Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Tuesday June 28 Ag News

 New Nebraska Farm Crisis Hotline Website is Available

The Nebraska Rural Response Council, sponsor of the Rural Response Hotline, announced that their new website is up and running. Click on the link https://farmhotline.com.

The Rural Response Hotline has been strengthening rural communities in Nebraska since 1984 providing valuable information and resources in times of crisis. Rural Response Council Chairman, Vern Jantzen of Plymouth said, “In addition to our (800) 464-0258 Hotline telephone number, farm, ranch, and rural residents now also have access to the website to obtain resources. We thank the Nebraska Department of Agriculture for their assistance in establishing this new website.”

Creation of the website was supported by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant awarded to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to support and expand behavioral health services to farm, ranch, and rural residents. The Counseling Outreach and Mental Health Therapy (COMHT) project that provides free counseling vouchers for farmers, ranchers, and rural residents in times of crisis is one of many services offered through the farm hotline.

Michelle Soll, administrator for Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Farm and Ranch Project that staffs the Hotline said, “Of course, we will still be answering the Hotline phone and providing that personal touch. We are excited that there is now an additional on-line option.”

Jantzen concluded, “There is a wealth of useful information on the new website. We are asking all our organizational partners to link to our new website from their website, as well as to help spread the news.” The farm hotline is supported through grants, and by private, industry and charitable donations. For folks who want to financially support the nation’s longest, continuously serving hotline for rural residents, it is as simple as clicking on the “Donate” button at farmhotline.com.


– Brad Schick, NE Extension Educator

Bromegrass is headed out and native meadows are beginning to grow rapidly with warmer temperatures the past couple weeks. Is now the time to make grass hay?
Sometimes a simple date on the calendar is the reason hay is cut. Some will cut when it works in their operation; after corn is fertilized or sprayed, after branding or turning out to summer grass, maybe after kids’ baseball and softball seasons are over. Tradition and schedules play a key role in management decisions, but should we consider another factor?
An important, yet often overlooked way to determine when to cut, is what quality of hay is needed on the operation. Is a protein source needed to minimize supplementation? Is simple roughage needed? Will it be sold? Can it be sold at a premium for being higher quality? Each operation is different and has different needs.
Right now the quality of bromegrass and other cool-season grasses are rapidly declining. As these plants mature and become stemmy, their protein, energy content, and digestibility decrease. Studies have shown that grass hay cut at early heading could result in a daily gain of one pound for bred heifers whereas the same mature hay may not even meet the requirements of a dry cow.
When deciding when to cut or what field to cut, first determine what livestock will consume the hay and plan accordingly.
A little change to the timing of haying might better meet livestock nutrient requirements and reduce supplementation costs.

June Plenary Introduces New Leadership and Strategic Vision

Last week, Field to Market (FTM) held its June Plenary and General Assembly meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to being the first in-person plenary held since June 2019, this was the first meeting led by Field to Market’s new president, Scott Herndon, who was appointed in January of this year.

The meeting kicked off with thought-provoking considerations surrounding expanding and exploring research areas. That theme continued throughout the course of the meeting as members discussed possible R & D opportunities to better understand the roles supply chain actors play in supporting the adoption and retention of practices that support sustainable outcomes from U.S. commodity crop production used for our food, feed, fiber and fuel.

Wednesday afternoon’s agenda included a panel presentation focused on the GHG Protocol Land Sector and Removals Guidance draft that will be released in late July.  The guidance will explain how companies should account for emissions and removals from land use, land-use change, biogenic products, technological CO2 removals and related activities in GHG inventories, building on the Corporate Standard and Scope 3 Standard.

The plenary meeting concluded on Thursday with a look at the potential benefits of third-party GHG tracking and verification; next, post-lunch collaboration continued with a cross-sector dialogue, “What Lies Beyond: Landscape Approaches to Sustainability.” The small group breakouts brought stakeholders together to learn more about community-based approaches to sustainable agriculture—from farmer-led watershed initiatives to regional supply chain collaborations.

“This week’s meetings reinstated the importance of collaboration to achieve success in driving sustainable improvement,” said Nebraska grower and Field to Market Chair Brandon Hunnicutt. “It is really important for us to find tangible ways to measure our successes in conservation and stewardship.”

