Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday November 27 Ag News

Lt. Governor Heidemann to Announce Dodge County Designated Livestock Friendly

Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann today announced the official designation of Dodge County as Nebraska’s newest Livestock Friendly County. With the addition of Dodge County, there are now 23 counties designated as Livestock Friendly through the state program, including: Adams, Banner, Box Butte, Cuming, Dawes, Deuel, Gage, Garden, Grant, Hitchcock, Holt, Jefferson, Johnson, Kimball, Keith, Lincoln, Morrill, Saline, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, Wayne, and Webster Counties.

“I’m pleased that Dodge County has worked hard to become a Livestock Friendly County,” said Lt. Gov. Heidemann. “This program is a way to recognize the impact the livestock industry has on the local economy. Agriculture is the number one industry in Nebraska and with the help of the Livestock Friendly program, it will continue to thrive.”

Lt. Gov. Heidemann presented the Livestock Friendly certificate to Dodge County Supervisors Rob George, Greg Beam, Lon Strand, Terry Synovec, Bob Missel, Dan Weddle, and Gary Osborn. The county will receive road signs bearing the program logo to display along highways. The program is coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Department of Agriculture Asst. Director Bobbie Kriz-Wickham said the official designation makes a positive statement about Dodge County. Asst. Dir. Kriz-Wickham stated, “It is clear that leaders within Dodge County understand the important benefits of responsible livestock production. I applaud them for making the Livestock Friendly County designation a piece of their overall economic development efforts.”

To apply for a livestock friendly county designation, the county board must hold a public hearing and pass a resolution to apply. A completed application is then submitted to Department of Agriculture for review. Local producers or community groups can encourage their county board to submit a livestock friendly county application.

Additional information on the Livestock Friendly County program is available by contacting NDA toll free at 800-422-6692, or by visiting the Department of Agriculture website at and clicking the Livestock Friendly County link.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for November 2013 averaged $6.80 per bushel, a decrease of 36 cents from the October price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

The preliminary November oat price averaged $3.45 per bushel, a decrease of 59 cents from October.  

The preliminary November corn price, at $4.45 per bushel, decreased 26 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary November sorghum price averaged $7.25 per cwt, a decrease of 13 cents from October.

The preliminary November soybean price, at $12.30 per bushel, was unchanged from last month. 

The November alfalfa hay price, at $157.00 per ton, is down $9.00 from last month. The other hay price, at $113.00 per ton, is down $13.00 from last month.

Iowa Monthly Prices

The preliminary November 2013 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa is $4.30 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is down $0.30 from the October full month average price and $2.73 lower than November 2012.  

The preliminary November  Iowa average  soybean price, at $12.70 per bushel  is up $0.20  from  the October  full month price, but $1.60 lower than last year.  

The preliminary October oat price is $3.90 per bushel, down $0.31 from the October full month average and $0.30 below the November 2012 average price. 

All  hay  prices  in  Iowa  averaged  $184.00  per  ton  in November,  up  $8.00  from October,  but  $18.00  per  ton  less  than November  2012.   Alfalfa  hay  prices were  down  $2.00  from October  and  fell  $20.00  per  ton  from  one  year  ago,  to $193.00.  Other hay prices were unchanged from October but $7.00 per ton lower than last year, at $130.00.  

Iowa dairy farmers received an average of $21.90 per cwt for milk sold in November, $0.60 more than October, but $1.10 per cwt less than one year ago.

USDA: November Farm Prices Received Index Down 6 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in November, at 183 percent, based on 1990-1992=100, decreased 6 points (3.2 percent) from October. The Crop Index is down 12 points (5.9 percent) but the Livestock Index increased 5 points (3.0 percent). Producers received lower prices for corn but higher prices for eggs, soybeans, and cattle. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of corn, milk, cattle, and cotton offset the decreased marketing of soybeans, potatoes, and wheat.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is down 24 points (12 percent) from November 2012. The Food Commodities Index, at 187, decreased 3 points (1.6 percent) from last month and decreased 4 points (2.1 percent) from November 2012.


The November index, at 191, decreased 5.9 percent from October and is 20 percent below November 2012. Index decreases for feed grains & hay and commercial vegetables more than offset price increases for oilseeds and potatoes & dry beans.

Food grains: The November index, at 227, is 2.2 percent below the previous month and 15 percent below a year ago. The November price for all wheat, at $6.80 per bushel, is down 20 cents from October and $1.67 below November 2012.

Feed grains & hay: The November index, at 191, is down 6.4 percent from last month and 37 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $4.29 per bushel, is down 32 cents from last month and $2.72 below November 2012. The all hay price, at $171 per ton, is down $6.00 from October and $19.00 from last November. Sorghum grain, at $7.42 per cwt, is 27 cents below October and $4.98 below November last year.

Cotton, Upland: The November index, at 130, is up 0.8 percent from October and 14 percent above last year. The November price, at 78.6 cents per pound, is up 0.7 cents from the previous month and 9.4 cents above last November.

Oilseeds: The November index, at 226, is up 0.9 percent from October but 10 percent lower than November 2012. The soybean price, at $12.70 per bushel, increased 20 cents from October but is $1.60 below November 2012.


The November index, at 172, is 3.0 percent above last month and November 2012. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, eggs, calves, and hogs. Prices for milk, broilers, and turkeys are down from last year.

Meat animals: The November index, at 171, is up 0.6 percent from last month and 6.9 percent higher than last year. The November hog price, at $64.70 per cwt, is down $3.80 from October but $3.60 higher than a year ago. The November beef cattle price of $131 per cwt is up $3.00 from last month and $8.00 higher than November 2012.

Dairy products: The November index, at 163, is up 3.2 percent from a month ago but 3.6 percent lower than November last year. The November all milk price of $21.30 per cwt is up 60 cents from last month but 80 cents lower than November 2012.

Prices Paid Index Down 2 Points

The November Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is 213 percent of the 1990-1992 average. The index is down 2 points (0.9 percent) from October and 4 points (1.8 percent) below November 2012. Lower prices in November for concentrates, complete feeds, feed grains, and other services more than offset higher prices for feeder cattle, feeder pigs, mixed fertilizer, and LP gas.

Reinke Recognizes Grossenburg Implement with Gold Pride Award at Annual Convention

Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc., a leading manufacturer of mechanized irrigation systems, is excited to announce that Grossenburg Implement, Inc. in Wayne, Neb., has received a Gold Reinke Pride award in recognition of the company’s 2012-2013 marketing year success. The Reinke dealership was honored during Reinke’s recent annual convention held October 20-22, 2013, in Omaha, Neb.

"Congratulations to Grossenburg Implement on this recognition of their ongoing hard work and success,” said Reinke Vice President of Marketing Tim Goldhammer. “We appreciate their ongoing commitment to Reinke and to their community. We are proud to have them as a dealer.”

Reinke dealerships from across the United States and Canada gather each year to attend the company’s convention. The convention awards ceremony recognizes select Reinke dealerships for their hard work and dedication to sales and marketing throughout the past year.

Reinke recognized record attendance during this year’s convention. Gold, silver and bronze Reinke Pride awards were given to a total of 118 dealerships. The Reinke Pride awards are determined as part of an incentive program that distinguishes superior achievement levels according to an evaluation based on a dealership’s exterior and interior housekeeping and maintenance, indoor and outdoor displays, safety, retail environment, merchandising, professionalism, promotions and event participation, and market share.

“It’s great to be able to come together each year to applaud the efforts of our dealers and recognize them among their peers,” said Goldhammer. “Our annual convention is an opportunity for Reinke and our dealers to share ideas, have some fun and get set for another successful year in the agriculture industry.” 

