Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday February 3 Ag News


For the month of January 2014, dry weather conditions caused soil moisture supplies to decrease throughout the month.  Several days with very strong winds also contributed to the dry conditions. The lack of snow allowed cattle to continue grazing corn stalks.  Producers were busy feeding livestock, hauling grain, and performing maintenance. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 16 percent very short, 44 short, 40 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 18 percent very short, 38 short, 44 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 15 poor, 36 fair, 40 good, and 6 excellent. 
Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Stock water supplies rated 6 percent very short, 12 short, 82 adequate, and 0 surplus. Hay and forage supplies rated 1 percent very short, 4 short, 91 adequate, and 4 surplus.

Cattle and calf condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 10 fair, 83 good, and 6 excellent. Cattle and calf losses rated 4 percent below average, 91 average, and 5 above average.

Sheep and lamb condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 6 fair, 94 good, and 0 excellent. Sheep and lamb losses rated 3 percent below average, 94 average, and 3 above average.

Cornhusker Economics Outlook Meetings to be Held in March

            The ninth annual Cornhusker Economics Outlook meetings will focus on the agriculture outlook and management decisions for farmers and ranchers.

            The series, scheduled in nine locations, is offered by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and the Department of Agricultural Economics and is available free to participants with the series support of the Nebraska Corn Board and the Great Western Bank along with several local sponsors.

            The outlook meetings are scheduled for a concise, fast-paced discussion of crop, livestock, policy and land outlook.

            Several people will present at the meeting. They are:

            Kate Brooks, extension livestock economist at UNL: Brooks will provide outlook and analysis for beef and other livestock producers. Brooks' expertise is in market analysis and production economics. She recently led a study of livestock industry trends in Nebraska. She will interpret emerging livestock market fundamentals, meat supplies and meat demand to assess producer profit potential and sound marketing and production decisions in 2013.

            Cory Walters, a new extension crop economist at UNL: Walters is new to Nebraska. His expertise is in crop marketing and risk management, with substantial research on crop marketing and crop insurance strategies and decisions. Walters brings experience from both Kentucky and a farm background in Montana to his new role in Nebraska. He will discuss the outlook for corn, soybeans and wheat to help producers make sound production, marketing and risk management decisions.

            Brad Lubben, extension policy specialist at UNL: Lubben will provide perspectives on the policy environment in Washington and the long-awaited farm bill. With the efforts of Congress in January and early February, producers finally appear ready to focus on farm program decisions instead of continuing deliberations. Lubben will discuss the policy outlook and program alternatives to help producers effectively combine farm programs, crop insurance, and marketing strategies for success.

            Local UNL extension educators will provide additional input during the outlook meetings with a discussion of current land and leasing economics. With the recent climb of land prices and rental rates running into declining crop price and profitability projections for 2014, producers will need to push an even sharper pencil on land decisions and production plans. This presentation will assess current developments and decisions for producers in land and leasing economics.

            This outlook agenda is packaged into a 2 1/2-hour format to provide producers the best available information and send them home to ready to make 2014 management and marketing decisions. The series runs from March 3-7 and varies in time by location.

            Although there is no cost to participants, pre-registration is encouraged to plan for facilities, refreshments, and materials.

The schedule and contacts:

Hastings: Monday March 3, 9 - 11:30 a.m. CST, Adams County Fairgrounds, Contact: Ron Seymour, UNL extension educator, Adams County, Office: 402-461-7209, email:

Gothenburg: Monday, March 3, 2:30 - 5 p.m. CST, Gothenburg (Monsanto) Learning Center, 76268 Hwy 47, Contact: Bruce Treffer, UNL extension educator, Dawson County, Office: 308-324-5501, email: or Chuck Burr, UNL extension educator, West Central Res. and Ext. Center Office: 308-696-6783, email:

Sidney: Tuesday, March 4, 9 - 11:30 a.m. MST, Holiday Inn, 664 Chase Blvd, Contact: Karen DeBoer, UNL extension educator, Cheyenne County, Office: 308-254-4455, email:

