Friday, October 7, 2022

Thursday October 06 Ag News

 Nebraska Second Graders Dig into a Delicious Story to Learn Where Their Food Comes From

Students today have a new tool to learn about where food comes from and how it is grown. An original resource developed by the Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom program called Cafeteria Chronicles aims to bridge the gap between farm to table. It equips students with knowledge of how Nebraska farmers raise food that becomes our meals while helping teachers accomplish classroom learning outcomes.

“Cafeteria Chronicles is a weekly-reader style resource for Nebraska second-grade classrooms that aligns with content area standards for language arts and social studies. Students explore the farm to table concept through an eight-page story accompanied with educational activities and guided lessons,” said Courtney Shreve, director of outreach education for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom provided every second-grade classroom in Nebraska with 25 free copies of Cafeteria Chronicles through a statewide mailing. This is the first edition, and the topic is pizza, a popular food with young people. The reader takes students on a journey of how pizza ingredients are grown and become a meal with Nebraska farmers and ranchers in the driver’s seat.

“Cafeteria Chronicles is the best publication I have seen to teach about ‘Farm to Fork’ topics. It is well written and easy for my second-grade students to understand. It covered so much more than I expected about pizza and the ingredients that are in every slice,” said Arlys Cupp, second grade teacher from Chase County Schools.

Cafeteria Chronicles can serve as a large class discussion piece, an activity for small groups or individuals, or an at-home enrichment resource. Teachers can use the corresponding Teacher’s Guide that contains classroom integration ideas, Nebraska content area standard connections, and a glossary.

“Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom recognizes the wisdom, creativity, and dedication teachers invest in the classroom. The goal of Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom is to support teachers with free lesson plans and activities that enhance classroom learning. Teachers are invited to explore this resource and more to engage students in a conversation about agriculture. Visit to learn more,” Shreve said.


Nebraska Extension to Host Beefwatch Webinar Series

Nebraska Extension will host a Fall 2022 BeefWatch Webinar Series. This free webinar series is targeted to help cow/calf producers make management and feeding decisions this winter. Each session will feature industry experts and plenty of opportunity to interact to get your questions answered. More information about the BeefWatch Webinar Series can be found on our webpage:

Each webinar will begin at 8:00 PM Central Time.  

Dates, topics and speakers are as follows:

October 11, Decision Making During Drought
     Dr. Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    ○  When feed is expensive and home grown forage is short, tough decisions have to be made. Jay will provide some thoughts on the decision making process using current market examples.   

October 18, Decisions for Culling Cows and Heifers and Utilizing Pregnancy Detection
    Dr. Kacie McCarthy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    ○  How do you prioritize what cows and heifers to keep or sell? Kacie will help you think through your culling decisions, who are good candidates and how implementing timely pregnancy detection as a tool can help make decisions.  

October 25, Making the Most of Your Hay Supplies
    Dr. Mary Drewnoski, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    ○  How do you stretch the hay that you have to meet cow needs when you don’t have a feed truck? Mary will discuss options to limit waste and/or limit hay intake in combination with supplementation to meet cow needs.  

November 1, Tips for Confined Feeding Success
    Dr. Karla Wilke, Panhandle Research Extension Center
    ○  Nutrition and management considerations for the cow-calf pair in drylot – How to make it work with the resources you have.   

November 8, Profitability Roundtable – Ways to Reduce Costs
    Dr. Travis Mulliniks, West Central Research and Extension Center
    ○  Travis will moderate a panel to address some top tips to reduce costs this winter such as evaluating available feed resources, how to navigate high commodity prices, and ways to reduce mineral and supplement costs.  

Get more information on this webinar series by clicking this link.... registration is also available here...  

Dr. Kacie McCarthy, Beef Cow-Calf Specialist, 402-472-6074,
Dr. Mary Drewnoski, Beef Systems Specialist, 402-472-6289,

Nebraska Extension Provides New Cover Crop Grazing Conference November 1, 2022

Nebraska beef producers and corn growers can enhance their operations by attending the 2022 Cover Crop Grazing Conference. Scheduled for November 1, the conference will take place at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead.