Nebraska Farmers Union 100th Annual Convention Features National Experts

“Proudly Serving Family Farm & Ranch Agriculture Since 1913” is the theme for the 100th annual Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) state convention.  John Hansen, NeFU President said, “This year’s convention will feature four national experts who will help Farmers union members focus on some of the major challenges featuring agriculture.  

Dr. Daryll Ray, Blasingame Chair of Excellence in Agricultural Policy, Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, at the University of Tennessee is a nationally recognized expert on agricultural policy, agricultural markets, trade policy, and renewable energy.  He will focus on the financial challenges facing production agriculture with all time high production costs, no price floor in domestic farm programs, huge commodity price volatility, and a weakened farm income safety net. 

Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President is intimately involved in the Farm Bill process, renewable energy issues, and Country of Origin Labeling.  NFU is the forefront of advocating on behalf of those issues with the most dysfunctional Congress in generations.  Johnson is a nationally respected and well known spokesman for family farm agriculture. 

Alan Guebert, award winning syndicated national agricultural journalist has been covering agricultural issues for decades.  His keen sense of history, in depth understanding of both the policies and the players that impact production agriculture, and his number crunching expertise as an agricultural economist make him one of the most respected agricultural journalists in the country. 

Michael Stumo, Executive Director for the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a broad based coalition of U.S. based manufacturers, agriculture, and labor interests is a national expert on trade policy, currency manipulation, and the inequities created when some countries have Value Added Taxes and some do not.  Stumo along with NFU President Roger Johnson will speak on those issues, the current WTO meltdown, and the pending Transpacific Trade Partnership. 

Registration costs are $35 and begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday mornings.  Convention begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Saturday.  As always, all members and the public is always welcome.  More information is available at: or at 402-476-8815. 

Revisions in Corn Field Guide Reduce Uncertainty

Identifying pests, diseases, disorders and developmental stages in Midwestern corn crops just became easier. New and larger color photographs, updated information on plant diseases and crop production, and additional topics are included in the second edition of Iowa State University’s popular Corn Field Guide, now available for purchase online at

Growers and agronomists will appreciate new environmental criteria added to help identify diseases.

“If a farmer is field scouting for disease and discovers something abnormal, he can use the photo and description in the guide to begin to identify what might be happening,” said Daren Mueller, assistant professor of plant pathology and microbiology, who assisted with guide revisions. “Then, if he reads under the 'Environment' section that the disease exists in moist cool conditions, but it’s been hot and dry, he knows he needs to look further in the guide.” 

Mueller is a principal investigator on the Integrated Pest Management team of the Climate and Corn-based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project, also known as the Sustainable Corn Project. It’s a 10-university research project in the Corn Belt, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and led by Iowa State University. Team members are gathering and analyzing field trial data from 35 field sites and thousands of farmers in eight Midwestern states in an effort to create a suite of practices that make corn-based cropping systems more resilient in response to climate change. Mueller’s team collects and analyzes IPM data to assess the impact of the field practices on pests, weeds and diseases, under specific environmental conditions.

“With the guide scheduled to be updated, it was an opportunity to incorporate what is known about how climate and extreme weather events affect corn production, insects and diseases. The new guide provides the farmer with more information for making decisions,” said Jamie Benning, a program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and principal investigator on the Sustainable Corn Project.

Updating the guide was a collaborative effort between ISU Extension and Outreach, Integrated Pest Management and the Sustainable Corn Project, said Mueller.

“Numerous extension specialists, engineers, agronomists, plant pathologists, entomologists, weed scientists and nematologists with Iowa State provided text and images. It was a team effort,” said Mueller.

More than 200 photos and illustrations are packed into this updated version of the pocket-sized Corn Field Guide, now available for purchase online at

New Pork Task Force to Develop 2020 Plan

The National Pork Board has named a new task force that will examine consumer needs, animal care, sustainable pork production and other current challenges facing the industry to define a future vision of the Pork Checkoff and, on a larger scale, the entire pork industry.

Beginning December 2013 the yearlong planning process will review research, market data and opinions of industry leaders to set a strategic vision that will carry the organization from 2015 through 2020. The primary goal is to assess the Pork Checkoff's role in an ever-changing world and set the priorities that can help pork producers better meet customer needs.

The current five-year strategic plan was unveiled in 2009 and will be complete next year. Through that process, the Pork Checkoff defined three critical issues, including: protecting a producer's freedom to operate, enhancing U.S. and international consumer demand for pork and making U.S. pork producers more competitive in the global marketplace.  

To Pork Checkoff Chief Executive Officer Chris Novak, it comes down to asking the industry's key players a simple question - what if? - and then charting a course that can help pork farmers achieve the opportunities that single question may identify.

"In the hands of pork producers who have a vision for how we can better serve consumers, 'what if?' is an incredibly powerful tool to explore what we can attain as an industry," Novak said. "The last time we asked that question, we articulated an industry vision to become more responsible, sustainable, professional and profitable. We've made great progress these past four years, but we know we can achieve more through a focused planning effort that unites producers, processors and customers.

"Today, the agricultural industry faces many challenges that will define our next five years - and that is especially true for the pork industry. So it is very fitting that we begin our journey now to chart our vision through 2020 - collecting new thoughts, while improving upon what we have accomplished in the last five years," Novak said.

For the first time, the planning process will bring together pork producers, animal health experts, packers, processors and food distributors, and foodservice and retail experts. By involving key leaders from both pork production and its allied industries, the National Pork Board expects diverse opinions to inform its deliberations.

"Only through sharing information with each other and truly looking at our industry through the eyes of its key partners can we fully assess the challenges and opportunities that are ahead," Novak said. "For me, strategic planning comes down to analyzing three fundamental questions - Where are we today? Where do we want to be? How do we get there together?

"For example, we need to further our commitment to transparency and make all  consumers aware of the ethical principles that guide our actions and business.  We are committed to responsible and ethical animal agriculture that extends from animal care to environmental stewardship to food and worker safety programs, But what if - and how can - we improve? Together we will take that input and turn it into a plan of action."

The process will use a variety of tools to engage stakeholders in the planning process, including providing an opportunity for each of the more than 60,000 U.S. pork producers to participate by answering surveys and submitting opinions. The task force will collect valuable information from farmers, customers and supply chain partners. To facilitate a dialogue on the future of the pork industry, pork producers can email comments to -WhatIf? - on how the Pork Checkoff can best strengthen tomorrow's industry.

The participants in the National Pork Board's strategic planning task force include:
• Board president Karen Richter and board vice president Dale Norton
• Board members Jan Archer and Glen Walters
• Roy Lee Lindsey, executive director, Oklahoma Pork Council
• Randy Spronk, president, National Pork Producers Council
• Dr. Jay Akridge, dean of agriculture, Purdue University
• Pork producers Robert Dykhuis, James Heimerl, and Dr. Craig Rowles, DVM
• Rich Gallant, vice president, Cargill Meat Solutions
• Joe Jordon, vice president, Domino's Pizza
• Joe Swedberg, vice president, Hormel Foods
• Leann Saunders, president, Where Food Comes From, Inc.
• Rick Parker, director, JBS USA
• Michael Skahill, vice president, Smithfield Foods

Farm Sector Bracing For Lower Prices in 2014

After more than six years of unprecedented boom in the U.S. farm economy driven by a government-backed drive for biofuels, record low interest rates and rising food exports, American grain farmers and their bankers are bracing for change.

According to Reuters, farmers have just finished harvesting their largest corn crop in history - taking the steam out of a long bull market. Earlier this month the Obama administration also signaled that renewable fuels were losing political favor as the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the amount of corn-based ethanol oil refiners must blend into U.S. fuel supplies. The EPA news sent the corn market to its lowest in 3 years, with prices trading near $4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, compared with record levels above $8 in the summer of 2012 in the midst of the historic Midwest drought. Soybeans, wheat and other crops have eased from a year ago, along with corn, the grain bellwether, with almost 100 million acres planted in the United States, the world's largest corn grower and exporter.

