Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday November 11 Ag News

PVC to meet Nov 18th

Platte Valley Cattlemen will meet Monday, November 18th, at Wunderlich’s Catering in Columbus with social hour beginning at 6:00 pm and the meal at 7:00 pm. A big ‘Thank You’ to our meal sponsor Nebraska Soybean Board and our social hour sponsors Rosendahl Farms Feed & Seed and Terry Ramold of Kent Feeds.

The much anticipated featured speaker is Dr. Terry Klopfenstein, Professor of Ruminant Nutrition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Klopfenstein brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the beef industry and he will be discussing the last 40 years in the cattle business.  Hope to see you there!

NCTA announces 100 Beef Cow/100 Acre Farm Ownership Event for Nov. 14th

Agriculture leaders in the beef cattle and crops industries will highlight a fall “kick-off” of the 100-Beef Cow, 100-Acre Farm Ownership Advantage programs at NCTA on Thursday, November 14 in Curtis.

Ownership Advantage programs assist individuals in preparations and training to operate their own farm or ranch.  Producers and students interested in pursuing an on-campus, 2-year degree program or the off-campus, outreach program are encouraged to attend.

Confirmed speakers include:  Mark Wilke, Farm Loan Chief, Nebraska State Farm Service Agency; Karla Bahm, Beginning Farmer Program Administrator, Nebraska Department of Agriculture; Brent Robertson, Nebraska Wheat Board; Andy Chvatal, Nebraska Soybean Board; Dennis Gengenbach, Nebraska Corn Board; Pete McClymont, Nebraska Cattlemen; and Del Ficke, Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Dr. Doug Smith, NCTA assistant professor in livestock management, and Dr. Brad Ramsdale, NCTA assistant professor of agronomy, serve as coordinators for the beginning farmer curriculum and will outline details of both on-campus and off-campus programs.

Farm and ranch owners interested in partnering with beginning farmers or ranchers are also encouraged to attend.  The event will be 1 to 5 p.m. at the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center, Siminoe Drive and University Street, on the east side of the NCTA Campus.

No registration required.  For further details, contact Dr. Smith at (308) 367-5286 or  General information about NCTA is available at 1-800-3CURTIS or online at

I-CON Holds Annual Meeting in O'Neill

At the Eighth Annual Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) Convention held last Saturday in O’Neill, ICON members voted on a resolution to oppose the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline as well as giving donations to the Ranchers’ Relief Fund and R-CALF-USA for the defense of the Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) program.

In 2010, ICON passed a resolution to support an alternate route for the pipeline but decided last week to oppose the pipeline. ICON believes it is important to protect Ogallala Aquifer as well as the landowners and their property rights, some of whom have had difficulties with Pipeline officials and the land contracts and have also been threatened with the Imminent Domain process of confiscation of their land.

ICON members also decided to donate some relief money to the Ranchers’ Relief Fund through the Chadron Community Foundation. They are aware of the livestock losses due to the October Blizzard in western Nebraska and wish to assist with those ranchers who are struggling to get back on their feet.

Also speaking at the convention was R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard who talked about the recent lawsuit R-CALF USA has joined in defense of COOL. ICON also voted to give a donation to support the fight to keep COOL as an excellent tool for consumers to use when identifying meat and its point of origin at a market. It was noted the origin of a coat, a shirt or even a toaster is labeled so why not the food available in the stores or anywhere.

ICON is a grassroots organization which strives to protect the independent producer. In the past ICON has taken a stand on the electronic animal ID program proposed by the USDA and worked tirelessly in the Unicameral to keep local control in Nebraska. This past year they have been working on the brand inspection program, proposing to extend brand inspection state-wide.

As Winter Sets in, Keep Your Snow Shovels Handy

Al Dutcher State Climatologist

The first storm of November brought significant moisture to most of the state. Although not as intense as the early October blizzard and severe weather, this system dumped a month’s worth of moisture in pockets across eastern Nebraska. Rainfall of  1-2 inches was common from south central through east central Nebraska. Much of western Nebraska received 0.25 to 0.75 inches of moisture, mostly in the form of wet snow.

