Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 29 Crop Progress and Harvest Report

NE Harvest Approaching Completion

Agricultural  Summary: 

For  the  week  ending  October  28,  2012,  precipitation  coupled  with  below  normal temperatures  and  wind  slowed  field  activities,  according  to USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service,  Nebraska Field Office.   Producers  in western counties are struggling  to harvest  lodged  crops  due  to  high  winds  at  mid-month.  Statewide, corn harvest was 94 percent complete and soybean harvest  stands  at  98  percent,  both  well  ahead  of  average.  Some  winter  wheat  fields  were  reseeded  due  to  poor  stands and wind  damage.   Emergence  of  the winter wheat  crop has been  slow  and  stands  at  74  percent,  over  two weeks  behind average.    Sorghum  harvest  was  85  percent  complete  while sugar beet harvest was ongoing in western counties.  Some fall field work was being done.   However, with soil  temperatures averaging  in  the mid  50’s,  producers  are  encouraged  to wait before  applying  anhydrous.    Concerns  about  reduced  forage supplies continue to burden livestock producers.
Weather Summary: 

Precipitation was received in the forms of  rain  or  snow  statewide.    Up  to  3-4  inches  of  snow accumulated  in  areas  of  the  west  while  rainfall  totals  were generally  less  than  half  inch  in  most  areas.    Temperatures averaged 4 to 8 degrees below normal across the state.  Highs varied  greatly  from  upper  50’s  to mid  80’s  and  lows  dipped into the teens.  

Field  Crops  Report: 

Corn  harvested  for  grain  was  94 percent, well ahead of 66 last year and 50 average.    

Soybeans  harvested  were  98  percent,  near  97  last  year  and ahead of 85 average.  

Winter wheat emerged was 74 percent, well behind 97 percent last  year  and  93  average due  to dry  soils.  Wheat  conditions rated  20  percent  very  poor,  29  poor,  42  fair,  8  good,  and 1 excellent, well below 79 percent good  to excellent  last year and 68 average.

Sorghum harvested was 85 percent complete, ahead of 59 last year and 41 average.  

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and  range conditions  rated  77  percent  very  poor,  20  poor,  3  fair,  0  good,  and  0  excellent,  well  below  68  percent  good  to excellent last year and 66 average.  

Current Weather & Crops County Comments

Survey Date: 10/28/2012

Light rain-snow mixture has brought a little more moisture across the area this week. Overall, conditions were cool, windy and dry for the week.

Fall tillage and fertilizing are the main field activities.

Still waiting for a lot of rain.

Some rain was received. This made conditions muddy enough to delay remaining harvest.

Nearly all corn had been harvested before the hard wind of October 17 and 18.

Harvest is essentially complete for corn with a few fields of soybeans still to be harvested. Rainfall in the last few weeks has greened up pastures and helped in the emergence of wheat.

A Few Acres of Corn, Soybeans Yet to Be Harvested in Iowa

Weather  conditions  slowed harvest  for most of  the State  this week  as Iowa  experienced  several  cool,  rainy days. A  few  farmers  are waiting for  fields  to dry out  enough  so  they  can harvest  their  remaining  acres according  to  USDA’s  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service,  Iowa Field  Office.  Farmers  who  have  completed  harvest  are  putting  away their heavy machinery and working on cleanup projects. 

There  were  3.9  days  suitable  for  fieldwork  statewide  during  the  past week.  Topsoil  moisture  levels  improved  to  26 percent  very  short, 38 percent  short,  35 percent  adequate,  and  1 percent  surplus.  Subsoil moisture  improved  and  is  now  rated  58 percent  very  short, 34 percent short,  8 percent  adequate,  and  0 percent  surplus.  Grain  movement continues to slow, with 24 percent of the State seeing moderate to heavy grain  movement  from  farm  to  elevator.  As  the  harvest  season  nears completion,  99 percent  of  the  State  reported  adequate  or  surplus  off-farm storage capacity and 97 percent of  the State  reported adequate or surplus on-farm storage capacity. 

Ninety-five percent  of  the  corn  crop  has  been  harvested  for  grain  or seed, still one month ahead of normal. Last year at this time, 82 percent of  Iowa’s  corn  crop  had  been  harvested. 

Ninety-seven percent  of  the State’s soybean crop has been harvested, two weeks ahead of normal.

Only  26 percent  of  Iowa’s  pasture  and  range  land  is  rated  in  fair  or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated at 47 percent very poor,  27 percent  poor,  20 percent  fair,  6 percent  good,  and  0 percent excellent. Hay  supplies are considered short across 42 percent of  Iowa with  39 percent  of  the  hay  supply  considered  in  good  condition. Livestock conditions are generally good.


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

The  past  week  began  with  much  above  normal  temperatures  with frequent showers and  thunderstorms.   Daytime high  temperatures from Monday  (22nd)  through Wednesday  (24th)  ranged  from around 60 over the  far  northwest  to  near  80  in  the  extreme  southeast.    Showers  and thunderstorms brought light to moderate rain to the southeast two-thirds of Iowa on Monday (22nd) morning.  A second wave of showers brought light  rain  to much  of  the  southeast  one-half  of  the  state  on  Tuesday (23rd) morning.   Additional  showers and  thunderstorms on Wednesday morning brought light rain to about the eastern one-third of Iowa.   Finally, an area of rain traversed all of the state from Wednesday (24th) afternoon  into Thursday  (25th) afternoon.   Heaviest  rains with  this  last system fell over west central and north central sections.  The rain turned to  snow  in  the  far  northwest  early  on  Thursday  and  brought  a  brief accumulation  to some areas.   Much cooler and drier weather prevailed for  the remainder of  the week with daytime highs mostly  in  the 40s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Precipitation totals varied from 0.18 inch near Lester in Lyon County to 2.04 inches at Colwell in Floyd County.  The  statewide  average  precipitation was  0.93  inches while normal  for the week is 0.56 inches.  This pushed the October statewide average to 3.11  inches  to make  this  the  first month  since April  to bring a greater than  normal  total.   Temperature  extremes  for  the week  varied  from  a Wednesday afternoon high of 83 degrees at Keosauqua to morning lows of  17  degrees  at  Battle  Creek  on  Saturday  and  at  Belle  Plaine  and Elkader  on Sunday.   Temperatures  for  the week  as  a whole  averaged from 2  to 4 degrees below normal over  the  far west  to 3  to 4 degrees above normal over the central and southeast with a statewide average of 2.1 degrees above normal.  Soil temperatures as of Sunday (28th) cooled to the mid to upper 40s statewide and are expected to average near the  same levels for the coming week.

Corn Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 94% of the 2011 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : October 28, : October 21, : October 28, :  2007-2011 
                :    2011     :    2012     :    2012     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     52            64             80           61     
Illinois ...........:     86            92             94           69     
Indiana ..........:     53            72             81           64     
Iowa ..............:     82            93             95           55     
Kansas ..........:     91            94             97           78     
Kentucky .......:     91            94             96           90     
Michigan ........:     29            48             57           41     
Minnesota ......:     89            96             98           58     
Missouri .........:     95            97             99           75     
Nebraska ........:     66            89             94           50     
North Carolina .:     98            94             96           98     
North Dakota ..:     83            91             94           42     
Ohio ..............:     17            50             64           48     
Pennsylvania ..:     37            58             64           50     
South Dakota .:     80            96            100           47     
Tennessee .....:     96            98             99           96     
Texas ............:     96            95             96           91     
Wisconsin .....:     50            66             77           44     
18 States ......:     74            87             91           60     

Soybeans Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 96% of the 2011 soybean acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     : October 28, : October 21, : October 28, :  2007-2011 
                :    2011     :    2012     :    2012     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas ......:      68            75            84           67     
Illinois ...........:      91            80            87           80     
Indiana ..........:      77            69            81           82     
Iowa ..............:      97            96            97           84     
Kansas ..........:      83            59            74           70     
Kentucky .......:      64            54            70           67     
Louisiana .......:      98            92            97           93     
Michigan ........:      73            77            87           78     
Minnesota ......:     100           100           100          87     
Mississippi .....:      94            94            98           88     
Missouri .........:      79            50            62           62     
Nebraska ........:      97            95            98           85     
North Carolina .:      24            10            17           21     
North Dakota ...:      97           100           100         80     
Ohio ...............:      48            63            79           80     
South Dakota ..:      99           100           100          82     
Tennessee ......:      63            48            66           65     
Wisconsin ......:      89            94           100           74     
18 States ........:      85            80            87           78     

Wednesday October 31 Ag News

Nebraska Soybean Board November Board of Directors Meeting
The Nebraska Soybean Board will meet November 19 & 20, at the Embassy Suites, 1040 P Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, for their November Board of Director’s meeting.  The meeting will begin Monday, November 19 at 1:00 p.m.  The meeting will recess at 5:30 p.m. and reconvene at 7:30 a.m., Tuesday November 20 for other Board business concluding around 2:30 p.m.  Business items to be considered: committee reports and motions, old and new business, information reports, Board member Orientation, officer elections and committee assignments. 

A complete agenda for the public meeting is available for inspection on the Nebraska Soybean Board website at

The nine-member Nebraska Soybean Board collects and disburses the Nebraska share of funds generated by the one half of one percent times the net sales price  per  bushel  of  soybeans  sold.  Nebraska soybean checkoff funds are invested in research, domestic and foreign markets, including new uses for soybeans and soybean products. 

First Engler Lecture Nov. 8 on UNL's East Campus

Kenneth Green, managing general partner of Agra Holdings LP in Firestone, Colo., will speak at the first Engler Lecture at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Prairie Suite Room of the Nebraska East Union.

Green's motivational speech will be targeted to young entrepreneurs who desire the opportunity to build businesses and enterprises. It is part of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said the program's Director Tom Field.

Green has an established record of success that bridges agricultural supply chains, financing, marketing and risk management. He will focus on lessons he learned in the world of business and how they can be useful to the next generations of entrepreneurs.

