Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday November 29 Ag News

Biofuels Have the Momentum Says Novozymes President

Novozymes, the world leader in converting biomass – from corn stover and energy crops to household trash – into biofuels, congratulated the Senate on the passage of Senator Kay Hagan’s biofuels amendment, making it two days in a row the Senate has voted to support biofuels.

“Biofuels have the momentum,” Adam Monroe, President of Novozymes North America, said. “In the last two days the Senate has voted twice to support biofuel development. Congress is moving America forward with public/private partnerships that are putting steel in the ground and creating careers on advanced biofuel projects while providing the stability and security the Department of Defense wants.”

“We appreciate the thoughtfulness and diligence of Senator Hagan of North Carolina in this effort. She has been a champion of these initiatives and today she and her Senate colleagues recognized that bioenergy is a chance for Congress to – once again - come together and help America’s economy, national security and environment.”

In May 2012, Novozymes inaugurated the largest enzyme plant dedicated to biofuels in the United States with the opening of its advanced manufacturing plant in Blair, Nebraska. Funded with $200 million in private investment, the plant created 100 career positions and 400 construction jobs, and specializes in enzymes for both the conventional and advanced biofuel markets.

NCGA Joins Urban Air Initiative

The National Corn Growers Association recently joined the Urban Air Initiative, an organization that promotes the human health and environmental benefits of ethanol.  Focusing on ways to reduce the impact of particulate matter emitted from automobiles, UAI brings a new coalition of partners together to support government standards that recognize the important role ethanol plays in lowering these harmful emissions.

"Joining UAI will benefit corn farmers by involving NCGA in important conversations about how ethanol can help our nation achieve important health and environmental goals," said NCGA Ethanol Committee Chair Chad Willis. "Additionally, joining UAI builds relationships with a variety of influential groups, such as those representing asthma interests, with whom we share common interests but have not previously collaborated.  Conversations about reducing the harmful effects modern traffic has upon our respiratory health and the health of our planet play a major role in the formation of public policy. It is imperative that we join in and make sure farmer voices are heard."

Several of NCGA's state affiliates have provided funds to support the UAI, including the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Kansas Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the North Dakota Corn Growers Association. NCGA will have three seats on the steering committee, which will be held by NCGA Ethanol Committee Vice Chair Paul Taylor, NCGA Director of Biofuels Pam Keck and a grower leader who has not yet been selected.

UAI focuses on the impact that ethanol has in improving urban air because those living in urban communities are the most seriously impacted by pollution concentrated in areas with a significant amount of automotive traffic and freeways. With certain components of gasoline classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as Hazardous Air Pollutants, UAI focuses on how ethanol can reduce the emissions of automobiles when blended with traditional gasoline. UAI uses research on the comparative emission impacts of ethanol and gasoline to promote fuel standards that make use of ethanol to improve public health and the environment.

"Efforts to improve our air quality, and thus our personal and environmental health, date back to the 1970s," said Willis. "For decades, our industry has recognized the role ethanol plays in meeting these goals. UAI provides another channel for NCGA and its state affiliates through which we can promote the real-world benefits ethanol offers today."

Legislation promoting clean air was first enacted in 1970, when President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act. Created to foster the growth of a strong American economy and industry while improving human health and the environment, the legislation was revised in 1990 with amendments designed to curb four major threats to the environment and to the health of millions of Americans: acid rain, urban air pollution, toxic air emissions and stratospheric ozone depletion.

In a recent report on the effectiveness of the Clean Air Act, the EPA notes that air quality has greatly improved in recent years, but acknowledges that "vehicles on the road - even newer, cleaner models - still account for over 25 percent of air-polluting emissions nationwide."

Fortenberry Selected to Serve on House Appropriations Committee

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry today was selected by his colleagues in the House of Representatives to serve on the Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress, which starts in January.

“I am honored to be entrusted with the important responsibility of this position,” Fortenberry said.  “To govern is to choose, and to choose is to budget.  I hope to work constructively to build a culture of fiscal prudence, strategic foresight, and creative collaboration within the fiscal process.  The work is particularly difficult.  The Committee is tasked with the hard job of meeting the obligations of the federal government while also reducing the deficit through balanced spending and oversight decisions.”

