Saturday, January 28, 2023

Friday January 27 Ag News

 Final Reminder to Sign Up for Balancing Species Protection and Soybean Production Workshop

Soybean growers, consultants, and ag professionals are reminded to email soon if you'd like to attend the Balancing Species Protection and Soybean Production workshop on Feb 9th and 10th in Lincoln, NE. Registration for the event will close this Tuesday, January 31st, 2023.

This workshop is an important opportunity to weigh in on the “picklist” that EPA is considering for runoff mitigation measures. Some of this pick list could conflict with current management tactics for soybean gall midge or other emerging pests. It should be noted, that this will not be Endangered Species Act specific, this is what EPA will be applying to labels just to meet FIFRA obligations as we’ve seen with atrazine and most recently in December with 4 registration review decisions….so it doesn’t matter if a farm is near endangered species habitat or not, if EPA is concerned about a pesticide running off the field the pick list with these practices will be added to the label and farmers will be required to implement a certain number of practices from the list depending on the chemical:

    Vegetative filter strip (30 ft minimum width for solution runoff, 20 ft. minimum width for soil erosion of adsorbed pesticides))
    Field terracing/ contour buffer strips
    Contour farming
    Cover cropping
    No/reduce tillage
    Grassed waterways
    Riparian buffer zone/ riparian herbaceous zone
    Vegetative/grassed ditch banks
    Runoff retention pond/ water and sediment control basin/ sediment catchment basin/ constructed wetland
    Strip cropping
    Vegetative barriers
    Mulching with natural materials
    Alley cropping

In addition to the conservation practices, there will also be additional setbacks (ex: do not apply within 30 ft. from a stream, pond, waterbody, etc.) applied where EPA identifies risk. They have recently identified setbacks from “conservation areas” as a new type of setback they are considering for drift mitigation, so we will be interested in talking about what this means for operations in the workshop. Again these setbacks may not be Endangered Species Act specific but across the board, so if you’re farming next to CRP anywhere in the country, you would have to observe some setback distance.

The workplan update (US EPA - ESA Workplan Update - Nontarget Species Mitigation for Registration Review and Other FIFRA Actions) is one of the only opportunities we have to weigh in on this since it’s open for public comment, and what they decide here will be applied moving forward. They have specifically asked for feedback in various sections throughout the workplan, for example:

"EPA seeks feedback on the example label language in the table below. Additionally, EPA is requesting specific feedback for the following questions:
- Regarding the surface water protection statements, are there additional criteria for proposing mitigation that EPA should consider
- Are the descriptions of the pick list mitigation measures in Section 4 clear? If not, please suggest alternative language.
- Are there other measures that are effective in controlling dissolved runoff that should be included in the pick list? Please include supporting data with any suggestions."

We are really hoping to use the workshop to inform EPA about the challenges local stakeholders are experiencing/will experience in implementing these new requirements. And through these discussions, can we identify better approaches that work at least to resolve endangered species concerns? EPA identified regional approaches as an option they are considering and the efforts we take on here could be the first example of what that could look like…so I see a huge opportunity to inform the process if we can get more grower voices involved in the conversation.

Send an email to if you are interested in attending.


Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Regarding Appointment of Congressman Adrian Smith to Lead the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee

“On behalf of Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB), I want to congratulate Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-3) for being selected to serve as the senior member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. Given the importance of trade to the financial futures of Nebraska’s farm and ranch families, the selection of Congressman Smith, a long-time proponent of growing international markets and a key agricultural ally in the House, is a win for agriculture and a win for Nebraska.”

“Congressman Smith not only understands the importance of trade but has taken an active role in advancing trade agreements which have benefited farmers, ranchers, and businesses across our great nation. He will work across the aisles to fix long-term issues with our trading relationship with China, find new markets for Nebraska agricultural products, work on a series of reforms needed within the World Trade Organization, and use our trade tools to address supply chain and inflation issues. There is no one better to push the Biden administration to act on trade than our long-time friend, Congressman Smith. We look forward to working with him to advance our trade initiatives.”

NCGA Announces Fields-of-Corn Photo Contest Winners for 2022

Amanda Johnson of Nebraska is the grand prize winner of NCGA’s 2022 Fields-of-Corn photo contest. The photo – “All the Fall Colors – was submitted under the Scenery and Landscapes category.

The most popular entry came from the Farm Family Lifestyle category, by Kari DeMoss of Iowa with the photo, “The Future of the Farm.”

Other popular categories included Corn, Growing Field Corn, Farming Challenges, Equipment and Conservation, and a new category, Farm Babies.

“There are a lot of very talented photographers who enter the contest, and each year we get a wide variety of photographs,” said NCGA Graphic Communications Manager Beth Musgrove.

“After nine years, there should be some exciting changes for the tenth contest in 2023.”

In total, 26 prizes were awarded across the eight categories. Winners are determined through a combination of Facebook likes and consideration of a panel of judges. Images submitted to the contest are valuable assets for NCGA in publications, social media channels and the website.

USDA Announces 40 appointments to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the appointment of 40 members to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. Thirty-nine members will serve three-year terms and one member will serve a one-year term. The term of board members appointed to three-year terms start February 2023 and end February 2026.

Newly appointed members are:
    Alabama – Bill Lipscomb, Prattville, Ala.
    Arkansas – Donald Hubbell, Batesville, Ark.
    Colorado – Jody Rogers, Yuma, Colo.
    Florida – LuJean Waters, Bartow, Fla.
    Georgia – Kristy Griffis Arnold, Screven, Ga.
    Idaho – Patricia Dowton, Ellis, Idaho
    Illinois – Paul Walker, Danvers, Ill.
    Indiana – Edmund R. Hildenbrand, Huntingburg, Ind.
    Iowa – Hayley Moss, Hull, Iowa, and Ross Havens, Atlantic, Iowa

    Kansas – Amy Lyons Langvardt, Alta Vista, Kan., and Jack Geiger, Robinson, Kan.
    Kentucky – Mitchel Logsdon, Munfordville, Ky.
    Minnesota – Jeri L. Hanson, Comfrey, Minn.
    Missouri – Patty Wood, La Monte, Mo., and Marsha Corbin, Dover, Mo.
    Montana – Benjamin J. Peterson, Judith Gap, Mont.
    Nebraska – Michael W. Crosley, Niobrara, Neb., and Jaslyn Livingston, Broadwater, Neb.

    New York – John E. Kriese, Branchport, N.Y.
    North Dakota – Mary Graner, Huff, N.D.
    Ohio – Joe Foster, Gallipolis, Ohio
    Oklahoma – Jason Hitch, Guymon, Okla., and Rodney E. Cowan, Watonga, Okla.
    Oregon – Wendy Bingham, North Powder, Ore.
    Pennsylvania – Diane M. Hoover, Lebanon, Pa.
    South Dakota – Larry C. Stomprud, Mud Butte, S.D.
    Tennessee – Celeste D. Blackburn, Jefferson City, Tenn.
    Texas – Chloe Wilson, Sabinal, Texas, Seth A. Denbow, Weatherford, Texas, Claudia S. Wright, Richmond, Texas, Anne Ilse Anderson, Austin, Texas, and Debbie Gill, Chico, Texas
    Virginia – James Edward Calhoun, Jr., Callands, Va.
    Wisconsin – Terry Quam, Lodi, Wis.
    Northwest Unit – Marty Stingley, Ellensburg, Wash.
    Southwest Unit – Ted L. Kingsley, Colusa, Calif., and Cathy Jauch, Plymouth, Calif.
    Importer Unit – Andrew Kopic, Jacksonville, Fla., and Doug McNicholl, Washington, DC (1-year term)

The board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985 and is composed of 101 members representing 34 States and 5 units. Members must be beef producers or importers of beef and beef products nominated by certified producer organizations. More information about the board is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Cattlemen's Beef Board webpage

ICGA Hosts Informational Farm Bill Priorities Session

Today, members from across the state joined farmer leaders from Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA), to discuss priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill. Panelists included Mark Recker, former ICGA President serving on the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Risk Management and Transportation Action Team, Stu Swanson, ICGA District 2 Director and chair of the Animal Ag and the Environment Committee and Mark Mueller, ICGA District 3 Director and At-Large Director on the U.S. Grains Council.

“ICGA policy is established at the grassroots level and farmer member engagement is valued in ongoing policy development,” said Iowa Corn VP of Policy, Mindy Larsen Poldberg who attended the call. “By hosting conversations like the call today, crop fairs across the state and other local actives, we answer questions and gain insight into what farmers want to know most, allowing us to have clearer communication on our efforts both here in Iowa and in Washington, DC as we advocate for solid ag policy."

Priorities Discussed:
    Crop Insurance - Iowa corn farmers believe Congress should maintain premium offsets for harvest price coverage in crop insurance. Farm programs are written to provide a basic level of risk protection to help offset bad economic times and severe weather. At this time, we are advocating that congress should do no harm to crop insurance and avoid reductions or changes that will hurt its effectiveness.
    Conservation Programs - Iowa corn farmers believe the priority for conservation needs to be simpler programs that help farmers address challenges on working lands and better incorporate the farmer perspective, especially around risk management, which would make them more fair, equitable and workable programs.
    MAP & FMD Funding - Iowa corn farmers support continued efforts to improve demand and develop market opportunities both domestically and internationally, including increasing funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) by $200 million and Foreign Market Development (FMD) by $35 million. This program has not been increased in over 20 years and is one of the most effective trade programs in the country.