A dessert reception will follow the lecture at 8 p.m.

The Engler program began in 2010 with a $20 million gift over 10 years from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation. The purpose of the program is to identify students with the entrepreneurial drive and then foster development of professional skills conducive to success in applying entrepreneurism in agriculture and agribusiness.

For more information about the program, visit

Nebraska Sheep & Goat Conference Nov. 2-3

The 2012 Nebraska Sheep and Goat Conference sponsored by the Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association and the Nebraska Dairy Goat Association takes place this weekend, Nnov. 2 and 3.

Meet at the Heritage Inn in Wahoo on Friday for an afternoon of tours at a meat goat operation converted from a dairy farm, and then to an on-farm museum of antique tractors, tools, and other farm equipment. Later, enjoy supper as a group back at the Heritage Inn.

On Saturday, the conference begins with registration at 8 a.m., followed by the Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Sheep and Goat Producers Association and the Nebraska "Make It With Wool" Style Show before the lineup of speakers begins at 10:15 a.m.:
-- Michelle Wendell of Brewster will talk about controlled grazing with goats.
-- Mike Caskey will come from Pipestone, Minn., where he leads a producer education program that reaches around the world, to give a sheep and goat industry overview as well as do a health and nutrition presentation.
-- John Holman, an internationally renowned stock dog trainer, will give a demonstration of his herding dogs in action.
-- Randy Saner with the UNL Extension in North Platte will provide training in monitoring herds for internal parasites.
-- A representative of the Nebraska Cattlemen will speak about the new "We Support Ag" initiative to protect producers from extreme animal rights activism.

Other highlights include a .22 mag Henry rifle auction, silent auction, potluck lunch, cooking contest, and networking opportunities. Cost is $25 per member or $35 per member family, and dues can be paid at the door; or $35 per person or $45 per family, while 4-H and FFA members can attend for $10 per person if attending alone. No pre-registration needed. For more information, call Deb Dauel at 402-642-5887.

Test Before Feeding Corn Stalk Bales

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Corn stalk bales are everywhere this year. They will provide much needed winter feed. Stay tuned as I make suggestions for feeding them effectively.

Baled corn stalks are going to provide a lot of feed this winter. But before you feed those bales, let's first find out what they have to offer nutritionally. Sample and test your bales as soon as possible so when snow gets deep or other feeds run out you will already know how to best feed your corn stalk bales.

Test those corn stalk bales for nitrates, of course, to make sure to feed them safely. And while you're at it, also test them for protein and energy. I've seen test results from a number of corn stalk bales. You may be surprised at how variable the protein and energy content were in these bales. I've seen protein as low as 3 percent and as high as 7 percent. Since dry pregnant cows need 7 to 8 percent protein in their diet, those high protein bales will need only a little protein to adequately care for the cows. But those 3 percent bales will need quite a bit of supplement to keep cows in good condition.

Use a protein supplement that is nearly all natural and is mostly rumen degradable. Maintenance-level forage diets need degradable protein for the rumen microbes, but remember that urea and other non-protein nitrogen sources aren't used as well.

Most bales had pretty good TDN levels, often close to 60 percent. Cows fed these bales should do very well up until calving with just corn stalk bales and adequate protein supplement. However, some stalks were rained on before baling and were below 50 percent TDN. Cows fed these lower quality bales will need some extra energy, too.

It was difficult to acquire enough winter forage this year. Fortunately, corn stalk bales can do the job.

Smith Statement on Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Entry Into Force

The U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement enters into force today, marking the completion of the three U.S. trade agreements enacted in 2011.  Trade promotion agreements with Colombia and South Korea took effect earlier in 2012.  Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) issued the following statement:

“The three trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea are now in effect, bringing mutual economic benefits and expanding export opportunities for Nebraska goods, crops and products.

“Increased trade remains a bright spot for our economy, and an all-too-rare area of bipartisan agreement to grow our economy and create American jobs.  As a member of the Ways and Means Committee and its Subcommittee on Trade, I will continue working to open new markets for Nebraska’s workers, farmers and ranchers to sell their products abroad.”

Johanns Statement on Implementation of U.S.-Panama Trade Agreement

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) applauded today’s implementation of the U.S.–Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. The agreement reduces or eliminates tariffs on nearly 90 percent of U.S. goods entering Panama, and nearly half of U.S. agricultural commodities to Panama will immediately become duty-free, including wheat, high-quality beef, barley, soybeans and bacon. Prior to implementation, tariffs on some U.S. goods entering the market in Panama could be more than 80 percent.

“The implementation of this trade deal is welcome news that’s been a long time coming,” Johanns said. “The U.S. is already Panama’s largest trading partner and our market share will only grow now that Nebraska’s ag producers can start selling many of their products there duty free.

“I worked on this and many other trade agreements during my time as Secretary of Agriculture only to see them stalled unnecessarily by partisan politics. Fortunately, progress has been made over the past year when it comes to trade and I hope that will continue. While our economy continues to struggle, Congress and the Administration should promote free trade to enable the sharing of quality American goods with the global community.”


·         On October 10, 2011, the U.S. Senate passed the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.
·         On October 13, 2011, President Obama signed the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement into law.
·         The agreement provides U.S. companies with new access to Panama’s $22 billion services market.
·         More than 86 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama became duty-free today, including: information technology equipment, agricultural and construction equipment, aircraft and parts, medical and scientific equipment, environmental products, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers.
·         Nearly half of U.S. agricultural commodities will become duty-free immediately, including: wheat, barley, soybeans, high-quality beef, bacon, and almost all fruit and vegetable products.
·         In 2011, U.S. goods exported to Panama totaled $8.2 billion.
·         The U.S. is currently Panama’s largest trading partner. 

NCGA Applauds Implementation of Panama FTA

The National Corn Growers Association applauds the Panama Free Trade Agreement going into effect today.  NCGA testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the importance of the FTA to America's farmers in May 2011 and remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade policies. Congress passed the Panama FTA last October.

"We are very pleased to see the Panama FTA go into effect," NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  "Every new trade opportunity increases the American farmer's ability to participate in a growing global marketplace.  This is vital to producer income and helps our sector continue to be a bright spot in our economy."

Panama is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America and a crucial building block in a strategy to advance free trade within the Western hemisphere. Upon implementation of the FTA, more than 86 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial goods to Panama will become duty-free immediately.  Nearly half of the tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports will go to zero upon implementation, including on wheat, barley, soybeans and high-quality beef.  The majority of the remaining products will have tariffs eliminated within 15 years.

Passage of the free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama represented the largest trade package since Congress passed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993. Statistics show full implementation of the agreements will result in an estimated $2.3 billion in additional agricultural trade in 2012 and beyond.  In addition, nearly 20,000 domestic jobs will be supported.

2012 Cattlemen’s Ball nets more than $1.4 million in proceeds

The 2012 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska in McCool Junction raised more than $1.4 million – the second highest total in the ball’s 15-year history of providing support to the Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

This marks the third straight year the Cattlemen’s Ball has topped the $1 million mark. The all-time high was $1.49 million raised at the 2011 ball in West Point. In 2010, the ball held in Kearney raised $1,003,000.

As in past years, 90 percent of the proceeds go toward cancer research at the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center with the remaining 10 percent going toward local organizations. This year’s breakdown was $1,244,270 to the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center and $141,030 distributed locally to 21 different organizations. In addition, $5,000 was raised for scholarships at the UNMC College of Nursing.

The proceeds were announced Tuesday evening at the Stone Creek Event Center near McCool Junction. Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center, was in McCool Junction for the announcement. Since the ball’s inception in 1998, more than $7.61 million has been raised.

“I continue to sound like a broken record,” Dr. Cowan said. “It seems like every year the Cattlemen’s Ball does something remarkable. This year’s $1.4 million is amazing. I know it represents a ton of work by the entire community of McCool Junction as well as many other people in York County.

“We are absolutely thrilled with what has happened to the Cattlemen’s Ball. It has evolved into probably the biggest fundraising event for the entire state. We are honored to be associated with it.”

This year’s event was hosted by the Allen and Shelly Clark family of McCool Junction and held at the Stone Creek Event Center. Co-chairs of this year’s ball were Paul and Cheri Underwood and Jim and Kathy Matzner of McCool Junction. Ivan Rush of Scottsbluff served as chairman of the Statewide Advisory Board.

“This was a total team effort involving McCool Junction and numerous surrounding communities,” said Shelly Clark. “We had the help of more than 500 volunteers and 45 committees, and more than 4,000 attended the ball. We are delighted to make such a generous donation to support the outstanding cancer research being done at the Eppley Cancer Center. But, it’s also rewarding to see many local organizations benefit as well.”

The 2013 Cattlemen’s Ball will be June 7-8 at the Hanging H Ranch near Sutherland, Neb. Hosts are the Neal Hansen family and the Hanging H Ranch and Ralph and Beverly Holzfaster and      family. Co-chairs are Jon Holzfaster and Tim and Deb Holzfaster.