The Appropriations Committee writes the policies authorizing all expenditures made by the U.S. Government.  It has been 22 years since a Nebraskan served on the House Appropriations Committee.  The position was last held by Congresswoman Virginia Smith. 

Farmers Clarify Where Money from Higher Food Prices Goes

As the Northeast continues to deal with the effects of Hurricane Sandy, other parts of the United States are still dealing with the most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years. And that drought has spurred some talk about whether consumers will pay more for food at the grocery store.

While the current USDA food-price forecast for 2012 is below some recent food-inflation rates, such as the spikes in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011, shoppers can expect to pay a little more at the grocery checkout this year. And U.S. farmers, who saw firsthand the effects of the drought on their crops and livestock, want to be sure that consumers understand exactly where those extra food dollars end up. (Hint -- it isn't farmers' pockets.)

"Believe me, as a farmer and a mom of one child, with another on the way, I definitely pay attention to food prices because they affect my family's pocketbook, too," says Iowa farmer and CommonGround volunteer Sara Ross. "I know it can sometimes be tough to look past the price tag. But it's important for families to remember that, as Americans, we are very fortunate to only have to spend 10 percent of our income on food, versus the 18-25 percent spent by people in other countries around the world."

Where does the money that families pay for their food go? CommonGround walks through the truth about food prices in an online infographic.

Have a question about your food? Find CommonGround online:
-- Website:
-- YouTube:
-- Twitter:
-- Facebook:

CommonGround is a grassroots movement to foster conversation among women -- on farms and in cities -- about where our food comes from. The United Soybean Board (USB) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) developed CommonGround to give farm women the opportunity to engage with consumers through the use of a wide range of activities. USB and NCGA provide support and a platform for the volunteers to tell their stories.

FY 2013 Exports Forecast at a Record $145 Billion; Imports at a Record $115 Billion

Fiscal 2013 agricultural exports are forecast at a record $145 billion, up $1.5 billion from the August forecast and $9.2 billion above fiscal 2012 exports.  Grain and feed exports are forecast down $1.9 billion mostly due to lower corn exports.  Oilseed exports are up $3.3 billion on much higher volumes and record prices.  Cotton exports are forecast down $200 million in part due to reduced Chinese demand.  Horticultural exports are unchanged at a record $32 billion.  The forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy is down $100 million on lower poultry, beef, and cattle exports.

U.S. imports are projected at a record $115 billion in fiscal 2013, up 11 percent from 2012’s imports of $103.4 billion, but down $2 billion from the August forecast for 2013.The reduced forecast for 2013 is largely due to significantly lower prices for tropical oils, processed fruits and vegetables, sugar, coffee, rubber, and cocoa. 

The forecast trade balance for fiscal 2013 shows a surplus of $30 billion, down $2.4 billion from 2012.

Export Products

Fiscal 2013 grain and feed exports are forecast at $37.1 billion, down $1.9 billion from the August estimate, due to both lower volume and values across most grains, except some higher-value products.  Coarse grain exports are forecast at $11.6 billion, down $1.4 billion, due to sluggish corn export sales and weakening prices amidst stiff foreign competition. Corn volume is forecast at 31.0 million tons, down 2.5 million.  Feeds and fodders are down $300 million largely due to lower exports of DDGS with strong domestic demand for feedstuffs.

Fiscal 2013 wheat exports are forecast at $11.6 billion, a decrease of $700 million from the August forecast due to lower prices and volume.  Although prices are down somewhat, values are still high from an historical perspective and expected to remain strong through the summer months.  Volume is down slightly as a result of higher competition from India, Russia, and Ukraine.  Rice exports are up $200 million to $2.1 billion due to higher prices and volumes.  Trade volume is up 0.2 million to 3.6 million tons with strong sales to South America.

Fiscal 2013 oilseed and product exports are forecast at $31.4 billion, up $3.3 billion from the August forecast, propelled by a 6.4-million ton (20 percent) rise in forecast soybean exports and continued record soybean and soybean meal prices.  Early September rainfall from hurricane Isaac contributed to higher yields resulting in a significant rise in exportable supplies.  Strong demand by China, coupled with limited South American competition has kept exports brisk while supporting prices at record levels.  Soybean meal exports are forecast higher on strong demand and larger crush attributed to the increased crop.    

