Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tuesday November 5 Ag News

Emergency Management Planning for Livestock Operations
Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator, Cuming County

We have seen the pictures and heard the tragic stories of lost livestock from the recent blizzard in the northern Great Plains.  While dealing with significant economic losses, ranchers were also faced with disposal of the many animals that they lost.  Few options exist when a catastrophic livestock loss occurs, as often resources are not readily available to handle the very large quantity of mortalities.  Obviously, producers hope to never have a catastrophic loss due to weather or other circumstances, but recent events remind us of this unfortunate reality.  Unfortunately, you can’t always plan for these events. However, emergency management planning can provide the necessary information for rapidly responding to such an event.

Beef quality assurance (BQA) training includes disaster planning and emergency management, but not all producers implement these tools.  A 2011 survey by the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) revealed that nearly half of all feedlots did not have a written contingency plan for feeding and watering livestock in response to a utility outage.  Larger operations were more likely to have a plan in place, but there were still a large percentage of operations without such a plan.

With the severe winter weather experienced recently, a significant issue has been disposal of animal carcasses.  Burial pits have been established for many of the mortalities, but composting is also an acceptable disposal method.  In ideal conditions, compost pile design for livestock involves placing an absorbent layer of material – such as a mixture of wood shavings, spoiled feed, and manure – on the ground to a depth of about 24 inches, laying the animal(s) on the base, and covering all parts of the animal(s) with an additional 24 inches of material.  With the recent catastrophic losses from cold weather, the general rule has been that “something is better than nothing” for constructing a compost pile.  If straw or hay is the only material available and animals cannot be moved easily to create a single large compost pile, then composting in place can be done by simply covering each animal with up to 36 inches of material to retain heat created by bacterial decomposition.

Ideally, we hope to not see Nebraska producers faced with major on-farm disasters.  However, it’s better to have a plan in place that you never have to use than to not have a plan at all when one is needed.  One thing to remember is that a plan should be written down so that it is accessible to all employees if needed.  The plan should be kept in a safe, quickly-accessible place and each member of the farm family should know how to implement the plan if it becomes necessary.  Details contained in the plan will vary according to the potential disasters that could affect the farm, and can include responses to tornadoes, fire, power outage, and severe weather.

An Emergency Action Information form is available from the BQA program at: http://www.bqa.org/CMDocs/bqa/Forms/Emergency Action Information.pdf  and additional planning resources for catastrophic mortality disposal can be found on the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center’s (LPELC) Livestock and Poultry Mortality Composting site at http://www.extension.org/pages/28022/livestock-and-poultry-mortality-composting#.UmaBxhbIbXw

There will also be a Large Animal Mortality Composting Demonstration held on Thursday, December 12 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the University of Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, NE.  For more details contact your local UNL Extension office.

Green Plains to Acquire BioFuel Energy Corp.'s Two Ethanol Plants

Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRE) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire two ethanol plants of BioFuel Energy Corp. ("BIOF") from an entity composed of its lender group. The ethanol plants are located in Wood River, NE and Fairmont, MN. BIOF had previously agreed to transfer the ethanol plants to the lender group entity pursuant to a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Following the transfers, Green Plains will purchase the ethanol plants and certain related assets from the lender group entity. The two facilities have a combined annual production capacity of approximately 220 million gallons. The acquisition will increase Green Plains' production capacity by 28% to over 1.0 billion gallons of ethanol, 2.9 million tons of distillers grains and 230 million pounds of corn oil per year.

Green Plains will purchase the ethanol plants for approximately $101 million, plus working capital at closing. Green Plains intends to fund the purchase with approximately $77 million in term debt and the balance in cash. The closing of the transaction, which is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2013, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Upon successful completion of the transaction, Green Plains will work to restart the Fairmont, MN plant, which the Company anticipates being back in production by the end of 2013. Carl Marks Advisory Group LLC advised the lender group entity in this transaction.

"Our growth strategy remains focused on right location, right technology at the right price for ethanol production assets and this acquisition meets all three criteria," stated Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We have become very proficient in operating multiple process technologies and adding these two ethanol plants continues to drive greater economies of scale in our marketing, risk management and back office operations. We believe this acquisition will be accretive to 2014 earnings and is consistent with our strategy to expand our operations throughout the ethanol value chain and grow long-term shareholder value."


