Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday August 30 Ag News

Tax Reform Hearings Scheduled for Five Locations

The Legislative Tax Modernization Committee was created during the 2013 legislative session by Legislative Resolution 155, which requires the committee to hold five hearings across the state on topics of tax reform.  The dates, locations and times are as follows:

-- Mon., Sept. 23- Harms Advanced Technology Center, Western Nebraska Community College, Scottsbluff, 4-7 p.m. (Mountain Time)
-- Tues., Sept. 24- North Platte Community College, North Platte, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
-- Thurs., Sept. 26- Northeast Nebraska Community College, Lifelong Learning Center, 1:30 - 4:30p.m.
-- Thurs., Oct. 17- Metro Community College, South Omaha Campus, Omaha 1:30-4:30 p.m.
-- Fri., Oct. 18- State Capitol Building, Room 1113, Lincoln, 10:00- 1:00 p.m.

Detailed agendas and additional information will be available prior to the hearings.

Updated ACRE Analysis for 2012 and 2013

Depending on the fate of farm bill deliberations in late 2013, producers could face another new decision in 2014. If a new farm bill is completed, the farm program sign-up decision could be a choice of a new revenue-based safety net structure similar to ACRE or a revised price-based safety net, neither of which would include direct payments. Or, if farm bill talks stall again and another extension of current legislation is passed, producers could see another ACRE v. DCP decision in 2014, maybe for 2014 and 2015. Given the experience of the past two years, the eventual sign-up decision will be a critical one for Nebraska crop producers.

This is from the latest issue of Cornhusker Economics, in which Extension Public Policy Specialist Brad Lubben analyzes farmer participation in the federal ACRE program, what it's meant for previous participants and projections for 2013.

See the full article here...  

Nebraska LEAD Announces 2013-2015 Fellows

            Nebraska LEAD Group 33 participants were announced by Terry Hejny, director, Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program.

            The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program in its 33rd year are made up exclusively of participants who are involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness in Nebraska, Hejny said.

            "Once again we are proud to say that Class 33 appears to be filled with outstanding individuals from throughout the state," Hejny said.

            The two-year program will begin in September.

            LEAD Fellows will participate in 12 monthly three-day seminars across Nebraska, a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a 14-16 day international study/travel seminar. The goal of the program is to develop problem solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for agriculture and Nebraska.

            Seminar themes include leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, agricultural policy, leadership through communication, our political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, advances in health care, resources and people of Nebraska’s Panhandle and other areas designed to develop leaders through exposure to a broad array of current topics and issues and how they interrelate.

            The Nebraska LEAD Program is operated by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 10 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.

            Nebraska LEAD 33 Fellows in alphabetical order are: Jason Arp, Kennard; Chris Bender, Burwell; Amy Black, Hastings; Keith Borer, Elgin; Ryan Brodersen, Randolph; Matt Broz, Hayes Center; Pete Dixon, Pleasanton; Matt Dolch, Lincoln; Nathan Dorn, Hickman; Brooke Engelman, Jansen; Nick Fowler, Imperial; Wayne Frederick, Amelia;   Brad Heinrichs, Bruning; Nate Hughes, Geneva; Jessica Johnson, Scottsbluff; Tim Johnson, Doniphan; Chad McDaniel, Roca; Anne Meis, Elgin; Jolene Messinger, McCook; Jeff Moon, Fremont; Alex Peterson, Haigler; Michael Ann Relka, Mitchell; Jon Root, Central City; Kenny Smith, Omaha; Mark Suhr, Seward; David Swanson, Wahoo; Jake Tollman, Grand Island; Jess Waddell, Sutton; Calvin Wineland, Cambridge; and Barry Young, Clatonia.

Check Soybean Nodulation to Determine Inoculant Efficacy

Robert Klein, Extension Crops Specialist

If you notice areas of your soybean field aren’t producing as well as you would expect, dig up some roots. Poorly nodulated roots may mean these plants aren’t getting the nutrients they need to produce top yields.

On average, a soybean crop needs 315 lb N per acre, about 60% of which (190 lb) goes to seed production and 40% (125 lb) goes to stover and roots. In most cases all of this need can be supplied from the environment and additional nitrogen isn’t necessary. (In sandy or low organic soils or for yields over 70 bu/ac additional nitrogen may be recommended.)

Soybeans fix nitrogen from the atmosphere when nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria are present in the soil. Nitrogen fixation is a result of the symbiotic relationship between rhizobia and the soybean plant and is evident in nodules on soybean plant roots. Most studies show that btween 50% and 60% of the nitrogen is from N fixation.

A well nodulated plant should have five to seven nodules on the primary root.

Checking for nodulation now can help you assess your field and make adjustments for the next crop; however, checking as early as two weeks after emergence allows you time to apply nitrogen during the season if plants are not developing nodules. (The best time to apply nitrogen in soybean is between flowering and pod fill.)

Inoculating Soybean Seed

The least expensive way to supply nitrogen to soybean is by inoculating the seed at planting.

Research in Michigan on new ground where soybeans had not been grown showed as much as a 45% yield increase for soybeans that had been inoculated compared to those that hadn't. Michigan soils generally have higher organic matter and greater mineralization; Nebraska growers might see an even higher difference.

For fields where soybean has not been grown previously, inoculation is essential. For such fields, a soil-applied inoculant may provide greater yield potential than a seed-applied inoculant. For fields where soybean has been previously grown, either a soil-applied or a seed applied inoculant is good insurance for providing adequate nitrogen for the crop.

In fields where soybeans have been grown previously, sometimes reinoculation is necessary.

For more information on this and related topics, see Nutrient Management for Agronomic Crops in Nebraska (EC155), a 176-page comprehensive guide for Nebraska crop producers.

Bayer CropScience and UNL to Collaborate on Developing New Soybean Varieties

Building on the success of their collaboration in wheat breeding, the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (UNL) and Bayer CropScience are working together again—this time to develop new soybean varieties. NUtech Ventures, the technology commercialization arm of the University, signed a nonexclusive license agreement with Bayer CropScience on May 1, 2013.

This university-industry collaboration focuses on UNL’s soybean germplasm, the genetic material used to develop new soybean varieties. As with the previous wheat deal, the agreement goes well beyond a traditional license to intellectual property.

A major goal of the collaborative work with Bayer CropScience will be to improve yield and develop new soybean traits for growers in Nebraska and throughout the world. The agreement will also provide additional research experience and training for graduate and undergraduate students.

"This agreement is an excellent example of industry-university collaboration, with exchanged germplasm, student internships and scholarships," said David Conrad, Executive Director of NUtech. “The agreement also provides funds to endow a Presidential Chair in soybean breeding, which will ensure long-term sustainability of soybean research at UNL. Skilled soybean breeders are in high demand at companies like Bayer CropScience, so we are pleased that this collaboration will support the training of new breeders.”

Bayer CropScience can couple its significant research and development resources with the materials developed at UNL to create new lines of soybean varieties suitable for diverse climate conditions across the world.

“We are happy to partner with the UNL soybean breeding program to help deliver Bayer traits,” said Chris Tinius, Global Soybean Breeding Director, Bayer CropScience. “The UNL program is known for its long track record of releasing high-yielding varieties, and by showcasing our traits in these superior varieties, we hope to bring even greater value to soybean farmers across the Midwest.”

"The non-exclusive agreement with Bayer CropScience is generous in recognizing the needs and encouraging the broader benefits to University programs, Nebraska, and the industry as a whole," said George Graef, professor of agronomy and horticulture at UNL. "I feel honored to be involved in this and excited about what we will achieve."

Graef noted that support from the Nebraska Soybean Board has, for the past 25 years, provided the foundation for UNL’s soybean breeding and genetics research and development program. “It is with support from the soybean growers through the Nebraska Soybean Board that we have been able to develop the high-quality soybean breeding program that we have today,” he added.

"UNL’s robust soybean research program will grow even stronger from the partnership with Bayer CropScience, through advancements in our research enterprise and the creation of additional educational opportunities,” said Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Harlan Vice Chancellor.

“The soybean industry is big business in Nebraska, with over 207 million bushels grown each year. We are excited about the current opportunities this agreement establishes for the soybean industry in Nebraska and even more excited about the future impact our partnership will have on our state, region and world," Green said.

UNL Research: Grain Sorghum Lipids Can Lower Cholesterol, Intestinal Inflammation

            Grain sorghum lipids lower cholesterol levels and intestinal bowel inflammation in lab animals, University of Nebraska-Lincoln research has found, and scientists are working to figure out exactly how in an attempt to create food products that could manage both conditions in humans.

            The research is part of UNL's emphasis on "functional foods," which are dietary systems containing natural agents designed to impart certain health benefits, including prevention of a variety of diseases. The work involves scientists from several disciplines.

            Reducing LDL cholesterol is a key strategy to reducing coronary heart disease, which is a major cause of death in the United States and other countries. Statin drugs are effective and widely prescribed, but they are expensive and can have serious side effects. Moreover, inflammation of the bowel has been linked to many intestinal disorders, including colon cancer.  Scientists from UNL and elsewhere are trying to find nondrug strategies, such as functional foods, to replace drugs.

            That's where grain sorghum comes in, said Vicki Schlegel, UNL food scientist and part of the research team.  It is a rich source of several chemicals that can decrease cholesterol in addition to preventing inflammation but has been largely overlooked for human consumption in the U.S. Although the U.S. is the world's leading producer and exporter of grain sorghum, most of the crop in this country is used for animal feed and ethanol production.

            The UNL research focused on the extractable lipid fraction of grain sorghum whole kernels and their effect on cholesterol metabolism in hamsters, which have similar lipid cholesterol metabolism as humans.

            Scientists found that hamsters fed a diet supplemented with grain sorghum lipids had significantly lower cholesterol and liver cholesterol levels, Schlegel said.

              "These concentrations were in the metabolic ranges known to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in humans," the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources scientist added. "They probably prevented cholesterol from absorbing through the large intestine. It just passed through.

            "We also recently determined that the fatty diet fed to the animals not only increased cholesterol but also intestinal inflammation.  However, sorghum supplementation was able to remediate many markers of this cellular stress.  How it does this, well, that is the next step in our research," Schlegel added.

            Ongoing research includes determining the specific components responsible for both responses. Then, scientists hope to incorporate those into a food ingredient for humans.

            In addition to its human-health implications, such ingredients also could raise the value of sorghum for producers, Schlegel noted. Although the UNL research focused on whole kernel sorghum, the components responsible for these health benefits also can be extracted from sorghum-ethanol byproducts, which would improve the economics of that ethanol production since those byproducts now are used, if at all, as animal feed.