Chadron: Tuesday, March. 5, 2:30 - 5 p.m. MST, Dawes County Fairgrounds, East Norfolk Avenue, Contact: Jaime Goffena, UNL extension educator, Sioux County, Office: 308-432-3373, email: or Jessica Johnson, UNL extension educator, Panhandle Res. and Extension Center, Office: 308-632-1247, email:

Valentine: Wednesday, March 5, 9 - 11:30 a.m. CST, Niobrara Lodge, 803 East Highway 20, Contact: Jay Jenkins, UNL extension educator, Cherry County, Office: 402-376-1850, email:

O'Neill: Wednesday, March 5, 2:30 - 5 p.m. CST, Holt County Annex, 128 N 6th Street, Contact: Gary Stauffer and Amy Timmerman, UNL extension educators, Holt/Boyd Counties, Office: 402-336-2760, email: or

West Point: Thursday, March 6, 9 - 11:30 a.m. CST, Nielsen Community Center, Anna Stalp Ave, Contact: Larry Howard, UNL Ext. Educator, Cuming County Office: 402-372-6006, email:

Lincoln: Thursday, March 6, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. CST, Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Rd, Contact: Paul Hay, UNL extension educator, Gage County Office: 402-223-1384, email:

Nebraska City, Friday, March. 7, 9 - 11:30 a.m., Kimmel Education and Research Center, 5985 G Rd, Contact: Monte Vandeveer, UNL extension educator, Otoe County Office: 402-269-2301, email:

            More information and details on the meetings are available on the web at the Department of Agricultural Economics homepage at or directly at the webpage with meeting information at Register by contacting the local Extension office listed for each location. You can also contact Lubben at 402-472-2235 or any one of the extension educators listed with the meeting locations for additional information.

Candidacy Petitions Must Be Filed by April 15 for Nebraska Soybean Board Election

There are two district seats on the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) eligible for election this year.  Soybean farmers in Districts 5 and 7 are invited to run for election to the Nebraska Soybean Board by filing a candidacy petition by the April 15, 2014 deadline. The election will be conducted via direct-mail ballots and candidate information will be provided to all soybean farmers residing within the district in which an election is to be held.

The At-Large position on the Nebraska Soybean Board is open to all soybean farmers in Nebraska and will be elected by the NSB Directors at the July Board meeting.  A candidacy petition must also be filed by the April 15, 2014 deadline for the At-Large position.

This is an opportunity to see for yourself how the soybean checkoff money is invested, and become a part of the decision making.   You will become a VOICE representing your District on the Board.

NSB Directors and the At-Large  Position  receive no salary but are reimbursed for expenses incurred while carrying out Board business and will serve a three-year  term which would begin October 1, 2014. 

Director seats open are:
District 5:  Counties of Cass, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and Richardson.
District 7:  Counties of Adams, Buffalo, Clay, Franklin, Hall, Kearney, Nuckolls and Webster.

Candidates for the NSB seats and the At-Large position must be:
•  A resident of Nebraska
•  21 years of age or older
•  Soybean farmer in Nebraska for at least 5 previous years

Prospective candidates must collect the signatures of 50 soybean farmers in their district using an official NSB Candidacy Petition and return such petition to the NSB office on or before April 15, 2014, to be eligible for placement on the ballot.  To obtain a candidacy petition, contact Victor Bohuslavsky, executive director, at 402-432-5720. 

The nine-member Nebraska Soybean Board collects and disburses the Nebraska share of funds generated by the one half of one percent times the net sales price per bushel of soybeans sold.  Nebraska soybean checkoff funds are invested in research, education, domestic and foreign markets, including new uses for soybeans and soybean products. 

USB Helps Commercialize 38 New Soy-Based Products

Various performance and environmental attributes have made U.S. soy increasingly popular among product manufacturers, which has helped boost industrial demand for soy. That’s why last year, the soy checkoff  partnered with manufacturers to commercialize 38 new soy-based products and ingredients.