Field to Market members can expect plenary recap documents to be shared in July.

CONVEY’22 features regulatory compliance, grain safety and operations training  

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) is partnering with the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) and Grain Journal to present CONVEY’22, a unique opportunity for grain handling employees and leaders to gain practical knowledge and training on real-world compliance issues, best practices and emerging industry trends.

CONVEY’22 includes a trade show and 1.5 days of sessions on July 26-27 at the Omaha Hilton in Omaha, Neb.

“Each session at CONVEY’22 features knowledgeable and experienced experts representing companies known for their first-class services and best practices. We’re honored to be able to offer their training and insights for such an affordable price,” NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert said. “Watching leaders, managers and personnel in the grain handling industry come together at CONVEY to represent their dedication to regulatory awareness and effective safety and health practices is incredibly rewarding each year.”

In addition to sessions on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections, operations best practices, and grain quality management, the conference offers training focused on behavioral safety and incident management as well as safe driver training and development.

Sessions include:
•    “Human Organizational Performance – Behavior Safety” with Cargill Inc.
•    “Fumigation Practices and Safety Techniques” with Degesch America
•    “Grain Grading Operations Best Practices” with North Dakota Grain Inspection and The Andersons
•    “Managing a Safety and Health Incident” with Workcare, Inc.
•    “How to Perform a Safety and Health Incident Investigation and Analyze Hazards” with Fletcher Safety Consulting
•    “Airflow: Lessons Learned in Practical Applications of Air Facilities” with ADM
•    “FDA Inspection Plans for 2022” with NGFA
•    “Hiring, Training, and Retaining Employees – Entry Level Driver Training,      Drug Testing, Safety” with Co-Alliance Cooperative Inc., Key Cooperative and Perdue AgriBusiness LLC
•    “A Real Hot Topic: Preparing For and Surviving Inspections Under OSHA’s New Heat Illness National Emphasis Program” with Conn Maciel Carey LLP

View the full program and register at convey22.com.  

Bilingual Explore Beekeeping workshops coming up

Free beekeeping workshops hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs, Iowa State University, and Little Priest Tribal College will help those who are interested in getting started in the industry.

“Explore Beekeeping” will be Saturday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach - Woodbury County, 4728 Southern Hills Drive, Sioux City, and Monday, Aug. 8, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at 509 Buffalo Trail, Winnebago. The workshops will be presented in both English and Spanish.

“If you’re curious about beekeeping, join this training to learn about bee biology, how the hive functions as a system, costs to start beekeeping, and how to begin,” said Kirstin Bailey, senior project associate for the Center. “There will be a hands-on session with a presentation, as well as an opportunity to see the inside of a live hive.”

Registration is required one day in advance. Sign up at cfra.org/events. For more information, contact Bailey at kirstinb@cfra.org or 402.870.2390.

New Report Examines Farmer Perspectives on 4R Plus Nutrient Loss Reduction

A recent report from the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll at Iowa State University indicates that a major nutrient management effort called the 4R Plus initiative is having a positive impact.

4R Plus, a science-based framework designed to guide improved nutrient management among farmers, is promoted by a coalition of more than 50 public and private agricultural stakeholders and non-governmental conservation organizations.

Cover crops in corn.The approach is called 4R Plus because its core principles all start with the term “right": the right source of fertilizers, applied at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. In other words, the 4Rs promote recommended nutrient management best practices for any given farming context. The “Plus” component of the 4R Plus refers to highly effective conservation practices such as cover crops that complement best nutrient management practices and further reduce nutrient losses while retaining or improving soil. The 4R Plus framework is promoted as a win-win approach that can minimize farming’s impacts on water quality while maintaining or improving productivity.

“The Farm Poll survey is an important tool for helping agricultural stakeholders to better understand the farmers they work with, so they can meet them where they are,” said Iowa State University Extension and Outreach sociologist J. Arbuckle, director of the annual survey of Iowa farmers. “For the 2021 survey, I worked with The Nature Conservancy, a key partner in the Iowa 4R Plus initiative, to develop survey questions that would gauge farmer awareness of the 4R Plus program and their perspectives on how well it’s working.”

