Thursday, July 21, 2022

Thursday July 21 Ag News

 Rural Mainstreet Economic Index Falls Below Growth Neutral Again

The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index (RMI) fell for the fourth straight month, sinking below growth neutral for a second consecutive month according to the monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region dependent on agriculture and/or energy.        

Overall: The region’s overall reading for July slumped to 46.0 from 49.8 in June. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. This was the fourth consecutive decline in the region’s overall reading.  

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

Bankers were asked this month to identify the greatest risk for farmers over the next 12 months.  Regarding the top risks, 53.9% named rising input prices, 34.6% indicated falling grain/livestock prices, and 11.5% reported drought was the top threat.

Farming and ranching: The region’s farmland price index for July declined to 66.0 from June’s 76.8, marking the 22nd straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral. July’s solid reading was the lowest index since February 2021.  

Bankers were asked this month to project the change in farmland prices for the next 12 months.  On average, bank CEOs expect farmland prices to advance by 2.1% over the next 12 months.  

Over the last 30 days, Peoples Company Appraisal Team tracked 125 cropland auctions across 51 Iowa counties. In total, 11,812 acres of cropland sold in auctions for $151.0 million, or an average of $12,780 per acre.

Farm equipment sales: The July farm equipment-sales index sank to 56.5 from 71.4 in June.  This was the 20th straight month that the index has advanced above growth neutral, but it marked the lowest reading for the index since January 2021.  

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for July dropped below growth neutral to 49.1 from June’s 54.1. The state’s farmland-price index decreased to 68.9 from last month’s 80.0. Nebraska’s new-hiring index improved to 63.7 from 61.6 in June. Over the past 12 months, USBLS data show that Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet Economy experienced a 3.2% gain in non-farm employment while urban areas in the state added 1.8% in non-farm employment.   

Iowa: The July RMI for Iowa slumped to 45.1 from 49.1 in June. Iowa’s farmland-price index decreased to 68.4 from June’s 77.9. Iowa’s new-hiring index for July fell to 58.7 from June’s 59.0. Over the past 12 months, USBLS data show that Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet Economy experienced a 2.8% increase in non-farm employment, while urban areas in the state gained 1.6% in non-farm employment.   
The survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It provides the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey and launched it in January 2006.

NDOT Hay Permit Applications Accepted Online Beginning July 30

The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has announced hay harvesting permit applications for the public will be accepted through an online application portal beginning July 30 at 12:01 a.m. CDT. Applications will be processed in the order they are received during normal business hours beginning Monday, August 1, 2022. Individuals must have a permit to harvest hay on State Right of Way.

An individual may purchase hay harvesting permits online from July 30 through September 15 on a first-come, first-served basis, with each permit limited to five miles of roadside hay total. The hay is for private use only and only one permit is allowed per person. With the online option, an integrated online map will better aid customers and staff to select miles to mow, and will be routinely updated showing available the miles that are available for permits.

Landowners are given the opportunity to renew last year’s permits between March 1st  and July 29th.

The Hay Harvesting Permits Application and Help Docs will be available on the NDOT website. The option to purchase permits from specified NDOT locations will still be available. Please visit for more information.

NPPC Supports the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022

Statement by Terry Wolters, NPPC president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota:
“Healthy animals ensure consumers have safe food and allow American producers, their communities, and the U.S. economy to thrive. That is why NPPC joined over 50 organizations spanning the entire agriculture sector in support of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. Early detection at our U.S. borders has never been more critical. Training canine teams against threats like animal disease and identifying potentially contaminated products at our nation's ports of entry is critical to the safety of U.S. agriculture. We urge Congress to act fast.”
NPPC signed a letter supporting the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022.

Record High Beef Production in June

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.72 billion pounds in June, up 1 percent from the 4.67 billion pounds produced in June 2021.

By State                  (million lbs.  -  % June '21)

Nebraska .........:             679.8            102       
Iowa ................:             721.6            103       
Kansas .............:             526.7             98       

Beef production, at 2.45 billion pounds, was 2 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 3.04 million head, up 3 percent from June 2021. The average live weight was down 7 pounds from the previous year, at 1,339 pounds.

