Thursday, September 29, 2022

Wednesday September 28 Ag News

2023-2024 Engler Entrepreneurship scholarships available

Students passionate about becoming an entrepreneur and learning how to pursue their purpose through entrepreneurship can now apply for scholarships to the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the 2023-2024 academic year. Incoming and current College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students are eligible to apply, but must have had prior FFA or 4-H experience.

Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 are awarded annually to Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship students, who may reapply for up to three years according to Tom Field, Director of the program. In 2022, approximately 90 students received scholarship support totallying more than $194,000 from the Engler program.

To apply, students must complete an application and series of essay questions at Applications are due by midnight on Jan. 22, 2023.

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program is a unique opportunity at Nebraska designed to empower enterprise builders. Approximately 200 UNL students are pursuing development of their entrepreneurial skills and capacity in the program. Participation in the program is not restricted to scholarship recipients.  

The Engler program began in 2010 with a $20 million gift over 10 years from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation. The mission of the program is to embolden people on the courageous pursuit of their purpose through the art and practice of entrepreneurship. The program offers an academic minor while serving as an intersection in which students from a diverse array of majors and business interests can come together in pursuit of the American Dream. For more information about the program, visit

Rogers Memorial Farm celebrates 75 years of hands-on agricultural research

The rows of no-till plots on the University of Nebraska Rogers Memorial Farm stand as a lasting testament to the practicality of no-till farming — 42 years and counting.  

The impact of these plots was celebrated on Sept. 22, when the department of Biological Systems Engineering hosted an event to honor 75 years of Rogers Memorial Farm. The anniversary provided a retrospective of the farm and a glimpse at future agricultural research possibilities.  

Nearly 90 attended the event, which included an open house, farm tours, a program and lunch. During the program, emeritus faculty Elbert Dickey and Biological Systems Engineering extension engineer Paul Jasa were recognized for their contributions to no-till farming.

The Rogers Memorial Farm is used for research, education and demonstrations. It is run by the BSE department in cooperation with other university departments and United States Department of Agriculture agencies.  

Those involved with the farm jokingly refer to it as the best-kept secret of the university. It’s a small operation, with 320 acres of land, a Quonset, an old white barn, some large storage sheds, an office and various farm equipment. Two staffers currently work on the property, Jasa and Stuart Hoff, farm manager.  

There are currently 30 ongoing research projects and 15 university classes that use the farm as an outdoor laboratory. Various groups also host extension trainings, tours and field days.

Rooted in soil management practices

The farm is best known for its no-till production. No-till is a farming practice that minimizes soil disturbance by creating a furrow just large enough to plant seeds, according to the USDA. This allows cover crop residue to remain on the surface, which protects the soil from crusting, erosion, high summer temperatures and moisture loss.  

Jasa has been the sole caretaker of the farm’s no-till plots and planted them himself in 1981. He’s also been at the operation for over half of its 75 years under the university’s care.  

As an engineer, Jasa came to find the benefits of no-till almost incidentally. He was studying tillage systems for energy and labor issues in the early 80s with Dickey, the farm’s manager at the time.

“It was only after we started practicing no-till, we noticed the benefits,” Jasa said. “As engineers who studied equipment, soil was different.”

The benefits of no-till only grew more pronounced as the plots matured. To demonstrate the differences, the no-till plots are planted next to plots that use traditional tillage.  

Compared to the tilled plots, the crops grown using no-till practices are greener with higher yield. The soil structure is richer and more resilient. For example, in 2009, the no-till yield was 237 bushels an acre, while the yield for tilled plots was 210 bushels an acre. The 2015 no-till yield was 223.4 bushels an acre, compared with 186.5 bushels an acre tilled yield. No-till yields were also significantly higher in 2018 and 2021.  

These yields are important because they have to be profitable for the farm to continue doing its research, Jasa said. Hoff’s farm manager salary is paid from crop harvests, and the fields are run as a self-supported farm operation farm instead of demonstration plots. It doesn’t receive state or university funding like other research farms.  

