Friday, November 4, 2022

Thursday November 03 Ag News


Research notes, reference materials, reports — such are the items to be found in the East Campus office of Dustin Loy, a professor in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. But Loy’s office also features an unusual drawing, a scientific one from deep in the university’s history.

The image is a drawing from one of the first known descriptions of cattle affected with pinkeye, a longtime scourge of Nebraska beef producers. The debilitating disease is primarily caused by Moraxella bovis, a tiny organism that, in the 21st century, results in annual losses to the cattle industry estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Frank Billings, a veterinary pathologist who was the first NU faculty member given a full-time research position, sketched the image of afflicted cattle for an 1889 bulletin from the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station. The bulletin, in which Billings described a “dense cluster of micro-organisms,” provided the first scientific description of the bacterium and the disease.

In the present day, combating bovine pinkeye — an affliction that involves a range of possible trauma to the animal’s eye — remains a major challenge for veterinary research scientists. The genetic diversity and variation of the bacterium are so complex that major gaps in scientific understanding remain. And unlike diseases such as polio and measles, which can be addressed through a vaccine, bovine pinkeye so far has remained resistant to consistently effective prevention via vaccination.  

The illness — technically, infectious bovine kerato-conjunctivitis, or IBK — is the No. 1 reported disease for breeding cows and No. 2 for calves.

Two recent studies with contributions from Husker researchers are advancing scientific knowledge of the disease. A joint research project between the university and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, or ARS, reported important findings about the bacterium’s genetic characteristics. And Matt Hille, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences, headed the first long-term study of bovine pinkeye vaccines, identifying shortcomings in inoculation efficacy.

Finding a solution to bovine pinkeye is hindered by the fact that a range of factors, of varying influence, contribute to the incidence of the disease.

“It’s what we call a classic disease complex,” Loy said, “with contributions from the pathogens, contributions from the host — we know that certain breeds or types of animals are more susceptible to this disease than others. And then there's the environment, everything from dust to UV light to fly burden. All those things contribute. So, there are a lot of targets.”

“A big factor, certainly, is that this is a multifactorial disease,” said Hille, whose vaccination study noted the multiple influences contributing to the disease.

The genetic complexity and variability of the M. bovis bacterium — as well as a related bacterium, M. bovoculi — at present thwart a complete understanding of the microorganisms’ ability to cause disease. Precisely which factors turn non-threatening components of the bacteria into pathogens have yet to be fully identified. Nebraska’s joint study with ARS, published in BMC Microbiology, has moved the science forward by providing significant new information on the genetic structure and diversity of M. bovis.

ARS molecular biologists Emily Wynn and Mike Clawson, at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska, analyzed M. bovis strains provided by Loy from the university’s extensive inventory of pinkeye bacterial isolates. Loy collected the samples from veterinarians in 17 U.S. states and one Canadian province as part of his longtime work in identifying variabilities among the strains.

The ARS scientists sequenced and compared the samples’ genetic makeup, resulting in notable discoveries. The researchers identified two major M. bovis genotypes, each with different versions of a pinkeye-related toxin. They also identified certain proteins on the outer membrane of the bacterial cell.

Those findings significantly broaden scientists’ genetic understanding of the disease. This sets the stage for future research work to fill in additional gaps, to enable “better interventions and better targets,” Loy said.

The joint project is the latest in scientific collaboration by the university and ARS in recent years on cattle-related diseases.

In an academic paper published this year in the journal Vaccines, Hille described a five-year study he headed that compared pinkeye vaccine effectiveness for three study groups of calves. One group received an autogenous vaccine, developed from bacterial strains isolated from the study herd. Another group received a commonly used vaccine developed by a pharmaceutical company. A third group received a formulation consisting only of adjuvant, a component normally added to a vaccine to bolster the immune response.

The autogenous vaccine produced a significantly stronger antibody response than the other two formulations, but the effect wasn’t significant in terms of actually preventing the disease. The study involved an average of 240 calves a year at Nebraska Extension’s Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center near Mead.

Hille’s five-year project advanced the science in several ways, Loy said. It was the first vaccine study using real-world field conditions over that duration of time and that used antigens from three different species of bacteria associated with pinkeye. It stands out, too, because Hille, in collaboration with virologist Hiep Vu of Nebraska’s Department of Animal Science, developed an analytical approach examining the animals’ immune responses and whether they came down with the disease.