Veal production totaled 4.6 million pounds, 12 percent above June a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 29,100 head, down 8 percent from June 2021. The average live weight was up 47 pounds from last year, at 270 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.26 billion pounds, up slightly from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 10.5 million head, down 1 percent from June 2021. The average live weight was up 4 pounds from the previous year, at 288 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.4 million pounds, was up slightly from June 2021. Sheep slaughter totaled 172,900 head, 9 percent below last year. The average live weight was 131 pounds, up 11 pounds from June a year ago.

January to June 2022 commercial red meat production was 27.7 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 2021. Accumulated beef production was up 2 percent from last year, veal was up 4 percent, pork was down 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 8 percent.


Milk production in Nebraska during the April-June 2022 quarter totaled 361 million pounds, up 1% from the April-June quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 58,000 head, unchanged from the same period last year.

April-June Milk Production down 0.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the April - June quarter totaled 57.9 billion pounds, down 0.5 percent from the April - June quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was  9.42 million head, 32,000 head more than the January - March quarter, but 87,000 head less than the same period last year.

Milk production in Iowa during June 2022 totaled 476 million pounds, up 3 percent from the previous June according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service -- Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during June, at 234,000 head, was unchanged from last month but up 6,000 from June 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,035 pounds, up 10 pounds from last June.

June Milk Production up 0.3 Percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during June totaled 18.1 billion pounds, up 0.3 percent from June 2021. May revised production, at 18.9 billion pounds, was down 0.4 percent from May 2021. The May revision represented an increase of 37 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.  Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,031 pounds for June, 20 pounds above June 2021.  The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.93 million head, 65,000 head less than June 2021, but 4,000 head more than May 2022.


All layers in Nebraska during June 2022 totaled 4.79 million, down from 8.10 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during June totaled 110 million eggs, down from 193 million in 2021. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,288 eggs, compared to 2,377 eggs in 2021.

Iowa egg production during June 2022 was 911 million eggs, down 2 percent from last month and down 25 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.  The average number of all layers on hand during June 2022 was 36.6 million, up 3 percent from last month but down 25 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for June were 2,485, down 4 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last June.

June Egg Production Down 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 8.67 billion during June 2022, down 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.39 billion table eggs, and 1.28 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.19 billion were broiler-type and 89.4 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during June 2022 totaled 366 million, down 4 percent from last year. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,367 eggs, up 2 percent from June 2021.
Total layers in the United States on July 1, 2022 totaled 366 million, down 4 percent from last year. The 366 million layers consisted of 300 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 63.0 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.51 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on July 1, 2022, averaged 79.0 eggs per 100 layers, up 2 percent from July 1, 2021.