This is the second time in four weeks that a storm dropped as much moisture as you would typically see for the whole month in a single event. While a headach for producers trying to complete fall harvest, these impressive precipitation totals are building soil moisture reserves for 2014. Second, continual replacement of surface moisture lost to evaporation is helping to constrain the excessive warmth that was common during the 2011 and 2012 falls due to the lack of precipitation.

Except for southwest and south central Nebraska, exceptionally wet conditions during October have led to impressive soil moisture gains in the upper two feet of the profile. Southwest and south central Nebraska were the only areas not to receive normal moisture during the month. Eastern Nebraska received 3 to 7 inches, which translates into 200% to 400% of normal moisture.

October hasn't been this wet since 2009, which marked the third consecutive October with above normal moisture based on statewide totals. Even more impressive is the fact that only one of the High Plains Regional Climate Center’s soil moisture monitoring sites had lower available soil moisture in the profile at the end of October than was measured at the beginning of March 2013.

The primary reason that soils across the state were virtually devoid of stored soil moisture last fall was the lack of fall storm activity in 2012. This was subsequently followed by a lack of significant snow activity through late February. If the state receives normal moisture from November through February, I have a high degree of confidence that will we enter the 2014 production season with some of the best available soil moisture that we have seen since spring 2010.

Late Fall and Winter Forecast

One thing is for certain, if this pattern of strong low pressure systems crossing the state continues into the winter, a lot of snow shoveling can be expected. The ultimate factor affecting this will be the mean jet stream position during the next four months. Right now, strong upper air lows entering the northwestern U.S. have been able to deepen as they push southeastward into the central Rockies. This pattern has resulted in large amounts of moisture being drawn northward out of the Gulf of Mexico.

In the short-term, it appears that we will get a brief lull from heavy precipitation as the storm track shifts slightly north of the state. An upper level trough is expected to dig southeastward out of the northern Rockies early next week, but its quick movement will limit the feed of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico until it passes east of the state. Precipitation forecasts for this system are for less than 0.20 inch of moisture for the western two-thirds of the state, with upwards of 0.25 inch for eastern Nebraska.

The next significant weather event is slated to arrive around Nov. 15. The storm track is unclear in the models, but it appears that the southern half of the state has a decent chance of widespread moisture. Current models indicate it will come in the form of rain, but snowfall is not out of the question if enough cold air can be tapped by the surface low.

The early fall jet stream pattern has featured a strong ridge and trough pattern across the continental U.S. This means that a strong ridge over the western U.S. leads to an amplified trough over the eastern half of the country and vice versa. Three characteristics can be associated with this type of atmospheric pattern:
-    large temperature swings,
-    intense winds, and
-    concentrated areas of significant moisture.

If we get an early and sustained period of Artic air before an insulating blanket of snow, I expect frost depths will easily reach several feet into the profile, given the abundance of soil moisture. The last two winters have been devoid of significant surface moisture and sustained periods of frozen soils were hard to come by.

In order for temperatures to average above normal this winter, the atmosphere will need to lock into place. This means that a ridging pattern will need to set up across the central U.S. and block the movement of upper air lows into the region. If the past two months are any indication, the odds of developing a blocking pattern remain very low.

In a typical winter, the jet stream will continue its southern drift through mid-January, then reverse and begin its slow migration toward its mean summer position along the northern border of the United States. With these late fall and early winter storms being so intense, we will need to monitor how far south the jet stream dives during the heart of the winter.

A usual southward displacement would keep the storm track across the southern Plains and place Nebraska firmly into the cold sector of the air mass being pulled south from Canada whenever a surface low develops across the southern Plains. As the jet stream moves northward and closer to the central Plains in February and March, strong winter storm activity would be expected.

Considering all this, I believe the first half of the winter will likely be characterized by strong storm activity, with distinct periods of below and above normal temperatures. Temperatures may tend to be below normal, but I do see continued agricultural and hydrological drought improvement.

Mid-winter to early spring conditions will depend on the jet stream position. If the jet stream is displaced well south of its typical January position, expect strong Arctic air intrusions for Nebraska into February, with a return to moderate or strong snowstorm activity during February and March. If the jet fails to displace this far south, frequent snows are likely most of the winter season.

