Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday April 7 Ag News

Nebraska Beef Council seeks director candidates for upcoming elections

The Nebraska Beef Council (NBC) will hold Board of Director Elections in four districts in 2014. This opportunity is open to Nebraska beef producers that are at least 21 years of age, a resident and registered voter of a county in the district that he or she will represent, have been actively engaged as a producer in Nebraska for at least the previous five years and is in compliance with all checkoff laws for the 12 months prior to the call for candidates.

Nebraska Beef Council directors volunteer their time to represent beef producers' checkoff collections and investments on the state, national and international level. The Board's major responsibility is to oversee checkoff expenditures by determining promotion, research and education programs for checkoff investments. The term is four years and will begin on January 2, 2015.

Producers interested in becoming a beef council director are encouraged to visit with current and past directors to learn more about this valuable experience and its commitment.

Election packets are available beginning on April 1, 2014 and can be obtained by calling the NBC office at 800-421-5326. Candidates must obtain 100 signatures from beef producers in their districts on a candidate petition. All candidate materials, must be postmarked to the NBC office by June 15, 2014.

"Beef producers who are passionate about the industry and who are willing to provide leadership to the beef checkoff program and its investments are needed as we face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead," said Bosshamer. "We need strong leaders to enhance our mission and strengthen beef demand in the global marketplace."

Districts hosting an election in 2014:
  - District 2- Cherry, Keya Paha, Brown, Rock, Grant, Hooker, Thomas, Blaine, Loup
  - District 4- Boyd, Holt, Knox, Antelope, Wheeler, Boone
  - District 6- Arthur, McPherson, Logan, Keith, Lincoln, Perkins, Chase, Hayes, Dundy, Hitchcock
  - District 8- Seward, Lancaster, Otoe, Adams, Clay, Fillmore, Saline, Gage, Johnson, Nemaha, Webster, Nuckolls, Thayer, Jefferson, Pawnee, Richardson

For additional information, log onto or contact the Nebraska Beef Council office at 800-421-5326.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Let me paint a verbal picture for you.  Just a little carryover hay following winter.  Thinning alfalfa fields that dried out the last couple years.  And dry soils to start the growing season.

Does this describe your operation?  If so, how does your hay supply picture look for next winter?  Even if you receive average rainfall from now on through the growing season, your hay tonnage could be down ten percent, twenty percent, even more from average due to stress from recent droughts and the dry soils to begin this year.

Maximizing tonnage from every inch of rain your alfalfa hay fields receive this year may be necessary.  Unfortunately, alfalfa uses quite a bit of water for each ton of hay, especially as temperatures rise.  So it is critical to get as much tonnage out of first cutting as possible, before summer heat sets in.

One way to boost first cutting hay yield from older, thinner alfalfa stands is to drill oats right now into those alfalfa stands.  Try to get the seed about one inch deep.  Oats will use spring moisture very efficiently to add tonnage to your first cutting.

Drill one to two bushels of oats per acre directly into your existing alfalfa stand as soon as possible.  Where alfalfa is thick you may not get much but in thin spots the oats should fill in rapidly.  Cut the hay a little later than usual to get the most yield benefit from this oat addition.

Getting the most out of each inch of moisture will be especially important this year.  Using oats is one way to do it.

Alert for CAFOs On or Near Omaha Tribal Lands in N.E. NE

(from NE Cattlemen newsletter)

Recently, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska came out with a ruling regarding the ability of the Omaha Tribe to collect a liquor tax and enforce a liquor licenses in Pender, Nebraska.  Businesses in Pender claimed that as a result of historic land sales they were no longer technically located on federally recognized reservation lands.  The court ruled the original and still current boundaries of the Omaha Tribe encompassed the city of Pender and most of southwest Thurston County,  therefore this tax and the licenses were valid and had to be complied with.  The business owners are appealing  this  ruling; however,  this case has  implications beyond liquor tax and liquor licenses.

Under the Clean Water Act, the federal EPA, not Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, carries out animal feeding operation permitting, inspection and enforcement.  For  a  number  of  years  animal  feeding  operations  on  the Omaha Reservation  in  the  southeast  portion  of Thurston County have dealt with federal permitting and inspection, and moving forward it seems likely that this will expand to the southwestern part of  the county.   Nebraska Cattlemen has already been in contact with the federal EPA Region 7 officials in Kansas City to discuss the implications of this case on animal feeding operations and will keep members in the area up to date as this issue plays out.   If you have any questions feel free to contact Kristen Hassebrook at the NC office, 402.475.2333.