Here’s a listing of local organizations which will receive funding this year:
Emmanuel-Faith Lutheran School
Friend FFA
McCool Junction FFA/McCool School
Centennial FFA
Bradshaw Fire Department
Exeter Volunteer Fire Department
Fairmont Fire Department
Friend Fire & Rescue
Henderson Fire and Rescue
McCool Junction Fire District
York Fire Department
York County Mutual Aid District
Fairview Manor
Fillmore County Hospital
4 Corners Health
Henderson area health care
Home Care Plus, Inc.
York General Health Care Service
York Medical Clinic
City of York inclusive with above
McCool Community Improvement Foundation

Here’s a breakdown of money raised at the past 15 Cattlemen's Balls:
1998 - Ainsworth -- $95,000
1999 - Lexington -- $140,000
2000 - Ogallala -- $104,000
2001 - Valentine -- $133,000
2002 - Valparaiso -- $207,000
2003 - Ashland -- $33,000
2004 - Brady -- $174,000
2005 - Wisner -- $595,000
2006 - Milford -- $563,250
2007 - Lodgepole -- $480,000
2008 - Albion -- $697,000
2009 - Doniphan -- $488,000
2010 - Kearney -- $1,003,000
2011 - West Point -- $1,490,000
2012 – McCool Junction - $1,410,300
Total - $7.61 million

ASA Outlines Priorities for Enhanced United States-European Union Trade

As the governments of the United States and the European Union (EU) explore ways to enhance trade between our countries, including through a potential free trade agreement (FTA), the American Soybean Association (ASA) has provided its views to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). As soybeans represent the nation’s largest agricultural export, valued at more than $26 billion last year, soybean farmers have a vested interest in seeing barriers to transatlantic trade reduced. Such barriers, like the EU’s discriminatory biotech labeling requirements and renewable energy standards, have had a significantly negative impact on soybean exports to the EU in recent years, with a 44 percent decline in the value of EU-bound exports between 1998 and 2011, and a 70 percent drop in export volume during the same period.

“Central to our concerns with EU biotech labeling and renewable energy regulations is the fact that they represent discriminatory non-tariff barriers to U.S. access to EU markets for soybeans and soybean products, and have no basis in scientific fact,” wrote ASA President Steve Wellman in ASA’s comments. “Instead, the EU has invoked the so-called Precautionary Principle, under which unsubstantiated concerns about the safety of biotech products to health and the environment are deemed sufficient to require labeling them.”

“Similarly, the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) establishes arbitrary criteria for the production of soybeans and other commodities in order to meet sustainability requirements and be eligible as feedstocks for biofuels used in EU Member States,” added Wellman. “In combination with the EU’s biotech labeling regulations, the RED will effectively eliminate imports of U.S. soybeans, since soybean oil will not be used either as an ingredient in food products or as a feedstock for biodiesel production.”

Discussing a potential free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU, and suggestions by some that agricultural interests may be excluded from any such FTA, Wellman maintained the importance of agriculture to trade issues, saying, “Agriculture is too important as an export industry for the U.S. to not address it in any new FTA negotiations.  Moreover, as we have pointed out, U.S. soybean exports to the EU have been severely impacted by its biotech labeling and RED regulations during the last 13 years, and these issues must be addressed in any FTA negotiations.”

Wellman then looked to the regulations’ potential larger impact, saying, “To allow the EU to establish unsubstantiated process-based labeling requirements or to impose arbitrary environmental criteria on imports and on producers in countries from which they are imported will only invite additional EU regulatory initiatives in other sectors that could offset any positive benefits which an FTA might achieve in reducing domestic or export subsidies or tariffs.”

October Farm Prices Received Index Increased 17 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in
October, at 210 percent, based on 1990-1992=100, increased 17 points (8.8
percent) from September. The Crop Index is up 15 points (6.7 percent) and the
Livestock Index increased 4 points (2.6 percent). Producers received higher
prices for milk, hogs, grapes, and corn and lower prices for eggs, apples,
lettuce, and soybeans. In addition to prices, the overall index is also
affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities
producers sell. Increased monthly movement of soybeans, corn, grain sorghum,
and cottonseed offset the decreased marketing of wheat, milk, cattle, and

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 25 points (14 percent) from
October 2011. The Food Commodities Index, at 194, increased 14 points (7.8
percent) from last month and increased 20 points (11 percent) from October

Prices Paid Index Up 2 Points

The October Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest,
Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is 220 percent of the 1990-1992 average.
The index is up 2 points (0.9 percent) from September and 15 points (7.3
percent) above October 2011. Higher prices in October for complete feeds,
concentrates, nitrogen, and feeder cattle offset lower prices for mixed
fertilizer, supplements, gasoline, and diesel.

Prices Received by Farmers

The October All Farm Products Index is 210 percent of its 1990-1992 base, up
8.8 percent from the September index and 14 percent above the October 2011

All crops: 

The October index, at 239, increased 6.7 percent from September
and is 17 percent above October 2011. Index increases for feed grains & hay,
oilseeds, and fruits & nuts more than offset the index decreases for
commercial vegetables and potatoes & dry beans.

Food grains: The October index, at 267, is 0.4 percent above the previous
month and 13 percent above a year ago. The October price for all wheat, at
$8.37 per bushel, is up 10 cents from September and $1.10 above October 2011.

Feed grains & hay: The October index, at 299, is up 2.4 percent from last
month and 20 percent above a year ago. The corn price, at $6.95 per bushel,
is up 6 cents from last month and $1.22 above October 2011. The all hay
price, at $193 per ton, is up $6.00 from September and up $8.00 from last
October. Sorghum grain, at $11.90 per cwt, is 40 cents above September and
$1.20 above October last year.

Cotton, Upland: The October index, at 120, is up 2.6 percent from September
but 21 percent below last year. The October price, at 72.6 cents per pound,
is up 1.9 cents from the previous month but 19.6 cents below last October.

Oilseeds: The October index, at 247, is up 2.9 percent from September and
19 percent higher than October 2011. The soybean price, at $14.20 per bushel,
decreased 10 cents from September but is $2.40 above October 2011.

Livestock and products: 

The October index, at 160, is 2.6 percent above last
month and up 3.9 percent from October 2011. Compared with a year ago, prices
are higher for broilers, cattle, milk, calves, and eggs. Prices for hogs and
turkeys are down from last year.

Meat animals: The October index, at 158, is up 2.6 percent from last month
and 1.3 percent higher than last year. The October hog price, at $60.70 per
cwt, is up $5.00 from September but $8.00 lower than a year ago. The October
beef cattle price of $121 per cwt is unchanged from last month but $4.00
higher than October 2011.

Dairy products: The October index, at 162, is up 8.0 percent from a month ago
and 5.9 percent higher than October last year. The October all milk price of
$21.10 per cwt increased $1.50 from last month and $1.10 from October 2011.

Poultry & eggs: The October index, at 164, is down 2.4 percent from September
but 10 percent above a year ago. The October market egg price, at 83.7 cents
per dozen, decreased 22.3 cents from September and is 2.1 cents below October
2011. The October broiler price, at 50.0 cents per pound, is up 1.0 cent from
September and 7.0 cents above a year ago. The October turkey price, at
76.5 cents per pound, is up 0.3 cents from the previous month but down
0.8 cents from a year earlier.

CWT Assists with 6.9 Million Pounds of Cheese, Butter and WMP Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 26 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Association, Michigan Milk Producers Association and United Dairymen of Arizona to sell 4.295 million pounds (1,948 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese and 2.499 million pounds (1,134 metric tons) of butter and 85,980 pounds of Whole Milk Powder (WMP) to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America. The product will be delivered October 2012 through April 2013.

In 2012, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in making export sales of Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gouda cheese totaling 106.3 million pounds, butter totaling 61.2 million pounds, AMF totaling 127,868 pounds and WMP totaling 85,980 pounds.  The product is going to 35 countries on four continents. On a butterfat basis, the milk equivalent of these exports is 2.319 billion pounds, the equivalent of 60% of the increase in U.S. milk production through September 2012.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively impacts producer milk prices in the short-term by helping to maintain inventories of cheese and butter at desirable levels. In the long-term, CWT’s Export Assistance program helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the farm milk that produces them.

CWT will pay export bonuses to the bidders only when delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

NMPF Seats Two New Board Members at Annual Meeting; Associated Milk Producers Wins Cheese Championship

The National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) Board of Directors seated two new members this week at the organization’s 2012 annual meeting here in Orlando.

Donald De Jong from Dalhart, Texas was elected to represent Select Milk Producers, Inc., while Larry Webster from Buffalo, New York, was elected to represent Upstate Niagara Cooperative.

The eight officers currently serving NMPF were reelected to their existing positions. They include:
·         Chairman Randy Mooney, from Rogersville, Missouri, representing Dairy Farmers of America;
·         First Vice Chairman Ken Nobis, from St. Johns, Michigan, representing Michigan Milk Producers Association;
·         Second Vice Chairman Cornell Kasbergen, from Tulare, California, representing Land O’ Lakes, Inc.;
·         Third Vice Chairman Mike McCloskey, from Fair Oaks, Indiana, representing Select Milk Producers, Inc.;
·          Treasurer Pete Kappelman, from Two Rivers, Wisconsin, representing Land O’ Lakes;
·         Assistant Treasurer Adrian Boer, from Jerome, Idaho, representing Northwest Dairy Association;
·         Secretary Dave Fuhrmann, from Baraboo, Wisconsin, representing Foremost Farms USA;
·         Assistant Secretary Doug Nuttelman, from Stromsburg, Nebraska, representing Dairy Farmers of America.

In addition to the officer elections at this year’s meeting, NMPF recognized three outgoing directors for their service on the NMPF Board of Directors: Tom Croner, from Berlin, Pennsylvania, and Les Hardesty, from Greeley, Colorado, both representing Dairy Farmers of America, and Clyde Rutherford, Syracuse, New York, representing Dairylea Cooperative. NMPF also recognized four Honorary Directors, who provided exemplary service not only to NMPF, but also to the entire dairy industry: Lew Gardner from Galeton, Pennsylvania; along with Tom Croner, Les Hardesty, and Clyde Rutherford.

In other news at the NMPF annual meeting, a Parmesan cheese made by Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) was awarded the Grand Champion Cheese award at the 2012 NMPF cheese competition. The cheese, made in Hoven, South Dakota, received a score of 99.0 from the judges. The AMPI Parmesan was selected from among 176 entries to this year’s NMPF cheese contest – a record number of entries. A total of 3006 pounds of cheese was judged.

The 2012 NMPF Communicator of the Year award was presented to Amber DuMont Sheridan of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association in Reston, Virginia. In addition to directing Maryland & Virginia’s communications, Sheridan also oversees its Young Cooperator program.

