Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday March 31 Ag News


Nebraska corn growers intend to plant 9.40 million acres this year, down 6 percent from 2013, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Soybean planted acreage is expected to be a record high 5.40 million acres, up 13 percent from last year.

All hay acreage to be harvested is expected to total 2.45 million acres, down 2 percent from last year’s acreage.

Winter wheat seeded in the fall of 2013 are estimated at 1.50 million acres, up 2 percent from last year. 

Dry edible bean acreage intentions are estimated at 180,000 acres, up 38 percent from 2013. 

Sorghum growers in Nebraska intend to plant 160,000 acres, down 44 percent from a year ago.

Oat intentions are estimated at 100,000 acres, down 33 percent from last year.

Sugarbeet acres are expected to be 48,000 acres, up 4 percent from last year.

Sunflower producers expect to plant 33,000 acres, down 23 percent from 2013.  Oil type varieties account for 25,000 acres, down 11 percent from a year ago.  Non-oil varieties made up the balance of 8,000 acres, down 47 percent.

Estimates in this report are based on a survey conducted during the first two weeks of March.

Iowa Prospective Plantings

The annual Prospective Plantings report published by USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service  is based on  the  voluntary  responses  from  approximately  two  thousand  Iowa  producers.    This  report  provides  an indication  of  the  acres  farmers  intend  to  plant  for  the  2014  crop  year.   Actual  plantings  will  depend  upon weather, economic conditions and  the availability of production  inputs at  the  time producers must make  their final planting decisions.

Iowa  farmers  intend  to  plant  14.0 million  acres  of  corn  for  all  purposes  in  2014,  according  to  the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Prospective Plantings  report.  This  is an  increase of 400,000 acres from 2013. 

Producers intend to plant 9.6 million acres of soybeans in Iowa this year. This is an increase of 300,000 acres from 2013.  

Iowa  farmers  intend  to  plant  130,000  acres  of  oats  for  all  purposes,  down  90,000  acres  from  last  year.   If realized, this would be the second smallest acreage since record keeping began.

Farmers in Iowa expect to harvest 1.05 million acres of dry hay for the 2014 crop year. If realized, this will be the lowest in state history, below the 1.14 million acres harvested in 2012.  

U.S. Farmers Expect to Plant Record-High Soybean Acreage

Producers surveyed across the United States intend to plant an estimated 81.5 million acres of soybeans in 2014, up 6 percent from last year and an all-time record high, according to the Prospective Plantings report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). If realized, soybeans will surpass the previous record of    77.5 million acres planted in the United States set in 2009.

Planted acreage intentions for soybeans are up or unchanged in all states except Missouri and Oklahoma. The largest increase is expected in North Dakota with a record high 5.65 million acres, an increase of one million acres from 2013. If realized, the planted area of soybeans in Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin will also be the largest on record.

Corn growers intend to plant 91.7 million acres in 2014, down 4 percent from last year and if realized the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Expected returns for corn are anticipated to be lower in 2014 compared with recent years. Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Utah are expected to increase planted acreage from last year. If realized, planted acres in Idaho will be a record high.

The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official, survey based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2014 planting intentions. NASS’s acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of more than 84,000 farm operators across the United States. Other key findings in the report are:
-    All wheat planted area for 2014 is estimated at 55.8 million acres, down 1 percent from 2013.
-    Winter wheat planted area, at 42.0 million, is down 3 percent from last year but up slightly from the previous estimate.
-    Area planted to spring wheat for 2014 is expected to total 12.0 million acres, up 4 percent from 2013.
-    Durum wheat is expected to total 1.80 million acres for 2014, up 22 percent from last year.
-    All cotton planted area for 2014 is expected to total 11.1 million acres, 7 percent above last year.


Nebraska corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 809 million bushels, up 38 percent from 2013, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Of the total, 440 million bushels are stored on farms, up 54 percent from a year ago.  Off-farm stocks, at 369 million bushels, are up 22 percent from last year. 

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 86.7 million bushels, up 23 percent from last year.  On-farm stocks of 17.5 million bushels are down 15 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks, at 69.2 million bushels, are up 39 percent from 2013. 

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 25.6 million bushels, down 32 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks of 1.50 million bushels are down 17 percent from 2013 and off-farm stocks of  24.1 million bushels are down 32 percent from last year.

Sorghum stored in all positions totaled 6.31 million bushels, up 132 percent from 2013.  On-farm stocks of 900,000 are up 125 percent and off-farm holdings of 5.41 million are more than double last year. 

Iowa Grain Stocks

Iowa  corn  stocks  in  all  positions  on March  1,  2014  totaled  1.22 billion bushels  according  to  the  USDA  National  Agricultural  Statistics  Service March 1 Grain Stocks report. This is 16 percent more than last year, but still the  second  lowest  level  since  2004.   Of  the  total  stocks,  58  percent were stored  in on-farm  storage  facilities.   The  indicated quarterly disappearance from December  2013  through  February  2014  totaled  520 million  bushels, 2 percent more  than  the  510 million  bushels  used  during  the  same  quarter last year.

Iowa soybeans stored in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 208 million bushels,  up  slightly  from March  1,  2013.   Of  the  total  stocks,  36 percent were  held  in  on-farm  storage  facilities.    Indicated  disappearance  for  the December 2013 - February 2014 quarter was 132 million bushels, 1 percent more than the 130 million bushels used during the same quarter last year.

Iowa  oat  stocks  stored  in  all  positions  on  March  1,  2014  totaled 2.45 million  bushels,  down  12  percent  from  the  2.78  million  bushels  on hand March  1,  2013.    This  is  the  lowest March  1  stocks  since  estimates began  in  1950.    Of  the  total  stocks,  45 percent  were  stored  in  on-farm facilities.   Disappearance  during  the  December  2013  -  February  2014 quarter  totaled 2.04 million bushels, 30 percent  less  than  the  same quarter last year. 

United States Grain Stocks

Corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 7.01 billion bushels, up 30 percent from March 1, 2013. Of the total stocks, 3.86 billion bushels are stored on farms, up 45 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at  3.15  billion  bushels,  are  up  15  percent  from  a  year  ago.  The December  2013  -  February  2014  indicated disappearance is 3.45 billion bushels, compared with 2.63 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 992 million bushels, down 1 percent from March 1, 2013. Soybean stocks stored on farms are estimated at 382 million bushels, down 16 percent from a year ago.  Off-farm  stocks,  at  610 million  bushels,  are  up  13  percent  from  last March.  Indicated  disappearance  for  the December 2013 - February 2014 quarter totaled 1.16 billion bushels, up 20 percent from the same period a year earlier.

All wheat stored  in all positions on March 1, 2014  totaled 1.06 billion bushels, down 15 percent  from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 238 million bushels, up slightly from last March. Off-farm stocks, at  818 million  bushels,  are  down  18  percent  from  a  year  ago.  The December  2013  -  February  2014  indicated disappearance is 419 million bushels, down 4 percent from the same period a year earlier.


For the month of March, precipitation averaged less than 50 percent of normal across much of Nebraska, causing further depletion of soil moisture supplies, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Temperatures averaged 2 to 4 degrees below normal for the month.  Windy conditions dried soils and caused fire warning levels to remain high.  Crop producers focused on spring field work preparations.  Available soil moisture continues a concern going into spring.  Topsoil moisture supplies rated 16 percent very short, 46 short, 38 adequate, and 0 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated  18 percent very short, 42 short, 40 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Field Crops Report: Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 32 fair, 48 good, and 7 excellent. 
Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Stock water supplies rated 4 percent very short, 14 short, 82 adequate, and 0 surplus.  

Hay and forage supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 90 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Cattle and calf condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 10 fair, 80 good, and 9 excellent. Cattle and calf losses rated 5 percent below average, 91 average, and 4 above average. Percentage of cows calved since January 1 was 52 percent.