Most farmers know about 4R Plus

The survey showed that about two-thirds of respondents were aware of the 4R Plus program, and had learned about it through diverse information sources such as the farm press, ISU Extension and Outreach and agricultural retailers. More importantly, many farmers reported using one or more of the main practices that 4R Plus promotes.

“We used a new kind of question to examine adoption or potential adoption of practices, one that determines how many farmers are using the practices, but also how many non-users are open to future use,” explained Arbuckle. “The survey showed that while overall farmer use of 4R Plus practices is far below where we need to be to meet the state’s soil health and water quality goals, many of the farmers who aren’t using the practices now either intend to try them soon or are at least open to the idea of future use.” Arbuckle further noted this means there is lots of room for progress. For example, about one-fifth of farmers who were not using cover crops intended to try them in the next three years and another 25% were not planning to use them but might in the future.

“The farmers who are planning to try practices or open to future use represent the next waves of adopters,” said Paige Frautschy, Iowa agriculture program director for The Nature Conservancy, who partnered on the survey design. “This information helps us understand what kind of progress we’re making, and which practices are of greatest interest to that next wave of adopters. Knowing that so many farmers may be ready to give 4R Plus practices a try is energizing for the many groups that are working toward the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Farmers seeing positive impacts from 4R Plus practices

More than half of practice users reported that the practices they had adopted had resulted in positive impacts on soil health indicators and key agronomic outcomes including soil organic matter, water holding capacity and crop yields. Similarly, 48% believed the practices had reduced nutrient loss, 33% indicated that fertilizer needs were reduced and 29% reported reduced weed pressure.

“These findings that farmers are experiencing positive impacts helps make the case that 4R Plus practices make sense both environmentally and economically,” noted Frautschy.

Farmers and other stakeholders who would like to learn more about the 4R Plus initiative and access resources available through the program can visit 4RPlus.org.

Known also as the “Farm Poll,” the Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll has been conducted since 1982, and is the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation. Questionnaires were mailed in February and March 2021, and 1,095 farmers responded to the statewide survey.

Other topics covered in the 2021 Farm Poll summary include community vitality, the impacts of COVID-19, renewable energy, carbon markets and use of various media for information and entertainment.

Armstrong Research Farm to Host Forage Field Day

Stressed pastures and high grain markets continue to limit forage productivity and land access for cattlemen. Many producers have turned toward integrating cover crops as an alternative to extend the grazing season, and some have even begun utilizing warm season annual forages to fill some voids during the summer slump.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm will host a field day featuring ongoing forage research with summer annuals. The event will take place July 12 at the Wallace Learning Center on the research farm near Lewis.

The field day will start with a classroom session featuring swath grazing of warm season annuals as a winter feeding strategy. Head researcher Garland Dahlke of the Iowa Beef Center will discuss forage quality and utilization, and the challenges and successes of using pearl millet, forage sorghum and sorghum sudangrass for swath grazing in Iowa.

Attendees will have the opportunity to view summer annual test plots at the farm including German millet, pearl millet, sorghum sudangrass, sudangrass and teff. Warm season species selection, farm usage and application, forage nutrient value and anti-quality issues also are on the agenda.

Registration and a light meal begin at 5:30 p.m., and the program runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Other presenters are ISU Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist Aaron Sauegling and Beef Specialist Erika Lundy-Woolfolk.

The field day is free thanks to grants from the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and the Southern Iowa Forage and Livestock Committee. To ensure adequate meal count, preregister by July 8 by calling the ISU Extension and Outreach Cass County office at 712-243-1132. For more information, contact Lundy-Woolfolk at ellundy@iastate.edu.

Advanced RUSLE2 Workshop to Be Offered for Manure Management Plan Writers

An Advanced Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2 workshop) has been scheduled for service providers and producers who are working with RUSLE2 and Iowa P-Index to develop manure management plans. The workshop will be held at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Polk County office, 1625 Adventureland Drive, Suite A, Altoona, on Aug. 4, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

This workshop will enable participants to explore practice-based changes that can be designed to reduce erosion. It will focus on principles governing conservation practices both in RUSLE2 and the Iowa Phosphorus Index. Participants will learn about common tillage and rotation-based errors as well as how to divide fields for calculating the P-Index. Participants will also learn about setting up different managements in RUSLE2.