The conference kicks off with registration, refreshments, and a trade show at the August N. Christenson Building at 9:00 a.m.  Educational programs are from 10 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. and include a producer panel session and live field demonstrations.   

Nebraska Extension is uniquely suited to bring farmers unbiased and research-based information that will be shared at this conference. Featured presentations include “Rotational/Strip Grazing” with Ben Beckman, Nebraska Extension Educator and “Grazing of Perennial and Annual Forages” presented by Brad Schick, Nebraska Extension Educator.

This expo will help first time or experienced farmers looking to fine-tune their cover crop grazing management utilizing cover crops as an alternative forage source. Speakers and panelists will address important issues for Nebraska farmers and ranchers and provides one-on-one discussion with local, private industry exhibitors and sponsors.               

Please preregister by Oct. 28 at:  Agenda, details and map/directions are also at the website.

A $10 registration fee is payable via cash or check at the conference.  Or checks can be mailed in advance to 2022 Cover Crop Grazing Conference, Nebraska Extension, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, NE 68033. The fee covers lunch and refreshments throughout the day.  When paying by check, payable to University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Agribusiness stakeholders are being sought as sponsors and trade show exhibitors.  Please contact Connor Biehler at or 402-624-8007 or visit for more details.

Funds Available to Protect and Restore Agricultural Working Lands, Grasslands, and Wetlands Across Nebraska

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This voluntary program provides funding for the purchase of conservation easements to help productive farm and ranch lands remain in agriculture and to restore and protect critical wetlands and grasslands.

NRCS Nebraska State Conservationist, Robert Lawson said, “Conservation easements are a great tool to ensure natural resources are conserved and protected for all Nebraskans. We encourage Indian tribes, local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”

The main goal of ACEP is to prevent productive agriculture land from being converted to non-agricultural uses, and to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Applications can be submitted at any time, but to be considered for fiscal year 2023 funding, applications must be received by Nov. 18, 2022. Applications are currently being accepted for both agricultural land and wetland reserve easements.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of conservation easements. Eligible landowners may enroll in 30-year or permanent easements. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

All wetland reserve easement applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Eligible applicants will be compensated with a payment rate comparable to the local land use value.

NRCS also provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing agricultural land easements that protect ag land use and conservation values of eligible land. For working farms, the program helps farmers keep their land in agriculture. Agricultural land easements also protect high quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses.

Applicants will need to provide accurate records of ownership and ensure they have established fiscal year 2023 ownership eligibility with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). Application information is available at your local USDA Service Center and at

“NRCS staff will work with all interested applicants to help them through the application process and provide one-on-one assistance to create the conservation easement option that works best for their farming or ranching operation,” Lawson said.

For more information about the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the programs and services it provides, visit your local USDA Service Center or

‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ chosen for fall Women in Agriculture book club discussion

The Nebraska Women in Agriculture program has announced “Braiding Sweetgrass,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, as the selection for its fall book club.

A virtual discussion about the book will be held at 7 p.m. Central time on Dec. 8, with Jenny Nixon, a Rural Prosperity Nebraska Extension educator.

In “Braiding Sweetgrass,” Kimmerer brings the lenses of knowledge of plants and animals together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. As a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers.

“For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth and learning to give our own gifts in return,” Kimmerer said. “This book will take us on a journey that is every bit as mystical as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.”

Nixon, who will lead the discussion about the book, is based out of Sioux County, in the rural, northwestern Nebraska panhandle. In the past decade, she has focused her work around coaching communities to engage citizenry, identify needs and develop plans and strategies that support and build local businesses, retain and attract people and increase quality of life in the community. In her spare time, Nixon loves to make use of her range management degree by studying cultural uses of plants. She grows and maintains many native plants in her yard and garden and is always amazed by the beauty and diversity that is displayed throughout the year.

The discussion is free to attend and will be held over Zoom. Registration is open on the Nebraska Women in Agriculture website, A complimentary copy of the book will be mailed to the first 20 people who register. Participants may also purchase the book from their favorite retailer or download the Libby app to rent books or audio books. A library card is required.

Nebraska Extension’s Women in Agriculture program will continue to host its book club every quarter. Featured books will cover a variety of topics, such as grain marketing, farm finance, estate planning, inspirational subjects and more.

