Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday May 31 Ag News - See you next month!

NC Signs Letter of Support for Grassley/Donnelly Amendment

In February 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released personal information on 80,000 livestock producers to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Earth Justice and the Pew Charitable Trusts under Freedom of  Information Act (FOIA) requests the groups fled.

To prevent this action from occurring again, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) have introduced an amendment to the Senate version of  the 2013 Farm Bill. Under the amendment, EPA cannot disclose personal information such as names, addresses and other identifying information unless the data are aggregated to prevent the identifcation of  individual livestock and poultry producers and their families, or the individual provides his or her consent to EPA.

This past week, The Nebraska Cattlemen signed onto a letter that will be sent to the entire Senate in support of  the Grassley/Donnelly Amendment (#1011).  NC would also like to applaud Nebraska Senators Deb Fischer and Mike Johanns for their support of  this issue and concern for Nebraska livestock producers.

UNL to Host September Beef Symposium

Kenneth Eng wants to give something back to the industry in which he's spent his life.

To honor his late wife, Caroline, who died about three years ago, Eng has donated a total of around $2 million to three universities to fund research on how to increase cattle efficiency in times of stress.

Along with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Dr. Kenneth and Caroline Eng Foundation has granted money to Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University.

Eng spent most of his professional career in Texas, but is a Nebraska native, having been born in Boone County near Newman Grove.

On Sept. 12 and 13, UNL will host the first Cow-Calf Efficiency Symposium, which will present the findings of the research so far. The event will take place in the Johnny Carson Center.

Eng believes that semi-confinement systems can provide an answer to the problem of decreased feed due to drought. In semi-confinement systems, cattle are held in a dirt lot, with less space than a regular pasture. This reduces their energy output levels and allows them to be sustained on less feed.

"It's a good strategy if you are under drought stress," Eng said. "We've done so many things incorrectly; it's time to look at what might be good for the whole industry."

Today, only about 25 percent of available crop residue (such as corn stalks) are being used for cattle feed.

Larry Berger, the head of the animal science department at UNL, has worked with Eng for two years.

"He's very creative," Berger said. "He's one of the out-of-the box type thinkers who likes to explore new things."

UNL is currently working on a research trial in Mead and Scottsbluff. There is about a 15-20 inch difference in the amount of annual rainfall between the two regions, with Mead being wetter. The researchers will measure feed costs, animal performances and animal health and reproduction rates at each site.

"It provides an opportunity to help producers deal with the extended drought and this is new research that will give cattle producers in Nebraska alternatives to consider in feeding their cattle," Berger said.

Eng said that he is looking forward to the event. "I'm looking forward to some really good new data being presented," Eng said. "We hope to have a big crowd and I hope to see a lot of old friends."

Pre-registration is $100 and it costs $125 at the door.

Several hotels are within walking distance of the event. To register, go to

To Cut or Not to Cut Hail-Damaged Alfala

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Hail damaged many alfalfa fields during storms last week. If yours was one of them, you have some harvest decisions to make.

Alfalfa growth normally originates from the upper tip of the stem. If this tip is removed -- by mowing, by grazing, or by hail -- stem growth ceases and regrowth must begin. Regrowth comes from the crown if most of the top of the plant has been cut off. But when lower branches and leaves still remain on the stem, new growth often develops slowly from axillary buds near stem branches.

Yield from axillary regrowth is much lower than yield from crown regrowth. Since some branches usually remain after hail, regrowth rates can be very low if many plants in the field were only partly damaged.

Sometimes you can speed up recovery of alfalfa by harvesting the field as soon as possible after hail to encourage crown regrowth rather than axillary regrowth. Deciding when is your biggest challenge.

The amount of damage and nearness to harvest both affect this decision. Cut as soon as possible if plants have reached bud stage and more than twenty-five percent of plant tips are broken. For plants within two weeks of harvest, cut if one-half or more of the plant's growing tips are injured or if most plants are lodged. And harvest or shred anytime more than two-thirds of the plant tips are broken unless the hail was so severe that only stubble remains or plants were less than a foot tall when the hail occurred. After these early cuttings, delay your next harvest to allow plants extra time to recover from this extra stress.

To cut or not to cut, that is the question. And your answer will affect growth rates of this, and your next, cutting.

Resurrecting “The BEEF STATE” Plates

Nebraska Cattlemen Board of  Directors, in conjunction with the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation, want you to be part of  bringing back part of  Nebraska’s history. From 1956 to 1965, Nebraska license plates bore the phrase, “The BEEF STATE.” That phrase was a great source of  pride to beef  producers and many others around the state. Unfortunately, “The BEEF STATE” moniker has not been part of  Nebraska license plates since.

As the heritage of  Nebraska’s beef  industry has continued to grow in all phases in the last 50 years, the pride and hard work has never wavered. Nebraska’s beef  industry is positioned to be the epicenter of  beef  industry of  the United States and beyond.

This idea of  re-introducing “The BEEF STATE” phrase on our state’s license plates is not a new thought. Roughly fve years ago, NC member and current United States Sen. Deb Fischer, as Chair of  the Unicameral’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, wanted the phrase as part of  the current license plate run. Obviously, the phrase did not make it on the plates.

The NC Board of  Directors, as part of  the celebration of  the 125th Anniversary of  the formation of  the Nebraska Cattlemen, want to celebrate and promote the culture of  Nebraska’s largest industry, beef. What better way to do so than create a license plate with the phrase, “The BEEF STATE.”

Your Vote

The Board of  Directors of  both NC and the NC Foundation, in working with the Nebraska Department of  Motor Vehicle Department, created three “The BEEF STATE” license plate choices as pictured above. The directors want NC members to vote to select the winning design.

Those attending the NC Midyear Meeting in Valentine on June 18-19 can vote in person. If  you cannot attend the summer meeting, please vote online at the Nebraska Cattlemen website: Online voting will conclude Friday, June 28. Votes will then be tabulated, the winning plate announced, and then the promotion and acquisition of  the necessary 500 applications will begin.

Livestock Groups Urge Senate to Ban Formula Contracts

Fifteen national and state livestock groups including R-CALF USA, sent a joint letter today to U.S. Senators urging them to aggressively support the bipartisan Farm Bill amendment sponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.). The amendment, Senate Amendment 982, would prohibit the largest meatpackers from using anticompetitive formula contracts to procure livestock from independent cattle and sheep feeders.

According to the group's letter, the amendment would end the meatpackers' practice of enticing cattle and sheep feeders to commit livestock under a formula contract that, while granting livestock sellers timely access to the marketplace, does not even include a negotiated base price. For this reason, the groups refer to anticompetitive formula contracts as un-priced contracts.

The numbers of cattle that have exited the price-discovery cash market in favor of formula contracts has skyrocketed during the past several years. According to national data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the volume of cattle sold in the price-discovery cash market shrank from 52% in 2005 to only 26% in 2012, while the volume of cattle procured under formula contracts increased from 33% to 55% during the same period.

The group's letter explains that formula contracts are anticompetitive because their ultimate settlement is based on prices discovered in the cash market, which is a market the meatpackers can readily manipulate simply by avoiding it and relying on their formula livestock.

"The meatpackers have created a vicious conundrum," said Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA .

Bullard explained: "First, the meatpackers restrict timely access to the marketplace for independent producers, forcing them to enter formula contracts; second, the meatpackers rely on their formula livestock to avoid the cash market, causing the cash market to fall; finally, the meatpackers slaughter their formula livestock and pay the livestock producers a price based on the depressed cash market that the meatpackers had just manipulated."

"Dominant meatpackers are able to artificially lower the price they pay for all cattle and sheep," the groups highlighted in their letter.

In support of their call for the ban on anticompetitive formula contracts, the groups wrote that the U.S. sheep flock has declined by more than half in just three decades and lamb prices fell over $100 per head between early 2011 and mid-2012, a period when consumers continued paying high prices for lamb.

"Also, while consumers continue paying record prices for beef, independent cattle producers have suffered horrendous, long term losses. During the 26-month period from March 2011 to April 2013, when beef prices were reaching historic highs, independent cattle producers lost an average of about $116 per head for every animal sold to the dominant meatpackers," the letter states.

The letter concludes, "Both the cattle industry and the sheep industry are shrinking fast and neither industry will recover on its own unless Congress takes immediate action to end the manipulative practices caused by the dominant meatpackers' use of anticompetitive formula contracts."

Groups that joined the request for the ban on formula contracts include: Buckeye Quality Beef Association (Ohio), Cattle Producers of Louisiana, Cattle Producers of Washington, Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association, Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND), Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, Kansas Cattlemen's Association, Missouri's Best Beef Co-Operative, Murray County, Oklahoma Independent Cattlemen's Association, Nevada Live Stock Association, Northern Wisconsin Beef Producers, Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), R-CALF USA, and South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) Confirmed in U.S.

The USDA confirmed that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) has been identified in the United States for the first time. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory found PEDV in a small number of U.S. herds through testing.

“This is not a new virus, nor is it a regulatory/reportable disease,” said Lisa Becton, DVM, director of swine health information and research for the National Pork Checkoff. “Since PEDV is widespread in many countries, it is not a trade-restricting disease, but rather a production-related disease.”

The virus was first discovered in England in 1971. Since then, the disease has been identified in a number of European countries and Canada, and most recently in China, Korea and Japan.

PEDV only affects pigs and is not zoonotic. Therefore, it poses no risk to other animals, humans or food safety. It is similar to transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) and is transmitted through the fecal-oral route with acute diarrhea symptoms within 12 to 36 hours of onset. Producers are advised to immediately report any signs of illness in their pigs to their herd veterinarian.

“We are monitoring this disease and will make recommendations to producers as necessary,” Becton said.

Iowa Takes Aggressive Step to Tear Down Big Oil’s Bogus Blend Wall

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) applauded the Iowa Legislature’s passage of H.F. 640 as a big step in supporting fuel choice for Iowa’s fuel retailers and consumers. The legislation protects retailers from Big Oil efforts to restrict competition by guaranteeing local retailers the right to offer the ethanol and biodiesel blends of their choice, such as E15, E85 and B20.

“This legislation represents a solid step forward for higher ethanol blends, consumer choice, and the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” stated IRFA President Rick Schwarck, CEO of Absolute Energy.  “I find it ironic that Big Oil consistently claims that retailers don’t want to sell higher ethanol blends like E15, yet they use every trick in the book to prevent retailers from offering E15.  In fact, the American Petroleum Institute (API) fought tooth and nail to try to keep these retailer protections out of the bill.  This bill tears down one part of Big Oil’s bogus blend wall in Iowa.”

The legislation includes a section that amounts to a retailer ‘Bill of Rights,’ preventing oil refiners’ supply agreements from directly or indirectly limiting the ability of local retailers to offer the ethanol and biodiesel blends they choose. The provision was based on a law enacted in South Dakota in 2011 and addresses specific, anti-competition provisions from actual refiner supply agreements.

As a result, new supply agreements will not be allowed to:
-    Restrict fuels from other suppliers;
-    Restrict installing a blender pump;
-    Restrict using current equipment from offering higher blends, like E15, E85, and B20;
-    Restrict ethanol or biodiesel blends from being advertised;
-    Restrict the locations where a retailer may offer the higher blends (like under a canopy);
-    Restrict payment for higher blends to cash only (no credit cards)

“One supplier should not be allowed to dictate to local retailers what they can and cannot do with products from other suppliers,” continued Schwarck.  “More freedom for retailers to offer the fuels they choose often means more ethanol and biodiesel blends, which benefits consumers by increasing competition at the pump.  And it also means more RINs will be generated for use in complying with the federal RFS.”

Know options for prevented corn plantings, ICA urges

Farmers with crop insurance policies who did not complete corn planting by today (May 31) need to act quickly to keep some of their options open, says the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. About 15 percent of intended corn acres were not planted, according to the most recent Crop Progress and Condition Report issued by Iowa’s National Agricultural Statistics Service on May 28.