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

If you’ve been paying attention to this year’s ag news, you realize that high quality alfalfa hay is in short supply this year.

Throughout much of the alfalfa growing region, including here in Nebraska, cool temperatures and persistent rains greatly reduced dairy quality hay production during first cutting this spring.  This region also lost alfalfa acres, some due to winter injury but most due to conversion to annual row crops.

This is good news — at least for you hay growers in our area!  The market for high quality alfalfa is looking strong again this year.

Just think about this.  Suppose someone offered you 250 dollars, or even 150 dollars per ton for your best alfalfa.  Could you find other hay, or maybe corn stalk bales, nearby that you could make work for your animals that would cost you less than 100 dollars?  If you can, maybe you should sell high, buy low, and pocket the profits.

So, how do you find these buyers.  You could post notices at truck stops, place ads in newspapers and magazines, or set up a sign by your driveway.  But, there are more effective ways to contact buyers.  One is to place your hay on a computer listing in one of the dairy states.  Another way is to work with dealers or become a member of a marketing group, like the Nebraska Alfalfa Marketing Association, to take advantage of their market connections.  Local extension offices have information on both association membership and computer listings.

You may need some luck and do some work to be able to buy low and sell high.  Smart operators look for these opportunities.

Cuming County 4-H Achievement Day

Sunday, November 17th, is the annual 4-H Achievement Day.  This event will feature a pork sinner at 12:30 p.m. at the Nielsen Community Center in West Point.  Members and their families who will be receiving an award should make plans to attend the Achievement Day festivities.  Leaders will also be recognized for their years of service.  The entire family will eat FREE!  4-H members and leaders present will have a chance to win many door prizes.  Call the Extension Office by November 12th with your reservation.

A county wide community service project will be conducted as part of the Achievement Day activities.  This year’s project will be the collection of fabric and craft supplies.  As you look around your home, do you find that you have a supply of unused fabric and craft supplies that were purchased with a grand plan in mind?  This year at 4-H Achievement Day we are going to host a fabric and craft supply collection.  Please do not bring any caustic glues, paint, etc.  The supplies that are collected by 4-Her’s will be donated to local churches, senior centers, and care centers to use for their craft activities.  If you know of a group that is looking for such supplies lease let the Extension Office know.  Adult and youth volunteers are needed to help with the collection at Achievement Day with sorting of the donated items and delivery of the craft supplies and fabric.  Please call the Extension Office to volunteer. Each member that brings items for the collection will put their club’s name in for a drawing.  There will be two $25 prizes given to the clubs to be donated to the local food pantry of their choice.  Start collecting fabric and craft supplies now—come and support your club and community. This is a great service project for your club so be sure to get everyone involved in the worthy cause.  Items should be brought to the 4-H Achievement Day or can be dropped off at the Extension Office, prior to November 17th.

4-H Council Seeking Nominations

Three new members will be elected to serve on the Cuming County 4-H Council on Sunday, November 17, 2013.  The Council is looking for committed individuals who have an interest in the  4-H program to volunteer to serve on the 4-H Council. 

The term serving is for three years beginning on January 1 2013.  Candidates are elected at large from throughout Cuming County.  The goal of the council is to have representation from throughout the county, a balance of men and women and diversity in interests.  Those interested in serving, may contact, Mike Reeson, 402-372-2433; Brenda Doernemann, 800-700-7601; Kevin Borgelt, 402-578-0199 or the Extension office at 402/372-6006 to get more details and to volunteer.

The Cuming County 4-H Council is the policy making board for the 4-H program in Cuming County.  The purpose of the Council is to stimulate and promote interest in 4-H activities, recruit members and leaders, work with the Extension Board and Fair Board, to conduct activities that meet the needs of today’s 4-H program that is stimulating and inviting for all youth in the county.  The 4-H Council meets in the Courthouse Meeting Room six times a year on the second Thursday of the odd numbered months.