Other contributors to the project were Matthew Spangler, with the Department of Animal Science, and Kelly Heath, with the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Green Plains Partners Reports Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results

Omaha-based Green Plains Partners LP today announced financial and operating results for the third quarter of 2022. Net income attributable to the partnership was $10.2 million, or $0.43 per common unit, for the third quarter of 2022, compared with net income of $9.4 million, or $0.40 per common unit, for the same period in 2021.

The partnership also reported adjusted EBITDA of $13.0 million and distributable cash flow of $11.3 million for the third quarter of 2022, compared with adjusted EBITDA of $13.5 million and distributable cash flow of $11.5 million for the same period in 2021. Distribution coverage was 1.05x for the three months ended September 30, 2022.

“We were pleased to increase the quarterly distribution for the fifth consecutive quarter,” said Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Strong liquidity and achieving higher year over year throughput rates resulted in stable earnings and cash flow at the partnership and higher cash distributions for our unitholders.”

Third Quarter Highlights and Recent Developments
    On October 20, 2022, the board of directors of the partnership’s general partner increased the quarterly cash distribution to $0.455 per unit, or approximately $10.8 million, for the third quarter of 2022. The distribution is payable on November 14, 2022, to unitholders of record at the close of business on November 4, 2022.

Results of Operations
Consolidated revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2022 increased by $0.8 million compared with the same period for 2021. Operations and maintenance expenses increased by $1.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2022, compared with the same period for 2021.

During the third quarter of 2022, Green Plains Inc.’s average production utilization rate was approximately 90.9% of capacity. Ethanol throughput was 219.7 million gallons, which exceeded the contracted minimum volume commitment. As a result, a prior period deficiency credit of $0.1 million was utilized toward the excess volume. Prior year credits of $1.8 million expired unused, leaving a cumulative balance of minimum volume deficiency credits available to Green Plains Trade as of September 30, 2022 of $1.9 million. If these credits are unused by Green Plains Trade, $0.8 million will expire on December 31, 2022, and $1.1 million will expire on March 31, 2023. These credits have been recognized in revenue by the partnership, and as such, future volumes throughput by Green Plains Trade in excess of the quarterly minimum volume commitment, up to the amount of these credits, will not be recognized in revenue in future periods prior to expiration.

Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit

The Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Senior Class is pleased to invite you to the Annual Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Summit in Kearney, Nebraska!  The Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars senior class, in cooperation with Nebraska Cattlemen, has been working diligently to bring this Summit to you. A variety of topics will be discussed at this year’s event.
    Source Validation to Implement Traceability into the Beef Industry
    Current Market Outlook
    Nutrition Strategies and Grazing Management After a Drought
    Ramifications of the 2022 Election on the Beef Industry
    FMD and Other Emerging Health Threats

The Summit will be held Thursday, November 17th, at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Kearney, Nebraska. The seminar will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. Lunch will be catered on-site and is included in the registration fee. Keeping with the tradition of past annual summits, the senior Beef Scholars class has developed a program of strong speakers addressing current industry issues. You are invited and encouraged to attend this important event, where guest speakers will share their knowledge and encourage us to expand our thinking.

The cost of this program is $50 and will cover lunch, speaker costs, and other expenses for the event. After receiving your completed registration, we will send you additional event information. We look forward to seeing you on November 17th!  Details can be found at

Washington County Cattlemen Meeting

Date: Monday, November 7th
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Blair Marina, Blair, NE

Platte Valley Cattlemen Meeting

Date: Monday, November 14th
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Location: Wunderlich's Catering, Columbus

Annual Dairy Discussions Seminar on Dec. 1 to focus on cybersecurity for farmers, food manufacturers and processors

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Team will host its annual Dairy Discussions Seminar on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office in Orange City.

This year’s focus is on cybersecurity issues for food producers including farmers, manufacturers, and processors.

“Cybersecurity is a bigger problem than many realize, unless they have been directly affected,” said Fred Hall, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “There will be four presentations all relating back to the issue of cybersecurity and our food supply providers.”