            This research is funded by the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, United Sorghum Checkoff Program, and UNL's Agricultural Research Division.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for August 2013 averaged $6.95 per bushel, a decrease of 15 cents from the July price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary August oat price averaged $3.90 per bushel, a decrease of 29 cents from July.
The preliminary August corn price, at $6.50 per bushel, decreased 55 cents from the  previous month.

The preliminary August sorghum price averaged $9.50 per cwt, a decrease of $2.00 from July.

The preliminary August soybean price, at $13.50 per bushel, decreased $1.60 from last month.

The preliminary August dry edible bean price, at $43.10 per cwt, was up $3.40 from last month.

The August alfalfa hay price, at $209.00 per ton, was down $4.00 from last month. The other hay price, at $151.00 per ton, was down $10.00 from last month.

Iowa August Agricultural Prices  

The preliminary August 2013  average price  received by  farmers  for  corn  in  Iowa  is $6.00 per bushel  according  to  the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices  report. This  is $1.89  lower  than  the August 2012 final average price.  The preliminary August Iowa average soybean price, at $13.80 per bushel is $3.00 lower than the August 2012 final average price.  The preliminary August oat price is $3.30 per bushel, $0.52 below the August 2012 final average price. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $192.00 per ton in August, $3.00 per ton less than August 2012.  Alfalfa hay prices fell $3.00 per ton from one year ago, to $205.00 and other hay prices dropped $2.00 per ton to $130.00.  Iowa dairy farmers received an average of $19.50 per cwt for milk sold in August, $0.60 per cwt more than one year ago.

USDA:  August Farm Prices Received Index Decreased 12 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in August, at 188 percent, based on 1990-1992=100, decreased 12 points (6.0 percent) from July. The Crop Index is down 17 points (7.4 percent) and the Livestock Index decreased 1 point (0.6 percent). Producers received lower prices for corn, soybeans, and broilers and higher prices for milk. In addition to prices, the overall index is affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of cattle, barley, and calves offset the decreased marketing of wheat, corn, and soybeans.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is down 5 points (2.6 percent) from August 2012. The Food Commodities Index, at 181, decreased 7 points (3.7 percent) from last month but increased 3 points (1.7 percent) from August 2012.

All crops:
The August index, at 213, decreased 7.4 percent from July and 8.6 percent from August 2012. Index decreases for feed grains & hay and oilseeds more than offset index increases for commercial vegetables and fruits & nuts.

Food grains: The August index, at 232, is 0.4 percent below the previous month and 12 percent lower than a year ago. The August price for all wheat, at $6.91 per bushel, is down 2 cents from July and $1.13 below August 2012.

Feed grains & hay: The August index, at 258, is down 9.8 percent from last month and 17 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $6.02 per bushel, is 77 cents lower than last month and $1.61 below August 2012. The all hay price, at $180 per ton, is down $10.00 from July and $3.00 below last August. Sorghum grain, at $9.55 per cwt, is 9 cents below July and $1.75 lower than August last year.

Cotton, Upland: The August index, at 124, is down 3.1 percent from July but 5.1 percent above last year. The August price, at 75.0 cents per pound, is 2.6 cents lower than the previous month but 3.6 cents above last August.

Oilseeds: The August index, at 232, is down 12 percent from July and 19 percent lower than August 2012. The soybean price, at $13.80 per bushel, decreased $1.50 from July and is $2.40 below August 2012.

Livestock and products:

The August index, at 163, is 0.6 percent below last month but is 5.8 percent higher than August 2012. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for broilers, hogs, milk, cattle, and calves. Prices for turkeys and eggs are down from last year.

Meat animals: The August index, at 164, is up 0.6 percent from last month and 5.1 percent higher than last year. The August hog price, at $75.70 per cwt, is down 10 cents from July but $8.80 higher than a year ago. The August beef cattle price of $120 per cwt is unchanged from last month but is $3.00 higher than August 2012.

Dairy products: The August index, at 148, is up 2.1 percent from a month ago and 6.5 percent higher than last year. The August price for all milk, at $19.30 per cwt, is up 30 cents from last month and $1.10 higher than August 2012.

Prices Paid Index up 1 Point

The August Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is 221 percent of the 1990-1992 average. The index is up 1 point (0.5 percent) from July and 5 points (2.3 percent) above August 2012. Higher prices in August for concentrates, feeder cattle, LP gas, and complete feeds offset lower prices for nitrogen, feed grains, hay & forages, and potash & phosphate.


Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp presented 63 Iowa farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 15.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy also spoke at a luncheon following the ceremony recognizing the winners.

“We recognize the commitment and investment that Iowa farmers have made to protect the soil and improve water quality and these awards are an opportunity to highlight their good work,” Branstad said.  “These farmers are leading the way in environmental stewardship.”

“Iowa farmers are passionate about the work they do and how they care for our natural resources,” Reynolds said.  “These awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to exceptional Farm Environmental Leaders.”

The award is a joint effort between the Governor, Lt. Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.  It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.

“Iowa has tremendous farmers who are not only the most productive in the world, but who also understand that we must care for the soil and water and preserve it for the next generation,” Northey said.  “By highlighting farmers that have taken steps on their farm to better protect the environment, we also want the award to bring attention to local leaders in environmental stewardship and serve as an encouragement to others to incorporate additional conservation practices.”

Winners were presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto and Hagie Manufacturing sponsored the recognition luncheon following the ceremony.  Bob Quinn from WHO Radio served as the Master of Ceremony.

All winners were chosen by a selection group representing both conservation and agricultural groups.  See the complete list here....  

The selection group that approved the 2013 winners included Jim Gillespie from the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, Bruce Trautman from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Jim Frederick from the Conservation Districts of Iowa, John Lawrence from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Sean McMahon from The Nature Conservancy, Jeff Pape from the Iowa Farm Bureau, Jay Lynch from the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Jim Andrew from the Iowa Soybean Association, Pat Daufeldt from the Iowa Turkey Federation, and Dave Moody from the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Senators Seek Clarification on EPA's SPCC Intentions

Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) wrote Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy last week seeking clarification about if the agency believes it can enforce Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulations on farms retroactively following the expiration of a 180-day stay of the rule that ends September 22.

Farmers and ranchers had been required to put SPCC-related plans and equipment in place by May 10 of this year following several delays of the regulations' implementation because of concerns EPA has not effectively communicated the requirements.

These concerns still linger, and Congress delayed the rule again in a continuing resolution passed this spring. Once that exemption expires, farmers could be required to have SPCC plans in place unless new legislation is passed modifying the permanent rule as it relates to farms.

A bill to do that, the FUELS Act, has been incorporated into the House version of the farm bill; similar language is also in a pending water resources measure.

New Foodservice Study shows Pork Is Fastest-Growing Protein

With a growth rate outpacing all other proteins in the foodservice industry, pork is hot. According to Technomic, Inc.'s2013 Volumetric Assessment of Pork in Foodservice, pork is sustaining its popularity having become the foodservice industry's fastest-growing protein in each of the past two years.

This most recent study noted that total pork sold through foodservice outlets reached a record-breaking 9.25 billion pounds, reflecting a volume increase of 462 million pounds over 2011 when the survey was last undertaken. The 2.6 percent increase outpaced the total protein growth average of 0.8 percent and the 1.5 percent total growth of the foodservice industry itself.

"We are pleased to see such positive growth in foodservice, especially carnita meat, shoulder/butt and pulled pork," said Stephen Gerike, director of foodservice marketing for the Pork Checkoff. "The volumetric study shows that operators are leveraging pork's versatility."

Since 2011, fresh pork has driven growth of the total pork category, increasing by 3.5 percent on an annual basis. Sales of processed pork also grew 2.3 percent, largely driven by sales of ham, breakfast sausage and bacon. Sales of these traditional breakfast meats represent 56 percent of the carcass-weigh equivalent. Other study highlights include:
      --  In categories where both uncooked and pre-cooked pork offerings exist, sales grew at about the same rate.
      --  In categories where bone-in and boneless pork are available, sales of both versions have increased since 2011, with boneless growing at a slightly faster rate.

"Pork cuts can be used across the menu as a basis for many trending global recipes, as an individual ingredient or as a center-of-the-plate item," Gerike said. "It's also interesting to note that the popularity of pork spanned all day parts, and was not limited to morning or evening."

The Technomic, Inc. study also showed that of the 24 pork product categories reviewed, 22 demonstrated positive growth in sales. On a per-pound basis, bacon grew the most between 2011 and 2013, up 102 million pounds. Carnita meat - a traditional Mexican preparation of pulled or diced shoulder of pork - shoulder/butt and pulled pork grew the fastest by percent with a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent, 6.6 percent and 6.4 percent respectively. Ground pork, Canadian bacon, whole loin, Italian specialty meats and ribs also demonstrated notable growth.

"When it comes to the three major day parts - breakfast, lunch and dinner - pork is almost equally represented, but sales grew most aggressively in the areas of breakfast protein and snacks," Gerike said. "It's clear that pork is on the foodservice menu across all segments, and full-service and limited-service restaurants represent about two-thirds of all pork volume sold."

The Technomic, Inc. study reinforced results released by the USDA on August 23, 2013. As of July 31, 2013, frozen pork supplies held in inventory were down 3.5 percent from June. The reduction in frozen inventories, given slightly lower year-to-date pork production, lower exports and higher retail pork prices, reflects the strong pork demand seen since February.

ASA Working to Keep GLI Process on Track

Together with other value chain organizations, the American Soybean Association is working to ensure that the upcoming meeting of the Global Low Level Presence Initiative (GLI) builds on progress achieved last year in the effort to establish international standards for the adventitious presence of biotech events in commodity shipments. The GLI will hold its next meeting in Durban, South Africa, on September 18, 19 and 20.

There has been no indication of which U.S. officials will attend, although last year’s meeting in Vancouver included high-level representatives from USDA, Office of U.S. Trade Representative, and the State Department.  At the initiative of the North American Grain Trade Association (NAEGA), ASA and other members of the ASA-NCGA Biotech Value Chain Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) process sent letters to these agencies pointing out the need to continue the momentum of the GLI and asking to meet with officials as they prepare to participate in the Durban meeting.  A meeting is expected next week.

Additionally, ASA First Vice President Ray Gaesser will attend a Southern Africa market development meeting being organized by USDA in Johannesburg on September 16, 17 and 18, and may also participate in the GLI meeting.

ASA and the other MOU members have assigned a high priority to establishing and gaining international acceptance of commercially-feasible low-level presence (LLP) standards in order to facilitate the continued growth in the production and trade of biotech commodities.   

