Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday January 23 Ag News

Video on conducting farm tours named finalist for Reed Awards

A video filmed in Nebraska featuring Nebraska Corn Growers Association members and Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns has been named a finalist in the Best Get Out the Vote Plan and Execution category in the 2013 Reed Awards.

The Reed Awards are compiled annually by “Campaigns & Elections” to recognize excellence in campaign management, political consulting and political design.

The “How to Conduct a Farm Tour” video was supported by the National Corn Growers Association and produced by Aristotle, an agency who is assisting NCGA and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association to strengthen their grassroots programs. The video is available for viewing at

The focus of the video was to explain to farmers how to invite lawmakers and other influential people to their farm, how to conduct a farm tour and have a successful outcome.

“It is important for farmers to reach out to lawmakers, their staffs and other influential people both locally and nationally, and we’ve worked to develop our resources to help farmer-members be better advocates,” said Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Sousek was one of the Nebraska farmers who appeared in the video.

“We’d like to thank NCGA for choosing Nebraska and working with the Nebraksa Corn Growers Association to make this video and to Sen. Johanns for participating and explaining how sharing your stories and ideas can make a difference,” Sousek said. “It’s exciting to see the video be recognized, especially when it was produced during a busy election year.”

The Reed Awards winners will be announced Feb. 1.

Biodiesel Production Exceeded 1 Billion Gallons in 2012

The U.S. biodiesel industry broke the 1 billion gallon mark in 2012 for the second consecutive year, according to year-end production figures released Wednesday by the EPA. The total volume of nearly 1.1 billion gallons was roughly flat over 2011 production, exceeding it by just 6 million gallons.

"These numbers reflect the ongoing growth and development of our industry and represent real jobs at plants across the country," said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board, the industry trade association. "Biodiesel continues to account for the vast majority of the nation's Advanced Biofuel production and is playing a significant role in diversifying our energy supplies with clean, American-made fuel."

The figures released Wednesday show that production for the month of December totaled just 59 million gallons, the lowest monthly volume of the year. The December total marked the close of a year-end slump in which biodiesel production dropped significantly as Congress failed to renew the biodiesel tax incentive. Congress ultimately renewed the $1-per-gallon incentive on New Year's Day as part of the "fiscal cliff" legislation.

"It's difficult not to wonder how much additional production and jobs could have been created if the biodiesel tax incentive had remained in place in 2012," Steckel said. "It was a missed opportunity that significantly hurt many producers. But we are pleased that Congress reinstated the tax credit earlier this month and we expect significant growth in 2013."

Biodiesel production is reported under the EPA's Biomass-based Diesel category in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The EPA numbers show a total of just over 62 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel for the month of December, but that figure includes several million gallons of renewable diesel production.

Kirk to Step Down as U.S. Trade Rep. Next Month

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Tuesday said he was stepping down as the top U.S. trade official, effective in late February. He leaves after a turbulent four years for the global economy that made progress difficult on the trade front, reports Reuters.

"It has been no less than my greatest professional privilege to serve President Barack Obama alongside the dedicated professionals of USTR," Kirk said in a statement that gave no details of his future plans or replacement.

The former Dallas mayor oversaw congressional approval of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia left over from the previous administration and the completion of negotiations on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization.

NCGA Thanks U.S. Trade Rep. Kirk for Service

The National Corn Growers Association today thanked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for his commitment to promoting global trade during his tenure.  Kirk announced yesterday he will leave his post at USTR at the end of February.

“The National Corn Growers Association greatly appreciates and thanks U.S. Trade Representative Kirk for his tireless efforts to promote American agricultural products in the global marketplace,” NCGA President Pam Johnson said.  “We applaud his efforts to pass and implement the three free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. In addition, we appreciate the pivotal role he played in lifting the outdated Jackson-Vanik amendment.”

The free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama represent the largest 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 and support nearly 20,000 domestic jobs.

Last December, Congress lifted the decades old Jackson-Vanik restrictions and granted permanent normal trade relations with Russia.  This will allow America’s farmers to benefit from Russia’s guaranteed tariff treatment and obligation to apply science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards.

“NCGA remains committed to the development and maintenance of fair and open global trade practices, including advancing the Trans Pacific Partnership,” Johnson said.  “We congratulate Trade Representative Kirk’s ability to lead in TPP negotiations and raise the bar for a new 21st century trade agreement.  We look forward to working on these and other issues with his successor.”

NCBA Trade Show Offers Something for Everyone at Cattle Industry Convention

The 2013 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show, taking place Feb. 6-9 in Tampa, Fla., will offer something for everyone. The trade show is the largest, most innovative trade show for those in the cattle business and is a must-see for all convention attendees.