“I always stress that because they always say, ‘You can do what you want because you don’t make money.’ We do,” Jasa said. “… Our plots are field length, they’re not 10-by-10 foot, done by hand labor.”

Current and future collaborations

The farm also serves as a site for others to conduct their own research. This has included outside organizations such as the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Sabrina Ruis, Agronomy and Horticulture research assistant professor, started working on a research project on the farm as a post-doctorate researcher for Humberto Blanco. Ten years later, she’s still studying residue removal on the farm.

“With cover crops, the effects are not observed until the long-term. With weather being variable, that affects biomass and yields,” she said. “With multi-year data… that really gives you a good picture of what they’re doing.”

Santosh Pitla, BSE associate professor of advanced machinery systems, plans to continue his work with agricultural technology on the farm. He has tested small robot platforms and a 60 hp autonomous planter Flex-Ro on its plots. Pitla will also take on a role as co-chair of the Rogers Memorial Farm committee to further support future research efforts.

“We have such a huge legacy here. I don’t know if there are many fields like this in conservation agriculture no-till,” Pitla said. “I think the future is bringing more technological tools to enhance the impact of this field and use this as an experiential learning center for the next-generation workforce.”

Concerning Jasa’s research, he plans continue maintaining his plots for the foreseeable future.  

“I’m on year 42; I’m still learning things,” he said. “I still have fun doing it.”


– Jerry Volesky, NE Extension Pasture & Range Specialist

Did you spray thistles this past spring and summer?  If so, it would be a good idea to revisit those areas and even though it has been dry, there are likely some remaining or new growth that has occurred.  October and early November is a key time to control thistles in pastures.  There are several biennial thistles, but musk, plumeless, Scotch, and bull thistles are our most problematic.  Biennials require portions of two growing seasons to flower/reproduce. They develop from seed the first season into a flat rosette. When trying to control biennial thistles, destruction of rosettes prior to flowering (bolting) is an effective means of preventing seed formation and subsequent spread.

Another thistle to look out for is Canada thistle.  Canada thistle is a creeping perennial that can be controlled with fall spraying, in conjunction with other management options in the spring.

While in the rosette stage, thistles are more effectively controlled using herbicides.  It is important to note that fall spraying of thistles is not a silver bullet and effective control often needs repeated applications.  It will take several years of timely control before the soil seed bank is reduced.  There are many herbicides labeled for thistle control.  Take care when purchasing products and always read/follow label directions before use.   

GrazonNext® HL, Milestone®, Chaparral®, Graslan® L, Stinger®, Overdrive®, and Tordon 22K® are all products that are labelled for use on biennial thistles as well as Canada thistle. 2,4-D mixed with dicamba is also an effective option but should be sprayed when temperatures are warmer for the highest efficacy.  When using Tordon 22K® or Graslan® L, both products are restricted use and contain picloram.  Use extreme caution around other vegetation, especially trees, as both products will kill woody plants.   

2022 Heifer Price Discounts

Elliott Dennis, Extension Livestock Economist, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