Corn Study Shows Larger Impact to Farmers of Mississippi River Closure

A recent study funded by the Illinois Corn Marketing Board , Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa, Indiana and Missouri corn check-off programs illustrates that, due to the drought-induced low water levels on the Mississippi River in 2012 and early into 2013, farmers experienced on average $0.45 lower cash corn prices.

The purpose of the study, conducted by Informa Economics, was to document an actual event simulating a prolonged river interruption.  Instead of an economic model, the real-world event of low water on the Mississippi River between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill., was examined.  The study revealed that, as a consequence the unavailability of river shipping, diversion to rail was at a 45 cent-per-bushel premium to barge rates. The 45 cent-per-bushel premium to barge rates encouraged the storage of grain until the river market stabilized, or its use elsewhere in the marketing chain.

The study results were presented during a public hearing held by the Mississippi River Commission on August 16 in Alton, Ill.  A summary can be found at

Lawsuit Filed Over Fed's CAFO Reporting Rule Withdrawal

A coalition of community, animal welfare and environmental organizations is filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the agency's withdrawal of a proposed rule that would have allowed EPA to collect basic information, like locations and animal population sizes, from concentrated animal feeding operations.

The Center for Food Safety, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, The Humane Society of the United States, and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed the suit in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing EPA's withdrawal of the proposed rule lacks the rational basis required by law.

In October 2011, EPA published a proposed CAFO reporting rule, which included two potential EPA actions to collect information from CAFOs. The first option proposed would have required all CAFOs nationwide to submit basic information to EPA; the second would have required EPA to select focus watersheds and then request basic information from CAFOs located in those watersheds.

EPA withdrew the rule in July 2012, saying it was more appropriate to obtain CAFO information from existing sources, including USDA and state agencies already collecting the information.

IGC Raises Forecasts for Global Wheat and Corn Harvest

World corn production during the 2013-14 crop year is forecast to hit 945 million metric tons, the International Grains Council said Friday, increasing its previous forecast by 3 million tons due to a recovery in U.S. stocks.  The IGC also raised its forecast for world wheat production by 4 million tons to 691 million tons, reflecting better prospects for Canada and the European Union. 

MAIZALL: Exporters Alliance Swinging Into Action

Next stops: Korea and China.

MAIZALL is on the move. Earlier this year, the U.S. Grains Council joined the National Corn Growers Association, and MAIZAR and ABRAMHILO, the leading corn producer's organizations in Argentina and Brazil, in announcing a strategic alliance focused on food security, market access, and biotechnology. Since then, the partners have worked hard on governance issues, bylaws, articles of incorporation, and funding. And now, after two years of discussion and a year of concentrated effort, MAIZALL is lifting off.

"It is always exciting when an idea moves from concept to reality," said Julius Schaaf, USGC chairman and MAIZALL's first president. "I want to thank our partners in Argentina and Brazil, our funding partners, and our staff here in the United States for all the work they've done to turn the concept into a tangible, functioning partnership. I also want to acknowledge the Foreign Agricultural Service for its important support for the MAIZALL initiative."

Schaaf, USGC Vice Chairman Ron Gray, and NCGA President Pam Johnson will head the U.S. team next week in Panama, as the MAIZALL board of directors formalizes articles of incorporation and plan the organization's first mission, which will visit Korea and China in October. While in Korea and China, the team will meet with buyers and government officials to discuss regulatory and technology issues, and will participate in the China Food Security Strategy Summit in Beijing.

"The MAIZALL concept is simple," said Schaaf. "In a typical year, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States together account for more than three quarters of the world's corn exports. We are strong competitors, but as major producers and exporters, we also share common interests in market access, regulatory harmonization and streamlining, and global acceptance of biotechnology. MAIZALL will allow the major producers to work together to better serve global customers."

Panama was chosen as MAIZALL's home because it is a neutral location equally convenient to both North and South American participants. Argentina, Brazil, and the United States have each named three directors to MAIZALL's board. Funding is shared equally among the three countries.

Recapturing Market Share in Colombia

U.S. market share in Columbia eroded severely during the long delay in ratification of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement – and no sooner was the FTA finally ratified than the U.S. experienced its worst drought in decades, with a short crop and constricted supply. Colombia imports 3.1 million metric tons (130.3 million bushels) of corn annually; however last year, the U.S. market share hit an all-time low of 7 percent. As U.S. production rebounds, rebuilding market share in the face of strong competition from now-established South American exporters is now a high priority.

The U.S. Grains Council this past week escorted a team of Colombian end-users throughout Missouri, Illinois and Louisiana to get a firsthand look at the 2013 crop, receive updated pricing information and explore the idea of establishing strategic partnerships to start buying directly from U.S. companies.

"There are still barriers to overcome for the United States to regain the market share leadership that the United States once held in Colombia, but with the help of well-informed Colombian importers armed with knowledge about U.S. grains this gap could easily be overcome in the near future," said Cesar Diaz, USGC marketing specialist for the Western Hemisphere.

"In fact, prior to the Colombian end-users tour of the United States, the Council was able to confirm that three vessels of corn had been purchased by Colombian importers. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a strong return for U.S. corn in the Colombian market."

The Colombian end-users were able to view the U.S. competitive advantages, including corn quality and consistency of supply. Team members are now ready to move forward in expanding their businesses and growing Colombian demand for feed grains. As Colombia's demand for feed grains expands, the Council is continuing to identify constraints that inhibit Colombian trade with the United States, such as increasing competition, trade policy constraints, evolving biotechnology regulations and concerns about grain quality.

"With the implementation of the free trade agreement, the Council is working to regain market share by promoting the advantages of U.S. origin, such as freight rates, consistency of supply, transparency of the market and the quality of U.S. corn," said Kurt Shultz, USGC regional director for the Americas. "The United States is the natural market to supply Colombia due to its proximity and, assuming a normal corn crop, the U.S. market share should begin returning to normal levels."

The program was implemented in collaboration with the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

GROWMARK Reports Record Sales in 2012-13

Solid volume growth in GROWMARK business units produced record sales for the cooperative for the 2013 fiscal year, which ends August 31. Jeff Solberg, chief executive officer, reported unaudited, estimated sales of $10.3 billion for FY 2013. Pretax income is estimated at $220 million, one of the best years in company history. An estimated $135 million in patronage refunds will be returned to GROWMARK member cooperatives and farmer-owners.

"We began this year coming off a severe drought, but the strength of the FS System pulled us through to a very good 2013 fiscal year," Solberg said. "Our business is built around our mission to improve the long-term profitability of our member owners. Our sales will allow us to return significant patronage to our owners. We remain committed to their success and to the unity of our cooperative system."

Operational highlights for the company's business units were also reported at the annual meeting. Record sales volume for the Crop Protection Division were reported, the result of sales growth in all major product categories and emphasis on nutrient management and weed resistant challenges. Total crop protection sales increased 28 percent.

The Seed Division reported increased unit sales of corn and soybeans, with seed sales dollars up eight percent over 2012. The Plant Food Division reported the third consecutive year of record sales volume, although income will be down from last year's strong earnings.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday August 29 Ag News

Another Retailer in Nebraska to Offer E15

Frontier Coop will begin offering E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles at four locations beginning September 20. A grand opening promotion will be announced soon.

Vehicles that are 2001 and newer account for 75% of the vehicles on the road and those vehicles consume over 85% of the fuel sold in the country.

Frontier Coop will offer E15 as a fuel choice for consumers in Weston, Brainard, Ceresco, and Dwight. “E15 seemed like the logical fuel to offer to support our local economies,” said Jeff Ingalls, energy department manager for Frontier Coop. “We want to give consumers fuel choice and what better than to offer a locally homegrown and produced fuel?”

All the necessary steps to offer E15 were followed by Frontier Coop including being registered for the fuel survey, adopting the misfueling mitigation plan created by the Renewable Fuels Association, and the pumps will be labeled properly for selling E15.

“It is a great feat for the ethanol industry to see E15 sold in multiple states, and we are pleased that Nebraska is expanding the number of locations offering E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles,” said Robert White, director of market development for the Renewable Fuels Association.

Due to a lack of a one pound reed vapor pressure waiver for E15, retailers must change their labels in the summer months and offer E15 to flex fuel vehicles only. Beginning September 15 retailers can resume offering E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles.

“It has been 30 years since a new fuel has been introduced, and just after a year, E15 is starting to gain traction, and will be sold in nine states starting September 15,” said White.

“It is great to see our rural communities supporting their local corn farmers. There are so many benefits of ethanol fuel and moving to E15 adds to the benefits,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

Nebraska is the second largest producer of ethanol in the United States. Ethanol creates jobs, spurs economic development, increases energy independence, and helps Nebraska drivers by lowering the price at the pump. E15 is moving us in the direction of being even more self-sufficient.

Eight Soybean Producers Win Free Biodiesel

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) held its annual Soybean Management Field Days on August 13-16, across the state at four locations: Minden, York, Pierce and Waterloo. The four-day event included cool temperatures and spotty rain showers at each of the locations, but attendance was very good. The four-day numbers included over 500 soybean producers, crop advisors, and other industry affiliates.

This year marked the second time that NSB partnered with the United Soybean Board to give away two 300-gallon prizes of biodiesel at each of the four locations. Winners of the biodiesel drawing included the following producers at the respective locations:

Minden:  Kenny Long, Kearney and Robert Olson, Holdrege
York:  Ronald Hayek, Friend and Steven Gabel, Osceola
Pierce:  Roger Gabelman, Neligh and Ervin Kander, Clarkson
Waterloo:  Jerry Ostransky, Wahoo and Wes Anderson, Kennard

The Nebraska Soybean Board would like to congratulate the winners and thank all participants for helping to make this year’s Soybean Management Field Days one of the most successful to date.

Iowa Farm Bureau Wraps Up Summer Policy Conference

Iowa Farm Bureau voting delegates shared concerns about infrastructure problems, regulatory implications, and watershed management as they gathered in West Des Moines Aug. 27-28 to set state and national legislative policy. Water and soil conservation and country of origin labeling also topped their discussions.

"Over the last two days, our voting delegates discussed these priority issues and planned our course of action for 2014," said IFBF President Craig Hill.

Iowa's largest grassroots farm organization called for Watershed Management efforts to be established with balanced urban and agricultural representation from within that watershed, as members showed enthusiasm for conservation and improving Iowa's soil and waterways. "Our Farm Bureau members are considering what they can do to make a difference on their farms and be visibly seen as leading the way towards progress in water quality," Hill said. "After all, the overall goals of farmers and non-farmers have always been the same: to keep our soils strong and our water safe, and this is just one more way to assure progress in the field continues."