August Pork Exports Trend Higher; Beef Exports Again Top $1 Billion

August exports of U.S. pork topped year-ago totals for the first time in 2022, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were slightly above last August’s large volume and again topped $1 billion in value, reaching this milestone in seven out of eight months this year.

"We speak often about the importance of developing a wide range of markets for U.S. red meat, and the August export results are a great illustration of that,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Exports face significant headwinds in some key destinations, with weakened currencies topping the list. But the emphasis on broad-based growth really pays dividends in these situations, allowing the overall export picture to remain very positive. I also cannot say enough about the loyalty of our international customers, many of whom have diminished purchasing power but continue to show a strong preference for U.S. red meat.”

Pork exports led by growth in Mexico, Korea, strong variety meat demand

Pork exports reached 226,293 metric tons (mt) in August, up slightly from a year ago and the largest since November 2021, while export value climbed 4% to $659.6 million. Pork variety meat exports were the third largest on record in August at nearly 53,000 mt.

August export growth was driven by another strong performance in leading market Mexico, a continued rebound in exports to China/Hong Kong and year-over-year increases in South Korea, the Caribbean and the Philippines. For January through August, pork exports were 15% below last year at 1.72 million mt, valued at $4.9 billion (down 13%).

Widespread growth, led by China/Hong Kong, Middle East and ASEAN, bolster August beef exports

August beef exports totaled 133,832 mt, up 1% year-over-year and the second largest volume on record – trailing only May 2022. Export value was just under $1.04 billion, slightly below the then-record total achieved in August 2021, which was the first time monthly exports topped the $1 billion mark.

August beef exports to China/Hong Kong were record-large and shipments to leading value market South Korea exceeded last year’s large volume. Exports also achieved robust growth in the Middle East, Canada and the ASEAN region, which included a new record for shipments to the Philippines.

For the first eight months of 2022, beef exports increased 5% from a year ago to 1.004 million mt, valued at $8.23 billion – a remarkable 24% above last year’s record pace.

August exports of lamb muscle cuts trend lower

For the first time in 2022, exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts were lower than a year ago at 125 mt, down 35%. Export value totaled $827,000, down just 4%. Through August, muscle cut exports increased 65% to 1,407 mt, valued at $8.54 million (up 68%). Led by the Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles and Bahamas, exports to the Caribbean more than doubled from a year ago to 720 mt (up 106%) and increased 88% in value to $5.2 million.

Collaboration Will Propel Advancements

Field to Market has released the third edition of its annual report, Climate Action in U.S. Agriculture: A Compendium of Field to Market Member Climate Commitments, showcasing an increase in climate commitments across Field to Market’s diverse membership sectors. The compendium highlights the commitments of each of Field to Market’s membership sectors: affiliate, agribusiness, brand & retail, civil society and grower. By creating a clearinghouse of self-set sustainability and climate targets, companies and organizations are provided a one-stop shop where they can effectively benchmark goals, drive performance, facilitate collaboration, foster research and promote accountability.

    73% (117) of Field to Market’s 161 members have public commitments on climate action, growing from 68% in 2021.
    22% (17) of Field to Market’s 29 corporate members have set science-based targets for emissions reductions.
    45% (5) of the 11 commodity crops engaged in the Alliance have set national targets for emissions reduction from all producers—corn, cotton, soybean, dairy and sorghum

“Our U.S. corn environmental sustainability goals were announced in June of 2021, and we continue to formulate on how best to assist our growers in reaching—and hopefully exceeding—these targets by 2030,” said Stewardship and Sustainability Director Rachel Orf.  “By creating conversation and transparency with organizations in both the private and public sectors, we are strengthening productivity and profitability across U.S. agriculture as a whole.”

Two of NCGA’s five goals for 2030 directly address climate concerns, and are documented in the compendium:
    Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13%
    Increase energy use efficiency by 13%

To read more on corn’s continued commitment to sustainability, visit

Low Water Levels on U.S. Inland Waterways Threatening Ag Supply Chain

ASA Newsletter

Harvest is upon us, and diminished water levels of the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers are throwing another curve ball at the agricultural supply chain. Due to record low rainfall in some areas, the water depth along the U.S. navigable waterways is limiting the efficiency of barge transportation, concerning agricultural shippers and U.S. soy growers who depend on the inland waterways to get their beans to market. The inland waterways system is the most cost-efficient mode of transporting agriculture and is significantly more fuel efficient than transporting products the same distance via truck.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have shared that tows can normally move 36 barges at a time. With the low water level, shippers have voluntarily agreed to cut that to 25 barges. This decrease is significant as barge tows south of St. Louis can usually accommodate 30-40 barges.

