Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday November 1 Ag News

UNL Extension Forage Specialist Bruce Anderson

Grazing corn stalks during winter has many benefits.  It can save over a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding expensive hay.

But, the way you manage grazing of stalks by your cattle can have a big effect on its success.  For instance, maybe you have a goal of feeding as little protein supplement as possible while winter grazing.  Then you must make sure you have enough acres of corn stalks so your cattle only need to select just the higher quality plant parts to eat.  And whenever the grain and husks are gone, move to a fresh field.  Or, maybe you use stalks just as a filler to keep cows from bellowing while you limit feed corn, distiller’s grains, or other more nutrient dense feeds.  Then high stocking levels and unrestricted access might be best.

Another strategy might be to stretch winter stalks as far as possible.  In that case, restricting animal access to small areas at a time by strip grazing until nearly all the grazable stalks are gone might be best.  Be careful, though, about forcing cows to eat the lower stalks.  They won’t get much protein or energy from lower stalks but the nitrate levels might be dangerously high.

Whatever your strategy, consider carefully what kind of nutrition animals are getting from the stalk pasture so you neither underfeed nor overfeed expensive supplements.

Also be sure to provide salt, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A free choice at all times.  And once all the grain is gone, cows need about half a pound per day of an all natural protein to meet nutrient needs.

Stalk season is here.  Make wise decisions to use them best.

Progressive Nutrition of Norfolk, Neb., to Pay $125,000 for Settlement of Federal Pesticide Violations

Progressive Nutrition, a pesticide producer in Norfolk, Neb., has agreed to pay a civil penalty totaling $125,000 to settle allegations related to the unregistered production and distribution of misbranded  and unregistered pesticides in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

EPA conducted an inspection of the company’s Norfolk, Neb., facility in September 2011. The inspection revealed that in 2010 and 2011, the company manufactured 10 pesticide products at the facility.  At the time of the pesticide production, the company’s facility was not registered as a pesticide-producing establishment as required by FIFRA regulations.

On at least 63 occasions in 2010 and 2011, the company sold unregistered and misbranded pesticides, violating FIFRA regulations.  The pesticides were not registered with EPA as required by FIFRA regulations.  The pesticide labels did not contain a valid EPA registration number, directions for use, or storage and disposal instructions, among other violations, resulting in the sale of misbranded pesticides.

Under FIFRA, distributors of pesticides must ensure that the information on their products’ labels contains the same required cautionary information as found on the labels filed with EPA by the pesticides’ registrants, and that those pesticides are not distributed with claims that differ from the registration information filed with EPA.  Production facilities must also be registered in addition to the actual pesticides being produced.

As a part of the settlement, Progressive Nutrition has certified that it is now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.

USDA Announces Final BSE Rule

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) commends the announcement today by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), that it has completed its efforts to modernize import regulations for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). This final import regulation is based on internationally-accepted scientific literature and the standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

“The basis of these import regulations, set on internationally-accepted science and the OIE guidelines, is critical in showing that the U.S. is committed to ensuring trade, unfettered by protectionist motivations, and sends a clear message to our trading partners of the value we place on fair trade,” said Scott George, NCBA president and Cody, Wyo. cattleman. “I am pleased that NCBA has been a leader on this issue since 2003 and that the USDA/APHIS incorporated the comments of cattle producers in finalizing these regulations. These regulations show that cattlemen and women not only talk about market access, but that we stand behind it.”

This regulation, also known as the comprehensive BSE rule, brings the U.S. into compliance with international trade standards without compromising the interlocking safeguards against BSE that are currently in place.

“This is great news for the U.S. cattle industry and integral to our efforts to further international trade,” George said. “With these import regulations set, I am confident we will be able to expand our market access and meet international demand for high quality U.S. beef. We greatly appreciate the work of USDA Secretary Vilsack and the entire team at USDA/APHIS.”

The comprehensive BSE rule will solidify the United States’ commitment to basing our trade relationships on internationally-recognized, science-based standards. When this rule is in effect, the U.S. will use the same criteria and categories as the OIE to identify a country’s BSE risk status. This rule will be published in the Federal Register and will become effective 90 days after publication.

Nation’s Top Ag Exporters, Farm Groups Press USTR, DOC and USDA on Chinese Approvals of Biotech Traits

In a letter today to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and U.S. Canola Association raised concerns regarding ongoing delays, lack of transparency and arbitrary decisions in China’s process of approving new biotechnology traits. The letter comes as the three administration officials prepare for a meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) with the nation’s largest trading partner this December.

“China is now the largest export market for U.S. agricultural goods valued at over $32 billion in 2012,” wrote the groups. “However, in spite of our growing successful trade relationship, China’s biotech approval process has gone from being slow but predictable to being even slower, unpredictable and non-transparent.”