Sheep and lamb condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 14 fair, 82 good, and 4 excellent.  Sheep and lamb losses rated 0 percent below average, 99 average, and 1 above average.

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

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

Northeast Nebraska RC&D Hears of Farm-to-School Program

The Northeast Nebraska Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council met March 24th at the Winside Public Library.  Caryl Guisinger, Center for Rural Affairs Farm-to-School Fellow, shared information on this program’s progression around the country.  Nebraska is one of only seven states without a farm-to-school program.  Caryl said that 1/3 of US children under age 17 are overweight and only 2% of US children eat sufficient fruits and vegetables.

Farm-to-School programs are seeing many gains through improved K-12 academic achievement, fewer behavioral issues, and improved diets.  Participating farmers have seen a 5% increase in income, new opportunities for diversity, and they’ve developed positive connections with students.  Communities are seeing it as a win-win for everyone.  The RC&D Council voted to start a Farm-to-School project and will be seeking input from citizens and schools. 

Dates And Probabilities For The Last Spring Freeze Across Nebraska

As spring planting approaches, it is important to understand factors that influence planting decisions. In addition to environmental and agronomic factors such as the crop planted, calendar date, soil temperature, and soil moisture, a major climatic factor is spring freeze risk. While each season is different from the previous ones, long-term average (30 years) spring freeze risks calculated based on available historic data provide valuable information for making planting decisions.  At the UNL Extension Cropwatch website, there is an article that features maps generated from High Plains Regional Climate Center data which shows an average date when spring freeze risk (32ºF) is low (10%), medium (50%), and high (90%), respectively.  Click here to see the maps and read the article...  

April 15, Deadline Nears to File Candidacy Petitions for Nebraska Soybean Board July 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.

For more information about the Nebraska Soybean Board, visit


Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll’s new feature length documentary, Farmland, will be released nationally May 1, 2014. The film will be distributed via D&E Entertainment in more than 60 major markets. Numerous national exhibitors will be carrying the film including: Regal Cinemas, Marcus Theatres, Carmike Cinemas, Landmark Theatres and many key independent theaters.

The film will have its New York premiere at a private screening on April 17, during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Additionally, Farmland has been selected to be in competition this year at Cleveland International Film Festival on March 28-29, 2014; Atlanta Film Festival on April 6, 2014; Nashville Film Festival on April 19, 2014; and Newport Beach Film Festival in April 2014.  

The "FARMLAND" film will be able to be seen at several venues in Nebraska on its national release date of May 1st, including: 

The "FARMLAND" movie is scheduled to be shown in Wayne, NE, as well.  However, a venue, time, and date have yet to be determined. 

Farmland offers viewers an intimate and firsthand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers and ranchers across the U.S., chronicling their high-risk/high-reward jobs and their passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

Among the cast of the movis is David Loberg, a fifth generation corn and soybean farmer from Carroll, Nebraska.  He runs the family farm with his mother. The farm also custom feeds 500 head of cows for a local dairy operation and runs an irrigation business. The 25-year-old Loberg and his wife have an infant son.  Other farmers are from Georgia, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. 

“In Farmland, audiences will hear thoughts and opinions about agriculture, but not from me, and not from a narrator,” Moll says about his film. “They’re from the mouths of the farmers and ranchers themselves.”

The documentary features an original score composed by Nathan Wang with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. The film also includes an original recording of “This Land is Your Land” performed in a first-ever collaboration with platinum rock band Everclear and Grammy® Award-nominated artist Liz Phair.

Visit to locate a theatre near you where Farmland will be screening, as well as additional information about the film and to watch the trailer.

Farmland was produced by Moll’s Allentown Productions, with generous support from the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®).


The Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) organization is pushing for the advancement of LR 414 introduced by Senator Al Davis.

LR 414 is a resolution which asks the President, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Congress and the United States Trade Representative to protect Nebraska citizens as well as all citizens of the United States, by supporting Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) legislation identifying meat purchases and refuse any attempt to change the current law governing the labeling process.

“We need to send a message to Washington,” said Davis. “A message from the number one industry in Nebraska – the cattle industry, to protect our residents by giving them the same advantage as foreign consumers; the opportunity to have country of origin labeling on our meat purchases so we can make informed choices.”

The resolution goes one step further and encourages those same leaders to express their concerns to the World Trade Organization and ask the WTO to abide by U.S. law and regulations for COOL.

“I find it interesting that Nebraska Farm Bureau (NFB) and Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) are worried about WTO compliance for COOL,” said ICON president Dave Wright. “The testimony against LR 414 NFB points out that Canadian beef will have a disadvantage to U.S. beef if COOL is passed. What would be the disadvantage? Are foreign auto makers at a disadvantage to U.S. auto makers? Are foreign clothing manufacturers at a disadvantage to U.S. clothing manufacturers? “

In recent years, opposition from Canada and Mexico weakened the COOL legislation by changing the labeling law so beef born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. was mislabeled as a mixed-origin product. Action by the USDA in November of 2013 changed the regulations so U.S. beef was not labeled as a mixed-origin product.

 “NC is afraid that if the U.S. is not compliant with WTO then Canada and Mexico will retaliate against the U.S. and we will have lost all the benefits that we now enjoy with our export market,” said Wright. “Benefits like the $6 billion in beef export in 2013, which equals $251/head slaughtered. Or the fact that 15% of Nebraska’s total exports consists of beef.” What NC fails to see is that those exports are LABELED as U.S. or in the case of Nebraska they are labeled as NEBRASKA Wright said. They also ignore the fact that the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) spends $6 million on foreign marketing and the Nebraska Beef Council (NBC) sends $50,000 to the Nebraska Department of Ag for foreign marketing. So NC makes it clear that labeling U.S. beef in a foreign market is profitable, but in the domestic market, not so much.

Wright added the Washington DC court of Appeal has just upheld COOL.

There is a move by Canada, Mexico and domestic meat importers now once again to weaken COOL. ICON encourages cattlemen in Nebraska to encourage their state leaders as well as national leaders to move forward with this legislation. It will not only protect the Nebraska and U.S. cattle industry but all consumers who, now more than ever, are seeking to be familiar with the background of the food they eat.

Animal Welfare and Agriculture Organizations Make Headway on Markets for Family Farmers

(from HSUS)

Various groups met Saturday to discuss ways family farmers in eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa can compete against industrial farms. The Humane Society of the United States, the Nebraska Farmers Union, the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society, and Nebraska and Iowa farmers met with individuals representing various pork companies who presented opportunities to raise hogs under the Global Animal Partnership 5-Step Program.

Global Animal Partnership brings together farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers and animal welfare advocacy organizations to continually improve the lives of farm animals. The 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards recognize the welfare practices of producers who are certified by authorized, independent third parties; promote continuous improvement through its unique, multi-tiered design; enable retailers to have a selection of animal welfare labeled products for their customers; and better informs consumers about the way animals are raised.

Most breeding pigs in the U.S. are confined in "gestation crates" for virtually their entire lives. These individual crates are approximately two feet wide—so small the animals can't turn around or take more than a step forward or backward. Global Animal Partnership’s minimum standards prohibit crates, cages and stalls, the sub-therapeutic (preventative) use of antibiotics and tail docking.

John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union said: “The pork marketplace has changed. Doing business the conventional way has not worked well for most independent hog producers in recent years as the U.S. has lost 91 percent of our hog producers since 1980 thanks to concentrated, non-competitive, inaccessible, vertically integrated pork markets. The changing marketplace comes with both challenges and opportunities for hog producers. This event has focused on the positive opportunities that our smaller and newer pork producers might want to pursue.”

Angela Huffman, market development coordinator for The HSUS said: “Opportunities have never been greater – national food trends, rising consumer interest in animal welfare, and growing consumer health consciousness favor sustainable family farmers who demonstrate good stewardship of the land and the animals under their control. We are pleased to work with family farmers in opening these emerging markets and to do our part to assure their economic viability.”