More than 230 exhibitors will have booths offering the latest in animal health products, animal identification, farm equipment, herd management, real estate and even Western art. New to the trade show this year is the New Holland outdoor display area.

“The NCBA Trade Show sold out in record time this year, and we’re thrilled to have more than 230 vendors bringing their exciting products and ideas to Tampa,” said NCBA Executive Director of Meetings and Events Kristin Torres. “From new products to use on the farm to a reception featuring Florida foods and a live cattle auction, everyone who spends time at the trade show will have a great experience.”

The show kicks off at 5 p.m. on Feb. 6, with the “Taste of Florida” welcome reception. Sponsored by Micro Beef Technologies, New Holland and Certified Angus Beef, attendees will be treated to tasty Florida favorites from around the state while enjoying live Caribbean music on the trade show floor. Watch live cattle handling demos in the Pfizer Demonstration Arena, see cooking demonstrations and new product samplings in the NCBA booth and watch NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen live from the trade show floor.

On Feb. 7, cruise through the exhibitor booths on the trade show floor and sample fresh Florida produce during the “Fresh from Florida” break at 10 a.m. There will also be a delicious hot lunch in the Chuckwagon CafĂ©, sponsored by Rabo AgriFinance. The trade show ends Thursday evening with a wine reception at 3 p.m. featuring Florida’s finest wines.

Friday is sure to be an exciting day on the trade show floor, with the Superior Livestock Live Video Auction happening at 9 a.m., and broadcast on RFD-TV. At the convention and need cattle now? Buyers can bid onsite and watch all the action inside the Superior Livestock booth. The show closes at 3 p.m. with a “Beef and Beer” tasting reception sponsored by Alltech and Certified Angus Beef.

Registration for the trade show will be available at the Tampa Convention Center starting on Feb. 5. For more information on the trade show and for the full list of exhibitors participating, visit

Soybean Growers from Indiana, Kansas and Mississippi Win Conservation Awards

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the regional winners of the 2013 Conservation Legacy Awards program:
-    Midwest Region Winner: Gail Fuller from Emporia, Kan.
-    Northeast Region Winner: Roger Wenning from Greensburg, Ind.
-    South Region Winner: Jeremy Jack from Belzoni, Miss.

The Conservation Legacy Awards, presented by ASA and sponsored by BASF, Monsanto, USB/Soy Checkoff and Corn & Soybean Digest, recognize U.S. soybean farmers who distinguish themselves through their outstanding environmental and conservation practices while continuing to farm profitably.

One of the three regional winners will also receive the National Conservation Legacy Award, to be announced on March 1, 2013, at the annual ASA Awards Banquet during Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. All three regional winners will be recognized at the ASA Awards Banquet prior to announcing the national winner.

Gail Fuller approaches conservation on his Kansas farm with a heavy emphasis on soil health including continuous no-till, utilizing cover crops and maximizing microbes. He always looks for ways to reduce inputs. Fuller is working to rebuild the quail population and has added a livestock component to his farm.

Roger Wenning’s conservation efforts on his Indiana farm include a commitment to soil health and no-till farming. He continually experiments with cover crops and evaluates for best results. Wenning has addressed drainage issues and made conservation buffers an integral part of his operation.

Jeremy Jack addresses conservation on his Mississippi farm first through water management, which then helps determine careful management of soil and nutrients. He utilizes one-pass tillage, input management practices and current technologies. Jack’s farm is participating in a working-lands stewardship project.

To see videos highlighting conservation practices on the farm of each regional winner go to

Groups Blast EU Duties on US Ethanol

Two U.S. ethanol trade groups criticized Wednesday a European Union proposal to impose duties on ethanol imported from the U.S.

The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, which both represent ethanol companies across the country, said in a joint statement they were "outraged" by the European Commission's proposal, which they said would add a 9.6% antidumping duty. They said it violated numerous provisions of the World Trade Organization's agreement on antidumping.

"This proposal is legally vulnerable on numerous grounds," Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, said in a statement.

Dinneen said the commission investigated six U.S. producers and found none to be dumping.

Growth Energy is "exploring every option to overturn this decision," CEO Tom Buis said in a statement.

Exports have become increasingly important over the past three years for the U.S. ethanol industry, which has saturated domestic markets amid limits on the percentage of ethanol allowed to be blended in each gallon of gasoline. Europe has been a top destination for U.S. exports.

United States Milk Production December 2012

Milk production in the 23 major States during December totaled 15.7 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from December 2011. November revised production at 14.9 billion pounds, was up 1.3 percent from November 2011. The November revision represented an increase of 31 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.   Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,848 pounds for December, 30 pounds above December 2011.  The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.49 million head, 5,000 head more than December 2011, and 16,000 head more than November 2012.