The list of products developed with soy checkoff support in 2013 includes new additions to some popular soy-based product categories, such as coatings, adhesives and plastics. It also includes soy-based ingredients that could be used in countless new products.

Dale Profit, a soy checkoff farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Van Wert, Ohio, recognizes the value-added prospects of industrial soy use.

“USB is helping discover other products that can be made from soy to add to farmers’ bottom lines,” says Profit. “These products are good for the farmer, the customer and all the people in between.”

Soybean meal’s primary use remains animal feed, while most soybean oil goes to human food, Profit adds. But versatile soy can also help manufacturers replace petrochemicals and possible carcinogens in their products. Soy-based products are more renewable and environmentally friendly and in some cases, perform better.

Click here to browse USB’s Soy Products Guide, an online catalog of the thousands of currently available soy-based products, ingredients and manufacturers.

New soy-based products and ingredients introduced in 2013 as a result of USB support include:


MASEO (Maleinated Acrylated Epoxidized Soybean Oil) – A soybean-oil-based resin used to make plastic. It is made by Dixie Chemical Company, Inc.
Innergy™ Rigid Thermal Reinforcements – A fiberglass and soy-based urethane
insert that slides into window frames for greater support and insulation. It is marketed by Deceuninck North America.
INFIGREEN® Recycled Polyols – Produced by Emery Oleochemicals, and are used in foam seats of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.


SoBind™ Balance – By DuPont™ is used in coatings and adhesives.
Varathane Diamond Floor – A wood-floor coating containing soy flour. It is made by Rust-Oleum®.
G.E.T. Biobased Safety Yellow – A zero-volatile-organic-compound (VOC) coating that contains soybean oil, biodiesel glycerin and soy methyl ester. It is made by Niemann & Associates.
ProClassic® – A multipurpose water-based soy acrylic alkyd primer, satin deck and siding product line made by Sherwin-Williams.
Pro-Park® – A soy- based parking-lot paint by Sherwin-Williams.


Meta-Tec® Products – Soy-based adhesive products for floor-covering installations, including carpet, resilient flooring and wood adhesives. They are made by W.F. Taylor Company.
PSA64MA – A soy-based material by Applied Protein Systems that is used in adhesives on paper cones where yarn and thread are wound.
Millenium One Step™ Green Insulation Adhesive – A soy-based, all-weather adhesive by ADCO used to install flooring.
Elemental – A soy-based wood-composite adhesive that is formaldehyde-free. It is available from States Industries.


PSA35MA – A soy-based material used to coat paperboard. It is made by Applied Protein Systems.  
SUNKOTE® AU 4203 and 4240 – Soy-based products that are used as lubricants for paper and paperboard coatings. They are made by Omnova Solutions.


Armeen® S – A corrosion inhibitor for oilfields that is made by Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry, LLC.
Ethomeen® S/12 – A cleansing surfactant for oilfields and dry cleaning that is made by Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry, LLC.
Arquad® SV 60 PG – A foaming, antistatic, emulsifier, wetting agent used in laundry products from Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry.
Larostat® 264A – An antistatic material that holds textile products together. It is made by BASF Corp.
Agnique® SBO 10 – A soybean oil used in agricultural products, manufactured by BASF Corp.
Comperlan® VOD – A thickener for personal-care products from BASF Corp.
Prifac™ 8953 – An emulsifying agent for household products. It is made by Croda, Inc.
HY-3200 Emulsiyfing Soy Wax – By Dow Corning Corp, a material that allows ingredients in personal-care products to smoothly blend together.
SERADOX NAD 20 – By Elementis Specialties, is an antistatic material for softening and smoothly blending personal-care products. 
LAMCHEM™ PE-130 K – Improves the taste of food products and also serves as a pressure lubricant on metals. It is made by Lambent Technologies Corp.
Lipovol® SOY – Adds a soft, smooth skin-feel to personal care products. It is made by Lipo Chemicals, Inc.
Chemonic™ SI-7Surfacant – Builds the thickness of personal-care products and stabilizes foam. It is made by Lubrizol Corp.
Schercomid™ SLL – Thickens personal care products. It is made by Lubrizol Corp.
Schercoquat™ SOAS-PG – A hair conditioner for personal care products made by Lubrizol Corp.
Quatrex™ S Conditioning Agent – A conditioning agent for personal-care products,
made by Lubrizol Corp.
Amidex™ S Surfactant – Helps create personal-care products that foam and feel like soap. It is made by Lubrizol Corp.
Chembetaine™ S-FA Surfactant – Adds special properties for personal-care products. It is manufactured and marketed by Lubrizol Corp.
Chemoxide™ SO Surfactant – Offsets hard water in household/personal-care products. It is made byLubrizol Corp.
Potassium Soyate – A soy soap with glycerin as a moisturizer, made by Lubrizol Corp.
ACCOSOFT® 750 – Used as a fabric softener for laundry products. It is made by Stepan Company.
PETROSTEP® Q-50S – A unique ingredient used in oilfields as a down-hole corrosion inhibitor. It is made by Stepan Company.


