Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Wednesday November 16 Ag News

Center’s farm bill recommendations seek to protect, ease enrollment for USDA programs

After months of gathering feedback from farm and rural leaders across the Midwest, the Center for Rural Affairs has released its 2023 farm bill platform.

The platform outlines opportunities for improvement within working lands conservation, access to USDA programs, crop insurance, rural entrepreneurship, and small meat processing.

“These recommendations will protect and improve the Conservation Stewardship and Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance programs,” said Kayla Bergman, policy manager for the Center. “They will also improve access to USDA programs for underserved producers, better serve organic producers or those using cover crops looking to purchase crop insurance, and secure long-term support for small meat processors.”  

The farm bill priorities continue the Center’s decades-long work of addressing the real needs of rural America, Bergman said.

“We want to make sure farmers, ranchers, and rural communities have access to farm bill programs and understand how they work,” she said "This platform was developed after dozens of one-on-one conversations with agricultural producers, several round table discussions, a paper survey sent to nearly 5,000 individuals, and numerous conversations with organizations and individuals participating in U.S. Department of Agriculture programs.”

The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, 2023.

To read and download the Center's “A Farm Bill for Rural America: 2023 Farm Bill Platform,” visit

Clean Fuels Elects New Governing Board Members

Clean Fuels Alliance America members met in Washington this week to elect new Governing Board leaders. Clean Fuels’ new leadership reflects the interests of both large and small companies, biodiesel and renewable diesel producers, as well as soybean growers and renderers.

“Clean Fuels is the leading trade association for biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel,” said Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Our board members bring together views and priorities from each part of the clean fuel value chain. The industry is growing rapidly to meet U.S. demand for better, cleaner fuels, and that is generating economic activity and supporting well-paying job opportunities across the country. Our elected board members will help us meet the challenge of supporting growth for every sector of the industry.”

Clean Fuels members voted to fill eight board seats for two-year terms:
·       Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board
·       Tim Keaveney, HERO BX
·       Courtney Lawrenson, Ag Processing Inc.
·       Gary Louis, Seaboard Energy LLC
·       Tim Ostrem, South Dakota Soybean Checkoff
·       Mike Rath, Darling Ingredients Inc.
·       Rob Shaffer, ASA
·       Paul Teta, Kolmar Americas, Inc.

Continuing to serve on the board for a second year are:
·       Danielle Brannan, New Leaf Biofuel
·       Kent Engelbrecht, ADM
·       Neville Fernandes, Chevron Renewable Energy Group
·       Chris Hill, Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council
·       Ryan Pederson, North Dakota Soybean Council
·       Harry Simpson, Crimson Renewable Energy
·       Dave Walton, Iowa Soybean Association

The board appointed Mike Rath to serve as Chair, Rob Shaffer as Vice-Chair, Gary Louis as Second Vice-Chair, Ryan Pederson as Treasurer, Paul Teta as Secretary, and Kent Engelbrecht as Past Chair.

Mike Rath, senior vice president with Darling Ingredients and newly appointed Clean Fuels Chair, added, “This is an exciting time for the clean fuels industry. Looking back over the last two decades, the industry has made tremendous strides in introducing new fuels to the U.S. market. Our industry currently meets 5% of the country’s need for heavy-duty on-road transportation fuel. And our growth is accelerating to meet new markets. It’s a privilege to serve the industry and I thank my colleagues for their confidence in the board leadership and support for the association.”

Rehagen noted, “We appreciate the service of our executive committee in representing the interests of the industry. I congratulate all of them on their appointments and look forward to working with them to meet the opportunities ahead.”

Clean Fuels also extended its thanks to retired governing board Chair Chad Stone, from Chevron Renewable Energy Group.

“Our members elected Chad just as we launched our vision to build a 6-bilion-gallon U.S. industry by 2030. He led our organization through its rebranding to represent all of the fuels we produce – biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel. And he has left us stronger than ever, as our industry rapidly grows and diversifies to meet demand for better, cleaner fuels. We can’t thank Chad enough for his time, commitment, and advocacy,” said Rehagen.