The groups maintain that China’s position as a major buyer of U.S. commodities means that the current, arbitrary Chinese approval system is effectively preventing U.S. farmers from adopting the new technologies needed to increase yields, fight pests and weeds, enhance quality and improve environmental performance.

In the letter, the groups cited several key data points illustrating the complications of the approvals process, including a 19-month period in which no new soybean, corn, cotton or canola biotech traits had been approved. When the backlog of traits was addressed, China approved just over half of the applications. The groups say there are currently 15 biotech applications pending approval.

“Farmers in the United States and around the world want to help meet China’s food security needs and our organizations have been working in partnership with the Chinese food, feed, livestock and textile industries for decades,” they noted. “However, the ability to efficiently and consistently produce and increase production of our crops depends on commercializing new biotech traits that can increase yields, improve quality, and ultimately provide Chinese consumers with more affordable and healthy food and fiber.”

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for November 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for November 2013. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for November 2013 is 0.125 percent, unchanged from 0.125 percent in October 2013.

The interest rate for commodity and marketing assistance loans disbursed during November 2013 is 1.125 percent, unchanged from 1.125 percent in October 2013.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for November 2013 are as follows, 2.000 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.250 percent in October 2013; 2.625 percent with 10-year loan terms, down from 2.875 percent in October 2013 and; 2.875 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 3.000 percent in October 2013.

Farm Service Agency Announces the Resumption of 2013 Crop Commodity Loan Disbursements

U.S Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan Garcia announced today that the processing and disbursement of 2013 crop commodity loans has resumed.The commodity loan programs provide interim financing to producers for agricultural commodities stored after harvest and then sold throughout the year. Crop year 2013 commodity loan-making was suspended Oct. 1, 2013, to make changes necessary to accommodate the automatic funding reductions known as sequester. Sequestration is mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“We must comply with the laws established by Congress in accordance with sequestration policy,” said Garcia. “We regret the delay this has created in USDA issuing marketing assistance loans because we know how critical the loans are to farmers’ cash flows at this time of year.”

Producers requesting 2013 crop commodity loans on their harvested commodities will have a 5.1 percent reduction to the loan amount upon its disbursement, due to the sequestration. Commodity loans issued by marketing associations and loan servicing agents are also subject to the sequestration reduction.

During the period that loan-making was suspended, producers were still able to submit loan applications to their county FSA offices, marketing associations and loan servicing agents.

For further information about commodity marketing loans, farmers may contact their local county FSA office or go online to

October Milk Production up 1.1 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during September totaled 14.8 billion pounds, up 1.1 percent from September 2012. August revised production at 15.7 billion pounds, was up 2.5 percent from August 2012. The August revision represented a decrease of 33 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,741 pounds for September, 12 pounds above September 2012.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.51 million head, 33,000 head more than September 2012, but 19,000 head less than August 2013.

IOWA:  Milk production  in  Iowa during September 2013  totaled 365 million pounds, up 5.5 percent from September 2012, according  to  the  USDA,  National  Agricultural  Statistics Service – Milk Production  report. The average number of milk cows on hand during the month, at 207,000 head, was up  6,000  from  last  year.  Production  per  cow  averaged 1,765 pounds during September.

3rd Quarter Milk Production up 1.5 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the July, August, and September quarter totaled 49.4 billion pounds, up 1.5 percent from the July - September quarter last year.  The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.23 million head, 16,000 head more than the same period last year.

3Q Milk Production by State (million pounds, % change from 3Q 2012)

Nebraska ......:                283.0                 -2.1    
Iowa .............:              1,141.0                  7.7    
Kansas ........:                 722.0                  8.2    

Informa Sees Larger Bean Crop

Private analytical firm Informa Economics expects USDA to boost its soybean production forecast to 3.289 billion bushels, an increase of 149 million bushels from USDA's September estimate.  Informa expects the national average soybean yields to hit 43.3 bushels per acre, up 2.1 bpa from USDA's September forecast. Informa notes that yields in the Western Corn Belt have seen the most improvement, up 2.3 bpa on average, while Eastern Corn Belt yields are up 1.4 bpa.

For corn, Informa expects USDA to move its production estimate up to 14.223 bb, which if realized, would be 379 mb more than USDA's last estimate in September. The average corn yield is forecast at 161.2 bpa, up 5.9 bpa from USDA's September estimates and 2.4 bpa above what Informa reported in October. Yields in the Eastern Corn Belt increased by 4 bpa since October, while Western Corn Belt yields improved by about 2 bpa.