There continues to be a high percentage of total cattle on feed that are heifers, indicating that the breeding herd will be smaller in 2023 and 2024. The steer and heifer price difference could work to slow some of these placements. Heifer calves are generally discounted relative to steers due to their tendency to finish at lower weights, with lower daily gains, and higher feed conversions. Large price differences provide incentives for heifers to be retained in the herd. This difference varies over time driven by the cattle cycle and seasonally due to the availability of total feeder cattle available to feedlots to place on feed.
Nebraska feeder cattle provide a good indicator of how these price differences have varied over time, within season, and across weight class. Price differences are larger for lighter cattle (500-599 pounds) versus heavier cattle (700-799 pounds) due to the price weight slide. In Nebraska, for lighter feeder cattle, the price difference tends to be largest in winter and slowly declines through the year. For heavier feeder cattle, the price difference climbs through the year, peaking in the summer, before declining again. During the cattle cycle, price differences tend to widen during periods of contraction and narrow during periods of growth. The magnitude of these price differences varies greatly given market conditions and overall consumer demand.
However, higher prices for feeder cattle tend to expand the top end of the ranges (i.e. steer prices rise faster than heifer prices because of their ability to finish), which translates to greater heifer discounts. This is what appears to be happening this year. The price difference in both lighter and heavier feeder cattle is much larger this year than it has historically been over the last 5-years. For example, price differences in March for 500-599 pound feeder cattle have averaged $13.51 per cwt. over the last 5-years. This year, the price difference was $27.68 per cwt. In almost every month this year for both lighter and heavier feeder cattle, the price difference has been larger than the 5-year average and the largest over the past 5 years. The price difference is reflecting the higher premium for steers due to higher underlying feeder cattle prices and is providing some downward incentives to start rebuilding the beef cow herd – at least for 2024.
The actual steer–heifer price difference is still unknown for October to December 2022. Given historical patterns, one could reasonably expect the price difference to be smaller relative to price spreads earlier this year but slightly higher than the 5-year average. That would put the steer – heifer price spread, for Nebraska feeder cattle, somewhere between $15-17 per cwt. for 500-599 pound feeder cattle and $7-12 per cwt. for 700-799 pound feeder cattle. The caveat is that the steer – heifer price difference for cattle that were sold via a video auction out of the North Central region for delivery in September, October, and November suggests that this price difference could be much larger.  Feeder cattle weighing 500-600 pounds for delivery in November have a price difference of $23.69 per cwt., considerably higher than what we would normally expect, even for this year. Of particular interest is the sharp narrowing of the price difference at heavier weights this fall. The narrowing is entirely due to the heifer prices being nearly flat from approximately 700-900 pounds. In other words, there is a significant premium to deliver heifers at higher weights this fall which could further delay any herd rebuilding efforts.
One overarching trend that has occurred over the last 20 years is the preference for carcasses to meet restaurant steak specifications and reduce the amount of trim at processing. Under these circumstances, heifer carcasses would be preferred, and if this made up a large portion of the overall beef demand could start to affect the historical patterns of the steer–heifer price difference. However, at higher wholesale prices large carcasses could still be preferred since it would spread out some of the processing costs per carcass over additional pounds of meat.

Grassley, Brown Bill to Ban Foreign Individuals from Getting U.S. Farm Credit

Tuesday, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), introduced the Farm Credit for Americans Act that would prevent foreign individuals from obtaining credit and financial services through the Farm Credit System (FCS). Currently, certain foreign individuals and entities are eligible to receive credit through this government-sponsored enterprise.

"We created the Farm Credit System to ensure farmers and agriculture workers in Ohio and across the country have access to affordable credit -- not to benefit foreign investors and hostile governments," said Brown. "Foreign governments, especially China, have bought up prime farmland across this country at an alarming rate for decades. This will put in place a clear standard: American taxpayer dollars should not be used as a financing tool for foreign governments to undermine our national security and take our family farms."

FCS was established in 1916 to provide credit to rural areas when commercial lenders were avoiding farm loans. It is mandated and limited by statute to serve agriculture. In 2021, FCS had a portfolio of roughly $210 billion in farm loans.

Since 1997, Farm Credit Administration regulations have allowed FCS associations to extend credit to certain foreign nationals who are not permanent residents of the United States and to foreign-owned entities. Brown and Grassley's bipartisan Farm Credit for Americans Act would make foreign individuals and entities, as defined by the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, ineligible for financing through the FCS.

Scholarships Support Students Pursuing Pork Industry Careers

Twenty-five college and university students returned to school this fall with $39,000 in scholarships to help support their interest in pork industry careers. The scholarships were provided by the Iowa Pork Foundation; the family of the late Jim Ledger, a Washington County pig farmer; the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA); and the Iowa Purebred Swine Council (IPSC).

Iowa Pork Foundation scholarships

The foundation awarded scholarships to 10 incoming first-year students and eight returning students this year. It also managed other scholarships, including the Jim Ledger Memorial Scholarship for students planning to return to production agriculture; and the Nelda Christian Graduate Fellowships, presented to one student in the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and to one ISU College of Veterinary Medicine student.