“Iowa cattle producers grow a lot of their own corn for feed. We’re just coming off a drought year which put a lot of pressure on feed availability and cost, and now they are dealing with extended cool weather and heavy rains this spring. There’s no doubt that feed costs will continue to be pressured. We want our members to know all their options if they haven’t finished planting corn,” says Justine Stevenson, ICA director of government relations and public policy.

The best thing producers can do is contact their crop insurance agents to understand all the options and the impacts each can have.

Farmers can still plant corn during the late planting period, which continues to June 25. “If they choose this option, the insurance payments will be reduced by 1 point for every day planting is delayed after May 31,” Stevenson says.

A second option is to take the prevented planting option, which is 60 percent of the production guarantee. A third option is to plant a second crop such as soybeans or cover crops. Soybeans don’t reach their final planting date under crop insurance provisions until June 15.

“The cover crop option could help cattle farmers meet forage needs,” Stevenson says, “but they need to be aware of how that part of the program works. If the cover crop is harvested before Nov. 1, their prevented planting payment will be reduced to 35% of the total. If harvest happens Nov. 1 or after, then the full prevented planting payment will be distributed.”

“Again, we urge our members to contact their insurance agent to know the full scope of their options,” Stevenson said. 

Ethanol Plant Steps Up to Offer Consumers Serious Ethanol Discounts

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) today announced that while Iowa gas prices are often hitting new highs, Iowans can turn to ethanol blends like E85 to save some of their hard-earned money.

E85 is being sold at attractive prices across the state, but in areas where ethanol producers are selling E85 directly to the retailer, consumers are seeing even greater discounts.  Siouxland Energy and Livestock Cooperative (SELC), a 60 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Sioux Center, Iowa, is now offering E85, a fuel blend containing 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, directly to retailers and is passing on the RIN value generated by blending ethanol.

According to OPIS, recent prices for E85 at Iowa terminals were about $2.69 per gallon, while SELC listed the price for their E85 at only $2.17 per gallon. Last week, Absolute Energy of St. Ansgar, Iowa announced the implementation of the same program. 

“Here at Siouxland Energy, we’re passing on the RIN savings to the consumer, and it’s making for some very attractive E85 prices,” stated SELC Commodity Manager Tom Miller. “I think ethanol plants are growing tired of watching a middleman pocket the RIN value to the detriment of consumers. Our plant wants consumers to understand the real value of homegrown ethanol, so we’ve cut out the middleman and we’re selling E85 directly to retailers at a much greater discount.”

A RIN, or renewable identification number, is a free credit earned by the blender of ethanol that can then be sold on the open market to oil refiners, which use the credits to demonstrate compliance with the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

FY 2013 Exports Forecast at a Record $139.5 Billion; Imports at a Record $111 Billion

Fiscal 2013 agricultural exports are forecast at a record $139.5 billion, down $2.5 billion from the February forecast and $3.7 billion above fiscal 2012 exports. The forecast for grain and feed exports is down $2.8 billion from February, primarily reflecting lower export volumes and unit values for wheat and corn. Sugar and tropical product exports are also forecast lower, down $500 million fro m the last forecast. The forecast for oilseeds and products is raised slightly and the forecast for cotton exports is $500 million higher. The forecast for livestock, poultry, a nd dairy is unchanged from last quarter, at a record $30.1 billion. The export forecast for horticultural products is unchanged at a record $32.0 billion.

U.S. agricultural imports are forecast at a record $111 billion, $1.5 billion lower than the February forecast, but $7.6 billion higher than in fiscal 2012. Lower forecasts for tropical products account for most of the reduction from February.

The forecast trade balance for fiscal 2013 is lowered $1billion to $28.5 billion, down $3.9 billion from fiscal 2012.

Vilsack on Forecast for U.S. Agricultural Exports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its fourth Outlook for U.S. Agriculture Trade in fiscal year 2013 today. USDA projects $139.5 billion in agricultural exports in FY 2013, which if realized would be a new record. Since 2009, U.S. agricultural exports have climbed from $96.3 billion in 2009 to the most-recent forecast of $139.5 billion.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement:

"Today's report is promising news that keeps American agriculture on track to continue the strongest period of exports in our nation's history. Agricultural exports are an important part of our economy, supporting more than one million jobs - and as a part of President Obama's National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, USDA has worked hard to open new markets for quality U.S. agricultural products. We've helped achieve new trade agreements with countries around the world, helped organic producers export more products through new equivalency agreements, broken down hundreds of unfair barriers to trade, and utilized trade promotion programs that have helped more than 1,000 U.S. businesses and organizations promote agricultural products abroad. Today, we're looking ahead to the next big achievements - particularly a Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian nations, and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union.

We must continue working to strengthen markets and opportunity in American agriculture. That's one reason why it is important that Congress achieve passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible. Trade promotion efforts provided by the current Farm Bill have been extremely valuable for U.S. producers. A long-term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would continue these programs, enabling USDA to keep working with producers and businesses to promote their quality products around the world. This is an important step to further increase agricultural exports from the United States and create more good jobs here at home. As we continue our efforts to strengthen agricultural trade, USDA will keep working hard to help Congress pass a multiyear, comprehensive bill as soon as possible."

Senate Hopeful to Pass Farm Bill Next Week, House to Take Up Bill in Mid-June

(from National Association of Wheat Growers newsletter)

The Senate plans to take up 2013 Farm Bill legislation as soon as it is back in session on Monday, June 3. Although it is still unclear what amendments will be considered during the final days of debate, members of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, including Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), seem confident that their chamber will pass its version of the farm bill sometime next week. Before leaving for the Memorial Day recess, Senators undertook three full days of debate and amendment votes on the Senate floor. According to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), the House is set to debate its bill on the House floor sometime in mid-June, possibly the week of June 17th.  NAWG is encouraged by the swift movement on the Senate and House floors, and wheat growers look forward to a completed legislative product before the current extension expires on Sept. 30.
Preview of Senate Farm Bill Debate: Crop Insurance Still a Target

New analysis is coming out about the amendment adopted by the full Senate during debate last week that would apply adjusted gross income (AGI) limits to crop insurance premiums. The amendment was offered from Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and would reduce the premium subsidy by 15 percent for farmers with AGIs of $750,000 or higher. Kansas State University agriculture economist Dr. Art Barnaby examined how placing means testing on crop insurance would affect the risk pool, agreeing with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow’s (D-Mich.) comments that limiting crop insurance support would cause producers with large pieces of land to leave the insurance system, making the costs rise for the rest of the risk pool.

Barnaby also examined assumptions behind an amendment likely to be offered on the Senate floor next week by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), which would eliminate the harvest price option from the revenue protection contract. Barnaby explains that crop insurance has provided yield coverage since 1980, but only after the inclusion of the harvest price option in 1996 was there large scale Corn Belt participation in crop insurance. Ultimately, amendments such as the Durbin-Coburn and Flake amendments will incentivize farmers not to take crop insurance, which is exactly the opposite of what NAWG and most other farmer organizations believe the industry needs. NAWG strongly supports policies that encourage everyone who wants to take crop insurance to be able to participate in the program, making it more affordable for all growers and helping ensure safe and affordable food for a growing world population.

May Farm Prices Received Index Advanced 2 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in May, at 194 percent, based on 1990-1992=100, increased 2 points (1.0 percent) from April. The Crop Index is down 1 point (0.5 percent) but the Livestock Index increased 6 points (3.7 percent). Producers received higher prices for eggs, hogs, soybeans, and broilers. Prices were lower for corn and wheat. 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 broilers, sweet corn, and hay offset decreased marketings of soybeans, apples, wheat, and oranges.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 14 points (7.8 percent) from May 2012. The Food Commodities Index, at 181, increased 3 points (1.7 percent) from last month and 12 points (7.1 percent) from May 2012.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The May Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is 219 percent of the 1990-1992 average. The index is unchanged from April but 4 points (1.9 percent) above May 2012. Higher prices in May for nitrogen, gasoline, other machinery, and supplies offset lower prices for concentrates, feeder cattle, diesel, and complete feeds.

Prices Received by Farmers - All crops:

The May index, at 221, is down 0.5 percent from April but 3.3 percent higher than May 2012. Index decreases for feed grains & hay, commercial vegetables, and food grains more than offset index the increases for fruits & nuts, oilseeds, potatoes & dry beans, and upland cotton.

Food grains: The May index, at 244, is 1.2 percent below the previous month but 11 percent above a year ago. The May price for all wheat, at $7.51 per bushel, is down 20 cents from April but 84 cents above May 2012.

Feed grains & hay: The May index, at 295, is down 1.7 percent from last month but 7.7 percent above a year ago. The corn price, at $6.88 per bushel, is down 9 cents from last month but 54 cents above May 2012. The all hay price, at $203 per ton, is $3.00 higher than April and $2.00 above last May. Sorghum grain, at $11.20 per cwt, is 40 cents below April but 80 cents above May last year.

Cotton, Upland: The May index, at 125, is up 0.8 percent from April but 10 percent below last year. The May price, at 75.7 cents per pound, is up 0.3 cents from the previous month but 8.7 cents below last May.

Oilseeds: The May index, at 255, is up 2.0 percent from April and May 2012. The soybean price, at $14.80 per bushel, increased 40 cents from April and is 80 cents higher than May 2012.

Livestock and products:

The May index, at 170, is 3.7 percent above last month and 13 percent higher than May 2012. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for broilers, milk, market eggs, cattle, and hogs. Prices for turkeys and calves are down from last year.

Meat animals: The May index, at 163, is up 1.9 percent from last month and 2.5 percent higher than last year. The May hog price, at $67.00 per cwt, is up $5.20 from April and $4.20 higher than a year ago. The May beef cattle price of $125 per cwt is up $1.00 from last month and $3.00 higher than May 2012.

Dairy products: The May index, at 152, is up 2.0 percent from a month ago and 23 percent above May last year. The May all milk price of $19.80 per cwt is 30 cents above last month and $3.60 higher than May 2012.

USSEC is Optimistic with Results of India’s First Buyers – Sellers Meet

The U.S.Soybean Export Council hosted the first national level commercial meeting for marketing opportunities in India at the Radisson Hotel in Indore from May 2-4.  The buyers – sellers meet was convened in the backdrop of increasing domestic consumption and concerns of domestic availability, rising prices and other trade related issues.  USSEC stressed the importance of bringing together all partners in the soy value chain to deliberate emerging issues and concerns in order to develop solutions leading to sustainable growth in domestic soy consumption.  Indian stakeholders no longer consider soybeans to be an oilseed crop, but now largely recognize soy as a protein crop intended to provide wholesome food and feed products at affordable prices.  Soybean meal and defatted soy flour are now considered co-products and not by-products of soy processing.

Approximately 110 feed utilization members from throughout India came to seek solutions on soy for their business operations and take away tools for raw material management.  National feed interests were represented by influential companies such as the Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers Association (CLFMA), National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) and several large soy buyers such as Suguna Foods, Ananda Fisheries and Venkys.  The major meal utilization sectors (broiler, layer and aquaculture), which collectively comprise about 4 million metric tons (MMT) annually, were also well-represented at the two-day event.  The opportunity for feed representatives to interface with top crushers in addition to leading traders facilitated valuable networking opportunities throughout these meetings.  Discussions with India’s feed utilization members helped create a clearer understanding on expectations of S&D, quality concerns, tools required for managing raw materials in the future, and further opportunities.  Utilizing soy will help feed representatives run animal production businesses successfully and in a sustained manner.

The USSEC team facilitated talks strengthening trade linkages between buyers and sellers with the expectation of leading to sound market development pathways in the future.  The views of the country’s leading trade organizations further added to the interactions and understanding of the soy complex in India.  These trade associations recognized the domestic potential and made recommendations to sellers to explore this potential sector and use it to sustain their businesses.