William Powers, executive director of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society said: "People deserve to know that what they are eating was grown and raised in the very best conditions, which involves care of the land and the animal."

The HSUS advocates compassionate eating – or the Three Rs: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards. The HSUS supports those farmers and ranchers who give proper care to their animals, act in accordance with the basic ethic of compassion to sentient creatures under their control, and practice and promote humane and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Iowa Farmland Values Begin to Dip

Iowa farmland values dropped 5.4 percent during the past six months, marking the end of a five-year run that saw land prices surge to record highs. The average price of an acre of tillable crop land was $8,268, down from $8,690 during the six months ending September 1, according to the semi-annual survey from Iowa Realtors Land Institute.

Land values declined the most in southeast Iowa (down 8.4 percent) and remained the steadiest in southwest Iowa (down 2.1 percent).

Farmland values rose 1.2 percent from March to September 2013. The last time farmland values dropped was in 2009, according to Agri-Pulse.

Despite softening prices, farmland values are still nearly double that of 2010, when tillable cropland sold for $4,268 an acre, according to the report.

The value of pasture and timberland rose in most parts of the state, driven by strong livestock prices and demand from hunters.

USTR:  Obama Administration Removes Barriers to Food and Agriculture Exports

In 2013, the Obama Administration opened markets worldwide by resolving unwarranted sanitary (human and animal health) and phytosanitary (plant health) barriers to the exportation of a wide range of food and agricultural products.  While each country should implement necessary measures to protect human, animal, and plant health, some countries impose arbitrary import restrictions to protect their products from foreign competition.  Expanding U.S. food and agricultural exports improves income for farmers and ranchers across rural America and supports jobs for workers in the food and agricultural sector.  Our efforts helped the United States to export a record $148 billion in food and agricultural products in 2013.  Exports of agricultural products supported over 929,000 U.S. jobs.

USTR’s fifth annual Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures identifies the Administration’s ongoing efforts to eliminate discriminatory or otherwise unwarranted measures that impede U.S. food and agricultural exports.  These unjustified barriers harm U.S. farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, workers, and their families and deprive consumers around the world of access to safe, high-quality American food and agricultural goods.

Examples of Obama Administration successes in removing unwarranted sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to U.S. exports include:

Expanded Access for Beef and Beef Products

After the United States demonstrated the safety of U.S. beef, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama opened their markets to a wider variety of U.S. beef and beef products.  This allowed increased exports and streamlined trade, reducing costs for U.S. exporters.  Previously, Indonesia only accepted boneless U.S. beef originating from cattle less than 30 months of age, while the Dominican Republic previously allowed U.S. beef and beef products, both boneless and bone-in, only from animals less than 30 months of age.  Additionally, Mexico has agreed to allow imports of all U.S. beef and beef products recognized under international standards as being safe for human or animal consumption.  Previously, Mexico only allowed the importation of U.S. beef derived from animals less than 30 months of age.

Additionally, the Obama Administration worked intensively with the European Union to obtain approval for U.S. beef treated with lactic acid.  The February 2013 approval of this pathogen reduction treatment made it substantially easier for many U.S. producers to produce beef for sale into the European Union market.  A larger number of U.S. companies are exporting beef to the European Union as a result of the approval.  This helped U.S. beef exports to the European Union reach a record $252 million in 2013.

Overall, total U.S. beef exports world-wide grew 12 percent in 2013 to reach over $6 billion.

Increased Market Opportunities for Swine and Pork Products

After the Obama Administration provided robust scientific justification on the safety of U.S. swine, in February 2013, the European Union lifted its ban on the importation of live pigs from the United States.  Since the ban was lifted, the United States has exported high value live breeding pigs to the European Union.

Additionally, U.S. fresh and chilled pork products can now be sold in the Colombian market due to a U.S. government and industry collaboration to document the safety of U.S. pork from trichinosis and the strength of U.S. regulatory oversight over pork production.

After extensive U.S. engagement to demonstrate the effectiveness of the U.S. food safety system in reducing health risks from pathogens and other contaminants, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain have agreed to reopen their markets to pork imports from the United States.

In 2013, the United States exported over $6 billion in pork and pork products worldwide.

Increased Fruit Exports to Australia

The Obama Administration reached agreements with Australia that allow the exportation to Australia of peaches and nectarines from California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  In addition, following extensive U.S. engagement in 2013, the state of Western Australia lifted its unwarranted ban on U.S. origin grapes.  Exports of U.S. peaches, nectarines and grapes to Australia reached $54 million in 2013.

Bolstered Horticulture Exports to Asian Markets

We also worked cooperatively with Japanese authorities to resolve Japanese pest risk concerns with U.S. cherries, leading to an opening of the Japanese market to U.S. cherries.  Additionally, the Obama Administration worked together with the U.S. pear industry to enable China to open its market for a certain type of U.S. pear.  U.S. businesses exported $2.7 million of pears to the Chinese market in 2013, up from $44,000 in 2012.

Soy Goes Global Inside New Nutritious, Delicious Foods

Guatemalan food company Alimentos Sociedad Anonima (Alimentos SA) launched three soy-based Amelia cream soups in March. Ugandan food maker SESACO Ltd. has introduced SoySip, a just-add-hot-water beverage that comes with packets of ginger and sugar. As the United States recognizes April as Soyfoods month, the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) salutes its partners in developing countries for their 2013-2014 introductions of exciting new African and Hispanic foods made with soy protein ingredients.

"We are seeing a bumper crop of new foods containing soy offered by companies and groups that WISHH has assisted through training, product samples and more,” said WISHH Chairman David Iverson, a South Dakota soybean grower. “The U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Agency for International Development (USAID) and soybean checkoff funds are assisting WISHH and its partners to help meet the enormous need for protein in nutritious foods that are also affordable and available for developing country diets.”

Thanks to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service support, WISHH’s many spring 2014 activities include hosting educational conferences in Kenya and Ghana. At these programs, African and U.S. food industry as well as government participants explore opportunities in school feeding and retail programs to offer healthier foods.

WISHH’s USAID-supported work in Liberia is also an example of how production of new soy-based foods creates jobs, including for women, and makes much-needed protein available to local diets. Under the USAID-HANDS program, WISHH and Opportunities Industrialization Centers International have built two processing facilities where women manufacture fortified-blended “Super Gari” cereal made with local cassava. Adding U.S. defatted soy flour helps fill the protein gap that was in the traditional gari.

Click here to see SoySip, Amelia Cream soups and other examples of the new products that WISHH’s partners have introduced in the last year.

Interested in trying to make some international soyfoods yourself? Click here for WISHH and the World Soy Foundation’s recipe book produced by the National Soybean Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

U.S. and developing country diets share common ground in that protein is needed for good health. The majority of U.S. consumers (78 percent) agree that protein contributes to a healthy diet and more than half of adults say they want more of it in their diets, reported the NPD Group in a study released in March.

Global protein ingredient market revenues are expected to reach USD 28.90 billion by 2020, according to a new study by Grand View Research. Plant proteins—led by soy-- accounted for over 56 percent of global volumes in 2013, and are expected to continue dominating the market over the next six years, growing at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 6.3 percent from 2014 to 2020. Soy-based ingredients accounted for more than 70 percent of global volumes in 2013.

WISHH is a trade-development program. Since U.S. soybean farmers founded WISHH in 2000, it has worked in 24 countries to improve diets, as well as encouraged growth of food industries. The WISHH program is managed from ASA’s world headquarters in St. Louis. For more information, visit

Mixed Messages on Brazil Soy

Private Brazilian analysts are giving mixed messages on the size of the country's soybean crop.  Over the weekend, Safras e Mercado raised its 2013-14 soybean view to 86.9 million metric tons from 86.1 mmt following a small upward adjustment in planted area and improved weather conditions over the last month.  In contrast, AgRural lowered its crop view from 86.0 mmt to 85.6 mmt following reports of lower-than-expected yields in the northeastern states of Bahia and Maranhao and the southeastern state of Minas Gerais.