Corn Stover Gains Attention in Iowa for Industrial Uses

Corn stover, used for decades as silage and bedding, is now being harvested for industrial use. Currently in Iowa, two cellulosic ethanol plants have biomass needs for corn stover. Producers can learn about engineering, agronomic and financial issues related to corn stover harvest in a new series of fact sheets from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The fact sheets, available online at, were developed by a corn stover harvest team at Iowa State. The team was formed to address the benefits and constraints of stover harvesting and its sustainable management within Iowa corn production. The Iowa State specialists share the results from several years of research in 21 fact sheets, which were developed with partial funding from the Iowa Energy Center.

According to Kapil Arora, team coordinator, the decision to participate in this industrial supply chain must be evaluated on a field by field basis to ensure stover harvest can be performed sustainably. The publications provide a comprehensive insight for producers into the constraints and the benefits of the industrial scale corn stover harvest process.

Along with the fact sheets, the stover harvest website includes an Ask the Expert function for producers with specific questions. For more information about this or other ISU Extension and Outreach Agriculture and Natural Resources programs, contact a local county extension office.

Kind Vows to Keep Pushing for Crop Insurance Reform

When the recent federal farm bill was signed into law earlier this year, Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind was disappointed that his colleagues did not cut crop insurance subsidy payments. As a result, he and U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Tom Coburn from Okhahoma are introducing legislation to address what he calls a 'bloated crop insurance program.'

"The need to rein in crop insurance subsidies isn't going away, which is why I'm continuing to fight for bipartisan reform in the House and why I applaud these Senators for pushing this issue as well," said Kind. "Unfortunately, the status quo prevailed in the debate over the last farm bill, but Congress can still do the right thing both for taxpayers and family farmers by fixing our crop insurance policies."

Last year, the LaCrosse Democrat authored the Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures Act, which called for bold reforms in the crop insurance premium subsidy program to save taxpayer dollars and promote transparency. That measure would have saved taxpayers $11 billion over 10 years while still providing a strong safety net for family farmers, he said.

Kind adds that while the new Senate bill calls for a limit of $70,000 in crop insurance premium subsidies per individual farm, the AFFIRM Act calls for a tighter cap of $40,000. The AFFIRM Act also eliminates crop insurance premium subsidies for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $250,000, and requires more of the administrative and operating costs to be shared by the private companies that offer coverage.

Despite Supply Concerns, Red Meat Exports Remain Strong in February

Buoyed by double-digit export growth to Mexico – the largest volume market for all U.S. red meat exports – U.S. pork and beef exports performed well in February despite growing concerns about tight supplies and rising prices, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef sales to Mexico in the first two months of 2014 are up 26 percent in volume to 37,638 metric tons (mt) and 40 percent in value ($183 million), while pork exports are 16 percent higher in volume (113,677 mt) and 21 percent in value ($222.3 million). Mexico also is the largest volume and value market for U.S. lamb exports.

February pork exports totaled 182,412 mt, up 2 percent from a year ago, while export value also rose 2 percent to $506.4 million. Cumulative exports for the first two months of the year similarly were 2 percent ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (373,973 mt) and value ($1.04 billion).

February beef export volume was down slightly from a year ago to 85,876 mt, reflecting smaller variety meat exports, but value was up 12 percent to $480.3 million. January-February exports were 6 percent higher in volume (183,700 mt) and 14 percent in value ($994.8 million).

“Mexico continues to be an invaluable trading partner for our industry,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

Pork highlights

February pork exports equated to 27.5 percent of total pork production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 23 percent of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $58.42 per head slaughtered, up 2 percent from a year ago and the highest monthly average since March 2012.

Strong demand in Mexico continues to be an important driver of U.S. pork exports, as February shipments far exceeded last year’s totals and even topped the very strong results posted in February 2012.

“Just as the PED virus has had an impact on domestic pork production in Mexico, it has likely been a factor in pork imports trending higher to South Korea,” said Seng.

Top performing markets in February (with comparisons to a year ago) included:
-    Mexico, up 25 percent in volume (53,852 mt) and 35 percent in value ($109.1 million).
-    Exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, were 7 percent higher in volume (35,692) but 5 percent lower in value ($139.8 million).
-    Volume edged higher in Korea (12,643 mt, +3 percent) and export value climbed 10 percent to $36.6 million.
-    Exports to Colombia, which has quickly emerged as the largest market for U.S. pork in the Central-South America region, nearly doubled in both volume (4,288 mt, +88 percent) and value ($11 million, +89 percent).
-    Exports to Australia continued to rebound (5,987 mt, +11 percent with value $20.4 million up 17 percent).