There was a significant shift in the focus of all stakeholders from crush for oil and export of soybean meal (SBM) to crush for meal and increased domestic consumption.  Virtually all participants spoke of the need to enhance the quality of soymeal to be able to utilize more SBM in further value-added products.  Investment interest ranged from the feasibility of producing high value ingredients such as soy protein isolates and concentrates to textured soy proteins, as well as marketing high quality food grade defatted soy flour.  Near unanimity was seen with the various stakeholders in relation to the soy balance sheet as well as with future projections of domestic utilization of soy in India.

Feedback from large processors was unambiguous in relation to the future growth and market access of value-added soy foods.  These processors are actively seeking engagement with USSEC resources to assist with capacity and trade building processes.  Utilization food companies have long seen the need to improve the quality specifications of soy flour to meet the user industry needs.  ITC, the largest user of defatted soy flour for fortification of wheat flour, indicated that the utilization of soy flour in multigrain flour could double if the quality of soy flour is improved. The crushers / sellers appreciated the market needs for quality products and assured that they would make necessary improvements to soy flour as soon as possible.  Similar discussions took place between Dal Analogue producers and large institutional consumers such as school meal providers to partner together for delivering better protein nutrition at affordable prices.

USSEC is very pleased with the discussion initiated at this inaugural buyers – sellers meet.  The meetings provided an appropriate platform for stakeholder conversations and were conducive for frank deliberations between all partners to arrive at solutions for accomplishing sustainable domestic consumption through value-added soy food and feed products.

IGC Raises Forecasts for World Corn and Wheat Crops

The International Grains Council on Friday raised its forecasts for the world's corn and wheat crops, citing better cultivation and yields in the European Union and the Soviet Union.  The IGC expects 682 million metric tons of wheat to be harvested, 4% more than last season and 2 million tons more than the organization estimated last month.  "Although there is continued uncertainty about harvest prospects in some major producers, global wheat availabilities are still set to be ample over the year ahead," the IGC said in a report.

It pegs the 2013-14 corn crop at 945 million tons, up 10% from last season and 6 million tons more that last month's forecast.  "Carryovers in 2013-14 will be much more comfortable compared to the previous year, especially in the U.S., where stocks are expected to more than double," said the report.

New Consumer-friendly Pork Cut Names Create Buzz

The Porterhouse chop, the New York chop and the Ribeye chop are part of a new consumer-friendly pork labeling system that’s generating a lot of buzz this summer. Top-tier media have amplified the news about pork’s new names via USA Today, Fox News, ABC News, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, NBC News, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, The Huffington Post, Yahoo News and many other outlets.

“As of late spring, more than 1,425 news stories about the new pork cut names had resulted in more than 230 million consumer impressions,” said Patrick Fleming, director of retail marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “The news also has spread quickly throughout social media.”

Before the renaming process took shape, the National Pork Board and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association collaborated on in-depth research during an 18-month period. The research showed consumers are often confused by the different names for similar cuts of meat. As a result, they don’t know how to cook a variety of cuts now available in the meat case.

To overcome this challenge, the Pork Checkoff simplified pork cut names and is including basic usage and preparation information on the package. The new cut names will align with the foodservice industry as well, to provide a consistent consumer perception of pork at restaurants and at home.

“Research shows that consumers buy cuts they are familiar with,” Fleming said. “Now, once they get their New York chop or Ribeye chop home, they can grill it in the way they’re familiar with, too.”

National Pork Board President Conley Nelson said, “These new names will help change the way consumers and retailers talk about pork. Putting new labels on familiar pork cuts will make it easier for consumers to take advantage of pork’s great taste and value.”

He added, “We also are getting help from the new, 145-degree cooking temperature approved in 2011 by the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service. We’re adding new pork lovers once consumers discover how good pork is when cooked to the right temperature.”

India Sets Zero Tariff on Oil Meal Imports Signaling Willingness to Open Up Trade

The  Government of India announced May 22 that it is suspending tariffs on oil meals, including soymeal and oil cakes.  Though not currently a significant market for U.S. soy, US Soybean Export Ccouncil CEO Jim Sutter believes this is a welcome sign of market development potential for U.S. soy exports to the soy-producing country. 

Indian imports of edible oil are on the rise.  In 2011-2012, India imported a record 10.19 million tons (MT) of vegetable oil, a significant increase over previous years.  The Food and Finance Ministries of India believe that lowering custom duties will create stable prices for consumers.

With national elections scheduled for next year,  the political environment in India is influencing policies on food safety, food security, and international trade.  According to the World Food Programme, India incorporates 25 percent of the world’s hungry and poor population, where more than 70 percent of children are malnourished and about 10 million or more people die of chronic hunger or hunger-related diseases every year.  India’s government has struggled to address its food security crisis, but is now showing more urgency to pass legislation and to explore policies to curb food prices and improve the quality of life of India citizens. USSEC staff and industry advisors believe the time is right for policy reforms and USSEC has shifted its focus in India toward preparing for future Indian soy import needs rather strictly promoting soy utilization.

25th World Pork Expo presents new exhibits and record junior show

Nearly 20,000 pork producers and industry representatives from 39 countries will be in Des Moines, June 5-7, for the 2013 World Pork Expo. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, it is the world’s largest pork-specific trade show with more than 400 commercial exhibits. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, World Pork Expo will feature 310,000 square feet of exhibits, which is an increase from 2012.

“If you’re looking for products, technology or information, World Pork Expo is the best place to spend your time,” says Randy Spronk, NPPC president and pork producer from Edgerton, Minn. “The heart of Expo is the personal interaction — producer to producer, and with NPPC leaders and company representatives. The most valuable part is those unexpected conversations.”

Between the business seminars and PORK Academy, World Pork Expo always offers the latest information that busy pork producers, their employees and their families need to run responsible and efficient businesses. On Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6, 20 educational presentations will take place in the Varied Industries Building. Both days include a free business-seminar luncheon featuring experts discussing economic and weather outlooks.

“We have a wide variety of seminars lined up, from nutrition and feed to manure management and food safety,” says Alicia Irlbeck, World Pork Expo general manager. “These free educational presentations are an ideal way for pork producers to learn more about the latest trends and developments affecting their markets and their product.”

Continuing its upward trajectory, the World Pork Expo Junior National has set another record this year, with 856 junior exhibitors from throughout nation entering more than 2,500 pigs. The 2012 show set a record when youths showed 2,177 hogs — a 25 percent increase from the previous year. The Junior National shows and judging competitions take place each day of Expo. The open show, with almost 1,000 hogs entered by 493 exhibitors, will be held on Friday, June 7, with a sale on Saturday, June 8.

New this year is the addition of the Agriculture Building to the exhibit space, which will feature the International Visitors Center and the America’s Best Genetics display, as well as a display of World Pork Expo memorabilia from the past 25 years.

“Attendees should stop by the Agriculture Building and vote for their favorite display,” Irlbeck says. “To celebrate World Pork Expo’s 25th anniversary, NPPC is giving away a trip for two to a location of the winner’s choice for up to a $3,000 value. All Expo attendees are eligible and can sign up in booth 2708.”

Next door to the Agriculture Building is the ever-popular Big Grill where attendees can enjoy a free pork lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. all three days of Expo.

While Expo’s days are filled with lots business activities and information, there’s also time to relax and enjoy an evening of fun and fellowship. MusicFest will take place on Thursday, starting at 4:30 p.m. It will feature GRAMMY®-nominated Little Texas, who also is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, as well as Transit Authority, the premier tribute band to the music group Chicago.

“If you haven’t been to World Pork Expo before or haven’t been there for a few years, you’re going to be truly impressed with the quality of products, producers and information,” Spronk says. “Grab a friend, grab a fellow pork producer and head over to Expo. Where else can you go to gain the information you need for your pork-production business and have some fun at the same time?”

Admission purchased at the gate is $15 per adult and $3 for youths aged 6 to 11; there is no charge for children 5 years of age and younger. This price of admission includes entry into Expo for all three days. Proceeds from World Pork Expo are used to develop and defend export markets, fight for reasonable legislation and regulation, and inform and educate legislators.

Plan to Attend the Checkoff’s Pork Academy at World Pork Expo 

The Pork Checkoff is sponsoring the Producers Opportunity for Revenue and Knowledge (PORK) Academy June 5 and 6 at World Pork Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. PORK Academy is a series of seminars designed to provide information for pork producers about current industry challenges in a way that can be applied to their own operations. The seminars will cover a variety of topics, including securing your farm and reputation, sow housing, feed efficiency and pork exports

“PORK Academy offers an outstanding lineup of leading experts who will address issues facing producers today,” said David Ray, a pork producer from Edenton, N.C., and chair of the Checkoff’s Producer and State Services Committee. “The sessions will provide attendees with information to help operate their farms more effectively and to stay current on industry trends and challenges.”

Following is the PORK Academy agenda. All sessions will be held in the Varied Industries Building, Room C, with the business seminar luncheons held on the upper level.

Wednesday, June 5

• 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Update on PEDV: What is it and how will it affect me?
Lisa Becton, National Pork Board
Patrick Webb, National Pork Board
Tom Burkgren, American Association of Swine Veterinarians
Harry Snelson, American Association of Swine Veterinarians

• 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – Secure Pork Supply: Business Continuity for the Pork Industry in a Foreign Animal Disease Outbreak
James Roth, Iowa State University

• 11:15 a.m. to Noon – Feed Price Update and Daily Feed Efficiency Drivers
Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University

• Noon – 2:30 p.m. – Business Seminar Luncheon
Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University
Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics

• 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. – Protect, Prepare and Prevent: Securing Your Farm and Your Reputation
Tom Conley, The Conley Group, Inc.
Cindy Cunningham, National Pork Board

• 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Export Issues and World Markets
Becca Hendricks, National Pork Board
Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board
Laurie Hueneke, National Pork Producers Council
Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University

Thursday, June 6

• 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Food Safety Analysis
Marcos Rostagno, USDA-ARS Purdue University

• 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – Update on PEDV: What is it and how will it affect me?
Lisa Becton, National Pork Board
Patrick Webb, National Pork Board
Tom Burkgren, American Association of Swine Veterinarians
Harry Snelson, American Association of Swine Veterinarians

• 11:15 a.m. to Noon – Reproductive Decision Tree
Don Levis, Levis Worldwide Swine Consultancy

• Noon to 2:30 p.m. – Business Seminar Luncheon
Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University
Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics

• 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. – Industry Productivity Analysis
Ken Stalder, Iowa State University

• 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Sow Housing
Harold Gonyou, Prairie Swine Centre
Don Levis, Levis Worldwide Swine Consultancy
Ron Bates, Michigan State University

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday May 30 Ag News

Frontier, Husker Coops May Combine Forces

The Boards of Directors for Frontier Cooperative Company of Brainard, Nebraska, and Husker Coop of Columbus, Nebraska, have agreed to study the financial feasibility of unifying the two cooperatives into one.  Frontier Coop General Manager Randy Robeson says this study will determine what potential benefits could accrue to the cooperatives' member-owners and employees.  Husker Coop General Manager Rich Richey says this study will be conducted during the summer, and information from this study will be evaluated by the Boards, and shared with the memberships of both cooperatives. 

WIC Answer Plot Training Session #1

You’re invited to come learn local agronomic information, from local experts, along with how our local and national research will help you obtain maximum bushels out of this season’ crop.  Western Iowa Coop is hosting their first Answer Plot Session on Friday June 7th, 9am to 12-noon near Blencoe, Iowa.  Event Speakers include: Steve Barnhart-WinField Regional Agronomist, Eric Bartels-WinField Regional Product Manager, Rick Behrens-WinField R7 Specialist, and Troy Greiss-Syngenta.  Registration starts at 8:30am. 

Dixon-Dakota Co. FSA Committee Nominations Set

The Dixon-Dakota County Committee election nominations begin June 17 for Local Administrative Area No. 3 (Springbank, Emerson, Wakefield and Logan). Farmers, ranchers and landowners are encouraged to nominate farmer and rancher candidates to serve on their local FSA county committee by the Aug. 1 deadline.