Despite the diverging news coming out of Brazil, with the harvest over 70% complete, opinions about the eventual crop size are firming. Many forecasters now peg the crop at between 85 mmt and 88 mmt, although some still have higher figures -- most notably the Brazilian Vegetable Oils Industry Association's 88.6 mmt number.

The Key to Weed Control Comes Early in the Season

Want to improve yields, control weeds and fight resistance this growing season? Experts agree the key to success is early season weed control.

“Effective weed management today means starting the growing season with a clean weed-free seedbed,” said Bryan Young, Ph.D., Associate Professor of weed science, Purdue University. “That typically means tillage in corn and in some cases a spring burndown in soybeans. Then make sure that the field stays clean from that point forward throughout the season. Residual herbicides are critically important in helping us reduce weed competition to optimize crop yields and to improve control of our most problematic weeds.”

Residual weed control can save time and money by reducing the amount of post-emergence applications needed throughout the season.

Studies have shown that preplant and preemerge herbicides can improve net return by a potential $36 to $60 per acre after the cost of herbicide application in soybeans.

“Weeds are easiest to control at the beginning of the season,” said Mark Oostlander, Technical Market Manager, BASF. “Early in the season, weeds aren’t taking as many important resources such as water, sun and nutrients from your crops as they will later in the season. Controlling weeds in the beginning is the most efficient and cost-effective step you can take in weed control. I would recommend a preplant or preemergence herbicide with residual control.”

As weeds grow larger, they become a greater threat to crops. Studies have shown that soybean yields can be reduced six percent if weeds grow to nine inches. In corn, 12-inch weeds can cause up to 10 percent yield loss.

Not only is early season weed control an effective strategy for combatting weeds at their easiest stages, but it can also help in the fight against weed resistance.

“When you have weeds resistant to glyphosate and are utilizing different herbicide chemistries, a two-inch weed might be the maximum height you can control with the herbicide,” explained Young. “We’ve seen resistance happen before and it’s too risky to allow these weeds to emerge and depend solely on the timing of a post-emergence herbicide. For some weeds, we don’t have effective post-emergence herbicide options, it’s all about never letting these weeds get a start.”

USDA Prospective Plantings + Grains Stocks Reports - March 31, 2014

USDA Prospective Plantings:  Record Soybean Plantings Expected

Corn Planted Acreage Down 4 Percent from 2013
Soybean Acreage Up 6 Percent
All Wheat Acreage Down 1 Percent
All Cotton Acreage Up 7 Percent

Corn planted area for all purposes in 2014 is estimated at 91.7 million acres, down 4 percent from last year. If realized, this will represent the lowest planted acreage in the United States since 2010; however, this will represent the fifth largest corn acreage in the United States since 1944.

Soybean planted area for 2014 is estimated at a record high 81.5 million acres, up 6 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged across all States with the exception of Missouri and Oklahoma.

All wheat planted area for 2014 is estimated at 55.8 million acres, down 1 percent from 2013. The 2014 winter wheat planted area, at 42.0 million acres, is down 3 percent from last year but up slightly from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 30.2 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 8.43 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.35 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2014 is expected to total 12.0 million acres, up 4 percent from 2013. Of this total, about 11.3 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. The intended Durum planted area for 2014 is estimated at 1.80 million acres, up 22 percent from the previous year.

All cotton planted area for 2014 is expected to total 11.1 million acres, 7 percent above last year. Upland area is expected to total 10.9 million acres, up 7 percent from 2013. American Pima area is expected to total 158,000 acres, down 21 percent from 2013.

Corn Area Planted - States and United States: 2012-2014

                     :                                 Area planted                                 
        State     :-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     :        2012         :       2013        :      2014       : % of prev. yr.   
                     :      ----------------- 1,000 acres ----------------              percent     
Iowa ..............:      14,200              13,600              14,000            103       
Kansas ..........:       4,700               4,300               4,400              102       
Nebraska .......:      10,000               9,950               9,400               94       
United States .:      97,155              95,365              91,691              96       

Soybean Area Planted - States and United States: 2012-2014

                       :                                 Area planted                                 
        State       :-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       :        2012         :       2013        :      2014       : % of prev. yr.   
                     :      ----------------- 1,000 acres ----------------              percent     
Iowa ..............:       9,350               9,300               9,600                103       
Kansas ..........:       4,000               3,600               3,900                108       
Nebraska .......:       5,050               4,800               5,400                113       
United States .:      77,198             76,533             81,493                106       

Sorghum Area Planted - States and United States: 2012-2014

                       :                                 Area planted                                 
        State       :-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       :        2012         :       2013        :      2014       : % of prev. yr.   
                       :      ----------------- 1,000 acres ----------------              percent     
Kansas ...........:       2,500               3,100               2,700               87       
Nebraska ........:         145                 285                 160                 56       
United States ..:       6,244               8,061               6,681               83       

All Wheat Area Planted - States and United States: 2012-2014

                        :                                 Area planted                                 
        State        :-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        :        2012         :       2013        :      2014       : % of prev. yr.   
                        :      ----------------- 1,000 acres ----------------              percent     
Iowa ................:          18                   30                    25                 83       
Kansas ............:       9,400               9,500               9,300               98       
Nebraska .........:       1,380               1,470               1,500              102       
United States ...:      55,666             56,156             55,815               99       

Oat Area Planted - States and United States: 2012-2014

                        :                                 Area planted                                 
        State        :-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        :        2012         :       2013        :      2014       : % of prev. yr.   
                       :      ----------------- 1,000 acres ----------------              percent     
Iowa ................:         130                 220                130                 59       
Kansas ...........:         105                 100                  65                 65       
Nebraska ........:          75                 150                 100                 67       
United States ..:       2,760              3,010              2,794                93       

All Hay Area Harvested - States and United States: 2012-2014

                        :                                 Area planted                                 
        State        :-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        :        2012         :       2013        :      2014       : % of prev. yr.   
                        :      ----------------- 1,000 acres ----------------              percent     
Iowa ................:       1,140               1,170               1,050                 90       
Kansas ............:       2,750               2,750               2,650                 96       
Nebraska .........:       2,570               2,500               2,450                 98       
United States ...:      56,260             58,257             58,267               100       

USDA Grain Stocks Report - March 13, 2014

Corn Stocks Up 30 Percent from March 2013
Soybean Stocks Down 1 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Down 15 Percent

Corn stocks in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 7.01 billion bushels, up 30 percent from March 1, 2013. Of the total stocks, 3.86 billion bushels are stored on farms, up 45 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 3.15 billion bushels, are up 15 percent from a year ago. The December 2013 - February 2014 indicated disappearance is 3.45 billion bushels, compared with 2.63 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 992 million bushels, down 1 percent from March 1, 2013. Soybean stocks stored on farms are estimated at 382 million bushels, down 16 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 610 million bushels, are up 13 percent from last March. Indicated disappearance for the December 2013 - February 2014 quarter totaled 1.16 billion bushels, up 20 percent from the same period a year earlier.

All wheat stored in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 1.06 billion bushels, down 15 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 238 million bushels, up slightly from last March. Off-farm stocks, at 818 million bushels, are down 18 percent from a year ago. The December 2013 - February 2014 indicated disappearance is 419 million bushels, down 4 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 38.1 million bushels, down 10 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 20.7 million bushels, are down 3 percent from March 1, 2013. Off-farm stocks totaled 17.4 million bushels, down 17 percent from a year ago. The December 2013 - February 2014 indicated disappearance of 15.8 million bushels is down 14 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 122 million bushels, up 4 percent from March 1, 2013. On-farm stocks are estimated at 43.8 million bushels, 25 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 77.7 million bushels, are 5 percent below March 2013. The December 2013 - February 2014 indicated disappearance totaled 47.9 million bushels, 17 percent above the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 35.1 million bushels, 33 percent below the stocks on March 1, 2013. Of the total stocks on hand, 19.8 million bushels are stored on farms, up 5 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 15.3 million bushels, down 55 percent from the previous year. Indicated disappearance during December 2013 - February 2014 totaled 12.9 million bushels, down 37 percent from the same period a year ago.