Incoming and returning undergraduate scholarship recipients must be Iowa residents who maintain a 2.5 grade point average and major in an agriculture-related field with an emphasis on swine production.

First-year students each received $1,000:
    Atlantic — Paige Jensen, Northwest Missouri State University
    Creston — Halle Evans, Iowa State University
    Danville — Britnie Helmick, Southeastern Community College
    Goldfield — Emily Christensen, Ellsworth Community College
    Keota — Drew Sieren, Kirkwood Community College
    Le Mars — Grant Schroeder, Iowa State University
    Marathon — Clayton Ehlers, Dordt University
    Oskaloosa — Trent Van Gilst, Dordt University
    Pierson — Elle Ploeger, South Dakota State University
    Villisca — Allie Sandin, Iowa State University

Returning students were awarded $2,000 each:
    Audubon — Grace Christensen, Iowa State University
    Dubuque — Hannah Schiesl, Iowa State University
    Klemme — Brielle Smeby, Iowa State University
    Rock Rapids — Adam Knoblock, Iowa State University
    Salem — Jacob Stukerjurgen, Iowa State University
    Sanborn — Paige Dagel, Briar Cliff University
    Walker — Isaac Wiley, Iowa State University
    Washington — Gracie Greiner, Iowa State University

The Jim Ledger Memorial Scholarship is $2,000:
    Crawfordsville — Jacob Eichelberger, Kirkwood Community College

Graduate fellowships are worth $3,000 each:
    Wesley — Jamie Studer, Iowa State University
    Arcadia, Ohio — Katyann Graham, Iowa State University

Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement (IFAA) scholarships

IFAA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing scholarships, financial awards, and incentives for college-bound Iowa youth seeking a post-secondary education in the area of agriculture.

IPPA and IPSC provided $5,000 in scholarship support through IFAA. These recipients, also listed below by their hometowns, have a strong background in swine projects and activities.

Recipients of $1,000 IPPA scholarships were:
    Reinbeck — Emma Fleshner, North Iowa Area Community College
    Rock Rapids — Adam Knoblock, Iowa State University

Recipients of $1,500 IPSC scholarships were:
    Columbus Junction — Tate Boysen, Iowa State University
    Ogden — Ty Heeren, Des Moines Area Community College

USDA Expands Local Foods in School Meals through Cooperative Agreement with Iowa

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Iowa for more than $2.1 million to increase their purchase of nutritious, local foods for school meal programs.

Through the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS), Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) will purchase and distribute local and regional foods for schools to serve children through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. These products will be healthy and unique to their geographic area, with the goal of improving child nutrition and building new relationships between schools and local farmers.

“This cooperative agreement supporting Iowa schools is another example of how USDA is working to build a more resilient food system rooted in local and regional production,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.  “The Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program provides an opportunity for states to strengthen ties between local farmers, ranchers, food businesses and schools, and gives students access to nutritious foods unique to the area they live in, building stronger connections across local communities.”

“Strengthening relationships between local producers and schools is a long-term strategy to ensure our children always have access to nutritious foods in school, a win-win for child health and American agriculture,” said Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean. “Through this program and many other efforts to support the school meal programs, USDA is committed to giving schools the tools they need to set children up to learn, grown, and thrive.”

With the LFS funding, IDALS will purchase locally made and produced foods that will be distributed to Iowa’s schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

“These grants provide yet another way that we can assist our schools with providing fresh, nutritious, and delicious meals to students while also building demand and markets for Iowa meat, produce, and dairy products,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “As we continuously pursue efforts to shorten the distance from farm to plate, improve our supply chain resiliency, and foster long-term connections between students, schools, and farmers, initiatives like the Local Food for Schools program are helpful and important.”

The LFS cooperative agreements will allow organizations the flexibility to design food purchasing programs and establish partnerships with farmers and ranchers that best suit their local needs, accommodate environmental and climate conditions, account for seasonal harvests, improve supply chain resiliency and meet the needs of schools within their service area. Additionally, the program will provide more opportunities for historically underserved producers and processors to sell their products.  Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program is authorized by the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act. AMS looks forward to continuing to sign agreements under this innovative program.