Fiscal 2013 cotton exports are forecast at $4.6 billion, down $200 million from the August estimate.  Unit value is unchanged, while export volume is forecast 100,000 metric tons lower, at 2.5 million tons.  The decline in exports is in response to a slightly smaller U.S. crop and falling global import demand, primarily in China.  High domestic support prices in China continue to weaken the spinning industry. 

The fiscal 2013 export forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy is lowered $100 million to $29.8 billion, with losses in poultry, beef, and cattle outweighing gains. Beef exports are forecast at $4.8 billion, down $150 million as marginally higher prices do not offset slightly lower volumes. Tight supplies on lower U.S. production constrain shipments despite strong global demand. Despite higher broiler meat exports, poultry exports are forecast down $100 million to $6.1 billion, due to lower unit values and volumes for turkey meat and poultry offals. Exports of dairy products are forecast higher by 4 percent to $5 billion as stronger international prices are expected to offset lower volume sales, particularly of cheese, skim milk powder, and butterfat.

The fiscal 2013 export forecast for horticultural products is unchanged at a record $32.0 billion.  Fresh fruit and vegetable exports are forecast at a record $7.6 billion.  Exports to Canada, Europe and Japan are expected to continue expanding.  Processed fruit and vegetable exports are forecast at $7.4 billion.   Unit values for several processed products are expected to continue rising with demand from major markets.  Whole and processed tree nuts are forecast at $7.0 billion.
Import Products

The slower U.S. economic growth is reducing the forecast for U.S. agricultural imports in fiscal 2013 from $117 billion in August to $115 billion.  This value still represents a 11-percent increase from 2012’s $103.4 billion import bill, which is higher than 2012’s 9.4-percent rise from 2011.  The reduced forecast for 2013 is largely due to lower prices for tropical oils, processed fruits and vegetables, sugar, coffee, rubber, and cocoa.  U.S. import demand for food is also weak as seen in zero growth in expenditures for food (consumed at home) from the second half of 2011 to the first half of 2012.  This is in part the result of three consecutive declines in quarterly real personal disposable income in 2011.  Higher food imports in fiscal 2012 were helped by a 3.2 percent growth in spending for food services.

Compared with 2012, sugar and tropical product imports are up $4 billion and imported horticulture products are $2.8 billion larger.  The remaining import gains are posted by oilseeds and products (up $1.3 billion), grains and feed (up $2.1 billion), and livestock and dairy products (up $900 million).  Total U.S. agricultural imports grew by 12.2 percent annually on average during 2010-12, following the recession-induced decline in 2009.  The corresponding average growth in import volume was 5.2 percent, which indicates that import prices rose over the past 3 years.  However, the strong import volume expansion of 9 percent in 2012 (based on aggregate metric ton units), after 5 percent in 2011 and 1.5 percent in 2010, suggests a strengthening trend in real import demand in 2013.  This scenario assumes no significantly higher taxes or large domestic spending cuts by the Government in 2013.

Although the sharpest forecast reductions are for sugar and tropical products, their gain from 2012 represents 38 percent of the overall $10.6 billion additional imports expected in 2013.  The downward adjustments from the previous projections are accounted for by lower prices for sugar, coffee beans, and natural rubber in 2012 from 2011.  Tropical commodity prices peaked recently during the first two quarters of 2011 and have sharply declined since then.  The U.S. import price for sugar fell from 38 cents per pound in October 2011 to 24 cents in October 2012.  Imported coffee bean prices dropped from $2.50 per pound to $1.70 over the past year.

Lower tropical product prices also apply to coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.  Coconut oil prices dropped by more than $300 per metric ton in the past year and by $150 per metric ton for palm oil.  While these prices appear to continue falling, the price of olive oil (extra virgin) is climbing sharply.  Average prices of tropical oils are significantly lower between 2011 and 2012.  These favorable lower import costs resulted in a 1.5-percent reduction in the U.S. import bill for tropical oils in 2012 despite a 6.2-percent rise in their import volume.  Even if these prices continue to fall or stabilize, the sharp gain in olive oil price since July will partly offset their lower import cost.