Elected county committee members serve a three-year term and are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity and price support programs, as well as other important federal farm program issues. County committee members are a valuable asset because they are local producers who participate in FSA programs themselves and have a direct connection to farmers and ranchers in their community. We would like to see a high level of participation in this year's nomination and election process. Producers may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Organizations that represent minority and women farmers and ranchers may also nominate candidates. Nominees must participate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area (LAA) in which the person is a candidate. To become a nominee, eligible individuals must sign form FSA-669A accepting the nomination. The form and more information about county committee elections are available online at:

"It is important that the county committee reflects the demographics and agricultural interests of the community these individuals represent. We strongly encourage all producers, including women, minority and beginning farmers and ranchers to participate in the nomination and election process. Our county committee for Dixon-Dakota counties is comprised of five members elected by local producers. The newly elected county committee member and alternates will take office January 1, 2014," said Daryl McGhee, county executive director.

Nomination forms (FSA-569A) must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1.

For more information about county committees, please contact the Dixon-Dakota County FSA office at 402-755-2277 ext. 2 or visit

Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has awarded 15 students with scholarships; six were recognized as Engler Scholars and thus will receive renewable awards while nine were awarded one-time scholarships.

The Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation founded the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program in 2010 with a gift of $20 million over 10 years. The program aims to identify students with entrepreneurial drive and mentor their ability to build and run businesses through innovative curriculum and professional development opportunities.     

"The Engler program provides student support in the way of scholarships, study abroad assistance, internship and entrepreneurial development, and networking with innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs through a variety of programs including the Engler Lectures Series," said Tom Field, the Paul Engler Chair of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship. "The ultimate goal of the Engler program is to create employers and community builders."

These students won up to four-year renewable scholarships of $10,000:
            – Erich Vogel is a freshman biochemistry major from Hastings. Vogel spent the last year studying in China, participating in the U.S. State Department's National Security Language Initiative for Youth to Zhuhai, China.
            – Spencer Hartman, from Champion, is an agribusiness major. Hartman developed a hydroponic tomato business and is the state FFA president.
            – Davis Behle, from Kearney, is an agribusiness major. Behle owns a cattle enterprise and serves on the Attorney General Youth Advisory Board.
            – Haley Bledsoe, a freshman from Blair, is an animal science major. She manages a pumpkin patch and corn maze business.
            – Lukas Fricke, from Ulysses, is a sophomore agronomy/animal science major. Fricke is building a business focused on applying smart technology to farm operations.
           – Jared Knobbe is a sophomore agribusiness major from Imperial. He is working on expanding affordable housing in rural communities and he owns a horse shoeing business.

These students won one-time scholarship between $1,000 and $3,000:
            – Amanda Castle is a transfer student from Olathe, Colo. She is majoring in agribusiness and is a partner in a cow-calf business.
            – Callin Ledall is a freshman agribusiness major from Imperial. Ledall runs a lawn care and snow removal business.
            – Matthew Treadway is a sophomore mechanized systems management major from Ashland. He owns a tree service and snow removal business.
            – Larissa Wach is a sophomore agribusiness major from Wauneta. Her business involves providing a workbook that facilitates spiritual growth.
            – Melinda Knuth is a sophomore horticulture major from Hartford, S.D. She is pursuing business models involving international flower sales and hydroponic forage production.     
            – Adam Vetter is a junior agribusiness major from Franklin. He runs a lawn care service.
            – Grant Mitchell is a freshman animal science major from Malcolm. He has experience in marketing produce through farmer's markets, equine therapy and cattle enterprises.
            – Kelsey Foster is a freshman horticulture major from Berwyn. She is focused on developing landscape enterprises as a component of the family farm.
            – Colleen Melvin is a freshman food science and technology major from Bennington. She operates Good Stuff, a baked goods company and markets through local farmer's market outlets.
            – Skyler Adamek is a freshman animal science major from Seward. Adamek developed a livestock watering system and is marketing it under her company as Sky Waterworks.

Cargill to invest in Prairie Waves Project, Holdrege, NE

Cargill will invest about $30 million to increase unloading speeds, storage and shipping capacity, as well as add railroad service at its grain elevator southwest of Holdrege.

“South Central Nebraska is a highly productive area for grains” said Phil Harders, leader of Cargill AgHorizons U.S.’s Cornhusker Farm Service Group (FSG). “In addition to the local markets we have been serving by truck, the added rail service will expand the markets for farmer customers to the Pacific Northwest and the U.S. Southwest.”

The capital investment project at Holdrege is expected to be completed by the harvest of 2014. To date, Holdrege has shipped grain out by truck. The project will add rail service along the BNSF Railroad, which will allow Cargill to load 120-car shuttle trains.

“Unit trains are an efficient way to move large volumes of grain,” said Tim Coppage, Cornhusker FSG merchandising leader. “By giving us access to additional markets like the Pacific Northwest and the U.S. Southwest, we can better meet the demands of our farmer customers for broader markets.”

The project will increase storage capacity by 3.5 million bushels, which will bring the total to 5 million. Cargill will add three truck receiving pits with a combined 80,000 bushel per hour truck receiving capacity. The facility will also have 70,000 bushel per hour rail shipping capacity.

“The high capacity receiving pits and grain legs will provide a better fit to the increased harvest speed of area producers,” said John Barrett, Cornhusker FSG operations leader.

The facility will be increasing its staff from seven fulltime grain employees to 10 or more over the coming year. Contractors will have approximately 100 employees at the site in different stages of construction.

Area officials welcomed the news

“The economic impact of the facility,” said Phelps County Board Chairman Jim Ostgren, “will be felt both in the year long construction phase as well as helping provide area producers access to additional markets in the U.S. and around the world for years to come.”

Greg Ibach, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, said: “I am pleased that Cargill is making this investment that will enhance access for Nebraska crops to domestic and foreign markets.”

Nebraska State Senator Tom Carlson added that “this is a substantial investment in our community and contributes significantly to keeping the Holdrege area as a great place to live, work, raise a family, and enjoy more of the ‘Good Life.’ These improvements will increase commerce in our area and service to local grain producers.”

Iowa Soybean Association finds legislative victories in bills, connections with lawmakers

With the adjournment of the 2013 Iowa Legislature last week, Iowa soybean farmers were pleased that funding for the ag research and nutrient management was secured. In addition, these Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) farmer leaders also found success in their weekly visit to the Capitol and found that legislators were receptive to learning more about agricultural issues.

“We spent quite a bit of time talking with legislators about funding for ISA’s On-Farm Network® and the State Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” explained ISA Public Affairs Committee Chair Brian Kemp, who farms near Sibley. “We also talked about funding departments at Iowa State University, such as Extension and the Ag Experiment Station because Iowa Soybean Association checkoff funding is leveraged through those entities.”

Kemp acknowledged disappointment in the inaction on the proposed fuel tax as the condition of the state’s rural roads and bridges are keys to the success of Iowa’s farming industry.

 “We had 37 different farmers take the time to travel to Des Moines to spend their Wednesdays talking one-on-one with legislators,” Kemp said. “The fuel tax increase came up every week. We can understand it’s difficult to pass a tax increase, but we also see that infrastructure is a priority that won’t and can’t take a back seat forever.”

Legislators provided support for a strong, voluntary nutrient strategy program, listening both to farmers and environmental groups who have seen how important farmer involvement and support is to accomplishing environmental goals. Legislators also worked through a compromise to put together a workable “landowner liability” bill and included a reduction for ag property taxes in the last hours of the session.

“Agriculture is a major pillar of Iowa’s economy. Legislators from all across the state recognize this. Even though we have an increasing number of urban legislators, they all eat—and they all seem to want to understand Iowa’s agricultural systems,” added Kemp.

Several Iowa Soybean Association members will continue to focus on legislation, but through individual legislators as they work to connect urban lawmakers with what they do on their farms and in their rural communities.

“We look forward to meeting with both urban and rural legislators during this summer at their own local events and our Iowa Soybean Association events across the state,” added Kemp. “We have 13 farmers who have agreed to ‘adopt’ urban legislators for the year, inviting them out to their farms and visiting with them in their home districts. We hope this kind of communication can build an even stronger foundation for ag issues in upcoming legislative sessions.”

USMEF Welcomes Negligible BSE Risk Designation by the OIE

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is extremely pleased to see the announcement by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that it has recognized the United States as having the lowest possible risk of BSE in its cattle population. This “negligible risk” designation by the international standard setting body follows a thorough assessment of the BSE-related risk in the United States by an OIE committee of experts. The committee’s recommendation that the OIE grants the United States negligible BSE risk status is a clear reflection of the effective BSE surveillance and mitigation measures that have been in place in the United States for many years and the extremely low incidence of the disease in the U.S. cattle herd.

USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng welcomed the announcement by saying, “This decision by the OIE should clear away any remaining concerns that some countries have about the risk associated with importing beef and beef products from the United States. We think the decision announced by the OIE today should provide a number of beef importing countries with a reason to reevaluate their requirements for beef imports from the United States.”

NCGA Announces Leadership at Its Best Participants

The National Corn Growers Association today announced the participants who will constitute the 27th class of NCGA's Leadership at Its Best Program, co-sponsored by Syngenta.  This year's class includes 19 aspiring leaders from 11 states, from as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado.

"Leadership at Its Best has trained strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent service at the state and national level," said NCGA President Pam Johnson, who completed the class in 2006.  "We're excited to see such great interest in the program and strongly believe the quality of the applicants bodes well for the future of our industry. NCGA depends upon grassroots leadership, and, as a graduate of the program, I personally understand the important role this program plays in helping develop the skills and build the relationships necessary to lead such a dynamic organization in an ever-changing environment."

This year's Leadership at Its Best Class includes: Les Anderson (Minn.); James Burg (S.D.); Ann Cross (Colo.); Ray Dean (N.Y); Don Duvall (Ill.); Chris Edgington (Iowa); Chuck Emanuel (North Bend, Neb.); Philip Gordon (Mich.); Rick Gruber (Neb.); Ken Hartman Jr. (Ill.); Scott Hays (Mo.); Gail Leirer (Ohio); Patty Mann (Ohio); Randy Melvin (N.D.); Jerry Mohr (Iowa); Thomas Mueller (Ill.); Brad Schad (Mo.); Mark Sponsler (Colo.); and Harold Wolle (Minn.).

While open to all members, NCGA suggests that states have their incoming checkoff board and grower association leaders attend, though states can submit others. The first session addresses personal communications, public speaking skills, media training and association management.  The second session addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure.  The program is designed to equip graduates with the tools they need to be effective leaders in their state associations and on national action teams and committees.

Since 1986, the National Corn Growers Association, the state corn associations and, most importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the Leadership At Its Best Program.  More than 550 growers have gained invaluable media, communications, association management and public policy knowledge and skills from the program.

As a measure of the impact of this program and its importance to NCGA and its current effectiveness as an organization, one only need consider the Class of 2002.  Those 20 growers include five current or former Corn Board members-including two past presidents-and five action team members.  Leadership at Its Best has been a vital leadership incubator for honing the skills of state leaders on "the way up" and stimulating further involvement in and greater commitment from state growers to NCGA.

US Ethanol Supply Drops to 16M Bbl

Total ethanol supply in the United States was drawn down 200,000 barrels (bbl) to 16.0 million bbl during the week-ended May 24, the Energy Information Administration reported Thursday, with the inventory level the lowest since EIA began reporting weekly ethanol supply in June 2010.

U.S. ethanol supply at 16.0 million bbl is down 5.5 million bbl or 25.6% from a year ago.

Ethanol production at U.S. plants was throttled back 12,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 863,000 bpd from a nine-month high, with the output rate down 39,000 bpd or 4.3% from the comparable week a year ago.