The Local Food for Schools cooperative agreement program is one of many ways USDA is supporting school meal programs this school year and transforming our food system in the long term.

RFA Elects New Board Leadership at Annual Meeting

The Renewable Fuels Association elected officers and its board of directors today at its annual membership meeting in Milwaukee, Wisc. Erik Huschitt, CEO of Badger State Ethanol, was elected Chairman of the organization, replacing Jeanne McCaherty of Guardian Energy Management.

“I am humbled and honored to become chairman of the Renewable Fuels Association, which continues to lead our ethanol industry with an amazing leader, a fabulous staff, and members who are tremendous Americans representing their plants, businesses and communities,” Huschitt said.

Huschitt, of Monroe, Wisc., has been with Badger State since January 2002 and currently serves as president of the Wisconsin BioFuels Association. He also has spent years on the board of the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, which plays a vital role in Wisconsin’s feed and grain industries.

RFA’s board also elected Jeff Oestmann, CEO of Granite Falls Energy, as Vice Chairman. Before becoming CEO of Granite Falls in May 2021, he served as head of biofuels operations at Syngenta and was previously CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy.

“Erik Huschitt and Jeff Oestmann have proven themselves time and again as thoughtful and strategic leaders deeply committed to the role ethanol can play not just in the communities they serve, but also across our nation and around the world,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “This is a critical and exciting time for the ethanol industry. We know Erik and Jeff will provide outstanding leadership and guidance to the association and the entire industry as we face the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in 2023. Over more than four decades, our successes and defining victories as an organization have resulted from the drive and vision of our officers and board of directors. We know that tradition will continue with the leaders elected here today.”

Retaining their current positions in board leadership for 2023 are Rick Schwarck, President of Absolute Energy, as Board Secretary, and Mike Jerke, CEO of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, as Treasurer.

USDA Expands PACE Coverage

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture today for expanding the Post-Application Coverage Endorsement insurance option for corn farmers who “split-apply” nitrogen.

The expansion will include most counties in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin where non-irrigated corn is insurable.

“PACE provides an additional risk management tool for corn growers who split-apply nitrogen,” said Iowa farmer and NCGA President Chris Edgington. “We believe in this crop insurance product and are glad that the Risk Management Agency is expanding access to PACE for the next crop year.”

PACE provides coverage for the projected yield lost when producers are unable to apply the post-nitrogen application due to field conditions created by weather. It is available as supplemental coverage for Yield Protection, Revenue Protection, and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion policies.

PACE was developed by the Illinois Corn Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, Ag-Analytics Technology Company, LLC, Meridian Institute and others.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 9/23/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending September 23, ethanol production dropped 5.1% to 855,000 b/d, equivalent to 35.91 million gallons daily and the smallest volume since February 2021. Production was 6.5% less than the same week last year and 10.5% below the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume declined 3.0% to 927,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.21 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks grew 0.8% to 22.7 million barrels. Stocks were 12.2% higher than a year ago and 4.9% above the five-year average. Inventories built in the East Coast (PADD 1) and Gulf Coast (PADD 3) but thinned across the other regions.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, jumped 6.0% to a six-week high of 8.83 million b/d (135.29 bg annualized). However, demand was 6.1% less than a year ago and 2.8% below the five-year average.

Refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 3.6% to 911,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.97 bg annualized. Net inputs were 0.1% more than a year ago and 0.8% above the five-year average.

There were no imports of ethanol for the fourth consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of July 2022.)

Renewable Diesel Projected to Turbo Charge U.S. Biofuel Growth

By producing fuel using sources with lower carbon intensity than traditional petroleum-based products, the U.S. biofuels sector is well-positioned to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, the recent surge of investments in U.S. renewable diesel production capacity is likely to ignite a period of growth and transition for the biofuels industry.