Transportation infrastructure funding also found consensus among IFBF farmers. "It's a continuous effort to fund road infrastructure to facilitate sustainability and growth," said Hill. "This isn't just an agricultural issue; this is an issue that affects all Iowans."

Another lively discussion at the IFBF Summer Policy Conference concerning the national issue of country of origin labeling (COOL). "Trade compliance is very important to us, and we want to be a good trading partner," said Hill. "IFBF members concluded that a mandatory COOL for meat harms open trade between the U.S. and our neighbors, and our members prefer a voluntary meat labeling program."

The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is a step in Farm Bureau's grassroots policy development process, which begins in the spring at the county level. The national policies will now be subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation policy discussions in January 2014 in San Antonio.

Bull, heifer reservations due for IA Cattlemen Evaluation program

Iowa cattle producers who want to enroll their seedstock bulls and heifers in the evaluation program managed by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association can make their reservations now. Both consignment and private reservations for fall-born and spring-born bulls will be taken through Sept. 27, or until pens are full. Heifer reservations can be made through Nov. 22, or until pens are full.

Each year, breeders in the Midwest enter hundreds of bulls and open heifers into the program for comparison and benchmarking, says Kellie Carolan, ICA’s seedstock manager. “The value of the ICA evaluation program is producers can compare their genetics to other producers,” Carolan says. “This is an excellent opportunity to get important performance information on your seedstock without having to tie up lot space.”

New this year for the evaluation program service will be the addition of high density DNA testing as an added option for bulls and females enrolled in the program. Throughout the test history, the ICA Performance Evaluation Committee has always strived to give bull and heifer buyers and the seedstock producers more information to assist in their genetic selection process. That information ranges from being part of bull selection clinics, adding ultrasound data and pelvic measurements to the catalog in recent years, to including PI-BVD testing for  all cattle and adding new EPDs and indexes to the catalog.

ICA’s Bull Evaluation Program has been in place since 1985. The goal of the program is to provide bulls that meet the program’s two basic objectives: 1) evaluate high-quality bulls in a common environment and; 2) identify and merchandise a select group of bulls which excel in traits that have a high economic value. The performance evaluation of heifers started in 1999, with the same basic tenets.

The fall bulls will be fed and evaluated at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, while the spring bulls and open heifers will be delivered to the Van Meter Feedyard near Guthrie Center.

The quality genetics that come from this ICA program are offered to commercial cattle producers at three sales across Iowa in the spring. Those sales will be at auction barns in Bloomfield on March 17, 2014;  in Dunlap on March 28, 2014; and in Tama on May 2, 2014.

Bulls and heifers will be evaluated through the feeding period, and need to meet strict selection criteria to be eligible for an ICA sale and be worthy of the ICA ‘Symbol of Excellence.’ “As an ICA bull and heifer consignor you have the opportunity to open another market for your seedstock,” Carolan says. “The ICA evaluation program has a long reputation of offering elite genetics to commercial breeders and other purebred producers.”

“Using the private reservations may be best for producers interested in a cost-effective way of gathering ultrasound and performance data on their herd, while reserving the right to take their stock home after the evaluation,” Carolan says.

Details for program requirements can be found at the ICA website, Look for Bull and Heifer Program under the ICA Programs tab. You can also call 515-296-2266 or email for more information.

FY 2014 Exports Forecast Down $5 Billion From Record; Imports at a Record $113 Billion

Fiscal 2014 agricultural exports are forecasted at $135 billion, down $5 billion from the $140 billion forecast for fiscal 2013.  Oilseeds and products are expected to decline the most, down $5.4 billion due to lower soybean and meal prices. Grain and feed exports are expected to fall $1.7 billion due to lower wheat, rice, and feeds and fodders exports.  Cotton exports are forecast down $700 million due to lower domestic production and reduced demand from China. Little change is expected in exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products, while horticultural exports are forecast to increase $2.5 billion to a record $34.5 billion. Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $2 billion from fiscal 2013 and Canada is expected to return to its position as the top U.S. market for agricultural products.

U.S. agricultural imports are forecast at a record $113 billion, $8 billion higher than in fiscal 2013.  Increases in import value are expected for most products in 2014, with the largest gains in horticultural products and sugar and tropical products.  The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to fall by $13 billion in fiscal 2014, to $22 billion. This would be the smallest surplus since 2007.

For fiscal 2013, the record $140 billion forecast for agricultural exports is up slightly from last quarter’s forecast. Fiscal 2013 imports are forecast at $105 billion, $6 billion lower than the May forecast, but still expected to exceed imports for any previous year. 

Export Products

Fiscal year 2014 grain and feed exports are forecast at $28.8 billion, down $1.7 billion from the 2013 estimate, a decline driven by sharply lower grain prices.  Wheat is forecast at $7.7 billion, a drop of $1.9 billion due to lower prices and volume. Abundant exportable supplies in competitor countries are expected to limit growth opportunities. Feeds and fodders are down $1.4 billion because distiller’s dried grains (DDGS) value is expected to drop sharply with corn prices.

Coarse grain exports are forecast at $8.4 billion, up $2.3 billion, mostly on higher corn volumes as exportable supplies are replenished following last year’s drought-decimated crop.  Corn is up $2.0 billion to $7.5 billion because of a near-doubling of volume with a forecast record crop; however, unit values fall by more than 25 percent.  Rice exports, at $2.1 billion, are down 10 percent due to smaller supplies, an expected reduction in sales to South America and the Middle East, and more competition from lower-priced exporters.  

The fiscal 2013 estimate for grain and feed exports is up $500 million to $30.5 billion. Wheat is up $600 million to $9.6 billion on higher volume, particularly to Brazil and China. Corn is reduced $500 million to $5.5 billion due to lower volumes as a result of competitive pressures. Feed and other products are up $400 million on both higher values and volumes. Rice is up $100 million to $2.3 billion on stronger sales to the Caribbean and South America.      

The fiscal 2014 export forecast for oilseeds and products is forecast at $26.4 billion, down $5.4 billion from the 2013 estimate, driven by lower soybean and meal prices in response to an improved domestic supply.  Soybeans are forecast to drop $2.4 billion to $18.4 billion as lower unit values more than offset higher volumes.  Soybean meal is projected down as domestic consumption rebounds, encouraged by lower prices and increased use in the pork and poultry sectors.  Soybean oil is forecast to fall as a greater share of supply is diverted to the energy sector.  

Oilseed and products exports for fiscal 2014 are forecast at $26.4 billion, down $5.4 billion from the 2013 forecast, driven by lower soybean, meal, and oil prices in response to larger domestic soybean supplies.  Soybean exports are forecast to drop $2.4 billion to $18.4 billion as lower unit values more than offset higher volume.  Soybean meal exports are forecast down on lower unit values and volume.  Meal export volume is forecasted lower on increased competition from South America.  In addition, growth in domestic consumption limits export availability. Soybean oil is forecasted to fall on reduced volume due to increased competition from South America, especially Argentina, where sharp reductions in biodiesel exports leads to gains in exportable supplies of soybean oil.  In addition to increased competition, expanded use of soybean oil as feedstock for biodiesel in the United States limits exportable supplies. 

Fiscal 2014 cotton exports are forecast at $5.0 billion, down $700 million from the 2013 estimate. Export volume is forecast to decline to 2.3 million tons.  Exportable supplies are down sharply due to a projected near-20-percent decline in production.  In addition, global import demand is falling, mainly in China.  Unit value is expected to be up slightly. 

The fiscal 2013 estimate for cotton is raised $200 million to $5.7 billion as stronger-than-expected import demand from China supports higher unit values. 

Fiscal 2014 livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are up $100 million to $31.1 billion from the previous year.  Growth in pork and poultry products offset declines in dairy and beef.  Pork is forecast $60 million higher at $5.1 billion, with strong demand expected from Mexico and some Asian markets.  Poultry is forecast to increase by $50 million to $6.5 billion on greater egg and other poultry product exports.  Dairy exports are forecast to decline $200 million to $5.6 billion as volumes and global prices are expected to moderate. Beef exports are forecast to decline $170 million to $4.9 billion as lower volumes offset higher prices.  

The fiscal 2013 export value is raised $1.0 billion to $31.0 billion with gains in dairy, poultry, and pork. Dairy is up $500 million to $5.8 billion on higher prices and volumes due to lagging milk production in the European Union (EU). 

The fiscal 2014 export forecast for horticultural products is a record $34.5 billion, up $2.5 billion from the 2013 estimate.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are forecast at a record $8.1 billion, up $500 million.  Exports to Canada and Mexico are expected to continue expanding. Processed fruit and vegetables are forecast at $8.0 billion, up $600 million. Unit values for several processed products are expected to continue rising with demand from major markets.  Whole and processed tree nuts are forecast at $7.8 billion, up $800 million primarily due to continued strong demand from China and Europe for almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. 

The fiscal 2013 export estimate for horticultural products is unchanged at $32.0 billion.

Import Products

Although fiscal 2013 year-to-date U.S. agricultural imports have climbed 11 percent in volume, the corresponding import value is up only 1 percent.  The underlying reason for this disparity in growth rates is a 9-percent decline in import unit values.  Lower import prices for vegetable oils, dairy products, sugar and other tropical products over the past three quarters nearly offset total import volume growth thus far in the fiscal year.  The overall import value in 2013 is projected to be $105 billion, up only 1.6 percent from 2012 and is $6 billion less than the last forecast.

Total imports based on volume were up 19 percent in the third quarter, and gained an average 10.7 percent over the past three quarters.  The 19-percent volume jump in the third quarter this year supports a stronger import projection for fiscal 2014--$113 billion, a 7.6-percent increase from 2013.

In addition to lower commodity prices in general, growth of real consumer spending for food consumed at home averaged only 0.8 percent over the past four quarters. This weak spending behavior closely matches the 0.9-percent average growth in disposable personal income (based on chained 2009 dollars) during the past 12 months. The relatively slow spending pattern for food this past year and in the recent spring months exacerbated the downward effect of lower food commodity prices on U.S. import value. The somewhat brighter spending picture with respect to food services (food consumed away from home)—which expanded 2.5 percent in the past year—suggests that spending growth for food consumed at home can similarly move higher if personal disposable income shows consistently stronger advances.