A growing number of farm bankers and economists interviewed at a Chicago Federal Reserve conference and the American Bankers ag meeting in Minneapolis this month warned farmers to brace for change in the coming year. Grain farmers will see their income shrink even as costs to produce crops stay high. Farm land rents and seed costs are among the biggest costs that may resist declines in the face of falling crop revenues, but fertilizer also remains pricey, they said.

Additionally, during the years-long grain boom many farmers paid cash for farm machinery and land at record high prices - which kept their debt low but cut the amount of cash on hand. So far, interest rates are staying low for refinancing or fresh debt, working in farmers' favor. But debt pressures remain intense in some pockets of the Corn Belt among many younger and more aggressive farmers who hopped on the boom. So distress sales of assets or even foreclosures and bankruptcies look inevitable as a "down" cycle returns to grain prices, Reuters report.

Farmer, Rancher and Consumer Groups Celebrate New “COOL” Thanksgiving as Improved Food Labels Take Effect this Week

Following the recent implementation of new country-of-origin labels (COOL) for meat and poultry products, 15 farmer, rancher and consumer groups issued the following statement:

"As families settle in to celebrate Thanksgiving, it will have a renewed all-American emphasis as a result of the new country-of-origin labels for meat and poultry products that went into effect this week. The commonsense labels provide clearer, more transparent and more accurate information to let consumers know where their food comes from for Thanksgiving.

“The new labels distinguish where livestock were born, raised and processed. Although the overwhelming majority of Americans support these new labels, the meat industry is secretly attacking the sensible COOL labels in the 2013 Farm Bill negotiations, contending that knowing where your food comes from is somehow a barrier to trade. The new labels address concerns at the World Trade Organization by ensuring that consumers have access to clear and accurate information that lets them know the source of their food.

“On this Thanksgiving, celebrate U.S. farmers and ranchers by eating a meal raised right here in America—brought to you by the farmer, rancher and consumer groups that advocated for country-of-origin labeling.”

The organizations represented above include Coalition for a Prosperous America, Consumer Federation of America, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Food & Water Watch, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, National Consumers League, National Family Farm Coalition, National Farmers Union, Powder River Basin Resource Council, Public Citizen, Oregon Rural Action, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, Western Colorado Congress, and Western Organization of Resource Councils.

US Ethanol Stocks Down to 15M Barrels

Domestic fuel ethanol inventories were drawn down last week, declining another 100,000 barrels (bbl) to 15.0 million bbl during the week-ended Nov. 22, according to data released Wednesday, Nov. 27, by U.S. Energy Information Administration.  That matches the late-October record-low inventory level, with EIA reporting weekly ethanol data since June 2010.

Total U.S. ethanol stocks are 3.3 million bbl, or 18.1%, lower than a year earlier.

The EIA data also showed ethanol production at U.S. plants rebounded last week, rising 23,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.5%, to 927,000 bpd, while up 124,000 bbl, or 15.4%, from a year ago. Four-week average production at 915,000 bpd was up 12.1% from a year earlier.

Refiner and blender net inputs of ethanol, a proxy for demand, fell 16,000 bpd, or 1.9%, to 837,000 bpd during the week-ended Nov. 22 while up 26,000 bpd or 3.2% from a year earlier. Four-week average was up 4.8% at 856,000 bpd.

The EIA data showed no ethanol imports came into the country for the eighth straight week during the week-ended Nov. 22.

EIA also reported motor gasoline product supplied, a proxy for demand, dropped 108,000 bpd to 8.924 million bpd last week, 0.3% higher than the corresponding week a year ago. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9.1 million bpd, up 3.8% from the same period last year.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.41%. That is the highest percentage since June 2012.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.056 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 103,456 metric tons of livestock feed, 92,232 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.83 million pounds of corn oil daily.

Settlement in CA Slaughterhouse Probe

(AP) -- Several California slaughterhouses and meat-packing facilities have agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement after allegations of inhumane treatment at their facilities led to a massive beef recall that included meat sold to the National School Lunch Program.

The settlement is valued at $155 million, but the federal government and the Humane Society of the United States expect to collect only about $3 million under terms announced Wednesday.  Westland will pay $240,000.  Hallmark previously paid $304,130.  Others alleged to be investors will pay $2.45 million.

The Humane Society sued after recording undercover video of crippled and sick animals being kicked, shocked and shoved with forklifts at Chino-based Westland Meat Co. and Hallmark Meat Packing Co. The federal government joined the suit.

The 2008 allegations triggered a beef recall of 143 million pounds.

Secretary Vilsack Announces Sorghum Checkoff Board Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed four members to serve on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board. Members will serve three-year terms.  Producers appointed to the board are Clayton J. Short of Assaria, Kan., Martin G. Kerschen of Garden Plain, Kan., Daniel L. Krienke of Perryton, Texas, and one at-large member, Kathy J. Brorman of Hereford, Texas.

The board is structured so that the state with the largest production is allocated five positions. The state with the second largest production is allocated three positions. The state with the third largest production is allocated one position. There are four at-large national positions for which at least two representatives must be appointed from states other than the top three sorghum producing states. The maximum number of producers from one state is limited to six.

Ukraine Ups Grain Export Forecast

Ukraine is likely to export 32.5 million metric tons of grain in this marketing year, a rise of 8.33% on a previous forecast, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said Ukraine's grain harvest this year was likely to be 63 million tons in bunker weight and 61.5 million tons in clean weight, and not 60 million tons in bunker weight as expected earlier; therefore the export forecast was being raised.

Last year, Ukraine harvested only 46.2 million tons of grain because crops were damaged by drought, and the country's grain export in the 2012-2013 marketing year was only 23 million tons.

The current marketing year lasts from July 2013 to June 2014.

Pork Checkoff Celebrates Hispanic Holiday Season with "21 Days of Christmas Traditions"

The Pork Checkoff will launch a social media promotion - "21 Dias de Tradiciones Navideñas" (21 Days of Christmas Traditions) - on its Spanish-language Facebook page as part of its efforts to engage with
Hispanic consumers during the holidays.

The promotion will run Dec. 1-21 and will celebrate 21 Latin American countries in 21 days and promote pork consumption to Spanish-speaking consumers. Pork, the most consumed protein in the world, is a staple in the Hispanic culture, especially during the holidays.

"This is a fun and engaging way for Hispanic consumers to learn more about other Latin American countries' pork dishes, customs and traditions," said Jose de Jesus, director of multicultural marketing at the Pork Checkoff. "By sharing typical pork dishes, like tamales and pernil with family and friends, it will inspire Hispanics to try something new and creative."

During the Facebook promotion, fans will have the opportunity to win a $25 gift card to purchase pork by commenting on the featured recipe each day. Fans who comment on posts will be entered into the grand prize drawing - a $550 gift card for a holiday meal with family and friends.

"Hispanics are very active on social media and like to share content, so engaging them on Facebook makes sense," de Jesus said.

The National Pork Board will award the grand prize on "El Día De Los Reyes Magos" (Three Kings Day) on January 6, 2014, celebrated by Latinos as the conclusion to the holiday season.

The National Pork Board's Hispanic online community encourages its online community to share recipes and exchange cooking tips with each other. Many traditional meals and new fusions of flavor will be featured daily on both its Facebook page, and Spanish-language website to inspire fans to cook with pork.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday November 26 Ag News


According to Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) State Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes, NDA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarians have discovered a case of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in a cow that originated from a small herd of cattle in the Knox County area.

