Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Tuesday July 19 Ag News


The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC), has dismissed a complaint (GW-340/GWC-447) against Union Grain Company, of Saint Libory.

“The company has worked with our grain department to rectify the situation that led to the complaint, paid a penalty and agreed to operate its facility in accordance with the department’s rules and regulations,” said Commission Chair Dan Watermeier.

In May, the PSC filed a complaint against Union Grain Company, for violation of the Grain Warehouse Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 88-543, which prohibits warehouse licensees from operating with less grain in the warehouse than outstanding receipts issued for grain stored by valid owners, depositors, or storers of grain in the licensed warehouse. Two audits conducted by the PSC grain department found Union Grain Company oversold in corn on several occasions.

Grain warehouses are generally regulated by the PSC pursuant to the Grain Warehouse Act, and the Nebraska Administrative Code Title 291, Chapter 8 of the Commission’s Rules and

Iowa Corn Announces Election Results for Board of Directors

Today Iowa Corn announced the Board of Directors election results for the Iowa Corn Growers Association® (ICGA) and Iowa Corn Promotion Board® (ICPB).

Those elected as ICGA directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for nearly 7,000 corn-farmer members lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. These individuals include:   (*For those re-elected)
District 1: Mike Ver Steeg
District 4: Barb Kastner
District 6: Logan Lyon*
District 8: Steve Kuiper*

Since 1978, Iowa corn farmers have elected their peers to serve on ICPB to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff. ICPB directors will continue to promote a thriving Iowa corn industry through research into new and value-added corn uses, domestic and foreign market development and providing education about corn and corn products. These individuals include:  (*For those re-elected)
District 2: Joe Roberts
District 5: Derek Kemper
District 7: Ralph Lents*
District 9: Paul Gieselman

Both ICGA and ICPB are tasked with creating opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. Elected directors will begin to serve their districts on September 1, 2022.

USDA Designates Two Iowa Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

Primary Counties Eligible: Cherokee and O’Brien
Contiguous Counties Also Eligible: Iowa: Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Ida, Lyon, Osceola, Plymouth, Sac, Sioux and Woodbury
Triggering Disaster: Drought
Application Deadline: March 13, 2023

This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme or D4 Drought-Exceptional.

On, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local  USDA Service Center.

Clean Fuels Applauds Senators’ Support for a Strong RFS

Today, Clean Fuels Alliance America applauded a bipartisan letter led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and John Thune (R-SD) that urges the Environmental Protection Agency “to utilize the upcoming RVOs for 2023 and 2024 to continue to increase volumes of biomass-based diesel” and advanced biofuels. A total of 24 Senators signed the letter, championing the public benefits of continued growth in biodiesel and renewable diesel production and use.

“Farmers and biofuel producers are an essential part of the solution to the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security challenges. They deserve certainty in this policy,” the letter states. “A multiyear rule would provide the predictability and market signals that the biomass-based diesel industry needs to grow.”

The letter notes that availability of U.S.-produced biodiesel and renewable diesel generated a 4 percent savings in the price of diesel fuel in 2021 – a reduction of $0.22 a gallon at current fuel prices, according to a recent study from the World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Service.

The letter continues, “With the increased use of biomass-based diesel, we can advance efforts to diversify our nation’s fuel supply while creating and sustaining jobs, strengthening local economies, generating tax revenues, and improving energy security.”

Clean Fuels’ Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik added, “The biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel industry is working with farmers and others to sustainably grow and meet America’s demand for cleaner fuels. Our efforts are generating new jobs and economic growth, providing consumers savings at the pump, and achieving emission reductions right now. We appreciate the bipartisan support of Senators Klobuchar, Grassley, Murray, Thune and others for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. We encourage the administration to continue its support for homegrown solutions to our economic and environmental challenges by providing a multiyear RFS rule as soon as possible.”

The letter is available for download on

The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry supports 65,000 U.S. jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. Every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity. Biodiesel production supports approximately 13 percent of the value of each U.S. bushel of soybeans.

USDA Proposes to Decrease Pork Checkoff Assessment Rate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposes to decrease the current Pork Checkoff assessment rate of 0.40 percent (40 cents per $100) of the market value of all pigs sold in the United States to 0.35 percent. USDA is also proposing to decrease assessments on imported pork and pork products to ensure imported and domestic products receive equal treatment.

Assessments on domestic and imported pork are authorized by the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985. The assessments fund promotion, research, and consumer education activities that are designed to strengthen the position of pork in the marketplace as directed by the National Pork Board and overseen by USDA. This assessment decrease was recommended by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body (Delegate Body), who voted on the issue during its annual meeting held in Louisville, Ky., on March 9-11, 2022.

The proposed rule describing the assessment decrease appears in preview in today’s Federal Register. The proposed rule is scheduled to be published officially in the Federal Register on July 20, 2022. Written comments must be received by Friday, August 19, 2022. The proposed decrease reflects the Delegate Body’s desire to adjust the assessment for producers. Assessments on imported pork and pork products are established by a formula each year, based on U.S. market prices for hogs.