Grain sorghum stored in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 173 million bushels, up 88 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 16.0 million bushels, are up 47 percent from last March. Off-farm stocks, at 157 million bushels, are up 94 percent from a year earlier. The December 2013 - February 2014 indicated disappearance from all positions is 58.9 million bushels, up 22 percent from the same period last year.

Sunflower stocks in all positions on March 1, 2014 totaled 806 million pounds, down 33 percent from March 1, 2013. All stocks stored on farms totaled 305 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 501 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 612 million pounds; of this total, 237 million pounds are on-farm stocks and 374 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 194 million pounds, with 67.2 million pounds stored on the farm and 127 million pounds stored off the farm.

Corn Stocks by Position - States and United States: March 1, 2013 and 2014

                      :                    2013                         :               2014              
     State         :      On      :    Off       : Total all       :    On       :   Off         : Total all
                      :    farms    :  farms     : positions     :   farms     : farms      : positions
                      :                                           1,000 bushels                           
Iowa ..............:   560,000    490,191    1,050,191        710,000     507,036   1,217,036
Kansas ..........:    34,000    134,976     168,976           68,000      153,412     221,412
Nebraska .......:   285,000    302,555     587,555         440,000      368,902     808,902
United States .: 2,669,200  2,730,726   5,399,926     3,860,500   3,145,432   7,005,932

Soybean Stocks by Position - States and United States: March 1, 2013 and 2014

                      :                    2013                         :               2014              
     State         :      On      :    Off       : Total all       :    On       :   Off         : Total all
                      :    farms    :  farms     : positions     :   farms     : farms      : positions
                      :                                         1,000 bushels                           
Iowa ...............:   89,000      118,577     207,577        74,000     134,204     208,204 
Kansas ..........:    9,700         24,616       34,316        9,200       30,721       39,921 
Nebraska .......:   20,500        49,818       70,318       17,500       69,227       86,727 
United States .:  456,700      541,320     9 98,020     381,900     610,425     992,325 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday March 28 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2014, was 3.05 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  This was up 2 percent from March 1, 2013, but down 2 percent from December 1, 2013.  

Breeding hog inventory, at 400,000 head, was up 3 percent from March 1, 2013, and up 3 percent from last quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 2.65 million head, was up 2 percent from last year, but down 2 percent from last quarter.  

The December 2013-February 2014 Nebraska pig crop, at 1.79 million head, was up 4 percent from 2013.  Sows farrowed during the period totaled 170,000 head, up 3 percent from last year.  The average pigs saved per litter was 10.55 for the December-February period, compared to 10.50 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 175,000 sows during the March-May 2014 quarter, up 9 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago.  Intended farrowings for June-August 2014 are 175,000 sows, up 6 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period the previous year.  

Iowa Hogs and Pigs Down 3%

On  March  1,  2014  there  were  19.8  million  hogs  and  pigs  on  Iowa  farms  according  to  the  latest  USDA  National Agricultural Statistics Service Hogs and Pigs report. The March 1  inventory was down 3 percent  from December 2013 and 1 percent from a year ago. 

The December 2013-February 2014 pig crop was 4.90 million head. A total of 495,000 sows farrowed during this period, up 3 percent from  the last quarter.   The average pigs saved per  litter was 9.90 for the December-February period, down from 10.6 the previous quarter and the lowest pigs saved per litter in three years.  

As of March 1, producers planned to farrow 500,000 head of sows and gilts in the March-May 2014 quarter. Farrowing intentions for the June-August 2014 period are estimated at 510,000 as of March 1, 2014. 

United States Hog Inventory Down 3 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on March 1, 2014 was 62.9 million head. This was down 3 percent fromMarch 1, 2013, and down 5 percent from December 1, 2013.  Breeding inventory, at 5.85 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 2 percent from the previous quarter.  Market hog inventory, at 57.0 million head, was down 4 percent from last year, and down 5 percent from last quarter.

The December 2013-February 2014 pig crop, at 27.3 million head, was down 3 percent from 2013. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.87 million head, up 3 percent from 2013. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.53 for the December-February period, compared to 10.08 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.70 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.60 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.88 million sows farrow during the March-May 2014 quarter, up 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2013, but down 2 percent from 2012. Intended farrowings for June-August 2014, at 2.96 million sows, are up 2 percent from 2013, and up 1 percent from 2012.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 48 percent of the total United States hog inventory, up from 47 percent last year.

Breeding, Market, and Total Inventory - States and United States: March 1, 2013 and 2014
                      :         Breeding                :          Market                           :           Total          
                      :            :  2014  :2014 as :         : 2014 :2014 as:              :  2014   :2014 as
      State        :  2013   :           :percent  : 2013 :         :percent:       2013 :         :percent
                      :            :           :of 2013  :         :         :of 2013:               :         :of 2013
                      :     1,000 head   percent  -- 1,000 head --   percent  -- 1,000 head --   percent
Colorado ........:    145       160     110       575        520     90              720        680      94 
Illinois ............:    490       500     102      4,110     3,850   94           4,600      4,350      95 
Indiana ...........:    270       270     100      3,280     3,180   97            3,550     3,450      97 
Iowa ..............:  1,020     1,010      99     19,080   18,790   98          20,100    19,800     99 
Kansas ..........:    170       170     100     1,630     1,500    92           1,800      1,670      93 
Michigan ........:    110       110     100       950       910      96           1,060     1,020      96 
Minnesota ......:    570       550      96      7,080     7,250    102          7,650     7,800     102 
Missouri .........:    340       355    104      2,410     2,095     87           2,750     2,450      89 
Nebraska ........:    390       400    103      2,610     2,650    102          3,000     3,050     102 
North Carolina .:    870       870    100      7,830     7,130     91           8,700     8,000      92 
Ohio ...............:    165       170    103     1,935     1,850      96          2,100     2,020      96 
Oklahoma .......:    410       430    105     1,880     1,560      83          2,290     1,990      87 
Pennsylvania ...:    100        95      95     1,040     1,045     100         1,140     1,140     100 
South Dakota ..:    175       170     97       975      1,030     106         1,150      1,200     104 
Texas .............:    105       100     95       605      460        76            710         560      79 
Utah ...............:     80        75      94        660      635        96            740        710      96 
United States ..:  5,836    5,851   100     59,236  57,048     96         65,072    62,899      97 

Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture

Governor Dave Heineman

It has been another great year for Nebraska agriculture. Every year, I join with our farmers and ranchers to ask Nebraskans to take a moment reflect on the importance of the agricultural industry in our state.  Nebraska Agriculture Week lines up with the national week for citizens throughout our country to recognize how our ag families are feeding our families and feeding the world.

Agriculture is our state’s largest industry. Our farmers and ranchers work hard to raise the food, fuel and fiber we use in our everyday lives. For these efforts, they deserve our appreciation every day, but especially during National Agriculture Week.

Farming, ranching and related agribusiness activities are responsible for just over a quarter of our state’s economic activity. Ninety-three percent of our state’s land is used for agricultural production, and we recently became the number one cattle feeding state in the nation. Our farmers raised the largest corn crop in history last year, and according to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the number of farms in Nebraska grew over the past five years.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture celebrated National Agriculture Week by unveiling the second edition of the “Nebraska Agriculture and You” magazine, a publication designed to share information about the Nebraska agriculture industry. The free, annually produced magazine will be available in places such as doctors and dentists office lobbies, as well as at public libraries, University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Cooperative Extension offices and chambers of commerce. You can also view the magazine online by visiting the Department of Agriculture’s website at

While telling the story of agriculture to consumers is important, sharing that message with our younger generation, many who are two or three generations removed from a farm or ranch operation, is also necessary. That’s why the Nebraska Department of Agriculture hosts a statewide agriculture poster contest each year. It is a way for elementary students to have the opportunity to discuss agriculture, while creating their own works of art. This year marks the 11th anniversary of the contest, with a theme of Nebraska’s Family Farms. The Department of Agriculture received over 2,000 poster contest entries this year and winners are posted on the department’s website.