Use of aerial imagery to identity conservation practices installed in Iowa farm fields will be discussed in depth. This workshop is a collaborative effort between USDA NRCS, Iowa DNR and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The workshop qualifies for six Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Credits (6SW) and three Professional Development Hours (PDH). Participation certificates will be provided upon completion of the workshop.

Registration is open to all service providers, producers, CNMP/NMP/MMP writers and agency staff who are interested in learning in-depth knowledge about RUSLE2 operations and conservation practices. Participants are expected to have basic operating knowledge of RUSLE2 software and Iowa P-Index Calculator. Each registrant must bring a laptop computer pre-loaded with the latest version of RUSLE2. Class size is limited to 30 participants.

The workshop will be conducted by Kapil Arora, field agricultural engineer with ISU Extension and Outreach; Barb Stewart, retired agronomist; Don Carrington and Nichole Williams, USDA NRCS; and Jeremy Klatt of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Registration is $200 through Aug. 1 and $225 after. Fees include lunch, refreshments and workshop materials. Refunds will only be issued for written requests received before 5 p.m. on Aug. 1. A $25 processing fee applies to all refunded amounts. Registration can be completed online https://go.iastate.edu/YOLBPR or by mailing in the registration form with fees.

For more information, contact Arora at 515-291-0174 or the ISU Extension and Outreach Polk County office at 515-957-5760.

Goodyear Announces New Sustainable Soy-Based Tires for City Transit and Waste Haul Fleets

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company recently announced that two lines of its commercial tires are now made with a renewable soybean oil compound. The Goodyear Metro Miler G152 and G652 tires for transit buses along with the popular Endurance™ WHA waste haul tire are now made with soybean oil, which replaces a portion of the petroleum-based materials used in their production. Both the Metro Miler tires and the Endurance WHA waste haul tire continue to deliver the expected high-performance benefits. The new soy-biobased tires build on the soy checkoff’s research investment and longstanding partnership with the global tire company.

“Goodyear’s roll out of their first soy-biobased tires for waste haul and city buses is a breakthrough for U.S. soybean growers and the cities that depend on high-performing and sustainable tires,” said USB Chair Ralph Lott, a soybean farmer from Seneca Falls, New York. “City and other fleet leaders have told us they want soy in tires for such heavy equipment. These big tires are another exciting way to deliver sustainable soy to more lives, every day.”

Goodyear had a goal to increase the use of soybean oil in place of petroleum-based oil by 25% by the end of 2019. Goodyear met, and far exceeded, this goal by increasing its soybean oil use by 90% in 2019, 73% in 2020 and 13% in 2021. Goodyear has a long-term goal to fully replace petroleum-derived oils in its products by 2040. This commitment drives additional demand for U.S. Soy products, grown sustainably by U.S. soybean farmers.

The Metro Miler and Endurance tires are just a few of various commercially available soy-biobased tires resulting from the checkoff research investment with Goodyear. The soybean SKUs also feature technology designed to resist sidewall damage, enhance toughness and provide long tread life.

“The use of soybean oil in the majority of the Metro Miler G152 and G652 tires in production today is a significant Goodyear innovation that reduces the amount of petroleum-based materials needed for production,” said Dustin Lancy, commercial product marketing manager, Goodyear North America.

Goodyear’s sixth line of tires containing soy are its popular Endurance waste haul tires. The tires are available for order and will head into production in Q3 of 2022.

R-CALF USA Statement on End of First of Two Beef Checkoff Cases

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied R-CALF USA’s petition requesting an appeal of the first of two lawsuits the group had filed against the operation of the mandatory beef checkoff program. The first lawsuit had previously been dismissed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement in response to the effective end of its first lawsuit.

“While obviously disappointed that our effort to force even more needed reforms upon the beef checkoff program has ended in our first of two lawsuits, we are grateful for the important reforms we did achieve for U.S. cattle producers.

“Our objective in this case was to bring an end to the corrupt manner in which the beef checkoff program was being operated. Specifically, we set out to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture from unconstitutionally compelling U.S. cattle producers to fund the private speech of private state beef councils.