2023 Land Investment Expo Keynote Speakers Announced

Peoples Company, a full-service land transaction and management business, and host of the Land Investment Expo, today announced Vivek Ramaswamy, Jimmy John Liautaud, Frank Luntz, Jeremy Siegel, and Peter Zeihan as its 2023 Expo keynote speakers. The Expo will take place January 10, 2023, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The Land Investment Expo is excited to once again offer a high-caliber lineup of keynote speakers, which on their own, could headline an event themselves,” said Peoples Company President Steve Bruere. “Expo attendees will hear from entrepreneurial leaders like Vivek Ramaswamy and Jimmy John Liautaud, see behind the curtain with renowned message tester and pollster Frank Luntz, gain insight from Jeremy Siegel, an expert on the economy and financial markets, and hear an assessment of our current geopolitical climate from Peter Zeihan.”

Speaker Bios

Vivek Ramaswamy is a New York Times bestselling author and an entrepreneur who founded multiple enterprises. A first-generation American, he founded Roivant Sciences in 2014 and led the largest biotech IPOs of 2015 and 2016. He founded other successful healthcare and technology companies, and in 2022, he launched Strive Asset Management, a new firm focused on restoring the voices of everyday citizens in the American economy by leading companies to focus on excellence over politics.?? In 2020, he emerged as a prominent national commentator on stakeholder capitalism, free speech, and identity politics. He is the author of Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam.

Jimmy John Liautaud is the founder of the Jimmy John’s Sandwich chain. Jimmy John’s has over 2,800 locations in 48 states. Jimmy is a farmland owner and avid recreationalist. In 2017, Jimmy, his wife and 3 children founded the Liautaud Family Foundation. The Foundation focuses on medical research of obesity and pancreatic cancer, conservation of wildlife and clean water, and children facing adversity.

Dr. Frank Luntz may be the most widely recognized pollster in America. As a premier communications expert, Dr. Luntz is the coveted voice the political world turns to when it comes to understanding what people are thinking. Dr. Luntz is recognized globally for his political knowledge and his sought-after skill as a focus group leader.

Jeremy Siegel is the Russell E. Palmer Professor Emeritus of Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, having recently retired after 44 years of active service.  He graduated from Columbia University in 1967, received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taught four years at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago before joining the Wharton faculty.   Prof. Siegel is the author of numerous professional articles and two books.  His bestselling book, Stocks for the Long Run, which has been named by the Washington Post and Business Week as one of the ten-best investment books of all time, has just published its sixth edition and has sold nearly one-half million copies. His other book, The Future for Investors was named one of the best business books published in 2005 by Business Week, the Financial Times, and Barron’s magazines.

Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical strategist with expertise in understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to help clients best prepare for an uncertain future. Over the course of his career, Peter has worked for the U.S. State Department in Australia, the Washington, D.C. think tank community, and helped develop the analytical models for Stratfor, one of the world’s premier private intelligence companies. Peter’s fourth book, The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization, became available in June 2022.

Tickets for the 2023 Land Investment Expo are available at  Media wishing to cover the event in-person or virtually, should contact Becky Rozenboom at

For more information on the Land Investment Expo, please visit

K-State scientists receive collaborative grant to advance biofuel production, agricultural economy

Kansas State University researchers are part of a five-year collaborative grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve oilseed crops for use as biofuels and other bioproducts.

Timothy Durrett, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, and Ruth Welti, university distinguished professor of biology, received nearly $1.9 million to better understand how changing the biochemistry of oilseed plants alters their oil production.

The research group is working with camelina and pennycress — non-food oilseed crops — that can be used as cover crops by farmers. Durrett says these plants have not benefited from the breeding that has increased yield in other crops. This research will help scientists better understand how the plants synthesize fatty acids to make lipids while also improving oil production and crop profitability.

As part of the collaboration, Durrett is working to more efficiently produce transgenic plants. Current research methods alter the biochemistry of plants at random places within their DNA and Durrett hopes to make the genetic engineering process more predictable and efficient.