Members of NMPF's new 2013 Young Cooperator (YC) Advisory Council met to elect their officers for the upcoming year. Kris and Carla Wardin, from St. Johns, Michigan, representing Michigan Milk Producers Association, were chosen to be the new YC Chaircouple. Nathan and Barbara Blesy, from Springville, New York, representing Upstate Niagara Cooperative, were elected YC Vice Chaircouple. David and Katherine Pyle, from New Columbia, Pennsylvania, representing Land O’Lakes, were elected Secretary Couple.

NMPF Leaders Evaluate Organization’s Success at Annual Meeting

During the 2012 annual meeting of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), held here in the Magic Kingdom this week, Chairman Randy Mooney and President & CEO Jerry Kozak addressed the NMPF membership and discussed the organization’s progress over the past year.

The joint presentation began with the impasse in Congress, where representatives failed to pass a new Farm Bill before the old law expired on Sept. 30. NMPF’s dairy policy reform package, initially known as Foundation for the Future, had come a long way before being introduced in Congress last fall as the Dairy Security Act (DSA).

“The DSA was included by the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee in the draft Farm Bill approved last spring,” Kozak explained. “Subsequently, the entire Senate approved a Farm Bill containing the DSA. Then, the House Agriculture Committee approved its own version of the Farm Bill earlier this summer.”

Despite this support, and NMPF’s success in defeating challenges to the DSA (like the Goodlatte amendment, which would have stripped the market stabilization plan from the program), the Farm Bill was not brought to a vote by the full House.

“The House of Representatives has punted on the entire Farm Bill,” Mooney said. “The House Ag Committee did its job and passed by a wide, bipartisan margin a Farm Bill back in July. There was enough time for the full House to act on the bill…but they didn’t.”

With the expiration of the old Farm Bill, NMPF has been increasing pressure on Congress and urging its member cooperatives and farmers to ask their representatives for a “Farm Bill Now” when Congress returns after the elections.

“If the question in Washington is how to reform government programs and make them more effective, we have an answer: pass the 2012 Farm Bill. By not acting on this measure, Congress actually increases federal spending next year,” Mooney stated.

NMPF’s leaders went on to discuss other priority issues that the organization had dealt with in the past year. Participation in the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program has continued to increase, but more farms, co-ops, and companies are still needed. The program recently launched a “See It, Stop It” campaign that encourages workers to share information about potentially problematic animal care practices with farm management.

Although there weren’t any new trade deals completed or signed in 2012, NMPF has been working with industry partners like the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Consortium for Common Food Names to represent dairy farmer interests in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement and Geographic Indications. The voluntary, dairy farmer-funded Cooperatives Working Together program has helped export the equivalent of 2.2 billion pounds of milk, or 60% of the increase in 2012 milk production, to buyers overseas.

In March 2012, NMPF was given the opportunity to manage the REAL® Seal program. “The REAL® Seal gives us the opportunity…to distinguish between products made from real milk, and those that are either imported or not made from milk at all,” Kozak said. Although the symbol is already recognized by nine out of ten consumers and used by 360 food companies, NMPF’s leaders stressed that there is more work to be done to build additional awareness of how the icon can help sell dairy products.

The joint presentation concluded with Mooney and Kozak emphasizing the proactive attitude the organization assumed throughout the year, partly because “we face a future of reduced government support on the one hand, and more government intrusion on the other,” Mooney explained.

“The best way to deal with that future is being proactive, always doing the right things, and most importantly, taking care of our own,” Kozak added.

Field to Market Grows in Membership and Activities

Last week, members of the Field to Market sustainability effort met in St. Louis to welcome new comers, hear program updates and discuss their 2013 annual work plan. High on the list of farmer priorities was the ability to participate among a diverse group of stakeholders in a consensus-driven approach to making decisions regarding agricultural sustainability.

"We know as farmers that we're continually improving our efficiencies, fertilizer use and things along that line," said Keith Alverson, National Corn Growers Association Corn Board member. "However, we always have a concern that some things that are being asked of us aren't real feasible. Field to Market allows NCGA and other commodity groups the opportunity to come together with Walmart, Coca Cola, General Mills and other large consumer-facing companies to discuss what can and can't be done."

"Where they need to go next is finding a way to make it easier for a farmer to participate, and communicate the value of participation from a farming perspective, said Gary Edwards, NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team member. "That is where NCGA and other farmer groups can make a huge impact in the acceptance and adaption of sustainable farming practices."

Formed to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality and human well-being, Field to Market continues to expand its membership and activities. Added to the member roster this year are CHS, Inc., Ducks Unlimited, North Carolina State University and Walmart.

In addition to furthering implementation of tools, metrics and pilot projects, Field to Market's next big agenda item is to identify and capture the value of continuous improvement efforts. It will be the task of the new Shared Value Working Group to determine areas of value creation for farmers, the supply chain and the environment.

BP Drops Plans for U.S. Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

BP is cancelling plans to build a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Highlands County, Florida and refocusing its U.S. biofuels strategy on research and development as well as licensing its industry-leading biofuels technology.

"Given the large and growing portfolio of investment opportunities available to BP globally, we believe it is in the best interest of our shareholders to redeploy the considerable capital required to build this facility into other more attractive projects," said Geoff Morrell, BP vice president of communications.

BP originally announced plans to build the Florida facility in 2008 with the intention of turning thousands of acres of energy crops into 36 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. While ending its pursuit of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production in the U.S., BP continues to invest in and operate its world-class biofuels research facility in San Diego, Calif., and a demonstration plant in Jennings, Louisiana, to further develop next generation cellulosic biofuel technologies and license them for commercial use in the US and around the world.

The company has recently completed construction of its joint venture 110 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hull, England, which is expected to come online later this year. In Brazil, BP took ownership of three sugarcane ethanol mills located in the Goiás and Minas Gerais states of Brazil in 2011 and is currently expanding production there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday October 30 Ag News

NYSE to Reopen Wednesday

(AP) -- The New York Stock Exchange will reopen for regular trading Wednesday after being shut down for two days because of Hurricane Sandy.  The exchange said in a statement Tuesday that its building and trading floor are fully operational.

Tuesday marks the first time since 1888 that the NYSE remained closed for two consecutive days due to weather. The last time was due to a massive snow storm.

Sections of Manhattan were inundated with water and power was shut off to thousands of people and businesses.

Global markets rebounded Tuesday, though trading was subdued in the wake of the storm.

Nebraska Beef Producers Still Adapting to Drought

This year's drought continues to affect Nebraska cattle producers as they move up management decisions to accommodate feed shortages.

With as much as 97 percent of Nebraska's pastures deemed in poor condition, most producers are already identifying which cattle will be the best candidates for breeding in the spring, according to University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension beef veterinarian Richard Randle.

"With the feed shortages that we've already had, likelihood is that there's going to be a number of those animals at a lower condition than we'd normally expect," Randle said.

Some herds will need to undergo closer examination during culling, he said, in terms of teeth, eyes, feet and udders, to further adjust to feed shortages. Randle said that farmers are working to keep their herds as compact as possible to help maintain the health of the herd.

"There's going to be more culling than normal," he said. "You have to reduce the herd to feel safe based on your winter feed storage."

Producers are also coping with drought-induced forage shortage through early weaning. Some of these calves may have been sent directly to auction, rather than kept on for backgrounding after weaning. Although most calves that are weaned early do quite well, Randle said the younger animals are at a higher risk. Producers who wean early should watch the calves more closely for any health problems.

"It should be consider if early weaning does take place, that they are at a higher health risk," Randle said. "It relates to having facilities ready to address those health issues."

Failure to pass farm bill ‘beginnings of a drought’ for ag exports

Failure by the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a five-year farm bill before adjourning last month may mark the beginnings of a drought on U.S. agricultural exports, according to a letter from the Nebraska Corn Board that was sent to the Nebraska Congressional delegation and Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

During a conference call organized by the U.S. Grains Council last week, Nebraska farmer Curt Friesen, who is vice chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, was notified that a trade mission organized by the Council to promote corn exports was indefinitely postponed. In total, three trade missions, one each focusing on corn, sorghum and barley, have been postponed.

Such missions are typically supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development (FMD) funding with additional support from commodity checkoff dollars like from the Nebraska Corn Board. The funds are also used to keep trade offices open in numerous foreign countries.

In part, what is at stake by not passing a farm bill is the type of promotional efforts farmers use to expand trade and defend markets of all ag goods, from corn and soybeans to beef and pork. Agriculture exports are one of the few shinning stars in helping create a positive balance of trade for the United States. According to USDA, agricultural exports during the 2011 calendar year totaled some $136 billion dollars, while corn exports totaled nearly $14 billion.

Because the House failed to vote on a farm bill, the current bill expired Sept. 31. The Nebraska Corn Board and 20 other Nebraska organizations, from general farm and feed organizations to commodity groups to lenders to livestock and poultry organizations, all voiced their desire to see a farm bill passed. 

“Trade missions are critically important for our foreign customers. They want to meet the actual producers of their commodities, they want to know who is growing the crops, how they are grown, who is feeding the cattle, pork and poultry, and how it is processed,” said Friesen. “While we are asleep at the wheel with farm legislation, other countries are doubling down on promoting their ag products.”

For example, Australia is investing billions of dollars promoting its beef, especially in Asia, which is a key market for U.S. beef exports. “We need to be aggressive in Asia promoting our corn fed beef because the market there is expanding and beef exports add tremendous value to cattle here in Nebraska,” said the Nebraska Corn Board’s Kelsey Pope. “At the same time, Brazil and Argentina are ramping up efforts to sell corn and soybeans.”

Because the farm bill did not pass in the House, as it already has in the Senate, FMD program funding ended Oct. 1 and Market Access Program (MAP) funding, another foreign market development tool, will end Dec. 31. “Nebraska products like corn, soybeans, sorghum, wheat, beef, pork and poultry all utilize these funds, so the ripple effect will have profound impacts on rural communities and our state until Congress acts,” Friesen said.