The winners in the first and second grade division are Hope McDonald a 1st grader from Centura Elementary in Cairo, first place; Ellie Tramp a 2nd grader from St. Rose of Lima School in Crofton, second place; Dustin Kapke a 2nd grader from St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Plymouth, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Lucas Urbanski a 1st grader from St. James Seton School in Omaha.

The winners in the third and fourth grade division are Faith McDonald a 4th grader from Centura Elementary in Cairo, first place; Alexis Mogensen a 3rd grader from Weeping Water School in Weeping Water, second place; Abby Gilreath a 4th grader from Rohwler Elementary in Omaha, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Kennady Schmidt a 4th grader from Howells Community Catholic School in Howells.

The winners in the fifth and sixth grade division are Dabatha Sanchez a 5th grader from Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island, first place; Zoey Kreikemeier a 6th grader from Guardian Angels Central Catholic in West Point, second place; Jazzlyn Nava a 5th grader from Knickrehm Elementary in Grand Island, third place and the Governor’s Choice is Chloe Hoffschneider a 6th grader from St. Paul’s in Arlington.

I want to thank the farmers and ranchers in Nebraska for their dedication and commitment to the land and animals in their care. If you see a farmer or rancher, please thank them for the important role they play in producing the food, fuel, and fiber we use every day.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for March 2014 averaged $7.15 per bushel, an increase of 68 cents from the February price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary March corn price, at $4.50 per bushel, increased 23 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary March sorghum price averaged $7.95 per cwt, an increase of 45 cents from February.

The preliminary March soybean price, at $13.50 per bushel, was up 50 cents from last month.

The preliminary March dry edible bean price, at $42.00 per cwt, was up $2.40 from February.

The March alfalfa hay price, at $133.00 per ton, was down $9.00 from last month. The other hay price, at $104.00 per ton, was down $1.00 from last month.

The preliminary March oat price was withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. The February price for oats was $4.12. 

Iowa Monthly Prices

The preliminary March 2014  average price  received by  farmers  for  corn  in  Iowa  is $4.60 per bushel  according  to  the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service  – Agricultural Prices  report. This  is up $0.17  from  the February price, but $2.53 lower than March 2013.

The preliminary March Iowa average soybean price, at $13.50 per bushel, is up $0.40 from the February price, but $1.10 lower than the previous March.

The preliminary March oat price is $5.20 per bushel, up $0.03 from February and $0.57 above March 2013. 

All hay prices  in Iowa averaged $167.00 per  ton in March, unchanged from  the February price, but $63.00 per  ton less than March 2013.  Alfalfa hay prices fell $68.00 per ton from one year ago, to $180.00 and other hay prices were $45.00 per ton lower than last year, at $115.00.  

Iowa dairy farmers received an average of $26.20 per cwt for milk sold in March, up $0.40 from February, and $6.40 per cwt above one year ago.

March Farm Prices Received Index Up 5 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in March, at 111 percent, based on 2011=100, increased 5 points (4.7 percent) from February. The Crop Index is up 2 points (2.2 percent) and the Livestock Index increased 6 points (5.0 percent). Producers received higher prices for broilers, hogs, corn, and cattle and lower prices for market eggs, grapefruit, and sunflowers. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of cattle, milk, and calves offset the decreased marketing of cotton, soybeans, and hay.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 1 point (0.9 percent) from March 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 121, increased 5 points (4.3 percent) from last month and increased 12 points (11 percent) from March 2013.

All crops:

The March index, at 95, increased 2.2 percent from February but is 15 percent below March 2013. The index increase for oilseeds & grains more than offset the index decrease for fruit & tree nut production.

Food grains: The March index, at 103, is 6.2 percent above the previous month but 3.7 percent below a year ago. The March price for all wheat, at $6.90 per bushel, is up 41 cents from February but 89 cents below March 2013.

Feed grains: The March index, at 76, is up 4.1 percent from last month but 36 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $4.54 per bushel, is up 19 cents from last month but $2.59 below March 2013. Sorghum grain, at $8.18 per cwt, is 53 cents above February but $4.02 below March last year.

Oilseeds: The March index, at 108, is up 3.8 percent from February but 6.9 percent lower than March 2013. The soybean price, at $13.60 per bushel, increased 40 cents from February but is $1.00 below March 2013.

Other crops: The March index, at 98, is up 2.1 percent from last month but 3.9 percent below March 2013. The all hay price, at up $173 per ton, is up $5.00 from February but $22.00 lower than last March.  The price for upland cotton, at 80.3 cents per pound, is up 1.3 cents from February and 2.8 cents above last March.

Livestock and products:

The March index, at 127, is 5.0 percent above last month and up 18 percent from March 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for milk, cattle, hogs, calves, eggs, and turkeys. The price for broilers is down from last year.

Meat animals: The March index, at 126, is up 5.0 percent from last month and 21 percent higher than last year. The March hog price, at $75.90 per cwt, is up $10.40 from February and $16.70 higher than a year ago. The March beef cattle price of $147 per cwt is up $3.00 from last month and $22.00 higher than March 2013.

Dairy products: The March index, at 126, is up 1.6 percent from a month ago and 33 percent higher than March last year. The March all milk price of $25.40 per cwt is up 50 cents from last month and $6.30 from March 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The March index, at 133, is up 9.0 percent from February and 0.8 percent above a year ago. The March market egg price, at $1.05 per dozen, decreased 18.0 cents from February but is 9.8 cents higher than March 2013. The March broiler price, at 65.0 cents per pound, is up 10.0 cents from February but 1.0 cent below a year ago. The March turkey price, at 67.0 cents per pound, is up 0.6 cents from the previous month and 2.0 cents higher than a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index Unchanged

The March Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 107 (2011=100). The index is unchanged from February but 1 point (0.9 percent) above March 2013. Higher prices in March for feeder cattle, feeder pigs, concentrates, and nitrogen offset lower prices for LP gas, supplements, tractors, and complete feeds.

NCTA To Start Pilot Project with Omaha Home for Boys

An agriculture college in southwestern Nebraska is bringing a little bit of country to the city, and to the farm where urban youth can learn about raising crops and livestock.

     Next fall, high school students in Omaha area schools and adult learners interested in boosting their knowledge of horticulture and farm animals can enroll in courses offered by the University of Nebraska-Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) and the Omaha Home for Boys at the Cooper Memorial Farm, 8502 Mormon Bridge Road.

     Officials unveiled class details Friday at the Farm, located 3 miles north of downtown Omaha.

     “The joint effort between NCTA and the Omaha Home for Boys is a pilot project for anyone in the Omaha area.  It is designed to support locally-produced food, produce job-ready agricultural graduates, and foster social and economic development for youth and adults,” said Ron Rosati, PhD, NCTA Dean. “Omaha Home for Boys is a real gem in guiding young men and women on their life path.

     “Our NCTA faculty and staff are fortunate to be part of this new academic venture with OHB, by providing hands-on learning here in Omaha in gardening, horticulture, and animal science,” Rosati said.

     Courses offered this Fall will be organic and alternative agriculture, and livestock and carcass evaluation.  Spring, 2015, classes will include plant propagation, and seed stock preparation and marketing (feeding and fitting livestock to show in 4-H or FFA).

     In future semesters, if students garner sufficient hours of college credits, they may be eligible for a college certificate or an Associates Degree.  Livestock classes will include a summer camp in preparation for showing and grooming (fitting) livestock for county fair exhibit.