The proposed change would decrease annual funding of the promotion, research, and consumer information program by an estimated $13.5 million annually. For more information, contact Maribel Reyna, (202) 302-1139 or

Family Farms Drive Dairy


The “decline of the family farm,” purportedly replaced by the “rise of the corporate farm,” for generations has been one of the most well-trodden – and inaccurate – tropes in conversations about U.S. agriculture. It’s true, the number of dairy farms has declined. But that consolidation hasn’t diminished the dominance of family-run dairies. It’s meant that smaller family farms have generally become a bit larger, often to support additional family members coming into an existing operation.

Of an estimated 39,442 farms of all sizes with dairy cows in 2020 – a comprehensive number that’s higher than the number of licensed dairy operations -- 38,286 of them were family-operated, according to USDA data. That’s 97.1 percent of dairies, an extremely high percentage that isn’t budging with consolidation. In 2016, for example, even though the overall number of farms with dairy cows was more than 48,000, the family-farm percentage that year was 97.3 percent – a remarkably consistent figure.  

What’s going on? The same thing that’s been going on for generations. Dairy farmers sell their cows to fund their retirements. Farmers whose children don’t want to take over the farm sell to the farmer whose children will. A small number of “corporate farms” do exist, and because they tend to be larger, they produce a disproportionate (but still small) percentage of milk. But when dairy farms consolidate, as a rule, they consolidate into other family farms. And the fewer, larger farms that remain are still decidedly family operations.

Just as dairy itself isn’t dead, the family dairy farm isn’t either. But like everything else, it’s changed. A family dairy farm may be a bigger employer than before, and it may be a more sophisticated business. That’s been the direction of U.S. agriculture for generations, and that’s true whether a farm has 80 cows, or thousands. Just look at the average size of a U.S. dairy farm. It’s grown from about 50 cows in 1990 to about 300 cows today. Despite the realities of an ever-changing industry, the family farm remains the bedrock of U.S. dairy farming. And that shows no sign of ending, anytime soon.

USDA to Host Webinar on Proposed Rule to Promote Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments, Submit Questions in Advance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is hosting a webinar to provide information regarding a proposed rule that aims to protect American poultry growers from abuses and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. livestock and poultry markets.

A proposed rule titled Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments was published in the Federal Register on June 8, 2022, and is available for public comment. Comments must be submitted through by August 08, 2022.  During the webinar, we will discuss the proposed rule and address questions submitted in advance.

To submit questions:

Questions may be submitted through July 22, 2022, via email to or via telephone at 202-720-7051.  Please note that any contact information you provide will be part of the public record.

Webinar date/time:

The webinar will not be live.  USDA will announce when the webinar is posted.  It will be posted on this page:

About the proposed rule:

This rule proposes to require that live poultry dealers, including integrators, disclose key information to poultry growers regarding the financial returns the grower can expect from their business relationship with the dealer and information about inputs they receive, including a comparison of inputs received by other growers in the same tournament.

Link to Proposed Rule:

Meet Claire Menard, NCGA Research Ambassador

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities doctoral student Claire Menard has been researching genetic elements that contribute to corn’s phenotype. Claire was a part of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Research Ambassador program. Coming from a non-agriculture background, she is grateful the program gave her the opportunity to connect with corn farmers to bring value to the purpose of her research.

With a focus on how maize responds to environmental factors, Claire’s research works to understand how transposable elements (TEs) affect corn production. TEs have the ability to move within genomes of maize which ultimately affects agronomic traits.

“My project is designed to identify these new regions where TEs jump into, measure the rate of movement, and characterize the types of TEs found within maize populations,” shares Claire, acknowledging TEs’ position in creating more sustainable practices. “TEs are greatly influenced by stress and may become activated under harsh conditions and thus contribute to changes in a trait.”

Claire recognizes how the implications of TEs are often overlooked. However, her research has proven that TEs are not only responsible for genomic variation but also have a direct impact on phenotypic qualities. In addition, TEs are responsible for corn's response to stressful environmental conditions.

“My research deals a lot with finding genes that will help produce more environmentally stable crops, and I think seeing the key areas of water usage, fertilizer and weed control in play helps me keep focused on the areas that will improve corn going forward.”

Prior to her doctoral studies, Claire earned her Bachelor of Science in Cellular/Molecular Biology from Appalachian State University and Master of Science in Bioinformatics from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. During her undergraduate studies, Claire’s passion for inclusion of minority scientists encouraged her to start Equity in STEM—a program that helped bring awareness to underrepresented scientists. Claire has been able to continue to create inviting spaces for diverse students through her graduate studies.

The NCGA Research Ambassador program was developed by the Sustainable Ag Research Action Team and supported by Valent. The program is designed to create a network of young leaders passionate about the agriculture industry. Participants are given the opportunity to interact with corn growers, participate in Capitol Hill visits, attend NCGA meetings and connect their lab to the farm.

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