Thursday, October 13, 2022

Thursday October 13 Ag News

NC EVP Announces Retirement After Twenty-Five Years of Service

Today, Pete McClymont announced his retirement after twenty-five years of service to Nebraska Cattlemen. McClymont has served the association in multiple capacities from serving on the Board of Directors, to Nebraska Cattlemen President, and staff; devoting over two decades of his career to Nebraska Cattlemen. Throughout his tenure on staff, McClymont served as Vice President of Legislative Affairs, and Executive Vice President.

“For the past twenty-five years, it has been my honor and privilege to work for the most important membership Association in Nebraska. The majority of my professional career was devoted to Nebraska Cattlemen and serving the many beef cattle producers who are the backbone of our state.” stated Pete McClymont, Executive Vice President.

“Nebraska Cattlemen is thankful to Pete McClymont for working on our behalf for the better part of three decades. Pete’s dedication played a vital role in making Nebraska Cattlemen the outstanding association it is today, and we wish him the best of luck on his next chapter.” said Brenda Masek, President of Nebraska Cattlemen.

Pete McClymont's effective date is dependent on the completion of the hiring process for the Executive Vice President position.

Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge cultivates next generation of cattle industry leaders

Nebraska 4-H, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Animal Science, offered the fifth year of the Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge in 2022.

The Fed Steer Challenge cultivates the next generation of leaders in the Nebraska cattle industry by providing youth real-world opportunities in the beef sector. This challenge enhances the educational value of traditional   4-H beef projects and provides affordable options to reward production merit and market animal carcass value; accurate and complete record keeping practices; industry and research knowledge; and producer engagement with the 4-H member.

The youth selected, purchased, exhibited, harvested, and analyzed carcass data on a steer while networking with industry professionals. Additionally, working as a learning cohort, they participated in monthly educational opportunities led by industry professionals and Animal Science faculty.

Alongside these youth, large crowds at the Nebraska State Fair receive expert instruction from a commercial cattle buyer about sorting and evaluating steers. This exemplifies real-world industry standards of carcass merit, grade-ability, and finish. Unanimously, the youth participants agree the Fed Steer Challenge helped them gain valuable knowledge regarding the beef industry - namely, how to feed a market animal more efficiently. Because of their program involvement, these youth plan to stay in the cattle industry to become future beef industry advocates.

The 2022 Nebraska participants included: Claire Ahrens,  Sherman County, Pleasanton FFA ; Leah Christen, Pawnee County, Lewiston FFA; Abigail Gorecki, Buffalo County; Nathan Gorecki, Buffalo County; Eldon Haack, Franklin County, Franklin FFA; Jaleigh Hallsted, Cuming County, Wisner-Pilger FFA; Madison Hirschman, Howard County, St. Paul FFA; Cassidy Maricle, Boone County, Boone Central FFA; Klaira Rasmussen, Howard County; Nickolas Rohr, Frontier County, Cambridge FFA; Conner Snyder, Frontier County, McCook FFA; Treygan Srajhans, Fillmore County, Fillmore Central FFA; Noah Summers, Buffalo County, Shelton FFA; Skyler Summers, Buffalo County, Shelton FFA. Winners in each category were:

Growth Performance:
    First Place: Connor Snyder
    Second Place: Madison Hirschman
    Third Place: Claire Ahrens

Carcass Merit
    First Place: Connor Snyder
    Second Place: Eldon Haack
    Third Place: Noah Summers

Record Book:  
    First Place: Jaleigh Hallsted

    Second Place: Conner Snyder
    Third Place: Claire Ahrens

Industry Interview
    First Place: Madison Hirschman
    Second Place: Jaleigh Hallsted & Skyler Summers

    Third Place: Conner Snyder

Overall Winners:
    First Place: Conner Snyder
    Second Place: Jaleigh Hallsted

    Third Place: Claire Ahrens
    Fourth Place: Madison Hirschman
    Fifth Place: Skyler Summers

 The winners of each award category receive cash prizes and the overall winners each will win a cash award as well as a $500 scholarship to Nebraska’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

To learn more about the fed steer challenge, visit:


Rural Nebraskans are not optimistic about the economy in the next year, according to the 2022 Nebraska Rural Poll.