In addition, barge companies have to load barges lighter to prevent groundings, which have already occurred and are a growing issue. Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Council, shared that a typical barge can be loaded with 1,500 short tons of freight; therefore, a 15-barge tow can easily accommodate 750,000 bushels of soybeans. However, each reduced foot of water depth results in 150-200 fewer short tons being loaded per barge, equating to 5,000-6,700 fewer bushels of soybeans.

Unfortunately, precipitation over the next month is expected to be limited and further exacerbate these shipping challenges.

DMC Returns to Payments in August

NMPF newsletter

Falling milk prices and rising feed costs pushed margins in August under the federal Dairy Margin Coverage Program to levels that are triggering payments for the first time this year.

The August Dairy Margin Coverage margin was $8.08/cwt, down $1.84/cwt from July’s margin and generating a payment of $1.42/cwt for Tier 1 coverage at $9.50/cwt under DMC, the main federal payment program for dairy producers. The August U.S. average all-milk prices of $24.30/cwt was $1.40/cwt lower than the previous month; meanwhile, the DMC feed cost rose $0.44/cwt from the previous month to $16.22/cwt.

August’s milk-price drop was the third consecutive monthly after a streak of record high U.S. average milk prices that ended in May. Feed costs, meanwhile, reached a second straight monthly record in August. The three cost components of the feed formula have all generally contributed to its steady rise during the past ten months, but the price of corn was the main driver this spring, while soybean meal and premium alfalfa hay prices have taken over this lead role during the past two months.

Available forecasts currently indicate that small margin coverage payments may be generated for $9.50/cwt coverage during the remaining months of 2022. 17,776 dairy operations are currently enrolled in the Dairy Margin Coverage program. The decline in margins to payment-trigger levels, unexpected earlier in the year, underscores the affordability and value of DMC. The August payment alone would cover about three-quarters of the single-year annual premium for $9.50 Tier I coverage for an enrolled operation.

September CWT-Assisted Dairy Export Sales Totaled 12.2 Million Pounds

CWT member cooperatives secured 62 contracts in September, adding 11 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 198,000 pounds of butter and 403,000 pounds of cream cheese to CWT-assisted sales in 2022. In milk equivalent, this is equal to 113 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, Middle East-North Africa, South America and Oceania and will be shipped from September 2022 through March 2023.

CWT-assisted 2022 dairy product sales contracts year-to-date total 81.1 million pounds of American-type cheese, 657,000 pounds of butter, 7.5 million pounds of cream cheese and 30.3 million pounds of whole milk powder. This brings the total milk equivalent for the year to 1.044 billion pounds on a milkfat basis.

Beef Industry Scholarship Applications Are Now Available for Undergraduate Students

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF) is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry. 

Introduced in 1989 and sponsored by CME Group, the scholarship identifies and encourages talented students who play a vital role in the future of food production. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry are eligible to apply for the annual scholarship program.

“We are extremely pleased to continue our decades-long collaboration with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA to support and inspire the next generation of food producers through this scholarship program,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group managing director of agricultural products. “In addition to financial assistance to deserving students, the CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship program also provides important risk management education to these hardworking students that will help them succeed in their ultimate careers.”

Eligible applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year institution. The application process includes submitting a one-page letter expressing career goals related to the beef industry, a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem and two letters of recommendation. The applicant or a family member must be a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 

The application deadline is Nov. 11, 2022, at midnight Central Time. For more information and to apply, visit Scholarship winners will be announced during the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, Feb. 1-3, 2023, in New Orleans. 

Organized in 1972, NCF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing charitable, scientific and educational activities to benefit the cattle industry.