On-Farm Cybersecurity Threats

During the first presentation, “On-Farm Cybersecurity Threats,” Dr. Doug Jacobson will help producers understand where threats are and how they can manifest in farm systems.

Jacobson is Director of the ISU Center for Cybersecurity Innovation and Outreach, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is the lead PI in the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity sponsored ReCIPE coalition which is focused on securing cyber-physical systems. Doug also created the Iowa Cyber Hub which is dedicated to increasing the cyber workforce in Iowa.

The Law and Cyber Security

Special Agent Ward Crawley of the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations Cyber Crime Bureau knows that living in the Digital Age makes life simpler for us, but also for the bad guys!  He is working to combat the surge of cybercrime in Iowa food producers and processors.

Crawley is a lifelong resident of Iowa. He received his undergraduate degree from ISU in 1995. Later that year, he graduated from the Iowa Department of Public Safety Basic Academy and began his employment with the Division of Criminal Investigation. While working for the DCI, Ward has been assigned to the Casino Gaming Unit, the DPS Intelligence Bureau, and most recently, the Cyber Crime Bureau.

Safeguarding Your Social Media Sites

ISU Network Field Specialist Scott Saunders believes that social media - specifically Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - are useful tools to promote your business, but they also come with cybersecurity risks. He will walk through ways to protect yourself and your business.

“What Are You Doing to Protect Your Farm?” Dairy Producer Panel Discussion
Dairy producer panel moderator, Deb Wehde, is a field representative for Agropur. She works with dairy farmers in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota who sell their milk to the company’s cheese plant in Hull. She will lead the discussion with local dairy producers on what cybersecurity issues they are concerned with. The producer panel will feature Kurt Wierda, Plymouth Dairy; Anthony Nunes, NuStar Dairy; and Michael Nettinga, M&M Dairy.

There is no registration fee to attend the program, but registration is required by calling 712-737-4230 or online at Deadline to register is Nov. 30.

For more information, contact Hall at 712-737-4230 or

USDA Decreases Pork Checkoff Assessment Rate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today published in the Federal Register a preview of its final rule to decrease the current Pork Checkoff assessment rate of 0.40 percent (40 cents per $100) of the market value of all pigs sold in the United States to 0.35 percent. The final rule also decreases assessments on imported pork and pork products to bring importer assessments in line with those paid by domestic producers. This assessment decrease was recommended by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body (Delegate Body), which voted on the issue during its annual meeting held in Louisville, Ky., on March 9-11, 2022.

The final rule decreasing the assessment is previewed in today’s Federal Register. The final rule is scheduled to be published officially in the Federal Register on November 4, 2022 and will be effective on January 1, 2023. The decreased assessment rate reflects the Delegate Body’s desire to lessen the assessment burden on producers. Assessments on imported pork and pork products are established by formula each year, based on U.S. market prices for hogs. Assessments on domestic and imported pork are authorized by the Pork Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act of 1985. The assessments fund promotion, research, and consumer education activities designed to strengthen the position of pork in the marketplace.

The change will decrease the annual funding of the promotion, research, and consumer information program by an estimated $13.5 million annually.

CHS intends to return $1 billion in cash to owners

CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, intends to return a total of $1 billion in cash patronage and equity redemptions to its owners in calendar year 2023, delivering on its objectives to share profits with owners and contribute to building strength in rural America.

The total amount of cash to be returned to owners is a decision made by the CHS Board of Directors at the close of each fiscal year. The CHS Board has elected to return $500 million in cash patronage based on business done with CHS in fiscal year 2022, which ended on Aug. 31, 2022. Additionally, the CHS Board has elected to return $500 million in cash to its owners through equity redemptions.

This benefit of CHS ownership will be shared by hundreds of member cooperatives and thousands of farmer-owners. The total of $1 billion distributed in cash would be the largest annual distribution to owners in CHS history and would bring the total amount returned to owners over the last 10 years to more than $3.1 billion.

"The opportunity for owners to receive cash patronage and equity is a fundamental difference between the cooperative model and other businesses," said Dan Schurr, chair of the CHS Board of Directors. "This critical difference means CHS owners share in the financial success of the company and can leverage that success to fuel strength and growth for their own businesses, their families and the communities we share."