NDA and USDA staff have begun an aggressive epidemiological investigation with the assistance of the producer to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the positive case.  The herd has been quarantined, tested and has been found negative for TB.  The epidemiological investigation includes working to determine the locations and disposition of any past herd mates.

“Our staff is committed to working as quickly as possible to determine the source of the infection and to minimize any potential spread of the disease,” said Hughes.

Further information on TB can be found at

Director of Department of Environmental Quality Leaving

Today, Gov. Dave Heineman announced that Nebraska’s Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, Mike Linder, is leaving the department to take a position in the private legal sector.

“Mike has been a great Director of the Department of Environmental Quality, and as a result, Nebraskans can continue to take pride in the high quality of Nebraska’s air, land and water,” said Gov. Heineman. “Under his leadership, the Department has worked with our citizens and the private sector to continue utilizing our many natural resources in a responsible manner. I appreciate his many years of service to Nebraska.”

“It has been an honor to serve the citizens of the State of Nebraska,” said Linder. “The balance of protecting the environment and sustaining a vibrant economy has been a great mission. I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

As Director, Linder, 56, has upheld the primary role of the Department of Environmental Quality which is to help ensure that our state’s natural resources are protected from contamination. The more than 200 employees of the Department of Environmental Quality work with businesses, communities and individuals toward the common goal of protecting the environment. The department’s permitting, compliance, remediation, monitoring, and assistance programs are designed to help achieve this goal.

Under Linder’s leadership, the Department has worked diligently to protect our state’s resources as well as to educate Nebraska’s citizens on the role the department plays in protecting the state’s resources. Additionally, the Department has increased access to the public through the use of field offices and outreach. 

Linder was appointed Director by Gov. Mike Johanns in 1999. He joined the Department of Environmental Quality in 1986 as an attorney. He became the agency General Counsel in 1989. Linder’s last day as Director will be Dec. 20.

President Approves Federal Disaster Declaration for October Blizzard, Floods and Tornadoes in Nebraska

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman received notification today from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials that President Barack Obama approved a request for a presidential disaster declaration for parts of Nebraska impacted by severe storms, winter storms, tornadoes and flooding that occurred in nine Nebraska counties, Oct. 2-6.

The president, through FEMA, issued a public assistance declaration that provides assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities in the following counties:  Adams, Dawes, Dixon, Howard, Sheridan, Sherman, Sioux, Thurston and Wayne counties.

The declaration includes federal funding on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties in the state.

“Nebraskans appreciate approval of public assistance funding for the October 2013 storms,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “This will assist in the recovery process following storms that caused millions of dollars in damage in the state.”

The disaster declaration allows federal emergency funding to be used in providing assistance to state and local governmental agencies and some nonprofit organizations.

“This will help our local communities recover some of the costs associated with responding to the emergency situations and rebuilding public infrastructure damaged by this disaster,” said Al Berndt, assistant director of Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. “NEMA will work closely with local governments to help speed up the recovery process.”

NEMA’s preliminary damage estimates to public infrastructure exceed $3 million, with the most severe impacts to electrical infrastructure, roads and bridges, along with extensive tree damage in the panhandle.

Eligible costs include removal of storm debris, emergency protective measures and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged roads, bridges, public buildings, critical facilities, such as water, sewer and power systems, and other public facilities.

USDA Reminds Producers of Dec. 2nd Sales Closing Date for Noninsurable Crops

Nebraska USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Dan Steinkruger, urges producers who want to purchase coverage through the Noninsurable Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) to do so before the sales closing date of Dec. 2, 2013. The sales closing date is actually Dec. 1, 2013, but producers have until Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, to purchase coverage this year because Dec. 1 falls on a Sunday.

NAP provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields/grazing loss, loss of inventory or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters including drought, freeze, hail, excessive moisture, excessive wind or hurricanes.

The following crops have a NAP application closing date of Dec. 2, 2013:  apples, asparagus, cherries, caneberries, grapes, honey, plums, and strawberries.

"NAP allows producers to protect their investment by purchasing coverage for noninsurable crops," said Steinkruger. "Natural disasters are an unavoidable part of farming and ranching and FSA programs like NAP help producers recover when they experience a loss," he said.

In order to meet eligibility requirements for NAP, crops must be noninsurable, commercially-produced agricultural commodity crops for which the catastrophic risk protection level of crop insurance is not available.

In the event of a natural disaster, NAP covers the amount of loss greater than 50 percent of the expected production based on the approved yield and reported acreage.

Eligible producers can apply for coverage using form CCC-471, "Application for Coverage." Producers must file the application and pay a service fee by the Dec. 2nd deadline. The service fee is the lesser of $250 per crop or $750 per producer per administrative county, not to exceed a total of $1,875 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties.

Limited resource farmers may request a waiver of the service fee at the time the application for coverage is filed.  Producers must recertify their limited resource status for each year that a waiver is requested.

Aurora Coop Announces Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2013

The Aurora Cooperative, a leading grain marketer and agricultural supplier throughout Nebraska and the U.S., today announced the financial results of the company’s fiscal year that ended August 31, 2013.

The company reported sales and related income totaling $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2013. Total earnings reached $29 million and farmer-owner equity grew to $159 million. These measures represent record or near-record achievements for the company.

In addition, payments to farmer-owners will exceed $2.5 million in patronage and tax-free equity revolvement, based on the positive performance of the company.

“The Aurora Cooperative’s farmer-owners continue to support and build their company, as evidenced by these results,” said George Hohwieler, President and CEO of the Aurora Cooperative.

“Our company’s vision is to be financially strong, innovative, independent and locally-owned – now, and for the next generation. The American farmers and ranchers we serve have positively responded to Aurora’s market approach and we recognize and thank them for their commitment to our business,” Hohwieler said.

Farmer-owners will be updated on the company’s progress at its annual business meeting in January 2014.

Animal Ag Demand for U.S. Soybean Meal Grows

U.S. animal agriculture’s consumption of U.S. soybean meal increased by 1 million tons, or the meal from 42 million bushels of soybeans, in the 2011/12 marketing year, according to a soy-checkoff-funded report. This is good news for soybean farmers since domestic animal agriculture uses about 97 percent of the U.S. soybean meal consumed in the United States.

Despite this welcomed increase, the report concluded that U.S. soybean farmers shouldn’t let their support for the animal ag industry weaken. Animal ag farmers face pressures like rising feed costs and dwindling U.S.- consumer demand. Because animal ag continues to be U.S. soybean farmers’ No. 1 customer, these pressures also threaten the profitability of all soybean farmers, the report said.

“The success of the U.S. soybean industry relies on the strength of the U.S. animal agriculture industry,” says Mike Beard, a checkoff farmer-leader who grows soybeans and raises hogs on his farm in Frankfort, Ind. “The best way we can support our customers and ensure they remain competitive is with better-quality soybeans.”

The report, titled the National Animal Agriculture Economic Analysis, also outlined the economic benefits the poultry and livestock sectors provide at the state and national levels. In 2012, animal ag provided the following benefits to the national economy:
-    Support for 1.8 million jobs
-    $346 billion in total economic output
-    A $60 billion impact on household incomes
-    $21 billion in income and property taxes paid

According to the study, U.S. poultry, livestock and fish farmers used more than 30 million tons of soybean meal in the time period measured, or the meal from more than 1.26 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans. Broilers and swine continue to be by far the two biggest soybean-meal consumers. The meal consumption per species breaks down as follows:
-    Broiler chickens: the meal from about 476 million bushels of U.S. soybeans
-    Hogs: the meal from about 410 million bushels
-    Laying hens: the meal from 84 million bushels
-    Turkeys: the meal from more than 75 million bushels
-    Other: the meal from about 217 million bushels

Net Farm Income Forecast To Increase 15 Percent in 2013

Net farm income is forecast to be $131 billion in 2013, up 15.1 percent from 2012’s estimate of $113.8 billion. After adjusting for inflation, 2013’s net farm income is expected to be the highest since 1973. Substantial year-end crop inventories are expected as a result of the record corn harvest  Net cash income—which measures the difference between cash expenses and the combination of commodities sold during the calendar year plus other sources of farm income—is forecast at $129.7 billion, down just over 3 percent from 2012. Even so, 2013’s forecast would be the fourth time net cash income, after adjusting for inflation, has exceeded $100 billion since 1973.