“The outlook for biofuels is favorable as the U.S. and other leading developed countries embrace renewable liquid transportation fuels as a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg, lead grain and farm supply economist for CoBank. “Renewable diesel offers the most intriguing opportunity in the biofuels space, given the extraordinary growth potential.”

As major oil companies have begun embracing renewable diesel, U.S. production is expected to increase exponentially. Several industry stakeholders have announced plans for new soybean crush and refinery facilities over the last two years. Soybean oil is the feedstock most commonly used for producing renewable diesel. Combined, the proposed crush and refinery projects would increase U.S. renewable diesel production capacity six-fold by 2030 to 6.5 billion gallons annually.

However, the expected growth in soybean oil-based renewable diesel requires considerably more soybean bushels for domestic crush. CoBank estimates that U.S. soybean acreage would need to increase by 17.9 million acres to fill the supply gap created by the additional crush and refinery projects that have been announced. Additionally, the U.S. would need to stop exporting whole soybeans.

Alternatives to a massive shift of acres from corn to soybeans would include growing other oilseeds like canola and sunflower on a larger scale, importing other vegetable oils, or using other feedstocks such as beef tallow to produce renewable diesel fuel.

Biofuel production has grown nearly 8% every year over the past 15 years, driven by tax credits and targeted government programs, including the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will increase usage of renewable energy in general, and biofuels in particular.

Biodiesel and renewable diesel are 50%-55% less carbon-intensive than traditional petroleum diesel. Although renewable diesel and biodiesel have similarly low carbon scores, renewable diesel offers the additional benefit of being used as a “drop-in” fuel. That means it does not require additional blending with petroleum diesel, which is required before biodiesel can be used by commercial engines. As a drop-in fuel, renewable diesel does not require any modifications to older engines, a key attribute for increased adoption.

NFU President Rob Larew Participates in White House Hunger Conference

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew participated in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health today. This historic conference is the first of its kind since 1969.

“Family farmers and ranchers work hard to feed their communities, and Farmers Union is proud to stand together in this fight to –– once and for all –– end hunger in the United States,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “We have long held the belief that access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right, and to secure that right we’re advocating for strong federal nutrition programs, with an emphasis on fresh and locally produced food. I am proud to have been invited and to be able to share the perspectives of family farmers in the fight to end hunger.”

NFU has long advocated for a strong nutrition title in the farm bill, including pushing back against drastic cuts to SNAP proposed in the 2018 Farm Bill process. Farmers Union members also advocated for improvements to nutrition programs during their 2020 Legislative Fly-In, including increasing monthly SNAP allotments, as well as urging Congress to support distribution of surplus food from farms to food banks.

NFU is a proud member of the Alliance to End Hunger and will continue to work in coalition with the anti-hunger community to promote food and nutrition security across the country.  

Thompson: White House Hunger Conference Nothing More Than a Political Stunt

Today, Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA), Republican Leader of the House Committee on Agriculture, issued the following statement regarding the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health:

"Republicans undoubtedly share an interest in improving the health of all Americans. Yet, the disorderly nature in which this Conference came to fruition has sparked legitimate concerns. From unanswered inquiries to the exclusion of many Republican and Democrat policymakers and relevant stakeholders, it’s unfortunate today’s Conference has seemingly deteriorated into a handpicked political gathering whose sole purpose is to perpetuate partisan ideologies. I remain committed to reviewing any emerging policy proposals and will make certain our producers are part of the conversation."

BACKGROUND: On May 4, 2022, President Biden announced the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. On August 10, 2022, Republican Leader Thompson sent a letter to the White House requesting answers to numerous questions regarding the haphazard planning of the Conference. Receiving no response, Rep. Thompson was joined by Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), James Comer (R-KY), and Andy Harris (R-MD) in sending a follow-up letter to the White House expressing concern at the lack of bipartisan outreach.

NCBA Represents Cattle Producers at White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Today, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Colin Woodall attended the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to represent U.S. cattle producers who raise the most sustainable beef in the world and provide a nutritious protein to Americans.