When asked in late spring and summer about their expectations for various economic items in the next year, most rural Nebraskans surveyed believe the following will become worse: inflation (87%), gasoline or fuel prices (87%), grocery prices (86%) and interest rates (85%). In fact, more than four in 10 respondents believe fuel prices, inflation, grocery prices and health care costs will become much worse in the next 12 months.

The annual poll surveys rural Nebraskans on their views and opinions on various local, state and national issues, as well as their quality of life and access to services. Questionnaires were mailed to 6,102 households in Nebraska in May and June, with 1,105 households representing 86 of the state’s 93 counties responding. In its 27th year, the 2022 Rural Poll focused on the state’s economy and other issues, said Becky Vogt, the poll’s manager.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, economic growth in Nebraska was steady in early 2022. However, with an increase in inflation, the impact on household budgets and businesses presents some concerns for Nebraskans.

This concern is reflected in the less-than-optimistic perspective regarding the economy over the next 12 months. This is significant because residents’ expectations can impact the economic success of their communities, said Steve Schulz, associate professor of supply chain management at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

“Optimism and hope improve perceptions of successful businesses in rural communities and the ability to attract new companies in the future,” he said.

The questionnaire focused on Nebraska’s economy, from basic economic status to employment characteristics. Overall, 43% of rural Nebraskans surveyed believe their personal financial situation will become worse or much worse during the next year. More than six in 10 respondents with household incomes under $40,000 think their personal financial situation will become worse, compared to just over a quarter of those with the highest household incomes ($100,000 or more).

“This finding is likely because lower-income households spend more of their disposable income on basic goods, such as food, gas and housing, and these are items that are particularly prone to the current round of inflation,” said Brad Lubben, extension associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. “While folks may feel confident about their job security given workforce challenges and low unemployment, they are concerned that the living costs are currently rising faster than their compensation.”

That said, few rural Nebraskans surveyed are making or considering employment changes, with only three in 20 respondents actively seeking a better-paying job.

While many rural Nebraskans are not looking to change careers, they still place a significant value on employment characteristics. Characteristics that workers value include a focus on feeling valued; the type of work; safety; autonomy; and opportunities to advance or improve.

“Connecting to our work and valuing it is a part of our culture as Nebraskans,” said Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, an associate professor and extension specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff.  “I think it is in our DNA. You see this historically through our low unemployment rates and our propensity toward multiple job holdings.”

The Rural Poll is the largest annual poll gauging rural Nebraskans’ perceptions about policy and quality of life. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3%. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the poll with funding from Rural Prosperity Nebraska and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. For the full report, visit


Modern technology can inundate present-day ag producers with data from their farms and ranches. Tractors, combines and sprayers, facilitated by satellites, sensors and drones in combination with crop and livestock information, together generate a regular flood of field information.

Those precision-ag data sets are vast, but they exist separately on a wide range of software platforms. That disconnect is a major hindrance, preventing producers from sorting and using the data for maximum efficiency, profitability and environmental sustainability.

A new, federally funded initiative is working to end that disconnect by creating a network of national ag data repositories, the National Agricultural Producers Data Cooperative. A group of University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty members is in the forefront of leading the effort, which involves a wide range of universities and stakeholder organizations.

The project aims to establish “a national framework for data that will be supported primarily by our land-grant institutions in partnership with producers and ranchers,” said Jennifer L. Clarke, professor of statistics and food science and technology at Nebraska and director of the university’s Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative. The planned national data framework is intended to be accessible, secure and supported through compatible software platforms across the ag-tech industry.

Above all, Clarke said, the project is geared to support producers’ real-world needs and enable “data-driven decision-making in agriculture.”