The projected $10.9-billion increase in total expenses in 2013, to $352 billion, continues a string of year-to-year increases (except for 2009) that have taken place since 2002. In both nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars, 2013 production expenses are expected to be the highest on record. Labor and rent are the expense items expected to increase the most in 2013, while producers are expected to pay less for fuel and fertilizer.

Farm sector assets, debt, and equity are all forecast to increase in 2013. As in the last several years, increases in farm asset value are expected to exceed increases in farm debt, with farm real estate the main driving force. Confirming the strength of the farm sector's solvency, both the debt-to-asset ratio and debt-to-equity ratio are expected to reach historic lows.

Median Farm Household Income Expected To Be Largely Unchanged in 2013

Projected median total farm household income is expected to remain essentially unchanged in 2013, at $68,414. Given the broad USDA definition of a farm, many farms are not profitable even in the best farm income years. With sectorwide net cash farm income forecast to decline in 2013, median farm income is expected to decline to -$2,000 (down from -$1,453 in 2012). Most farm households earn all of their income from off-farm sources—median off-farm income is projected to increase by 2.9 percent in 2013, to $60,437. (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.)

European Commission Proposes Tripling Spending to Support Ag Exports

While the U.S. Congress continues to debate budget cuts, the European Commission has proposed more than tripling its spending in the international marketplace to support the export of EU agricultural and agri-food sector products.

"Enjoy, it’s from Europe" is the slogan for the proposed expanded export initiative that “aims to help the sector's professionals break into international markets and make consumers more aware of the efforts made by European farmers to provide quality products, based on a genuine strategy established at European level,” according to EU media reports.

The proposal, which will be submitted to the European Parliament for its review, would boost European aid for agricultural exports progressively from €61 million ($82.5 million) in the 2013 budget to €200 million ($270.5 million) in 2020.

“In a world in which consumers are increasingly aware of the safety, quality and sustainability of food production methods, European farmers and small- or medium-sized enterprises are in a position of strength,” said European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Ciolos. “The European agricultural and agri-food sector is well-known for the unrivalled quality of its products and its compliance with standards that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. With over €110 billion worth of exports already, this is a formidable asset for boosting growth and employment within the EU.”

“This proposal from the European Commission sends a clear message that I hope our Congress is listening to,” said Mark Jagels, chairman of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and a fourth-generation farmer from south-central Nebraska. “With 96 percent of the world’s population living outside our borders, we need to focus our energy and resources on putting U.S. meat and other agricultural products on the world’s tables. If we don’t, our competitors in the EU and around the world will gladly take that business off our hands.”

Jagels noted that the benefits of supporting U.S. agricultural exports are well-documented.

“U.S. agricultural exports, which topped $141 billion in value in FY 12, support nearly 1.2 million American jobs,” said Jagels. “They accounted for a $38.5 billion surplus in the balance of trade for the year – one of the few bright spots in our economy.”

A recent study conducted for USDA reported that the investment of USDA and checkoff funds in USMEF programs over the prior 10 years returned an average of $7.42 in net revenue to the U.S. pork industry and $3.87 to the beef industry per dollar invested.

“Where better can we invest our tax dollars than in supporting agricultural exports that create jobs, bolster an essential industry and put tax revenue back into the government’s coffers,” said Jagels. “We need to take a cue from the European Union and support agricultural exports rather than reducing spending on these essential programs.”

Allies Call for Farm Bill Resolution

Frustrated by inaction, the National Corn Growers Association joined with two other farmer-led organizations to call on Congressional leaders to take the right steps quickly on the 2013 farm bill, or extend the 2008 law.

"We very much hope that conferees on the farm bill will find common ground that can be supported by producers of all crops in all regions of the country," representatives of NCGA, the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Canola Association wrote in a joint letter. "If such a resolution is not possible, we would support a two-year extension of the 2008 farm bill including, if necessary, a reduction in direct payments to achieve savings equivalent to the bills passed by both the Senate and the House. While difficult, this approach would leave sufficient funding in the commodities title to write a new farm program at such time as consensus can be achieved."

The three organizations reiterated their strong opposition to recoupling payments to planted acres under a price-based program.

"A similar program during the 1980s caused major planting distortions when market prices fell below target prices," they wrote. "The resulting production surpluses for certain crops required supply controls, including acreage set-asides and the Farmer Owned Reserve, which undercut producer income and disadvantaged U.S. exports in world markets."

They noted that avoiding government-induced production surpluses and depressed domestic and world prices has reduced the vulnerability of U.S. farm programs to challenges under the WTO. They do not want to return to programs that could increase the likelihood of more lost trade cases, as occurred with the Brazil cotton complaint.

"In the event a new farm bill includes a provision that would tie payments under a price-based program to current-year planted acres, and as stated in our letter of July 26, 2013, our organizations will oppose its enactment. We very much hope this will not be the outcome of what has been a protracted and, unfortunately, divisive process."

Ethanol – Cost-Savings, Fuel Choices & 100 Years of Gas Stations

This Thanksgiving, as Americans take to the highways and rural country roads to visit relatives, they will be zipping past countless gas stations and often stopping to fill up their gas tanks, buy a snack, or simply stretch their legs. This coming Sunday, Dec. 1, marks the 100th anniversary of the modern gas station.

“For 100 years drivers have been paying too much for transportation fuel. This can be seen today more than ever,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The price of gasoline is the first thing people see as they drive into a gas station. With the excitement of seeing loved ones comes the reality of the cost of a tank of gasoline, but ethanol reduces the cost of gasoline by on average $1.00/gallon in 2012 and 2013. In addition to cost savings it offers consumers choice at the pump. Now that is truly something to be thankful for.”

A popular cost saving fuel choice is E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) for flex fuel vehicles. There are approximately 3,200 stations offering E85 today and over 15.5 million flex fuel vehicles on the road. According to, E85 prices in Michigan today average $2.62, compared to the average gas price of $3.27. In Lake Odessa, Michigan E85 prices even reached as low as $2.19.

To locate local E85 stations, please visit will direct you to E85 locator apps for iPhone or Android systems. The website also includes downloads for Garmin or TomTom navigation devices.

In addition to E85, consumers increasingly have the option of a new fuel blend, E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) for cars 2001 and newer. E15 is the most tested fuel in the history of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has already been driven over 45 million miles with no known instances of engine damage or misfueling. Approximately 75 percent of vehicles currently on the road are approved for E15 use.

E15 is currently available in 10 states including Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Illinois.

FTC: No Ethanol Market Manipulation

The market for fuel ethanol in the United States is not concentrated, with 156 firms nationwide either producing or likely to begin producing ethanol in the next 12 to 18 months, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's 2013 Report on the State of the U.S. Ethanol Production.

The lack of market concentration or manipulation in this industry has been the case each year since the FTC began issuing reports in 2005.

This is the FTC's ninth annual report on ethanol market concentration, with the reports required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The report was submitted to Congress and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as required by the act.

FTC staff calculated market concentration for ethanol production using two different measures of market share: production capacity and actual production. This year's report concludes concentration levels in the U.S. ethanol industry are essentially unchanged from last year.