Relatives and Farm Leasing

Allan Vyhnalek, UNL Extension Educator, Platte County

Clearly dealing with relatives can be one of the hardest issues to address as it relates to farm leases. However, with good communications and a written lease agreement, you can set up relationships that are not hard on the family.

First, have all leases in writing. This cannot be stressed enough. I know of situations where the handshake lease was made by grandparents and great uncles and aunts. When that generation passes on, no one knows exactly what the agreement was, and suspicion arises needlessly.

Next, understand that there are ownership costs for that land that the tenant is probably just providing without compensation. Items like: mowing road ditches, spraying weeds, controlling volunteer trees, maintaining terraces, maintaining buildings, grading and rocking driveways, and keeping fences up are just a few of the landowner costs that in many cases are just taken care of by the tenant.

In some cases I have landlords thinking that they don’t receive enough cash rent from a relative. When we discuss the land ownership costs and how they are taken care of, the landlord quickly realizes that the tenant is providing the labor and cash investment in those items.

If the rent isn’t the going “coffee shop” rate, the landowner is simply recognizing that the tenant is receiving a discounted rent as compensation for their efforts to keep the land and property in good order.

While the rent to a relative doesn’t have to be at the ‘"top" of the range, it needs to be fair. I’m not qualified to know your exact circumstance to know what "fair" is, that is a family discussion. What one family does will be very different from another family. Tenants need to communicate clearly by sharing information about the farm. Information like actual yields and prices received will go a long way to building good trust for the family to continue the leasing arrangement for another generation.

But the most compelling reason to have a lower rent for relatives is that they are relatives. Especially if we have younger folks coming to replace our older generation, this provides an opportunity to help that generation establish themselves.

Utilizing the land resource properly is a business, and the lease should be fair to both parties. With clear communication and having the lease in writing, most problems with lease terms can be minimized.

For more answers to your land lease questions attend one of the 26 Landlord/Tenant Lease Workshops being held across the state. Find a site close to you...  

USMEF Elects New Officers, Approves Stewardship Resolution

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) concluded its annual Strategic Planning Conference Thursday with the election of officers for the coming year and approval of a resolution expressing USMEF’s support for formalizing the ongoing discussion about the implications of adopting new production and processing technologies and including representatives of producers, exporters and technology companies in that process.

Mark Jagels, a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer and custom cattle feeder from Davenport, Neb., is USMEF’s new chairman. The chair-elect is Leann Saunders, president of Where Food Comes From, America’s leading provider of third-party identification verification and traceability solutions for the livestock and agricultural industries, based in Castle Rock, Colo. Roel Andriessen, the vice-chair, is senior vice president of Tyson Foods responsible for the international sales group of Tyson Fresh Meats. He is based in Dakota Dunes, S.D. Bruce Schmoll, a soybean and corn producer from Claremont, Minn., is the new secretary-treasurer.

“This year has been filled with opportunities and challenges for red meat exports, and I do not expect 2014 to be much different,” said Jagels. “We continue to face hurdles around the world, but despite these challenges we maintain good momentum as we look to improve on last year’s record for the value of U.S. red meat exports. And, as (USMEF president and CEO) Phil Seng said so eloquently yesterday, we need to decide if we are going to ‘compete or retreat’ in the export marketplace. My vote is we compete.”

The resolution, titled “A Technology Innovation Stewardship Policy for the U.S. Red Meat Industry,” was unanimously passed by the USMEF membership that represents nine distinct segments of American agriculture ranging from farmers and ranchers to meat processors, exporters and companies that develop pharmaceutical and food safety technologies. It is the most comprehensive effort by the U.S. red meat industry to develop a coordinated approach to addressing the implications of adopting new production and processing technologies.

“The impetus behind this resolution is both to support the development and utilization of new technologies that will enable the U.S. red meat industry to continue to be the world leader, as well as to maximize opportunities for red meat exports,” said Seng.

As an outgrowth of the resolution, USMEF will create a committee that will monitor new production and processing technologies that are in the late stages of the U.S. regulatory review process, estimate the comprehensive impact of the U.S. industry adopting these technologies, and develop and launch coordinated stewardship strategies designed to secure approval for use of the products in priority export markets, maintain access for U.S. red meat products in markets where it is not possible to secure approvals for certain technologies, and build confidence in U.S. red meat.