Exports trended lower in February to China/Hong Kong on sharply lower demand for variety meat. Exports to Canada struggled in part due to the weakened Canadian dollar.

Beef highlights

February beef exports equated to 14 percent of total beef production and 11 percent of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $277.40 per head of fed slaughter, up 16 percent from a year ago and just short of the record total achieved in December 2013 ($279.16).

Top performing markets in February (with comparisons to a year ago) included:
-    Japan was sharply higher than a year ago in both volume (14,377 mt, +48 percent) and value ($91.7 million, +40 percent), as exports to Japan under the expanded 30-month age restriction did not gain momentum until March 2013.
-    Exports to Mexico were up 29 percent in volume (17,410 mt, though this was the smallest monthly total since May) and surged 56 percent in value ($89.3 million).
-    Hong Kong continued to build on its strong 2013 performance, with exports increasing 15 percent in volume (10,024 mt) and 32 percent in value ($63.9 million).
-    Coming off two down years caused by import restrictions, and continuing the momentum from October 2013, Indonesia was U.S. beef’s top destination in Southeast Asia with exports totaling 1,136 mt valued at $5.1 million.

Similar to U.S. pork, beef exports to Canada have slumped along with the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar. Exports are also off to a slow start this year in Egypt, Taiwan and the Philippines. Smaller volumes have been exported to Korea, but at higher prices, with value up 17 percent in the first two months of the year.

Lamb highlights

Lamb exports in February rose 1 percent in value ($2 million) on 6 percent lower volumes (849 mt). Mexico continues to be the dominant purchaser, accounting for 86.8 percent of the volume of lamb exports in the first two months of the year and 55.1 percent of the value. The Caribbean is the No. 2 market, with exports through the first two months of 2014 up 49 percent in volume and 23 percent in value. Saudi Arabia, which continues to emerge as a destination for U.S. lamb, is the third-largest single-country export market behind Mexico and Canada.

USDA Officially Announces Sign-Up Date for Farmer and Rancher Disaster Assistance Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Quick implementation of the programs has been a top priority for USDA.

"These programs will provide long-awaited disaster relief for many livestock producers who have endured significant financial hardship from weather-related disasters while the programs were expired and awaiting Congressional action," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "President Obama and I prioritized the implementation of these disaster assistance programs now that the Farm Bill has restored and strengthened them."

The Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) will provide payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses that have occurred since the expiration of the livestock disaster assistance programs in 2011, and including calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Enrollment also begins on April 15 for producers with losses covered by the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP).
-    LIP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to adverse weather. Eligible livestock includes beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, poultry, sheep, swine, horses, and other livestock as determined by the Secretary.
-    LFP provides compensation to eligible livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on publicly managed land. An eligible livestock producer must own, cash lease, or be a contract grower of eligible livestock during the 60 calendar days before the beginning date of the qualifying drought or fire in a county that is rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as D2, D3, or D4.
-    ELAP provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have losses due to disease, adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
-    TAP provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) employees have worked exceptionally hard over the past two months to ensure eligible farmers and ranchers would be able to enroll to receive disaster relief on April 15.

To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting these losses in preparation for the enrollment in these disaster assistance programs. Information on the types of records necessary can be provided by local FSA county offices. Producers also are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

Chinese Market to Lead Continued Strong Global Demand for Beef

Rabobank has published a new report on the global beef industry, forecasting continued strong market fundamentals and continued strong global demand led by the Chinese market.

In the report, Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research team says that beef market fundamentals remain positive, with prices driven up across the globe in Q1 2014 by firm demand as well as further tightening supply due to drought-induced herd retention in the U.S. and adverse weather conditions in Brazil and Australia – the three main beef exporters.  Combined with fluctuating exchange rates, these events have impacted competitive positions in export markets, with Brazil and Australia gaining export share in Q1 at the expense of the U.S..

The bank says that, on the demand side, beef demand growth will continue to come mainly from China. Although 2014 imports in China are not expected to reach the growth levels experienced in 2013, they will grow as Chinese farmers take little interest in government-supported production expansion and strong profits, and the market opening for Australian chilled fresh beef products. Chinese market opening to Brazilian beef may happen imminently.

“Prospects for the global beef industry remains positive in Q2, with further possible upside due to continuing pressured beef supply and scarce supply of competing proteins which will continue to impact competitive positions,” explained Rabobank analyst Albert Vernooij. “Brazilian cattle prices and exports have surged to record levels, and Australian droughts have encouraged historically high slaughter levels to meet global demand.”