“A strong farm bill doesn't just support farmers, it supports a unified front on agriculture and its many products, including food,” said Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa. "Food and nutrition programs make up the bulk of Farm Bill programs. We see the linkage of these programs and our on-farm programs as a benefit and hope consumers do too, as we all benefit daily from a predictable and affordable agricultural value chain. Many of the more consumer-facing programs, such as SNAP, are also ag-related as it’s for food products such as corn-fed meats, dairy, eggs, poultry, cereals and more. The connection is important for both rural and urban to work together for the implementation of the Farm Bill. "

The Farm Bill is revised every five years with the current bill being up for reconsideration during this calendar year.

Liljedahl Farms Honored with Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award to the Liljedahl family during a ceremony at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines. Owned and operated by Dennis and Diane Liljedahl, along with their son, Drew, and daughter-in-law, Candice, Liljedahl Farms is a third-generation family farm located near Essex in Page County.

The farm was established by Dennis' parents Charles and Eileen Liljedahl in 1958, with Dennis returning to the farm in 1975 and Drew joining the operation in 2006. Dennis and Diane's daughter Abbey was raised on the farm but has since moved away with her husband Justin. Dennis and Diane have four grandchildren.

"Multi-generational farm families like the Liljedahls are at the heart of so many of our communities across Iowa. They have a family tradition of being good stewards of their land and excellent caretakers of their livestock," said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. "The Liljedahls are also leaders in their community and within Iowa agriculture and I am pleased to present them with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor award."

The Liljedahls raise corn, soybeans, seed soybeans and 2,500 – 3,000 wean-to-finish hogs annually.

The family has implemented numerous conservation practices, including the utilization of no-till planting and the seeding of 1,000 acres of cereal rye as a cover crop each year for the past four years. They have installed terraces, grassed waterways, grassed buffer strips and pollinator habitat on their land, and they participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program.

The Liljedahls have demonstrated a high level of care for their animals and take pride in ensuring consumers can have access to nutritious and delicious pork products. The operation has received the Pork Quality Assurance certification and Transport Quality Assurance certification, and it has implemented an active Secure Pork Supply Plan.

Dennis is the past president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and has served on the board since 2016. He is a delegate for the National Pork Forum, a member of Page County Pork Producers Association, a 1994 Master Pork Producer, and a former assistant swine superintendent for the Page County Fair. He serves as a member of the Essex Education Foundation, Essex School Board, and St. John's Lutheran Church, where he is also treasurer. Diane serves as chair for the St. John's Lutheran Church Council, chair of the committee to restore the Essex Opera House and is active with the Page County Endowment.

Drew is a member of the Page and Fremont County Corn and Soybean Growers Associations as well as the Page County Extension and Outreach Council. Candice is active with the Essex Community Club as well as the Study and Service Club. The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through a partnership with the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), The Big Show on WHO Radio and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. This award recognizes Iowa livestock farmers who take pride in caring for the environment, their livestock and being good neighbors. It is named in memory of Gary Wergin, a long-time WHO Radio farm broadcaster who helped create the award.

Iowa AG Bird Leads Multistate, Bipartisan Effort to Hold Biden Administration Accountable on Governors’ Request for Year-Round E15

Today Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and six of her colleagues sent a letter to the Biden Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and EPA Administrator Michael Regan demanding they promptly comply with Clean Air Act (CAA) deadlines as established by Congress. It has been over 270 days since Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and seven other governors notified the EPA of their decision to exercise their CAA authority to allow year-round E15 sales. By law, the EPA should have finalized that decision no later than 90 days after receiving notification.

“Iowa and other Midwest states have been more than patient with the EPA and White House OMB,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “The farm economy and consumers can literally not afford to lose the ability to sell E15 during this summer. IRFA members applaud Attorney General Bird for organizing seven states to demand the Biden Administration act on the Governors’ decision. The Clean Air Act is clear, and the Biden Administration is clearly tardy. Any further delay simply plays into the hands of oil refiners who are scared to face competition from lower-priced, lower-carbon E15.”

Attorneys General from South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois joined Bird in demanding the Biden Administration abide by the Clean Air Act provisions.

On November 3, 2021, Gov. Reynolds and a bipartisan coalition of eight states notified the EPA of their interest in utilizing authority granted to them under the CAA to request the regulations for E10 and E15 be equalized, thereby ensuring that lower-cost E15 is available to consumers in their states year-round. On April 28, 2022, Gov. Reynolds and seven other governors formally notified EPA of their determination to equalize the regulations and supplied the EPA the required air quality documentation. Under the CAA, EPA “shall” finalize such a request from a governor no later than 90 days after receiving the request.

On December 7, 2022, the draft EPA rule approving the governors’ request appeared on the OMB docket. OMB is the White House office that conducts interagency reviews of rules prior to their being officially released for public notice and comment. On December 22, 2022, IRFA and other state ethanol trade groups held a conference call with OMB to discuss the draft rule.

After no further OMB action was observed, on January 17, 2023, Gov. Reynolds sent a letter to the EPA and OMB urging them to move quickly in order to ensure the new regulations can be in place by the summer driving season. Since that letter was sent, IRFA has received unofficial reports that instead of moving the draft rule forward, OMB has sent it back to EPA for “revisions.” This is a highly unusual move and is viewed by many as a tactic used to “slow walk” regulations.

“The White House delay of the bipartisan governors’ request is not only unacceptable and contrary to law, it is confusing and frustrating given that President Biden himself took emergency action to ensure E15 was available during the summer of 2022,” stated Shaw. “Biden’s E15 announcement, made in Iowa, was probably the single biggest thing he did to address high gas prices last year, as E15 is routinely selling for 15 to 20 cents less than E10. Why the Biden OMB is slow-walking a permanent Midwest E15 fix that is clearly required under the CAA is mind boggling. Delaying action is thumbing your nose at the Clean Air Act, at Congress, at consumers, at bipartisan Midwest governors, and at farmers and ethanol producers. We hope President Biden will step in and get this moving immediately before formal legal action is necessary to bring the Administration into compliance with the law.”

LMA Applauds Bill to Allow Livestock Auction Investment in Small and Regional Packers  
Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) applauds Congressmen Mark Alford (R-Mo.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) for introducing the Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States (A-PLUS) Act. If enacted, the bill would remove an outdated regulatory barrier and allow livestock auction market owners to own or invest in small and regional meatpackers.  

The Administration, Congress, and the livestock industry agree there is a need for increased packer competition and additional processing capacity. Currently, livestock auctions owners are not able to own, invest, or participate in the operation of a packing plant or meat marketing business due to dated Packers and Stockyards Act restriction. This prohibition falls under a 102-year-old law and predates the current, transparent method of selling livestock at an open auction to the highest bidder. The A-PLUS Act is essential in removing this unnecessary barrier to cattle industry investment in the packing sector. The bill would allow livestock auction owners to own or invest in cattle and hog packers smaller than the current ten largest packers.  

“We greatly appreciate Congressmen Alford, Panetta, and Johnson introducing the A-PLUS Act,” said LMA President and owner of Kentucky-Tennessee Livestock Market Mark Barnett. “Livestock auction markets, like mine, are in the competition business. Allowing livestock auction owners to invest in small and regional packers will create competition against large packing entities that already exist. The A-PLUS Act could spur additional capacity and especially additional packers to increase competition and improve profitability for producers.” 

If you have questions about the A-PLUS Act, please reach out to Chelsea Good, Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs & Legal at or 816-305-9540. 

FBN Partners with Boveta Nutrition to Launch Proprietary Feeding System for Beef Cattle to Reduce Feeding Costs in the Beef Industry

Farmers Business Network (FBN®), the global AgTech platform and farmer-to-farmer network today announced FBN Livestock has partnered with Boveta Nutrition™​​ to deliver a proprietary feeding system for beef cattle that improves feed efficiency and carcass yield while reducing methane gas emissions and wet waste.

“With our optimized feeding algorithms, producers get more planned beef production from less feed, meaning a reduction in costs and an increase in profit potential,” says Rod Jones, co-founder and chairman of Boveta Nutrition. “In addition, beef cattle that follow the Boveta diet see a reduction in methane gas production.”

Boveta Nutrition’s optimized feed formulation ensures nutrients are being delivered more precisely so cattle consume less feed yet maintain, or even increase, their gain or milk production.

Ben Row, farm manager at Talcott Land and Cattle outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, participated in an FBN-managed independent study of the Amino balancing program. “Our cost of gain is around $0.71 now. We were at about $1.20 before so that’s a big drop. Plus, the health of the cattle and their overall performance has gone up greatly,” says Row. “Everything is growing better because it’s the right nutrition to grow them the right way.”

“Amino acid balancing has been a standard nutritional practice in the swine and poultry industries to drive margin and animal growth but we haven't been able to solve the riddle with beef cattle until now,” says Dr. Monty Kerley, FBN’s Senior Ruminant Nutritionist. “After decades, we finally believe we’re able to deliver this solution to beef producers and its unique potential to decrease feed costs while maintaining optimal growth.”

The proprietary algorithm from Boveta is initially available to FBN cattle operators in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota, with plans to expand nationally and internationally. A team of experienced FBN nutritionists, led by Dr. Monty Kerley, will help bring the industry-leading system to the market.