"We will implement cutting-edge plant synthetic biology," Durrett said. "If we can insert the genetic changes in the same spot every time, it makes testing the effect that much easier. By understanding fundamental plant biochemical concepts, we can then apply these to other plant species as well."

Welti, director of the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center at K-State, is analyzing how the oils are changing in the altered plants.

"In my lab, I can get a snapshot of how the plants are responding to changes that are being introduced genetically," Welti said. "This project will really help scientists understand the overall principles and rules of fatty acid and oil production in oilseed plants."

The researchers stressed that camelina and pennycress can be integrated into a traditional rotation and do not interfere with food production.

"If we are making biofuels or bioproducts, we don't want to compete with food production," Durrett said. "A cover crop by itself it will protect the soil from wind and runoff, but with these oilseed crops farmers also earn additional income."

The project's principal investigator is Edgar Cahoon, the George W. Holmes professor of biochemistry at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The project team also includes researchers from University of Colorado, Boulder, Washington State University, Montana State University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Farm Bureau Survey Shows Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up 20%

Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans and this year the cost of the meal is also top of mind. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 per pound, up 21% from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation. Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 18-31, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of Nov. 3-9 and 95 cents the week of Nov. 10-16, a decline of 14% in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29% to 60%. This means consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower cost than the Farm Bureau average.

“General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan. General inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year.

“Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan said. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.” Cryan said the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year, although there may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza was detected earlier this year.

“Farmers are working hard to meet growing demands for food – both here in the U.S. and globally – while facing rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs,” said Cryan.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

View a comparison of prices from the 2021 and 2022 AFBF Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Surveys in addition to historical average costs for the meal since 1986 here.

“We should not take our food supply for granted,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Supporting sustainable productive agriculture in the U.S. and globally is imperative. As many of us gather with family and friends for a special meal, it’s a time for giving thanks and doing our part to help those who can’t afford a big holiday feast,” he added. “State and local Farm Bureaus across the country have strong partnerships with local food banks and I’m proud of their collective efforts to help ensure no one goes hungry.”

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans, in an expanded holiday menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $17.25, to $81.30. This updated basket of foods also increased in price (up 18%) compared to 2021.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Individual Prices
    16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.81 per pound (up 21%)
    14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $3.88 (up 69%)
    2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26%)
    Half pint of whipping cream: $2.24 (up 26%)
    1 pound of frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23%)
    1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.73 (up 22%)
    Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $4.13 (up 20%)
    30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18%)
    1 gallon of whole milk: $3.84 (up 16%)
    3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11%)
    1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 88 cents (up 8%)
    12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14%)

Regional Averages
AFBF analysis revealed regional differences in the cost of the meal. The cost for the classic meal was the most affordable in the South - $58.42, followed by the Northeast - $64.02, Midwest - $64.26 and West - $71.37. The expanded meal (classic meal plus ham, green beans and Russet potatoes) was the most affordable in the South - $74.90, followed by the Midwest - $81.53, Northeast - $82.76 and West - $88.55.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/11/2022

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending November 11, ethanol production declined 3.8% to a five-week low of 1.011 million b/d, equivalent to 42.46 million gallons daily. Production was 4.6% lower than the same week last year and 2.2% below the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production moved fractionally lower to 1.034 million b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 15.85 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks dropped 4.0% to 21.3 million barrels, tightening to the lowest volume since late December 2021. However, stocks were 6.1% more than a year ago and 1.0% above the five-year average. Inventories thinned across all regions except the Midwest (PADD 2).

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, slipped 3.0% to 8.74 million b/d (134.01 bg annualized). Demand was 5.4% less than a year ago and 3.9% below the five-year average.

Conversely, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol rose 1.0% to 893,000 b/d, equivalent to 13.69 bg annualized. Net inputs were 0.6% lower than a year ago and 0.5% below 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 September 2022.)