John Brook, USMEF’s regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East, provided an overview of an upcoming USMEF educational program, the 2014 Market Expo that will take participants to the growing export markets of Milan, Italy, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to gain insights into the markets and see USMEF programs in action. The Market Expo is set for Feb. 22 through March 1. Those interested in the program are encouraged to consult the online brochure and registration form for more details or contact Jackie Boubin at (303) 623-6328 or

Farm Bill Reduces Spending, Grows Opportunity

Senator Mike Johanns

Farmers and ranchers across the country may seem a world apart from lawmakers in Washington, but they share a common challenge: How do you stretch a limited supply of resources to meet an ever-growing demand?

For ag producers, the question is about feeding a growing population with limited land and natural resources to cultivate a crop or raise a herd. In Washington, it’s about finding ways to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars, especially in the midst of a slow economic recovery.

Our national debt is $17 trillion, and our habit of spending more than the government takes in is causing significant stress on important government programs. So it is imperative that we take every responsible opportunity to reduce government spending.

One great way to achieve meaningful savings is by passing the farm bill, which is being negotiated in conference committee. Disagreements exist on several fronts, but the final product is likely to save between $20 billion and $30 billion, regardless of who comes out on top in the policy debate.

But the farm bill is much more than a tool to reduce government spending. Fresh ag policy has proved elusive for those who feed and fuel our world since it expired last year. Ongoing droughts and freak blizzards in our region underscore the need for replenished disaster assistance that expired in 2011.

Farmers and ranchers tell me they can live without costly annual direct payments, and they are happy to pay into a crop insurance program that provides a backstop in tough years. They are prepared to do their part to help reduce government spending so long as they have the risk management tools they need to succeed. Lawmakers must also be prepared to provide these tools while reducing government spending.

The House and Senate plans both eliminate direct payments and streamline duplicative program in the ag portion of the bill, which ultimately save about $13 billion dollars. The food stamp program is the biggest challenge in farm bill negotiations. The Senate bill saves $4 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or about one-half of a percent. The House bill saves about ten times more. Admittedly, there’s a lot of pasture between those two figures. And both sides should be prepared to live with something in the middle.

As these negotiations move forward, we must acknowledge that we are working with a limited pot of resources. Nobody wants to block assistance from folks in need, and we should seek ways to protect limited resources for these families. One way is to crack down on states that enroll folks who don’t meet federal SNAP requirements. This would save $20 billion and ensure limited resources are being used by those truly in need.

The farm bill is not out of the woods yet, but passing it would provide needed certainty for the rural sector. It would guarantees real savings while protecting vulnerable families. And it may be just the example Congress needs to inspire responsible solutions to the fiscal challenges facing our nation.


A new report from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture shows that institutional purchases of local food added nearly $9 million to the Iowa economy in 2012.

What’s more, the report points out enormous opportunities for local foods in Iowa that could benefit rural communities and farm-based businesses. Investigators measured significant sales from only a small segment of potential markets for local foods among grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, college and school food services and other institutions.

The findings are part of an evaluation of the Regional Food Systems Working Group (RFSWG) that supports local food systems in 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties. It is the first coordinated, comprehensive attempt to measure actual economic and community impacts associated with regional food system development in Iowa.

The evaluation tracked local food purchases by grocery stores, restaurants and institutions, and sales from Iowa farm-based enterprises that marketed their products locally in 2012. Nearly 180 businesses and individuals participated in the data collection effort, including 74 buyers and 103 producers of local foods. The evaluation also measured job creation as a result of local food production, processing or utilization, and counted funds leveraged by the regional food groups that comprise the statewide RFSWG network.

“Most of the information we’ve had in the past came from economic models, that is, projections based on potential scenarios and assumptions, not what actually happened during a specific time period,” said associate scientist Corry Bregendahl, who coordinated the data collection project for the Leopold Center with Leopold Center program assistant Arlene Enderton.

She said the report also differs in the type of sales information that was collected, which included data from institutional and intermediary markets as well as direct sales.