Ethanol imports averaged 27,000 bpd for the week reviewed, with that supply shipped to East Coast ports.

Refiner and blender net inputs of ethanol edged up 3,000 bpd to 863,000 bpd, while 6,000 bpd above the same week in 2012.  Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 9.64%.

Implied gasoline demand increased 167,000 bpd to 8.956 million bpd during the week leading up to Memorial Day, the strongest weekly consumption rate since late last summer. Gasoline demand during the four weeks ended May 24 is down 217,000 bpd, or 2.4%, at 8.633 bpd, however, with consumption so far this year flat with 2012 at 8.485 million bpd.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.085 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 96,313 metric tons of livestock feed, 85,864 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.49 million pounds of corn oil daily.

ASA’s Wilkins Testifies Before USTR Staff on Soy Aspects of European Trade Agreement

Richard Wilkins, a soybean farmer from Greenwood, Del., and Executive Committee member of the American Soybean Association (ASA), testified today before the Trade Policy Staff Committee of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on agricultural and soybean-specific aspects of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the 27 member states of the European Union (EU).

In his remarks, Wilkins highlighted the importance of the EU marketplace for American soy, but noted the sharp decline in soy exports to the EU as a result of certain EU policies, including the labeling of products containing biotechnology and discriminatory policies on biofuel feedstocks under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Wilkins specifically addressed the complications presented by the RED, which uses foreign data to impose greenhouse gas emission benchmark reduction requirements on American soy imports. “The greenhouse gas formula for soy-biodiesel is based on production and transportation data for Brazil,” he explained. “This significantly understates the emissions reduction of U.S. biodiesel and thus limits the amount of biodiesel derived from U.S. soybeans that can qualify under RED.”

Wilkins also addressed the EU’s conservation requirements; regulation of pesticides; the subsidizing of soybean production in new Ecological-Focus Areas, or EFAs; and obstacles to exports of U.S. meat products, the largest consumers of U.S. soybeans.

EU trade ministers are expected to move forward on an accord formalizing the start of negotiations on the TTIP by the end of June.

2011 USDA Farm and Ranch Safety Survey

In 2011, there were an estimated 4,355,000 tractors in operation on 2,181,630 farms and ranches in the United States. This estimate is based on a telephone survey of 25,000 farm operators conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Tractors are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in agriculture. Of the estimated 4.4 million tractors in operation on farms and ranches in 2011, 2,563,000 or 59% were equipped with a roll-over protective structure (ROPS), a proven engineering control in the prevention of tractor overturn deaths. More than 3,000 operations were estimated to have at least one tractor overturn in the previous 12 months; 1,600, or 53% of these overturned tractors were equipped with ROPS.

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), another source for injury, are common on agricultural operations. In 2011, there were an estimated 1,580,000 ATVs in use on farms and ranches, 1,385,000, or 88%, of which were used for work. Of the ATVs used for work, 107,000, or 8%, were equipped with a power-take-off (PTO) drive. The most common work tasks for which an ATV was used were general farm transportation, moving materials, spraying, and moving livestock. In 2011, there were an estimated 836,000 ATVs used for general farm transportation, 541,000 were used to move materials, 332,000 were used in spraying, and 309,000 were used for moving livestock. Over 119,000 operations had youth less than 16 years of age who operated an ATV.

Storage facilities commonly found on farms and ranches can create a variety of hazards. For example, manure storage facilities can produce toxic environments. Silos and grain bins can expose operators and workers to hazards such as grain engulfment. In 2011, 98,000 operations were estimated to have manure storage on the operation, with approximately 13% of the 127,000 manure storage facilities being enclosed pits. An estimated 19,000 operators entered an enclosed pit in the last 12 months. An estimated 361,000 farms and ranches have a silo and/or grain bin storage. Of the 770,000 estimated grain bins, less than 8% were equipped with a harness and life line system attached to the center of the ceiling to prevent individuals who entered the bin from being engulfed by grain.

NIOSH sponsored this survey to better understand the magnitude and scope of hazardous exposures on agricultural operations. The survey was conducted as part of the NIOSH Agricultural Injury and Health Initiative.

USDA Agricultural Safety Report:  2009 Injuries to Adults on Farms

Occupational Injuries to Adults on Farms in the United States, 2001, 2004, 2009; in 2009 an estimated 42,000 work-related injuries occurred to adults (20 years of age and older) living or hired to work on U.S. farms. This represents a 41% decrease from the estimated 71,000 adult occupational farm injuries in 2004, and a 45% decrease from the estimated 76,000 adult occupational farm injuries in 2001. These findings are based on a series of telephone surveys of 25,000 farm operators in the United States. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducted the survey for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Farm operators were asked questions about any work-related injuries to adults on their farms in three separate surveys in 2001, 2004, and 2009. An injury was defined as any traumatic event occurring on the farm operation resulting in at least 4 hours of restricted activity or requiring professional medical attention.

Survey results also indicate that males incurred the majority of injuries. In 2009, 68% of all injuries were to males. In 2004 and 2001, an estimated 80% and 78% of injuries occurred to males, respectively. Other trends across the survey years show that the majority of adult work-related injuries occurred on livestock operations, and adults who lived in the farm household experienced the largest proportion of work-related injuries. In 2009, an estimated 35,000 or 84% of all work-related farm injuries occurred to adults who were part of the farm household.

In 2009, survey respondents reported that animals were the primary source in 21% of all work-related injuries to adults on farms. They identified floors, walkways, and ground surfaces in 18% of all work-related injuries to adults on farms. In an estimated 78% of the animal-related injuries, horses or cattle were identified as the primary source. This is consistent with data from 2004 and 2001 where horses or cattle were identified as the primary source in 78% and 79% of the estimated incidents, respectively.

NASS has previously reported the long-term trend of the aging farm operator, with the average age of farm operators increasing approximately one year for each 5-year Census cycle. Results from the agricultural safety surveys also show an increase in the average age for adults injured on the farm. In 2001, the average age for adults injured while working or living on the farm was 47.8 years. By 2009, the average age increased to 52.2 years.

Additional survey results indicate an estimated 5,000 work-related injuries occurred to adults who were not hired farm workers or farm family members. This represents an overall decrease of 38% from the number of injuries estimated in 2001 (8,000), and a 17% decrease from 2004 (6,000).

NIOSH sponsored this survey to better understand the magnitude and scope of agriculture-related injuries to adults working on farms. The survey was conducted as part of the NIOSH Occupational Injury Surveillance of Production Agriculture project.

Japan Suspends Imports of US Wheat Grade on GE Concern

Japan is suspending imports of a grade of U.S. wheat that is ubiquitously grown in Oregon after unapproved genetically engineered wheat was discovered at a farm in the state, a senior government official said Thursday.

Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is communicating with the U.S. embassy to seek confirmation that about the "safety of wheat," Toru Hisazome, who heads up wheat imports department at the ministry, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday that it was investigating the discovery of the herbicide-resistant wheat strain, which was developed by Monsanto Co. (MON) and last field-tested in 2005, when growers and buyers expressed opposition to its plan to seek approval to market the seeds.

Japan will continue to monitor the progress of the USDA investigation before making a decision on whether to resume western White wheat imports, Mr. Hisazome said. Imports of other grades of wheat from the U.S. aren't affected, he said.

Another Japanese agriculture ministry official said around 90% of the wheat produced in Oregon is classified as "soft white" wheat, including Western White, which is milled in Japan to be used in a variety of processed foods. The grade typically accounts for around a third of the wheat Japanese buyers source from the U.S.

U.S. white wheat is also grown in other states and is popular in other Asian countries, including Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia. White wheat accounted for around 17% of U.S. wheat exports in the marketing year that ends May 31, according to a USDA projection.

Mr. Hisazome said the import suspension began Thursday and doesn't impact contracts that have already been arranged for imports of U.S. Western White wheat.

Commercial cultivation of genetically engineered wheat isn't permitted in the U.S., the world's largest exporter of the grain.

Asian countries import large volumes of genetically engineered corn and soybeans and also produce their own GE cotton but are very sensitive to new GE traits that can't be imported or grown without regulatory approval.

Japan, one of the world's largest wheat importers by volume, purchases milling wheat from the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Nigerian Trade Team to Survey U.S. HRW Wheat Crop

Nine representatives from the top milling and food companies in Nigeria will travel to four states to survey the new wheat crop from June 2 to 12 as part of an annual trade team visit. On average, Nigeria is the second largest buyer of U.S. wheat.

For a firsthand look at this year’s hard red winter (HRW) and hard white (HW) crops, the team will meet with university researchers and tour grain and wheat foods facilities in Oklahoma, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Trade team members will also talk with wheat farmers in the field, including a stop at the farm of USW Vice Chairman Dan Hughes in Venango, NE.

“Trade teams bring together both the beginning and end of the grain chain,” said Gerald Theus, assistant regional director for the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Sub-Sahara African Office in Cape Town, South Africa. “Visits like this one allow our Nigerian customers to make a personal connection with U.S. wheat farmers – who consistently produce the high quality wheat Nigeria’s industry needs.”

Theus and Muyiwa Talabi, USW’s marketing consultant based in Lagos, Nigeria, will accompany this year’s team. The Nigerian team was sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s market development programs. USW also collaborated with the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, Nebraska Wheat Board and Kansas Wheat to organize this year’s Nigerian team. Trade teams like this one reinforce the reliability, quality and value of the U.S. wheat crop to wheat buyers from around the world. 

This team includes representatives from the Nigeria’s leading flour mills. One of the companies, Flour Mills of Nigeria, is the world’s largest importer of HW wheat, shipped from its own export elevator in Corpus Christi, TX. This company and other Nigerian flour mills also import significant amounts of HRW, hard red spring (HRS), soft red winter (SRW) and durum.


The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) today announced that Celebrity Chef and Nutritionist Ellie Krieger will moderate The Food DialoguesSM: Chicago. The event, entitled, “Transparency and Food: Our responsibility to make information available to today’s consumer” is the second panel in a two-part series of events taking place in Chicago. The June 19 panel discussion will be held at Kendall College School of Culinary Arts where Ellie Krieger will join farmers, ranchers, industry experts, pundits and media to discuss one of America’s biggest food issues – the type of information consumers are looking for when making food-purchasing decisions.

“USFRA’s goal for The Food Dialogues is to spark conversation on some of today’s toughest questions surrounding food production,” said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “The topic of transparency and food is intended to engage consumers and the key decision-makers along the food chain who deliver the products consumers find on the shelves of supermarkets and on menus across the country. By adding Ellie Krieger as the moderator for this event, we hope to create a dynamic environment where everyone finds value in the discussion.”

Best known as the host of Food Network's hit show, “Healthy Appetite,” Ellie's charismatic approach to talking about food has made her a go-to resource on nutrition by the media and public alike. Krieger's success can be attributed to her unique way of offering real life advice without any of the gimmicks and crash diets that often permeate mainstream culture.

USFRA also announced the panelist line-up for the June 19 discussion, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CDT and will be streamed live online. Panelists will include:
·    Kathleen Merrigan, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture
·    David Fikes, Food Marketing Institute Director Consumer/Community Affairs and Social Responsibility
·    Gene Kahn, former president and CEO of Cascadian Farms
·    Jayson Lusk, University of Oklahoma agriculture economist and author, “The Food Police”
·    Lynn Martz, rancher, Martz Family Farm, Maple Park, Ill.
·    Bo Stone, farmer, P & S Farms, Rowland, NC
·    Mary Pat Raimondi, American Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition Vice President, Strategic Policy and Partnerships
·    Brad Nelson, Marriott International Corporate Chef and Vice President of Culinary
    ·    Anupy Singla, journalist, author and blogger,

For more information on this event, including how to register, visit

USDA:  Broiler-Type Eggs Set in the 19 State Total Up 1 Percent

Commercial hatcheries in the 19 State weekly program set 202 million eggs in incubators during the week ending May 25, 2013. This was up 1 percent from the eggs set the corresponding week a year earlier. Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 84 percent. Average hatchability is calculated by dividing chicks hatched during the week by eggs set three weeks earlier. 