EIA Report Spotlights Increased Ethanol Blend Rate, Lower Cost to Drivers

A report released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration demonstrates clearly that higher blends of ethanol helped moderate fuel prices in the wake of the Ukraine invasion. The report noted that the U.S. ethanol blend rate hit a record summer average of 10.5% in 2022 and averaged 10.6% in June and August. “Fuel ethanol’s price discount to gasoline was one factor that led to the higher summer blend rate in 2022,” the report stated. “Although ethanol prices have been high in 2022, they have been low relative to gasoline prices, which were at their highest since 2014 this summer because of low domestic inventories and constraints on refining capacity.”

“This new analysis from EIA confirms that American drivers gravitated toward lower-cost E15 and E85 this summer as war in Ukraine drove pump prices to record heights,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The report also demonstrates that President Biden made the right call by issuing emergency waivers to allow the continued sales of E15 through the summer months. The Biden administration’s emergency waivers helped stave off fuel shortages and ensured consumers had uninterrupted access to E15, which was typically priced 20-40 cents per gallon lower than regular gasoline. EIA’s analysis also shows that consumption of lower-carbon renewable fuels increases, as expected, when the Renewable Fuel Standard and its RIN market mechanism are allowed to work as intended. This report comes at a critical time and underscores the importance of permanently removing the summertime barrier to E15 sales and implementing robust RFS volume requirements for 2023 and beyond.”

The report matches a recent analysis by RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman, which found that an additional 194 million gallons of E15 were sold during the summer as a result of the Biden administration’s RVP waivers, saving American consumers $57 million. In a column in the August issue of Ethanol Producer magazine, Cooper reflected that “At gas stations across the country, the cure for high prices isn’t more high prices—it’s ethanol. Refiners and blenders can lower gas prices for consumers simply by adding more ethanol, which has been $1–$1.50 per gallon cheaper than gasoline for much of the summer.”

EIA in its report stated that it raised its forecast for the average 2022 fuel ethanol blend rate to a record 10.4%. “This year’s annual average blend rate has been higher so far than in prior years, averaging 10.3% from March through July, compared with 10.1% for the same months in 2020 and 2019—the most recent year that EPA set RFS targets for ethanol at the current maximum. Following August’s average blend rate of 10.6%, the 2022 annual average blend rate increased to 10.4%. We forecast the annual average fuel ethanol blend rate to remain near current levels and end the year at 10.4%.”

EIA also noted that E85 sales have been on the rise. “From June–August 2022, U.S. production of E85 conventional gasoline was at record levels, averaging 21,000 b/d over those three months. In comparison, conventional E85 production averaged 15,000 b/d from June–August 2021 and was generally lower in all prior months. … In addition, E85 is becoming increasingly available. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, the United States had 4,331 E85 fueling stations as of January 2022, a 10% increase (385 stations) from the prior year.”

Fertilizer Prices Evenly Mixed

Retail fertilizer prices were evenly mixed, according to locations tracked by DTN for the first full week of November 2022. Four fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month while the remaining four were slightly higher. No fertilizer was significantly higher or lower; DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or more.

The four slightly lower were MAP, potash, urea and 10-34-0. MAP had an average price of $980/ton, potash $853/ton, urea $812/ton and 10-34-0 $758/ton. The other four fertilizers were slightly more expensive looking back to last month. DAP had an average price of $931/ton, anhydrous $1,434/ton, UAN28 $582/ton and UAN32 $680/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.88/lb.N, anhydrous $0.88/lb.N, UAN28 $1.04/lb.N and UAN32 $1.06/lb.N.

Most fertilizers continue to be higher in price than one year earlier, although one is now slightly lower. Urea is now 2% less expensive from one year ago. UAN28 is 3% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 5% higher, MAP is 8% more expensive, UAN32 is 11% higher, potash is 12% more expensive, DAP is 13% higher and anhydrous is 23% more expensive compared to last year.

NMPF Urges Sped-Up FDA Approval of Climate Friendly Feed Additives

NMPF called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use existing legal authority to modernize its regulations allowing for faster approval of animal-feed additives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, submitting comments to the agency today that highlighted the need for urgent action to enhance dairy’s role as a climate solution.