“We largely succeeded in that effort early in our case. In response to our lawsuit, the USDA took steps to assume necessary control over the speech of the state beef councils identified in our case to limit their ability to express private messages with the money that cattle producers are mandated to pay into the program.

“The district court found that those corrective steps taken by the USDA effectively transformed the preliminary injunction R-CALF USA had initially won into the lasting outcome the group had sought – “an end to USDA’s allegedly unconstitutional government-compelled subsidy of speech.” Having determined that we were the prevailing party in our request for a preliminary injunction, the district court awarded us over $150,000 in legal fees.

“Importantly, the district court found that USDA’s decades-long conduct in operating the beef checkoff program prior to R-CALF USA’s litigation was not substantially justified and stated: “USDA should have known that the program that R-CALF challenged was unconstitutional . . .”   

“Another important reform won in this case was that the USDA promulgated formal rules that now allow cattle producers to opt out of funding the activities of their state beef council.

“We will now focus on achieving additional reforms in our second lawsuit that alleges the USDA violated the law when it entered into agreements with numerous state beef councils to assume control over those council’s messaging. More specifically, we allege the USDA ignored its legal obligation to conduct a formal rulemaking process before taking such action.

“We are grateful for the exemplary legal representation provided by our lead counsel, David Muraskin, Litigation Director of the Public Justice Food Project, who helped us preserve the important protections our U.S. Constitution provides every citizen.”

Vilsack Announces Bioproduct Pilot Program Funded by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for a new pilot program created under President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the development of biobased products that have lower carbon footprints and increase the use of renewable agricultural materials, creating new revenue streams for farmers. This $10 million investment is part of the Biden-Administration’s ongoing work to rebuild our infrastructure and create good-paying jobs and economic opportunity in our rural communities.

Secretary Vilsack visited Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, a family-owned operation in Ely, Iowa, and met to discuss what impact this bioproduct pilot program and resulting innovations will have on operations like theirs, as well as the customers they serve. Dan and Debbie’s Creamery farm about 500 acres and have a 120 head dairy operation.

“Dan and Debbie represent the many American farmers, families and communities USDA is called to serve,” Vilsack said. “This pilot program is a critical part of USDA’s commitment to enhancing the circular economy and providing additional revenue streams for farmers. This program will help farmers take field residues and waste products and turn them into value-added products that create wealth and drive economic development in rural areas.”

Under this program, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) can award up to $10 million divided among the highest rated applications that include eligible universities and private-sector partners.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided funds for sustainable bioproduct manufacturing for construction and consumer products. The statute directs USDA to partner with “not less than one institution” to study the benefits of using materials derived from a very broad definition of “covered agricultural commodities.”

Complete information on this funding opportunity can be found on the NIFA website at: www.nifa.usda.gov/grants/funding-opportunities/bioproduct-pilot-program. An informational webinar for those interested in applying will be held on July 14, 2022, at 2:00 – 3:30 pm Central Time. To register, please visit the Bioproduct Pilot Program Informational Webinar page.

This project will be implemented by a team of USDA experts from NIFA’s Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment, USDA Rural Development’s BioPreferred Program and the U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations Team and Forest Products Lab.

The Dairy Donation Program Celebrates June Dairy Month

Since its establishment in 1937, June Dairy Month has been an opportunity to showcase many aspects of dairy:  delicious products, nutrition, and important role in our diet. The contributions of the dairy industry are abundant, from the farmers who care responsibly for their land and their animals to the economic development and livelihoods in communities worldwide. The dairy industry works hard to feed the world and ensure nutritious dairy products are accessible to all.

To increase access to dairy products and reduce food waste, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the $400 million Dairy Donation Program (DDP) in August 2021. Through the DDP, eligible dairy organizations partner with non-profit feeding organizations—such as food banks, missions, and churches—that distribute food to individuals and families in need; these partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations.

Dairy farmers, cooperatives, and processors that purchase fresh milk or bulk dairy products to process into retail-packaged dairy products and meet other requirements are eligible to participate. Costs reimbursed through the program include the cost of milk used to make the donated eligible dairy product and some of the manufacturing and transportation costs. Reimbursement of these costs is designed to help offset some of the costs associated with processing and donating eligible dairy products.