“Most people think local food sales are only those between farmers and individual consumers, such as farmers markets or community supported agriculture (CSA) enterprises,” she explained. “We also measured sales to institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, and schools, grocery stores and restaurants. These markets represent huge potential markets for local foods, and serve a population that needs greater access to healthy food.”

Bregendahl and the coordinators of the 15 regional food groups in the RFSWG network collaborated to gather and assess the data. The coordinators distributed surveys to area buyers and farmers they worked with to collect information about these key indicators of economic impact:
- Local food purchases in 2012: 74 buyers reported total purchases of $8,934,126.
- Local food sales in 2012: 103 farmers reported total sales of $10,549,296;
- New jobs related to local food in 2012: A total 36 new jobs (24 full-time equivalent) were created in 2012 (reported by a subset of buyers and farmers).
- Funds leveraged by eight regional food groups in 2012: $766,020.

Bregendahl said the 74 buyers spent an average $120,700 on local foods, or about 8.7 percent of their total food budget. If local food purchases were increased to 30 percent of the total food budget, an additional $21.5 million in sales would have been generated, leading to the creation of 71 new full-time buyer-based jobs. Less than half of one percent of the estimated 22,000 institutional and intermediary markets in Iowa participated in this evaluation.

“When you look at jobs related to public money invested in the local food groups, we found that it’s relatively inexpensive to create full-time employment opportunities in Iowa communities,” she said. Calculations showed that it cost the public $17,874 to support one new FTE job in the local foods sector. “Local foods commerce expands and complements what we’re already doing in Iowa agriculture; it does not compete with it,” Bregendahl added.

The evaluation reflects efforts throughout Iowa by RFSWG’s 15 geographically-based groups. Each group works with different stakeholders – farmers, food-based businesses, non-profits, Extension, Resource Conservation and Development organizations, educational institutions and government agencies – to support local food systems development in their region.

They are:
- Flavors of Northwest Iowa
- Northern Iowa Food and Farm Partnership
- Northeast Iowa Food & Farm Coalition
- Southern Iowa Regional Food Systems
- South Central Iowa Area Partnership
- Hometown Harvest of Southeast Iowa
- Dubuque Eats Well
- Field to Family Food Coalition
- Healthy Harvest of North Iowa
- Eat Greater Des Moines
- Quad Cities Food Hub
- Harvest from the Heart
- Food and Farm Initiative of the Heartland
- Greene County Local Foods Working Group, and
- Central Iowa RFSWG.

The statewide report, 2012 Economic Impacts of Iowa’s Regional Food Systems Working Group, is available on the Leopold Center website at:

U.S. Beef in Europe

John Brook, regional director for Europe, Russia and the Middle East based in Brussels, for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program, recently gave an update on beef activities in the region, starting with Russia.  Brook saysm “Russia closed the market to U.S. beef and pork since February this year following their announcement a year ago that they would start testing product for the presence of ractopomine. So the U.S. industry has been working hard to put together a program to develop a product which will be in conformity with what the Russians are requiring. So hopefully we will see that engagement now accelerate a little bit between the veterinary services of the United States and their Russian counterparts and that progress will be made to reopen that market early in 2014.”

Brook next gives an update on the European Union.  He says, “So the European Union, we had in previous years very strong growth in the imports of very high quality U.S. beef. I think that the progress made in the notoriety of the product in the European Union is excellent. That said, the growth was so strong that that sort of growth was not sustainable because we were getting 100 percent growth per year in the first years and now with the situation with the problem with cattle prices in the United States remaining extremely high, combined a little bit with the economic situation in Europe, we’re seeing a little bit of flattening out. That said, so far this year, the growth of volume of imports into the European Union is up 12 percent and the growth in the value of those imports is up 17 percent.”

In another part of the world, not so far away, Brook says, “Across the Middle East, we’ve seen a lot of movement, a lot of social disturbance, we’ve got a very, very grave situation with Syria going on which is affecting the neighboring countries. Egypt is a very big market for the United States, particularly for beef livers but also for beef cuts and so far this year, imports of beef cuts into Egypt have dropped 24 percent in volume and 42 percent in value, clearly showing that people need to scale down on the type of product and the quality of the product that they’re importing but at the same time though, the basic liver market is still fairly stable. Our other good market is the United Arab Emirates. There it’s pretty much business as usual although volumes are down a little bit this year – 6 percent down, value of imports are up 16 percent.” 