IIC Announces $1 Million for New Research to Advance Irrigation Management

The Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC), a public-private collaboration dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of water and energy efficiency in irrigation, has selected four new research projects to begin this summer. Through its annual competitive research calls, IIC encourages private and public entities to combine their expertise to accelerate the development and application of new knowledge and technologies to benefit the irrigation sector and society. Funds and partner match committed to new research in this competitive project cycle total $1.05 million. IIC administers this research grant program by leveraging a $5 million award from the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) that is matched with non-federal contributions from industry and other partners.  
These projects closely fit combinations of IIC research priorities established based on interviews and a survey the Consortium conducted in 2021 with irrigation sector stakeholders:
 ·        Evaluating and improving irrigation technologies and recommendations
·        Improving integration of irrigation tools and strategies
·        Data synthesis to inform irrigation decision making
·        Clarifying water use benchmarks, targets and protocols
·        Quantifying potential benefits of advanced irrigation management
“This year’s projects are each highly applied and have effective outreach plans to encourage adoption of tools and research insights,” said Dr. Tim Martin, IIC’s executive director. “As a result, we are looking forward to meaningful research results for irrigators, water managers and industry partners that will encourage broader adoption of advanced irrigation tools and strategies.”
“These projects encompass a wide range of important research that will be highly beneficial to stakeholders,” said Dr. Kathy Boomer, FFAR scientific program director. “We are excited about the diverse collaborations and their potential for pioneering breakthroughs that will go far in advancing sustainable irrigation and water management.”
Read more about these selected projects:
Using the Irrigation-Energy Linkage to Estimate Irrigation Water Delivery
Principal Investigator: Amy Harsch, Nebraska Water Balance Alliance  
Industry Partner: Grower Information Services Coop
Budget, including match: $195,852  
 This project, which expands on work previously funded by IIC, is focused on using electrical runtime data to accurately estimate water pumped for irrigation in real time. In addition to providing real-time field-level data on water use to farmers via a user-friendly dashboard tool, Harsch’s team is providing aggregated data to support local groundwater district and state government agency work on water resource modeling, water budgeting and policy development. The team aims to encourage shifts in awareness and practice related to irrigation management and to scale their impact by engaging with producers and district managers in two Nebraska water management districts.
Developing a data assimilation and integration tool for irrigation management technologies used by California Almond Growers
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas Bambach, University of California, Davis
Industry Partner: Almond Board of California  
Budget, including match: $291,380
Bamback’s team is developing a dashboard interface for almond growers that will integrate information from various irrigation management tools producers are using to support critical irrigation decisions, with a strong focus on making remote sensing data actionable.
The team will engage with multiple industry partners whose tools will be able to plug into this interface, and will train Extension agents, farm advisors, government field staff and other irrigation stakeholders on how to use this dashboard.  
Organizing and analyzing Testing Ag Performance Solutions program data, quantifying productivity and GHG outcomes for corn, grain sorghum, and cotton
Principal Investigator: Dr. Daran Rudnick, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Budget, including match: $250,580
The Testing Ag Performance Solutions (TAPS) program, which is designed to reflect real-world, on-farm conditions and circumstances, engages producers in annual competitions to demonstrate and expand their proficiency at managing and marketing commodity crops as efficiently and profitably as possible. Rudnick’s team will capitalize on the extensive data gathered over the last five years of the program, including on how growers’ use of decision support technologies affects production outcomes, to synthesize and distill a broad range of management implications and inform future research priorities.  
Extension Outreach Tools to Improve Adoption of Irrigation Management Technologies in the Texas Panhandle  
Principal Investigator: Dr. David Parker, West Texas A&M University
Industry Partners: Better Harvest Co., Providence Farm
Budget, including match: $303,384
Parker’s team is developing a user-friendly tool to help producers in the Texas Panhandle distribute acres dedicated to irrigated and dryland crops as a strategy for managing declining groundwater resources more effectively and profitably. The team will work closely with crop consultants and producers to support their use of this tool in conjunction with using soil moisture sensors effectively.
To learn more about the Irrigation Innovation Consortium, visit:

IDALS Lifts HPAI Quarantine Restrictions on Last Commercial Poultry Site

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced that the last commercial Iowa poultry farm has been released from highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) quarantine restrictions. The restrictions prohibited the movement of poultry and poultry products on or off the affected premises and were lifted after the farm cleared all HPAI testing protocols and quarantine requirements.

"Reaching this important milestone allows impacted farmers to turn the page from responding to the outbreak to repopulating flocks and returning to turkey and poultry production," said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. "This year's outbreak was thankfully much smaller than the one in 2015 in large part due to the lessons learned and positive changes implemented by farmers, our team at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, and USDA. Moving forward, we will work with partners to assess this year's response to ensure that we are even better prepared for any future disease challenges that may arise."

The latest site released from quarantine is a commercial turkey farm in Bremer County. The requirements for release include, but are not limited to, cleaning, disinfection, and environmental sampling of the infected premises.

“The lifting of the final quarantine is cause to celebrate the great work and collaboration between Iowa’s poultry farmers, USDA and the Iowa Department of Agriculture,” said Kevin Stiles, Executive Director of the North Central Poultry Association. “We have been reassured by the response throughout the outbreak, but also are appreciative of the collective efforts from all involved. The planning and preparation over the last five to seven years played an important role in Iowa being better prepared to meet the challenges of this outbreak.”

“Since February HPAI has impacted U.S. poultry farmers. Today’s announcement, lifting the last commercial site quarantine in Iowa, is great news,” said Gretta Irwin, Iowa Turkey Federation Executive Director. “The fact that in 2022, Iowa had nine HPAI turkey cases instead of 71 in 2015 shows that proactive plans and focused changes by Iowa’s turkey farmers helped to reduce the number of cases.”

Quarantines remain in effect on four backyard flock sites and will be lifted as requirements for release are met.

USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer headlines KC Ag Outlook Forum

The Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and Agri-Pulse Communications are pleased to announce that USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer will be one of the keynote speakers for the 2022 Ag Outlook Forum. The event will be held on September 26 at the Marriott in downtown Kansas City.
“During these uncertain times with so much volatility and disruption around the globe, it will be great to have an update on production and markets from Dr. Seth Meyer,” said Sara Wyant, Agri-Pulse founder and editor.
The event will offer a full day of presentations and panel discussions on the farm economy, impacts from the war in Ukraine, and more. Other speakers include:
    Kip Tom, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture and chief of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome
    Daniel Whitley, Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA
    Dr. Kanlaya Barr, Director of Corporate Economics, John Deere
    Erin Borror, Economist, U.S. Meat Export Federation
    Christine Cochran, President & CEO, SNAC International
    Nate Kauffman, Vice President & Omaha Branch Executive, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
    Kathy Nelson, President & CEO, Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation
    Arlan Suderman, Chief Commodities Economist, StoneX Group Inc.
    Dr. Spiro Stefanou, Administrator, Economic Research Service, USDA

The program and registration are available here

ASA Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Gene Editing Amendment on House Floor

American Soybean Association

An amendment directing regulatory modernization and consistency for products of plant gene editing was passed with broad, bipartisan support on the floor of the House of Representatives this week. The amendment, offered to a larger government funding bill by Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Jim Baird (R-IN), was included in and considered as part of a larger package of amendments. The package was passed by a vote of 336-90.

The amendment would do several things, including directing the Food and Drug Administration to issue long-awaited draft guidance on how the agency would approach plant gene editing. It would also direct FDA to review and modernize its plant biotechnology consultation process, which has seen growing delays in recent years. Finally, while the amendment does not directly increase funds for FDA to do this work, it highlights the needs for an additional $3 million for FDA, which may be included as part of a future spending deal in the months ahead.

FDA clarity on the agency’s approach to plant gene editing is important for several reasons. FDA’s co-regulators of biotechnology, USDA and EPA, have already undertaken and either finalized or are nearing completion of their own regulatory modernization efforts, though FDA’s progress has lagged. This delay risks fragmenting the regulatory system, which could obscure the path for researchers and developers on what expectations there may be to bring a product to market. Ultimately, this could impact the ability of growers to access new genetic innovations. Additionally, FDA’s biotechnology consultation program, through which developers consult with new plant varieties intended for food and feed purposes, has seen growing delays in recent years. A review of this process could bring new efficiencies to FDA’s program similar to those USDA and EPA have proposed or implemented through their own reviews.

Young Leaders Complete Phase 3 Training in D.C.

Several members of ASA’s 2022 Young Leader Class, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, headed to Washington, D.C. last week to participate in a third phase of training.

During this phase, participants networked with fellow soy leaders, heard updates from industry experts and had the opportunity to engage with members of Congress at ASA’s annual summer board meeting and Soybean Issues Forum, in addition to state delegation Hill visits.

Young Leaders met with Paul Spencer, Corteva Global Grain Trade Lead; Janae Brady, American Seed Trade Association; Thomas Mills, CropLife America; Joe Bischoff, Cornerstone Government Affairs; Connor Hamburg, Nutrien; Matt Rekeweg, U.S. Industry Affairs Manager, Corteva; and Katie Jordan, U.S. Government and Industry Affairs. ASA’s Virginia Houston participated in the program, providing information on lobbying.

Participants included: Tyler & Keyaira Smith (IN); Jacob Bolson (IA); Adam Phelon (KS); Mary Dybedahl & Paul Mesner (MN); Nathan Legatt (MN); Tyler & Desiree Rezac (NE); and Tanner Hento (SD).

Corn Quality Information Session Increases Japanese Buyer Confidence

To increase Japanese buyers’ confidence in the quality of U.S. corn, the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) Japan office recently hosted a corn quality information exchange for feed corn stakeholders in the country. Due to COVID-19, this event last occurred in person three years ago, and the Council hopes this year’s virtual event can reopen the door for the annual meeting to resume in the future.

“This annual meeting is important to keep the close and mutually reliable relationship in corn trade and keep Japan as a stable buyer of U.S. corn, consistently purchasing over 10 million metric tons (394 million bushels) annually,” said Tommy Hamamoto, USGC director in Japan.