“Innovative and voluntary solutions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including methane,” said Dr. Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s chief science officer, in the comments submitted today. “Enteric emissions directly from cows currently account for roughly one third of all GHG emissions from dairy farms and present an important area of opportunity for methane reductions. Feed composition changes can directly or indirectly reduce enteric emissions resulting from livestock.”

While animal-feed additives are a promising path toward a net-zero future for dairy as outlined in industry goals, the pace of their approval lags that of competitors such as the European Union due to current FDA processes. By streamlining bureaucracy and allowing feed-additives to be treated as foods rather than as drugs, the United States can maintain and advance its global leadership in sustainability, Jonker wrote.

Through the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative, a collaboration across dairy organizations, dairy-farm research is advancing new technology and new market development opportunities to make sustainability practices more accessible and affordable to farms of all sizes, including enteric methane reduction.

“One of the greatest opportunities that exists for U.S. dairy farmers is their ability to provide real solutions to many of today’s biggest environmental challenges like GHG emissions,” Jonker wrote. “Embracing new practices and technologies is key to making America’s dairy farmers an environmental solution while providing wholesome and nutritious dairy products to the U.S. and the world.”

For more on how dairy is advancing its stewardship and best practices, visit the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program’s Environmental Stewardship page.

Brazil Boosting Ethanol Production Levels

Total ethanol production in Brazil is expected to be up nearly 9 percent this year, with fuel ethanol production up by nearly 8 precent, according to a report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network. Corn ethanol production is also expected to increase significantly.

Brazil is expected to produce 31.655 billion liters (8.36 billion gallons) of ethanol in 2022, up from 29.98 billion liters in 2021 but still below the 37.383 billion liters and 35.081 billion liters of production reported for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Fuel ethanol production is expected to reach 28.421 billion liters this year, compared to 26.195 billion liters last year. Fuel ethanol production was at 34.407 billion liters in 2019 and 30.897 billion liter.

Tar Spot Infects Cornfields, Influences 2023 Seed Decisions

Dark brown leaf spots. Loose kernels. Spongy ears. Tar spot is striking fear in a growing number of fields across the Corn Belt. The bright spot for farmers, however, is that there are ways to proactively manage the fast-spreading disease and now is the best time to prepare.

“This is the first season where tar spot has shown up in a noticeable way in western Iowa,” said Tony Moellers, Retail Product Agronomist for the Brevant® seeds brand. “With seed selection for 2023 top of mind, farmers should prepare now for increased pressure next season and select hybrids with genetic protection to give their fields a better chance against the disease.”

After its debut in eastern Midwest states, tar spot is quickly moving west. Alongside ag retail, agronomists for the Brevant seeds brand advise farmers to put tar spot at the top of the list of considerations for 2023 corn seed.

Here are two ways to tackle tar spot next season:

1. Select hybrids with genetic resistance. Corteva Agriscience scientists have been studying tar spot and screening hybrids to develop a rating scale that accurately communicates a hybrid’s level of tolerance, based on multiple years of observations in multiple locations. Some hybrids show more tolerance to the disease than others.

“If you suspect tar spot pressure, make sure you’re asking your seed adviser for hybrid tolerance ratings before selecting seed,” Moellers said. “Genetic protection is a farmer’s first line of defense against the disease, and there are numerous Brevant seeds products that have been vetted and established to have a high level of tolerance against tar spot.”

2. Fight back with scouting and fungicides. Tar spot presents more challenges the earlier it appears and, left unchecked, it can significantly impact yield and late-season stalk integrity.

Although there is no known way to prevent tar spot, scouting is a proven method to get ahead of the disease and make smart fungicide choices. By scouting early and often, farmers can make better decisions on when and how to treat the disease.

“Don’t let it surprise you,” Moellers said. “If the environment favors tar spot, it can appear at any time and spread rapidly. Fungicide application is not optional in the fight against tar spot; it’s mandatory to protect yield potential and plant health.”

Farmers have become skilled at tackling known corn diseases over the years, but tar spot is still new to many U.S. fields, and it is aggressive. Don’t find out the hard way in 2023. Together with tolerant corn hybrids, fungicides help protect yield potential during grain fill stages and the critical dry down period.

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