Midwest Dairy Announces World School Milk Day Contest Winners

Backpacks? Check. Notebooks? Got ‘em. Milk mustaches? Yep. Wait, milk mustaches? After heading back to school this fall, students across the Midwest enjoyed creating their very own milk mustache poses for a chance to win Midwest Dairy Council’s Fuel Up with Milk World School Milk Day Contest. Students were encouraged to submit photos of themselves wearing real milk mustaches or milk mustache stickers while participating in various school activities – eating breakfast or lunch, working at a computer, doing a favorite physical activity or simply posing with a teacher or school principal.

Scranton Elementary of Scranton, Kan., was chosen as the Grand Prize winner, and will receive a $1,000 Fuel Up to Play 60 Prize Locker and two soft-sided Fuel Up to Play 60 coolers.

“We had a fantastic time reviewing the submissions for this contest,” said Bridget Sheehan, a registered dietitian with Midwest Dairy Council. “Nothing brings students together quite like the milk mustaches, and the smiles on their faces prove that nutrition education activities can be incredibly fun and engaging.”

Ten second-prize winners were chosen to receive Fuel Up to Play 60 Rewards Prize Locker worth $500. First runners up included:
    Bell Field Elementary, Fremont, Neb.
    Diller-Odell Elem School, Diller, Neb.

    Fulton Elementary School, Dubuque, Iowa
    Oelwein Middle School, Oelwein, Iowa
    Acorn Elementary, Mena, Ark.
    Little Blue Elementary, Independence, Mo.
    Northport Elementary, Brooklyn Center, Minn.
    Booneville Elementary, Boonville, Ark.
    Rosedale Middle School, Kansas City, Kan.
    Twain Elementary, Chicago, Ill.

Twenty third-prize winners were chosen to receive a soft-sided Fuel Up to Play 60 cooler. Second runners up included:
    Adams Elementary, Davenport, Iowa
    Garfield Elementary, Sioux Falls, S.D.
    Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls, S.D.
    Horizon Elementary, Hanover Park, Ill.
    Cedar Park Elementary, Apple Valley, Minn.
    McKelvey Elementary, Maryland Heights, Mo.
    Clearwater Creek Elementary, Olathe, Kan.
    Dore Elementary, Chicago, Ill.
    Page Public School, Page, N.D.
    Dryden Elementary, Arlington Heights, Ill.
    Pleasant Lea Elementary, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
    Echo Park Elementary, Burnsville, Minn.
    Slate Creek Elementary, Newton, Kan.
    Elm Creek Elementary, Maple Grove, Minn.
    Spaght Multimedia Magnet, Wichita, Kan.
    Van-Far Elementary, Vandalia, Mo.
    Garfield Elementary, Kansas City, Mo.
    West Boulevard Elementary, Columbia, Mo.
    Hazel Grove Elementary, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
    Westwood Elementary, Woodstock, Ill.

Fuel Up to Play 60 provides an opportunity for students to collaborate with their peers to showcase what they have learned about “fueling up” with nutrient-rich foods and getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Students and teachers can view other schools’ submissions or get involved with the program by visiting www.FuelUpToPlay60.com.

New Iowa State CARD Studies on E85/RFS

Rumors continue to swirl about EPA's upcoming proposed rule for 2014 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the RFS. Some media reports have suggested EPA has considered a cut to the RVOs due to Big Oil's self-imposed "blend wall". A new series of short policy briefs from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University shows why such a cut is unnecessary and explains how RINs and E85 can break the blend wall and facilitate RFS compliance in 2014. One of the papers also takes on the questionable "death spiral" logic of a study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute. The study, conducted by NERA, has served as the basis for API's misguided campaign to repeal the RFS.

RFS Compliance: Death Spiral or Investment in E85? http://bit.ly/1hgNHdR.
The Economic Role of RIN Prices: http://bit.ly/18Wfeao.
How Much E85 Can Be Consumed in the United States? http://bit.ly/1b9wgmF.

New 'PorkSquare' is Virtual Town Square for Youth Interested in Pork Careers

At a conference packed with the agricultural industry's future leaders, the Pork Checkoff introduced PorkSquare - a website, driven by the innovation and real-time nature of social media, connecting young agriculture professionals with internships and training.

