia and Ukraine make up one-third of the world’s wheat exports, and the disruptions we are seeing will certainly impact food supply,” said National Association of Wheat Growers President and Washington wheat farmer, Nicole Berg. “Aside from the war, U.S. wheat growers are experiencing extreme weather conditions threatening the quality of their crops this year. 75% of the winter wheat production in the U.S. is in a severe drought. NAWG is concerned this new policy would undermine access to safe and effective crop protection tools that play a critical role in helping feed the world."

AFBF President Zippy Duval said, “Farmers utilize science-backed crop protection tools on their farms to produce safe, nutritious food. Allowing labels that conflict with existing conclusions and EPA studies will add to a greater misunderstanding of the crucial role pesticides play in enabling farmers to grow healthy, affordable food for America’s families."

Nate Hultgren, sugarbeet farmer from Minnesota and president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association said, “Farmers can’t meet consumers’ food security needs and help address climate change if the safe crop protection products we use and desperately need are undermined by the states. Allowing states to supersede federal pesticide labeling requirements will create massive uncertainty, confusion and add to significant supply chain disruptions.”

“In the coming months, farmers will have to work even harder to address worldwide food shortages, and a patchwork of state regulations will jeopardize access to the critical farm supplies they need,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington. “We hope the Biden administration will reverse its position on this issue.”

The groups call on President Biden to withdraw the brief. They also encourage the president to consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to better understand the implications of this decision for science-based regulation, as well as food security and environmental sustainability.

AFBF Welcomes New Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) announced by President Biden.

“The launch of the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is a positive step, and we hope additional progress will quickly follow. Trade is critical to the success of U.S. farmers and ranchers, including improving relationships and reaching new agreements with this region’s countries. The IPEF will help reduce barriers, improve the adoption of science-based standards and grow American agricultural exports to the region.

“We urge the administration to work with other nations through the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to expand access to American goods throughout the world.”

US Grains Council Welcomes Announcement Of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

The announcement of the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a welcomed development that represents a new opportunity for the U.S. to strengthen economic ties with 12 other countries that collectively make up 40% of the world’s GDP.

“The IPEF is a new approach to trade negotiations that will hopefully still create the same positive, high-standard outcomes for U.S. farmers as traditional trade agreements,” said USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “We look forward to engaging the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on IPEF negotiations to ensure grain and ethanol can freely move around the world.”

Dairy Groups Welcome IPEF, Seek Prioritization of Market Access Provisions

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) welcomed the announced launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) today and the opportunity it offers to strengthen ties with key trading partners across the Asia-Pacific region.

Exports are exceptionally important to the U.S. dairy industry. The United States exported $7.75 billion in dairy products worldwide in 2021, equivalent to approximately 17% of total U.S. milk production.

“Today marks an essential first step on what will surely be a complex journey,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “But to successfully compete in the Asia-Pacific region and meet their demand for dairy, we ultimately need a level playing field. That means tackling both tariff and nontariff barriers that weigh down the ability of U.S. dairy exporters to keep pace with EU and Oceania competitors that have successfully negotiated agreements across the region. We support USTR’s launch of IPEF and look forward to partnering with the Administration on it as talks proceed. As that commences, I urge the Biden Administration to set specific time frames for IPEF negotiations so that it can deliver meaningful results for American dairy farmers. We cannot afford another Trans-Pacific Partnership-type outcome in which we negotiate for six years only to walk away from the final result, leaving our exporters no further down the road than where we started.”

“IPEF offers a chance for the United States to have a positive impact on the trading environment in a vital area of the world,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “The Asia-Pacific region is an important destination for U.S. dairy exports and offers impressive prospects for continued growth and expansion thanks to growing consumer demand for the type of high-quality products the U.S. produces so well. If IPEF is crafted to include meaningful market access improvements and address non-tariff barriers, then these regional trends will help drive economic benefits for American farmers, dairy manufacturers and industry workers for decades to come.”

Dozens of members of Congress from both parties have underscored to the administration the importance of securing market access gains in IPEF. On March 30, a bipartisan group of 87 House members urged the Administration to prioritize agriculture in IPEF negotiations and outlined examples of both tariff and nontariff results that should be pursued. On May 9, two dozen Senate Republicans wrote to Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack to urge the inclusion of market access and enforceable commitments in IPEF.