Final financial results for fiscal year 2022 are expected to be announced in November 2022. Additional patronage-related details will be available at that time, including the amount of fiscal year 2022 patronage equity certificates that will be distributed.

Get timely ag market updates and more at 2022 CHS Annual Meeting

The 2022 CHS Annual Meeting is set for December 1st and 2nd in Minneapolis, Minn. Owners will enjoy a full agenda of education sessions, business and financial updates, CHS Board interactions and networking as they connect with other cooperative leaders and engage in CHS governance.

View the agenda and register for the annual meeting to participate in person or virtually. Register by Nov. 8 to secure a hotel room.  

Education sessions run from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 1. The 45-minute sessions will cover a range of topics, including:
    Equity management
    Commodity market updates (corn, soybeans, wheat, crop nutrients, energy)
    Bulls and bears: What’s your market position?
    Navigating the next 5 years of ag markets
    Politics and policy: The next farm bill and more
    What do mid-term election results mean for agriculture?
    The future of energy: Progress and opportunities
    Help your c-store stand out
    Carbon and the sustainability journey
    Ukraine update

Virtual attendees will be able to view and submit questions to all education sessions and the general session.

Information was mailed to voting-eligible CHS members on Oct. 11.

Annual meeting information is available here:  

Bipartisan House Bill Calls for Doubling Investments in Ag Export Programs

ASA Newsletter

Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Tracey Mann (R-KS), Cindy Axne (D-IA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), and Kim Schrier (D-WA) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would double funding for USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program.

Similar legislation supporting these critical programs for expanding global market access for U.S.-produced ag exports was introduced in September by Sens. Angus King (ME), Joni Ernst (IA), Tina Smith (MN), Chuck Grassley (IA), and Susan Collins (ME).

MAP and FMD are vital to soy growers, as they provide opportunities to develop or grow demand for U.S. products in foreign markets. Utilizing MAP and FMD funds, the American Soybean Association—through the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health and the U.S. Soybean Export Council—has leveraged those dollars to increase market access, address technical barriers to entry and create on-the-ground capacity and demand for U.S. soy.

The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, of which ASA is an executive committee member, applauds the Supporting Market Access to Reinvigorate Trade Act of 2022 (SMART Act) for its reinvestment in export promotion, which strengthens U.S. farmers’ competitive edge in foreign markets.

The SMART Act now moves to the Ag Committee, where ASA and other ag partners urge swift passage.

Global Sales of U.S. Ethanol Rebound in September While U.S. DDGS Exports Ease

Ann Lewis, Renewable Fuels Association Senior Analyst

September U.S. ethanol exports bounced back 30% to 100.4 million gallons (mg) after a precipitous drop in August shipments of undenatured fuel ethanol. Canada was our largest importer for the eighteenth month (42.4 mg, equal to 42% of total U.S. exports) despite a 20% decline from August’s record high. Shipments increased across the bulk of remaining export markets, including the Netherlands (13.8 mg, +475%), South Korea (12.0 mg, +82%), the Philippines (7.4 mg, up from zero), and the United Kingdom (6.9 mg, up from minimal volumes). Brazil, India, and China again were principally absent from our export market. Total year-to-date U.S. ethanol shipments surged to 1.11 billion gallons, or 27% ahead of last year’s pace.

The U.S. did not import any ethanol in September. Total year-to-date imports stand at 42.4 mg, or 11% lower than last year at this time.

U.S. exports of dried distillers grains (DDGS), the animal feed co-product generated by dry-mill ethanol plants, scaled back 11% in September to a five-month low of 877,745 metric tons (mt). Exports to Mexico, our top customer for the third consecutive month, eased 4% to 187,583 mt. Vietnam boosted imports by 17% to 155,945 mt while exports to South Korea declined 10% to 82,574 mt. These three markets represented roughly half of all U.S. DDGS shipments in September. Other larger markets included the European Union—primarily Ireland and Spain (77,835 mt, +11%), Canada (61,229 mt, -12% to a 15-month low), Indonesia (35,191 mt, -48% to the lowest volume since 2016), and Colombia (33,663 mt, -37%). Total exports for the first nine months of 2022 totaled 8.59 million mt, slightly ahead of last year’s pace.