SoBind™ HARMONY, Impression and CLARITY – Soy polymers that replace harsh synthetic and animal-based ingredients in a variety of products to make the products thicker, smoother and more colorful. They are made by DuPont™.

March 1st Deadline Approaches for United Soybean Board Nominations

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is looking for soybean farmers interested  in filling one of Nebraska's four director positions with the United Soybean Board (USB).  USB is made up of 70 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff. 

Any farmer interested in applying needs to meet the following criteria:
1.  Be involved in a farming operation that raises soybeans.
2.  Be a resident of Nebraska.
3.  Be at least 21 years of age.

To be considered for the national leadership position, farmers must contact Victor Bohuslavsky at the Nebraska Soybean Board office at 402-432-5720, before the March 1, 2014 deadline.

The NSB Board of Directors will submit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture a "first preferred choice nominee" and "second preferred choice alternate" for the open position. The Secretary of Agriculture will make the final appointment. The USDA has a policy that membership on USDA boards and committees is open to all individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation and marital or family status.    The chosen individual will begin serving three-year terms in December 2014.  Each individual appointed is eligible to serve a total of three terms. 


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged eligible farm owners to apply for the 2014 Century and Heritage Farm Program.  The program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau and recognizes families that have owned their farm for 100 years in the case of Century Farms and 150 years for Heritage Farms.

“These awards are an opportunity to recognize the hard work and commitment by these families that is necessary to keep a farm in the same family for 100 or 150 years,” Northey said.  “If you consider all the challenges and unexpected obstacles each of them would have had to overcome during their life on the farm, it gives you a greater appreciation of the dedication and perseverance of each of the families being recognized.”

Applications are available on the Department’s website at by clicking on the Century Farm or Heritage Farm link under “Hot Topics.”

Applications may also be requested from Becky Lorenz, Coordinator of the Century and Heritage Farm Program via phone at 515-281-3645, email at or by writing to Century or Heritage Farms Program, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Henry A. Wallace Building, 502 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50319.

Farm families seeking to qualify for the Century or Heritage Farms Program must submit an application to the Department no later than June 1, 2014.

The ceremony to recognize the 2014 Century and Heritage Farms is scheduled to be held at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday, August 12th.

The Century Farm program began in 1976 as part of the Nation’s Bicentennial Celebration and 17,851 farms from across the state have received this recognition.  The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program, and 650 farms have been recognized.

Last year 365 Century Farms and 67 Heritage Farms were recognized.

“Century and Heritage Farm recognitions at the Iowa State Fair are a great celebration of Iowa agriculture and the families that care for the land and produce our food,” Northey said.  “I hope eligible families will take the time to apply and then come to the State Fair to be recognized.”

U.S. Senate Votes to Move Forward on 2014 Farm Bill, Vote on Final Passage Tues Feb 4

The U.S. Senate cleared a procedural hurdle today and voted to proceed to consideration of the 2014 Farm Bill, paving the way for a final vote on the measure tomorrow. Cloture was invoked with strong bipartisan support of 72-22. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), the Committee’s Ranking Member, co-authored the bipartisan reform bill that ends direct payment subsidies, saves taxpayers $23 billion, and helps America’s agriculture economy continue to grow.  The bill significantly increases support for fruits and vegetables and local food systems.  It also protects critical food assistance for children, seniors and families while achieving savings in the program solely by addressing misuse. It is also the country’s largest investment in land and water conservation in years. 