Although reduced $100 million from August, the beef import forecast for 2013 shows a 13-percent gain in import value over 2012 as domestic beef supplies tighten and demand for processing-type beef remains strong. Fewer cattle imports are expected in 2013 as cattle inventories in Mexico are lower and herds are rebuilt in Canada.  However, the forecast is unchanged from August. The pork import estimatefor 2013 is lowered $30 million from the August forecast to $1.3 billion because of relatively tight exportable supplies in Canada, our top supplier. Similarly, expected swine imports are trimmed by $24 million. 

U.S. demand for imported grain products has continued to rise in fiscal 2013, with an additional $500 million expected, and bulk grain imports are expected to jump by $1.5 billion.  With the U.S. corn crop hurt by drought in 2012, there is a strong incentive for East Coast pork and poultry producers to import corn from South America, especially during their harvest price lows, around April 2013.  In 2012, import demand for grain products—wheat, wheat products, barley, oats, coarse grain products, and processed animal feeds—all posted greater volumes and unit values.  In value, the top suppliers of grains and products to the United States are Canada (wheat, grain products, and feeds), Mexico (grain products), Thailand (rice), and China (animal feeds).  Imported grains, grain products, and feeds are projected to total more than livestock and meat imports in 2013. Grains and feed products are also larger than oilseeds and products in import value.  In fact, grain products, such as baked goods and snacks, will likely outpace vegetable oils in 2013as tropical oil prices deflate and as wheat prices hover around $360 per metric ton.

Lower prices for processed fruits and vegetables and for tree nuts are behind the reduced import forecasts for these products in 2013.  Nevertheless, these high-value products (along with fresh fruits) posted positive growth in import volume and unit values in 2012, demonstrating continuing firm demand.  Their combined estimate in 2013 amounts to more than $740 million worth of additional imported products.  The bulk of the $2.8-billion growth in 2013 horticulture imports is attributed to expected $800 million more fresh fruits and vegetables, $600 million more wine and beer, and about $200 million more essential oils and nursery products.  For over two decades, the U.S. import value for horticultural crops and products has registered positive annual gains, except during the last recession in 2009.

Vilsack on Soaring U.S. Exports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its second Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade in fiscal year 2013 today, and the latest forecast continues an astonishing trend for American farm exports that began in 2009. In the years since, U.S. agricultural exports have climbed more than 50 percent in value, from $96.3 billion in 2009 to the most-recent forecast of $145 billion in 2013. Overall, these exports support more than 1 million American jobs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack released the following statement on the forecast:

“Today’s forecast is further confirmation of the concerted effort by President Obama to expand export opportunities and level the playing field for American businesses and workers. Because USDA is working harder than ever to remove unfair barriers to trade and provide businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets, American agriculture is booming. Demand for products like American soybeans, wheat and tree nuts is surging across the world, with notable gains in China, Europe, and Southeast Asia expected to support strong cash receipts through year. Earlier in the week, USDA forecast net farm income at its second-highest level since the 1970s. Taken together, this data shows a robust agricultural economy poised to recover from the worst drought in more than a generation.

“Since 2009, more than 1,000 U.S. companies and organizations—mainly small and medium sized businesses—participated in 110 USDA-endorsed trade shows in 24 countries, racking up 12-month projected sales estimated at more than $4.2 billion. We’ve led nearly 150 U.S. businesses on trade missions to China, Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Panama, Peru, the Philippines Vietnam and Russia. And we’re keeping good-paying jobs here at home by resolving issues and removing barriers to trade that have freed up billions of dollars in American-grown products.

“As our farmers and ranchers look forward to a new growing season, agriculture will continue to be a major contributor to the President’s goal of doubling exports under the National Export Initiative by the end of 2014.

“It is important that Congress help ensure that this success continues by passing a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers, ranchers and businesses, and their millions of customers around the world.”

USDA Trade Mission Aims to Create Opportunities for U.S. Agriculture in Russia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse will lead a mission to promote U.S. agricultural exports to Russia, Dec. 3-7. Representatives from the states of Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as 23 American companies will attend. Two-way agricultural trade between the United States and Russia was valued at roughly $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2012, with American farm exports accounting for 97 percent of the total—a significant contribution to the U.S. agricultural trade surplus.