The 10-percent average decline in import unit values for sugar, coffee, cocoa, and natural rubber amounted to a $3.5-billion drop in their import value as a group, which offset most of the value gains for all the other imported products.  As a group, imported sugar and tropical products are estimated at $24.1 billion in 2013, which is $4.2 billion less than in fiscal 2012 and $2 billion lower than the previous forecast for fiscal 2013.  Sugar and tropical products are the only import group that has a smaller aggregate value in 2013 than in 2012, which makes it largely responsible for the unexpectedly weak $1.6-billion projected U.S. import gain in 2013 from 2012.  For fiscal 2014, tropical commodity prices, including prices for tropical vegetable oils, are expected to stabilize. Thus, as the overall projected import volume of tropical products grows in future months, their import values are expected to expand accordingly.

The new lower projected import value for horticultural products in 2013 is attributed largely to lower prices for processed fruit and vegetables, tree nuts, and cut flowers.  The smaller estimates for imported wine and beer are accounted for by weaker demand as import volumes, especially for beer, have declined.  In 2014, the value of imported horticultural products is projected to rebound to $47.8 billion, or 8 percent higher than in 2013.  This growth is led by fresh fruits and vegetables, processed fruit, wine, beer, and essential oils.  The stronger forecast for these products is premised on more stable import unit values and generally positive import volume growth in the next year.

The lower import projection for vegetable oils in 2013 is due to the 1.5-percent fall in import volume combined with a collective 9-percent drop in unit values.  

Coconut oil prices of around $835 per metric ton are down from $1,100 in 2012 and $1,700 in 2011.  Palm oil prices of $760 per metric ton are down from $940 in 2012 and $1,077 in 2011.  Unit values for other imported oilseed products (except oilcake and oilmeal) are also lower.  The volume demand for oilseeds and non-tropical vegetable oils except olive oil is also lower.

U.S. import demand for bulk grains, processed grains, and feeds pushed their combined import value up 22 percent thus far from 2012.  Wheat and corn volume imports are also up.  Imported feeds and fodders also contribute significantly to the $500-million growth in processed grain products in 2013.  An aggregate $11.6 billion of grain and feed products imports are projected in 2013, or $2.1 billion more than in 2012.  These imports, however, are anticipated to fall by $800 million to $10.8 billion in 2014 as bulk grain imports retreat by $1.5 billion due to larger domestic production of corn, sorghum, and oats.

The total import value of all livestock and dairy products in 2014 is forecast to increase by about $1.1 billion to $15.1 billion. About $800 million of this projected increase is for beef and veal imports.  U.S. beef imports in fiscal 2014 are forecast at nearly $4.6 billion based on higher volumes and unit values.  Thus far in 2013, beef imports from New Zealand and Mexico are up, but shipments are lower from Canada and Australia.  Projected cattle imports are lowered to 2 million head in 2013 partly because of decreased shipments from Mexico as cattle inventories have become smaller there. Projected 2013 swine imports are lowered as hog supplies in Canada are limited.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Forecast for U.S. Exports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade today. USDA projects that Fiscal Year 2013 agricultural exports will reach $140 billion, which if realized would be a new record.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on this news:

"Driven by the productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have achieved five years of positive momentum for agricultural exports and today's forecast is another promising development. Agricultural exports have a real impact on Main Street and beyond, supporting more than one million good jobs here at home. We're counting on Congress to help keep up this momentum. With just a few weeks left before expiration of many Farm Bill programs – including trade promotion programs that return $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested – producers and rural communities need passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible. This would enable USDA to continue trade promotion, and carry out a wide variety of additional efforts to support a productive U.S. agriculture sector. At the same time, America's farmers and ranchers need a reliable and stable agricultural workforce to keep up production. Passage of the commonsense immigration reform measure, which was already approved by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate, would further strengthen American agriculture and help put our nation on solid footing to maintain strong exports in the years to come.

At USDA we intend to build on the record agricultural trade already achieved in the Obama Administration. We will continue breaking down barriers to U.S. products and working toward new agreements to expand exports, including a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union and a Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian nations."

EPA Announces July Biodiesel Production Figures

The EPA on Thursday reported 132 million gallons of biodiesel production for the month of July and year-to-date volume of more than 768 million gallons.

Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach 1 billion gallons of annual production. The industry has surpassed RFS targets for two consecutive years and is on pace to do so again this year.

The production volumes are reported under the Biomass-based Diesel category under the RFS. To view the figures, visit the EPA's website here. The latest numbers show a total of more than 166 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel in July, but that total also includes production of renewable diesel. The biodiesel portion of the total was 132 million gallons.

China’s Growing Beef Appetite Creates Opportunities for Key Suppliers

Beef consumption in China has risen steadily over the last few years. According to a new report from the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness (FAR) Research and Advisory group, rising incomes, dietary shift and urbanization are driving the increasing Chinese appetite for beef. The report, “The Dragon’s Appetite for Beef: Rising Opportunity for Key Beef Suppliers,” finds that with local production unable to grow fast enough to meet increasing demand, the Chinese market provides a great opportunity for exporters from the key beef producing countries. These include exporters in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Uruguay, India and potentially the United States, if it’s suspension from the Chinese market in the aftermath of the 2004 BSE outbreak is lifted.

“The consumption of beef in China is expected to rise, on a per capita basis, by 24 percent in the coming decade,” says Rabobank Food & Agribusiness (FAR) Research and Advisory group analyst, Guilherme Melo. “This is actually below what it should be, as supply shortages and rising prices are restricting demand. Nonetheless, while market share will probably remain flat over the next ten years as a result, the absolute volume will increase by roughly 25 percent, adjusted for population growth.”

Beef is a niche product in China, accounting for only 8 percent of per capita meat consumption, in contrast to 22 percent for poultry and 65 percent for pork. It is generally considered more of a special occasion item, rather than an everyday meal option. More than 60 percent of total beef consumption takes place outside the home with the major options for eating away from home including ‘hot pot’, canteens at work, Western-style restaurants and quick service restaurants (QSR) such as McDonald’s and KFC.

While demand has been growing at a reasonable pace, Chinese beef production has stagnated since 2006. This stagnation is mainly attributable to a low economic return for beef production compared to other agricultural activities, which in turn is intrinsically linked to a combination of high input costs (e.g. labor and feed), poor genetics, reduced government support and difficult access to rural credit.

To correct the market imbalance, imports will remain on the rise over the coming years. This will offer great opportunities for exporters from the key beef producing countries, most notably Australia, which is not only geographically closer, but is also well placed to supply a variety of beef products to meet different segments in China’s market. However, other important exporter countries are also likely to benefit, and no specific country is expected to dominate the market, given that China is expected to provide or increase access to more countries wishing to enter its beef market.

New Dairy Cattle Awards Announced for 2013 World Dairy Expo

Dairy cattle exhibitors will soon be traveling to Madison for the 47th World Dairy Expo October 1 through October 5 at the Alliant Energy Center. More than a thousand cattle exhibitors with over   2,500 head of cattle are anticipated to compete on the famous colored shavings.

New for the 2013 International Junior Holstein Show, Y-Tex Corporation is graciously sponsoring the premiums for each class, which will benefit those junior exhibitors. The International Junior Holstein Show was started in 2004. Since its inception over 1,600 junior owned Holstein cattle have been exhibited. Last year alone, 242 head of cattle were exhibited by 170 youth from 28 states. Every year, all of Expo’s junior shows feature exceptional youth exhibitors and dairy cattle competing for top awards. It’s a privilege to partner with Y-Tex Corporation to help recognize the International Junior Holstein Show exhibitors.

For the first time in the history of the show, Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor of the Heifer Show will be awarded banners in all seven breeds. The Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee approved and established rules earlier this year. These awards are based on their counter-part for the overall breed shows that currently exist. Pre-entry is required and will be based on six heifers. Entries must be received in the Dairy Cattle Show Office by 5 p.m. the day prior to the heifer show. Heifers are also eligible for the overall Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banners. Points will be based on the existing Premier Breeder and Exhibitor point system. The fourteen award banners for the Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor of the Heifer Show are sponsored by American Wood Fibers Inc.

Dairy producers from across the globe are invited to attend World Dairy Expo that includes eight dairy cattle shows, Expo Seminars, Virtual Farm Tours, youth competition and over 850 exhibiting trade show companies. Visit or call 608-224-6455 for further details. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday August 28 Ag News

Late Corn Planting Could Lead to Frost Losses in Some Areas

            Late corn planting in some areas because of wet field conditions last spring could lead to reduced yields if an early frost hits this fall, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension experts say.

            Overall, Nebraska's corn crop is looking strong, and for farmers who planted around the average time, in mid-May, yields in irrigated fields are projected to be up 5 to 10 percent over the 30-year average, said Jenny Rees, UNL Extension educator.

            But some farmers didn't get into the fields until after Memorial Day because of wet conditions. Expected yields in those fields could be down as much as 13 percent from the 30-year averages, thanks to late-season lower temperatures and a dramatic increase in the probability of frost damage before the crop matures.

            The projections were made using UNL's Hybrid-Maize model, a computer program that simulates the growth of a corn crop, and weather data from the High Plains Regional.

            Yields for rainfed fields are harder to project, but the model simulated yields where corn was planted on the average planting date to be lower than an average year for most areas, but close to or higher than a normal yield in the northeast, thanks to above-average growing season rains. For fields planted around June 1, simulated yields are also lower than an average year for most locations.

Iowa Farmers invited to participate in Soybean Sustainability Program

Soybean farmers are encouraged to learn more about a pilot program that procures sustainable soybeans for the retail market Thursday, Aug. 29, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Iowa FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. 

The Soybean Sustainability Program, introduced earlier this year, is a cooperative effort of Unilever, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and ISA. Participating farmers document responsible farming practices already being utilized to raise soybeans including precision agriculture, no-till and other conservation practices. In return, farmers receive a financial incentive when their soybeans are sold.

Attendees will learn more about the program and have an opportunity to enroll with the assistance of qualified experts. A growing number of farmers are enrolling in the program, but more are needed to reach the initial goal of 50.

“The program recognizes our commitment as farmers to providing quality soybeans while embracing responsible farming practices,” says ISA President Mark Jackson, who farms near Rose Hill and is enrolled in the program. “Its success depends on our involvement of soybean farmers.”

Qualified soybeans must be delivered into the ADM Des Moines supply chain, which includes the ADM processing plant in Des Moines, an ADM grain elevator or a participating commercial grain dealer.  Farmers must contact ADM or the local elevator with questions regarding participation.

 Unilever sources all its soybean oil to make Hellmann’s Mayonnaise from the plant. Farmers can contact ADM Merchandiser Maree Deventer at (515) 263-3266 or to learn more about participation premiums and delivery options.