“The White House has prioritized ending hunger and increasing access to nutritious food and America’s cattle producers are ready to help by providing safe, sustainable, and nutritious protein to the world,” said NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. “We will continue to highlight beef’s role as an excellent source of protein for all ages, especially for those Americans lacking iron and other essential beef nutrients.”

The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, held for the first time in over 50 years, provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss solutions to end hunger and reduce the risk of diet-related diseases by 2030. Agricultural producers have a central role in this conversation as providers of our nation’s food. NCBA has previously highlighted the importance of beef in a balanced diet and will continue to showcase the innovative, sustainable production practices employed by cattle producers that ensure safe, wholesome, nutritious beef is accessible to all.

America’s meat companies fill the “protein gap” to help end hunger in the United States

Aligned with the Biden administration's goal of ending hunger in the United States and with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the North American Meat Institute and America’s leading meat companies are advancing industry-wide best practices and increasing access to nutrient-dense meat for families in need.

The Meat Institute shared today with White House Conference organizers its commitment, made through the Protein PACT for the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow, to help measure and fill this “protein gap” by 2025.  The Meat Institute has also formally designated food security as a non-competitive issue, which will facilitate industry-wide information sharing and implementation of best practices as the sector works with the White House and all stakeholders to end hunger.

Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts commented:
“According to Feeding America, meat is one of the top three most needed foods for food charities. Yet, meat represents just 1% of food distributed by food charities, in part due to limited capacity to limited infrastructure for cold storage, packing, and distribution.

The resulting “protein gap” worsens hunger and particularly impacts women, children, and older adults who have greater need for the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals best and sometimes only found naturally in animal-source foods.

Filling the “protein gap” is a top priority for the Meat Institute and its members, who have committed to act on a non-competitive basis to help end hunger in the United States by openly sharing information and advancing industry-wide implementation of best practices, like investing in protein pack rooms and refrigerated transportation.”

Meat Institute members are taking significant steps to achieve this ambitious commitment. For example, Cargill announced in August a new $4.9 million donation to Feeding America, including to build and expand protein pack rooms. JBS has donated more than $2 million for improvements in cold storage and distribution, along with contributing to food safety training and safe meal preparation. This month, Tyson Foods donated $2.5 million to Feeding America, allocating $1 million to Equitable Food Access grants, and 2.5 million pounds of protein.

During a July 12 stakeholder session convened by the Protein PACT to provide input for the White House Conference, food security experts and partners across animal agriculture highlighted the critical role of meat in ending hunger.

NMPF Statement on White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), issued the following statement regarding today’s White House Conference on Hunger Nutrition and Health:

“I would like to thank the White House for inviting me to today’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Ensuring people have access to the nutrition they need to live, develop, and be healthy is key priority for dairy farmers across the U.S. We are hopeful today will serve as a launching pad for the dedication and collaboration we will need to end food insecurity and reduce diet-related disease in the U.S., goals NMPF shares with the conference.

“We know from decades of working in this area that dairy products — and the 13 essential nutrients they provide such as protein, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium — will be vital ingredients to meeting these goals. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) shows that dietary patterns that include dairy are associated with beneficial health outcomes, such as lowered risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. The guidelines also note that dairy is under-consumed across all age categories. Scientific evidence clearly indicates that milk and dairy foods are part of the solution to challenges like food and nutrition insecurity, health equity, and diet-related and other noncommunicable diseases.

“To prepare for the conference, NMPF worked with other agricultural, anti-hunger, nutrition and medical groups to urge the White House to place a high priority on access to affordable, diverse and healthful foods, which includes protecting Americans’ ability to make informed, meaningful choices about what they eat. NMPF is pleased to see in the White House’s strategy released yesterday a commitment to increased access to affordable food for all and culturally appropriate food options and recommendations. We are also heartened by the strategy’s consistent emphasis on increasing consumption of healthful foods to levels recommended in the dietary guidelines.

NMPF looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders inside and outside government to improve nutrition security and diet-related health for all Americans. Together we can realize the policies and programs required to achieve these important goals, including increasing access to affordable food and strengthening Americans’ ability to make informed, meaningful choices across all populations.”

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