     The project is a good fit for the urban classroom offered by two long-standing institutions, said Jeff Moran, president and CEO of the Omaha Home for Boys.  OHB was founded in 1920 as an orphanage and today educates boys and girls, young men and women, ages 12 to 24.

     The community-based organization includes Inspiration Hill residential care, Jacobs’ Place transitional living, Branching Out independent living and the Cooper Memorial Farm.  Students attend various high schools in Omaha.

     “The Omaha Home for Boys is excited to partner with NCTA in offering an agricultural academic program on our Cooper Memorial Farm,” Moran said. “We believe this collaboration with classroom and experiential education will provide both youth and adults in the greater Omaha metropolitan area an opportunity to explore an agricultural curriculum within an urban setting.”

     Based in Curtis, Nebraska, since 1913, the agriculture school was first a residential high school for 55 years.  Many individuals from western and southwestern Nebraska and the Sandhills area attended school at Curtis.

     When it became part of the University of Nebraska system in the late ‘60s, NCTA offered an Associate’s degree program and is the only NU institution emphasizing two-year, open enrollment programs.  NCTA also teaches computer-based online and distance learning courses for high school students concurrently earning college credits.  In the Omaha program, NCTA will provide faculty, curriculum and supplies.  The OHB provides the site, farm manager and laboratory support.

     While Omaha-area schools consider adding agricultural or horticultural sciences to their curriculums, the pilot project helps meet that demand, Rosati said.  It may complement the urban ag and natural resources classes and FFA recently added at Bryan High School.

     “I see the partnership with NCTA as a win, win, win,” said Jeff Hallstrom, M. Ed., OHB program manager-educational services. “We see the potential in having our youth participate and work on various agriculture projects.  For example, we would like to work towards a farmers market where our youth learn how to grow healthy, locally grown produce that can be eaten in our Dining Hall and be sold to the community. Members of our community will also benefit as there will be educational opportunities for traditional college students and adult learners.”

     For further information on the OHB-NCTA Collaborative Agricultural Education Program, see or contact 1-800-3CURTIS.

USDA Seeks Nominees for Cattlemens Beef Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking nominations to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Vacancies for producer and importer member positions will occur in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, the Southwest Unit (California and Nevada), and the Importer Unit.

Any beef producer within the United States that owns cattle or any importer who imports cattle or beef can be considered for nomination. All eligible producers and importers are invited to seek nomination by June 1, 2014. A beef producer must be nominated by a USDA Certified Producer Organization and submit a completed application.

USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by its industry. Diversity includes gender, race, disability, length of service, and size and type of operation.

For the contact information of the Certified Producer Organizations in your state or region, visit:

Currently composed of 103 members representing 35 states and six geographically contiguous units, the board administers a research and promotion program authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. The Secretary of Agriculture selects appointees from producers nominated by Certified Producer Organizations.

Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, were authorized by Congress, and date back to 1966. Since then, Congress has authorized the establishment of 21 research and promotion boards. They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.

For more information, contact Angie Snyder, Deputy Director, Research and Promotion Division, Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program, AMS, USDA, STOP 0251, Room 2092-S, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0251; tel. (202) 680-3714, e-mail; or fax (202) 720-1125.

USDA Proposes to Reapportion Membership on Beef Promotion Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service is proposing to reapportion membership on the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board from 103 to 99 members. The law authorizing the board requires the board’s size to change with shifts in cattle inventory levels.

This decrease is due to changes in cattle inventories since the last board reapportionment in 2011. Under the proposal, domestic cattle producer representation on the board would decrease from 96 to 93, and importer representation would decrease from seven to six. The decrease is based on requirements of the Beef Promotion and Research Order, authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. The Order provides for a review of geographic distribution of U.S. cattle inventories and the volume of imported cattle, beef, and beef products at least every three years and not more than every two years. Board membership then must be reapportioned accordingly.

A state or unit must have an inventory of 500,000 head of cattle to be represented on the board and is entitled to an additional member for each additional 1,000,000 head of cattle. In considering reapportionment, the board reviewed cattle inventories, as well as cattle, beef, and beef product import data, for 2010 through 2012. The revised representation would be effective with nominations in 2014 for appointments effective early in the year 2015.

In addition, technical amendments would be made to update and correct information in the Order and regulations.

Details of the proposed changes will appear in the March 25, 2014, Federal Register. Comments may be submitted online at, or sent to Angie Snyder, Deputy Director; Research and Promotion Division, Room 2092-S; Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program; AMS, USDA, STOP 0249; 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.; Washington, D.C. 20250-0249; telephone number (202) 720-5705; fax (202) 720-1125. Copies of the proposed rule and additional information are available from the same address.

Iowa Soybean Association encourages close review, farmer input on EPA proposed rule

A proposed rule released this week by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarifying its jurisdiction over waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act deserves a thorough review and farmer input, says the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA).

“This rule will impact farmers,” says ISA Policy Director Carol Balvanz. “What is required is time to fully digest and comprehend the full report and encourage farmers to provide their unique insights to make sure the rule works for those who will be most impacted by its implementation and enforcement.”

The proposed rule will soon be open for public comment. Balvanz encourages farmers to make their opinions heard during the 90-day comment period that will begin once the rule is published in the Federal Register. To access the rule and to make a comment, go to

Soybean farmers, Balvanz says, are pleased that the rule recognizes 53 conservation practices established by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Farmers are extremely interested in how the directives and definitions will be implemented.

“The details will matter,” says Balvanz. “This is too important of an issue to engage only in a battle of sound bites and headlines. That is why our members will thoroughly review the language in the proposed rule and evaluate how its implementation may impact soybean farmers.”

Roger Wolf, ISA director of Environmental Programs & Services (EPS), adds that farmers are active participants in environmental issues and frequently engage with the EPA. The ISA, he says, recognizes the work of EPA head Gina McCarthy and her commitment to listening to and learning from farmers.

“Farmers recognize the public benefits of clean water and that what occurs in the landscape impacts water downstream,” Wolf says. “They have increased their adoption of practices designed to improve environmental performance and invested millions of dollars during the past year to match Water Quality Initiative funding provided by the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

Wolf says the ISA’s EPS department and On-Farm Network® bring credible and reliable data and research programs to the table to improve the long-term sustainability of soybean production and improve the competitiveness of soybean farmers.

New Probiotic Improves Pig Health, Reduces Manure Output

A new probiotic for pigs could mean less manure to manage, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studies. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists conducted the first published investigation of the use of bacteria as a probiotic to increase fiber fermentation rates and reduce manure output in pigs that consume high-fiber diets. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

Pig producers would like to supplement livestock feed with dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and other agricultural coproducts generated from biofuel production. But adding hard-to-digest fiber to livestock diets also increases the production of manure.

Microbiologist Cherie Ziemer and animal scientist Brian Kerr at the ARS Agroecosystems Management Research Unit in Ames, Iowa, fed the pigs in their study either a typical diet or a high-fiber diet. The high-fiber diet contained 10 percent soybean hulls and 20 percent corn DDGS.

The pigs were also given one of three bacterial supplements the scientists developed from different strains of Bacteroides ovatus, which had been obtained from human fecal samples and cultured in fiber-rich media. The three bacterial supplements were designated Bacterium B, C, and D.

Pigs that received the bacterial supplements designated as Bacterium B reduced their manure output by 20 percent. These pigs also gained more weight and had improved blood cholesterol and glucose levels, both indications of an improved energy status, compared to pigs not given probiotics.

Ziemer believes the probiotic could improve pig performance and reduce manure volumes, which in turn would increase producer profits and reduce the environmental footprint of pork production. She thinks the bacterium could be fed in a liquid supplement or possibly freeze-dried and mixed with feed.

This work was supported by a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of the Intestinal Fortitude Program, which investigates how to help people obtain more energy from fiber. Results were published in the Journal of Animal Science in 2012. Read more about this work in the March 2014 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

USDA Prepares to Accept MAL and LDP Requests; Sets 2014 MAL Loan Rates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting requests for marketing assistance loans (MALs) and loan deficiency payments (LDPs) for eligible 2014 commodities. Notice of the authorization is published in today’s Federal Register.