"With feed costs on the rise, we know just how important it is to bring an innovation to this sector that truly benefits our livestock producers. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Boveta to help change the beef feed industry," says Luiz Beling, president of FBN Direct.

Boveta has conducted a series of research studies and found:
    Backgrounding cattle on a forage diet showed a $0.20/lb. cost of gain advantage when on Boveta’s balanced diet supplement.
    Cattle on Boveta’s amino acid balanced finishing diet consumed 15% less feed, maintained daily gain, delivering an average savings of $0.07 per pound gained.
    A large commercial feedlot study produced a $30/head advantage for steers on the Boveta diet.

“Our studies clearly demonstrate the economic benefits of our system. It’s exciting because we’re delivering on our goal of enabling livestock operations to function more efficiently and profitably while minimizing feed waste and lowering the environmental footprint of meat and milk production,” says Greg Mills, president and CEO of Boveta Nutrition.

The Boveta optimized diet improves income over feed costs and reduces methane by 8-12%. In addition, roughage can be scaled back from beef feedlot diets to further decrease input costs and reduce methane up to 30% or more in a healthy and practical way.

The reduction in feed costs is significant for many ranchers who continue to face higher fertilizer and corn prices. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, prices for beef cattle feed were up 16% in May 2022 relative to May 2021.

First Few Farm Bill Hearing Dates Set

The United States Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry announced upcoming Farm Bill hearing dates. The first hearing scheduled for Feb. 1, will focus on issues under the trade and horticulture titles of the next five-year agricultural blueprint.

Scheduled to testify before the panel are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Alexis Taylor, Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs; Jenny Moffitt, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs; and U.S. Agency for International Development’s Sarah Charles, Assistant to the Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

    Feb. 1: Trade and horticulture programs
    Feb. 9: Commodity programs, crop insurance and farm credit programs
    Feb. 16: Nutrition programs
    March 1: Conservation and forestry programs
    March 16: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testifies

The Farm Bill legislative package is updated every five years, and the last bill was approved in 2018. With the current law set to expire on Sept. 30, 2023, lawmakers are preparing to draft new measures affecting agriculture, rural and nutrition programs. For NPPC, the 2023 Farm will be an opportunity to renew and expand key Farm Bill programs that protect the pork industry.
To stay up to date and listen in, check out the hearing calendar here

Ranking Member David Scott Welcomes New and Returning House Agriculture Committee Members

Below is a statement from Ranking Member David Scott on the Democratic Members approved today to serve on the House Committee on Agriculture for the 118th Congress.

“I am honored to welcome this talented team of agricultural advocates to the Committee. These Members represent a variety of districts, covering the diversity of our industry and our country. As we continue important conversations and making critical decisions surrounding the farm bill, their input will be invaluable. I anticipate the diligence of these Members, combined with the valuable perspectives they bring on behalf of their constituents, will help the Committee deliver on its commitment to provide positive outcomes for food and agriculture in America.”

Democratic Members of the House Agriculture Committee for the 118th Congress:
• Rep. David Scott (GA-13), Ranking Member
• Rep. Jim Costa (CA-21)
• Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02)
• Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12)
• Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
• Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05)
• Rep. Shontel Brown (OH-11)
• Rep. Stacey Plaskett (VI-AL)
• Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03)
• Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-07)
• Rep. Yadira Caraveo (CO-08)
• Rep. Andrea Salinas (OR-06)
• Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03)
• Rep. Don Davis (NC-01)
• Rep. Jill Tokuda (HI-02)
• Rep. Nikki Budzinski (IL-13)
• Rep. Greg Casar (TX-35)
• Rep. Jasmine Crockett (TX-30)
• Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-01)
• Rep. Eric Sorensen (IL-17)
• Rep. Gabe Vasquez (NM-02)
• --
• --
• --

NOTE: Three additional Democratic Members will receive assignment to the House Agriculture Committee at a date to be determined.

ASI Elects New Leadership at Annual Convention

As he works through the transition process to step away from a daily role on his family’s fifth-generation ranch outside Casper, Wyo., Brad Boner stepped into a new role during the American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention in Fort Worth, Texas.

He will serve as ASI president for the next two years after unanimous election on Saturday by the ASI Board of Directors. Boner joined ASI’s officer team in 2019 when he was first elected secretary/treasurer after representing Region VII on the ASI Executive Board. He was elevated to vice president in 2021 and now takes over as president from Susan Shultz of Ohio.

“I thought about this day occasionally the last few years,” said Boner. “But it’s not something I thought about much before today. We’re blessed with such great people in this organization, and it’s so much fun to work with them to lead the industry. There’s no backing out now, so here we go.”

The family ranch includes both ewe-lamb and cow-calf operations along with selling Black Angus seedstock. Brad and his wife, Laurie, have three children who all live close to the home place, but only Ryan works on the ranch on a daily basis. Ryan’s involvement allows his parents to spend additional time with their grandchildren.

“This generational transition is an interesting process,” Boner said. “As was alluded to by a few other speakers this week, there comes a point where it’s time for the next generation to step up and start doing what they can do. That’s where we’re headed. Plus, that grandparent thing is pretty cool stuff.”

Boner is joined on the ASI officer team by Montana’s Ben Lehfeldt as vice president and California’s Joe Pozzi as secretary/treasurer. Pozzi – a former member of ASI’s Executive Board from Region VIII – ran unopposed for the secretary position.

“I’m looking forward to working with Joe,” Boner said. “What an innovator and entrepreneur he is in this industry. I believe he’ll be a great addition to our team for the next several years.”

In addition, Virginia’s Lisa Weeks in Region II and New Mexico’s Bronson Corn in Region VI were reelected to second terms on the ASI Executive Board. Lynn Fahrmeier of Missouri was selected to represent Region IV, while Ryan Indart of California was elected from Region VIII. Steve Clements and Sarah Smith of those respective regions were term-limited and not eligible for reelection.

The National Lamb Feeders Association elected Kate Harlan of Wyoming to fill the NFLA representative spot on the ASI Executive Board. She replaces her father, Bob Harlan, who also wasn’t eligible for reelection.

That team will have to hit the ground running in 2023 as Congress debates funding for the next Farm Bill. The ASI Executive Board established a list of goals for 2023 late last year and the top priority is to continue to be a “proactive force on legislative issues effecting sheep producers.”

Priorities for the industry in the new farm bill include issues such as reauthorizing an updated marketing loan program for wool, extending the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant program, and Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund/U.S. Wool Research in addition to funding U.S. Department of Agriculture export programs.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time this year on the Farm Bill,” said Boner. “I just have to keep plugging away at everything I can to keep this industry moving forward. We’ve been blessed with a lot of great leadership in the past, so there’s some pressure not to disappoint.”

Friday, January 27, 2023

Thursday January 26 Ag News

 Farm Credit Services of America Returns $341 Million in Cash-Back Dividends

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) is returning $341 million of its 2022 net income to farmers and ranchers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Cash-back dividend checks were mailed January 26, 2023, and will be in the hands of the customer-owners shortly.

FCSAmerica is a financial cooperative that, for the past 19 years, has shared its success through its cash-back dividend program. FCSAmerica has returned more than $2.9 billion to eligible customer-owners since 2004.

This is money that has gone into the pockets of local farmers and ranchers to invest in their operations and families and to spend in their communities.

“The benefit of our cash-back dividends grows exponentially with every investment our customer-owners make in their businesses and community,” said Mark Jensen, CEO and president of FCSAmerica. “Cash-back dividends are an important part of sharing our success with our customer-owners and supporting rural communities.”

This year’s cash-back dividend is equal to 100 basis points – or a return of 1% of a customer’s eligible daily 2022 balance with FCSAmerica. In Iowa, this equates to a 2022 payout of $124.5 million. This puts the total net income returned to Iowa farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in the past 19 years at $1.2 billion.

The share of the 2022 cash-back dividend going to Nebraska customer-owners is $112.9 million for a 19-year total of nearly $906 million. South Dakota and Wyoming customer-owners have been mailed $56.6 million and $6.6 million, respectively, in 2022 cash-back dividends. Since 2004, FCSAmerica has returned a total of $561.5 million to South Dakota and nearly $68 million to Wyoming.

Customers whose cash-back dividends are distributed to locations outside FCSAmerica’s service territory are not included in the state-by-state totals.  

The Board of Directors for FCSAmerica also has approved a cash-back dividend to be paid from the cooperative’s 2023 net earnings, the amount of which will be determined in December.

Cuming Co Feeders Spring Events

Save the date for the Cuming County Feeders membership social Monday, February 20 at Indian Trails in Beemer.  Doors open at 6pm with a dinner & social time. Do not need to be a member to attend. And mark your calendar for the NEW banquet date, March 25th in West Point.

Schuyler Teacher Surprised with Teacher of the Year Award for Bringing Agriculture into the Classroom

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation surprised Schuyler Elementary School teacher Ann Sobota with the 2023 Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year award at a school assembly on Jan. 26.  The award is given to outstanding teachers that incorporate agriculture into their classroom through innovative ideas and lessons.

“Ann Sobota is a dedicated teacher who incorporates yearlong learning with Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom. Her active participation makes her a great fit to be awarded for integrating agriculture into core classroom learning. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is pleased to honor her,” said Courtney Shreve, director of outreach education.

