Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday January 7 Ag News

Nebraska Soybean Board Announces Call for Candidates in Districts 2, 4 and 8

There are three district seats on the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) eligible for election this year. Soybean producers in Districts 2, 4 and 8 are invited to run for election to the Nebraska Soybean Board by filing a candidacy petition by the April 15, 2013 deadline. The election of board members will be conducted via direct-mail ballots and candidate information will be provided to all producers residing within the district in which an election is to be held.

NSB Board Members receive no salary but are reimbursed for expenses incurred while carrying out Board business and will serve a three-year term that begins October 1, 2013.

District seats open are:

District 2:    Counties Burt, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Stanton, Thurston and Wayne.
District 4:    Counties of Boone, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk and York.
District 8:    Counties of Arthur, Banner, Blaine, Box Butte, Brown, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Custer, Dawes, Dawson, Deuel, Dundy,  Frontier, Furnas, Garden, Garfield, Gosper, Grant, Greeley, Harlan, Hayes, Hitchcock, Hooker, Howard, Keith, Keya Paha, Kimball, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, McPherson, Morrill, Perkins, Phelps, Red Willow, Rock, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Thomas, Valley and Wheeler.

Candidates for the NSB seats must be:
• A Resident of Nebraska
• 21 years of age or older
• Soybean producer in Nebraska for at least five previous years

Prospective candidates must collect the signatures of 50 soybean producers in their district using an official Nebraska Soybean Board Candidacy Petition and return such petition to the Nebraska Soybean Board office on or before April 15, 2013, to be eligible for placement on the ballot. To obtain a candidacy petition, contact Victor Bohuslavsky at the Nebraska Soybean Board by calling 402-432-5720.

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, education, domestic and foreign markets, including new uses for soybeans and soybean products.                

Seeking Candidates for Position on the United Soybean Board

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is seeking candidates to fill a United Soybean Board (USB) Member position.  If you are an interested soybean farmer please contact the NSB office.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

USB Members receive no compensation but are reimbursed for expenses incurred while carrying out Board business.  USB Directors serve three-year terms.

This position is open to all soybean farmers in Nebraska. NSB will nominate two candidates and the appointment will be made by the USDA Secretary of Agriculture.  The USDA has a policy that membership on USDA boards and committees is open to all individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation and marital or family status. 

Anyone interested in applying needs to meet the following criteria:
Be involved in a farming operation that raises soybeans.
Be a resident of Nebraska.
Be at least 21 years of age.

For more information please contact Victor Bohuslavsky at 402-432-5720, before the March 1, 2013 deadline.

Nebraska Farmers Offer “Free Groceries for a Year!” - Sweepstakes launches Jan. 7 at

Whoever said there’s no such thing as a free lunch has never met a Nebraska farmer. In fact, they are offering the chance for residents of the state to win a free breakfast, lunch and dinner by way of free groceries– for an entire year.

Beginning today, Nebraskans can register for a chance at one of two grand prizes of $5,000 “Free Groceries for a Year!”* courtesy of a group of Nebraska farmers, a veterinarian and a grocer, at Upon visiting the site, consumers register by “meeting” one of their fellow Nebraskans through a short video that shows how each is involved in producing safe, nutritious and affordable food. Consumers can register with each of the seven featured individuals daily through April 8, the end of the 90-day program.

The Farmers Feed US website features corn, dairy, hog, soybean and turkey farmers, as well as a veterinarian and a grocer, each sharing information about the foods they produce.

Featured Nebraskans include:
•    Danny Kluthe, hog farmer, Dodge
•    Chad Bartek, soybean farmer, Ithaca
•    Angela Baysinger, veterinarian, Bruning
•    Kyle Cantrell, corn farmer, Anselmo
•    Dean Engelman, dairy farmer, Jansen
•    Mike Shinn, turkey farmer, Gibbon
•    Pat Raybould, grocer, Lincoln

“As Nebraskans, we’re thrilled to offer free groceries for a year to the consumers of our state,” said Chad Bartek, a soybean farmer from Ithaca, Nebraska, who is a featured farmer on “This is an opportunity for us to share what we produce with consumers of the state and to let them know we share their values - taking care of our families, taking care of our animals and land and giving back to our communities.” 