Milk  production  in  Iowa  during  December  2012  totaled  387  million  pounds,  up  3 percent  from  December  2011, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report.   The average number of milk cows, at 205,000 head, was up 1 percent from December 2011.  Production per cow averaged 1,890 pounds, up 2 percent from December 2011.  The monthly rate per cow is the highest on record for December and the production is the largest for December since 1968.

October - December Milk Production up 0.9 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the October - December quarter totaled 49.1 billion pounds, up 0.9 percent from the October - December quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.20 million head, 17,000 head less than the same period last year.
Nebraska ........:   296 million pounds, +0.7% from last year    
Iowa ...............:   1,118 million pounds, +2.8% from last year     

NMPF Praises Successful Conclusion of U.S.-China Dairy Certificate Negotiations

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today praised the successful resolution of negotiations with China on an import dairy certificate, a measure that provides certainty to U.S. dairy exporters in order to enhance U.S.-China dairy trade.

U.S. and China government officials have been negotiating a new certificate for nearly three years, since China revised its requirements under the dairy certificate in the first part of 2010. Despite continued access to the Chinese market, the lack of an agreed-upon certificate impeded greater U.S. dairy exports, due to the uncertainty of whether the issue would ultimately be resolved.

“We commend the administration, as well as the Chinese government, for their conscientious and cooperative work on the dairy certificate over the past three years,” said Jerry Kozak, NMPF President and CEO. “The positive announcement of a new certificate lifts the uncertainty that hung over the Chinese market, thereby encouraging greater U.S. dairy sales.

“In addition, it is important to acknowledge the responsible example set by China in this situation due to their careful handling of trade during certificate negotiations,” continued Kozak. “Too often in the wake of new regulations, we see countries rush to shut their markets, even when no underlying food safety concern exists, simply over documentation matters. In its handling of this issue, China has set an admirable example for the world by permitting dairy trade with the U.S. to continue.”

U.S. dairy sales to China in 2012 were an estimated $400 million. U.S. dairy exports to China have grown by more than 100% since 2010 and are expected to continue to grow to help meet the increasing demand for dairy products in that country.

“This positive result has been several years in the making and is the result of a lot of hard work by all parties involved,” said Kozak. “NMPF is pleased to have been part of the team that helped to bring closure to this critical issue with such an important trading partner.”

Kozak noted that, “Dairy producers across this country owe their thanks to Secretary Tom Vilsack and his team at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as the critical support provided by the Food & Drug Administration and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. Working together, they provided China with the clear food safety assurances China needs in order to help safeguard the health of its population.”

The U.S. will begin issuing the new certificate immediately for product destined for China. Certificates issued by the U.S. prior to Jan. 18, 2013 will be valid through March 20, 2013 but not accepted by China after that date.

National Milk Producers Federation Statement on Senate Leader Reid’s Farm Bill Decision

Jerry Kozak, President and CEO

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to put the farm bill near the top of the list of things to do in 2013 is good news for America’s dairy farmers, who need leaders in the Senate and House to renew their push this year for a better farm bill.

“Senator Reid yesterday introduced the 2013 farm bill as S. 10, making it part of a short list of priority pieces of legislation for action in the Senate. Reid’s decision recognizes that the dairy policy reforms contained in the bill, along with other provisions in the measure, passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support last summer. The bill’s Dairy Security Act will give farmers a better safety net while reducing taxpayer costs at a time when Congress is searching for ways to trim federal spending.

“We look forward to working with Senator Reid, as well as with Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and new ranking minority member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), as the Committee updates the Farm Bill in the coming weeks. We will continue our bipartisan efforts in both the Senate and House to get a five-year farm bill passed that provides our producers the security and stability they need.”

DuPont Pioneer Launches Next Generation T Series Soybeans

A new series of Pioneer® brand soybean products, developed through the innovative DuPont Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT™) process, will bring soybean growers across North America a broad range of high yielding varieties. The new line of soybean products – named the T Series – includes 39 new products and will be introduced in this year.

Signaling an exciting new era in soybean production, the T Series supports soybean growers committed to seeking the right product for the right acre on their soybean fields. Available in seven maturity groups, T Series products represent the largest number of soybean varieties advanced in a single year by Pioneer. The new T Series varieties succeed the popular  Pioneer Y Series soybeans introduced several years ago.