Sobota, a kindergarten teacher at Schuyler Elementary School, has been teaching for seven years. She participates in the Ag Pen Pal Program and Classroom Visits and was awarded a field trip grant for her classroom to take a trip to a dairy farm this spring.

“I’m so excited to take my students to the dairy farm this spring. This will be the first time visiting an actual dairy farm! Most of my students have never seen a dairy cow up close before and have never seen how we get milk from them,” said Sobota. “The field trip will also be a great way for my students to see the technology that goes into getting milk. It will definitely be an experience for everyone to remember for the rest of their lives.”

Sobota also participates in Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom’s Classroom Visits. During these visits a professional educator comes into the classroom and teaches a grade-specific, hands-on lesson where students learn agriculture is their source of food, clothes, and shelter.

“My students have really loved the lesson, Apples Inside and Out. The students are super engaged and excited throughout this Nebraska agriculture lesson because they are able to put what they just learned into some real-life experiences,” said Sobota.

Sobota’s class also participated in the Ag Pen Pal program where they are paired with a Nebraska farmer to exchange letters.  Sobota’s students love looking at the pictures that they receive from their pen pal.

Sobota will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, an accurate agriculture book bundle featuring 12 books and corresponding literature guides, and a $250 cash prize. The conference, held June 26-29, 2023, in Orlando, FL, brings educators together from all over the United States to learn how to use agricultural concepts to effectively teach core subjects such as reading, math, science, and social studies. The conference features recognition for Teacher of the Year honorees, educational workshops, traveling workshops to agribusinesses and research facilities, and farm tours.

Extension offering financial record-keeping course for farmers and ranchers

The next session of “Know Your Numbers, Know Your Options,” Nebraska Extension’s four-part record-keeping course, will be held virtually from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Central time on Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28.

Participants should plan on attending each of the four workshop dates. The course requires participants to have an internet connection.

This course is designed to help farmers and ranchers understand their current financial position and how big decisions like large purchases, new leases or changes in production will affect their bottom line. Participants will work through the financial statements of a case study farm, watching pre-recorded videos, completing assignments, and participating in video chats. Upon completion of this program, participants will have a better understanding of how financial records can be used to make decisions and confidently discuss their financial position with their family, business partners, and lenders.

The course fee is $20 per participant and class size is limited to 20 people. Registration will close Feb. 1 and may be completed on the Nebraska Women in Agriculture website,

This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2020-70028-32728.

Nebraska Cattlemen Selects Priority Bills for the First Half of the 108th Legislative Session

Yesterday, during their annual Legislative Committee meeting, Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) selected three priority bills, LB783, LB242, and LB243, and took positions on eighty-nine pieces of legislation for the first half of the 108th Nebraska Unicameral legislative session

Jerry Kuenning, Chair of the NC Legislative Committee stated, “One of our most important jobs as Nebraska Cattlemen leadership is to support policies to protect Nebraska’s beef cattle producers. After a thorough review process, we have selected three priority bills, in accordance with Nebraska Cattlemen policy, that reinforce the dire need for property tax reform in our state. Property tax reform is critical for rural vitality, and we look forward to working with our state legislators to leave a better Nebraska for future generations of producers.”

LB783 brought forth by Senator Dave Murman (District 38) aims to eliminate community college districts’ ability to levy property taxes beginning in FY2026-27.

Further, Senator Tom Briese (District 41) introduced LB242 and LB243 to change existing legislation and provide additional property tax relief. LB242 seeks to change provisions of the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive Act, by removing the 5% allowable growth percentage cap and setting the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive at $1 billion for 2024. Senator Briese’s LB243 sets the minimum amount of relief granted under the Property Tax Credit Act at $700 million for 2024.

Nebraska Cattlemen played a key role in the adoption of the largest tax relief package ever in the history of Nebraska, LB873, during the 107th Legislative Session. Specifically, the $205 million in property tax relief involving community colleges was a direct result of the work NC completed last winter in the Nebraska Cattlemen Taxation working group. Property tax relief remains one of Nebraska Cattlemen’s utmost priorities for the first half of the 108th legislative session.

Smith Named Trade Subcommittee Chair

Today, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) was named Chairman of the Trade Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee. Smith released the following statement:

“American consumers and producers are being forced to the sidelines of the global economy because of the Biden administration’s failure to put forward a proactive trade agenda. Trade has the potential to lower costs for American families, level the playing field for American products abroad, and expand opportunities for American small businesses.

“As chair of the Trade Subcommittee, I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure we use every trade tool at our disposal to tackle supply chain and inflation crises, open new markets for American producers, and hold both our trading partners and bad actors accountable. We must also immediately reauthorize MTB and GSP. Considering each program’s broad, bipartisan support, there is no excuse for further delay in getting this done.

“Trade has never been more important to consumers and producers – it’s past time for our work to reflect that importance.”
Smith, a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee, also serves on the Health as well as Work and Welfare Subcommittees. He served as Ranking Member of the Trade Subcommittee in the 117th Congress. Additionally, he previously chaired the Subcommittee on Human Resources and was Ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures.

Impact of Irrigation Technologies on Water Use

When investing in new irrigation technologies (e.g., cost-share programs), it is important to understand what the benefits are for both the producer and the watershed. The various components of the water cycle help explain how changes at the field scale impact water resources at the watershed scale. Consumptive use of water is a particularly important topic for making this connection; however, consumptive use tends to be a difficult concept to grasp.

A new NebGuide addresses this need by providing a clear presentation of the topic of consumptive use in the context of irrigated crop production. In the NebGuide, guidelines are given for determining whether a new irrigation technology that may reduce water withdrawals for irrigation will also reduce consumptive use of water, resulting in more water stored in the watershed, available to other water users or for later use.

The new extension publication, “Impact of Irrigation Technologies on Water Use,” is available online at

The NebGuide was reviewed by Xin Qiao, Chuck Burr and Aaron Nygren.

Farm Bureau Reminds Nebraskans to Claim Their Property Tax Relief During Tax Season

Nebraska Farm Bureau is reminding Nebraskans to claim their property tax relief through the state’s refundable income tax credit. The refundable income tax credit is considered property tax relief as the credit is based on property taxes paid to K-12 schools and community colleges. Nebraskans who paid property taxes on real property in 2022 are eligible to claim a credit equal to 30 percent of the property taxes paid to both K-12 schools and community colleges when they file Nebraska income taxes.

“Nebraska Farm Bureau was a strong advocate for the legislation that created the refundable credit for property taxes paid to K-12 schools. We were equally strong proponents for the legislation that passed last year establishing a similar credit for property taxes paid to community colleges,” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “Farm Bureau is working to provide tax relief and we don’t want Nebraskans to miss out on claiming their refund, particularly when it’s worth nearly a third of the taxes they paid to schools and community colleges. Nebraska property taxpayers could see thousands of dollars in tax relief.”

To claim the credit, Nebraskans need to include Form PTC 2022 when they file their income taxes, which can be found on the Nebraska Department of Revenue website. Those who haven’t claimed the credit for property taxes paid to K-12 schools in 2020 or 2021 can still do so using the PTCX Forms. Nebraska Farm Bureau has made it easy by setting up webpage with a step-by-step video to help Nebraskans fill out the correct forms to claim the refundable income tax credit. The page can be accessed by visiting Nebraska Farm Bureau recommends seeking guidance from a tax professional or the Nebraska Department of Revenue for specific questions on the tax credit. More background on the credit can be found on their website.

Nebraskans can also help protect the property tax relief provided by the state by encouraging their peers serving on local government and school boards to hold the line on spending, particularly in areas where property valuations have climbed significantly, creating a windfall that allows those entities to collect more property taxes.

“Controlling spending at the local level is key to reducing property taxes and preventing erosion of the property tax relief the Legislature has provided through the tax credit for property taxes,” said McHargue. “We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Jim Pillen, the Legislature, and local elected leaders to provide property tax relief for Nebraskans.”

 FSA Reminds Producers of ARC/PLC Commodity Crop Safety Net Enrollment for 2023 Production Season

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reminding producers now is the time to make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2023 crop year. The signup period is open through March 15, 2023, and producers are encouraged to begin working with their USDA county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office now to complete the process.

Producers can learn about the ARC and PLC options during a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Center for Agricultural Profitability webinar scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Cathy Anderson, production and compliance programs chief for the Nebraska Farm Service Agency, and Brad Lubben, extension policy specialist in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agricultural Economics, will present and share information relevant for producers, ag professionals and ag stakeholders.

Registration for the webinar is free and can be found at

ARC and PLC are key USDA safety-net programs that help producers weather fluctuations in either revenue or price for certain crops.

“Safety-net programs like ARC and PLC are designed to help producers mitigate some of the financial stressors associated with crop production. I encourage farmers to evaluate their program elections and enroll for the 2023 crop year,” said Nebraska FSA State Executive Director John Berge.

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

Producers can elect coverage and enroll in ARC-County or PLC on a crop-by-crop basis, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2023 crop year. Although election changes for 2023 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm, it will be necessary to sign a new contract for the farm by the March 15th deadline if a 2023 election change is desired.

If an election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2023, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year.

All program participants are encouraged to review their previous program elections, Berge said.