Over the course of the sweepstakes, consumers throughout the state will also see and hear from these farmers as they are featured in television advertising and on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Supporting Nebraska agriculture groups include the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN), Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Pork Producers, Nebraska Corn Board, Midwest Dairy Association, and B&R Grocery.

Is Roundup Ready® Alfalfa the Right Choice for Your Operation?

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Are you considering planting a new field to a Roundup Ready® alfalfa variety this spring? If so, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

These varieties make it easy to control most weeds; however, easy weed control shouldn’t be the only reason you plant them. Here are a few factors to consider.
-    For cow-calf producers planting grass-alfalfa mixtures in hay fields, Roundup® would kill the grass as well as the weeds. In these situations, conventional varieties would be more appropriate.
-    If you are planting oats with the alfalfa and planning to harvest the oats for either hay or as grain and straw, Roundup shouldn’t be used until after oat harvest. If a good stand of alfalfa is present after harvest, further weed control with Roundup or any other herbicide may not be needed.
-    Also remember that keeping an alfalfa field weed-free may not always increase hay tonnage. For some feed uses, having some weeds in the hay may be acceptable. This often is true if alfalfa fields are rotated to a different crop after three or four years of production. If a good stand can be established using other weed control options, weeds often don’t become a big problem until stands get older and start to thin out.

When planning your next alfalfa planting, consider how you’ll be using the harvest and whether the added $2.50 per pound of seed for this new trait makes sense for your operation.

Resolutions for a New Year

Senator Mike Johanns

This new year brings to Washington a fresh start.  Last week, we welcomed to the 113th Congress many new faces, including my colleague Senator Deb Fischer.

I am proud to be joined by such a competent and capable leader who has aptly served Nebraska for years. I am confident Deb will bring the same passion to Capitol Hill, and I look forward to working with her to address the issues facing our state and country.

Although it’s a new year and a new session, many of the important issues we must tackle are far from novel.  Our country’s debt has grown, and the government is spending more than it takes in.  Our economy is still searching for traction, and many Americans remain unemployed or underemployed.

In 2013, Congress must resolve to make these issues the top priority. We cannot afford to let this opportunity to address the state of our economy slip away.

For my part, I will be joining the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which is directly involved in doling out and reining in federal dollars for different government programs—I think it’s time we do less of the former and more of the latter. We need to find places to trim the fat while ensuring important programs receive adequate resources. This will require difficult decisions by me and all of my colleagues in Congress—decisions that must be made.

I will also remain on the Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committees, where I will continue to push for a new five-year farm bill, strengthen and improve services for our vets and fight for pro-growth financial reform policies.

The committee process is essential to the operation of the Senate. The most effective method for the Senate to get its work done in a timely manner is by debating and amending bills in committee, then allowing the full Senate an opportunity to debate and amend them. That's how the Senate is supposed to work and how potential new laws should be scrutinized. Unfortunately, for far too long Congress has failed to pass a budget. The result has been a sputtering Senate which lurches from one crisis to the next, often stalling until the last minute. Senators have been resigned to voting on massive year-end bills to avert calamities we’ve all known were coming.

We must return to a regular order where bills can be thoroughly vetted in committee and debated in the Senate with opportunities for amendments along the way. Unfortunately, the Senate has not been allowed to work this way in recent years.

Clearly, we have our work cut out for us in 2013, but I am optimistic that we can achieve our goals if we take advantage of this new window of opportunity and allow the Senate processes to work as designed. As I have in the past, I stand ready to work with my fellow Senators from both sides of the aisle to make the difficult decisions we were sent here to make.

Managing Through Stress: A Livestock Information Event Is Feb. 4

Iowa State University  Extension and Outreach and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation are teaming up to deliver current market and management information to Iowa livestock farmers in these challenging times. The “Managing Through Stress: A Livestock Information Event” will be held Monday, Feb.  4.

The event starts at 10 a.m. with a morning general session delivered to 14 sites throughout the state via the Web. Farmers will hear from leading experts on livestock and feed price outlook and strategy, weather outlook, financial strategies and managing the stress of farming in challenging times. After lunch, each site will have local presentations geared toward the challenges faced by a specific species of livestock – beef, swine or dairy. Afternoon sessions will be facilitated by ISU Extension and Outreach livestock specialists.