Broiler-Type Chicks Placed in the 19 State Total Down Slightly

Broiler growers in the 19 State weekly program placed 166 million chicks for meat production during the week ending May 25, 2013. Placements were down slightly from the comparable week a year earlier. Cumulative placements from December 30, 2012 through May 25, 2013 for the 19 State total were 3.44 billion, up slightly from the same period a year earlier.

Industry Push to Provide Standardized Data for Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness of Agricultural Irrigation

Making irrigation water and energy conservation more efficient through technology is the goal behind a new project sponsored by AgGateway and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance known as PAIL (Precision Ag Irrigation Leadership). AgSense President, Terry Schiltz, will chair the new project and is joined by a cross-industry collaboration of leading agriculture and energy businesses.

Water and energy in agriculture are increasingly gaining attention for reasons including drought, shortages, growing demand and rising costs.  The use of technologies like variable rate irrigation, mapping, and remote management tools are enabling growers to conserve both of these valuable resources and optimize their yields at the same time.  The ability to seamlessly collect, read, analyze and manage all precision ag data, regardless of vendor or platform, is a much needed component for existing and future technologies.

"Ultimately, the goal of this project is to have a common set of data standards and protocols used across the agriculture industry," said Terry Schlitz. "With those in place, the industry can deliver much more efficient, easy-to-use solutions for producers, which in turn will help them use available water and energy more effectively."

Co-sponsors AgGateway and NEEA highlight that producers and manufacturers currently report that it is difficult and time-consuming to make decisions on how much water to apply when and where. That's because weather, soil moisture and other relevant data are stored in a variety of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) formats and data sources.

"Whether you are in Silicon Valley or the Shenandoah Valley, the goal needs to be bringing standardization to data management," continued Schiltz.  "Big data is a powerful tool for growers and producers, but getting that big data into a standardized format is critical for measuring and managing farm operations in the most efficient and effective manner."

AgGateway reports the project is backed by seventeen leading precision agriculture companies including:  Ag Connections, Agrian, AgSense, Campbell Scientific, CropMetrics, Crop IMS, Decagon Devices, Irrometer, Irrinet, John Deere, J.R. Simplot, MapShots, Monsanto, OnFarm Systems, Ranch Systems, Wysocki Produce Farms, Inc., and ZedX.

NIAA ‘Merging Values & Technology’ White Paper Released

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture recently released a 17-page White Paper highlighting the five presentations given at its 2013 “Animal Agriculture’s Vision to Feed the World: Merging Values and Technology” Annual Conference in Louisville, Ky., April 15-18.

NIAA’s Annual Conference White Paper covers these topics delivered by the Opening General Session and Closing General Session’s five keynote speakers:
·         “Grand Societal Challenges and the Role of Animal Science,” Lowell Randel, Federation of Animal Sciences Societies
·         “What Role Will Animal Biotechnology Play in Feeding the World?,” Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension Specialist, Animal Genomics & Biotechnology, Department of Animal Science, University of California-Davis
·         “Advances in Nutrition, Feed Efficiency, etc. to Meet the Needs of Growing the Food Supply,” Bryan Dierlam Director of Government Affairs, Cargill
·         “Financial Perspectives: Impact of Tomorrow’s Technology Trends and Developments on Animal Agriculture,” Deborah Perkins, Managing Director, Rabobank International – Dallas office
·         “Getting to a Comprehensive Food Safety System,” Dr. John Ruby, Technical Services, JBS USA

“So many factors are intertwined and must work in harmony so values and technology can be merged to serve a growing and hungry world. These presentations delve into the ‘what’ and ‘why needed’ factors and give us a more complete picture of the situation,” states Dr. Robert Fourdraine, vice president of product services and development for AgSource Cooperative Services, Wisconsin, and chair of NIAA’s Annual Conference.

The “Animal Agriculture’s Vision to Feed the World: Merging Values and Technology” White Paper can be accessed online at

EQStable app by Zoetis available on the Apple App Store

Horse owners can track and share rides with friends, get the latest equine news and log vaccinations, deworming and dental exams with the EQStable™ app, by Zoetis.

“The EQStable app was developed by horse owners, for horse owners. The Zoetis Equine Team is excited to share this tool that allows you to create a virtual stable on your phone, making it easy to manage your horse’s health care while being fun at the same time,” said Kate Russo, marketing manager, U.S. Cattle and Equine Marketing, Zoetis. “Plus, with EQStable, you can track and share your favorite rides and stay up to date with the latest equine news from”

The EQStable app is available to download for free in the Apple® App Store® and includes the following key features.
•      My Stable prompts horse owners for information about their horse or herd to create individual horse profiles and manage their needs, from vaccinations and exercise to shoeing and deworming. The app automatically creates reminder alerts for upcoming events or appointments.
•      Track My Ride gives riders the opportunity to track and save their rides with a ride history log. Riders can name each route and specify the horse they rode and share their ride with friends on Facebook®.
•      Calendar stores dates of competitions, horse health appointments and events.
• News lists the latest equine industry stories, which users can read with one easy click.
•      Horse Health features tips on deworming, vaccination, dentistry and shoeing for a horse or herd.
•      GlobalVetLINK provides on-the-go access to digital health certificates (eCVIs), digital EIA (Coggins) certificates and GoPass® six-month passports.
•      Products lists photos and general information about each Zoetis product.
•      Settings lets horse owners tailor their social media share settings and which alerts they want to receive for appointments, events and notifications.
•      Notifications allows horse owners to receive important information, updates and promotions.

Another feature coming soon:
•      Veterinarian Finder, powered by GlobalVetLINK, will provide an interactive map to search for equine veterinarians and gas stations within a specified area.

“We all want to maximize our time in the saddle, which requires a healthy horse. The EQStable app can help you achieve both by centralizing pertinent horse health information in the palm of your hand,” Russo said.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday May 29 Ag News

Beef DNA Technolgy: Where we've been, where we are, and where we're headed

DNA Technology continues to advance as is the use of that technology in cattle breeding and genetic selection. Dr. Matthew Spangler, UNL Extension Beef Cattle Quantitative Genetics Specialists is coordinating a meeting on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center that will highlight these advancements. To attend, RSVP by June 10 to Terri Behl (; 402-472-6411). Registration fee is $10 and includes lunch and all handout material.

Discover Beef - UNL Big Red Camp

Explore Nebraska’s largest industry — beef production! Discover all aspects of beef production through hands-on activities and interactions with UNL Extension educators and specialists, industry experts, and producers. Learn about genetics, reproduction, feeds and nutrition, marketing, meat and food safety, grazing-lands management, and current issues in the industry. Taught by the Department of Animal Science and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.  The camp is held June 9-12 at the UNL Campus in Lincoln.  This camp is designed for students going into grades 10-12, or those who just graduated this year.  Enrollment is limited to 16, first come - first serve.  Cost is $500. For more Information click this link:

Iowa soybean farmers’ crops facing increased risk of Sudden Death Syndrome

This spring’s cool, wet weather is making difficult for Iowa farmers to plant their soybeans and making it easier for a well-known pest to affect this year’s crop.

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a soil-borne fungus, is a disease that is highly dependent on the weather and the resistance level of the planted soybean varieties. Dr. Leonor Leandro, Iowa State University assistant professor of plant pathology, says conditions favoring SDS include compacted soils, soils with poor drainage and the interaction with the soybean cyst nematode. Fields with a history SDS are also more at risk.

Leandro says years with abundant rainfall throughout the season will be most favorable for SDS.

“This year, we’ve had a particularly cool spring and planting has occurred later than usual,” Leandro explains. “According to the National Agricultural Statistic Service, only 16 percent of soybean acres in Iowa had been planted by May 19, which means we’re planting a majority of our soybeans after May 20. In this last part of May, we’ve had soil temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60’s, and this is going to give the season an advantage to get out of the ground and escape infection. We may still see some infection of the roots, but it won’t be as severe as if we had planted in cool soils.”

Leandro says the unknown factor is how wet the remaining season will be. If the current prediction is correct and the summer will be dry, the risk of SDS will be low. But if the soybean plants get into the reproductive stages and good rainfalls occur, Leandro says SDS might show up. She says soybean yield losses vary greatly, depending on the weather in a given year or the location.

“Up to 100 percent yield losses have been reported in particular fields or sections of the fields. This especially occurs when the disease shows up in early reproduction stages. In 2010, Iowa experienced a very widespread, severe epidemic, and that year, the loss was estimated about 28 million bushels. In 2011 and 2012, the losses were very little because the summers were so dry.”

Leandro says the important thing for growers to note is that while the weather each year cannot be predicted, measures can be taken to reduce the impact of SDS if it appears. The most important measure is to plant SDS-resistant soybean varieties.

“There is no complete resistance to SDS, so any variety will develop some disease if it is in very favorable conditions, but they are going to suffer less yield loss than the more susceptible varieties,” she adds. “Many of the varieties that are resistant to SDS are also resistant to the soybean cyst nematode. Growers should try to select varieties that have resistance to both because there is an interaction with the soybean cyst nematode and SDS. If you manage both at the same time, you are going to be more effective at reducing losses from SDS.”

In addition to using resistant varieties, Leandro suggests growers use an integrated approach of other disease management practices to minimize yield losses. For SDS, that would include reducing soil compaction, avoiding planting in cool, wet soils and improving drainage. It’s also important to use good farming practices that maintain healthy soils with good fertility levels, good structure and good biological activity because a healthy soil helps plants develop a vigorous root systems, therefore, having a better defense against pathogens.”

To learn more, visit the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Production Research website,, and click on the podcast, “Protect Soybeans from SDS Unknowns.”

Preservatives and Hay Moisture

Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

The moisture content of hay when it is baled influences yield, quality, and storability of the hay. Preservatives can help us get it right.

When hay is baled too dry, leaves fall off of stems to the ground, reducing both quality and yield. Unfortunately, hay baled too wet can get moldy, overheat, or even catch fire. So we have a narrow moisture range that results in good hay that keeps well.

Hay can be baled a bit wetter if a preservative like propionic acid is applied as it's baled. To get good results from preservatives, though, it helps to know how it works and what it can and cannot do.

Baled hay naturally contains millions of bacteria and mold fungi. As they consume hay nutrients, these microbes produce heat. The duration and intensity of this heat determines the amount of damage the hay receives.

This heat also forces moisture out of the bale, something we often call "going through a sweat". Usually, hay gets dry enough that the microbes soon die or go dormant. But when too much moisture is present, heating becomes excessive, mold develops, or both.

Preservatives kill many of the microbes so less heat is produced. This gives hay time to dry out naturally, without the "sweat". But as it dries the preservative also vaporizes and disappears. If we stack bales tightly into storage soon after baling or fail to allow drying to occur in other ways, the remaining microbes eventually produce the mold and heat we wanted to avoid. Also, if rain, high humidity, or other sources moisten the hay later, microbial activity can redevelop since the protection from preservatives lasts only a short time.

Preservatives can help make good hay at higher moisture levels but correct management is needed to keep that hay in good shape.

Nebraska Farmer Plants Field of High-Yield Dreams

West Point’s Todd Prinz Among Six Farmers to Plant Acreage

The only thing constant about weather across the Corn Belt this spring has been its unpredictability. Like the rest of his corn-growing peers, Todd Prinz of West Point, Neb., has dodged raindrops, snowflakes and stubborn soil temperatures to finally begin his attempt at pushing toward 300-bushel-per-acre corn on 100-plus dedicated acres of his ground.