Christie Wiebbecke Selected as Senior Director of Research for the Iowa Soybean Association's Research Center for Farming Innovation

The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) welcomes Christie Wiebbecke, Ph.D., as the senior director of research for ISA’s Research Center for Farming Innovation (RCFI). After nearly two decades in research and development with an emphasis in soybean breeding, Christie assumes leadership of the nationally recognized research team.
“I am thrilled to join ISA’s RCFI serving Iowa farmers,” says Wiebbecke. “After spending most of my career focused on genetics and varietal selection, I am excited to champion on-farm research and implementation efforts of the RCFI team enhancing the capabilities of Iowa soybean operations to improve productivity, profitability, and sustainability.”
An Iowa native, Wiebbecke received her Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Iowa State University and Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from Chapman University. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Breeding from Iowa State University.
Wiebbecke began her career as a teacher, sharing her passion for learning, science and agriculture with students. She then channeled her efforts on research and development, focusing on soybean breeding for more than 16 years, including a decade spent as a soybean breeder developing new varieties for farmers. Most recently, Christie served as a soybean technical product manager with Corn States—Bayer’s commercial licensing organization.
“We are so excited to have Christie join the ISA team as she assumes overall leadership of our research and conservation programs and projects,” says Kirk Leeds, ISA CEO. “ISA continues to provide real world answers and solutions to the research challenges that Iowa’s soybean farmers are facing. Christie will lead a team focused on using the best information possible to help farmers improve agronomic performance while enhancing and expanding conservation practices.”
Wiebbecke was named to the position following the May 2023 retirement of Ed Anderson, Ph.D., who will continue to serve soybean farmers in a contractual role as executive director of the North Central Soybean Research Program.
To get involved with ISA research, visit

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to offer free, educational programs

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will host three educational programs during the month of February. Tanner Lawton, ICA member services manager said each program will include a meal, educational sessions, a trade show, and an industry update from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Beef Industry Council.

“We felt it was important to bring more educational opportunities to your backyard this year. Each forum will feature guest speakers talking about a variety of industry topics and a trade show with vendors ready to share their newest products and technologies to help make your operation more efficient and profitable,” he said.

On Feb. 7, in Guthrie Center, Iowa, Dr. Lee Schulz, Iowa State University Livestock Economist, will provide attendees with a Cattle Market Outlook while Randie Culbertson, Cow-Calf Specialist at Iowa State University, will discuss practices and preparations to consider implementing this year.

In Cascade, Iowa, on Feb. 8, Stockguard will discuss the importance of preparing and protecting your operation from declines in market practices for financial stability. Carl Babler will also provide a Cattle Market Outlook update.

The final Cattle Producer Forum in February will be held on Feb. 23 in Royal, Iowa. Attendees can count on a Cattle Market Outlook update from Zach Tindall with Producers Livestock.

All events begin at 5 p.m.

Producers can register to attend by calling 515-296-2266. Registration is not required, but appreciated. Walk-ins are welcome. Non-members are encouraged to attend for $20.

February 7, 2023
Guthrie Co. Fairgrounds
Community Building
408 W State St., Guthrie Center, IA

February 8, 2023
Legion Hall
301 Jackson St. NE, Cascade, IA

February 23, 2023
The Great Hall of Royal
300 1st Ave., Royal, IA

If you can’t make it in February, there are three other opportunities during March. More details for these forums will be available soon.

March 1, 2023
Washington Co. Extension Office
2223 250th St., Washington, IA

March 21, 2023
Keystone Turner Hall
91 2nd Ave., Keystone, IA

March 28, 2023
Newton Fore Seasons
6232 Hwy S74 S, Newton, IA

Iowa Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees

Are you a farmer or forestland owner who is improving soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat on your working land? Apply for the 2023 Iowa Leopold Conservation Award®.

Sand County Foundation and national sponsor American Farmland Trust present the Leopold Conservation Award to farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners in 25 states for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. In Iowa, the award is presented with state partners: Conservation Districts of Iowa, Farmers National Company, and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Given in honor of renowned conservation Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes landowners who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. In his influential 1949 book, “A Sand County Almanac”, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at

The application deadline is July 1, 2023. Applications can be emailed to Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of agricultural and conservation leaders.   

The recipient receives $10,000, and their conservation success story will be featured in a video and in other outreach. The recipient will be announced at The Big Soil Health Event in December. Last year’s inaugural recipient of the award was Pinhook Farm of Clarinda.

“It’s critical we continue to recognize and life up the Iowa farmers and ranchers who are prioritizing conservation on their working lands,” said Sally Worley, Practical Farmers of Iowa Executive Director. “PFI is proud to support the Iowa Leopold Conservation Award and its commitment to conservation in agriculture.”

“The landowner plays a critical role in the conservation of America’s farmland resources. Sustainable practices not only benefit the local environment and community, but also improves the quality and value of the land as an asset for the current owner, and future generations,” said Clayton Becker, Farmers National Company President. “This is why Farmers National Company is honored to sponsor this prestigious award recognizing hard work and a commitment to conservation.”

“The conservation ethic inspired by Aldo Leopold is very strong in Iowa. He was born and raised in Iowa where he learned to love the land. That same land is now loved and preserved by many other great conservationists,” said John Whitaker, Conservation Districts of Iowa Executive Director.

“Recipients of this award are examples of how Aldo Leopold’s land ethic is alive and well today. Their dedication to conservation shows how individuals can improve the health of the land while producing food and fiber,” said Kevin McAleese, Sand County Foundation President and CEO.

“As the national sponsor for Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, American Farmland Trust celebrates the hard work and dedication of farmers, ranchers and forestland owners,” said John Piotti, AFT President and CEO. “At AFT we believe that conservation in agriculture requires a focus on the land, the practices and the people and this award recognizes the integral role of all three.”

The Iowa Leopold Conservation Award is made possible through the generous support of American Farmland Trust, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Farmers National Company, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Sand County Foundation, Soil Regen, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nancy and Marc DeLong, Iowa Corn, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, and Iowa Farmers Union.   

Summit Panel Will Explore Ethanol Markets Beyond Vehicles

When most people think of ethanol use, they think of cars, SUVs and other light-duty vehicles. However, interest in cleaner, greener and cheaper alternatives to fossil fuels is opening up new markets. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit has brought together a panel of experts to share their work to unlock these alternative uses for ethanol.

The Beyond Vehicles: New Opportunities for Ethanol panel will include:  
    Lindsay Fitzgerald, Vice President of Government Relations for Gevo, Inc, a company working to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from ethanol.
    Dr. BJ Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearFlame Engine Technologies, whose advances are unlocking heavy-duty engines for ethanol.
    John Rosenfeld, Vice President Commercial/Strategic for Proteum Energy, who is working on an ethanol-to-hydrogen pathway.
    Moderator: Grant Menke, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and former Vice President of Market Development for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

“While ethanol is poised to remain the premier low carbon fuel for light-duty vehicles for decades to come, emerging market opportunities highlight exciting growth opportunities that could boost the farm economy,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “These experts will shed some light on their technologies specifically and on the exciting future of new ethanol uses in general.”

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit is taking place on February 7 at the Community Choice Convention Center at the Iowa Events Center. Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register to attend and learn more, visit

First-of-Its-Kind Research Identifies $400 Million in Unrealized Soybean Value

In some instances, two heads are better than one. For a new multi-regional research effort, five organizations put their heads together to achieve full genetic yield potential of the soybean. A new partnership, the first of its kind in more than 40 years, aims to increase soybean flower and pod retention. This unrealized value could bring $50 per acre or $400 million in economic return for U.S. soybean farmers.

The collaborative focus will test how heat and drought impact flower bud retention. Flower production dictates the final pod number and, ultimately, yield in soybeans. The Atlantic Soybean Council, Mid-South Soybean Board, North Central Soybean Research Program, Southern Soybean Research Program and United Soybean Board all agree this is a priority issue impacting the entire industry.

“Farmer-leaders across the major soybean regions came together and asked: ‘What roadblocks do we face, and how can we combine research dollars to make the most impact?’” said Suzanne Shirbroun, president of the North Central Soybean Research Program and Iowa farmer. “While we all farm differently across the country, we also share common challenges. Together we can focus on one large-scale research objective to reduce a major deterrent that limits productivity.”

Although flower retention is a leading cause of soybean yield loss in the U.S., no organized effort exists to address it. Farmers experience about 30% of flower loss under favorable conditions and up to 80% under drought and heat stress.

Texas Tech University, in collaboration with Kansas State University, the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee, will lead the research on this national effort. At the helm, Principal Investigator Krishna Jagadish at Texas Tech University will compile data from dryland, irrigated, severe drought and heat stress growing conditions. In total, 250 diverse genotypes with publicly available whole genome resequencing data will be assessed over the span of this three-year farmer investment.

“The collaboration and alignment of research priorities among our farmers enable advancement of groundbreaking collaboration by regional soybean research groups,” said Keenan McRoberts, Ph.D., United Soybean Board vice president of strategic alignment. “This partnership and the resulting collaborative investment could improve the future of soybean production. It has the potential to strengthen soybean resiliency, increase productivity and bring economic returns back to the farm.”

Understanding the genetic diversity of flower loss opens the door to untapped yield potential in soybeans. The novel phenotyping system, which detects expressions of the various genotypes, will:
    Capture genetic variation across cultivars.
    Identify molecular switches to enhance flower and pod retention.
    Help develop advanced breeding lines. Ultimately, the goal is to increase flower and pod retention by 20% to 30%. That in turn could enhance yields by 10% to 15%.