The report also indicates as of September, there were two more ethanol producers in the U.S. than at the time of the FTC's 2012 report on ethanol production.

The largest ethanol producer's capacity share decreased slightly to 10.9% of domestic ethanol production capacity from 11.1% in 2012.

The low level of concentration and the large number of market participants in the U.S. ethanol production industry suggest the exercise of market power to set prices or coordination on price or output levels is unlikely.

FTC staff also concluded that ease of entry and availability of ethanol imports into the U.S. provides additional constraints on the ability of any group of domestic firms to exercise market power.

Fertilizer Prices Move Slightly Lower

Average retail fertilizer prices were down just slightly the third week of November, according to fertilizer retailers tracked by DTN.  All eight of the major fertilizers had lower prices from last month, but once again none showed a noteworthy price drop.  DAP had an average price of $515 per ton, MAP $558/ton, potash $486/ton and urea $438/ton. 10-34-0 was at $517/ton, anhydrous $644/ton, UAN28 $320/ton and UAN32 $365/ton

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.48/lb.N, anhydrous $0.39/lb.N, UAN28 $0.57/lb.N and UAN32 $0.57/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now double digits lower in price compared to November 2012.  UAN32 is now down 13%, 10-34-0 and UAN28 are all 16% less expensive, MAP is 18% lower, DAP is 20% lower, potash is 21% less expensive, anhydrous is 25% lower and urea is 26% less expensive compared to last year.

CWT Assists with 12.8 Million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 36 requests for export assistance from Bongards Creameries, Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Maryland Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association and Upstate Niagara Cooperative (O-AT-KA) to sell 9.760 million pounds (4,427 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese and 3.003 million pounds (1,362 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The product will be delivered in November 2013 through May 2014.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 121.778 million pounds of cheese, 87.918 million pounds of butter, 44,092 pounds of anhydrous milk fat and 218,258 pounds of whole milk powder to 38 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 3.106 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively impacts producer milk prices in the short-term by helping to maintain inventories of cheese and butter at desirable levels. In the long-term, CWT’s Export Assistance program helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the farm milk that produces them.

New Congressional Analysis of Farm Bill Finds Senate Dairy Title Costs Less than House Version

A recent analysis by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the competing House and Senate farm bills shows that the Senate’s dairy program costs less than the House version, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said today, helping fortify the case for the Senate‘s dairy title as negotiations continue in the congressional farm bill committee.

The House farm bill’s dairy title is projected to cost $418 million above the baseline, according to the CRS report released in October, while the Senate dairy program costs $302 million more over the next ten years. [These figures are in Tables 4 and 5 of the report, starting on p. 22].

Incoming NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said Tuesday that the CRS report – the first to compare the two competing farm bill versions that conferees are attempting to reconcile – buttresses the point that NMPF has been making about the need to couple margin insurance with a market stabilization program, as the Senate bill does, to achieve cost controls.

“While even this analysis seriously underestimates what we and other independent analysts believe would be the real cost of the badly-flawed House approach, the CRS report demonstrates that the Senate plan is the most fiscally responsible program,” Mulhern said. “Without the market stabilization program to both reduce the duration of low margin conditions, and reduce government outlays for insurance payments, the House plan would be a budget-buster – and one that we urge the conferees to reject, in favor of the Senate’s more prudent approach.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) made the same observation last Friday in a radio interview with Ron Hays of the Oklahoma Farm Report (a transcript of which is available here), in which he responded, when asked about the prospects for the dairy title, that “if you don’t have supply management, can you restrain the cost in the rest of the [dairy margin insurance] proposal? Probably not.”

Both the House and Senate farm bill dairy programs replace existing safety net programs with a new margin insurance program. But only the Senate version couples the margin insurance with a market stabilization component that would encourage farmers to temporarily reduce milk production when conditions warrant. NMPF has long contended that this formula makes the program more effective for farmers, and also better protects taxpayers by reducing the government’s costs.

Mulhern also said that the market stabilization element will not adversely impact consumer prices for dairy products, contrary to bogus claims made by those opposing the Senate’s Dairy Security Act.

“If the market stabilization program ever kicked in – and that’s a big if – it would only be when farm milk prices are in the tank. The Senate plan would simply put a floor under the price to keep it from falling further and would not have a noticeable impact on the cost of milk to consumers. Nor would it affect the milk bought through government food assistance programs,” he said. “The purpose of market stabilization is to keep farmers’ milk prices from staying too low, for too long a period. Any suggestion that it will spike retail prices to abnormally high levels is a deceitful and deliberate misinterpretation of the studies done on the impact of the DSA.”

Mulhern was referring to efforts to distort the analysis done by University of Missouri agricultural economist Scott Brown, who has examined the impact of the Senate’s Dairy Security Act versus the processor-backed House plan (which would retain margin insurance but eliminate market stabilization from dairy reform). In Brown’s analysis of the DSA, if it had been in effect from 2009 to 2012, the market stabilization element would have been activated for only four out of 48 months.

Also, the average difference in farm milk prices between the two approaches was only two cents per gallon over four years. “That’s one half of one cent per year, a tiny amount compared with the monthly price swings currently experienced by farmers and hardly a major impact on consumers,” Mulhern said.

NFU Leads Launch of 'Year of Family Farming' Campaign

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and members of the national committee to promote the United Nations' International Year of Family Farming held a teleconference on Friday to kick off events.

"NFU is pleased to lead the U.S. efforts as a part of the global initiative that the UN is commencing today," said Johnson. "In the United States and around the world people are further and further removed from family farming and where their food, fuel and fiber are produced. This initiative is critical to the future of our industry."

The UN has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming and many countries have formed national committees to carry out activities in cooperation.

The U.S. executive committee is comprised of 25x'25, the Alliance to End Hunger, American Farmland Trust, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Cooperative Business Association and National Farmers Union.

Johnson says the group has adopted policy on family farming and they look forward to having other organizations across all sectors and interests join the committee to support family farming.

Meat, Egg, Dairy Nutrient Essential for Brain Development

Asparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the amino acid is essential for normal brain development. This is not the case for other organs.

"The cells of the body can do without it because they use asparagine provided through diet. Asparagine, however, is not well transported to the brain via the blood-brain barrier," said senior co-author of the study Dr. Jacques Michaud, who found that brain cells depend on the local synthesis of asparagine to function properly. First co-author José-Mario Capo-Chichi and colleague Grant Mitchell also made major contributions to the study.

In April 2009, a Quebec family experienced the worst tragedy for parents: before the age of one, one of their sons died of a rare genetic disease causing congenital microcephaly, intellectual disability, cerebral atrophy, and refractory seizures. The event was even more tragic because it was the third infant to die in this family from the same disease.

This tragedy led Dr. Michaud to discover the genetic abnormality responsible for this developmental disorder.

The team identified the gene affected by the mutation code for asparagine synthetase, the enzyme responsible for synthesizing the amino acid asparagine. The study is the first to associate a specific genetic variant with a deficiency of this enzyme.

"In healthy subjects, it seems that the level of asparagine synthetase in the brain is sufficient to supply neurons," Michaud said. "In individuals with the disability, the enzyme is not produced in sufficient quantity, and the resulting asparagine depletion affects the proliferation and survival of cells during brain development."

Children who are carriers of this mutation suffer, to varying degrees, from a variety of symptoms, including intellectual disability and cerebral atrophy, which can lead to death. The Quebec family lost three infant sons to this disorder. Two of their other children are alive and healthy.

To date, nine children from four different families have been identified as carriers of the mutation: three infants from Quebec, three from a Bengali family living in Toronto, and three Israelis, whose symptoms are less severe.