US, Europe Resume Trade Talks

(AP) -- The United States and the European Union sought Monday to get past a rough patch in diplomatic relations to resume talks on a free trade deal that would grow what is already the world's biggest business relationship.

Negotiators for the Obama administration and the EU say an agreement would create jobs and boost growth in the two economies, which represent almost half of global output but are still not fully recovered from recession. The trade volume in goods and services between the two economies totaled 800 billion euros ($1.08 trillion) last year.

The negotiations, however, are taking place against the backdrop of European pique over reported U.S. electronic espionage of EU citizens, including high-profile leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel. The Greens in the European Parliament on Monday became the latest political group to call for the trade talks to be frozen in response.

Concerns over the talks also grew last week when a Belgian court accused the EU's top trade official of tax fraud. European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen assured reporters on Monday that Karel De Gucht's legal troubles "will not have any impact" on the talks.

But both European and U.S. officials have said the benefits of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are too great to let other issues jeopardize them. The week-long bargaining session in Brussels, which was delayed due to the U.S. government shutdown, was expected to discuss services, investment, energy and raw materials, and regulatory issues.

A deal could include a reduction in tariffs. But negotiators say the biggest boon, to business and consumers alike, could come from trimming the red tape that often makes it difficult to buy and sell across the Atlantic.

One European study has found that dealing with regulations and bureaucracy on the other side of the ocean can add 10 to 20 percent to the price of an imported item, like a car. TTIP could make it possible for a vehicle deemed safe for sale in Europe to be sold in the United States, or vice versa, without additional tests or adaptations being needed.

According to a study co-sponsored by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank, TTIP could create as many as 750,000 jobs in the United States. The European Commission estimates it would inject 120 billion euros ($161 billion) yearly into the economy of the 28-nation trade bloc, and lead to hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

"The TTIP would be the cheapest stimulus package imaginable," the European Commission's Directorate-General for Trade said in a report.

Frances Burwell, the Atlantic Council's director of Transatlantic Relations and Education Programs, said that as well as administering a welcome jolt to the American and European economies, TTIP could establish health and safety rules that would become standard not just for America and Europe, but for China and other rising economic powers.

"If you look forward, the U.S. and Europe in 20 years will be a smaller part of the global economy. We need to figure out ways to stay competitive," Burwell said an interview. "And also we need to figure out ways to reinforce the rules that have helped us to be competitive and protect the safety and security of our citizens in terms of the goods they buy, the foods they eat."

A first round of TTIP talks was held in Washington in July. Negotiators will return there the week of Dec. 16. At a minimum, the Europeans are hoping to announce results in some areas by 2014.

ACE calls on Associated Press to correct or retract error-filled story on ethanol

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is calling on the Associated Press (AP) today to correct or retract an error-filled story scheduled to run in many AP news outlets tomorrow.

ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings says, “At best, the AP article is lazy journalism, but at worst, it appears purposefully designed to damage the ethanol industry. There was an incredibly reckless disregard for the truth in the handiwork of this hit-piece. AP has been promoting this story by bragging about the number of reporters involved and AP’s connections in all 50 states, and yet that army of reporters missed or ignored a number of errors that could have been easily checked and avoided. From small errors, such as (early versions of the story) identifying Tom Daschle as a former Senator from Iowa rather than South Dakota; to big errors like indicating corn is being grown on ‘virgin lands’ for ethanol production – something that is specifically prohibited by the Renewable Fuel Standard, the article is clearly less concerned with accuracy than it is maligning ethanol.”

ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty says the article flies in the face of AP’s stated ‘news values and principles.’ “AP’s standards say they ‘abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions’ while this story contains every one of those things. They say ‘always and in all media, we insist on the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior when we gather and deliver the news’ and yet some of the people interviewed were misled about the subject of the article, and we have yet to find a single ethanol producer that was interviewed for this story.”

“Ethanol isn’t some public figure, abstraction, or government program that can be maligned without consequence,” added ACE’s Jennings. “Ethanol is a real product, manufactured by real businesses, many owned by farmers, and those businesses provide thousands of good jobs and billions of gallons of clean, affordable, domestic renewable fuel to real people. They deserve to be protected from media that is helping spread lies about the ethanol industry by recklessly disregarding the truth. AP needs to correct the errors in this story or pull it and investigate how the story was created.”