The Mosaic Company introduced The Pursuit of 300SM: The Road to Higher Yields this past August. The program uses the real-world experiences of U.S. farmers as a launchpad for agronomists, researchers, retailers and industry stakeholders to discuss and create the next generation of cropping systems. The goal is a sustainable, profitable system that incrementally yields an increase in bushels of corn per acre. Six growers from six different states have each designated 100 acres or more to serve as their Pursuit Fields and are chronicling their efforts at

“The start of the first full production year for Prinz Farm and Feedlot’s Pursuit of 300 has kicked off, and we’re very excited about it,” says Dr. Kyle Freeman, Manager of New Product Development for The Mosaic Company. “Todd is willing to try different management strategies to see what adds incremental yield. We know that achieving high yields is more than just fertility; it takes all facets of the corn production chain to boost yields. The Pursuit of 300 gives farmers, retailers and the ag industry a platform to exchange information, ideas and best practices to boost yields.”

This spring has been full of stops and starts, but on a farm in need of moisture, Todd Prinz of Prinz Farm and Feedlot certainly wasn’t complaining about the conditions. He had retail partner Central Valley Ag apply MicroEssentials® SZ™ in advance of planting on April 9, and expected to plant the field shortly thereafter. But once winter reemerged in Nebraska, it made itself at home, and it was May 13 before Prinz was able to plant his Pursuit Field, where he increased the seeding population to 38,000 per acre.

"We're excited to have our Pursuit Field planted and be able to watch it grow and gauge its potential," says Prinz. "We're in this to be more efficient and to learn new, better practices — and to hopefully bring some ideas from other areas to our farm in Nebraska. We want to raise yields, and we want to do so efficiently. Hopefully, some of the practices we've implemented on our Pursuit Field will help us with that. We're excited to find out."

The Pursuit of 300 consists of six farms in six states stretching across the Corn Belt, and includes, in addition to Todd Prinz and Prinz Farm and Feedlot, the following:
-    Matt and Luke Lantz of Lantz Farms in Lake Crystal, Minn.
-    Curt and Chris Hudson of Hudson Family Farms in Crawfordsville, Ind.
-    Mitchell Baalman of FDK Partnership in Hoxie, Kan.
-    Dale Launstein of Launstein Farms in Holland, Iowa
-    James Schoff of Schoff Farms in Walnut, Ill.

For more on each Pursuit Farmer and the systems they are implementing to reach 300-bushel corn, visit


Nebraska landowners and operators have until June 14, 2013, to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. The Conservation Stewardship Program is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to address resource concerns by undertaking conservation activities and improving and maintaining existing conservation systems.

CSP provides financial and technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis.  However, only applications received by the June 14 cutoff date will be considered for the current ranking and funding period.

Craig Derickson, NRCS state conservationist in Nebraska, encourages Nebraska farmers and ranchers to not miss out on this opportunity.

“The Conservation Stewardship Program is unique in how NRCS provides conservation program payments.  CSP participants will receive an annual land use payment for the environmental benefits they produce on their operations.  Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance - the higher the operational performance, the higher their payment,” Derickson said.

According to Derickson, CSP has been a very successful program for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.  Over 2,000 CSP contracts occur in all 93 counties and cover 3.9 million acres in Nebraska.

“CSP is popular in Nebraska because farmers and ranchers don’t have to take land out of production to participate. CSP helps conserve natural resources on working lands. Keeping land in production while protecting natural resources creates a win-win for all Nebraskans. CSP makes it possible to produce crops and livestock while also improving water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat,” Derickson said.

CSP is available statewide to individual landowners, legal entities, and Indian tribes.  Eligible land includes cropland, grassland, prairie, improved pastureland, non-industrial private forestland, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.  Contracts are set at five years and include all the land controlled by an operator.

For more information about CSP, including eligibility requirements and a self-screening checklist to see if CSP is right for your operation, producers can visit or stop by their local NRCS field office.

2011 SURE Deadline Approaching

Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Director, Dan Steinkruger wants to remind Nebraska producers that the final date to submit an application for payment under the 2011 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment Program (SURE) is June 7, 2013.  The SURE program provides financial assistance for crop production and or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

“To receive 2011 SURE payments, an eligible producer must have had a qualifying loss during the 2011 crop year, which means at least a 10 percent production loss affecting one crop of economic significance in a county that was declared a disaster in 2011or is contiguous to a disaster county,” said Steinkruger.  “Producers outside a declared disaster county or contiguous county must have production losses of 50 percent or more of the normal production to also qualify,” he said.

Steinkruger stated, “Twenty-two counties in Nebraska were declared a disaster in 2011, which qualifies those counties and the 26 contiguous counties based on the 10 percent loss requirement.”  The declared counties include the 14 counties bordering the Missouri River and 8 counties in southwestern Nebraska.  Producers in all other Nebraska counties must meet the 50 percent loss requirement. “To date, FSA has paid out approximately $23 million to more than 1,200 producers in Nebraska under the 2011 SURE Program,” said Steinkruger.

Steinkruger urges producers who think they may qualify for a payment to contact their local FSA office prior to the June 7 deadline to discuss details of the program and complete the application process.  More information can also be found at

Wholesale Beef Prices Set New Records

John Anderson, Deputy Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

After bouncing around mostly between $185 and $195 per hundredweight (cwt) since the end of summer last year, wholesale beef prices earlier this month finally moved into record territory above the $200 mark.  Last Thursday, the Choice cutout value reached $211.37 before slipping back below $209 on Friday.  For the week, the Choice cutout worked out to $210.47, up $2.98 from the prior week.  The cutout value has been led higher by strong prices on middle meats.  As of last Friday, the Choice cutout stood at $208.87, up $9.38 from its price at the beginning of the month.  Over that period of time, rib and loin primal values increased by $29.52 and $28.36, respectively.  By contrast, chuck and round primal values were basically unchanged during that time.

The strength in the boxed beef cutout in May was likely supported to a great extent by retailer purchases in advance of the Memorial Day holiday.  The outsized performance of middle meat prices lends credence to this notion.  These are the cuts whose highest and best use is on the grill; and Memorial Day is definitely a grilling holiday.  One might hope that this year's generally poor spring weather (too cool and too wet in many parts of the country) has contributed to a pent-up demand for grilling that was finally satiated this past long weekend.  No doubt retailers have already assessed the post-holiday condition of their meat cases.  Whether or not they are happy with the holiday movement of beef will have a lot to do with where wholesale prices head from here.

Another factor that will be key to the future direct of wholesale beef prices is the performance of competing meat prices.  Those have been very supportive of late.  For example, after being flat for just about all of 2012, boneless/skinless chicken breast prices have recently surged, climbing to over 200 cents/pound last week from around 150 cents per pound in mid-April.  This is the highest b/s breast price since about this same time of year in 2004, when prices briefly climbed into the mid-200s.  At that time, though, prices on other cuts were such that the 12-city broiler composite never exceeded 85 cents per pound.  By contrast, last week's national broiler composite (successor to the now-discontinued 12-city price series) worked out to 113.53 cents per pound, reflecting dark meat and wing prices that are far above 2004 levels.  Wholesale pork prices have also managed to move up along with the competition.  The pork cutout finished the week last week at $94.42 / cwt (FOB plant).  As recently at early-April, the pork cutout was struggling to get above $80.

Looking ahead, competing meat prices are likely to become less accommodative of higher beef prices.  Last week's Cold Storage report showed a substantial increase in both poultry and pork stocks.  Frozen chicken and pork supplies both increased by 8% over the prior month.  For chicken, dark meat stocks increased fairly dramatically, with drumstick and leg quarter stocks up 26% and 19%, respectively.  By contrast, breast and breast meat stocks were actually down 2% month-over-month.  For pork, the biggest increase in frozen stocks was also in the lower-valued cuts.  Picnic and ham stocks were up 26% and 33%, respectively, compared with the prior month.   With trade to China and Russia still disrupted, a larger share of this product will have to find a home on the domestic market - clearly not a positive feature for the wholesale market moving forward. 

81st General Session of the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE

For its 81st General Session, the OIE had the honour of welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Haya, OIE Goodwill Ambassador. Numerous Ministers of OIE Member Countries also honoured the Assembly with their presence at the Opening Ceremony today in Paris, France.  Over 800 participants, representing Member Countries of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and numerous international, intergovernmental, regional and national organisations (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, World Trade Organization, European Commission etc.) took part in the event.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or 'mad cow disease'

During this year's Session, the World Assembly of national Delegates recognised Bulgaria and Costa Rica as having 'controlled risk' status with regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE); Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Slovenia and the United States of America were recognised as having a 'negligible BSE risk'.  The official status of all the countries that already had an officially recognised status remains unchanged.

Foot and mouth disease

New zones were recognised as officially free from foot and mouth disease (FMD), in Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.  The OIE endorsed the national control programme for FMD submitted by Bolivia.

Animal welfare

The World Assembly of OIE Delegates adopted a new chapter on broiler chickens, which includes criteria and measurables for animal welfare in broiler production systems.  "This new chapter is the culmination of a long-term undertaking and it has taken OIE Member Countries several years to reach a consensus. It also goes to show that our Organisation's international standards-setting process, based on scientific excellence and democratically adopted standards – one country, one vote – achieves results of worldwide importance" declared Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE.

Recognition of official animal health status

This year, the Assembly has added peste des petits ruminants (PPR) and classical swine fever (CSF) to the list of diseases for which Member Countries can apply for official recognition of their disease free status.

African horse sickness (AHS)

In 2012, OIE Members validated the application of an official procedure for official recognition of countries' AHS status. This year, the Assembly recognised, for the first time, 59 countries as being free from the disease.  

Antimicrobial resistance

The OIE Delegates continued their work in the field of antimicrobial resistance by updating an important chapter of the OIE Code on responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine in the 178 OIE Member Countries.


A new chapter on rinderpest was adopted that confirms its global eradication in animals and enacts measures to be taken in the event of any accidental or deliberate release from laboratories still holding the virus.  A global communication programme on the sequestration and destruction of rinderpest virus was launched during the General Session. Supported by the United Kingdom, which currently chairs the G8 Global Partnership, the campaign includes the use of a video clip calling on OIE Member Countries to respect the commitments they agreed to in a vote at the OIE in 2011.

Influenza A(H7N9) virus

The Assembly gave special attention to the exceptional nature of the influenza A(H7N9) episode in the People's Republic of China in April 2013. The latest available information, delivered to the Assembly by the Delegate of China, and the results of the recent OIE expert mission to China, were presented to Member Countries with a view to preparing measures to try to prevent any worldwide spread of the virus in animals.  

Scientific network

This year, the Delegates accredited five new Collaborating Centres and six Reference Laboratories, bringing the number of official centres of scientific excellence within the OIE worldwide network to 284.

Vilsack on OIE Upgrade of US’ BSE Risk Status

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement about notification received today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) upgrading the United States’ risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to negligible risk:

“I am very pleased with OIE’s decision to grant the United States negligible risk status for BSE. This is a significant achievement that has been many years in the making for the United States, American beef producers and businesses, and federal and state partners who work together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect our public and animal health.  This decision demonstrates OIE’s belief that both our surveillance for, and safeguards against, BSE are strong. U.S. beef and beef products are of the highest quality, wholesome and produced to the highest safety standards in the world.

"Last year, exports of U.S.-origin beef and beef products totaled $5.5 billion.  With our negligible risk classification from the OIE, we have a strong foundation in place to continue increasing exports of U.S.-origin beef and beef products.   In doing so, we will continue to press trading partners to base their decisions on science, consistent with international standards. U.S. food and agricultural exporters and consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt science-based international standards.”

NCBA Statement on OIE Vote to Upgrade U.S. to "Negligible" Risk for BSE

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President-Elect Bob McCan, a cattleman from Victoria, Texas, made the following statement about the vote by the Scientific Commission for the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to upgrade the United States’ risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to negligible risk status:

“This announcement by OIE’s Scientific Commission is very positive news for U.S. cattle producers. The U.S. being classified as negligible risk for BSE by the OIE further solidifies the fact that the safety and health of our cattle and our beef is a top priority for American cattlemen and women. With the implementation of multiple interlocking safeguards by the U.S. beef industry and our partners, we have successfully been able to prevent BSE from becoming a threat to the U.S. beef supply, which remains the safest in the world. The vote by the OIE, an internationally recognized, standard-setting body, is proof that the science-based mitigation measures in place in the United States effectively protect our public and animal health.