Unilever --- and consumers, they believe --- want to understand where their food is coming from and how it is produced. Company executives recently toured Jackson’s farm to see first-hand how sustainable soybeans are being raised.

“It’s all about passion to make quality products,” said Brian Orlando, Unilever senior marketing director for dressings in the United States. “The more you know how they’re made, the better you can make them. Consumers want to know, as well.”

The FFA Enrichment Center is located at 1055 SW Prairie Trail Parkway in Ankeny. To learn more about ISA, go to

Net Farm Income Forecast To Increase 6 Percent in 2013

(USDA Economic Research Service)
Net farm income is forecast to be $120.6 billion in 2013, up 6 percent from 2012’s estimate of $113.8 billion. After adjusting for inflation, 2013’s net farm income is expected to be the second highest since 1973. Net cash income is forecast at $120.8 billion, down 10 percent from 2012 (see table on farm income indicators PDF icon (16x16)). Not all crops produced in 2013 will be sold by the end of the 2013 calendar year; we anticipate substantial increases in the annual quantity and value of crop inventories, particularly for corn. As a result, crop cash receipts are expected to decline 5.5 percent in 2013. The projected increase in livestock receipts (4.9 percent) is not sufficient to offset increasing expenses. Nevertheless, after adjusting for inflation, net cash income is expected to remain high by historical standards.

-    Net farm income is forecast to increase 6 percent, to $120.6 billion in 2013, due largely to expectations of record crop production. This would be the second highest inflation-adjusted amount since 1973, with only 2011’s inflation-adjusted income being higher.
-    Net cash income is forecast to decline by more than 10 percent from 2012. Unlike net farm income, net cash income does not account for capital consumption, change in inventories, and nonmoney income. Substantial year-end crop inventories buoying the 2013 net farm income forecast are not reflected in net cash income.
-   The value of livestock production is expected to increase 5.2 percent in 2013, with receipts increasing nearly 4.9 percent. The projected gains result mostly from expectations of higher prices. Crop receipts are forecast to decline by $12.4 billion (5.5 percent) in 2013, which would be the first decline since 2009. Nonetheless, the value of crop production is expected to rise 2.7 percent in 2013, with increases boosting anticipated year-end crop inventories.
-    At $354.2 billion, total expenses are projected to increase $13.1 billion in 2013, continuing a string of large year-to-year increases since 2010. In both nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars, 2013 production expenses are expected to be the highest on record.
-    Increases in farm asset values are expected to continue to exceed increases in farm debt, leading to expectations of another new record high for farm equity.
-    Farm financial risk indicators are expected to continue at historically low levels.

Value of Both Crop and Livestock Production Forecast Up in 2013

The value of crop production (the sum of cash receipts, value of inventory adjustment, and home consumption) is expected to rise in 2013 despite an anticipated $12.4-billion decline in 2013 crop cash receipts. This paradox is explained by a very large 2012-13 increase ($18.3 billion) predicted in the value of inventory adjustment for crops, led by corn and soybeans. See table on quantity and value of annual inventory change for selected crops and livestock PDF icon (16x16). The large increases in end-of-2013 inventories for both commodities more than offset the negative impact of lower expected prices. (Both corn and soybeans enjoyed record high prices in 2012.) 

Corn production, reflecting the impact of the drought, fell almost 13 percent in 2012 to its lowest level since 2006. Soybean production dipped 2.5 percent in 2012 to its lowest level since 2008. Higher prices and production shortfalls made it attractive to reduce inventories in 2012. A return to normal weather in 2013 should improve yields and restore corn and soybean production to more normal levels, sold at reduced prices.

Expected lower prices in 2013 mean cash receipts are forecast to decline significantly from 2012 for four major commodities: corn, soybeans, cotton (lint and seed), and peanuts.

Lower corn receipts reflect an anticipated fall in 2013’s average price ($5.85 per bushel) from its record-high price in 2012. The forecast price decline more than offsets an anticipated increase in the quantity of corn sold in 2013, with bushels sold expected to be the third highest on record.

While U.S. soybean production and use are both expected to increase in marketing year 2013, expectations for lower soybean receipts reflect lower prices more than offsetting a slight increase in quantities sold. Value of peanut production is expected to drop 38 percent in 2013, reflecting both lower prices and quantities sold.

Food grain receipts are expected to remain relatively stable. A forecast decline in the price of wheat in 2013 will be mostly offset by an increase in quantity sold. Rice receipts are expected to remain stable due to higher prices and lower sales.

Cotton receipts (lint and seed) are expected to decline in 2013 from their record 2012 level, reflecting large declines in both supply of and demand for cotton. A decline in cottonseed receipts will be mostly offset by an expected rise in open-market sales of cotton lint. The large decline predicted in cotton cash receipts from 2012 to 2013 is almost entirely due to a large decline in receipts from placements and redemptions of lint with the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), especially in the 4th quarter of 2012. U.S. cotton sales are especially dependent on world demand for U.S. cotton, which has been declining sharply and reducing U.S. cotton exports.    

Vegetable and melon receipts are expected up 17 percent in 2013, mainly due to higher prices (excluding dry beans).  Receipts for potatoes are expected to increase due to increased sales and a higher average price in 2013. While sales of dry beans are expected to increase, a forecast price decline leads to lower dry bean receipts. Large production gains are expected for peaches, prunes, and plums in 2013, with more modest increases expected for apples, pears, strawberries, grapefruit, and lemons. Large production declines are forecast for avocados and sweet cherries, with smaller but substantial declines in the production of oranges and almonds. The overall average price index for fruits and nuts is predicted to decline about 1.5 percent in 2013.

Value of Livestock Production Forecast Up in 2013

The value of livestock, dairy, and poultry production is expected to increase over 5 percent in 2013, reflecting large gains in broiler and milk sales. Other livestock categories are forecast to change only slightly from their 2012 levels. The annual average price for broilers is expected to rise almost 11 cents per pound (22 percent) in 2013. Broiler receipts will also benefit from a small expected increase in volume sold. Broiler exports are expected to increase almost 3 percent.

Milk receipts in 2013 are forecast to exceed the previous high set in 2011. The annual price of milk is expected to increase over $1 per cwt (6 percent) from 2012; at $19.70 per cwt, it would be second highest on record. Milk production is expected to be about 1 percent above 2012 and 3 percent above 2011. U.S. milk exports are expected to increase 17 percent in 2013.

Farm Production Expenses Continue To Climb
The projected increase of $13.1 billion (3.8 percent) in total expenses in 2013 continues a string of recent annual increases, interrupted only in 2009, as expenses are forecast to reach another nominal record-high, at $354.2 billion. The expected rise in 2013 is less than half of the $28.5-billion (9.1-percent) rise in 2012 and much less than the $25.1-billion (8.7-percent) rise in 2011. Total expenses in 2013 will amount to 75 percent of gross farm income, less than in 2012 but more than in 2011. In inflation-adjusted dollars, 2013 production expenses are also a record high.

Since 2003, expenses for both farm-origin and manufactured inputs have increased 106 percent, while other operating and overhead expenses have increased 60 percent. Farm-origin expenses (such as feed and purchased livestock) and those for manufactured inputs (such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides) now constitute 48 percent of total production expenses, up from 42 percent in 2003. In contrast with recent trends, these expenses are expected to rise less than other operating and overhead expenses in 2013.

A steady increase in prices rather than higher quantities of inputs is the biggest factor in rising production expenses since 2003.

The two major livestock expenses—feed and livestock purchases—are projected to rise $2.6 billion (3.1 percent) in 2013. Feed expenses are slated to rise $2.1 billion (3.6 percent) because feed prices will remain relatively high through the first 9 months of 2013. Feed costs are beginning to subside, however. Even though grain prices remain high, the prices-paid index for complete feeds has fallen 10.0 percent since peaking in September 2012. Feed costs are anticipated to decline because of the projected drop of nearly 30 percent in the price of corn and 16 percent in the price of soybeans between the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2013.

Livestock and poultry purchases are forecast to rise $431 million (1.8 percent) in 2013, a lesser increase than during the previous 3 years. Cattle feeding margins have been negative since May 2011 due primarily to high feed costs, and reduced beef production has lowered the number of cattle on feed. As a result, the price for Oklahoma City feeder steers has fallen since 2012 and is forecast to sink further in the 3rd quarter of 2013 before a seasonal rebound in the 4th quarter. Also pressuring steer prices is the large number of milk cows being slaughtered because of drought in the West and Southwest. These factors are prompting farmers to hold their steers until they have grown to heavier weights, despite high feed costs. Heavier-weight steers are attractive to feedlots because it means that they will have to spend less on feed to bring them to market weight.

Despite a projected 9.0-percent increase in crop output in 2013, the principal crop-related expenses are also expected to rise more slowly than in 2012. Together, they are forecast to increase 1.3 percent, with seed and pesticide expenses rising and fertilizer expenses declining. During the last 2 years, crop-related expenses increased $14.5 billion (30 percent), of which fertilizer accounted for $7.5 billion. One factor determining forecast crop input expenses—acres of field crops planted—is thought to have fallen marginally in 2013.

The upward movement in prices paid for crop inputs was the major reason for increasing expenses during the previous 2 years. In particular, the fertilizer prices-paid index rose 30 percent during 2011. In 2013, the prices-paid index for seeds is forecast to rise 5.3 percent and for pesticides 1.5 percent. However, the fertilizer price index is expected to decline 1.0 percent, after leveling off in 2012. Only one of eight major fertilizers has risen in price since June 2012, partly because the price of natural gas, a major material in nitrogen fertilizers, has fallen over the last 2 years. Natural gas prices are rising in 2013, but that turnaround is not likely to immediately translate into higher fertilizer prices.

The fuels/oils expense in 2012 was flat because of a decline in Refiner Acquisition Cost (RAC). In 2013, fuel and oil expenses are forecast to decrease $190 million (1.2 percent) due to the slight declines in RAC and planted acres.

Payments to Stakeholders To Rise Slightly More Than Net Value Added in 2013

Net value added is distributed among stakeholders and equity owners. Stakeholders provide the hired labor, leased capital, and rental land used in agricultural production. Since stakeholders do not own what is produced, they do not share in the risks involved in producing highly variable agricultural output. Subsequently, the payments that stakeholders receive are more stable over time than net returns to the owners of agricultural production. Payments to stakeholders can move in a different direction than net value added, as occurred in 2009 and 2011. In 2013, payments to stakeholders are slated to rise $3.9 billion (6.8 percent). Since net value added is rising at nearly the same rate (6.2 percent), the share of net value added going to stakeholders is expected to remain largely unchanged in 2013, at 34 percent.