Kenya Lifts Ban on Genetically Modified Crops

ASA Newsletter

Kenyan President William Ruto announced Monday that his country’s government is lifting its ban on genetically modified crops by authorizing open cultivation and importation of white genetically modified (GM) maize. In a statement from his office, President Ruto said the government’s decision to lift the 2012 ban is in response to the drought that has exposed millions of Kenyans to famine.

The American Soybean Association is extremely supportive of the Kenyan government lifting the ban on GM crops and last month filed joint comments with the U.S. Soy Export Council to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding key objectives for a U.S.-Kenya partnership. Citing a 2019 report from ASA and the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health on the U.S. soy opportunities in Kenya, the comments outlined the report’s findings that soybean meal is the preferred protein source of Kenyan animal feed manufacturing. Still, local production is very limited, as the demand is expected to rise through 2030 while the population and economy are expected to grow. USSEC has been following the potential future market of Kenya since 2017 and in the comments joined ASA in reiterating that the main obstacle to exporting U.S. soy was Kenya’s 2012 regulatory ban on the import of GM crops.

Vytelle secures USDA Climate-Smart Grant as Part of an Industry Consortium to Advance Sustainable Beef Production

Announced today, Vytelle released their participation in a pilot project that is part of the USDA Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative. This project, led by Low Carbon Beef, a certification company, will implement climate-smart methods in beef production, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, expanding climate-smart markets, and generating carbon credit revenue for producers.

Vytelle is joined by like-minded industry leaders who together will implement technology spanning the full beef life cycle and supply chain. Over the course of five years, the goal of the program is to reduce GHG emissions from beef production by over 50% and provide economic premiums for commercial cattle producers.

“We’re setting our sights on our mission to ensure producers can sustainably deliver more protein with fewer inputs for future generations,” shared Kerryann Kocher CEO of Vytelle. She continued, “Participating in this industry-led supply chain initiative is groundbreaking and will demonstrate that through the use of technology and genetic selection we can reduce the environmental impact of beef production without sacrificing quality while delivering producer profitability.”

Vytelle’s integrated livestock technology platform identifies the right genetics and replicates them faster with hormone-free in vitro fertilization. Vytelle's participation in the project will combine the use of Vytelle SENSE individual animal performance data capture system and Vytelle INSIGHT decision support tools for genetic and management decisions. Specifically, Vytelle's technology will be installed in cow-calf ranches to capture mature cow weights and a feedlot to collect individual animal dry matter intake, growth, performance, and behavior data.

"Measuring these historically hard-to-capture phenotypes provides meaningful data to quantify enteric emissions and inform the GHG life cycle assessment at both the ranch and feedlot,” said Lisa Rumsfeld, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. “As an industry, we are stronger together, the opportunity to create this meaningful data and aggregate with the partners will drive more overall value to the project and future developments for climate smart technologies for the marketplace.”

Scoular to acquire Walker Products’ facility in Lincoln, Kansas

Scoular, a multi-generational agribusiness serving farmers since 1892, has reached an agreement to acquire Walker Products’ grain handling facility in Lincoln, Kansas. Scoular and Walker expect the acquisition to close in the coming weeks.

The facility offers 1 million bushels of storage for wheat, milo, soybeans and corn, with access to rail. The Walker family has owned the central Kansas country elevator since 1954.

“Craig Walker and his wife Donna are great allies to area farmers, as well as the Lincoln community,” said Scoular Regional Facility Manager Brian Ring. “Scoular’s goal is to uphold the high standard of integrity and compassion set by the Walker family in this community.”

Scoular, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, operates a Midwestern grain handling network that includes more than 50 facilities in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. The Lincoln operation will become part of Scoular’s Solomon Valley group, which includes facilities within a 50-mile radius in Salina, Minneapolis, Ada and Downs, Kansas.

The addition of the Lincoln facility expands the Solomon Valley group to the west and will offer Lincoln, Ellsworth, and west Saline County farmers the advantages of the company’s marketing network. Scoular continually has invested in technology and facility upgrades to support its farmers. The company also supports the communities in which its employees work and live through the Scoular Foundation.

“Scoular will be a valued addition to our community, customers and employees,” said Craig Walker. “Over years of working with Scoular, we have found that they hold to the same principles that set us both apart when serving our producers.”

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