Today, only 1 percent of U.S. companies export, and yet 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the borders of the United States, creating significant opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture. At the same time, the American agricultural economy is experiencing its strongest period in history with record exports and near-record income for farming families, altogether supporting 1 in 12 jobs in the United States.

"People around the world continue to demand U.S. food and agricultural products, boosting American businesses and supporting our rural communities," said Scuse. "To ensure these successes continue, USDA has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade. Less restrictions abroad, stronger trade deals for U.S. agriculture, and greater export assistance for U.S. businesses supports more than 1 million Americans jobs in industries from packing and shipping, to food processing, to transportation. This is an American-made success story that we're bringing to Russia and many other nations demanding the highest-quality, American-grown products."

Exports of U.S. food and agricultural products are expected to reach $143.5 billion in fiscal 2013, well above the record set in 2011, while exports in fiscal year 2012 achieved the second-highest level of all time. Even with tough odds due to extreme weather, U.S. agriculture is delivering for the American economy, putting our nation's agricultural sector on pace to achieve President Obama's goal under the National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014.

This Russia trade mission is the second major USDA agricultural trade mission this year for U.S. companies. A successful trade mission to China was held in March. Companies attending the Russia trade mission represent a wide variety of agricultural products including cattle, meat and poultry, fruit and nuts, consumer-oriented products and more.

USDA's goal is to provide participants with first-hand market information, access to government decision makers and one-on-one meetings with business contacts, potential agents, distributers and importers so they can position themselves to enter or expand their presence in the Russian market.

With its recent World Trade Organization (WTO) accession and rapidly expanding economy, Russia is an important market for U.S. agricultural products. Top U.S. exports include red meat, poultry, live cattle and tree nuts.

Lucas to Continue as Chair of House Ag Committee

Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas has been re-elected to a second term as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.  On Wednesday the House Republican Conference re-elected the long-time Republican representitive, who is a farmer and rancher from western Oklahoma. He was re-elected to an 11th term in Congress during the general election.

Lucas told the Associated Press that one of his top priorities is getting a new farm bill passed.  He also touted the committee's oversight of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency to ensure producers aren't being burdened with bureaucratic red tape.

Congressional Leaders Discuss Farm Bill

Agriculture committee leaders in the Senate and House met Thursday with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss jump-starting negotiations on the stalled $500 billion, five-year farm bill.

The previous 2008 farm bill expired at the end of December, but House lawmakers are deadlocked over issues such as how much to cut spending for food stamps. The Senate passed its version of the bill in June.

"We're going to do everything we can to work together to get a farm bill done," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) after the 40-minute meeting with Vilsack, Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R., Okla.) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D., Minn.).

Stabenow said she was open to the proposal of attaching a new farm bill to any legislation passed to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. But to do that the Senate and House would have to come to agreement on devise issues such as food stamps and farm subsidy levels.

Farm bill specifics were not discussed at the meeting, lawmakers said.

The Senate approved a farm bill that cuts $4.5 billion in food stamp spending. The House Agriculture Committee produced a farm bill proposal that sought to cut $16 billion, but it never got a full vote on the House floor.

Vilsack said his goal for the meeting was to "get all four folks who are critical to this process in a room at the same time to talk to each other and we accomplished that."

October US Biodiesel Output at 98.37 MG

The Environmental Protection Agency's latest data shows 98.37 million gallons of biomass-based diesel were produced in October that generated 150.5 million D4 tradable compliance credits known as Renewable Identification Numbers or RINs.

Those figures reflect an increase from September data that showed 96.77 million gallons produced, generating 147.4 million D4 RINs.

The latest EPA data also show 77.5 million gallons of advanced biofuel were produced last month, generating 68.28 million D5 RINs. That's down from 77.7 million gallons produced in September, generating 78.43 million D5 RINs.

On renewable fuel, which is accounted for mostly by corn-based ethanol, the EPA data shows 1.055 billion gallons were produced in October, which generated a similar number of D6 RINs and were up from 985.6 million D6 RINs for the prior month.