“Partnering on research of this magnitude is especially important as we continue to experience challenging weather events,” said Shirbroun. “This is one example of how we can invest checkoff dollars collectively that benefits soybean farmers across 30-plus states.”

 Exports Buoy Dairy as Inflation Erodes Domestic Demand

Retail dairy product price inflation continued to affect domestic commercial use of milk during the September–November period, even as inflation itself rose more slowly than in previous months. U.S. dairy exports that are on track to set a new calendar-year record as a percent of U.S. milk solids production, at about 18 percent, helped buttress prices against the domestic-use decline. The national average milk price continues its gradual decline from the all-time high it achieved in May, while still remaining at historically high levels. Stocks of butter and cheese continue to drop, but so do their prices as well.

Price-feed cost margins under the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program remained well above the $9.50/cwt maximum coverage level in November, but forecasts indicate the margin will soon drop below this level for well into the summer.


American Dairy Coalition announces 2023 federal policy priorities, action plan

American Dairy Coalition, a grassroots dairy farmer-led organization with diverse geographic representation, announced federal policy priorities and an action plan for 2023.
“Our ongoing efforts have been focused on raising awareness of short- and long-term challenges, collaborating with experts to understand these challenges, proposing practical solutions, and engaging dairy farmers to have a strong independent producer voice at the table on issues of dairy markets and policy,” said Laurie Fischer, ADC CEO.
Milk Pricing

 One key short-term priority is to see the Class I milk price ‘mover’ returned to its previous ‘higher of’ formula in the 2023 Farm Bill.
“The 2018 Farm Bill made the change away from the ‘higher of’ to a ‘simple average’ with a 74-cent adjuster without hearings and without producer referendum. We want to see an equally quick path to change it back,” said Fischer. “We understand this change was intended to be revenue-neutral, but producers ended up being harmed by how it affected their milk checks and risk management strategies, especially during periods of market stress and volatility when they have the most risk to manage.”
For the long-term, ADC seeks a national Farm Bill hearing on the sustainability of Federal Milk Marketing Orders (FMMO).
“The systemic issues of declining fluid milk sales and declining FMMO participation create instability and uncertainty for dairy farmers. The FMMO system is the only structure for price discovery, market transparency, payment oversight, and other services in an increasingly less competitive, less transparent, and globally significant dairy market, where farmers have fewer milk buyer options and more demands being placed on their farm business practices,” Fischer said.
Nutrition Innovation

 Declining Class I fluid milk sales and declining overall FMMO participation have accelerated during the decade since 2012, when federal nutrition policies removed whole and 2% milk options from schools and other nutrition programs.
Class I fluid milk sales are what the FMMO system is based on, and Class I milk processors are the only ones required to be regulated by the FMMO.
“In our webinars and discussions with experts, we see Class I sales are now below 20% of total U.S. milk production. This decline and the Class I pricing change together create conditions for massive de-pooling of milk,” Fischer pointed out, citing data showing federal and state milk marketing order participation fell from a high of 85 to 95% prior to 2012, to 60% in 2021.
“Fluid milk has been under attack. We want to see federal policies prioritize nutrient density and release the vice-grip of fat restrictions while restoring truth and integrity in the labeling of milk and dairy products vs. non-dairy alternatives so consumers are able to make informed choices for themselves and their families,” she said.
ADC supports restoring whole milk in federal nutrition programs like National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and WIC. This includes exempting nutrient-dense foods like whole milk from the fat limits the Dietary Guidelines impose on nutrition programs and dairy checkoff promotions.
“We believe pilot programs to get whole white and whole chocolate milk options back into schools would empower children to make healthy choices, to choose milk they will enjoy and therefore benefit from, and improve the next generation performance of the fluid milk category,” she said.
Conservation and Climate

“Cows are also under attack, and ADC is standing up for them as dairy farmers face increased public and private scrutiny of methane emissions. In today’s ‘net-zero’ world -- with the complications of climate targets and data tracking -- it is critical that public and private policies reflect the truth: Cows are not cars,” said Fischer.
“An enormous error is being made in calculating the global warming potential of cow belches using a calculation that greatly overstates their impact. Cow biology is part of a natural cycle that has been going on since the beginning of time. If we don’t get this fundamental methane calculation correct -- using GWP-star instead of GWP100 -- farmers will find themselves constantly trying to make up for the natural biology of their cows, even though this belched methane is not new. It is continually recycled through the air, plants, cattle, and the nutrient-dense milk and dairy foods they produce,” Fischer notes.
This methane, this carbon equivalent, is short-lived, not long-lived. It is existing carbon that is recycled, not previously sequestered carbon being extracted.
“Cattle truly are recyclers and upcyclers, and dairy farmers are essential food producers that are closest to nature as the bottom rung of the vital food production ladder. It is essential that sustainability initiatives be voluntary and incentive-based, not punitive. It’s essential that farmer access to capital and markets not hinge on climate targets, that farmers get credit for what they are already doing, that they be recognized as leaders and have the ability to retain control and ownership of their data and achievements as part of their own farm’s footprint -- no matter how those credits may be counted within or outside of the supply chain,” Fischer added.
American Dairy Coalition is ready to collaborate on these and other priorities so that all sectors of the dairy industry can successfully manage their businesses producing vital milk and dairy foods and getting them from farm to table in a hungry, dynamic changing world.

National FFA Organization Selected to Participate in the Advancing Racial Equity Community of Practice Initiative

The National FFA Organization is excited to announce its participation in a new community of practice with other nonprofit organizations focused on advancing racial equity. Over the next six months, leaders in the National FFA Organization will work with The Bridgespan Group to strengthen their approach to advancing racial equity internally and externally. The Advancing Racial Equity Community of Practice, led by The Bridgespan Group, is funded by the Walmart Foundation.

“We believe FFA and agricultural education is a place for all,” said Scott Stump, CEO of the National FFA Organization. “By partnering with other nonprofits through this initiative, we can expand our capacity to seek and promote inclusion and diversity in our membership, leadership, and staff to reflect the belief of the FFA in the value of all human beings.”

 The National FFA Organization is participating in the cohort alongside nine organizations: American Red Cross, Center for the Future of Arizona, Education Design Lab, Goodwill Industries International, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Team Rubicon, The Recycling Partnership, Winrock International, and World Wildlife Fund.  

The Walmart Foundation is providing philanthropic funding to the National FFA Organization. The funding will assist in supporting the National FFA Organization to collaborate with others to share best practices and learnings on their work to prioritize equity.

“We can make a greater impact when we come together to support each other’s journeys to advance racial equity,” said Kirstie Sims, Senior Director, Center for Racial Equity. “We heard from many nonprofit organizations we work with, at varying sizes and points in their racial equity journey, that they wanted to learn and share best practices, knowledge and challenges with others. The Bridgespan Group’s leadership of the Advancing Racial Equity Community of Practice provides that space.”    

Growth Energy Applauds DOE Investment in Biofuels Projects

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Energy's announcement that it would allocate $118 million to expand the production of biofuels:

“The funds awarded today by the DOE will undoubtedly accelerate the innovations taking place at U.S. ethanol plants, opening new opportunities for low-cost, low-carbon energy. As the president has said, we simply can't get to net-zero by 2050 without biofuels. Today's announcement shows that DOE remains committed to that mission. We're excited to see new technologies scaled up with these funds, particularly the work underway at Marquis, Inc., a Growth Energy member slated to receive $8 million for a project that combines CO2 with low-carbon hydrogen to create a new production stream of extra-low-carbon ethanol, slashing emissions by at least 70% or more compared to petroleum-based alternatives.
Growth Energy applauds the Biden administration for delivering another powerful demonstration of ethanol’s role in our clean energy future."

USDA Issues First National Hemp Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today the issuance of the first edition of the new weekly National Hemp Report (pdf). The free and publicly available National Hemp Report ( provides unbiased, timely, and accurate data to help industry stakeholders make business decisions.

The National Hemp Report contains retail advertised prices of hemp products nationally and by region, along with volumes and cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) values of hemp imports into the United States. The report will be issued every Wednesday.

“USDA has recognized the hemp industry’s need for timely market information,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The National Hemp Report will equip stakeholders with weekly price and volume information to help guide smart business decisions.”

Retail advertised prices for hemp are currently available as part of the National Retail Report-Specialty Crops. This new report will be the first-time movement volumes or CIF values of hemp commodities will be published by USDA Market News. It is also the first Market News report dedicated solely to this new commodity group. The National Hemp Report will expand in the future to include additional market information pending ongoing industry engagement.

The National Hemp Report, along with other Market News reports and data, is available on the AMS Specialty Crops Market News web page. You can reach the report through the Hemp Production webpage. You can also subscribe to receive the report through the USDA Economics, Statistics and Market Information System (ESMIS). Additionally, the National Hemp Report is available on My Market News and through the USDA Market News App. The free app is available in both iOS and Android versions and may be downloaded through the Apple and Google Play stores.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Wednesday January 25 Ag News

 Nebraska Cattlemen Announces Laura Field as Executive Vice President

Today, the Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Board of Directors announced Laura Field will begin serving as NC’s Executive Vice President on March 1, 2023. Laura is a decade long citizen of Nebraska who hails from a rural community in Texas. She is a sixth-generation member of a purebred seedstock cattle operation on the Texas gulf coast and has worked in agricultural policy and government affairs for almost twenty years.  