June Dairy Month is an excellent opportunity to learn about how the program can provide reimbursement for donations made to non-profits in your community. Participating in the DDP will help ensure that surplus dairy products are reaching those who need it most.

Program details are available at www.ams.usda.gov/ddp. Please contact the Dairy Donation Program Team at ddp@usda.gov with any questions or to learn how to apply.

Cost of July 4th Cookout 17% Higher Compared to Year Ago

U.S. consumers will pay $69.68 for their favorite Independence Day cookout foods, including cheeseburgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, homemade potato salad, strawberries and ice cream, based on a new American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey.

The average cost of a summer cookout for 10 people is $69.68, which breaks down to less than $7 per person. The overall cost for the cookout is up 17% or about $10 from last year, a result of ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation and the war in Ukraine.

Farmers are feeling the price-point pain too, like the people they grow food for, according to AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan.

“Despite higher food prices, the supply chain disruptions and inflation have made farm supplies more expensive; like consumers, farmers are price-takers not price-makers,” Cryan said. He added, “Bottom line, in many cases the higher prices farmers are being paid aren’t covering the increase in their farm expenses. The cost of fuel is up and fertilizer prices have tripled.”

Cryan also pointed to the cascading effects of the war in Ukraine, as that country’s contributions to global food security are cut off, Russian and Belarusian fertilizer exports are constrained, and some other countries pull back exports to protect their domestic supplies.

The marketbasket survey shows the largest year-to-year price increase was for ground beef.

Survey results showed the retail price for 2 pounds of ground beef at $11.12, up 36% from last year. Meanwhile, the Agriculture Department’s Producer Price Index indicates that compared to a year ago, farm-level cattle prices are up 17.5%, but wholesale beef prices are down 14%. This serves to highlight the differences between farm-level, wholesale and retail beef prices and how the events of the last few years have had significant impacts on the beef production and cattle pricing cycles, making them all hard to predict.

Several other foods in the survey, including chicken breasts, pork chops, homemade potato salad, fresh-squeezed lemonade, pork & beans, hamburger buns and cookies, also increased in price.

One bright spot for consumers is the average retail price for strawberries, which declined by 86 cents compared to a year ago. Sliced cheese and potato chips also dropped in price, 48 cents and 22 cents, respectively. Better weather conditions in some fruit-growing regions and greater retailer pricing flexibility for processed products are the likely drivers behind the modest price declines for these items.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home and general inflation across the economy. Both the index and the marketbasket show increases of more than 10% compared to year-ago levels.

“According to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series, farmers currently receive approximately 8% of every food marketing dollar,” Cryan said. “The farmers’ share of the retail food dollar is as low as 2% to 4% for highly processed foods such as bread and cereal, and can be 35% or more for some fresh products.”

Commenting on big picture concerns related to food security, AFBF President Zippy Duvall said: “The increased cost of food and supplies is a very real concern in our country and across the globe. U.S. food assistance programs and food banks help those who struggle to make ends meet here at home, but the story is much different around the globe as food insecurity skyrockets. The big impact of a single event in Ukraine shows how dependent the world is on stable, productive agriculture.”

Individual Prices, AFBF 2022 Summer Cookout
2 pounds of ground beef, $11.12 (+36%)
2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $8.99 (+33%)
32 ounces of pork & beans, $2.53 (+33%)
3 pounds of center cut pork chops, $15.26 (+31%)
2.5 quarts of fresh-squeezed lemonade, $4.43 (+22%)
2.5 pounds of homemade potato salad, $3.27 (+19%)
8 hamburger buns, $1.93 (+16%)
Half-gallon of vanilla ice cream, $5.16 (+10%)
13-ounce bag of chocolate chip cookies, $4.31 (+7%)
2 pints of strawberries, $4.44 (-16%)
1 pound of sliced cheese, $3.53 (-13%)
16-ounce bag of potato chips, $4.71 (-4%)

The July 4th cookout survey is part of the Farm Bureau marketbasket series, which also includes the popular annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey of common food staples Americans use to prepare meals at home.