The Farm Bill is supported by hundreds of farm, healthy food, conservation and other organizations. 

“This is not your father’s Farm Bill,” Stabenow said.  “Tomorrow, the Senate can enact major reforms to farm programs, end outdated and unnecessary subsidies, and support the transition the American people are already making to a healthier food system.  Congress has passed few major deficit reduction bills or major bipartisan jobs bills in recent years.  Tomorrow, the Senate can reduce the deficit and help farmers, ranchers and business owners create jobs by passing the 2014 Farm Bill.”

“The Senate has an opportunity to end the uncertainty that has dogged farmers and consumers for years,” Cochran said.  “I am grateful that the 2014 farm bill, with its many reforms and deficit reduction measures, is receiving bipartisan support from all regions of the country.  This legislation was purposely written to ensure that agriculture policies work to strengthen the diversity of the American agriculture sector, to foster conservation and combat nutrition program abuses.”

Editors Note:  Both Nebraska Senators, Fischer and Johanns, along with Harkin from Iowa, voted in favor of the Cloture motion.  Grassley of Iowa voted against the cloture motion. 

Refuge Compliance Report Shows Increased Compliance in 2013

The National Corn Growers Association announced today that it is pleased the enhanced Compliance Assurance Program is seeing strong success. The program,  which includes on-farm refuge assessments, an online survey and IRM education and awareness, has documented an increase in both the overall  number of growers planting proper corn refuge and use of integrated refuge products.

The CAP aims to improve compliance with Insect Resistance Management requirements. The Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, a consortium of Bt corn registrants, submits an annual CAP report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describing industry-coordinated compliance assurance efforts for Bt traits.

Adoption of integrated refuge products result in automatic compliance in the Corn Belt

Highlights of the survey indicate a strong adoption of integrated refuge products, which include Bt and refuge seed interspersed in a single bag or container.

“We are pleased to see that the number of growers planting integrated refuge products on their entire farming operation has more than tripled this year and the percent of those who planted at least one integrated product increased from 50 percent in 2012 to 75 percent in 2013,” said Mike Smith, ABSTC IRM subcommittee co-chairman.

ABSTC projects that the adoption of integrated products will continue to increase, contributing to the overall increase in compliance, which helps preserve Bt corn technology durability.

Survey shows that most growers are in compliance

In 2013, the majority of growers surveyed planted the required refuge size on their farms and planted it within the required distance for all of their Bt corn fields. Furthermore, the survey indicated that the percentage of growers not planting any refuge acres continues to be less than ten percent.

The ABSTC continues to promote education programs and strategies to preserve the efficacy of Bt technology. In addition, the ABSTC continues to partner with NCGA to provide information on refuge ensures that NCGA’s membership and networks are fully informed of refuge requirements and the CAP. A collaboration supporting the use of best management practices for corn rootworm was initiated.  The campaign includes advertisements and editorials in local publications on practices to utilize to help protect your fields from CRW.

“This type of collaboration is vital to the industry’s efforts to showcase the benefits of best management practices – including crop rotation and agronomic factors associated with corn-on-corn production,” said Jim Zimmerman , chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. “ABSTC is committed to the success of the farmer, and through our educational programs, we are giving them options that will help manage challenging situations on their farms, as well as durability and stewardship of the industry’s trait technologies.”

Nine Candidates Named for 2015 Corn Board Election

Nine corn growers from around the country have been nominated for election to the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Board for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. New board members will be elected by state delegates at the Corn Congress this July in Washington.

"We were thrilled to see so much interest from the corn growers who want to step up and help lead our organization," said Pam Johnson, NCGA chairwoman and chair of the nominating committee. "Each of these candidates will serve our industry well, and we thank them for getting involved. This next year promises to be an exciting one for corn growers and NCGA."