President of Nebraska Cattlemen, Steve Hanson, stated, “Laura’s extensive experience advocating for the beef industry will greatly benefit our members and she will undoubtedly strengthen our organization. We look forward to Laura’s arrival and are excited to work alongside her to serve Nebraska’s beef cattle producers.”

Laura Field said, "I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to work alongside Nebraska cattle producers. The strengths of the Nebraska beef industry are many, and Nebraska Cattlemen is uniquely suited to represent the interests of the various sectors of cattle production by finding common ground in advancing solutions to meet the needs of all beef producers. Growing up in a ranching family, I am excited to serve those I have long admired; the men, women, youth and families who comprise this great industry."

Laura spent ten years as a partner in a government affairs firm in Denver, Colorado before moving to Nebraska and working as the Vice President of Government Affairs for Nebraska Cattlemen. While at NC, she worked with leadership and membership to help advance the state legislative agenda for the association. She then served as Legislative Coordinator for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). Laura has extensive beef industry experience including working in livestock production, industry infrastructure expansion efforts, marketing, water and natural resources policy, and agriculturally focused tax reform efforts.

Laura holds a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Education from Texas Tech University and a Master of Agriculture degree from Colorado State University.

She and her husband Tom live just north of Lincoln and are proud of the three young couples and a rising set of 10-year-olds that comprise their family.

Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Regarding Governor Jim Pillen’s State of the State Address

“Nebraska Farm Bureau supports the governor’s vision and his efforts to say 'no' to overspending and shrink state government. We continue to support the governor’s focus on giving money back to Nebraskans via historic property and income tax cuts. We also appreciate him recognizing that Nebraska’s valuation system of property for tax purposes is a concern and must be addressed.”

“Governor Pillen’s pledge to have the state take on more responsibility for funding our public schools is a step in the right direction. Our policy set by members line up with the vision the governor has to reduce the property and income tax burdens on Nebraskans. We endorsed Governor Pillen because of his promise to lower taxes and slow government spending and we applaud his efforts to make this happen.”

U.S. Custom Harvesters to Celebrates 40th Anniversary at Annual Convention

U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. (USCHI) will celebrate its 40th anniversary as an organization that serves the custom harvesting industry at their Annual Convention in Omaha, Nebraska, February 2-5, 2023.
The Annual Convention will host more than 600 members from across the country and will showcase a 146,000 square foot tradeshow, combine clinics, forage clinics, state meetings, women’s and kids’ events, a children’s safety day, entertainment from Big Time Grain Company and speakers, including social influencer and advocate for agriculture, Farm Babe (Michelle Miller). Mike Less - Farmhand Mike will also attend the convention.

“USCHI’s Annual Convention is the yearly capstone for our organization. It’s a chance for our organization to connect members with machinery and equipment manufacturers and gather to discuss what’s happening in the industry – from inflated costs to new legislation that will affect our workforce,” said JC Schemper, USCHI board president. “This year kicks off the 40th year of our organization representing custom harvesters. The convention will provide educational opportunities for policy solutions, technology advancements, and more within the industry.”

The trade show will feature sponsors such as AGCO Corporation, Case IH, CLAAS of America, John Deere, Pipe Ag, MACDON Industries, JCB North America, INSPRO - a Marsh McLennan agency, and more to demonstrate the newest equipment and technology to USCHI members and harvest crews.
In addition to the program, the board of directors will promote and elect new leaders for the organization. JC Schemper, current president, will move to an advisor role, while David Misener rises to President. Paul Paplow is running for Vice President and Mark Anderson, Nick Dietrick, Pat Farris, and Mychal Neumiller are running for the two open board seats.

Webinars Presented by the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska

Herd Liquidation Impacts to Beef Cattle and Feedlot Operations
Feb 2, 2023 12:00 PM
Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor, UNL Agricultural Economics
The 2023 Cattle Inventory is released at the end of January. We’ll review the numbers, discuss where herd liquidation has occurred, and how this will impact inventory and, ultimately, prices in 2023 and 2024.

Farm Program Safety Net Options: ARC and PLC in 2023
Feb 7, 2023 12:00 PM
Cathy Anderson, production and compliance programs chief, Nebraska Farm Service Agency
and Brad Lubben, extension policy specialist, UNL

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reminding producers that now is the time to make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2023 crop year. The signup period is open through March 15, 2023, and producers are encouraged to begin working with their USDA county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office now to complete the process.

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price.

Producers can elect coverage and enroll in ARC-County or PLC on a crop-by-crop basis, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2023 crop year. Although election changes for 2023 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm, it will be necessary to sign a new contract for the farm by the March 15th deadline if a 2023 election change is desired.

This webinar will cover these options for producers and explain the details of each election possibility.

Producer Perspectives: Farm and Ranch Transition and Succession
Feb 9, 2023 12:00 PM
Allan Vyhnalek, Succession and Transition Educator, Nebraska Extension

Nebraska Extension educator Allan Vyhnalek interviewed two families in 2022. One is transitioning his operation to neighbors and the other family is succeeding the operation and has three active generations working the operation. Learn about how these families handle each situation and gain insight on transition and succession from Nebraska producers going through the process, as well as Vyhnalek, who draws on his four decades of experience working with Nebraska producers through extension.

Agricultural Land Management Quarterly
Feb 20, 2023 11:00 AM
Jim Jansen, Agricultural Economist, Nebraska Extension
and Allan Vyhnalek, Farm and Ranch Succession and Transition Educator, Nebraska Extension

Offered since 2019, the quarterly webinars address common management issues for Nebraska landowners, agricultural operators and related stakeholders interested in the latest insight on trends in real estate, managing agricultural land and solutions for addressing challenges in the upcoming growing season.

The February webinar will examine methods for setting cash rents, flex lease alternatives and considerations for updating agricultural rental arrangements for 2023. It will include an “Ask the Experts” session, offering participants the chance to get answers to their land or lease questions.

The Growing Climate Solutions Act
Mar 9, 2023 12:00 PM
Dave Aiken, Agricultural Law and Water Law Specialist, Nebraska Extension

The Growing Climate Solutions Act became law in December 2022. The act will provide significantly more transparency in the ag carbon credit market. Individuals or companies offering ag carbon market services will be able to register with USDA in 2024 and be listed on a national USDA ag carbon market registry. The webinar will offer an overview of the legislation and what it means for agriculture.

The Growing Role of Government in Livestock Markets
Mar 16, 2023 12:00 PM
Brad Lubben, Associate Professor and Extension Policy Specialist, UNL
and Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor and Extension Livestock Economist, UNL.

Since 2008 when livestock was given its first major title in the 2008 Farm Bill, the federal government has continued to provide more assistance to livestock producers. This assistance includes new federal programs, changes to existing programs, and an increasing amount of ad-hoc payments. We will describe the history of the growth of government in livestock markets, provide an overview of all the available programs for livestock producers, and discuss whether this new role is ultimately a net benefit to producers.

To register for any of these webinars, follow this link:

Trish Cook is First Woman to Lead Iowa Pork Producers

A Buchanan County pig farmer, Trish Cook, is the new president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA). The change in leadership took place following the IPPA annual meeting on Jan. 24.

Cook is the first woman to be president of IPPA, but she points out that leadership in agriculture always depends on teamwork, whether that’s on the farm or in the board room. “The things that are important to me are the things that are important to ALL pork producers,” she said as she took the gavel.

“In pork production we depend on teamwork. My husband, Aaron, and I work as a team. I will work as a team with the board, county organizations, and the staff.  I look forward in representing all of Iowa’s pork producers as we address the challenges and opportunities ahead."

Cook, who had served as president-elect in 2022, replaces Kevin Rasmussen of Goldfield. Rasmussen now holds the past president position on the IPPA Board of Directors. Both Cook and Rasmussen will serve one-year terms in their new roles.

The Cook family owns and operates their family farm near Winthrop, which includes a farrow-to-finish operation, as well as corn and soybeans. Trish is a 27-year member of the Buchanan County Pork Producers and served on the IPPA board since 2019, when she joined as the Northeast Region Director. She has served on several IPPA committees, and participated in the Iowa Pork Leadership Academy and the National Pork Producers Council‘s Pork Leadership Institute. Cook has an accounting degree from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa.

Other changes on the IPPA board include:
    Selecting a new president-elect, who is Matt Gent of Wellman. He formerly served as Region 8 director on the IPPA board. An interim director for that position will be appointed by the board at their March meeting.
    Lance Heuser, Manson, is the new District 2 director. He replaces Rod Leman who has moved out of the district.
    Tim Schmidt, Hawarden, was elected as the Northwest Region Director.
    Dominic Hogan, Monticello, was elected to serve as the Northeast Region Director.
    Haley Kerr, Burlington, was elected as the Southeast Region Director.

The board oversees leadership and direction for all IPPA Pork Checkoff programs, public policy and general direction of the organization.

HPAI Confirmed in a Commercial Turkey Flock in Buena Vista County

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Buena Vista County, Iowa.

The affected site is a commercial turkey flock.