New Plenish High Oleic Soybeans Give Growers Access to Fast-Moving Market

The FDA’s recent announcement to potentially eliminate trans fats in food sends a clear signal about the importance of healthier, quality soybean oil. DuPont Pioneer has invested in 20 years of research and development to provide a new soybean oil solution for the food industry. The result: Plenish® high oleic soybean oil with zero trans fat.

U.S. soybean growers will have an expanded lineup of Plenish soybean varieties for the high oleic oil market in 2014. Developed by Pioneer, Plenish represents a reinvention of soybean oil. It is the first biotech product to bring value across the entire supply chain, providing an additional market to farmers, a healthier product for consumers and an alternative with potential cost advantages for food companies.

“Plenish high oleic soybeans will help soybean growers recapture lost soybean oil markets that have moved to trans-fat-free oils,” says Russ Sanders, director of food and industry markets at DuPont Pioneer. “Even before the issue of trans fats surfaced, Pioneer began working to develop an improved high oleic soybean oil profile that could dramatically improve oil functionality and grow soybean demand.”

Plenish high oleic soybeans are developed using elite genetics and cutting-edge technologies to deliver the same strong agronomic package and yield potential as other Pioneer® brand soybeans, plus meet the demand for healthier soybean oil. In 2003, the FDA announced plans to require labeling of  trans fats in the nation’s food supply, resulting in a significant reduction in demand for soybean oil in food applications.

“Our ongoing connectivity and collaboration with the soybean industry, such as the United Soybean Board’s high oleic growth initiative, reinforces our confidence that this product concept answers marketplace demand,” Sanders says. 

Pioneer is working with major soybean processors, including ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Perdue AgriBusiness, to produce Plenish. The biotechnology trait for Plenish oil is approved in the U.S. and in 94 percent of export markets—the only major exception being the European Union. Plenish soybeans are grown and marketed under identity-preserved contracting programs.

AGCO Announces New AgCommand™ Integration with Raven Slingshot

AGCO, Your Agriculture Company (NYSE:AGCO), announced today a new AgCommand integration with the Raven Industries’ Slingshot system connected to its Fuse™ Technologies initiative. The ability to integrate AgCommand and Slingshot will provide growers with a more seamless experience by enabling their fleet and data management tools to sync together via the AgCommand website.

AgCommand is AGCO’s telematics and asset management tool that offers complete fleet management with machine performance reports, wireless communication, theft recovery and a Web-based application for easy access to data. Slingshot combines mobile wireless connectivity with online tools and precision ag hardware. The benefits of the AgCommand and Slingshot software now communicating through a unique API, or application programming interface, will ensure rate and location information will be visible to the grower in the AgCommand user interface.

“The ability to integrate AgCommand with Raven Slingshot is the result of Fuse Technologies, AGCO’s global initiative to provide farmers with seamless integration and connectivity across their operations,” says Matt Rushing, Vice President, Product Management, Global ATS and EFG. “Fuse enables farmers to integrate their AGCO equipment and precision agriculture technology with offerings from service providers including Raven, also a key provider of Viper Pro™ application control systems.”

“We’ve had a great relationship with AGCO for many years, and this API implementation is another example of our two companies working together to help farmers make better use of their data and fleet management tools, ultimately increasing efficiencies and helping them to make important decisions in their operations year over year,” says Matt Burkhart, Vice President and General Manager for Raven Industries Applied Technology Division.

In addition to implementing the Slingshot API, application equipment such as the industry-leading RoGator® and TerraGator® can now be ordered Slingshot ready, making it even simpler for growers to achieve a connected cab in the field and a user-friendly way to manage their operation logistics with AgCommand.


Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) today reported its performance for the fiscal year 2013 fourth quarter and full year.  All comparisons are to the fourth quarter or full year of fiscal 2012. 
Fourth Quarter

¨  Record diluted EPS of $0.58, up 18 percent from $0.49 per share
¨  Segment operating profit increased 21 percent ¨  Record dollar sales of $2.3 billion, increased 7 percent; volume up 3 percent 
¨  Grocery Products operating profit up 17 percent; volume up 24 percent (volume down 2 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® products); dollar sales up 23 percent (dollar sales up 1 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® products)
¨  Refrigerated Foods operating profit up 30 percent; volume down 5 percent; dollar sales up 4 percent
¨  Jennie-O Turkey Store operating profit up 25 percent; volume up 8 percent; dollar sales up 7 percent
¨  Specialty Foods operating profit down 34 percent; volume down 8 percent; dollar sales down 14 percent
¨  International & Other operating profit up 82 percent; volume up 32 percent (volume up 15 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® products); dollar sales up 38 percent (dollar sales up 18 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® products)
Fiscal Year

¨  Record diluted EPS of $1.95, up 5 percent from diluted EPS of $1.86
¨  Segment operating profit up 6 percent
¨  Record dollar sales of $8.8 billion, up 6 percent; volume up 3 percent
¨  Grocery Products operating profit up 18 percent; volume up 29 percent (volume flat excluding sales of SKIPPY® and DON MIGUEL® products); dollar sales up 30 percent (dollar sales up 2 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® and DON MIGUEL® products)
¨  Refrigerated Foods operating profit up 2 percent; volume down 4 percent; dollar sales up 1 percent
¨  Jennie-O Turkey Store operating profit down 7 percent; volume up 1 percent; dollar sales up 3 percent
¨  Specialty Foods operating profit up 7 percent; volume down 2 percent; dollar sales up 1 percent
¨  International & Other operating profit up 43 percent; volume up 19 percent (volume up 7 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® products); dollar sales up 23 percent (dollar sales up 9 percent excluding sales of SKIPPY® products)

The company reported fiscal 2013 fourth quarter net earnings of $157.3 million, up 19 percent from net earnings of $132.6 million a year earlier. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.58, up 18 percent compared to $0.49 last year.  Sales for the quarter were $2.3 billion, up 7 percent from the same period in fiscal 2012.

For the year ended October 27, 2013, net earnings were $526.2 million, up 5 percent from net earnings of $500.1 million last year.  Diluted net earnings per share were $1.95, up 5 percent from diluted net earnings per share of $1.86 last year.  Sales for the year ended October 27, 2013, totaled $8.8 billion, up 6 percent from last year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov 25: Last Weekly Crop Progress Report for the Season

Nebraska Corn Harvest Within 4 Percent of Being Complete

For the week ending November 24, 2013, dry conditions the first half of the week allowed producers access to remaining unharvested corn and sorghum fields, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Precipitation, mainly in the form of snow, arrived the last half of the week and was limited in eastern areas but heavier in western counties.  While pockets of extreme drought exist in western counties, statewide, soil moisture supplies going into the winter months are above year ago levels.  Statewide, producers had 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 20 short, 75 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 12 percent very short, 31 short, 57 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 96 percent, behind 100 last year but ahead of 90 average.   Sorghum harvest was 99 percent complete, behind 100 last year but ahead of 90 average.  Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 25 fair, 63 good, and 8 excellent, well above year ago levels. 
Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Stock water supplies rated 3 percent very short, 11 short, 85 adequate, and 1 surplus.  

This is the last weekly Crop Progress and Condition - Nebraska report for the 2013 growing season. We would like to extend our appreciation to the dedicated county FSA and extension staff who supplied the necessary information for these reports. For December through March, we will issue monthly reports. The first monthly report (December) will be issued December 30.  Weekly reports will begin April 7th for the 2014 season.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:
Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:,HP

Iowa Field Work Shifts to Fall Tillage, Baling

Cold  and wet  weather  persisted  across  Iowa  during  the week  ending November  24,  2013,  according  to  the  USDA,  National  Agricultural Statistics Service.  Statewide there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork.  Iowa corn harvest for grain or seed is nearing completion at 97 percent harvested, four percentage points ahead of normal.   Other activities for the week included finishing fall tillage and baling corn stalks.