So far in 2012, there have been a total of 1.5 billion D4 biomass-based diesel RINs generated, the EPA data show. A total of 399.43 million D5 advanced biofuel RINs have been generated so far this year. Renewable fuel D6 RINs generated so far this year totaled 10.89 billion, with 20,069 D4 cellulosic biofuel RINs generated during the first 10 months of 2012.

RINs are the credits used by obligated parties—refiners, blenders and importers—to show compliance in fulfilling their annual renewable volume obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

AFBF Urges Presidential Declaration for Mississippi River

The American Farm Bureau Federation has urged President Barack Obama to issue a presidential declaration of emergency for the Mississippi River. In a letter this week to the president and top administration officials, AFBF, and nearly 20 other national organizations, said there could be an economic catastrophe in America's heartland as soon as mid-December if the administration does not take emergency action to ensure that water levels do not fall below the level needed to support commercial navigation.

Because of this year's severe drought, waterborne commerce on the middle Mississippi River is in danger, especially now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun to implement plans to reduce the release of water to the river from dams on the upper Missouri River.

"The Mississippi River is a critical national transportation artery, on which hundreds of millions of tons of essential commodities are shipped," stated the letter. "Substantial curtailment of navigation will effectively sever the country's inland waterway superhighway, imperil the shipment of critical cargo for domestic consumption and for export, threaten manufacturing industries and power generation and risk thousands of related jobs in the Midwest."

Aside from issuing an emergency declaration, the groups requested that President Obama direct the Corp to immediately remove the rock pinnacles along the river and release enough water from the Missouri River reservoirs to preserve a nine-foot navigation channel on the Mississippi River.

Attached to the joint letter were letters from the governors of Missouri, Illinois and Iowa, 15 U.S. Senators, and 62 U.S. House members urging prompt federal action on Mississippi River navigation.

Smaller World, Bigger Markets: Registration Now Open for U.S. Grains Council’s Marketing, Membership Meeting

Every year, technology and know-how are bringing more people together to exchange ideas, conduct business, and develop new opportunities. At the same time, global markets are growing as more people make strides economically and move into the middle class. Keeping U.S agriculture ahead of these trends and maintaining U.S. leadership in an increasingly competitive world are never-ending challenges.

“These trends are changing the global marketplace as we know it,” said Don Fast, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council. “They also help define our theme for the year, ‘Smaller World, Bigger Markets,’ and provide some key discussion points on the agenda for our annual membership meeting and marketing conference.”

The U.S. Grains Council’s 10th International Marketing Conference and 53rd Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11-13, 2013, in Charleston, S.C. Registration for the meeting has opened and can be found at

This meeting is where Council Advisory Teams gather and sector meetings are held to review global strategies and set an operational course for the Council for the coming years.

“Member, agribusiness and industry input are critical as we develop our strategic plan, and that’s the primary purpose of the Charleston meeting. In addition, we’ll further explore the dynamics of trade and its importance to the competitive future of U.S. agriculture,” Fast said. “It promises to be an excellent, informative meeting of interest to anyone involved in the future of agriculture and trade.”

Hotel details, the meeting agenda and optional tours can also be found at

NE-IA; Two of Best-Run States in the Nation

North Dakota is ranked the best run state in the nation, according to the annual 24/7 Wall St. study. The national study looks at data on financial health, standard of living and government services to determine how well each state is managed. The top five best-run states were: North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah and Iowa.

"This study recognizes that North Dakota's sound fiscal policies are working," North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. "We are in a strong position to provide tax relief, maintain a healthy reserve while also investing in our priorities."

The study determines how well states are run by looking at fiscal management, taxes, exports, and GDP growth by sectors, as well as, quality of life components such as poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, crime and foreclosure rates. All of the best- run states had certain characteristics in common, including well-managed budgets, high-education levels and low-unemployment. The study also reports that each of the top 10 states has a perfect or near-perfect credit rating.

"This study simply reinforces that North Dakota has great qualities to offer businesses and workers," Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. "State and local leaders have worked hard to build an environment that supports business growth and creates a good quality of life for our citizens. It's great to see this hard work being recognized by 24/7 Wall St."

This is North Dakota's first time to be ranked the best-run state in the 24/7 Wall St. study. It's also the first time the study included data on state industry, exports per capita, tax burdens and current tax business climate.

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