While supporting the use of IPEF and other targeted trade tools to advance exports, USDEC and NMPF have been unyielding in their call for once again pursuing comprehensive trade agreements around the world, and especially in the Asia-Pacific region, where competitors like the EU and Oceania have been especially active.

USDEC and NMPF filed comments on the IPEF trade agreement on April 11. The filing noted, “NMPF and USDEC’s priority and strong preference is the pursuit of comprehensive trade agreements to establish lasting trade barrier reductions on both the tariff and nontariff fronts. Recognizing that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is not likely to be such an agreement, we nevertheless urge the Administration to seek to eliminate or reduce both tariff and nontariff barriers to U.S. dairy exports through the IPEF.”

The Three "F"s of Why Ag is Critically Important Right Now

Randy Dickhut, Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations, Farmers National Co.

Food, fuel, and fiber, the three "F's" of agriculture, are critically important to people around the world in a multitude of ways that may not have been as evident in recent memory. A cascading series of events prior to the Ukrainian conflict has accelerated into real concerns around the world for food, fuel, and fiber supplies.
The most critical role for world agriculture, especially at this moment, is to be able to supply enough crop and livestock production to feed people around the globe. Increasing demand, coupled with variable weather and production, topped off by post-Covid-19 supply chain issues, has already started to put some stress on food availability. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has now thrown grain and food trade into a worldwide scramble with millions more people expected to go hungry in the near term. Add in multiple areas around the globe that are either too dry or too wet for top production, and you have even more cause for concern for our food supplies.
Fuel to drive transportation, heat our homes, and propel business has also become even more critical today due to the war situation. Agriculture is now an important supplier of energy with fuels for transportation. Ethanol from corn and a few other grains supplies 10% of our nation's gasoline needs and the production of biofuels made from soybeans is increasing. Biofuels add to our fuel supplies at a time of high oil prices and clean-burning concerns.
Fiber is the last "F" provided by agriculture that is important today. From plants like cotton that are made into fabrics and textiles, to livestock that produces wool for clothing to forages that feed livestock, and some that are used in biofuel production, fiber produced from the land by agricultural practices is facing challenges too from droughts and production issues.
The critical importance of agriculture in producing food, fuel, and fiber, the three "F's”, are being recognized around the world by everyone from individuals to governments. The issues driving the current realization will not go away anytime soon. This critical need for agricultural production over the next few years is helping drive profitability in many ag sectors and is also propelling the price of good cropland upward.

Deere Reports Second Quarter Net Income of $2.098 Billion

Deere & Company reported net income of $2.098 billion for the second quarter ended May 1, 2022, or $6.81 per share, compared with net income of $1.790 billion, or $5.68 per share, for the quarter ended May 2, 2021. For the first six months of the year, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $3.001 billion, or $9.72 per share, compared with $3.013 billion, or $9.55 per share, for the same period last year.

Net sales and revenues increased 11 percent, to $13.370 billion, for the second quarter of 2022 and rose 8 percent, to $22.939 billion, for six months. Net sales were $12.034 billion for the quarter and $20.565 billion for six months, compared with $10.998 billion and $19.049 billion last year.

“Deere’s second-quarter performance reflected a continuation of strong demand even as we face supply-chain pressures affecting production levels and delivery schedules,” said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer. “Deere employees, suppliers, and dealers are working hard to address these challenges. We are proud of their extraordinary efforts to get products to our customers as soon as possible under the challenging circumstances.”

Company Outlook & Summary

Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2022 is forecast to be in a range of $7.0 billion to $7.4 billion, which includes a net $220 million gain from special items in the second quarter of 2022. For further details on special items, see Note 1 of the press release financial statements.

“Looking ahead, we believe demand for farm equipment will continue benefiting from positive fundamentals in spite of availability concerns and inflationary pressures affecting our customers’ input costs,” May said. “The company’s smart industrial strategy and recently announced Leap Ambitions are focused on helping customers manage higher costs and increasingly scarce inputs, while improving their yields, through the use of our integrated technologies.”