Data for this year’s survey was collected by 176 volunteer shoppers across the country and in Puerto Rico, including Farm Bureau members and others.

Crow's Seed Being Re-Launched in Eastern Corn Belt

Follows Re-establishment of Midwest Seed Genetics and NC+

Crow’s Seed is being re-launched in the Eastern Corn Belt, by Outward Ag, LLC. Driven by a team of agricultural entrepreneurs, this follows the re-establishment of Midwest Seed Genetics in the Central and Northern Corn Belt and NC+ in the West. Over the past four years, Midwest, and NC+ have been two of the fastest growing seed brands in U.S. row crop agriculture.

Crow’s Hybrids, originally from Milford, IL, was one of the pioneering hybrid seed brands, launched in 1935. Over six decades, it provided strong performing seed through strong local relationships. In the late 1990s, Don Funk acquired Crow’s and turned this local company into a regional powerhouse. Crow’s became a key foundational brand that spurred the record-setting growth of Channel, subsequently acquired by Monsanto, now Bayer.

“There is great passion among farmers and seed professionals for what the future could hold, but there is also frustration. The people of agriculture are being left behind. While the rest of the industry turns inward, we are outward-focused. We know the trusted relationships between seed professionals and their customers, earned season after season, are the cornerstone of success. With the launch of Midwest and NC+, and now with Crow’s, we are putting people first.” says Erik Nelson, CEO, Outward Ag.

“Growing up in the seed business, Crow’s was always a well-respected, regional brand. When my father Don acquired it in the late nineties, he turned it into a rocket ship, introducing new technologies and traits to a generation of farmers. Today, farmers are telling us they want choice. They want a simpler way of doing things. They want the gimmicks and layers of corporate agriculture stripped away. So now, Crow’s will do just that, in a geography where it is needed,” says Dan Funk, who handles marketing for Outward Ag.

Industry veteran, Michelle Vigna will lead efforts to re-introduce Crow’s to the Eastern Corn Belt. Over a wide-ranging career at Monsanto, now Bayer, Vigna notably served as the System Launch Manager for the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System in US Product Management and Marketing from 2012 through 2014. Following this, she led Monsanto’s DEKALB/Asgrow sales team as the Area Business Manager in Northern Indiana.

“My focus has always been to support American farmers in the manner that they need to be successful in their businesses. I see the re-launch of Crow’s as an opportunity to do this, by bringing simplicity and a customer-first approach in delivering the highest quality seed possible. That’s all we will be focused on, “says Vigna.

“Don Funk launched Outward Ag with the single premise of providing a highly capable, and fiercely independent new option to the American Row Crop Farmer as their voice and needs should be what matters most. We have surrounded ourselves with good and solid individuals throughout our network and within our company and look forward to over-exceeding expectations for our partners for many years to come.” says Nelson.

Wilbur-Ellis Partners with Guardian Agriculture in Multi-Million Dollar Agreement to Bring Autonomous Aerial Application to Growers Across America

Guardian Agriculture, a leading innovator and developer of the first fully autonomous crop protection aircraft system, secured a multi-million-dollar partnership with Wilbur-Ellis, a leading marketer, distributor and manufacturer of agriculture products, specialty chemicals, and animal feed. The partnership will give Wilbur-Ellis customers an opportunity to access this state-of-the-art technology before anyone else.

“This is the first new aerial technology to make a material impact on American farms. We believe it can be profitably and rapidly deployed and are looking forward to working with Guardian Ag to roll out their technology to our customers and partners,” said Chief Executive Officer of Cavallo Ventures at Wilbur-Ellis, Mike Wilbur.

Guardian Ag’s fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft system can safely and securely deliver precision application of crop protection in a fraction of the time and cost. The autonomous aircraft can carry multi-hundred-pound payloads and address a wide range of application spray volumes and application needs for growers. With four six-foot propellers and an overall 15-foot aircraft width, the eVTOL system efficiently covers 40 acres per hour of full-field crop protection to the grower.