Employee compensation (hired labor) is expected to increase slightly less than $2.2 billion (8.1 percent) in 2013. Combined with the $4.3-billion increase in hired labor in 2012, it will have risen $6.5 billion (29.0 percent) in the last 2 years. Total labor expenses (including contract labor) are expected to climb $2.1 billion (6.9 percent) in 2013 due to a 1.3-percent growth in wage rates and a 5.5-percent rise in total output. Reductions in vegetable and fruit/nut production should result in a small decline in contract labor in 2013, slightly offsetting the anticipated increase in hired labor expenses. Output on greenhouse/nursery and dairy farms—farms that typically employ the most hired laborers—will likely be up less than 1 percent. However, the production of grains and oilseeds is expected to use much more hired labor than usual in 2013.

Net rent to nonoperator landlords is forecast to rise $1.3 billion (8.5 percent) in 2013, after a $3.0-billion increase in 2012, in line with a smaller increase in crop value of production. Cash rent is forecast up 7.3 percent, the result of a 7.5-percent increase in land values and a minute decrease in planted acreage. Share rent is forecast up 2.7 percent, the same as the increase in crop value of production. Government payments and crop insurance indemnities received by landlords are a consistent proportion of sectorwide payments and indemnities, so they usually vary as sectorwide outlays do. Landlord government payments and crop insurance indemnities are expected to be 6.7 percent and 32 percent higher in 2013, respectively.

Total interest expenses in 2013 are forecast to increase around $500 million (2.9 percent) as nonreal estate interest expenses climb $600 million (9.8 percent) and real estate interest expenses decline $100 million (1.2 percent). Debt and interest rates are discussed in the Assets, Debt, and Wealth section.

Government Payments Forecast To Increase Slightly in 2013

Government payments paid directly to producers are expected to total $11.1 billion in 2013, representing a 4.4-percent increase from 2012 (see table on government payments PDF icon (16x16)). Fixed direct payments under the Direct and Countercyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE) are forecast at $4.39 billion for 2013, down 6.3 percent from 2012. The decline is attributed both to a reduction in payments because of sequestration and the likelihood that more producers will exceed statutory limits on adjusted gross income.

Strong crop prices in 2013 are expected to result in few commodity program payments based on price.  Farmers are currently expected to receive $30 million in ACRE payments this year, covering final 2011-crop ACRE payments for rice and 2012-crop ACRE payments for the other commodities. ACRE payments in 2013 could change depending on final 2012-13 market-year average prices.

The Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program was reinstituted in the Farm Act extension under the American Taxpayer Relief Act, signed by the President in January 2013. This program compensates dairy producers when domestic milk prices fall below a specified benchmark price. Beginning in September 2013, the program’s payment rate and annual volume of covered milk production are reduced and the feed adjustment factor increased. As a result, dairy producers are expected to receive $225 million in MILC payments in 2013, down 50 percent from 2012.

Tobacco farmers and quota holders are expected to receive $643 million from the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP) in 2013. Payments reported here include both CCC payments and lump-sum payments. Begun in 2005, this program provides annual payments over a 10-year period to eligible quota holders and producers of tobacco. The TTPP will expire after making final payments in 2014.

Conservation program payments include payments to producers from all conservation programs operated by USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service. Estimated conservation payments of $3.8 billion in 2013 are up slightly from 2012.

Supplemental and Ad Hoc Disaster Assistance payments are forecast to be $2.02 billion in 2013, an 84-percent increase from 2012 levels. Expected payments from the Noninsured Assistance Program (NAP) and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) account for almost 97 percent of these 2013 payments. NAP payments of $280 million are expected to be made to livestock and specialty crop producers for which no commodity insurance program is available. Under the SURE program, the bulk of the expected $1.68 billion paid to producers cover the commodity losses incurred during the 2011 crop year, representing a 146-percent increase over 2012’s SURE payments. Heaviest hit by the 2011 drought were producers in Texas, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, who collectively are expected to receive $1.22 billion in SURE payments in 2013.

The Farm Act extension only covers disaster relief payments for covered losses incurred prior to October 1, 2011. Thus, drought-related commodity and livestock losses incurred more recently are not covered. The time lag for receiving a SURE payment is primarily due to the fact that the crop year is defined by a commodity's harvest cycle, such that it often overlaps two calendar years and SURE payments are made after a current crop year ends.

Change in February’s Forecast for Corn Leads to Reduced Expectation for 2013 Net Farm Income

USDA’s August forecast for 2013 shows a decline of $7.6 billion (6.3 percent) in net farm income from its February forecast. Underlying the adjustment are expectations of a drop in the value of crop production; an increase in payments to stakeholders and for manufactured inputs; and a decline in machine hire and custom work revenues. Offsetting these downward revisions were expectations of an increase in the value of livestock production and other farm income, combined with declines in inputs purchased from the farm sector, particularly feed.

The largest change in dollar-value terms since February’s forecast was a $9.5-billion downward revision in feed crop cash receipts, mostly for corn (down $8.1 billion). Forecast receipts from miscellaneous livestock were lowered almost $1 billion. The value of annual change in crop inventories was reduced almost $5 billion from February’s expectations. Machine hire and custom work revenues were lowered almost 13 percent. On the expenditure side, payments to stakeholders as well as forecast expenditures on pesticides, fertilizer/lime, purchased livestock/poultry, and seed are higher than February’s forecast.

Cash receipt forecasts were revised upward for vegetables and melons, broilers, all other crops, eggs, and milk.   The 2013 forecast for other farm income was raised over $1 billion, driven mostly by payment of 2012 crop insurance indemnities slipping into 2013. Forecast feed purchases were lowered almost $6.5 billion from February’s forecast. Marketing, storage, transportation, and miscellaneous expenditures were revised downward by over $2 billion from February’s forecast.
Median Farm Household Income Forecast Lower in 2013

Projected median total farm household income is expected to decrease by 2.5 percent in 2013, to $66,989. Given the broad USDA definition of a farm, many farms are not profitable even in the best farm income years. Despite high prices for many crops, 2012 was no exception, with a median farm income of -$1,453. With sectorwide net cash farm income forecast to decline in 2013, median farm income is expected to decline to -$2,300. Most farm households earn all of their income from off-farm sources—median off-farm income is projected to increase by 1.8 percent in 2013, to $60,659. (Note: Because they are based on unique distributions, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.)

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on 2013 Farm Income Forecast

United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the 2013 farm income forecast from USDA's Economic Research Service:

“This week’s forecast of a $6.8 billion increase in net farm income is a testament to the resilience and productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers, and a further sign of the positive momentum they have achieved over the past five years.  A six percent increase in this key measure would be the second highest inflation-adjusted amount since 1973, even as agriculture has worked hard to recover from an historic drought and other disasters. I am confident that our farmers and ranchers will continue to show the determination and innovation that has been the hallmark of American agriculture for generations. To help continue their strong momentum, producers and rural communities are counting on Congress to provide a comprehensive, long-term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that will lend certainty to Federal farm policy – as well as passage of a commonsense immigration reform measure to ensure a stable and dependable agricultural workforce in the years to come.”

Highlights from the 2013 Farm Income Forecast are available at:

Coalition Issues Principles For TPP Agreement

An ad hoc coalition of agricultural and food organizations led by the National Pork Producers Council and Cargill has communicated to U.S. trade negotiators its “core” principles for a final, successful Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

The 19th round of negotiations on the TPP concludes this week in Brunei Darussalam. The regional trade talks include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

In a July 15 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the coalition of 37 agricultural and food organizations presented a set of principles to ensure that the TPP negotiations “fulfill the promise of a high-quality agreement that can serve as a standard for future trade agreements.” The group said a final TPP agreement must:
-    Cover all elements of trade and investment, including agriculture, goods, services, digital trade, competition policy and intellectual property.
-    Not include product or sector exclusions, including in agriculture. Exclusions would limit opportunities in each of the member countries to reach new markets, grow businesses and generate economic growth and jobs.
-    Phase out all tariffs and other market access barriers by the end of the negotiated transition period. Transition periods must have commercially meaningful timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.
-    Include robust outcomes on sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) issues. SPS measures also must be supported by risk-based scientific decision making, regulatory convergence and equivalence.
-    Include a “Rapid Response Mechanism” to resolve issues with perishable and time-sensitive shipments of agricultural products held up as result of SPS and technical barriers to trade.
-    Include an enforcement mechanism for trade obligations that go beyond those in the World Trade Organization. Failure to include such a mechanism would render new TPP disciplines valueless.
-    Be a single undertaking. All elements of the negotiation, including tariff and nontariff SPS measures, must be part of an indivisible package and cannot be agreed upon separately.

“The TPP represents the single most important trade negotiation ever for the U.S. pork industry and for most of U.S. agriculture,” said NPPC President Randy Spronk, a pork producer from Edgerton, Minn., “but for it to be a comprehensive, high-quality 21st century agreement, it must include all sectors, address SPS issues and tariffs and be enforceable. TPP can be a win-win for all the countries involved if it meets those criteria.”

Cool is the rule for vaccine handling

A vaccine program is only as effective as your dairy’s storage and handling protocols. The warm outdoor temperatures serve as a good reminder to brush up on vaccine storage and handling. “Cool is the rule for a successful vaccine program, and it starts with proper storage and handling,” advised Greg Edwards, DVM, Zoetis Dairy Technical Services. 

Poor handling and storage can reduce vaccine potency and effectiveness. Research trials and data showing product efficacy are based on storage temperatures indicated on the label. “Vaccines are sensitive. You can’t expect vaccines to perform at their highest level of protection if you don’t store and handle them properly,” Dr. Edwards explained.

He offered these tips for warm-weather vaccine storage and handling:

Always read and follow label instructions.

        Labels clearly indicate the proper procedures to yield the best outcome from a vaccine.

Keep vaccines cool and out of direct sunlight.

        Always store vaccines according to the label.
        Make sure vaccines are cold when delivered and refrigerate immediately.
        Refrigerate vaccines between 35°F to 45°F.
        Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to monitor temperature.

Train employees about proper storage and handling.

        Instruct employees to take only the amount of vaccine needed and to keep the rest refrigerated.
        Remind employees that once they open vaccine bottles, the clock starts ticking. Each vaccine has a specific time limit for use. For example, modified-live vaccines, such as Bovi-Shield GOLD FP® 5 L5 HB, must be used within one hour of being mixed.

Consult with your herd veterinarian to develop and review herd vaccination protocols.