CNH Industrial acquires agricultural spray boom manufacturer Specialty Enterprises

CNH Industrial has acquired Specialty Enterprises LLC (Specialty), North America’s largest manufacturer of premium aluminum spray booms for agricultural applications. Specialty, which operates one manufacturing facility in Wautoma, Wisconsin, has been a supplier to Case IH since 2020.

The direct ownership of spray boom production is the latest step in Case IH’s strategic road map for its sprayer product platform. As the company works to enhance its application-product offering, the inclusion of longer, lighter booms enables accelerated development and deployment of new technologies. These solutions will be implemented across the Case IH product portfolio.

“We are thrilled to be working so closely with Specialty, which has been a fantastic partner to Case IH over the last few years as we deliver more productive application solutions,” said Scott Harris, Case IH global president. “This acquisition strengthens our in-house capabilities and allows us to retain key strategic personnel to ensure continuity in this vertical integration.”  

The acquisition of Specialty signals Case IH’s continued commitment to Agronomic Design™ — helping operators maximize yield and ROI potential. As aluminum spray booms are up to 50% lighter than their steel counterparts, they result in less field compaction, less rutting and better weight distribution.

“At Case IH, one of our primary crop production goals is to help operators cover more acres more efficiently — with solutions that are built to last,” said Monte Weller, Case IH global product manager for Crop Production and Hay & Forage product lines. “This acquisition will be key to providing operators with the equipment and agronomic solutions they need to feed a growing world.”

Specialty is known for its advanced engineering and high-quality workmanship as a world-class welding operation. The company’s sprayer boom design incorporates multiple patents to virtually eliminate the fatigue cracking associated with other aluminum boom designs. The aluminum used by Specialty is sourced and extruded in the United States.

Wilbur-Ellis Announces Climate Change Goals and Collaboration With Ford Pro for Electric Vehicles

Wilbur-Ellis today announced climate change goals to support Environmental Stewardship, a key part of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility program, which also focuses on People and Governance.

[Wilbur-Ellis President and CEO John Buckley announced a collaboration with Ford Pro, in which 10 electric Ford F-150® Lightning™ trucks will be integrated into Wilbur-Ellis’ fleet in Sonoma and the Salinas Valley of California. This begins a transition to electric vehicles for Wilbur-Ellis, helping to reduce emissions and achieve the company’s sustainability goals.]

The goals are aimed at reducing carbon emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. Wilbur-Ellis plans to reduce emissions as soon as possible, achieving net zero absolute carbon emissions by 2050. This is in alignment with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the average rise in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Wilbur-Ellis also intends to increase the use of renewable energy in its manufacturing and distribution operations. One step in that transition is installing solar energy panels at a number of company locations.

"These goals demonstrate a commitment to make our own operations more sustainable, while also developing solutions that could benefit our customers," said Wilbur-Ellis President and Chief Executive Officer John Buckley. "Our goals also reflect the company's support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are making a global impact."

Buckley also noted an ongoing program – the Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award – launched as part of the company's 100th anniversary celebration. The award invited teams of U.S. college students to propose innovative ways to sustainably feed a growing world population. The winners of the competition will be announced in the summer of 2022, with the top prize of $25,000 going to the team with the most creative and viable ideas.

Collaboration With Ford Pro Begins Move to Electric Vehicles

Another exciting step Wilbur-Ellis announced today is a collaboration with Ford Pro, which is introducing a new line of electric pickup trucks – the Ford F-150® Lightning.™ Ford Pro is a stand-alone unit of Ford Motor Company that serves commercial customers with a one-stop-shop of vehicles, software, charging and financing.

Through this collaboration, Wilbur-Ellis will initially integrate 10 of the new electric trucks into its fleet in Sonoma and the Salinas Valley of California. Ford Pro also will provide charging stations and on-board in-vehicle telematics that can remotely optimize charging, monitor vehicle diagnostics, and help improve driver safety through its cloud-based software. The announcement was made at the Dutton Ranch in Sebastopol, California, a vineyard in the Sonoma wine region and a long-time Wilbur-Ellis customer. Dutton Ranch is participating in a pilot program with Ford Pro to test its software and charging solutions, along with Ford's electric cargo vans and pickup trucks, in real-world farming conditions.