“The next generation T Series soybean products provides growers a total package that helps them gain the most from every acre,” says Don Schafer, DuPont Pioneer senior marketing manager – soybeans. “A step change from earlier offerings, the T Series is a direct result of the AYT system that allows Pioneer soybean breeders to maximize yield potential, agronomic traits and resistance to yield-robbing pests.”            
Employing environment-specific markers to help optimize yields by geography, the AYT process pinpoints native trait genes for increased defensive trait protection and improved pest resistance packages tailored for specific geographies. AYT employs novel trait integration through a proprietary matrix of gene mapping, molecular breeding technologies and intense local field testing. The system is a key part of a comprehensive plan to accelerate yield gain and broaden resistance to key diseases and insects.

Among the new class of T Series soybeans, 34 varieties will carry the Roundup Ready® gene. There are two new Plenish® high oleic varieties, five new products with the LibertyLink® gene and two new varieties with the Roundup Ready/STSTM stack. Also, 32 products are soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistant and 29 carry a major Phytophthora-resistant gene. All T Series products will be available with proven, performance-boosting Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment products.
To distinguish the new T Series varieties, Pioneer initiated a new soybean product numbering system similar to the current nomenclature used for Pioneer brand corn products.  The new system will use key identifiers, enabling growers to easily determine maturity and technologies. T Series soybean varieties will be denoted with the letter T in the middle of the product number.

How to Handle Larger Soybean Seed Size this Spring

Soybean seed size is influenced by both genetics and the environment. Genetic effects on seed size are largely predictable but weather conditions and their effects on seed size are not. Given the atypical growing season in 2012, it is important to understand the impact on soybean seed size and shape.

In response to drought, soybean plants typically drop flowers and pods, reduce seeds per pod, abort seeds within a pod, and reduce the size of the seed. The specific response depends on the soybean stage of development and severity of the drought stress. The onset of late season rains caused seeds remaining in drought-stressed pods to swell, resulting in larger than normal soybean seed size. 

To help growers manage larger soybean sizes, DuPont Pioneer conducted plantability tests of 2012-produced soybean seed using seven different planter metering units. In collaboration with equipment providers, Pioneer offers management tips to help growers maximize planter performance and ensure the highest possible planting accuracy with larger soybean seed.

Planter lubricants:
Mixing planter lubricants such as talc, graphite or a blend, specific to planter type, with soybean seed is critical.

Seed treatment:
Generally, larger seed combined with treatment will require a higher level of management. Tank pressure, fan speeds and other adjustments should be made for the specific seed and treatment combination being planted. Refer to the planter operator’s manual for recommendations.

Ground speed:
High population settings, especially when combined with high ground speed, may provide challenges. The metering units operate faster with higher ground speeds, making it more challenging to keep seed in place as the unit rotates.

Additional tips based on specific seed metering by planter type are available online in a recent Field Facts issue from Pioneer.  

DuPont Crop Protection Introduces Range and Pasture Specialist Team

DuPont Crop Protection’s Land Management business unit has introduced a new team of specialists to provide enhanced support to the range and pasture market. The eight experienced regional range and pasture (R&P) specialists, led by Roxanne Gutschenritter, will help forage and cattle producers identify and implement range and pasture improvement strategies. The R&P team also will support DuPont Crop Protection field development and sales teams working with agriculture and industrial vegetation management customers.

“Adding resources to the range and pasture market will help us meet customer needs today and introduce new technologies as they become available,” said John Chrosniak, regional director, North America, DuPont Crop Protection. The specialist team will help producers develop reliable, sustainable solutions that improve the value of hay; enhance forage production; and protect investments in land, cattle, horses and other livestock.

“Developing this new team of seasoned R&P experts is another sign of the ongoing DuPont commitment to helping our customers enhance their long-term prosperity as we work together to feed a growing world population sustainably,” said Chrosniak.

Gutschenritter said the team’s focus in range and pasture markets will help producers tackle local challenges and leverage opportunities unique to each region.

“Extra support in key range and pasture markets allows us to provide one-on-one guidance for our customers in range and pasture improvement, brush control, invasive weed control, restoration, and habitat management,” said Gutschenritter.  “With this ‘boots on the ground’ approach, we’ll be able to help identify and resolve R&P issues more quickly and effectively.”

The new specialist team and their areas include the following:
·      Chris Bryan, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas
·      Katie Conklin, North Dakota and South Dakota
·      Nevin DuPlessis, northwestern states
·      Rob Brattain, Montana and Wyoming
·      Matt McGowin, mid-South states
·      Frank Jones, southeastern states
·      Gerald Hobson, New Mexico and western Texas
·      Jack LeClair, Oklahoma and eastern Texas

“Our highly skilled team is ready to help producers manage toward high-quality, high-yielding range and pasture land,” said Gutschenritter. “We have the resources to apply industry-leading practices and technologies wherever our customers are located.”

For more information on range and pasture improvement strategies and technologies, visit

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