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, exports add $212 in value to each beef animal and nearly $56 to the value of each hog. “Exports are vital for those sectors and Nebraska, and all of these animals consume our corn, soybeans and related feed products,” said Pope.

It is not only export programs that are hurt with the failure of getting a farm bill passed.

“Conservation, dairy, energy and specialty crops are all impacted, but just as important this year is the need for drought assistance for livestock producers,” Friesen said. “Hopefully representatives will hear from the countryside and realize just what is at stake and the ripple effects of not taking action will have back on Main Street in their district.”

Green Plains Reports Third Quarter 2012 Financial Results

Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq:GPRE) announced today its financial results for the three months ended September 30, 2012. Net loss attributable to Green Plains for the quarter was ($1.0) million, or ($0.03) per diluted share, compared to net income of $12.4 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, for the same period in 2011. Revenues were $947.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 compared to $957.0 million for the same period in 2011.

"Our platform performed well in the third quarter considering the difficult margin environment in the ethanol industry," stated Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We achieved a record quarter for non-ethanol operating income of $20.8 million which helped offset the weakness in the ethanol segment. We are encouraged to see results in our ethanol segment gradually improving on a sequential basis since the first quarter of this year."

"Our rail car initiative helped deliver strong results in our marketing and distribution segment. Operating income from our agribusiness segment was particularly strong with early plantings and dry conditions allowing producers to harvest corn and soybeans earlier than expected. Because of this, handling margins were stronger than usual as our Tennessee businesses were well positioned to capture end of crop-year market conditions," said Becker.

Revenues for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012 were $2.6 billion, down slightly from the same period in 2011. Net loss attributable to Green Plains for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 was ($21.2) million, or ($0.70) per diluted share, compared to net income of $25.2 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, for the same period in 2011.

"We believe our disciplined approach to margin management and strength in our non-ethanol segments will continue to benefit our financial results for the remainder of the year. As a result, we expect to return to profitability in the fourth quarter, before considering the gain we expect to realize on the agribusiness transaction," added Becker.

"The sale of a large component of our agribusiness segment does not mean we are exiting the grain storage and handling business. This transaction was a compelling opportunity to unlock value for our shareholders and will place us in the strongest financial position in the Company's history. Looking forward, we plan to aggressively take advantage of growth opportunities around all of our businesses, including agribusiness through grain storage expansion at or near our ethanol plants," added Becker.

Nebraska Farmers Union Endorses Kerry's Run for U.S. Senate

U.S. Senate candidate Bob Kerrey picked up an endorsement from one of the state's largest farm organizations during a campaign event in Columbus, Neb., reports

The Nebraska Farmers Union's political action committee, NEBFARMPAC, officially announced its support for Kerrey during the rally at Valentino's Pizza.

The Nebraska Farmers Union is the state's second largest general farm organization representing more than 5,100 families.

Gale Lush, a Wilcox farmer serving as president of NEBFARMPAC, called Kerrey a bipartisan leader who will fight for Nebraska farmers in Washington, D.C., just as he did during previous terms as the state's governor and U.S. senator.

Lush said the Democratic candidate will be a strong advocate for ethanol and wind energy committed to renewing the federal Wind Energy Production Tax Credit that's set to expire this year. Wind energy, Lush added, could be an "economic superstar" for Nebraska farmers comparable to ethanol production.

Kerrey, who is facing state senator and Valentine rancher Deb Fischer in the Nov. 6 general election, outlined his views on a few agricultural issues during a brief speech delivered to the small group of supporters.

Kerrey said he supports ethanol because it generates wealth for American farmers by raising corn prices, provides good-paying jobs for plant workers and gives the U.S. an additional export.

The marginal increase in food prices attributed to ethanol production is offset by lower gas prices, he said, and a byproduct of ethanol serves as a good source of high-protein livestock feed.

Kerrey called out President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for not addressing agriculture as an economic issue. Agriculture is not a special interest, Kerrey said, and must be viewed as an area where the U.S. has a competitive advantage.

In Nebraska, he said, agriculture supports the economy by producing food, as well as people, which is why he pushed for a change to the state's Constitution that favored family-owned farms and ranches.

"I'm not anti-corporate, but we want our farms and ranches to be owned by families," Kerrey said.

Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said Nebraskans need Kerrey back in office because he has the right policies, track record and experience to be an asset for the state.

The Newman Grove farmer said interest groups that Fischer supports, such as Club for Growth and the Platte Institute, are blocking federal aid for farmers and ranchers during the worst drought in 50 years and support additional property taxes for agricultural land.

Hansen also criticized Fischer for not defending Nebraska property owners in the fight against TransCanada.

When asked about the proposed oil pipeline, Kerrey said he believes the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will properly identify the health and safety risks, but his concern is the long-term effect on the environment.

Kerrey said the biggest threat to Nebraskans is the added carbon emissions from the tar sands oil, which could expedite global warming and decrease the amount of annual rainfall across the state.

"We're basically playing Russian roulette with the only planet we've got," he said.

However, Kerrey said the Keystone XL pipeline provides a "huge opportunity" to look at global warming and begin taking a closer look at options in sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Kerrey said he plans to lead a conversation in Nebraska about climate change if elected to the Senate.

Iowa Continues to Lead National Grain, Hog Production Efforts

While the results of the drought-stricken crop of 2012 is yet to be tallied, the recently-released Iowa Agricultural Statistics booklet shows that Iowa farmers continued to lead the nation in corn production in 2011, accounting for 19 percent of the U.S. crop. And despite more acres being planted to corn, Iowa's soybean harvest was also the largest in the nation.

The statistics are compiled by the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) and based on surveys and questionnaires completed by Iowa farmers. The 123-page book is published by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).

"Iowa's farmers continue to lead the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, pork and eggs despite a variety of production challenges brought on by extreme weather and market challenges including very volatile pricing of both inputs and what they produce," said Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services. "The 2011 Iowa Ag Statistics highlights some of the variability in production county to county that existed in Iowa in 2011. Northwestern Iowa had near record crops while some of the south-central and southeastern counties experienced less robust yields."

The book includes information regarding crops, livestock, farm economics and county-specific data.

"The book details Iowa's vibrant and dynamic agricultural industry," said Iowa NASS director Greg Thessen. He highlighted Iowa's top-of-the-nation status in the following areas: corn production, soybean production, hog and pigs inventory and value, egg production, capacity of on-farm grain storage, feed grain export value and meat export value.

"This book helps share the positive story of the productivity, efficiency and tenacity of the Iowa farmer," said Craig Hill, IFBF president. "In many cases, our farmers are raising the grain that will feed their livestock.

And they are so efficient that they're also raising feed for export. Our farmers are doing an excellent job of balancing their farming operations, meeting the needs of many different customers and always working to protect the land from which it all comes. It's a truly sustainable cycle."

The strong grain production efforts support the state's livestock industry, which continues to be strong in the wake of rising feed prices. Iowa's cattle and hog producers earned $10 billion in cash receipts, an increase of 22 percent over 2010's results. Cattle accounted for $3.4 billion of cash receipts and hogs totaled $6.7 billion.

While the number of farms in the state in 1950 was more than 200,000, that number in 2011 was 92,300. The land in farms in the state has also remained fairly stable, with 30.7 million acres being farmed.

The book costs $11 and can be ordered from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. In addition, a CD-version of the document is available for purchase for $10. Checks should be made to the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Iowa Beef Industry Council Host BQA Meeting

Iowa State University Department of Animal Science and the Beef Checkoff Program helped sponsor a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program at the Iowa Beef Industry Headquarters in Ames. More than 100 students attended and became BQA certified during the two-day program.

The Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training was conducted by Doug Bear, Director of Industry Relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council for Dr. Brad Skaar's beef production class. The training included discussion on industry information, proper routes of administration for vaccines as well as the importance of reading the product label and following proper withdrawal times. The training instructed participants on best management practices within the beef and dairy industry that ensure a safe, nutritious, and high quality product for consumers.

"An integral part of a successful Beef Quality Assurance program in Iowa is working directly with our future industry leaders. During this two-day event we discussed current and upcoming industry information, proper management and low-stress handling of cattle, vaccination protocols, and importance of having positive conversations with our consumers," stated ISU Associate Professor Dr. Brad Skaar. "This is a great opportunity to empower to the next generation of leaders with Beef Quality Assurance and industry information."

Maintaining consumer demand for beef requires a daily commitment to the production practices within every segment of the industry that influences the safety, wholesomeness, and quality of beef and beef products with the use of science, research, and education initiatives. For additional information on BQA events, please contact the Iowa Beef Industry Council at 515-296-2305 or

Iowa DNR Investigates Fish Kill in Sioux Co.

The Iowa DNR is investigating a fish kill in the West Branch of the Floyd River, about two and one-half miles south of Sioux Center. A resident reported the stream was very murky and the fish looked stressed when he saw them this weekend.

DNR staff found elevated ammonia levels and several dead fish north of the U.S. Highway 75 bridge crossing. The DNR specialists are working their way upstream to see if they can find the source of the fish kill.

High ammonia content generally indicates the source is a nutrient, often fertilizer, manure or wastewater.

USB Releases Interactive Map Showing Lock Failures

Many of the locks in the U.S. inland waterway system are past their usable lifespan and, even worse, for years have not been maintained as they should have been. According to the United Soybean Board, a lock failure would hurt U.S. farmers who use the waterways to ship their products and also U.S. consumers who eventually buy those products. In addition, farmers and consumers would see prices for fuel and coal increase.

As a result, a new, interactive map was recently developed by the soy checkoff to make information about this critical issue more accessible as well as more specific to local areas.

The information for the project was compiled recently in soy-checkoff-funded research that shows the importance of the U.S. inland waterway system to U.S. soybean farmers.

According to the checkoff's most recent study, U.S. waterways make a staggering impact on U.S. farmers' bottom lines as well as on the price U.S. consumers pay for food.

The new, interactive map shows the effect a failure at each of five locks on the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois rivers would have on U.S. soybean and corn prices.