RFA: ‘Shoddy’ GAO Report on RFS Small Refinery Exemptions a Gift to Refiners

The U.S. General Accounting Office today released a report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision-making when it comes to small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard. The report had been requested more than three years ago by renewable fuel supporters in Congress, and so much has changed in the program that the report is not only flawed, but also obsolete upon arrival. The following is a response from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

“You simply can’t make this stuff up. In the summer of 2019, a bipartisan group of renewable fuel supporters in both the House and Senate asked the GAO to investigate the gross mismanagement of the small refinery exemption program by former EPA Administrators Scott Pruitt and Andy Wheeler. Now, more than three years later—and less than one week before the mid-term elections—GAO puts out a shoddy report that is friendly to oil refiners and purports to answer questions no one ever asked.

“GAO’s ‘economic analysis’ can only be described as a creative and obscure acrobatic routine. And even after performing these high-flying gymnastics, GAO can only suggest that the cost of RFS compliance for small refiners might be 0.5%—that’s half of 1 percent—higher than what larger refiners experience. In other words, GAO says small refiners—who are raking in record profits—can only pass on 99.5% of their RFS compliance costs. Meanwhile, refiners are plastering TV ads all over the DC market claiming that 100% of their RFS compliance costs are somehow passed all the way to consumers, meaning they bear no RFS compliance cost at all—a message that undermines GAO’s latest questionable findings.

“The bottom line is there is no such thing as ‘disproportionate economic hardship’ under the RFS. All refiners—large or small, merchant or integrated—face the same compliance obligations and they all pass their RIN costs on to fuel blenders at the terminal. Period. There is a mountain of evidence confirming this fact, and GAO’s new report will just be thrown on the growing scrap heap of refiner disinformation meant to undermine the success of the RFS.”

Cooper said the only thing GAO got right in its report was the fact that SREs reduce demand for renewable fuel, causing harm to ethanol producers. According to GAO: “Because small refinery exemptions have been granted after the annual requirements were set, they have likely reduced blending. According to experts and a representative of a fuel blender, exemptions have reduced the price of RINs, giving less incentive to blend renewable fuel.”

“We have been saying this for years, and refiners have been claiming that SREs somehow had no impact on renewable fuel blending,” Cooper concluded. “While the GAO report’s analysis on RIN passthrough is fundamentally flawed, at least they recognize that SREs do in fact reduce physical demand for ethanol and other renewable fuels.”

First-ever Clean Fuels Conference this January Unites Efforts to Decarbonize Fuel Supply

As a national commitment to decarbonization grows, the unstoppable role of biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel will take center stage at the newly launched Clean Fuels Conference, January 23 – 26 in Tampa, Florida.

Formerly the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, the event’s rebranding reflects the founding organization’s name change last year from the National Biodiesel Board to Clean Fuels Alliance America. The new name recognizes the evolution and expansion of the clean fuels on offer for heavy-duty transportation and new markets like rail, shipping and aviation.

This year’s conference theme is “United as One.”

“It’s especially exciting to bring people together at a time when momentum for clean fuels is very much in our favor, in terms of policy, newfound market demand and more,” said Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen. “The Clean Fuels Conference is the premier industry event that brings together stakeholders from all sectors to learn, do business and strategize about how to meet the growing demand for clean fuels amid rapid decarbonization efforts.

In addition to a robust expo hall and multiple networking events, the conference agenda features educational sessions that will help participants grow industry knowledge and prepare for success in a rapidly changing environment. Sessions include:
    Ready for Takeoff: Aviation, Rail, Heating and Marine Markets
    One Hundred Percent: States Pursue B100 and Other Ambitions
    One World, Many Goooooals: A Global Perspective
    Anticipating Change: What's Ahead for Federal Tax Policy
    The ABCs of ESG: What Corporate Commitments Spell for Clean Fuels
    B50: The New B20? Uniting Fuel Standards for 2030, 2050, and Beyond

Special activities include the return of the popular diesel vehicle Ride-and-Drive and a mainstage session putting the spotlight on the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program.