Designed and manufactured in the U.S. and combining an autonomous aircraft, a ground station supercharger, and software generating domestically stored data, the eVTOL systems offer on-target application to fields when and where necessary. Using industry standard nozzles, pressure, droplet sizes, and application volumes, Guardian’s eVTOL aircraft systems are one of the most safe and cost-effective methods to deliver full-field application.

“Guardian’s technology delivers tremendous benefits to both growers and the environment,” said Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Guardian Ag, Adam Bercu. “Growers can expect a cost-effective application that will solve critical problems with coverage quality, sustainability, repeatability, and eliminate off-target spray and overspray,” he said.

With in-flight monitoring, measurement, and data collection capabilities, application variables are collected in real-time, including wind speed, temperature, obstructions, and more. Coupled with pre-planned flight plans, designated spray boundaries and spray rates, Guardian’s systems will significantly reduce application errors by providing superior spray quality with reduced environmental and economic risk impacts. “Our autonomous systems deliver high-precision crop protection, enabling significant improvements in environmental safety for workers, soil health, and beneficial insect conservation,” said Jeff Sparks, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Guardian Ag. Additionally, eVTOL systems are 100 percent electric and capable of reducing emissions by millions of pounds annually when compared to traditional application methods.

“As the largest commercial commitment to agriculture robotics to date, this investment and partnership signify Wilbur-Ellis’ dedication to delivering meaningful, impactful innovation and technology to growers across our footprint,” said John Buckley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wilbur-Ellis. Wilbur-Ellis’ application business currently covers approximately five million acres annually. The eVTOL systems will support Wilbur-Ellis’ strong aerial operations business throughout its large share of the aerial application market by adding eVTOL aircraft to its current helicopter and fixed-wing fleets.

“We are excited to make an early investment in this technology, which is the only unmanned aerial application system available today, and we’re even more excited to partner with Guardian to commercialize it and bring it to our customers,” said John Kuhn, Director of Business Development at Wilbur-Ellis. Operating in strong collaboration, both companies have worked together over the last year to commercialize and bring American growers advanced technology that will have immediate positive impacts for their business.

Guardian’s regulatory approval process is well under way, with commercialization and availability to growers occurring in 2023. “Guardian’s autonomy and powertrain technologies allow us to rapidly expand our product line to meet the needs of all American farmers,” said Dan Cody, Guardian’s Vice President of Software.

With the Salinas Valley of California being eyed for potential first deployment of the eVTOL aircraft in 2023, Willie Negroni, Wilbur-Ellis Director of Sales, commented, “Guardian’s aircraft solution complements our current aerial application business in the Salinas Valley and we see opportunity for customers, particularly around hard-to-spray areas, because eVTOL systems have the potential to provide a better application than what is currently available today.”

“It’s always great to see a company Cavallo Ventures has invested in grow into a commercial partnership with one of Wilbur-Ellis’ divisions, such as what we’re seeing today with Guardian Ag and our Agribusiness Division,” said Mike Wilbur of Cavallo Ventures. “Over its 100-year history, Wilbur-Ellis has always been, and continues to be, a leader of technological and innovative advances that make real differences for our customers. Our venture capital arm, Cavallo Ventures, actively seeks out new and exciting opportunities. I’m excited to add more flexibility and choices for our customers.”

Mark Ripato, Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness President, said: “EVTOL systems allow Wilbur-Ellis to give customers more options for precise application to acreage, helping growers make the best decisions about when and how they treat their crops. It’s particularly exciting to expand our already successful aerial business with a technology that is new to the market and one that I feel will make a real difference for our growers’ crop success and give them a positive return on the investment with us.”

Guardian Agriculture was co-founded by Adam Bercu and Jeff Sparks out of the need to make tangible, meaningful, positive impacts on the world with electric systems. Seeking to solve actual, everyday problems growers face, Guardian Ag is accelerating sustainable farming by providing access to precision application to all American farmers, dramatically improving crop protection, the environment, and the farmer’s bottom line. “We’re making the future that we dreamed of as children come to life by creating technology that will benefit the real world,” said Guardian Ag’s COO, Jeff Sparks. Guardian Ag has delivered the first-of-its-kind unmanned aerial crop application aircraft and Wilbur-Ellis is excited to commercialize this American-made solution and make it available to growers across the country.

No comments:

Post a Comment