The map can be found at:  

Fertilizer Prices Remain Steady

Retail fertilizer prices continued to hold fairly steady the fourth week of October, according to price information collected by DTN from fertilizer retailers.  The only fertilizer price that was higher by any significance was anhydrous. The nitrogen fertilizer was 5% higher compared to the fourth week of September and had an average price of $855 per ton.  Two other fertilizers were slightly higher compared to a month earlier. DAP had an average price of $642/ton while MAP was at $677/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers were just slightly lower. Potash had an average price of $617/ton, urea $595/ton, 10-34-0 $618/ton, UAN28 $380/ton and UAN32 $421/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.65/lb.N, anhydrous $0.52/lb.N, UAN28 $0.68/lb.N and UAN32 $0.66/lb.N.

Only one of the eight major fertilizers is still showing a price increase compared to one year earlier. Anhydrous is now 4% higher compared to last year.  Five fertilizers are actually lower in price compared to October 2011. Urea is now 4% lower, UAN28 6% lower, potash 7% lower, UAN32 8% lower and MAP is 9% lower.  Two remaining fertilizers are now down double digits from a year ago. DAP is now down 10% while 10-34-0 is now 25% less expensive from a year earlier.

2013 Antibiotic Residue Prevention Manual Now Available to Dairy Producers

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has released a revised version of its Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual for 2013. As an area of focus for the National Dairy FARM ProgramTM, the manual can be found online.

The Milk and Dairy Beef Drug Residue Prevention Manual is a concise review of appropriate antibiotic use in dairy animals. The manual is a quick resource to review those antibiotics approved for dairy animals and can also be used as an educational tool for farm managers as they develop their on-farm best management practices necessary to avoid milk and meat residues.

Additions to the 2013 version include a section on avoiding potential residue violations from extra-label drug use in an unapproved class of cattle, cephalosporin extra-label use prohibitions, as well as an updated drug and test kit list.  The 2013 manual includes a certificate of participation that can be signed by a producer and his/her veterinarian to demonstrate their commitment to the proper use of antibiotics.

“We know that there is increased attention to the use of medicines in livestock, and in order to maintain the ability to use those products, we have to demonstrate that we are using them properly,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of NMPF. “This newly-revised manual represents the ongoing commitment dairy farmers have to using antibiotics responsibly and prudently.”

The dairy industry is committed to producing safe, abundant, and affordable milk and dairy beef of the highest quality. Healthy animals help make for safe food and disease prevention is the key to keeping cows healthy, Kozak said.

The National Dairy FARM Program was created by NMPF to demonstrate and verify that U.S. milk producers are committed to providing the highest levels of quality assurance including animal care, residue prevention, and other on-farm practices.

The Residue Avoidance manual was sponsored by Charm Sciences, IDEXX, and Pfizer Animal Health. No check-off funds were used in the development and distribution of this manual.

For more information on the National Dairy FARM Program, contact Betsy Flores at (703) 243-6111 or log on to

New enzyme allows the biofuel industry to produce more fuel from less corn while improving profits.

Novozymes, the world leader in industrial enzymes, today announced the launch of a new game-changing enzyme product, Novozymes Avantec®, which improves the efficiency and profitability of biofuel production. Avantec enables producers of corn ethanol to squeeze an extra 2.5% ethanol out of the corn, thereby improving their profit margins significantly.

“Corn is the single biggest input cost for an ethanol producer, and as prices have gone up, profits have disappeared,” says Novozymes Executive Vice President Peder Holk Nielsen. “Avantec is a vitamin shot for the industry. It allows you to save a lot of corn and still produce the same amount of ethanol. If you’re an ethanol producer in today’s market, that’s a real boost to your bottom-line.”

For a typical U.S. ethanol plant the savings are substantial. A plant uses around 900,000 tons of feed-grade corn per year to produce 100 million gallons of fuel ethanol, 300,000 tons of animal feed (DDGS) and 8,500 tons of corn oil. With Avantec, such a plant can save 22,500 tons of corn while maintaining the same ethanol output.

The US could save 3 million tons of corn

Corn is the key raw material in biofuel production in the U.S. and by far the biggest cost component for an ethanol plant. After the corn is harvested, the kernels are ground into corn meal, and water is added to make a mash. Enzymes convert the starch in the mash to sugar, which can then be fermented to ethanol. Avantec does this more efficiently than any other enzyme product on the market.

“Most U.S. ethanol plants convert 90-95% of the available starch, so there is significant potential for plant owners to increase output and maximize profits,” says Peder Holk Nielsen. “In fact, if all ethanol plants in the U.S. started using Avantec, they would save 3 million tons of corn.”

Avantec is the latest addition to Novozymes’ range of yield-enhancing enzyme products for the biofuel industry. Over the past five years, continuous improvements in enzyme technology from Novozymes have helped the industry increase starch conversion by 5%. 

The U.S. is the biggest biofuel producer in the world, with corn ethanol production expected to reach 13.3 billion gallons in 2012.

China's October Soy Imports 4.22 MT

China's soybean imports in October likely totaled 4.22 million metric tons, down from September's 4.97 million tons, according to the Ministry of Commerce.  The ministry revised its estimate upward from 3.66 million tons based on reports from importers during the Oct. 1-15 period, according to a statement dated Monday on its website.

The state-backed China National Grain and Oils Information Center said earlier that China's soybean imports might fall to 4.25 million tons in October.  Total soybean imports in 2012 are expected to reach record 57.5 million tons, an increase of 9.3% from last year's 52.63 million tons, the CNGOIC said earlier.  The sharp increase in domestic soybean crushing capacity, in addition to fast rising demand for soymeal boosted China's soybean imports, the CNGOIC said.

Soil Test Results May Not Reveal Accurate Field Nutrient Availability

Growers conducting soil tests this fall may be surprised at unexpectedly low potassium (K) levels. It’s likely, however, that fields tested in drought-stricken areas have plenty of nutrients waiting to move back into the soil, according to DuPont Pioneer agronomy experts.

“The K is actually quite safe in the plant residues, so growers shouldn’t be alarmed if soil test levels of this nutrient are lower than expected. Just be aware that more nutrients will be released into the soil with precipitation,” says Andy Heggenstaller, DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager.

With little rain on most fields in 2012, K, absorbed by corn plants during the growing season, has not yet been released back into the soil from deteriorating corn stalks. In a drought year, K also can become fixed between clay layers until water moves through the soil again. Expect that K test levels will increase to more normal values if you can wait to sample following a significant fall rain event.

“Some growers may think it’s a better idea to wait and sample soil in the spring because it will give them a more reliable nutrient reading,” says Heggenstaller. “But I would caution against spring sampling unless this is your normal practices, because you would end up comparing apples and oranges and couldn’t rely on previous soil tests as a basis.”

Even though K levels from this year’s soil test will likely be lower than actual amounts, farmers can rely on crop removal rates and previous years’ soil test results as a guide to estimate next year’s K needs. To determine crop removal this year, multiply the field’s harvested bushels by an estimated 0.3 pounds of K removed per bushel of corn or 1.5 pounds of K removed per bushel of soybean. The calculated amount is a good estimate of how much K was consumed by the crop during the growing season and thus the minimum amount that should be replaced for the next crop if historical soil test levels were in the optimum range.    

“Depending on management style, this method of calculating K needs might not be the best long-term approach for managing K fertility, but in drought years it is often the best option for growers because of the variability in soil sampling,” says Heggenstaller. “I still recommend that producers test soils this year because it will prove useful when determining future fertilizer needs.”

Other key nutrients, including phosphorous (P), should not show as much variability in soil tests as a result of drought. Phosphorus does not get fixed in clay soils to the extent that K does and is not nearly as abundant in crop residues as K. In the case of nitrogen (N), most producers applied enough to achieve a high-yielding crop in 2012, but ended up receiving little precipitation and lower than anticipated yields. In these fields, it is very likely that extra N is present in the soil. Depending on rainfall between now and next spring, some of this N may be available for next year’s crop. 

Lack of water also may cause a drop in soil pH from previous years. Without precipitation, lime applied to help balance pH in spring 2012 cannot infiltrate the soil and take full effect. Additionally, dry soil conditions are often associated with increased salt concentration at the soil surface, which can also result in lower than expected pH test values.

Consult your local DuPont Pioneer agronomist or Pioneer sales representative to get the latest information on what is best for you and your fields in 2013. Find more information about soil testing and other topics at

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday October 29 Ag News

NASS Delays October 29, 2012, Reports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has delayed the October 29, 2012 releases of Rice Stocks, Peanut Stocks and Processing and Crop Progress due to the hurricane-related closures of Washington, D.C. federal government offices. The rescheduled release times will be announced as soon as offices reopen.

Storm to Keep Fin. Markets Closed Tues.

(AP) -- Stock trading will be closed in the U.S. for a second day Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast. Bond trading will also be closed.

The last time the New York Stock Exchange was closed for weather was in 1985 because of Hurricane Gloria, and it will be the first time since 1888 that the exchange will have been closed for two consecutive days because of weather. The cause then was a blizzard that left drifts as high as 40 feet in the streets of New York City.

The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq said they intend to reopen on Wednesday and would keep investors updated.

Much of the East Coast was at a standstill Monday as the storm approached. Mass transit and schools were closed across the region ahead of the storm hitting land, which was expected to happen later Monday.  Areas around New York's Financial District were part of a mandatory evacuation zone. The storm surge is already pushing water over seawalls in the southern tip of Manhattan.

CME Group's New York trading floor was closed, but electronic markets were functioning. Crude oil fell 80 cents to $85.48 in electronic trading.

Training Offered for Ag Co-op Boards of Directors

The Nebraska Cooperative Development Center offers board of directors training sessions, which can help start-up cooperatives learn more about a board’s responsibilities.  The training program has three levels, each exploring a different, increasingly in-depth aspect of establishing a cooperative.