Attendees include clean fuel producers and marketers, supporting industries, farmers, fleet managers and other users, Bioheat® fuel distributors, automakers, regulators and more. This year, event organizers also hope to attract more sustainability and environmental social governance professionals who are looking for solutions available today to meet their goals. They also hope to draw representatives from new markets clamoring for clean fuels – specifically marine, rail and airline industry professionals.

Event organizers said booth space for the event is nearly sold out. Early Bird registration ends November 17.

Visit for more information.

Nominations Accepted for 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award Program

Applications are being accepted until March 10, 2023, for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award. Established in 1991, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program annually recognizes outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of cattle producers across the nation.

“Cattle producers, as individuals and as an industry, are actively working to protect and improve the environment, because they know environmental stewardship and good business go hand-in-hand,” said NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “A common trait among all ESAP winners is the desire to leave the land in better condition for future generations and inspire the next generation of land stewards.”

Any individual, group or organization is eligible to nominate one individual or business raising or feeding cattle. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, although nominees may be involved in the preparation of the application. Past nominees are encouraged to resubmit applications; however, previous winners may not reapply.

Along with a typed application, one nomination letter and three letters of recommendation highlighting the nominee’s leadership in conservation are required. Nominees do not have to be members of NCBA but should support the objectives of their state and national organization.

Award winners are selected by a committee of representatives from universities, conservation organizations as well as federal and state agencies. For guidance, the judges consider the management of water, wildlife, vegetation, air, and soil along with leadership abilities and the sustainability of the business.

Seven regional winners will be recognized at the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention in Orlando, Fla., in February 2024, and the national winner will be announced at the Celebration of America’s Land Stewards Event in Washington, D.C., in spring 2024. Travel and registration are provided by ESAP for winners.

The Environmental Stewardship Award Program is an initiative of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, and is funded by Corteva Agriscience, McDonald’s and the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture along with a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more information and to download the nomination packet, visit  

NGFA, ag groups urge Congress to prevent rail shutdown

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and 192 other members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group urged Congress to prepare to prevent a rail strike or lockout, which would “lead to shutdowns of rail-dependent facilities resulting in devastating consequences to our national and global food security.”

The Biden administration successfully brokered an agreement between the National Railway Labor Conference, which represents railroads, and 12 rail labor unions on Sept. 15. However, two unions have voted against ratifying the agreement while members of four other unions continue to review it. A strike could begin as soon as Nov. 19.

“Congressional action will be necessary if the parties fail to reach agreement,” stated the food and agriculture groups in a Nov. 3 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “Resolution of this dispute prior to Nov. 19 is necessary to ensure rail service continues uninterrupted. Adding urgency to this matter, critical inputs and agricultural products such as ammonia shipments could be embargoed starting on Nov. 14.”

A rail strike combined with existing challenges in the rail system would be “catastrophic” for the U.S. economy, the groups noted, especially considering the current challenges in other modes of transportation, including trucking shortages and record low water levels on the Mississippi River hindering barge shipments.

The groups urged lawmakers to be prepared to act quickly when Congress is back in session on Nov. 14.

National Bison Day

The first Saturday in November offers everyone an opportunity to rally around a symbol of national unity, as National Bison Day celebrates the cultural, historical and economic significance of our National Mammal. The American bison is at home in a wide variety of climates across the continent, with herds today found in American parks, refuges, national forests and grasslands, Tribal lands, private conservancies, ranches and farms.

Since 2013, the United States Senate annually has designated the first Saturday in November as National Bison Day. This resolution has the full support of a community bound by the heritage of the American Bison and includes the National Bison Association, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the InterTribal Buffalo Council. These three organizations championed the enactment of legislation in 2016 designating bison as the National Mammal of the United States.

Today's bison herds continue to grow despite a three-year cycle of pandemic, drought, and economic uncertainty. There are exciting advances in understanding bison through the Center of Excellence for Bison Studies, established in 2020 within the South Dakota State University system. Researchers and academics from across the country are bringing together projects to improve the ability of bison caretakers to manage healthy herds and produce healthy meat.

As bison return to the landscape, the National Bison Association remembers their rebound from near extinction only 150 years ago. With this National Bison Day we celebrate the heritage of the buffalo, strive to keep learning more, and create a sustainable future for the caretakers of the animals.

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