Regional Outlooks

·         U.S.: Volatility was the biggest factor impacting the U.S. cattle complex in Q1 2014. The impact on the hog market due to the rapid spread of PEDv will be the wildcard in the coming months. The shortage in hog slaughter could have a significant impact on total meat supplies, strengthening beef demand during the spring grilling season and into summer.

·         Australia: Poor climate conditions are keeping slaughter levels historically high, but strong international demand has supported record boxed beef exports in Q1. The latest seasonal outlook predicts a drier-than-normal period for Queensland and northern NSW and a continued high flow of cattle to markets is expected.

·         Brazil: Expected continued strong demand, both domestic and export, will result in firm cattle prices in Q2 2014 and likely beyond, even in periods of strong supply. Domestic demand is likely to increase on the back of the World Cup and presidential elections, while exports will be driven by the continued depreciation of the U.S. dollar.

·         New Zealand: Export prospects are positive with strong demand likely from the U.S. and China. However, the relatively high New Zealand dollar continues to put downward pressure on returns, eroding international competitiveness.

·         Canada: The long and extreme winter has been taxing, forcing increased feed usage. This escalation, in conjunction with cattle shipments to the U.S., means Canada is rapidly going through their available cattle supply with limited interest in herd expansion.

·         Argentina: Exports are expected to remain low as government limitations on export markets continue, with the aim of keeping domestic meat prices low.

·         China: Ongoing shortages in the domestic market will continue to support rising imports of frozen beef, with Australia remaining the biggest supplier accounting for 53% of total import volume in 2013.

·         Mexico: Mexico’s beef sector will continue operating under tight margins into Q2 2014 as beef and cattle prices remain high and lackluster consumption continues.

·         EU: With EU markets more or less in equilibrium, beef prices are expected to hold firm at their current levels. Supply of cattle will remain stable while import growth will continue its steady increase of about 10%.

CWT Assists Members in Selling 31.9 Million Pounds of Product in March

For Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), March came in like a lamb but went out like a lion, assisting members during just the last week of the month in selling seven million pounds of cheese, nearly 14 million pounds of 82 percent butter, and just under a half a million pounds of whole milk powder. These assisted sales raised the totals for the month of March to 10.3 million pounds of cheese, 19 million pounds of butter, and 2.7 million pounds of whole milk powder.

For the first three months of 2014, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 36.3 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese, 29.4 million pounds of butter, and 3.4 million pounds of whole milk powder. The product is going to 27 countrie s on five continents.

The milk equivalent of these sales on a milkfat basis is equal to 997.8 billion pounds of milk. That is more than double the increase in U.S. milk production for the first two months of 2014, and is equal to the annual production of 47,500 cows.

Annual Energy Outlook 2014 projects reduced need for U.S. oil imports due to tight oil production growth 

U.S. production of tight crude oil is expected to make up a larger share of total U.S. oil output in the years ahead, and help lower imports share of total U.S. oil consumption. 

In its annual long-term projections, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects total U.S. crude oil production to reach a record 9.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2019, under its baseline scenario. That increased production lowers the net import share of liquid fuels consumption from the 60% peak reached in 2005 to 25% in 2016, with a gradual increase thereafter. 

Tight oil is expected to account for four out of every five barrels of oil production growth over the next five years, making up half of total U.S. oil output by 2019. 

Under an alternate scenario using assumptions that lead to even higher production, EIA projects U.S. oil output could reach 11.3 million bbl/d in 2019 and then reach 13.3 million bbl/d in 2036. 

If that alternate scenario is realized, the net imports share of consumption would continue to decline through 2036 and remain at or near zero through 2040.

Japan Must Eliminate Tariffs, Says NPPC

With U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in Japan this week and that country recently concluding a free trade agreement with Australia, the National Pork Producers Council today again called on Japan to eliminate all tariff and non-tariff trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products as part of the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Froman is meeting with his Japanese counterparts in Tokyo this week.

In the TPP talks, Japan is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products. It wants exemptions for 586 tariff lines, or 11 percent of its tariff schedule. In the 17 free trade agreements (FTAs) the United States has concluded since 2000, only 233 tariff lines combined have been exempted from going to a zero tariff.

If the United States meets Japan’s demands, NPPC has pointed out, it would be a radical departure from past U.S. trade agreements and would open the door to tariff line exemptions from other countries in the TPP and in future U.S. trade deals. It would establish a dangerous precedent for exemptions not just in agriculture but on industrial and high-tech products.