“We talk about what they have to do, what they should do, and sometimes what they should not do, and then just good business practices,” said Jim Crandall, the Outreach Program Coordinator for the center.  The center works with different types of co-ops, including alternative agriculture co-ops.  “It’s important for them to fulfill requirements and stay in compliance,” Crandall said.

On November 29, the center will host a Level II training session at the Nebraska East Union. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with the program continuing until 3:30 p.m. Sessions will cover the roles and responsibilities of a board, the legal foundations of LLCs and cooperatives, and a small business case study.

Presenters will include
-    Mike Turner, UNL professor emeritus in the Department of Agricultural Economics;
-    Ed Woeppel, education and program director for the Nebraska Cooperative Council;
-    Rocky Weber, an attorney who has represented several new cooperatives; and
-    Mike Hilderbrand, who frequently works with small businesses at Gothenburg State Bank.

Register by noon on November 19 at Completion of Level I training is not required to take Level II.

UNL Extension Offers Mid-Plains BEEF Session on Winter Drought Management Tips for Cow Herds

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension's Mid-Plains BEEF Educational Series will conduct a special session on winter drought management tips for cow herds Nov. 29 at UNL's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead.

The session will draw on the expertise of Rick Rasby, UNL Extension beef specialist, Richard Randle, DVM and UNL extension beef veterinarian, and Lindsay Chichester, Jessica Jones, Sara Ellicott, Monte Stauffer and Steve Tonn, extension educators, to share their beef cattle expertise with participants.

The program is designed for producers, veterinarians or others involved in the beef industry. This special session will deal with tips on managing the cow herd during the winter to reduce the effects of the drought. Participants will learn more about tips to manage and feed drought affected forages, stretching short forage supplies, using alternative feedstuffs, hay feeding methods and reducing feeding losses, nitrate poisoning symptoms and managing respiratory problems with drylotting cows and calves.  Time will also be allotted to visit with the speakers on an individual or small group basis.

The session will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Registration of $60 is requested by Nov. 21 and includes educational materials, noon meals and breaks.

The Mid-Plains BEEF Educational Series is an effort by a team of southeastern Nebraska Extension educators. 

To register or obtain more information, contact them at: Lindsay Chichester, Richardson County, 402-245-4324; Sara Ellicott, Saunders County, 402-624-8030; Jessica Jones, Johnson County, 402-335-3669; Darci McGee, Nuckolls/Thayer Counties, 402-768-7212 or 402-225-2381; Monte Stauffer, Douglas/Sarpy Counties, 402-444-7804; or Steve Tonn, Washington County, 402-426-9455.

UNL Extension is in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

PorkBridge Educational Series Returns in December

The seventh year of the successful distance education series, PorkBridge, begins Dec. 6.

The 2012-2013 program lineup includes a variety of intriguing topics presented by recognized industry experts. Operating through the collaboration of 11 land-grant universities, PorkBridge reaches producers and industry professionals across the country and around the world in an every other month series of six sessions.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension swine specialist Duane Reese is the Nebraska contact for PorkBridge. He said the distance education series provides relevant and accurate information for those who own, manage or work in swine grow-finish facilities.

"Producers and others in the industry can get the information they need without the hassle of traveling or giving up a whole day to attend a meeting," Reese said. "PorkBridge participants can take part where it works best for them whether at home, in an office or in the swine unit. And all of them can download audio files from each session for later use."

The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources specialist said PorkBridge combines electronic information viewed on a computer with live presentations by topic experts via phone. About a week before each session, subscribers receive a CD or web link (depending on their location) that contains that topic's specific presentation and additional information provided by the presenter. Participants call in for the audio portion of each session and follow along with the presentation on their computer. All sessions begin at noon Central time and last approximately 90 minutes.  Each session includes time for questions of the presenter.

"The amount has not changed since the program began in 2005, and is a great deal at $125 for the entire year," Reese said.

The subscription form and payment must be received by Nov. 12 to assure receipt of program materials in time for the first session on Dec. 6. An informational brochure with subscription information is available on the Iowa Pork Industry Center's website at Nebraska residents who want more information can call Reese at 402-472-6425.

Session dates, speakers, their industry affiliations and topics are as follows.
Dec. 6 – John Patience, Iowa State University, "Strategies to Reduce Feed Costs"
Feb. 7 – Mike Ellis, University of Illinois, "Optimizing Stocking Density in Wean-Finish Barns"
April 4 – Aaron Gaines, The Maschhoffs, "Managing Finishing Pigs to Improve Production Efficiency"
June 6 – Mark Whitney, University of Minnesota, "Managing Heat Stress"
Aug. 1 – Mike Tokach and Hyatt Frobose, Kansas State University, "Effect of Optimizing Feed Withdrawal Length and Fiber Levels Prior to Marketing on Net Return"
Oct. 3 – Andrew Bowman, The Ohio State University, "Pigs, Flu, and You"

IPIC coordinates all program details, including registration and subscriber mailings. Mark Whitney and Lee Johnston of the University of Minnesota coordinate the PorkBridge program.  UNL Extension is in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Farm Beginnings Helps Farmers with Sustainable, Value-Added Enterprises

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society will begin its fifth Farm Beginnings Program Dec. 8 at UNL's Agriculture Research and Development Center near Mead.

The Farm Beginnings Program is an educational training and support program designed to help people who want to evaluate and plan their farm enterprise.

Farm Beginnings participants engage in a mentorship experience and network with a variety of successful, innovative farmers and attend practical, high quality seminars, field days and conferences.

The program is unique in that several successful farmers participate in the program as presenters, explaining first-hand the nuts and bolts of their farming operation.

While any beginning farmer would benefit from attending these training sessions, most of the farmers that present come from small to medium sized farming operations that produce and market many different diversified and value-added products.  Many of these farmers direct market their products.

The Farm Beginnings Program consists of a series of 10 sessions from December to April that cover a variety of topics including: building networks, goal setting, whole farm planning, building your business plan, marketing, business and farm management and financial management.

While the class participants will learn first-hand from the farmers, they also will work on developing their own business plan as they progress through the course.

As part of the class tuition, participants also will have the opportunity to attend the Healthy Farms Conference at Mahoney State Park near Ashland Feb. 15-16.

This annual conference focuses on topics such as vegetable production, grass-fed beef, cover crops, organic farming, bee keeping, farm transitioning and agri-tourism.

There also will be a farm tour in December and several farm tours in the summer to see how the farmers are operating.

If interested, participants also have the opportunity to have a farmer mentor.

Cost of the total program is $500, but you may qualify for a partial scholarship.  For a brochure and an application for the Farm Beginnings Program or for more information about the program contact Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator at or at (402) 274-4755, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Nemaha County.

The Farm Beginnings Program is as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmer and Rancher Grant which was received by the Center for Rural Affairs with UNL Extension and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society as cooperators. UNL Extension is in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Irrigating Alfalfa in Late Fall May be Warranted This Year

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Given this fall's dry soil conditions, late season irrigation may be just what your alfalfa needs to survive the winter.

Alfalfa in many areas may need more surface soil moisture to prevent alfalfa roots from drying out and dying over winter. Soil moisture also helps keep soil temperatures from dropping too low for alfalfa plants to survive.

Subsoil moisture also will be needed for top yields next year. During peak water use next summer, it can be impossible to keep up with alfalfa's water needs without a water reserve in the deeper root and soil profile. Irrigating now and until soils freeze can protect plants and improve yields.

One advantage to irrigating now is that evaporation is lower than in summer, permitting very high irrigation efficiency. Another advantage is in the alfalfa plant itself. Most irrigated alfalfa fields never get much water below 4 feet deep, but alfalfa can develop roots down 8 feet or more. You waste some of the water collection ability of alfalfa by not building water reserves below 4 feet. Don't waste this ability. That water reserve will keep your alfalfa growing rapidly during next summer's heat and allow you to irrigate on a more timely basis.

Since many alfalfa soils have low water infiltration rates, irrigating now may be the only time you can build that water reserve.

Factors to Consider with Fall Fertilization in a Dry Year

Charles Shapiro, Extension Soils Specialist, Haskell Ag Lab
Charles Wortmann, Extension Soils Specialist

With harvest finishing early and the potential for some nice fall weather ahead, producers may be tempted to get a jump on spring field work by doing tillage and fertilization this fall. There also may be financial incentives such as product discounts or moving expenses from one year to another.

The following agronomic concerns, briefly described here, also should be considered:

-    Soil nitrates may be higher than normal this fall, especially in rainfed fields. Take soil samples and determine residual soil nitrate levels before deciding on fertilizer N application rates.
-    Dry soils are difficult to sample and may affect results. Soil organic matter and soil nitrate results should be fine, but some soil pH and potassium may be affected by the dry conditions.
-    Dry soil conditions may make tillage difficult.
-    Knife applications, including sealing of anhydrous ammonia injection tracks, also may be more difficult in dry soil conditions.
-    Wait to apply nitrogen until soil temperatures drop below 50°F since the conversion of anhydrous to nitrate is much slower below 50°F. Leaching is more likely on sandy ground.  (See the CropWatch Soil Temperature page for daily updates of soil temperatures.)  Currently, average soil temperatures across the state range from 50.8°F to 57.0°F.
-    Fall application of other forms of nitrogen is discouraged due to potential nitrogen loss between application and when the crop needs the nitrogen.
-    If soil conditions are not conducive to soil sampling, use historical trends and make adjustments based on recent fertilizer application and yield history. Corn removes about 70 lb N, 35 lb P2O5, and 30 lb K2O for every 100 bushels. Soybeans remove about 37 lb P2O5 and 60 lb K2O for every 50 bushels.
-    Monitor rain and snow infiltration between now and the next growing season and make fertilizer adjustments next spring if excessive rain may have caused leaching.