Clarke has a lead role in the project, for which the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently issued a $960,000 grant, marking the initiative’s second round of NIFA funding.

In addition to Clarke, Husker faculty members with key duties are Joe Luck, precision agriculture and biological systems engineering; Laura Thompson, ag extension and farm research; Liz Lorang, data management and information systems; Matt Spangler, beef genetics; Scout Calvert, University Libraries; Hongfeng Yu, advanced cyberinfrastructure and high-performance computing; and Trenton Franz, hydrology and water management. Critical partner organizations include the Ag Data Coalition, AgGateway, Open Ag Data Alliance, National Animal Germplasm Program, Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture at Virginia Tech, MarketMaker, Clemson University and the Bovine Genome Database.

The project’s first phase focused on building a collaborative community of participants, gathering information and identifying critical needs. This new and second phase, Clarke said, features increased NIFA funding to facilitate critical pilot studies to move the process forward in concrete ways.

One of those studies will feature a central role for the Nebraska cattle industry. Husker researchers will work with the state’s beef cattle populations — cow-calf, seedstock, feedlot, on-farm research — to develop ways to host data, store it and provide efficient access to producers. The work will be in partnership with two federal repositories, the USDA’s Animal Germplasm Resources Information Network and the Bovine Genome Database.

“Nebraska is leading this,” Clarke said. “Having such a framework can be important to Nebraska and to national agriculture. It's also an important part of fighting climate change and making sure we're climate-resilient.”

Communication and dialogue are integral parts of the data cooperative process. Producers and organizations are encouraged to learn about the initiative at its website,, and join the project’s listserv.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will host a data cooperative conference in May at Nebraska Innovation Campus, with a focus on public input.

“We are a land-grant institution,” Clarke said, “and one of our goals as faculty is to support Nebraska and solve challenges that Nebraska and its constituents are facing. So, we really need to have the voice of the constituents at the table. That's what really makes our activities worthwhile and of value.”

A central aim for the project is developing technical solutions to connect the many differing, incompatible ag-data platforms. Researchers are looking at two main options. One is to develop software called application programming interface that enables translation among different systems. The other is building collaboration among tech firms so that, moving forward, the new software systems they develop are compatible with each other.

“We need the idea of interoperability to be in the design phase of systems so they can actually talk to each other,” Clarke said.

The initiative involves a large range of academic disciplines and stakeholder organizations attempting to tackle challenging large-scale issues. It’s a complex process that has shown project participants the need to strengthen their communication and coordination, Clarke said. The process has also shown the need to avoid a “one size fits all” mentality; agricultural needs are too varied across the United States.

“Agriculture is local,” Clarke said. “Every agricultural system will have slightly different needs and requirements. So, we have to work with our regional partners and talk to the people on the ground to find out what their needs are.”

The project can help address national agricultural needs, “but another part is how to tailor the framework for regional needs” — which underscores the project’s ongoing need for public input and effective collaboration. For more information, visit

Urges Iowans to Report Asian Copperleaf Sightings

A weed first discovered in Black Hawk County in 2016 has again been spotted in 2022, nearly 30 miles away in Grundy County. Due to its potential threat to row crops, the Iowa Department of Agriculture is asking Iowans to report any sightings to determine the potential scale of the infestation.

Asian copperleaf (Acalypha australis) is native to China, Australia, Japan, and other countries in the region and was first discovered in Iowa in a corn field near Cedar Falls. Prior to this discovery in 2016, the only documented infestation in North America was within New York City. The plant was recently found in a soybean field in Grundy County, nearly 30 miles from the original infestation. In both fields, several dense patches of the weed were present throughout the field, indicating the weed was in the field for several years before being identified. It is unknown how the plant was introduced to Iowa, but it is likely the two reported infestations are related. The plant is a threat to row crops in its native range.