        Involve your veterinarian as much as possible. Your veterinarian is most familiar with diseases unique to your operation and is the most knowledgeable when it comes to vaccine selection.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/23/2013

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 820,000 barrels per day (b/d) — or 34.44 million gallons daily. That is down 24,000 b/d from the week before. The 4-week average for ethanol production stood at 843,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 12.92 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 16.3 million barrels. That is a 1.4% decrease from last week.

Imports of ethanol were 4,000 b/d, down from last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 379.3 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 9.08%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 12.433 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 91,514 metric tons of livestock feed, 81,586 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.27 million pounds of corn oil daily.

RFA Letter Urges EPA to Deny Big Oil’s Contrived RFS Waiver Petition

In a letter sent today to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) urged EPA to reject the petition for a partial waiver of the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) submitted recently by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM).

“Big Oil’s attempt to completely rewrite and redefine the statute pertaining to RFS waivers is just another shameless example of how far they’ll go to protect their market share and block larger volumes of renewable fuel from reaching the consumer,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO. “Not only do API and AFPM blatantly contort the meaning and intent of the statute, but, as trade associations, they aren’t even entitled to file a petition for a waiver in the first place.”

According to RFA’s letter, the petition from API and AFPM obscures the fundamental purpose and intent of the RFS, which is to drive the production and use of renewable fuels beyond their traditional role as fuel additives.

“The need to move beyond E10 in 2014 for the purposes of RFS compliance should hardly come as a surprise to obligated parties,” wrote Dinneen, pointing out that it was clear as early as 2009 that the so-called E10 “blend wall” would occur in 2013 or 2014. “Unfortunately, many obligated parties chose to blatantly ignore the strong signals compelling them to begin preparations for higher volumes of renewable fuels and to increase investments in storage and distribution infrastructure. Now, the members of API and AFPM seek relief from their renewable fuel blending obligations, arguing that their failure to prepare for 2014 RFS requirements somehow merits reprieve. EPA should not reward such blatant disregard for resoundingly clear policy signals.”

The RFA comments conclude that the combination of increased E85 and E15 sales, carry-over RINs from 2013, and likely administrative adjustments to the 2014 advanced biofuel standard will allow obligated parties to easily meet their RFS requirements without adverse economic consequences.

“EPA should act swiftly to reject the petition submitted by API and AFPM. The conditions outlined in the Clean Air Act under which EPA may grant a waiver simply do not exist,” Dinneen concluded. “The RFS is working precisely as intended—EPA is exercising its authority to adjust annual blending requirements, RINs are sending clear signals to the marketplace to expand renewable fuels infrastructure and consumption, and RIN banking and trading provisions are providing compliance flexibility to obligated parties. In short, oil refiners and importers should have no difficulty in meeting their 2014 blending requirements.”

NASS to Resume Milk Production Surveys in October

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will resume milk production quarterly producer surveys in the new federal fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2013.  NASS suspended the surveys in April of this year to meet the budget reductions required by sequestration. The agency uses information gathered in the quarterly surveys along with various sources of administrative data to establish the monthly milk production estimates.  With the quarterly surveys, the dairy cow and milk per cow statistics will once again be available.  These are critical data points for interested parties to forecast future milk supply. The program will resume with a late September mailing of the survey form to producers and the release of resulting data on October 21.

Ukraine to See Higher Grain Exports

Ukraine's grain harvest this year is greater than last year, and the pace of grain export is exceeding last year's volumes, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.

Ukraine exported at the start of the current marketing year, July 1 to Aug. 27, 3.23 million metric tons of grain, 16.2% more than in the same period a year earlier, the ministry said.

Wheat export to date totaled 1.5 million tons, barley exports were 1.15 million tons and corn exports reached 0.56 million tons.

The agriculture ministry said earlier that Ukraine's grain export in the 2013-2014 marketing year--July 2013-June 2014--was likely to rise to 26 million tons from about 23 million tons in the previous marketing year as this year's harvest was greater than last year.

The agriculture ministry expects a grain harvest this year of 53-54 million tons, up from 46.2 million tons last year, when crops were damaged by drought.

Cargill invests $48 million in Dodge City, Kansas, beef plant order distribution system

To better serve its customers and meet their needs for beef produced at its Dodge City, Kan., processing facility, Cargill is investing $48 million in a new automated order distribution system at its plant here. Construction will begin during the fourth quarter of calendar 2013, with the new system scheduled to be operational by spring 2015. The new order distribution system, capable of holding approximately 155,000 boxes of beef, will be housed in a new 62,000-square-foot building specifically constructed for that purpose. This will increase boxed beef capacity at Dodge City by 130,000 boxes. The new system uses Retrotech automation and Viastore equipment, and replaces a system that has served the plant since Ronald Reagan was president of the United States.

Strategically located in the western Kansas, the Dodge City plant supplies beef products to retail, foodservice and processed foods customers throughout the U.S., and internationally. The new system will allow Cargill to better support its customers and improve the plant’s ability to keep highly perishable fresh meat products flowing to hundreds of destinations.

“This new distribution system will benefit our customers by improving order accuracy and on-time delivery, in addition to providing better capability to handle the ever-increasing complexity of product offerings shipped to domestic and international markets,” said John Keating, president of Wichita, Kansas-based Cargill Beef. “Installation of this new system will help us better meet our customers’ expectations, something we have demonstrated as a core competency through similar investments made in recent years at our Schuyler, Neb.; Friona, Texas; and High River, Alberta, Canada, beef processing plants.”

Operationally, the new order distribution system at Dodge City will deliver increased efficiency, improved reliability, reduced maintenance, lower operating costs, increased capacity and utilization, in a more sustainable way due to improved energy use compared with equipment manufactured three decades ago.

“We take a great deal of pride in the products and services we provide to our customers, always mindful that we operate in a highly competitive business environment and they have options,” stated Keating. “I believe Cargill people do a tremendous job serving our customers and the proof is when they continue coming back for more of our beef.”

The investment at Dodge City continues Cargill’s ongoing commitment to invest in its facilities with an emphasis on providing superior customer service. The company has invested more than $760 million in capital expenditures in its North American beef processing plants over the past 10 years.

Cargill’s Dodge City beef processing facility opened for business in 1979, is located on 1,400 acres, employs nearly 2,700 people and harvests 6,000 head of cattle daily. Annually, the plant’s local economic impact includes a payroll of more than $83 million, $8 million paid in taxes, $1.7 billion worth of goods and services purchased and approximately $120,000.00 reinvested in the community through donations from the Dodge City Cargill Cares Council and Cargill, Inc.


  With the introduction of 26 new compact and utility tractors and 11 hay and forage tools over the last three years, Case IH has demonstrated its focus on meeting livestock and hay producers’ unique equipment needs. To complete the updated lineup, Case IH is introducing the first windrower with factory-installed autoguidance, redesigned draper headers, disc mower conditioners designed to speed up dry down, and a durable round baler designed to minimize losses.

  “Case IH has launched new models and significant redesigns across our entire lineup of hay and forage tools and compact and utility tractors, all based on customer feedback,” says Zach Hetterick, Case IH Livestock Equipment Marketing Manager.

“Livestock producers will also appreciate the new investments Case IH has made in personnel, with nine new livestock specialists working with dealers and producers in the field.”

  Here are the newest Case IH products, which complete the Case IH hay/forage and livestock lineup: 

WD3 II Series Windrowers Offer Industry-First Factory Installed Autoguidance

  Redesigned Case IH WD3 series windrowers are the first in the industry to offer a factory-installed autoguidance system managed through the Case IH AFS Pro 700 control center to increase productivity and reduce operator fatigue. 

  “Windrowers are one the hardest pieces of equipment to drive,” says Hetterick.   “However, Case IH has made it much easier with AFS autoguidance and a new hydraulic steering system with fewer linkages and pivot joints. Operators will appreciate the improved drivability in the field, as well as the great steering responsiveness on the road, which creates the ability to operate at higher road speeds.”

  Case IH engineers conducted dynamic stability testing on a road slalom course. As a result, they adjusted the machine’s weight balance and developed caster wheels, set at a 9-degree angle. In addition, a dampening feature prevents oversteering, especially at high speeds.

  WD3 series windrowers can now top out at 24 mph road speed – the fastest in the industry – so operators can get to one more field before calling it a day. 

Reliable DH3 Series Draper Headers Cover More Acres Faster 

   Case IH DH3 series draper headers for windrowers help producers cover more acres faster and more efficiently with an all-new 40-foot header. A shallow, angled top section offers higher throughput capacity, crop feeding and crop flow.

  Crop quality is also protected through the draper heads’ agronomic design. A two-circuit hydraulic system offers more consistent flow and power across the header, so producers get more even crop feed, resulting in more consistent, well-formed windrows.

  Improved crop feeding is also assisted by an all-new, heavy-duty frame design with larger reel arms and increased strength. The rugged Case IH cutterbar offers additional protection, even in harsh conditions.

DC3 Series Disc Mower Conditioners Simplify the Path to High-Quality Hay

  New Case IH DC3 series disc mower conditioners are designed to improve dry down for better hay quality and higher profits. A new cutterbar design with wide discs cuts closer and cleaner, getting more hay in windrows and leaving less hay in the field. Larger-diameter discs improve crop flow and windrow consistency. 

  Designed for easy, uninterrupted use, the DC3 series disc mower conditioners have lightweight, impact-resistant plastic access doors, simplifying adjustments.   “Adjustments can be done in the field on the new disc mower conditioners,” says Hetterick. “Producers don’t even require tools to make alterations to the conditioners, swath doors and swath board.”

  New shielding minimizes the opportunity for material to build up as you create windrows. A simplified drive system helps to minimize horsepower consumption and maintenance needs.

RB565 Round Baler: Get More Hay in Customizable Bales

  The new RB565 provides 20 percent more capacity than previous models. The new overshot feeder between the pick-up and bale chamber creates a quick and even feed of material into the bale chamber. The new roller windguard and five bar pick-up comb the crop off the ground for fast and even feeding.

  The new RB565 is built to last. It features a total redesigned pick-up that has been strengthened from the inside out. Some of the new enhancements include double spider gears, solid line bars, and rubber mounted teeth that provide five times the wear life of the previous generation teeth.  Belt tracking and durability has never been better using all-new premium belts available in a laced or endless design.

  The baler has also been made easier to operate with the Case IH ISOBUS-compliant control system. You can now run the baler thorough the AFS Pro 700 display in your tractor, giving you a simple layout with the large touch screen monitor.

  In the past 12 months, Case IH has added several other new products to the Case IH livestock/hay/forage product lines to better meet livestock producers’ unique needs, including Farmall