Topsoil moisture  levels rated 8 percent very short, 23 percent short, 66 percent  adequate and 3 percent  surplus.   Subsoil moisture  levels  rated 20  percent  very  short,  35  percent  short,  44  percent  adequate  and  1 percent  surplus.   Grain movement  from  farm  to  elevator was  rated 31 percent  moderate  to  heavy.    Ninety-four  percent  of  Iowa  reported adequate  or  surplus  off-farm  grain  storage  availability  and  85  percent reported adequate or surplus on-farm grain storage availability.

Pasture  condition  rated  22  percent  very  poor,  30  percent  poor,  31 percent  fair,  16  percent  good  and  1  percent  excellent.    Hay  supplies were  considered  17  percent  short,  77  percent  adequate,  and  6 percent surplus across Iowa with 91 percent rated in fair to good condition.


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

The past  reporting week began with widespread  light  to moderate  rain with  a  few  thunderstorms  on  Sunday  (17th)  morning.       Wednesday (20th)  brought  showers  and  a  few  thunderstorms  to  the  southeast  one-half  of  Iowa  with  Lamoni  reporting  the  most  rain  with  0.92 inches.  Finally,  a  third  storm  system  brought  light  rain  and/or  freezing  rain changing over to light snow from Thursday (21st) afternoon into Friday (22nd) morning.   Maximum  snowfall  amounts were  around  two inches from  Audubon  to  Boone  in  west  central  Iowa  with  maximum  rain amounts  around  one-quarter  inch  in  Taylor  and  Ringgold  counties.  Light  snow cover of an  inch or  less persisted over most of  southwest, central and northeast Iowa  through  the weekend.   Weekly precipitation totals  varied  from  only  0.01 inches  at  Rock  Valley  to  1.26 inches  at Lamoni  and  1.29 inches  at  Centerville.    The  statewide  average precipitation was 0.37 inches or just a little less than the weekly normal of  0.44 inches.    The  week  began with  very mild  weather  on  Sunday (17th)  when  late  morning  temperatures  climbed  to  71  degrees  at Burlington, Clinton and Keokuk.  Monday (18th) was much colder with daytime highs mostly in the 40’s.  Tuesday (19th) and Wednesday (20th) were seasonably cool over the east while western Iowa warmed into the 50’s with  a  few  60’s.    Temperatures  plunged  on  Thursday  (21st)  and continued  to  fall  through Sunday  (24th) morning.   Daytime highs were only  in  the  teens  over most  of  the  northwest  one-half  of  the  state  on Saturday  (23rd).    Minimum  temperatures  dipped  to  zero  on  Friday morning at Sheldon and on Saturday morning at Sibley.   Webster City recorded  the  lowest  temperature  of  the  week  with  a  Sunday  (24th) morning low of minus 3 degrees.  Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.9 degrees below normal.  The uppermost two to four inches of soil was frozen across much of Iowa by Sunday.  

Corn Harvested - Selected States

[These 18 States harvested 93% of the 2012 corn acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     :November 24, :November 17, :November 24, :  2008-2012 
                :    2012     :    2013     :    2013     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Colorado .......:     100            95           100            92    
Illinois .......:         100            95            98            92    
Indiana ........:      100            92            96            93    
Iowa ...........:       100            93            97            93    
Kansas .........:    100            94            98            96    
Kentucky .......:   100            94            96           100    
Michigan .......:     96            75            84            88    
Minnesota ......:   100            94            98            92    
Missouri .......:     100            94            96            93    
Nebraska .......:    100            91            96            90    
North Carolina .:   100           100           100           100    
North Dakota ...:   100            78            86            76    
Ohio ...........:        94            87            93            88    
Pennsylvania ...:    94            86            90            87    
South Dakota ...:   100            88            95            84    
Tennessee ......:    100            98           100           100    
Texas ..........:       100            99           100            99    
Wisconsin ......:     100            74            82            87    
18 States ......:      100            91            95            91    

Winter Wheat Emerged - Selected States

[These 18 States planted 87% of the 2012 winter wheat acreage]
                :               Week ending               :            
      State     :November 24, :November 17, :November 24, :  2008-2012 
                :    2012     :    2013     :    2013     :   Average  
                :                        percent                       
Arkansas .......:     93            70            79           81     
California .....:       52            25            35           52     
Colorado .......:     94           100           100           97     
Idaho ..........:       97            95           100           98     
Illinois .......:         93            86            99           91     
Indiana ........:       96            93            96           90     
Kansas .........:      97            96           100           94     
Michigan .......:     100            95           100           99     
Missouri .......:       89            72            80           78     
Montana ........:      68            95            96           89     
Nebraska .......:      95           100           100           99     
North Carolina .:     43            40            55           50     
Ohio ...........:         93            96           100           93     
Oklahoma .......:     89            95            97           93     
Oregon .........:       88            85            90           88     
South Dakota ...:    59            96           100           92     
Texas ..........:        84            79            83           80     
Washington .....:    96            93            95           94     
18 States ......:      88            89            93           89     

Winter Wheat Condition - Selected States: Week Ending November 24, 2013

[National crop conditions for selected States are weighted based on 2012 planted acreage]
      State     : Very poor :   Poor    :   Fair    :   Good    : Excellent
                :                          percent                         
Arkansas .......:    -           3          31          62           4    
California .....:      -           -          40          25          35    
Colorado .......:    1           5          39          47           8    
Idaho ..........:      -           1           3          85          11    
Illinois .......:        -           1          24          65          10    
Indiana ........:      1           1          24          62          12    
Kansas .........:    1           3          33          56           7    
Michigan .......:    -           1          19          67          13    
Missouri .......:     -           2          48          47           3    
Montana ........:    1           2          41          51           5    
Nebraska .......:    1           3          25          63           8    
North Carolina .:   1           1          29          68           1    
Ohio ...........:       -           1          14          70          15    
Oklahoma .......:   1           4          18          61          16    
Oregon .........:     -           3          38          56           3    
South Dakota ...:  -           2          19          73           6    
Texas ..........:     8          20          40          26           6    
Washington .....: 1           2          20          60          17    
18 States ......:    2           6          30          53           9    
Previous week ..: 2           5          30          52          11    
Previous year ..:  7          19          41          29           4    

Brazilian Soy Planting Progresses on Track

Heavy rains in the south and the promise of precipitation in the northeast kept Brazilian soybean planting on track last week.  Meanwhile, continued showers in the center-west are fostering good soybean crop development there.

Brazilian farmers had planted 79% of the 2013-14 soybean crop as of Friday, up 10 percentage points on the week before, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.  Planting is now just ahead of the 78% planted at the same point last year and just behind the five-year average of 81%.

With soybean planting complete in most of Mato Grosso, Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul and Parana, fieldwork is currently concentrated in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state, and Bahia, Piaui, Maranhao and Tocantins in the northeast.  Approximately 4 inches of rain fell across Rio Grande do Sul's northern soybean belt last week, creating excellent planting conditions. As a result, planting moved ahead 21 percentage points to 54% in the seven days to Friday.

The situation is more complicated in northeastern Brazil, where there was no rainfall last week in many producing areas. However, the promise of showers this week prompted some producers to keep planting. The slow arrival of autumn rains has left fieldwork well behind schedule in Bahia, the main producing state, which has planted just 26% of the crop compared with 55% at the same point last year.

In Mato Grosso, where planting is 96% complete, rainfall has been abundant -- indeed, a bit too abundant in some places -- as crops move into the flowering phase.  In Parana, where the crop is 90% planted, the weather switched between intense rain and showers all week, allowing for good crop development and the effective application of chemicals, said AgRural.