“This announcement is an important step forward in increasing export opportunities for U.S. cattle producers. This is a significant achievement for the United States, our beef producers and federal and state partners who have successfully collaborated on this issue.”

Viewing Trees as a Crop Increases Their Potential

            When one thinks of Nebraska, corn and beef production come to mind. What people may not realize is that Nebraska has a significant and growing forest resource. Since 2005, the amount of forested acres has increased by 200,000 acres to 1.52 million acres.

            Most of these forested areas, about 88 percent of them, are owned by small, private landowners.

            "Unfortunately, many existing woodlands are in relatively poor condition because they are often considered to be 'waste' areas on the farm and are managed as such," said Dennis Adams, Nebraska Forest Service extension forester at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

            Adams said that many of these forested areas have a large potential.

            "These same areas, if managed properly, could yield substantial income from the periodic sale of wood products, plus enhanced wildlife habitat, watershed protection, and other environmental benefits," he said.

            By applying a few basic forestry management techniques such as thinning, weeding and pruning, the forest trees could grow to their maximum potential.

            Adams prefers to look at trees as another type of crop.

            "The objective of forest stand improvement practices is to distribute the total growth potential to a fewer number of desirable tree species and provide space to allow the crop trees to grow to their maximum potential ," Adams said.

            Another aspect of taking care of trees is making sure that weeds are managed properly, without damaging the trees with the use of herbicides.

            "Our trees are quite vulnerable to weed sprays," Adams said. "Wind carried herbicides may cause dieback of foliage and in many cases eventual death of the tree."

            Adams stressed that it is important to exercise caution when using herbicides, so that it does not have unintended consequences on trees.

            "Science has yet to create herbicides that can think, therefore spray goes wherever we aim it or wherever the wind carries it, and not always where we would like it," Adams said. "We have the power to direct and control spraying, and only the individual on the spraying rig has the power to shut down the spraying operation when it gets too windy."

Fertilizer Prices Near Standstill

Retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN continued to see very little movement during the third week of May 2013.  All of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, but these moves were fairly minor. DAP had an average price of $611/ton, MAP $654/ton, potash $587/ton, urea $566/ton, 10-34-0 $612, anhydrous $844/ton, UAN28 $399/ton and UAN32 $450/ton.  UAN28 dropped back below $400/ton for the first time in nine weeks. The third week of March 2013 was the last time the liquid nitrogen was below $400/ton. 

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.62/lb.N, anhydrous $0.51/lb.N, UAN28 $0.71/lb.N and UAN32 $0.70/lb.N.

Only one of the eight major fertilizers is showing a price increase compared to one year earlier. Anhydrous is now 10% higher compared to last year.  Four fertilizers are single digit lower in price compared to May 2012. DAP is 4% lower, MAP is down 6% and both UAN28 and UAN32 are now 8% lower compared to last year.  The remaining three fertilizers are now down double digits from a year ago. Potash slipped 11% while 10-34-0 is 21% less expensive and urea is 26% lower.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that test results of plant samples from an Oregon farm indicate the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. Further testing by USDA laboratories indicates the presence of the same GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states from 1998 to 2005. APHIS launched a formal investigation after being notified by an Oregon State University scientist that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of GE glyphosate-resistant wheat plants. There are no GE wheat varieties approved for sale or in commercial production in the United States or elsewhere at this time.

The detection of this wheat variety does not pose a food safety concern.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) completed a voluntary consultation on the safety of food and feed derived from this GE glyphosate-resistant wheat variety in 2004.  For the consultation, the developer provided information to FDA to support the safety of this wheat variety.  FDA completed the voluntary consultation with no further questions concerning the safety of grain and forage derived from this wheat, meaning that this variety is as safe as non-GE wheat currently on the market.

“We are taking this situation very seriously and have launched a formal investigation,” said Michael Firko, Acting Deputy Administrator for APHIS’ Biotechnology Regulatory Services, “Our first priority is to as quickly as possible determine the circumstances and extent of the situation and how it happened.  We are collaborating with state, industry, and trading partners on this situation and are committed to providing timely information about our findings.  USDA will put all necessary resources towards this investigation. ”

The Plant Protection Act (PPA) provides for substantial penalties for serious infractions. Should APHIS determine that this situation was the result of a violation of the PPA, APHIS has the authority to seek penalties for such a violation including civil penalties up to $1,000,000 and has the authority to refer the matter for criminal prosecution, if appropriate.

NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates Statement in Response to USDA Announcement on May 29, 2013

The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates were notified Wednesday that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed that a genetically-modified, glyphosate-resistant wheat variety that Monsanto field tested from 1998 to 2005 was present in volunteer wheat on one farm in Oregon. 

APHIS included a statement about the safety of this trait in its report today and confirmed that the material detected is as safe for food and feed use as non-biotech wheat varieties now on the market.  In addition, APHIS stated that at this time, there is no information that indicates that this regulated trait has entered the commercial supply chain.

"Roundup Ready” crops have been genetically modified to include a gene that works to make that crop resistant to the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate, also known by its branded name, Roundup.  No Roundup Ready wheat, or any other genetically modified wheat, has been authorized by USDA for commercial sale in the United States or anywhere else in the world.

Monsanto did conduct research on Roundup Ready spring wheat in the past, but withdrew its application for deregulation of the trait in wheat in 2004. APHIS will be investigating this detection to determine how this trait appeared outside of a regulated environment. We expect the regulatory authority’s investigation will give us additional details about the situation and any appropriate actions that may be needed. 

Although a Roundup Ready trait for wheat was never commercialized, in 2004 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that the Roundup Ready trait in wheat did not pose a health risk in food or animal feed.  We are confident that U.S. wheat, wheat flour and wheat foods remain safe, wholesome and nutritious for people around the world. 

We know it is important to understand how this situation occurred, and we have confidence that APHIS will be able to determine that as soon as possible.  Nothing is more important than the trust we’ve earned with our customers at home and around the world by providing a reliable supply of high-quality wheat. As industry leaders, we will cooperate with authorities in the United States and international markets to understand the facts surrounding this incident and help minimize its impact.

We appreciate our customers standing with us while we monitor the investigation, and we will share additional information as soon as it becomes available. 

For more from APHIS, visit

Australian 2013-14 Wheat Output May Rise Despite Dry Weather

Australian wheat output in the next marketing year beginning Oct. 1 is expected to rise to almost 24 million metric tons from 22 million tons this marketing year due to a likely rebound in production in Western Australia, a senior industry official said Wednesday.

Allan Winney, chief executive of Emerald Grain, one of the country's largest grain trading and handling companies, says Western Australia has received ample rains in recent weeks that have replenished soil moisture and if the weather continues to be conducive, production is set for a significant recovery.  Western Australia's wheat output fell by more than 50% to 5.6 million tons this marketing year according to industry estimates due to a devastating drought in 2012, pulling down national output by 27%.

In the current season, plantings in several regions of eastern Australia--including Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia--are running behind schedule due to dry weather, Winney said. Australia mostly plants wheat in the second quarter and harvests in the fourth.

Despite the 27% decline in output in the current marketing year, Australia has maintained a strong pace of exports by drawing down inventories, Mr. Winney said. Exports are expected to be higher this year by 1 million-2 million tons due to strong overseas demand, he said.

CWT Assists with 300,000 Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted three requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America and Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) to sell 299,829 pounds (136 metric tons) of Cheddar and Gouda cheese to customers in Asia. The product will be delivered June through August 2013.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 57.126 million pounds of cheese, 51.727 million pounds of butter, 44,092 pounds of anhydrous milk fat and 218,258 pounds of whole milk powder to 31 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.656 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. That is more than USDA’s projected increase in milk marketings for all of 2013.

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 assistance to the bidders only when delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

NMPF and IDFA Criticize Nevada Raw Milk Bill, Urge Governor Sandoval to Veto Legislation Permitting Sales of Unpasteurized Milk

Two national dairy organizations are urging Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to veto legislation that would allow the sales of raw milk directly to consumers, arguing that the food safety risks of the measure represent too great a gamble with the public’s health.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Sandoval, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said that Assembly Bill No. 209, which is awaiting review by the governor, would greatly increase Nevadans’ risk of serious illness because of the potentially dangerous bacteria that are often present in milk that has not been properly pasteurized.

“Gambling with the health of your state’s residents – particularly its children – is a bad bet,” said NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak in the letter. “While choice is an important value, it should not pre-empt consumers’ well-being,” he said, likening consumption of unpasteurized milk to a game of Russian roulette.

The letter cited a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which found that between 1993 and 2006, unpasteurized dairy products resulted in 73 known outbreaks – causing 1,571 cases of foodborne illness, 202 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. The CDC also concluded that unpasteurized milk was 150 times more likely to cause food-borne illness outbreaks than pasteurized milk, and such outbreaks had a hospitalization rate 13 times higher than those involving pasteurized dairy products. The CDC has reported that nearly 75% of raw milk-associated outbreaks have occurred in states where sale of raw milk was legal.

“Legalizing the state-wide sale of raw milk in Nevada increases the risk to public health, opening up the State’s consumers to the inevitable consequence of falling victim to a foodborne illness,” said Connie Tipton, President and CEO of IDFA.

Gov. Sandoval has until the end of the week to either sign or veto the assembly bill.

Federal law prohibits the interstate sales of raw milk but leaves it up to each state to determine how to regulate the product within their borders. An increasing number of states have liberalized sales of raw milk in recent years, which the dairy organizations say is a threat to public health and runs counter to other trends in the food industry to take additional steps to prevent unsafe foods from reaching consumers.

“Raw milk is a known source of life-threatening pathogens such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. It’s an abdication of a public servant’s role to take actions that will result in more people, including children, becoming sickened by these bacteria,” Tipton said.

Alltech Launches Mineral Management Program

Global animal health leader Alltech is launching a new mineral management program that aims to help their customers feed less organic trace minerals to their livestock and get optimal performance results. A unique approach to mineral supplementation, Alltech’s Total Replacement Technology (TRT) project will be officially launched to the swine market at World Pork Expo June 5- 7 in Des Moines, IA.

The company recently formed a global mineral management team to focus on providing solutions and support while introducing a modern nutrition application.  By creating a network of mineral consultants and researchers around the world, they will be delivering technologies to address today’s nutritional and environmental mineral concerns. This approach encompasses all of the company’s efforts to redefine organic trace mineral nutrition by educating the feed industry about TRT and to no longer address single mineral-related issues but overall mineral nutrition challenges.

“Minerals are Alltech’s number-one selling product division and now we have dedicated an entire team to the value-added program,” said Steve Elliott, Alltech global director of the mineral management division. “We want to set the tone for the industry and revolutionize the way organic trace minerals are supplemented into an animal’s diet.”

With new environmental feeding regulations being put in place each year, the TRT project strives to provide a secure source of organic trace minerals that are contaminant-free and safe for the environment. The latest research, which shows producers can feed substantially less amounts of organic trace minerals than inorganic and get a similar, if not better, performance in the swine barns, will be highlighted at Alltech’s booth at World Pork Expo.

“Research has shown that if hogs are overfed inorganic trace minerals, they do not perform with optimal productivity,” Elliott said. “Feeding a pig exactly what it needs with organic trace minerals, will result in enhanced efficiency and less mineral excretion.”

The new mineral management program joins a list of Alltech On-Farm support services.  The company currently provides workshops and training for employees, nutritional advisory services, 37+ Mycotoxin analyses, TrueCheck in-vitro screening,  quality control checks and many other services to support the industry.