The Andersons Signs Agreement to Purchase 12 Grain Elevators and Two Farm Agronomy Centers from Green Plains Grain Company

The Andersons, Inc. announces today it has signed an agreement to purchase a majority of the grain and agronomy assets of Green Plains Grain Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc.  The transaction, which remains subject to certain customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

“This will be the largest acquisition in our company’s 65 year history, and will increase the storage capacity of our Grain Group by nearly 30 percent,” says CEO Mike Anderson. “This acquisition aligns with our geographic growth strategy for both our grain and plant nutrient businesses and we expect it will be accretive on a full-year basis in 2013.”

The agreement involves the purchase of seven facilities in Iowa and five in Tennessee, with a combined grain storage capacity of about 32 million bushels, 12,000 tons of nutrient storage and more than 130 employees and working capital. 

“This acquisition is consistent with our strategy of expanding our footprint into high grain production geographies where we can leverage our core capabilities to serve more customers in diverse trade areas. It enables us to push further to the west and south, increasing our presence in Iowa and entering Tennessee,” says Denny Addis, President, Grain Group. “An additional benefit is our ability to now offer agronomy services in a combined manner with our grain business.”

Farmland at $21,900/Acre... and IFBF Sees Values Climbing

"While the new record $21,900 per acre sale in Sioux County is not typical, it is a reflection of optimism in the economic strength of farming in Iowa," says Iowa Farm Bureau economist, David Miller. At a time when many parts of the country are struggling to climb out of a recession, Iowa's continued strong agricultural sector has provided a 'buffer' which has helped much of the state keep a lower unemployment rate than the national average and provided financial sector vigor.

Despite drought-squeezed yields in many parts of the state, the price of farmland may continue its climb because multi-generational farm families are working together, pooling their resources and betting on a strong future for the next generation. "It's about the continuation of relatively-low interest rates which translate into high capitalization rates for farmland," says Miller, IFBF Director of Research and Commodity Services. "Seven dollar corn, $15 soybeans and 2% or less 10-year interest rates, all work together to push up the value of Iowa farmland."

While Iowa is unlikely to see many repeats of $21,000 per acre pricing, the state's farmers are likely to see farmland values continue to rise. "In general, there's no indication that Iowa land has topped out yet. We're likely to see good farmland, and I'm talking about the $8,000 to $11,000 per acre range, go up another 5 to 7 percent in Iowa on a year-to-year basis," says Miller.

There are many factors that influence farmland values, and sometimes those factors are thousands of miles away. "Weather problems are creeping into Argentina and Brazilian crops, so if crop prospects in South America deteriorate again like they did last year, that's another element that would support these higher-than-normal prices for another six months to a year. Out-of-state investors who show up at these farm auctions will also drive up prices for Iowa farmers, who have been saving and working for generations to buy land and bring their children into farming. But, capital asset pricing is all about pricing future expectations; $21,000 an acre at an auction means that at least two bidders were pretty optimistic about the future."

2012-13 National FFA Officer team announced at conclusion of 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis

Six students from across the U.S. have been chosen by their peers to help lead and shape the National FFA Organization as national FFA officers in 2012-13.

Today at the conclusion of the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, University of Florida at Gainesville student Clay Sapp was elected to serve as National FFA president.

“It will be my mission to activate change and growth in the National FFA Organization,” he said. “I plan to develop strong relationships, be a champion of FFA and agricultural education and seek new ways to strengthen student experiences within FFA.”

Joining Sapp on the 2012-13 National FFA Officer team are Kalie Hall of Georgia as national secretary, Joenelle Futrell of Kentucky as Eastern Region vice president, Lindsey Anderson of California as Western Region vice president, Brennan Costello of Nebraska as Central Region vice president and Wiley Bailey as Southern Region vice president.

For the next year, the group will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country to engage top leaders in business, government and education. The national officers will lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.

“It takes a highly motivated person to become a successful national FFA officer,” said National FFA Organization CEO Dr. Dwight Armstrong. “It is an opportunity afforded to just a few of our members. As a national officer, the lives of these six individuals will be non-stop hard work with never-ending commitments where every moment counts.”

FFA exceeds 1 million meal goal during 3-day Rally to Fight Hunger

Ten thousand FFA members, advisors and volunteers packed 1,005,048 meals  between Wednesday and Friday in an effort to alleviate hunger both locally and abroad.

The packaged meals are nutritionally balanced, containing protein, carbohydrates and vitamins essential to complete nutrition and require only boiling water to prepare. Half of the meals will stay in the central Indiana area to be distributed by Gleaners Food Bank, while the other half will go to Haiti in coordination with Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization.

"It was very exciting to be able to work with FFA members and volunteers during this extraordinary event,” said Larry Moore, executive director of the local Kids Against Hunger affiliate. “I enjoyed meeting folks from all over the country; from the northern part of Maine out to California. We knew we would have an energetic group, and they were able to get it done."

In addition to feeding the hungry, the rally kicked off the National FFA Organization’s Feeding the World-Starting at Home initiative, which helps FFA members across the nation understand the issues and effects of hunger in their own communities and around the world.

“There are so many hungry children out there that need help,” said Jansen Applegate of Rusk FFA in Texas. “It’s also part of our creed. We’re not in need, so we should help them.”

Longtime FFA sponsors Tyson and Hormel also helped to support local hunger relief with donations to Gleaners Food Bank on Thursday. Tyson donated more than 30,000 pounds of fresh chicken and Hormel donated 35,640 pounds of chili with beans.

2012 National FFA Convention & Expo sets all-time attendance record

A record number of FFA members from throughout the country attended the 2012 National FFA Convention & Expo this week in Indianapolis.  The convention and expo had 56,176 attendees.  The new record is an almost 3,000-member jump in convention attendance from last year, when 53,358 attended the event.

During the 2011-12 school year, 16,939 students joined FFA and raised the organization’s total membership to 557,318 students in grades seven through 12 in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Next year, the convention and expo heads to Louisville for a three-year run before coming back to Indianapolis in 2016.

NCGA Past President, Current Staff Named to Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Project Advisory Committee

National Corn Growers Association Past President Leon Corzine and Director of Research and Development Dr. Rick Vierling have been appointed to the Corn Rootworm Knowledge Research Program Advisory Committee.  This program was designed by Monsanto to develop new collaborative research projects with researchers who have expertise and interests in areas that will enhance our fundamental understanding of corn rootworm that could lead to economical, practical and sustainable solutions for farmers.

"This is important to further research on corn rootworms, a pest that costs the industry roughly a billion dollars per year," said Dr. Vierling.

As members of the advisory committee, Corzine and Vierling will guide the project, providing insight unique to their expertise. As a member of the Grant Review Panel, Dr. Vierling will also be directly reviewing the proposals submitted.

A current member of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and past NCGA president, Corzine not only farms but also serves his industry on many committees dealing wish biotech, rural and renewable energy issues. Dr. Vierling, who joined NCGA in 2010, has expertise in plant disease and pest resistance technology development and in functional genomics.

Inclusion of growers in the process will ensure that the research is focused on discovering information that could lead to future corn rootworm management solutions.

Involvement of the academic community as advisors and stakeholders, in addition to expert reviewers, will enrich understanding of corn rootworm resistance.

The Corn Rootworm  Knowledge Research Program is currently soliciting applications from researchers in the areas of corn crop rootworm management; economic impacts of agronomic practices, including control of corn rootworm; corn rootworm biology, physiology, biochemistry, and genomics; and corn rootworm education development.

Beta Renewables and Novozymes to form strategic partnership in the cellulosic biofuel market

Novozymes, the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes, and Beta Renewables, a global leader in cellulosic biofuels and part of Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, today announce an agreement to jointly market, demonstrate and guarantee cellulosic biofuel solutions. As part of the agreement, Novozymes will acquire a 10% share in Beta Renewables, paying approximately $115 million cash for the equity, marketing fees, other intellectual property rights and milestone payments.

The partners will offer customers looking to produce biofuels from agricultural residues, energy crops and other cellulosic feedstocks a combination of Novozymes’ Cellic® enzymes and Beta Renewables’ PROESA™ engineering and production technology. Beta Renewables will embed Novozymes’ enzymes in the PROESA technology and guarantee biofuel production costs upon start-up of customers’ cellulosic facilities. The deal is unique in offering a combined solution that reduces the risk in customers’ projects while providing competitive commercial terms.

“This type of complete offering will significantly de-risk cellulosic biofuel projects financially as well as technologically for our customers,” says Beta Renewables’ Chairman and CEO, Guido Ghisolfi. “It will make cellulosic biofuel projects bankable and accelerate large-scale commercialization of the industry.”

“Large-scale commercialization of cellulosic biofuels is taking off, and this is a fantastic opportunity for Novozymes,” says Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President at Novozymes. “Beta Renewables is an extremely committed industry front-runner. They are building advanced biofuel facilities all over the world and, by being their preferred enzyme supplier, Novozymes will gain access to significant new business opportunities. We expect Beta Renewables to be able to contract 15-25 new facilities within the next three to five years. The sales potential for Novozymes from these plants could be up to $175 million.”
World’s largest advanced biofuel plant

In the last five years, Beta Renewables has invested over $200 million (€140 million) in development of the cost-competitive PROESA process. PROESA is the same technology that will be used at the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, where operations are expected to start by the end of 2012. The plant will initially produce 13 million gallons (50 million liters) of ethanol per year from wheat straw, energy crops and other locally available feedstocks. It has a design capacity of 20 million gallons (76 million liters) per year.

“Just one year after it was established, Beta Renewables has become a global leader in the production of non-food biofuels and biochemicals,” says Guido Ghisolfi. “This agreement has double value: It demonstrates the full integration of the PROESA process with the enzyme technology and allows Beta Renewables to guarantee a full lignocellulosic cost.”

Beta Renewables has also secured a deal to build at least one manufacturing plant in Brazil with GraalBio, and, recently, Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi received a $99 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to construct Project Alpha, a cellulosic biofuel plant in North Carolina.

Novozymes is the world’s leading supplier of enzymes to the biofuel industry. The Denmark-based biotech company’s Cellic enzymes enable cost-efficient conversion of biomass to ethanol and are broadly regarded as the industry benchmark.