Those nominated are, in alphabetical order:

Bob Bowman, of DeWitt, Iowa.
Bowman is running for reelection to the Corn Board, and serves as liaison to the NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team. He also is president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and a past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Bowman and his son farm together, growing row crops, including some identity-preserved production, in addition to running a custom fertilizer and pesticide application business.

Lynn Chrisp, of Hastings, Neb. Chrisp also is running for reelection, and is liaison to NCGA's Ethanol Committee. Chrisp farms a highly productive irrigated operation in south central Nebraska  consisting of 1,150 acres.  With his son and part-time seasonal help, Chrisp raises mostly corn with some soybeans.  During harvest, he works with his neighbor to jointly harvest 2,900 acres annually.

David Howell, of Middletown, Ind. Howell is a member of NCGA's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, and serves as a director for the U.S. Grains Council and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. Howell and his wife operate a first-generation family farm where, with their two sons, they grow corn and soybeans as well as processing tomatoes and pumpkins marketed to major retailers nationwide.

Jim Reed, of Monticello, Ill. Reed serves as chair of the NCGA Public Policy Action Team and is a former chair of the NCGA CornPAC as well as past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. Reed, along with his family, farms 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans in addition to performing custom farming operations for his relatives. The proud owner of a Centennial farm, his is the fifth generation of his family to farm in his community.

Bruce Rohwer, of Paullina, Iowa.
Rohwer is chair and past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and chair of the state's CornPAC, as well as a member of the NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team. Rohwer operates a corn and soybean farm, along with his son and daughter, in addition to owning a drainage tillage business. Along with a neighbor, he also runs a sow farrow farrow-to-finish operation.

Kevin Skunes, of Arthur, N.D. Skunes is running for reelection to the Corn Board and is a past chairman of the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and Corn Board liaison to the NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. He is also a former chairman of the North Dakota Farm Bureau. Skunes, his wife, Betty, and their two sons farm 4,900 acres of corn and soybeans.

Dean Taylor, of Prairie City, Iowa.
Taylor is a former chair of the NCGA Production and Stewardship Action Team and is a member of the NCGA Public Policy Action Team. He is also a past president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Taylor operates a multigenerational corn and soybean farm in central Iowa with his brother.

Paul Taylor, of Esmond, Ill.  Taylor is running for reelection to the NCGA Corn Board and is a former vice chair of the NCGA Ethanol Committee. He also is past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and former president of the Wisconsin Soybean Association. Taylor continues a farming tradition on land which has been in his family for nearly 100 years in northern Illinois. There, he raises corn, seed corn, food grade non-GMO soybeans and canning vegetables for Del Monte, including sweet corn, lima beans and green peas.

Jim Zimmerman, of Rosendale, Wisc. Zimmerman is chair of the NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team and a director of the Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board. He also is a past president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. Zimmerman farms corn, soybeans and wheat in east central Wisconsin. A strong advocate for innovation in agriculture, his operation utilizes precision farming techniques and no till/strip till practices.

More information about these candidates will be released in the Nominating Committee Report at the upcoming NCGA Corn Congress, to be held Feb. 27 and March 1 at Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for February 2014

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for February 2014. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for February is 0.125 percent, unchanged from 0.125 percent in January.

The interest rate for commodity and marketing assistance loans disbursed during February is 1.125 percent, unchanged from 1.125 percent in January.

Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for February are as follows, 2.375 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 2.250 percent in January; 3.00 percent with 10-year loan terms, up from 2.875 percent in January and; 3.125 percent with 12-year loan terms, up from 3.000 percent in January.

Forecast for Brazillian Heat Wave Raises Concerns in Regions That Planted Later

Brazil's soybean harvest continues to progress smoothly, registering good yields across the country.  However, forecasts of hot, dry conditions for February are raising concerns in regions that planted later, according to AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

Dry conditions could affect Rio Grande do Sul, where rain forecast for the weekend did not materialize and came in the form of isolated showers. With most of the crop in Brazil's southernmost state in the flowering or pod-filling stages, the lack of precipitation on the charts for the next week is worrying, said AgRural.