"For some time, the National Pork Board has bounced around the concept of a youth careers website - one focused specifically on the pork industry," said Bryn Jensson, producer outreach marketing manager for Pork Checkoff.  "After hours of brainstorming, ideation and discussing the purpose and options, PorkSquare emerged as an ideal way to combine the best of all our ideas."

Moving beyond the concept of simply a job bank, PorkSquare is a virtual town square where internship and scholarship seekers and companies can connect.

"As we created the website, we also generated a lot of enthusiasm about its future and began to understand just how instrumental it could become in meeting the needs of both students, professionals and pork-related companies," said Jensson.

The mission of the Pork Checkoff is to harness the resources of its pork producers to capture opportunity, address challenges and satisfy customers. PorkSquare specifically meets those needs by helping young people - ages 15 to 25 - with a long-term interest in a career in the pork industry.The website, located at www.porksquare.com, is a one-stop shop for training, education growth and internship information regarding the pork industry.

"We see PorkSquare as more than a place to find an internship, but rather as a vehicle to build relationships between young professionals and industry leaders, and prospect for internships, scholarships, mentoring programs and pork-related events," said Mark Greenwood, senior vice president relationship management with AgStar Financial Services.

High school and college students can use PorkSquare to create personal profiles that are visible to employers with internships or scholarship sponsors. These profiles allow the young professional to share information about themselves beyond that of a traditional resume, providing hiring managers with a complete image of a candidate. By including a photo, personal interests, social media links and more, employers can get a better feel for the background of an internship candidate.

Companies with a particular focus on the pork industry can also create profiles that students can readily search, allowing them a better sense of what a certain company offers. By building a company profile that includes internships, scholarships, events and position and news updates, potential candidates can be kept apprised of the changes and opportunities the company offers.  

"We are confident that PorkSquare will be a great tool offered at a great time for our industry," said Jensson. "Over time, we will add helpful features to the site and highlight the opportunities the growing swine industry has to offer. Our goal is to keep these young pork professionals interested, engaged and aware of all our industry has to offer."

PorkSquare was developed with the support of its partners including the Pork Checkoff, AgStar Financial Services, Indiana Pork, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and the North Carolina Pork Council.

Fertilizer Prices Leveling Off

Retail fertilizer prices look to be leveling off some after free-falling for the past couple of months, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the fifth week of October.  All eight of the major fertilizers had lower prices from last month but none showed a significant price drop.  DAP had an average price of $523/ton, MAP $565/ton, potash $491/ton and urea $441/ton. 10-34-0 was at $519/ton, anhydrous $653/ton, UAN28 $321/ton and UAN32 $369/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.48/lb.N, anhydrous $0.40/lb.N, UAN28 $0.58/lb.N and UAN32 $0.58/lb.N.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now double-digits lower in price compared to October of 2012.  UAN32 is now down 13%, MAP, 10-34-0 and UAN28 are all 16% less expensive, DAP is 18% lower, potash is 21% less expensive, anhydrous is 23% lower and urea is 26% less expensive compared to last year.

Registration, Housing Open at 9 a.m. CST Nov. 19 for 2014 Commodity Classic

Online registration and housing reservations for the 2014 Commodity Classic, taking place in San Antonio, Tex., will open at 9 a.m. CST Tuesday, Nov. 19. Hotel space is limited and rooms will book fast, so don’t delay!

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, nestled in the heart of historic downtown San Antonio along the banks of the world famous River Walk is the site of the 2014 Commodity Classic. The registration desk and all Commodity Classic specific events will be held at the convention center.  Be sure and join us there for the Opening Reception, General Session, Evening of Entertainment, Trade Show, Learning Center Sessions and What’s New Sessions.

Commodity Classic hotels are either located within an easy walking distance or will have complimentary shuttle service to and from the convention center.  Check out the 2014 Commodity Classic website for additional information.

Federal appeals court halts horse slaughter

(AP)  A federal appeals court has temporarily halted plans to resume domestic horse slaughter... again. 

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday issued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants.

Slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri had hoped to start up as soon as this week after a federal judge in Albuquerque on Friday threw out a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups. The lawsuit alleged the Agriculture Department failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits to the slaughterhouses.

The groups filed an immediate appeal and won the emergency injunction.

The order continues the on-again, off-again plans to resume domestic horse slaughter six years after the last big slaughterhouses closed after Congress cut funding for inspectors.

CFTC Proposes Revised Trade Limits

Regulators proposed a new set of limits for large traders of commodities such as oil, gold and sugar, a year after a federal court tossed out an earlier set of rules.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted 3-1 to propose a revised version of so-called position limits, which aim to curb sharp price spikes by limiting the percentage of the market any one firm can control in certain commodities.

The CFTC's revised rule aims to cap the size of trading positions that firms can take in certain commodity contracts, including a variety of energy and precious-metals commodities, to curb any one trader's influence. It also extends restrictions to swaps, more customized contracts that were brought under CFTC regulation by Dodd-Frank. Agricultural and livestock commodities already had position limits before Dodd-Frank was enacted.

The new proposal is likely to meet opposition from the financial services industry, which successfully challenged the CFTC's rule in court. The first proposal prompted nearly 15,000 comment letters. The agency will collect additional comment on the new proposal and must vote on it again before it goes into effect.

The CFTC plans to withdraw an appeal of last year's court ruling now that it has advanced revised rules. The case against the earlier rules was brought by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association.

Limits on contracts for near-term delivery, as opposed to longer-dated futures, would restrict a firm from owning more than 25% of a commodity's estimated deliverable supply. Traders would be able to hold a smaller percentage of longer-term contracts, based on a formula.

China to Import More Soy to Meet Demand

It appears likely that soybean imports will rise to a new high in marketing year 2013-14 following a drop in domestic output and greater demand for animal feed and edible oil. Heilongjiang province in Northeast China, the nation's largest soybean producer, endured heavy rain and flooding over the past four months.

There are more than 235 million hectares of soybean farmland, which produced 4.64 million metric tons in 2012, Heilongjiang's agriculture commission said.

"The adverse weather conditions have severely undercut Heilongjiang's soybean production this year and will force China to import more foreign soybeans to meet its domestic demand," said Hu Zengmin, an analyst at the China National Grain and Oils Information Center in Harbin. "China's soybean imports in 2013-14 are likely to rise by 15 percent from the previous market year," making ten consecutive years of rising soybean imports."

Soybean imports rose 11.2 percent to 58.4 million tons in 2012 from a year earlier, while prices were up 5.8 percent year-on-year to $599.30 a ton, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Zengmin said Heilongjiang's soybean production may drop by between 650,000 and 500,000 tons this year.

The grain and oils information center forecast that China's soybean output would fall by up to 2.6 percent to 12 million tons from a year ago, which would mark the third year running of declining output.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture also forecast China's soybean imports will hit 69 million tons in the 2013-14 market year, a 16 percent increase over the previous year.

Zhang Xiaoping, director for China at the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said that because the price of corn has remained high, many farmers in Heilongjiang switched from growing soybeans to corn, even though the latter costs more to cultivate.

Data show that the declining cultivation of soybeans in Heilongjiang has been because of higher corn prices as well as government guarantees of minimum purchase prices.

USDA Farm Service Agency Urges Farmers and Ranchers to Vote in County Committee Elections Beginning Monday, Nov. 4

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced that the 2013 FSA County Committee Elections begin today, Nov. 4, with the mailing of ballots to eligible voters. The deadline to return the ballots to local FSA offices is Dec. 2, 2013.

“The role and input of our county committee members is more vital than ever at a time when our country faces important choices regarding the funding and operation of our government,” said Garcia. “New county committee members provide input and make important decisions on the local administration of disaster and conservation programs. With better participation in recent years, we have also seen promising increases in the number of women and minority candidates, helping to better represent the richness of American agriculture.”

County committee members are an important component of the operations of FSA and provide a link between the agricultural community and USDA. Farmers and ranchers elected to county committees help deliver FSA programs at the local level, applying their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on commodity price support programs; conservation programs; incentive indemnity and disaster programs for some commodities; emergency programs and eligibility. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm may also be eligible to vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate nominations during the nomination period, which ended on Aug. 1.