Commercial and backyard flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials. Biosecurity resources and best practices are available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. Possible cases must also be reported to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at (515) 281-5305.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present a public health concern. It remains safe to eat poultry products. As a reminder, consumers should always utilize the proper handling and cooking of eggs and poultry products. An internal temperature of 165˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

New report outlines producer experiences with the Conservation Stewardship Program

A survey of participants in the Midwest shows the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is making strides in providing financial and technical assistance for producers to maintain agricultural production on their land and simultaneously address resource concerns with conservation practices.

Results of the survey, conducted in spring 2022, are part of a new report, released today by the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Producing a Sustainable Future: Producers’ Feedback on the Nation’s Leading Conservation Program,” authored by Kelsey Willardson, policy associate for the Center, includes feedback from 421 farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Kansas.

“Participants provided key insights into how CSP has helped enhance their operations,” Willardson said. “They offered feedback on interpretation of soil test data, additional practice options they’d like to see available, and how the program can better serve their operation.”

Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, CSP allows producers to implement conservation methods while keeping their land productive.

According to the survey, CSP has enhanced many aspects of farming operations, as indicated by the following:
    Nearly 79% of respondents identified the program’s ability to improve the affordability of conservation practices, which is a common barrier for producers not in a working lands conservation program.
    More than 70% of participants said the program improved or is improving the financial health of their operations.
    About 77% of respondents said that CSP-supported conservation efforts have improved or are improving their soil health.

Feedback also showed there are areas in need of improvement within the program. According to the survey:
    Under 50% of respondents reported that CSP has or is helping them understand the nutrient levels in their fields, which shows there’s a need for NRCS to expand its support services for soil testing and data interpretation.
    More than 58% of respondents believe there should be more practices, also known as enhancements, from which to choose. Nearly 75% believe they should be able to expand on previous practices in their renewal contract.

Additionally, respondents said the program becomes less accessible after the first five-year contract has been renewed. The renewal process, according to their feedback, was more difficult than their initial CSP contract and would like to see this change.

Overall, survey respondents were happy with the program, saying it has increased their awareness of the health of their fields and pastures and, in some instances, allowed them to implement conservation on land they otherwise would not have.

Continued funding and support for CSP from Congress in the next farm bill will help agriculture operations implement and continue conservation efforts that are improving soil quality and protecting priority resources, Willardson said.

To read and download “Producing a Sustainable Future: Producers’ Feedback on the Nation’s Leading Conservation Program,” visit


Milk production in Nebraska during the October-December 2022 quarter totaled 356 million pounds, up 1% from the October-December quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 57,000 head, 1,000 head less than the same period last year.

October-December Milk Production up 1.0 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the October - December quarter totaled 56.0 billion pounds, up 1.0 percent from the October - December quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.41 million head, 4,000 head less than the July - September quarter, but 27,000 head more than the same period last year.

December Milk Production up 0.9 Percent

Milk production in the 24 major States during December totaled 18.1 billion pounds, up 0.9 percent from December 2021. November revised production, at 17.4 billion pounds, was up 1.1 percent from November 2021. The November revision represented a decrease of 49 million pounds or 0.3 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate. Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 2,032 pounds for December, 8 pounds above December 2021. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.92 million head, 38,000 head more than December 2021, but 9,000 head less than November 2022.

Iowa: Milk production in Iowa during December 2022 totaled 496 million pounds, up 6 percent from the previous December according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during December, at 239,000 head, was unchanged from last month but up 14,000 from December 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,075 pounds, down 5 pounds from last December.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 1/20/2023

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association for the week ending January 20, ethanol production ticked up 0.4% to 1.012 million b/d, equivalent to 42.50 million gallons daily. Production was 2.2% lower than the same week last year but 0.2% above the five-year average for the week. The four-week average ethanol production rate increased 1.3% to 952,000 b/d, equivalent to an annualized rate of 14.59 billion gallons (bg).

Ethanol stocks swelled 7.2% to a 42-week high of 25.1 million barrels. Stocks were 2.5% more than a year ago and 5.1% above the five-year average. Inventories built across all regions.

The volume of gasoline supplied to the U.S. market, a measure of implied demand, rose 1.1% to 8.14 million b/d (124.82 bg annualized). Yet, demand was 4.3% less than a year ago and 6.9% below the five-year average.

Conversely, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol declined 0.5% to 830,000 b/d, equivalent to 12.72 bg annualized. Net inputs were 4.4% more than a year ago but 0.7% below the five-year average.

There were zero imports of ethanol recorded for the seventh consecutive week. (Weekly export data for ethanol is not reported simultaneously; the latest export data is as of November 2022.)

USDA Cold Storage December 2022 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 11 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 16 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 16 percent from last month and up 66 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on December 31, 2022 were up 7 percent from the previous month and up 23 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 2 percent from the previous month and up 25 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 35 percent from last month and up 14 percent from December 31, 2021.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on December 31, 2022 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up slightly from December 31, 2021. Butter stocks were up 8 percent from last month and up 9 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 5 percent from last month but up 22 percent from a year ago. Total frozen vegetable stocks were down 5 percent from last month and down slightly from a year ago.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Fall to Lowest Level in 15 Months

Most average retail fertilizer prices were lower the third week of January 2023, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. Prices have moved considerably lower in recent weeks. Seven of the eight major fertilizers are lower in price compared to last month. Of these seven, the prices of six fertilizers were significantly lower, which DTN designates as a change of 5% or more.

Both potash and anhydrous were down 9% compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $721 per ton, while anhydrous had an average price of $1,238/ton. Both UAN28 and UAN32 were down 7% compared to last month. UAN28 had an average price of $536/ton, while UAN32 was $634/ton. Urea was 6% less expensive, and MAP was 5% lower. Urea had an average price of $712/ton, while MAP was at $865/ton.

One fertilizer was just slightly lower in price compared to a month earlier. DAP had an average price of $859/ton.

One fertilizer was slightly higher in price compared to last month. 10-34-0 had an average price of $755/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.77/lb.N, anhydrous $0.76/lb.N, UAN28 $0.96/lb.N and UAN32 $0.99/lb.N.

All fertilizers are now lower compared to one year ago. DAP is 1% lower, 10-34-0 is 6% less expensive, both MAP and UAN32 are 7% lower, UAN28 is 8% less expensive, potash is 11% lower, anhydrous 14% less expensive and urea is 22% lower compared to a year prior.

Commodity Classic Announces Main Stage Line-Up for 2023

The nation’s leading agriculture experts and well-known personalities will be featured on the Main Stage during the 2023 Commodity Classic held March 9-11 in Orlando.

The Main Stage, presented by Successful Farming® and Commodity Classic, is located right on the trade show floor. Presentations are scheduled during trade show hours, and highlights of the Main Stage line-up for 2023 include:
    Strategies for Success: Where’s the Market Going? with Farm Credit and Kluis Commodity Advisors
    Cashing In On Carbon with Garth Boyd of Context Network, sponsored by Truterra
    How to Make the Most Success with XtremeAg, sponsored by FMC Corporation
    Bring Soil Health to Life, sponsored by Ducks Unlimited
    Generation Next: A Retiring Couple’s Journey to Find a Successor to the Family Farm, presented by Syngenta

“The Main Stage is where growers can find valuable information they need to improve their farming operation,” said 2023 co-chair Kenny Hartman, an Illinois farmer and NCGA member. “Commodity Classic also features a robust schedule of over 30 educational sessions and a huge trade show with the latest technology, equipment, and innovation. You can also experience top-notch entertainment and the opportunity to network with thousands of progressive farmers from across the nation.”

Registration and housing for the 2023 Commodity Classic is available at Please check the Commodity Classic website for full schedule of events and additional details. Session updates can also be found on Facebook and Twitter at @ComClassic.

Farmers, ranchers sought for study about how they balance children and work  

Farm and ranch parents know how challenging it can be to balance children and work, especially when child care options (paid or unpaid) are limited. These challenges can have consequences for the farm business, the safety of children, and the well-being of the family as a whole. To better understand farm and ranch families’ lived realities balancing children and work, researchers at the National Farm Medicine Center and The Ohio State University are asking farmers to share their experiences through a new national survey.

“We recognize that farmers often feel over-surveyed and have limited time and energy this time of year” said Florence Becot, Ph.D., an associate research scientist at the National Farm Medicine Center and affiliate of the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. “However, we also know that decisions are being made by local, state and national policymakers without a good grounding in the realities faced by actual farm families.”

The survey is especially timely, Becot said, because this is a Farm Bill year, and some farm organizations and policy makers are debating if affordable child care in rural areas should become a priority.

“This is the first nationwide comprehensive survey focused on the realities of farmers and ranchers raising children”, said Shoshanah Inwood, Ph.D., an associate professor at The Ohio State University. The survey asks farmers not only about their child care and schooling arrangements but also about how their decisions are connected to farm safety, the economic viability of their farm business, and their household finances.

“Over the years the U.S. Department of Agriculture has invested significant resources to recruit and retain the next generation of farmers,” Inwood said. “Yet these programs and resources rarely consider or take into account the child care needs of farm and ranch families, despite evidence of child care challenges dating back to the 1980s.”

As one Ohio farm parent told Becot and Inwood during a focus group last year: “If America wants farmers, we need help with child care.”

The survey will provide important information about what solutions could look like. The results of the survey will be available later in the year and will be shared with farmers, farm organizations, state agencies, and policy makers.

Farm and ranch families can respond to the survey online through this link: They can also request a paper survey by contacting Becot (; 715-389-9379).