Another analytical firm, Linn Group, estimates soybean production at 3.265 billion bushels with an average yield of 43.1 bpa.  Linn Group pegs the corn crop at 14.33 billion bushels with an average yield at 163.3 bpa.

Buyers Back to the US; Some for First Purchases in Over a Year

Lower oilseed and grain prices have prompted a bevy of overseas buying. Corn prices have fallen to a three year low, amidst huge and better than expected harvest reports. Last week, the USDA reported net corn sales of 1.3 million metric tons (51.2 million bushels) and more than a quarter million tons (9.8 million bushels) of new sorghum sales. The bulk of the new sales are destined for unknown destinations, accounting for 428,000 tons (16.8 million bushels) of corn and almost 176,000 tons (6.9 million bushels) of sorghum. Much of the rest of the purchases were sold to familiar faces—China, Japan and Mexico.

Couple that with today's announcement of over 4.5 million tons (177.2 million bushels) of new corn sales during the weeks of Oct. 10, 17 and 24 and one can easily get a pulse for international demand at these prices. However, market wires are abuzz with news that some importers have purchased U.S. corn for the first time in more than a year. Last year, the United States exported just 416,000 tons (16.4 million bushels) of corn to South Korea, which is less than 5 percent of Korea's total imports. This made Korea a prime target for U.S. Grains Council reengagement.

In October, USGC Director in Korea Byong Ryol-Min led a high-level delegation through the United States focused on reinvigorating the strong U.S.-Korea agricultural ties. That trip has paid huge dividends. For the first time in 16 months, Korea's largest feed manufacturer, Nonghyup Feed (NOFI) bought 70,000 tons (2.8 million bushels) of U.S. origin corn for March arrival.

Following the NOFI news, Council sources reported that the Korea Feed Industry purchased 510,000 tons (20 million bushels) of U.S. corn—the Korean Feed Industry's first purchase in 13 months.

"It's really exciting news to see Korea buying from the United States again," said Kevin Roepke, USGC manager of global trade. "This week's purchases alone eclipse what Korea bought from the United States last year."

According to some traders, the narrowing gap between prices of U.S. corn and South American corn has resulted in Korean millers purchasing some U.S. corn again, which is of better quality.

"Upon return of the USGC October trip, Korea immediately began tendering for U.S. corn," Roepke commented. "It's great to see they were able to find and were satisfied with prices from the United States."

Additionally, members of the Feed Industrial Group (MFIG) of Taiwan, one of the major buying groups in the country, recently announced a 60,000 tons (2.4 million bushels) purchase of U.S. corn for shipment late January/early February.

"This is the first Panamax shipment of U.S. corn purchased by MFIG in quite some time," said USGC Director in Taiwan Clover Chang.

Temporary Order Against Horse Slaughter Expires

(AP) -- Horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri were preparing to open as early as Monday after a temporary order blocking a return to domestic equine slaughter expired without a ruling from a federal judge.

Attorneys for the Humane Society of the United States and other groups suing the Department of Agriculture over its permitting procedures for the plants filed a motion Friday seeking an extension of the restraining order.

But Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., said he would fight any further attempts to keep the plants closed.

"I am shocked that she didn't do anything," Dunn said of the lack of action by presiding U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo. "And the fact that the HSUS is requesting a motion to extend leads me to believe they don't think she is going to issue a ruling today either."

Dunn said he had calls into the Department of Justice, which represents the Department of Agriculture, to get inspectors dispatched to the plants.

"Rains Natural Meat in Missouri will be ready to go on Monday," he said. "If nothing happens today or Monday we expect USDA will honor its obligations and at the company on Monday morning."

He said Valley Meat Co. also was making calls to the USDA office in Dallas to start making plans to open.

An Iowa plant that had also planned to slaughter horses has converted to beef because of the litigation.

The issue has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country's horse overpopulation and what rescue groups have said are a rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.

The plants would become the first horse slaughterhouse to operate in the country since Congress banned the practice by eliminating funding for inspections at the plants in 2006. It restored that funding in 2011, but the USDA did not approve the first permits for horse slaughter plants until this summer.

The companies want to ship horse meat to countries where it is consumed by humans or as animal feed.

Executive Order on Climate Preparedness

President Obama Establishes a Task Force on Climate

“We're going to need to get prepared.  And that’s why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid.  States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready… And we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers.” – President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013

Today, President Obama established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Task Force members include state, local and tribal leaders from across the country who will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities to inform their recommendations to the Administration.

The President signed an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for American communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other impacts of climate change.

President Obama has said that we have a moral obligation to our children and future generations to leave them a planet that is not polluted or damaged. That is why in June, the President launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The Climate Action Plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also improve our ability to prepare for the climate impacts we are already seeing across the country. Across America, states, cities, and communities are taking steps to protect themselves from extreme weather and other climate impacts by updating building codes, adjusting the way they manage natural resources, investing in more resilient infrastructure, and planning for rapid recovery from damages that nonetheless occur.