The collaboration with Wilbur-Ellis expands that effort by putting the electric trucks into service on a larger scale. "We're very excited about being among the first to use the new Ford F-150® Lightning™ trucks in a commercial, agricultural setting," said Buckley. "This collaboration is a win for everyone. Ford Pro will see its new electric trucks in action. Wilbur-Ellis will begin the transition to electric vehicles in our fleet, which includes 2,800 on-road vehicles worldwide. And our customers will benefit from the information we gather about the impact these vehicles could have in their operations."

Buckley added: "Every step we take to protect the environment is important. But it's also important to raise awareness that each of us – as individuals and organizations – can make a difference. That's one reason we launched the Wilbur-Ellis Innovation Award for student teams – to surface great ideas from the next generation. It's why we're beginning the Ford Pro collaboration. And it's why we're setting clear sustainability goals and are taking action to achieve them. There's no silver bullet, but in these ways and many others, Wilbur-Ellis is working to be part of the solution."

The Alltech ONE Conference returns in person and virtually, featuring a variety of agri-food experts and inspiring keynote speakers

The Alltech ONE Conference (ONE) opened to a live audience in Lexington, Kentucky, today after being held as a virtual-only event for two years. Alltech’s flagship event continues to be an invaluable industry resource, providing innovative ideas, inspiration and motivation through world-class speakers and unmatched content. ONE welcomed nearly 2,000 international delegates to downtown Lexington, with an additional 5,000 participating virtually.

The ONE Mainstage session began with Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, who welcomed the in-person delegates to Lexington and virtual attendees tuning in from around the world, challenging them to think about what comes next as we look toward the future.

“It’s been almost 1,100 days since we were last together and certainly, we know a tremendous amount has changed — from social turmoil to a global pandemic and beyond,” Lyons said. “What is this all telling us? What can we step back and think about in terms of how we progress forward?”

Lyons was joined on the ONE mainstage by Heather White, author, founder and CEO of “OneGreenThing,” who brought two decades of environmental advocacy work and national nonprofit leadership to life with her book, "One Green Thing: Discover Your Hidden Power to Help Save the Planet." White offered three steps to make climate action a joyful daily practice. First, think beyond your age and listen. Secondly, find your unique role, and third, apply the daily practice of sustainability.

Following White’s presentation, Lyons spoke to agriculture’s role in saving the planet.

“Reducing is not enough; we must do something different,” said Lyons. “Our belief is that agriculture has the greatest potential to positively influence the future of our planet, to provide nutrition for all and to help rural communities thrive and replenish our planet’s resources.”

The keynote lineup also included Nikki Putnam Badding, registered dietitian nutritionist and managing director of Acutia. Putnam Badding spoke about the crucial importance of making nutrition accessible to all.

“The impact of malnutrition is far-reaching,” said Putnam Badding. “So, is it enough to just feed the world? Do we instead need to focus on providing nutrition for all, thereby changing the dialogue from food security to nutrition security?”

Dr. Vaughn Holder, Alltech ruminant research group director, then shared his insights on how animal agriculture can be part of the solution to improving sustainability.

“We sit at the interface between the main carbon capturing industry in the world and the main food production industry in the world,” said Holder. “Those things are tied closely together and unavoidable. We sit in a unique position to be doing something about the carbon argument. It really is important that we do not talk about compromising one for the other — because we have to do both.”

During the opening session, Lyons presented the Alltech Medal of Excellence Award to Dr. Karl Dawson for his advancement of animal science over a career spanning more than five decades. The award further recognizes Dawson’s contributions as an educator, innovator, mentor, scientist and technologist. Dawson became the 31st recipient of the Alltech Medal of Excellence Award and, having previously received the honor in 1992, also became the 1st two-time recipient.

In addition to hearing from the inspiring keynote speakers, ONE attendees participated in live workshops and focus tracks, uncovering the challenges and opportunities in agriculture, business, health and wellness, and professional development.

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