MALs and LDPs for the 2014 crop year become available to eligible producers beginning with harvest/shearing season and extending through a specific commodity’s final loan availability date.

Sugar commodity loans for 2014 crop will be available to sugar processors beginning Oct. 1, 2014.

MALs and LDPs provide financing and marketing assistance for wheat, feed grains, soybeans, and other oilseeds, pulse crops, rice, peanuts, cotton, wool, mohair and honey. MALs provide producers interim financing after harvest to help them meet cash flow needs without having to sell their commodities when market prices are typically at harvest-time lows. Allowing farmers to store their products at harvest facilitates a more orderly marketing of commodities throughout the year. A producer who is eligible to obtain a loan, but agrees to forgo the loan, may obtain an LDP if such a payment is available.

Marketing loan provisions and LDPs are not available for sugar and extra-long staple cotton.

The 2014 Farm Bill also establishes payment limitations per individual or entity not to exceed $125,000 annually on certain commodities for the following program benefits: price loss coverage payments, agriculture risk coverage payments, marketing loan gains (MLGs) and LDPs. These payment limitations do not apply to MAL loan disbursements. Please consult your local FSA office for details.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provisions were modified by the 2014 Farm Bill, which states that a producer whose total applicable three-year average AGI exceeds $900,000 is not eligible to receive an MLG or LDP.

The 2014 Farm Bill establishes national loan rates for the 2014 crops of wheat, feed grains, oilseeds, pulse crops, milled rice, peanuts, extra-long staple cotton, wool, mohair, sugar and honey. The 2014 Farm Bill requires the upland cotton base quality loan rate to be determined annually according to the applicable statutory provisions. The 2014 crop loan rates are:

Wheat    $2.94 per bushel
Corn    $1.95 per bushel
Grain Sorghum    $1.95 per bushel
Barley    $1.95 per bushel
Oats    $1.39 per bushel
Soybeans    $5.00 per bushel
Other Oilseeds    $10.09 per hundredweight for each "other oilseed"
Small Chickpeas    $7.43 per hundredweight
Large Chickpeas    $11.28 per hundredweight
Dry Peas    $5.40 per hundredweight
Lentils    $11.28 per hundredweight
Long grain rough rice    $6.50 per hundredweight
Medium/short grain rough rice     $6.50 per hundredweight
Peanuts    $355.00 per ton
Upland Cotton    $0.52 per pound *
Extra Long Staple Cotton    $0.7977 per pound
Graded Wool    $1.15 per pound
Nongraded Wool    $0.40 per pound
Mohair    $4.20 per pound
Raw Cane Sugar    $0.1875 per pound
Refined Beet Sugar    $0.2409 per pound
Honey    $0.69 per pound

*The 2014-crop upland cotton loan rate was previously announced in a separate press release on Feb. 18, 2014.
County loan rates also are announced for the 2014 crops of wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans and other oilseeds (sunflower seed, flaxseed, canola, rapeseed, safflower, mustard seed, crambe and sesame seed); national milled rice loan rates by class and state rough rice loan rates by class for the 2014 rice crop; and regional loan rates for 2014 pulse crops (dry peas and lentils). The rates are posted on the FSA website at

Later announcements will include peanut loan rates by type, refined beet sugar loan rates by region, raw cane sugar loan rates by state, and the schedule of premiums, discounts and other related information.

USDA Announces the Extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract Program for 2014

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced the extension of the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program.

The extended MILC protects dairy farmers enrolled in the program against income loss through Sept. 1, 2014, or until a new Margin Protection Program for dairy producers (MPP), established by the 2014 Farm Bill, is operational.

Contracts for eligible producers enrolled in MILC on or before Sept. 30, 2013, are automatically extended until the termination date of the MILC program. Dairy operations with approved MILC contracts will continue to receive monthly payments if a payment rate is in effect.

MILC compensates enrolled dairy producers when the Boston Class I milk price falls below $16.94 per hundredweight (cwt), after adjustment for the cost of dairy feed rations. MILC payments are calculated each month using the latest milk price and feed cost, just as in the 2008 Farm Bill. The payment rate for October 2013 through January 2014 marketings is zero. Payment rates during the months after January 2014 until the termination of the MILC program will be determined as the appropriate data becomes available.

Since MILC payments are limited to a maximum amount of milk production each fiscal year, dairy operations may select a production start month other than October 2013 (the start of fiscal year 2014). Producers who want to select a different production start month must visit their local FSA office between April 14, 2014, and May 30, 2014.

FSA will provide producers with information on program requirements, updates and sign-ups as the information becomes available. For more information on MILC, contact a local FSA county office or visit the FSA website at

NFU Applauds Appellate Court’s Decision Not to Enjoin COOL Labels

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied plaintiffs’ appeal of a denial of their request for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction would prevent revised Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations from remaining in effect while the plaintiffs’ lawsuit challenging the COOL regulations proceeds. Today’s ruling affirms a Sept. 11, 2013, decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that also denied the request for a preliminary injunction. As a result of today’s decision, the revised COOL regulations will remain in place while the case is pending.

“I am extremely pleased with today’s decision,” said Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union (NFU) president. “Yet again, claims that the revised COOL regulations are unconstitutional or inconsistent with the COOL statute have been rejected in federal court.”

“Today’s decision notes that COOL advances legitimate values, including consumer information and consumer choice. The Court of Appeals also explained that COOL labels can be seen as a sign that retailers ‘take pride in identifying the source of their products.’ NFU’s family farmer- and rancher-members certainly take pride in the products they produce, and I am glad that consumers will be able to continue to identify their products at retail as a result of today’s decision.”

Today’s decision is the latest setback for plaintiffs who filed the case in an effort to have the revised COOL regulations invalidated. The case was filed on July 8, 2013, by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Meat Institute, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council, North American Meat Association, American Association of Meat Processors, National Pork Producers Council, Southwest Meat Association and Mexico’s National Confederation of Livestock Organizations.

NFU, together with the United States Cattlemen’s Association, the American Sheep Industry Association and the Consumer Federation of America, intervened to defend the COOL regulations from challenge, and they actively participated in a briefing at the District Court and the Court of Appeals, as well as the preliminary injunction hearing at the District Court.

Johnson is currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the World Farmers Organization’s fourth general assembly, where many of the speakers have discussed the need for farmers to connect more directly with consumers and be more transparent to enhance consumer confidence.

“I note that plaintiffs may seek to have today’s decision reheard by the full Court of Appeals. If they do so, NFU will continue to defend COOL on behalf of our members,” said Johnson. “In the meantime, producers and consumers will continue to benefit from improved origin information as the revised COOL regulations remain in effect.”

Administration’s Methane Strategy Recognizes Ag’s Role in Climate Change Mitigation

Today National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice President of Programs Chandler Goule issued the following statement on the administration’s release of its strategy to reduce methane emissions as a part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:

"NFU is pleased that the administration’s strategy to reduce methane emissions recognizes that farmers and ranchers are important partners in the effort to solve our nation’s climate challenges. These efforts build on the robust support for renewable energy production included in the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

“Technologies such as methane digesters are underutilized, but can significantly reduce methane emissions. The strategy’s voluntary on-farm methane reduction opportunities, supported by financial and technical assistance, will add to farmers’ bottom lines and support rural economies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“I urge Congress to build on the Climate Action Plan and do its part to mitigate climate change by enacting legislation that puts a price on non-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

“Agencies must consider the impact on the climate when proposing regulatory changes, such as reducing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets, as both corn-based and cellulosic ethanol have been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as compared to gasoline. Although I applaud the administration for today’s announcement, I hope it takes a consistent, comprehensive, long-term approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by restoring the original RFS volumes.”