“This information is vital for Iowa farmers right now because they are making 2013 livestock business decisions and there is a lot on the table for them,” said Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager. “Those who come to the ‘Managing Through Stress’ event can hear nationally noted experts give advice on a variety of issues, including the looming feed supply and 2013 costs.”

Morning presenters are Chad Hart and Lee Schultz, economists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Elwynn Taylor, ISU Extension and Outreach climatologist; and Dr. Mike Rosmann, ag behavioral health psychologist. Hart and Schultz will present 2013 feed and livestock price outlooks and strategies, while Taylor will give the weather outlook. Rosmann will speak about indicators of human stress.

The seminar is free to farmers; there is no registration required. More information can be found at, on the ISU Extension and Outreach calendar, or by contacting IFBF commodity services manager Ed Kordick at

Seminar locations and afternoon focus at each location
-    Borlaug Learning Center, 3327 290th St., Nashua — Swine
-    Buena Vista County Extension Office, 824 Flindt Dr., Storm Lake — Swine
-    Carroll County Extension Office, 1205 West US Hwy 30 Ste G., Carroll — Swine
-    Delaware County Extension Office, 1417 N. Franklin St., Manchester — Dairy
-    Guthrie County Extension Office, 212 State St., Guthrie Center — Beef
-    Jefferson County Extension Office, 2606 W. Burlington Ave., Fairfield — Beef
-    Mahaska County Extension Office, 212 North I St., Oskaloosa — Swine
-    Marion County Extension Office, 210 N. Iowa St., Knoxville — Beef
-    Plymouth County Extension Office, 251 12th St. SE, LeMars — Beef
-    Postville YMCA, 313 West Post St., Postville — Dairy
-    Sioux County Extension Office, 400 Central Ave. NW Suite 700, Orange City — Dairy
-    Tama County Extension Office, 203 W. High St., Toledo — Beef
-    Washington County Extension Office, 2223 250th St., Washington — Swine
-    Wright County Extension Office, 210 1st St. SW, Clarion — Beef and Swine


Moisture  continues  to  be  an  important  topic  across  Iowa.  Although drought conditions in some areas have eased and many were  glad  to  see  significant  snowfall,  concerns  remain  about how much moisture will be available in the Spring.  

As  December  came  to  a  close,  topsoil  moisture  levels  rated 45 percent very short, 42 percent short, 13 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.  The driest area of the State was the northwest corner  with  59  percent  very  short,  very  similar  to  the  area’s condition last winter at this time.

Grain  movement  rated  47  percent  none,  40  percent  light, 11 percent  moderate  and  2  percent  heavy.    The  snow  and  ice received December 19 and 20  slowed grain movement  in  some areas.  

Availablity of hay and  roughage  supplies was 41 percent  short, 57 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus with 31 percent of the supply  in  good  condition.    Livestock  conditions  have  been reported  as  normal.    Hog  and  pig  losses  in  December  were 26 percent light, 73 percent average and 1 percent heavy.  Cattle and calf  losses were  the  same with 26 percent  light, 73 percent average and 1 percent heavy.


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

General  Summary: 
December  temperatures  averaged 27.6 degrees  or  4.7    degrees  above  normal  while  precipitation totaled 1.57  inches or 0.23  inches above normal.   This  ranks as the 39th warmest and 34th wettest December among 140 years of records.

The  month  began  with  exceptionally  mild weather  as  temperatures  averaged  above  normal  for  19  of  the first  twenty days of December,  the  exception being on  the 10th when the season’s first subzero temperatures were recorded at a few  northwest  Iowa  locations.    Highs  reached  into  the  60s somewhere  in  the  state each of  the  first  four days of  the month with 50s or higher on 11 of  the  first 18 days.   Keokuk was  the hot  spot with a high of 73 degrees on  the 3rd.   This missed  the state  record  for  December,  set  back  on  December  6,  1939  at Thurman, by only one degree.   Colder weather prevailed  late  in the month with ten of the final eleven days averaging colder than normal.  Spencer reported the lowest temperature with a reading of -9 degrees at midnight on the 31st.