The Federal Government has an important role to play in supporting community-based preparedness and resilience efforts by establishing policies and prioritizing investments that promote preparedness, protecting critical infrastructure and public resources, supporting science and research needed to prepare for climate impacts, and ensuring that Federal operations and facilities continue to protect and serve citizens in a changing climate.

State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience

State, local and tribal leaders across the country are already contending with more frequent or severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms and floods, and other impacts of climate change. The Task Force will provide recommendations to the President on removing barriers to resilient investments, modernizing Federal grant and loan programs to better support local efforts, and developing the information and tools they need to prepare.

Task Force members comprise governors, mayors, county officials and tribal leaders, representing a diverse range of communities. The members of the Task Force include:
State Officials:
Governor Neil Abercrombie (HI)
Governor Jerry Brown (CA)
Governor Eddie Calvo (GU)
Governor Jay Inslee (WA)
Governor Jack Markell (DE)
Governor Martin O’Malley (MD)
Governor Pat Quinn (IL)
Governor Peter Shumlin (VT)

Local Officials:
Mayor Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City, UT)
Mayor James Brainard (Carmel, IN)
Commissioner Paula Brooks (Franklin County, OH)
Supervisor Salud Carbajal (Santa Barbara County, CA)
Mayor Frank Cownie (Des Moines, IA)
Mayor Bob Dixson (Greensburg, KS)
Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles, CA)
Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, MI)
Mayor Kristin Jacobs (Broward County, FL)
Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA)
Mayor Michael Nutter (Philadelphia, PA)
Mayor Annise Parker (Houston, TX)
Mayor Patsy Parker (Perdido Beach, AL)
Mayor Madeline Rogero (Knoxville, TN)
Mayor Karen Weitkunat (Fort Collins, CO)
Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Hoboken, NJ)

Tribal Officials:
Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (MN)
Reggie Joule, Mayor, Northwest Arctic Borough (AK)

An Executive Order to Protect Our Communities

The Obama Administration has taken significant steps to strengthen the climate resilience of America’s communities and economy.  More than 30 Federal agencies developed their first-ever Climate Change Adaptation Plans, outlining strategies to protect their operations, programs, and investments to better serve communities and safeguard our public resources in the face of climate change.  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Administration has provided resources to rebuild the affected area to be more resilient than before, including support for more climate-resilient roads and infrastructure, and projects that protect drinking water and buffer communities from flooding.  In addition, Federal agencies have partnered with states, cities, tribes, and the private sector to develop strategies to address the impacts of climate change on our freshwater resources, oceans and coasts, and wildlife. Agencies have also built new, data-driven tools to help decision makers and resource managers map and plan for future sea level rise. From Florida to Minnesota, and from Alaska to New York, Federal agencies have partnered with communities to provide funding and technical assistance to address local climate impacts such as sea level rise, flooding, and water scarcity.

To build on this progress, the Executive Order (E.O.) “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,” signed today directs Federal agencies to:
-    Modernize Federal programs to support climate-resilient investments: Agencies will examine their policies and programs and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger. Agencies will identify and remove any barriers to resilience-focused actions and investments– for example, policies that encourage communities to rebuild to past standards after disasters instead of to stronger standards – including through agency grants, technical assistance, and other programs in sectors from transportation and water management to conservation and disaster relief.
-    Manage lands and waters for climate preparedness and resilience: America’s natural resources are critical to our Nation’s economy, health and quality of life.  The E.O. directs agencies to identify changes that must be made to land- and water-related policies, programs, and regulations to strengthen the climate resilience of our watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them. Federal agencies will also evaluate how to better promote natural storm barriers such as dunes and wetlands, as well as how to protect the carbon sequestration benefits of forests and lands to help reduce the carbon pollution that causes climate change. 
-         Provide information, data and tools for climate change preparedness and resilience: Scientific data and insights are essential to help communities and businesses better understand and manage the risks associated with extreme weather and other impacts of climate change.  The E.O. instructs Federal agencies to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions.  In keeping with the President’s Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.
-    Plan for climate change related risk: Recognizing the threat that climate change poses to Federal facilities, operations and programs, the E.O. builds on the first-ever set of Federal agency adaptation plans released earlier this year and directs Federal agencies to develop and implement strategies to evaluate and address their most significant climate change related risks. 

To implement these actions, the E.O. establishes an interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired by the White House and composed of more than 25 agencies. To assist in achieving the goals of the E.O., these agencies are directed to consider the recommendations of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

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