U.S. organization representatives, including USGC Vice President Cary Sifferath, Hamamoto and North American Export Grains Association (NAEGA) President and CEO Gary Martin, in addition to several industry association representatives in Japan participated in the meeting at which attendees learned more about topics including the chemical and physical characteristics of recent U.S. corn, broken corn and foreign materials, and the weather and quality risk for this year’s crop. The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) also provided the results of an export inspection.

“Through the meeting, both sides gained a better understanding of how this annual information exchange is an efficient venue for strengthening mutual understanding on U.S. corn quality concerns," Hamamoto said.

Japan is currently the number three buyer of U.S. corn in the 2021/2022 marketing year, purchasing 7,648,142 metric tons (301,092,054 bushels) as of May.

Research Finds More Emissions Benefits at Lower Cost from Accelerated Fleet Turnover and Use of Bio- and Renewable Fuels than Switching to Electrified Medium and Heavy-Duty Trucks

A new study that evaluates several approaches to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions from medium and heavy-duty vehicles from 2022-2032 finds considerable advantages with advanced diesel technology particularly when using renewable biofuels, as compared to an electrification strategy.

Medium and heavy-duty trucks operating in 10 Northeastern states (Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) that have adopted California’s low emission (LEV) and zero emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations were studied by Stillwater Associates for the Diesel Technology Forum. An analysis was undertaken to analyze the environmental benefits attainable from three strategies in the 2022-2032 period; electrification, accelerated fleet turnover and use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel.

“As we look for the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions, this study demonstrates that accelerating fleet turnover and use of renewable and biodiesel fuels can deliver significantly more benefits (3X) that outweigh those possible from EVs in the region in the study period. Advanced diesel technology is more effective, more affordable, and most importantly more available than others.

“The urgency to implement solutions to reduce greenhouse gases from transportation and address climate change is heard on a daily basis. Transitions to new energy sources still have considerable uncertainties and longer timeframes – a decade or more -- to meaningful implementation. Some solutions will be available sooner than others and at larger scale than others. Advanced diesel technology, as well as renewable and biodiesel fuels, are key available solutions that can deliver big impacts today,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

The considerable benefits of using low-carbon renewable biobased diesel fuels becomes clearer from this analysis. As these fuels can be used in all diesel vehicles today, fueling the diesel vehicles in the study with 100% renewable diesel resulted in three times larger cumulative GHG reductions by 2032 than the EV scenarios. Using B20 – a 20% blend of biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel – provided about the same cumulative GHG reduction.

“All eyes seem to be focused on electrification as the best if not the only strategy for the future fuel and technology in the transportation sector. This work has illuminated that’s overly simplistic; that there are significant, less expensive, and more available emissions reduction strategies for these workhorse vehicles which can enable greater emission reductions to be delivered more rapidly,” said Gary Yowell, Automotive Engineer at Stillwater Associates.

Beyond GHG emissions, the research also highlighted impacts of an advanced diesel vs. electrification strategy on regional air quality as well, finding that the business-as-usual case replacing pre-2007 model year diesel vehicles which lacked diesel particulate filters with advanced technology diesel vehicles provided the largest particulate matter (PM) reduction. This is due to new technology diesel engines’ 98% PM reductions compared to EVs’ 95% PM reduction assuming power from the U.S. Grid Mix.

As for nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, EVs have 98.5% lower NOX than pre-2007 diesel vehicles on a per mile basis, and 2010 and later MY vehicles have 79% less NOx emissions than a 2007 diesel model. However, when replacing a diesel medium and heavy-duty vehicle with an EV and evaluated on an annual miles driven basis, the NOx benefit is diminished. EVs are generally deployed on shorter routes and have a shorter range of operation than that of a comparable diesel vehicle, with about 87% of the mileage on a daily basis. Given this mileage difference, NOx emission reductions for a fleet transitioning to EV will be less than the business-as-usual turnover from older generation diesel to advanced technology with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that reduce NOx by 98%.

On a cumulative fleet conversion cost basis, turning over a medium and heavy-duty fleet of 10,000 vehicles in the region over to EV carries a price tag more than three times higher than the equivalent cost for new technology diesel vehicles. The incremental EV cost for Class 7/8 vehicles is $250,000 for the vehicle and $45,000 for charging infrastructure.

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