Heating  Degree  Day  Totals: 
Home  heating  requirements,  as estimated  by  heating  degree  day  totals,  averaged  3  percent greater  than  last  December  but  12  percent  less  than  normal.  Thus far  this heating season (since July 1) degree day  totals are running 6 percent more  than a year ago but 6 percent  less  than normal.

A  pair  of  storms  brought  most  of  the  month’s precipitation and brought an end to a very dry period that saw a statewide average of just 0.19 inches of precipitation for the five weeks  following  Veteran’s  Day.    The  first  event  brought  rain statewide  from  late  on  the  14th  to  early  on  the  16th  with  an average of 0.57 inches falling.   The second storm, the afternoon of  the  19th  to  the  afternoon  of  the  20th,  brought  a  blizzard  to much  of  the  state  but  was  preceded  by  unseasonably  heavy rainfall  near  the  Illinois  border.    The  greatest  snow  fell  from west  central  into  northeast  Iowa  with  14.4  inches  reported  at Dubuque,  13.8  inches  at  Johnston  and  13.0  inches  at Marshalltown  and  Conrad.    Wind  gusts  over  50  mph  were common  on  the  20th with  a  peak  gust  of  60 mph  at Ottumwa.  The heavy wet,  sticky  snow  brought down numerous  trees  and power  lines,  resulting  in  tens  of  thousands  of  customers  losing power.  This event brought a statewide average of 0.74 inches of precipitation  and  5.6  inches  of  snowfall.    Rainfall  prior  to  the blizzard exceeded  two  inches  in  the Muscatine and Quad Cities areas.   Monthly  precipitation  totals  varied  from  0.60  inches  at Sidney  to  3.75  inches  at Muscatine.      The  rain  from  the  first December storm, as well as that over southeastern Iowa from the second  storm,  fell  prior  to  the  onset  of  cold weather.   Thus,  a large percentage of this rain was able to soak into the ground and provide  a  much  needed  boost  to  soil  moisture.    The  limited amount of data available suggests that the uppermost few inches of  soil  were  frozen  by  month’s  end,  despite  widespread  snow cover.

Iowa Food & Family Project and SUBWAY® restaurants partner to strengthen connections between food, farmers, consumers
The Iowa Food & Family Project and SUBWAY® restaurants share many values, including the commitment to raising awareness about healthy food options, connecting people to their food and supporting Iowa farmers and local communities.

Now, they are partnering this year to take those shared values to a higher level.

“This is an exciting collaboration for the Iowa Food & Family Project (FFP) as we demonstrate a direct connection between Iowa farmers and the food many people enjoy every day,” says Aaron Putze, director of communications for the Iowa Soybean Association and coordinator of the Iowa Food & Family Project.

“SUBWAY® restaurants are known for healthy options, quick service and a commitment to wellness,” Putze adds. “Iowa farmers work to supply those items needed for companies to succeed and meet the needs of today’s consumer.”

For example, many Iowa turkey farmers work with West Liberty Foods, a company that prepares turkey meat for SUBWAY® restaurants.

“I’m excited about this new relationship with the Iowa Food & Family Project as our stores are locally owned and those owners are very committed to serving their communities,” says Christian Renaux, an account executive representing SUBWAY® restaurants. “We share a common interest with Iowa farmers as we want our customers to know where their food comes from and trust them as a source of healthy food options.”

The first event featuring the new partnership celebrates football and food in February. The Iowa FFP and SUBWAY® are teaming up to award one lucky Iowan a feast to be enjoyed during the NFL’s “big game” to be played Sunday, Feb. 3.

The sweepstakes kicked off in December at the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines and Mall of Bluffs in Council Bluffs. The prize package valued at $500 includes SUBWAY® sandwiches, cookies and other assorted snacks and gifts. It will be personally delivered by a farmer to the winner in time to enjoy with family and friends during the big game.

SUBWAY® and the Iowa FFP will also collaborate on sponsoring on-farm experiences throughout the year for Iowans wanting to learn more about what farmers do and create special in-store promotions celebrating great food and the people who grow it. 