Brazil's Soybean Planting Hits 59%

Brazilian soybean planting continued to move forward at a solid pace over the past week.  Rainfall was lighter than in recent weeks, but ample soil moisture in most of the planting regions ensured field work could continue.  Farmers had sown 59% of projected planted area up to Friday, Nov. 8, up 11 percentage points on the week before and in line with the five-year average for this time of year, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.  Planting is nearing completion in Mato Grosso and Parana but now gearing up in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul and the northeast.

Russia's Grain Exports Up 13%

Russia's grain exports are up 13% from a year earlier, according to data from the federal statistics service reported late Friday.  Grain exports between July 1, the beginning of the current marketing year, and Nov. 6, totaled 11.684 million metric tons, the statistics service said. Grain exports between Nov.1 and Nov. 6 totaled 507,000 tons, including 322,000 tons of wheat, 58,000 tons of barley and 124,000 tons of corn.  The agriculture ministry expects this year's grain harvest to rise to 88-90 million tons from 71.7 million tons in 2012 when crops were damaged by drought.  Russia's grain export in the 2012-2013 marketing year fell to 15.69 million tons from 27.2 million tons in the previous marketing year. In the current marketing year, July 2013-June 2014, the agriculture ministry expects Russia's grain exports to rise to 18-20 million tons.

Ukraine Grain Exports Rise 12.9% on Year

Ukraine has picked up the pace of grain exports this year, encouraged by a larger harvest, the agriculture ministry said Monday.  Ukraine has exported 10.45 million metric tons of grain since July 1, when the marketing year began. That's 12.9% more than in the same period last year.  Wheat made up most of that--5.6 million tons, including 4.4 million tons of milling wheat. Ukraine has exported 1.85 million tons of barley and three million tons of corn.  The ministry estimates this year's grain crop to come in between 53 million and 54 million tons, up from 46.2 million tons last year when crops were damaged by drought.

Elanco expands vaccine presence with Titanium and Master Guard purchase

Elanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY), today announced the company will purchase the Titanium® and Master Guard® brands from AgriLabs®. These well-known cattle vaccine brands will complement Elanco’s growing vaccine portfolio, including the recently approved ViralignTM 6, the only modified-live combination vaccine to protect against bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus 1b, which is now the most predominant BVD virus strain in the United States.

Elanco will continue to deliver these highly respected brands in the same manner producers have come to expect and will work closely with AgriLabs to ensure a seamless transition. Elanco will support all 2013 programs and pricing, and customers should continue to place orders through existing channels.

“At Elanco, we are committed to providing innovative solutions to enhance food production and companion animal care. We are pleased our growing vaccine portfolio and pipeline will offer Elanco customers a broader array of options to better meet their specific needs for disease prevention,” said Jeff Simmons, president, Elanco. “This is another example of our effort to provide Elanco customers with greater value.”

In the next few decades, global population is expected to exceed 9 billion, and 3 billion will move into the middle class, the fastest middle class growth in our history. With the growing affluence, will come a 60 percent increase in demand for meat, milk and eggs, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

“With beef stocks at all-time lows and demand outpacing dairy supply globally, we must continue to provide innovative solutions that will help producers increase the affordability and availability of animal protein,” said Rob Aukerman, president U.S. operations at Elanco. “We have diversified our portfolio and sources of innovation to deliver more options and solutions to our customers.”

Agrisure Viptera® 3110 is first-ever trait stack labeled to control true armyworm

The Agrisure Viptera® 3110 trait stack from Syngenta has received Environmental Protection Agency approval for control of true armyworm – an industry first.

A salute to its name, true armyworm strikes in large numbers, devouring as many as 10 to 20 acres per day and sometimes eating corn plants down to the ground. Cool, wet springs typically usher in these sudden outbreaks.

“True armyworm outbreaks typically offer a very small window to react,” said Miloud Araba, technical traits lead for Syngenta. “With true armyworm control built into the Agrisure Viptera 3110 trait stack, growers can avoid being blindsided by an infestation.”