Another area at risk is Campos Gerais, in the south of neighboring Parana state, where crops are also planted later.

Finally, the northeastern states, which suffered drought losses last year, have also suffered from inconsistent rains since mid-December, and further dry weather is forecast for the next week.  But any losses will be offset by the crop's performance in Mato Grosso and western Parana, which are registering good early season yields. Mato Grosso and Parana account for 40% of the crop.

High yields registered during the first leg of the Rally da Safra crop tour in Mato Grosso prompted Agroconsult Director Andre Pessoa to declare last week that the No. 1 state's output will guarantee Brazil produces 90 million metric tons in 2013-14.

Rains hindered harvesting efforts in Mato Grosso last week, and will continue to do so in February, according to local forecasts.  However, field work remains on schedule in the state with the crop 13% collected as of Friday, according to AgRural.  Average yields are around 46 bushels per acre across the state, reaching 51 bpa in the north.

In neighboring Goias, the No. 4 soy state, yields are much more varied after dry weather in the southeast during December and January, said AgRural. Yields of between 35 bpa and 53 bpa are being recorded in Rio Verde and Jatai.  In Parana, the crop is in good condition and registering high yields with the exception of parts of the north.

Across Brazil, the crop was 6% harvested as of Friday, said AgRural.

Rabobank Report Calls for Structural Changes to Keep Beef Industry Competitive

Changing consumer preferences and a production model tailored to the production of top-shelf steaks has put the U.S. cattle industry in a position losing market share to competitive proteins, according to a new report from the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research (FAR) and Advisory group. The report, “Ground Beef Nation,” notes the industry needs to change the way beef is produced in order to remain competitive in the protein market.

“Under the existing business model, the U.S. cattle industry manages all fed beef as if it were destined for the center of the plate at a white table cloth restaurant,” notes Rabobank cattle economist Don Close. “The industry is, essentially, producing an extraordinarily high-grade product for consumers who desire to purchase a commodity. More than 60 of U.S. beef consumption is ground product. If the U.S. cattle industry continues to produce ground beef in a structure better suited to high-end cuts, the result will be continued erosion of market share.”

The report goes on to explore the trend of changing consumer preferences and the role pricing plays in the notable decline in beef consumption. The industries that produce competitive proteins such as pork and chicken have grown and become more efficient, making the products more readily available at competitive prices.

”The industry must change to a production model that determines the best end use of an animal as early as possible, in order to compete in a Ground Beef Nation,” notes Close. “A new system for end-use categorization that influences calf selection, cattle management, production costs and feeding regimen throughout the life of the animal is vital to keeping beef competitive with other choices at the meat counter.”

Global Pork Positive as Declining Feed Costs Lift Margins

Rabobank has published a new report on the global pork industry, reviewing the generally positive state of the industry in 2013 and looking ahead at factors affecting supply, demand and prices in 2014.

"The main wildcard in the global market this quarter is the effect of PEDv outbreaks in North America and what this means to pork production in and export from this region this year"

In the report, the bank's Food & Agribusiness Research team says that the global pork industry had a generally good year in 2013, with the Rabobank five-nation finished hog price index averaging 151, an increase of 10% over 2012, and the highest level in the last five years. Rabobank says the price outlook for the global pork market for the remainder of Q1 2014 and into Q2 2014 is steady. In combination with lower feed costs, this will be positive for farmers' margins, despite the unknown impact of porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) in the U.S., Canada and Mexico markets.

"The main wildcard in the global market this quarter is the effect of PEDv outbreaks in North America and what this means to pork production in and export from this region this year," said Rabobank analyst Albert Vernooij. "Rabobank expects the impact in the U.S. to be more severe than forecast by the USDA and believes it will likely hamper U.S. pork production growth into 2014. This might also pressure U.S. export volumes, presenting opportunities for the other exporters."