Farmers and Ranchers are Telling Beef’s Story

Brenda Black, cow-calf producer and Cattlemen’s Beef Board member from Deepwater, Mo., is also a graduate of the checkoff’s Masters of Beef Advocacy Program (or MBA program). During graduation training, she learned more about the checkoff’s “Having the Beef Conversation” booklet which is available in a print, online and mobile version.  She says, “So many people are far-removed from agriculture. There is probably, and I don’t mean this disrespectfully, there is probably more ignorance about agricultural business and the actual farming of food than there has ever been in the history of country. And it’s alarming, but it’s also challenging and exciting – it gives you a purpose for why we need to be out sharing what we do, and it validates the importance of what we do. We have to educate people and share those stories. And so I think twofold, it needs to be done because people are removed from the source of their food, and it has to be done because it helps us realize the value of what we do. And I think it makes us feel better about what we do and challenges us to do it even better.”

Black says using the checkoff's newly revised "flip book" of beef checkoff and beef industry facts and messages -- and getting out there in the community -- are easy steps to opening the lines of communication between producers and consumers.  “It’s a useful tool. Farmers, cattlemen, we know how to work with our hands. We’re thinkers, we’re planners, and this is just one more tool. It makes it easy to share the most pertinent information about hot topics and it’s handy! So I think beef cattle farmers that are already CEOs and nutritionists and mechanics and vets, and they’re conservationists, but here’s one more thing that they can put in their toolbox, and it’s one more hat that we need to wear – and that is to become conversationalists.”

Black says that with the many hats she wears, it’s sometimes hard to be an expert at everything.  She concludes, “I think that’s one of the reasons why I love the booklet – I don’t have to memorize all of this because there are lots of little facts and stats that are documented that are very beneficial and convincing about the merit of the beef industry. But what I really like is how the booklet makes it where the facts and stats are presented in such a way that they are easily interpreted and applicable...and the suggestions for how to use that information. And so these potential scenarios that they present that we really face as beef cattle communicators are spot-on for this day and age.”

Retail Food Prices Decline Slightly in Fourth Quarter 2012

Shoppers paid a bit less for food at the grocery store during the fourth quarter of 2012, with some popular fruits and veggies showing a decline in retail price. Lower retail prices for Russet potatoes, bagged salad and apples, among other foods, resulted in a slight decrease in the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Quarterly Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.54, down $1.36 or about 3 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price compared to the prior quarter.

“While prices were down from the third quarter, compared to a year ago, the marketbasket price was actually higher compared to a year ago, by about 3 percent,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. “Throughout 2012, food prices were relatively stable, thanks to very slow but steady growth in the general economy coupled with fairly stable energy prices. For this year, we expect food prices to rise by 3 to 4 percent, which is slightly higher than the average rate of inflation over the past 10 years.”

Items showing retail price decreases for the third quarter included Russet potatoes, down 39 cents to $2.62 for a 5-pound bag; bagged salad, down 35 cents to $2.59 per pound; deli ham, down 31 cents to $4.89 per pound; apples, down 26 cents to $1.60 per pound; sirloin tip roast, down 22 cents to $4.52 per pound; flour, down 20 cents to $2.37 for a 5-pound bag; chicken breasts, down 7 cents to $3.10 per pound; vegetable oil down 5 cents to $2.86 for a 32-ounce bottle; eggs, down 4 cents to $1.90 per dozen; and bacon, down 2 cents to $4.21 per pound.

These items showed modest retail price increases for the quarter: whole milk, up 18 cents to $3.73 per gallon; orange juice, up 11 cents to $3.41 per half-gallon; white bread, up 10 cents to $1.85 for a 20-ounce loaf; ground chuck, up 8 cents to $3.55 per pound; shredded cheddar cheese, up 5 cents to $4.31 per pound; and toasted oat cereal, up 3 cents to $3.03 for a 9-ounce box.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index ( report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said. Details about USDA’s new Food Dollar Series may be found online at

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this quarter’s $50.54 marketbasket would be $8.09.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, has been conducting the informal quarterly marketbasket survey of retail food price trends since 1989. The mix of foods in the marketbasket was updated in 2008.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 107 shoppers in 31 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in October.

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