Asian copperleaf is in the spurge family but lacks milky sap common in many spurges. It is an erect plant that can reach heights of 2-3 ft, but most plants found in Iowa were less than 18” in height. Leaves are 2-3” long, lanceolate with serrated (finely toothed) edges. The distinguishing characteristic of Asian copperleaf are the bracts located beneath the flowers. The bracts are circular to heart-shaped with a dentate margin. Virginia copperleaf and three-seeded mercury, two other Acalypha species present in Iowa with a similar growth habit, have deeply-lobed bracts. It is unlikely that anyone could confidently differentiate between these species prior to flowering. Asian copperleaf seems to emerge late in the season and remains under the crop canopy throughout the growing season.

Requested action
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa State University are interested in determining how widespread the weed is across the state. By determining how much area is infested with this weed, a better estimate of the risk it poses to Iowa crop production can be made. Asian copperleaf was detected in both fields during crop harvest. Thus, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is requesting that farmers and others in the agricultural industry keep an eye out for this plant as fields are harvested.

If you detect the plant, please contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at 515-725-1470 or e-mail

Weekly Ethanol Production for 10/7/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending October 7, ethanol production ratcheted up 4.8% to 932,000 b/d, equivalent to 39.14 million gallons daily. However, production was 9.7% less than the same week last year and 6.2% below the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production volume declined 0.9% to 894,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 13.71 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks grew 0.8% to 21.9 million barrels. Stocks were 10.2% higher than a year ago and 1.7% above the five-year average. Inventories built in the East Coast (PADD 1) and West Coast (PADD 5) but thinned across the other regions.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, plummeted 12.6% to a 13-week low of 8.28 million b/d (126.87 bg annualized). Demand was 9.9% less than a year ago and 8.9% below the five-year average.

Conversely, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol increased 0.9% to 904,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.86 bg annualized. Net inputs were even with a year ago and 1.0% below the five-year average.

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

AFBF Establishes 2023 Farm Bill Priorities

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released its priorities for what may be the most consequential legislation for agriculture in 2023 – renewal of the farm bill. The priorities were identified by a working group of Farm Bureau members and staff from across the country.  

AFBF’s overarching priorities include:
    Continuing current farm bill program funding;
    Maintaining a unified farm bill that includes nutrition programs and farm programs together;
    Prioritizing risk management tools that include federal crop insurance and commodity programs;
    Ensuring adequate USDA staffing and resources to provide technical assistance.

“The farm bill is the most significant piece of legislation that affects farmers and ranchers across the country,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Since enactment of the 2018 farm bill, farmers have faced significant challenges from market volatility, increased input costs and devastating natural disasters.  Despite these headwinds, farmers and ranchers have met the needs of consumers both here and abroad while continuing to improve our environmental stewardship.  We look forward to working with Congress to ensure the appropriate resources are available to craft farm policy that reduces food insecurity, bolsters national security and encourages long-term stability for all of our farm and ranch families.”

The priorities include more than 60 recommendations over multiple titles of the farm bill including reference price increases for commodities, more transparency for milk checks, funding for conservation programs, rural development, and streamlining of nutrition programs to get food to those who need it most.

The AFBF board of directors voted unanimously to approve the recommendations. Final approval of policy priorities will be accomplished by a vote of delegates at the AFBF Convention in Puerto Rico in January 2023.

Ag Co-operators Conference Brings In Nearly $700 Million In Sales

More than 1.3 million metric tons (80 million bushels of corn equivalent), equating to about $700 million dollars, were recently transacted and negotiated at the 2022 Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Co-operators Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in late September.

Jointly organized by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the event welcomed its largest turnout since its inception in 2004. Having been limited to virtual events for over two years, industry representatives from across the region were excited to take part in the event, reconnecting and establishing relationships for U.S. agricultural products.

Of the commodities sold, 90,000 metric tons, or 4 million bushels, were U.S. corn and 207,000 metric tons (about 33 million bushels in corn equivalent) were U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The remaining sales consisted of U.S. soybeans, soybean meal and wheat.