PEDv outbreaks in Central and Northwest Mexico began around the third quarter of 2013; during the week of January 20, 2014, the first official cases of PEDv were confirmed in Canada's main pork production region, Manitoba. Given Canada's position as the third largest exporter of pork, behind the U.S. and EU, PEDv will limit the amount of pork available to the global trade in the next 12 to 18 months. By comparison, the Mexican pork industry remains optimistic, provided PEDv is satisfactorily controlled. This year, the Mexican government launched a new programme to increase the swine inventory through genetic improvements and improve pork meat quality to increase exports.

Elsewhere, pork imports in Japan dropped 10.9% from January to November, mainly due to the depreciation of the Yen, while the Korean pork market has returned to the situation before the devastating swine fever outbreak, which started in April 2009. Lower imports combined with stabilizing domestic production in the second half of 2013 have supported price recovery in Korea, which will likely continue in 2014 due to the 5.8% YOY drop in the sow inventory in Q3 2013.

In the EU, Rabobank expects a positive first half in 2014. Lower feed costs and continued elevated price levels will support the recovery of farmers' margins after the lows experienced in the first half of 2013. This is due to a slightly increased EU pork production supported by continually strong productivity growth, and stable to slightly higher consumption and exports. The latter might perform even better than expected if the impact of PEDv in the U.S. is larger than currently estimated.

In the long term, the main question will be how farmers globally will react to the lower feed costs and the scale of industry expansion that will follow. In light of the margin pressure most farmers have endured in recent years, Rabobank expects global pork production growth to be measured and in line with demand. At the same time, steadily growing production in China and Russia and strengthening will limit export growth potential for traditional suppliers.

Deere Completes Major Modernization of Iowa Foundry

John Deere has fired up its $150 million modernized foundry in Iowa. Three years in the making, it is the latest in more than $1 billion in investments Deere has made over the past decade in its Waterloo operations - the company's largest manufacturing complex in the world.

"We believe having a foundry provides us a competitive edge," said Josh Wittenburg, manager of foundry operations in Waterloo. The project gives Deere "the ability to produce larger castings to match the growth in the size of our tractors," said Thad Nevitt, factory manager of the Deere Waterloo Works.

The company's industry-leading large row-crop tractors are manufactured in Waterloo.

Total employment at Deere's Waterloo operations remains at 6,000 people - the highest in a quarter century and steady over the past two years.

The company says that as the size of Deere tractors increased over the years, so has the size of the castings required. The project allows Deere to design tractors that provide the company with a competitive advantage with the use of very large and complex castings with tight tolerances.

Growers Benefit from New Approach to Finding Silage Information

Forage growers looking for online management information now have an intelligent alternative to a catchall Internet search. The newly redesigned The Silage Zone® resource on is now organized based on forage growers’ seasonal activities: Plant, Grow, Harvest, Store and Feed.

“This new approach displays decades of experience from forage experts in a more user-friendly, focused format,” says Dan Jamison, DuPont Pioneer marketing communications manager for forages. “The site now offers a better grower experience with information that is more relevant to the season.”

In the new-and-improved The Silage Zone resource site, growers can find a broad range of articles in each activity tab, including:

    Plant: “Is Early Planted Corn Worth the Effort?”
    Grow: “Alfalfa Growers Can Balance Yield and Quality”
    Harvest: “Inoculant Mixing and Storage”
    Store: “Approximate Silage Bunker, Pile and Bag Capacities”
    Feed: “Reduced Lignin Trait Could Revolutionize Alfalfa”

All five tabs include both alfalfa and corn silage articles. The Harvest, Store and Feed tabs feature additional forage additives information. From The Silage Zone resource site, growers can also link to agronomy articles and current product information pages on

Pioneer dairy, livestock and nutrition specialists have consolidated production and management information about silage into one manual and it’s now available to growers, students, university extension, nutritionists and anyone interested in learning more about forages. From planting through feedout, The Silage Zone resource manual is a one-of-a-kind resource that provides industry-leading research, agronomic information and nutritional expertise. It also offers an entire range of information on plant genetics, crop-specific forage additives, silage know-how and local services.

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