In addition to true armyworm, the Agrisure Viptera 3110 trait stack delivers broad-spectrum control of above-ground lepidopteran insects and can be part of an effective insect management strategy for growers who do not need to manage for corn rootworm.

In addition to above-ground, ear-feeding insect control, the Agrisure Viptera 3110 trait stack can preserve grain quality by protecting against mycotoxins, including aflatoxin, estimated to cause crop losses of $932 million annually in the United States alone1.

The Agrisure Viptera 3110 trait stack is available in hybrids with both glyphosate and glufosinate tolerance.

Syngenta hybrids with the Agrisure Viptera 3110 trait stack are available for the 2014 planting season from the Syngenta seed brands Golden Harvest® and NK® and through licensing agreements with other seed companies.

Current soybean cyst nematode management practices are not enough

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the most damaging soybean pathogen in North America. Infestations remain high throughout the Midwest despite the use of current SCN crop protection products, agronomic practices and SCN-resistant varieties. Growers in the U.S. experience about $1.5 billion a year in yield losses due to SCN.

Current products either provide initial protection or defend under certain growing conditions. Agronomic practices and SCN-resistant varieties provide a baseline for protection, but SCN continues to adapt to the varieties and limit soybean yields.

“Growers can follow sound agronomic practices – planting resistant varieties, rotating crops, controlling weeds and keeping farm equipment clean – but SCN is a hardy pathogen,” says Chris Cook, Syngenta head of agronomy. “In the end, we’ve only managed to slow the damage. A piece of the puzzle is missing. We only have a defense when what we need is a good offense.”

In 2014, Syngenta will offer the missing piece of the puzzle – Clariva™ Complete Beans nematicide/insecticide/fungicide, an on-seed application of separately registered products that adds a revolutionary nematicide to the market-leading, broad-spectrum seed treatment of CruiserMaxx® Beans with Vibrance® insecticide/fungicide. Clariva Complete Beans will provide an offense against SCN to complement current defensive practices, such as rotating crops and planting SCN-resistant varieties.

While competing seed treatments only offer limited SCN protection, Clariva Complete Beans provides a direct mode of action that is lethal to the pest. The nematicide within Clariva Complete Beans protects soybeans from SCN during all growth stages by killing juvenile, as well as adult, SCN.

On-farm trials prove the yield increase offered by Clariva Complete Beans at a three to five percent yield advantage1 in SCN-infested soils when combined with SCN-resistant varieties.

“It is important that we continue to adapt our management practices and introduce new management solutions for growers,” says Dale Ireland, Syngenta seed care technical product lead. “SCN-resistant varieties offer protection that limits reproduction of SCN, but that protection doesn't halt reproduction completely. The SCN that is capable of reproducing despite the resistant varieties, can increase in population over time and diminish the effectiveness of the SCN-resistant gene. This is cause for concern, especially considering 95 percent of the market is sourced from one genetic line of SCN resistance.”

Syngenta recommends that growers test their soil to determine if they have an SCN infestation. If SCN is present in a field, growers can use agronomic practices and have their seed treated with Clariva Complete Beans to help prevent significant soybean production losses.

Cheminova Launches CRUSHER Herbicide

Cheminova, Inc. today announced the launch of CRUSHER™ Herbicide a selective herbicide that offers both burndown and residual control of annual grass and broadleaf weeds.  CRUSHER contains two active ingredients: thifensulfuron and rimsulfuron, and can be used in fall to early winter or spring to clean up your fields in preparation for corn, cotton, soybean or peanut planting.  CRUSHER is labeled for use on field corn when applied at preplant and preemergence and preplant to cotton, soybeans and peanuts.

“CRUSHER offers growers an economic weed control choice from fall through spring for eliminating key winter weeds which allows for clean seedbeds,” said Deneen Sebastian, Director of Marketing, Cheminova, Inc. “This means an advantage to managing planting decisions and avoiding early weed competition the following spring.”

CRUSHER can also be tank-mixed other suitable herbicides such as GLYFOS ® X-TRA Herbicide, dicamba, glufosinate, paraquat and 2,4D, to control additional weeds. CRUSHER is on sale now at agricultural retailers throughout the U.S.

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