“The fact that the whole industry shows up to this event says a lot about the resiliency of our industry. When our growers, traders, and our end-users all come together, there's not a market headwind that we can't face and flourish,” said Caleb Wurth, USGC regional director, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Council programs continue post conference to ensure end users are prepared to maximize the the utilization of our products once sold; servicing customers’ commercial and technical needs.

Rail Labor Negotiations Threaten to Disrupt Ag Supply Chains for 2022 Harvest

American Soybean Association

Rail labor negotiations hit a speed bump Monday when it was announced the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED), a division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the third-largest union representing rail workers, has rejected the Sept.15 tentative labor agreement reached among the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) and representing the Class I railroads and 12 rail worker labor unions.

After reaching the tentative labor agreement, each union is now required to have its membership ratify the deal. The ratification timeline for each union is different, with votes occurring from late Sept. to mid-Nov. During the BMWED ratification vote, 56% of the membership opposed ratification. As per the previous tentative labor agreement terms, both parties must maintain status quo for now—meaning BMWED workers will not strike nor will the railroads lock them out before a period of continued negotiation. BMWED will go back to the bargaining table with the NCCC until mid-Nov. in an attempt to reach a new agreement.

If even one union does not reach a labor agreement, it is possible that all 12 unions will strike in solidarity. To date, four of the 11 other railroad worker unions have voted in favor of ratification, albeit with narrow vote margins. Seven unions are yet to vote. If a deal is not ratified by all 12 unions, per the tentative agreement reached in Sept., Congress will be provided a window to act and prevent a potential stoppage.

Ag Supply Chain Disruptions Looming

This rail development comes as a great concern to the U.S. soy industry and agricultural supply chain. As realized last month, neither the trucking nor barge industry has the capacity to backfill the level of demand that would be needed if a rail stoppage occurs. The rail stoppage threat last month led to barge freight rates for grain reaching seasonal highs compared to previous years. Now, ongoing drought has resulted in barges coming to a halt on the lower Mississippi River. The barge and towing industry continue to institute a 25-barge maximum tow size south of St. Louis. Under normal conditions, a single tow in this region can include 30-40 barges. Since Sept. 1, 40% fewer barges have been unloaded in New Orleans. While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to mitigate some of the current barge logjam via emergency dredging, the region will need significant rainfall to reach anywhere near normal levels of service.

Low water levels are causing rates to skyrocket for both barge and rail: This, paired with rail service uncertainty, could be catastrophic. The 2022 harvest is in full effect, and growers remain dependent on a reliable transportation system to get their soybeans and other crops from field to market. According to Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Council, 80% of soybean exports occur between the months of Sept. and Feb.

On the rail side of the supply chain, as unions work through the ratification process, ASA continues to share data related to U.S. soy’s reliance on rail service with interested parties in Congress and the administration. Additionally, ASA remains in communication with coalitions and other agricultural commodity groups focusing on this issue to coordinate on next steps should congressional action be needed.

Russia Considering Abolishing Grain Export Quota

Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, is considering abolishing its grain export quota which it usually sets up in the second half of the July-June marketing season, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Russia's Deputy Prime Minister.

According to Reuters, Russia usually sets up grain export quotas for the period from mid-February and until the end of June to secure enough supply for the domestic needs.

"The harvest is big, so, in principle, probably, yes, there are no prerequisites to impose any quantitative restrictions at the moment," Viktoria Abramchenko, who is in charge of the agriculture sector in the government, was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Russia is on track to harvest a record grain crop of 150 million tonnes, including 100 million tonnes of wheat, in 2022, according to President Vladimir Putin's forecast.

Russia's Union of Grain Exporters said on social media that it would be better to keep the quota system in place but make sure the size of it is not of a restrictive nature.

The quota of 25 million tonnes of grains for exports from mid-February and until June 30 "could become a compromise option," the union said.

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