Eligible voters who do not receive ballots in the coming week can obtain ballots from their local USDA Service Center. Dec. 2, 2013, is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must also be postmarked no later than Dec. 2. Newly elected committee members and their alternates will take office Jan. 1, 2014.

Close to 7,700 FSA county committee members serve in the 2,124 FSA offices nationwide. Each committee consists of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Approximately one-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. More information on county committees, such as the new 2013 fact sheet and brochures, can be found on the FSA website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/electionsor at a local USDA Service Center.


Consumers are highly concerned about the usage of antibiotics and hormones when buying meat products.  That statement is according to a recent consumer study independently conducted by Service Management Group (SMG) to better understand consumer perceptions around important issues in food production.  Detailed results of the study, commissioned by Where Food Comes From, Inc. (OTCQB: WFCF), will be released at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture Symposium on November 13th, 2013, at the Kansas City Airport Marriott in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dr. Joe Cardador, Chief Research Officer at SMG, will present the comprehensive findings to Symposium attendees, followed by presentations from Tom Heinen, Co-President of Heinen’s Fine Foods, and Leann Saunders, President of Where Food Comes From, Inc.  The consumer perception study reached over 2,000 consumers of all ages from all 50 states shopping at all grocery retailers with all income levels.

According to the survey results, when buying meat consumers across all demographics were most concerned about whether the animals received antibiotics and hormones, ranking those attributes in importance over humane handling, locally produced, organic, and environmental impact issues.

“Upon being asked to speak at the NIAA symposium, we felt it was important to have credible, current information on consumers’ food perceptions, so we commissioned a third-party firm to conduct this market research study," said Leann Saunders, President of Where Food Comes From, Inc.  “We were surprised at the scope of consumer awareness around these food production practices and see this as an opportunity for the food industry to acknowledge and address these concerns.”

The agenda, presentation topics and confirmed presenters for the “Bridging the Gap between Animal Health and Human Health” symposium is available online at www.animalagriculture.org/Solutions/Symposia/2013_antibiotics

A white paper summarizing the 2012 symposium, “A One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Use and Resistance: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose,” can be accessed online at NIAA’s website: www.animalagriculture.org/Solutions/Symposia/2013_antibiotics

To register for or to learn more about the Nov. 12-14, 2013 symposium, please go online to www.animalagriculture.org/Solutions/Symposia/2013_antibiotics or call 1-800-237-7193.

Mosaic 3rd Quarter Earnings Released

The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) reported third quarter 2013 net earnings of $124 million, compared to $417 million for the same period a year ago. Earnings per diluted share were $0.29 in the quarter compared to $0.98 for the same period last year. Current quarter results included a $142 million, or $0.22 per share, negative impact of notable items, largely non-cash, primarily as a result of strategic decisions to divest assets or operations. Mosaic's net sales in the third quarter were $1.9 billion, down from $2.6 billion for the same period last year, primarily driven by lower prices and lower North American sales volumes. Operating earnings during the quarter were $144 million, including $123 million in losses from write-down of assets, and were down from $644 million for the same period a year ago.

"Lower potash and phosphate prices, a late North American fall application season and cautious dealer behavior led to this quarter's weaker results," said Jim Prokopanko, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mosaic. "We believe the current challenges in the environment in which we operate, for both phosphate and potash, are cyclical in nature and provide Mosaic opportunities to deploy capital, including shareholder distributions. The long-term outlook for Mosaic remains compelling."

Cash flow provided by operating activities in the third quarter of 2013 was a negative $45 million compared to a positive $344 million in the prior year. For the four months ended September 30, 2013, cash flow from operations was $389 million due to significant collections of receivables in June 2013, the first month of the company's current 7-month stub period. Higher working capital levels during the quarter, as a result of the late fall application season in North America, are expected to partially reverse in the fourth quarter. Capital expenditures totaled $333 million in the quarter. Mosaic's total cash and cash equivalents were $3.3 billion and long-term debt was $1.0 billion as of September 30, 2013.

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