In its FTA deal with Japan, Australia did not get tariff elimination on a number of important products, but a clause in the agreement requires the Japanese to provide the same access to Australia that it provides to other nations. Should the United States get better access to Japan in the TPP negotiations, Australia would get that same access.

“The Japanese need to eliminate tariffs on pork and other U.S. farm products,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “Japan is asking for special treatment in the form of exempting myriad tariff lines from tariff elimination, yet tariff elimination is the heart of an FTA.”

Hill said U.S. farmers and ranchers likely would agree with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., who last week said that if Japan is not ready to participate in a high-standard, 21st century agreement, which means elimination of tariffs, it needs to exit the negotiations.

“We support the efforts of Ambassador Froman and our trade team to get the same result from Japan that we have gotten from every other U.S. FTA partner: elimination of virtually all tariffs,” said Hill.

Statement by NCBA President Bob McCan on the announced Bilateral Trade Agreement between Australia and Japan

In response to the announcement of a Bilateral Trade Agreement reached between Australia and Japan, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bob McCan, a Victoria, Texas cattleman issued the following statement:

“NCBA is deeply concerned that the Bilateral Trade Agreement between Japan and Australia does not call for full tariff elimination. This Bilateral Agreement undermines the long-standing goals and principles that are the base of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This development only pushes the high-standing ideals of TPP further out of reach for all countries involved, and it is not a move that U.S. beef producers can support. The TPP has been referred to as a 21st century agreement, but this Bilateral Agreement is from the 20th century playbook and will not serve to foster open trade and certainly will not benefit consumers and producers globally.”

U.S. Senate Moves To Protect Bratwurst and Bologna from EU Over-Reach on Geographical Indications

The U.S. Senate is keeping up the pressure on the European Union (EU) to not hamper U.S. production and exports through the appropriation of common food names. This time the focus is on commonly used meat names, such as “bologna” and “black forest ham”. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the senators urged them to defend common names, especially in negotiations with the EU on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Last month the Senate sent a similar letter focused on common cheese names that are under attack, including “parmesan”, “feta” and “asiago”, among others. But U.S. meat products are also at risk in pending trade negotiations.

“This trade barrier is of great concern to meat and other food manufacturers in our states,” the senators wrote in today’s letter. “We urge you to continue to push back against the EU’s efforts to restrict our meat exports, particularly to nations with which we already have free trade agreements (FTAs).”

In country after country, the EU has been using its FTAs to persuade trading partners to impose barriers to U.S. exports under the guise of protecting geographical indications (GIs). For example, as part of their recently implemented FTA with the EU, countries in Central America agreed to impose new restrictions on the use of “bologna”, effectively closing an export opportunity that the U.S.-Central America FTA opened for U.S. companies. Similar trade barriers are being imposed in other parts of Latin America and are also under discussion in many Asian countries involved in negotiations with the EU.

“We thank the U.S. Senate for once again stepping forward to call attention to this fast-growing type of agricultural trade barrier,” said Jaime Castaneda, Executive Director of the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), an international non-profit alliance. “The EU has been aggressively moving to ‘own’ these names, at the expense of not only U.S. farmers and businesses but also those in many other countries around the world. Countries are beginning to catch on to what the EU is doing, and to cry foul.”

CCFN supports the goal of ensuring that legitimate GIs like Idaho Potatoes and Parmigiano Reggiano are appropriately protected. However, overly restrictive GIs for meats could hit smaller businesses particularly hard, since they often specialize in artisan and other specialty meat products.

“What you call a food is a very big deal,” Castaneda added. “It can add up to billions of dollars for U.S. companies and hundreds of jobs. And for consumers, restricting these names means less choice, more confusion, and very likely higher prices for some of their favorite foods.”

European GIs encompass many food and beverage categories, meaning many areas of food trade worldwide are potentially threatened by the EU’s unfair claims to the exclusive use of common food names and even common-place terms such as “classic”, “ruby” and “chateau”.

“We ask that USTR and USDA continue to work aggressively to ensure the EU’s GI efforts on commonly used meat product names do not impair the ability of U.S. businesses to compete both domestically and internationally. We ask you to make this a top priority through official TTIP, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and bilateral negotiations,” the letter concludes.

The full letter can be found here on the CCFN website,

NCBA and PLC are Accepting Applications for 2015 Public Policy Internship

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council government affairs office in Washington, D.C., is accepting applications for the spring 2015 public policy internship. The deadline to submit an application is June 30, 2014.

“NCBA and PLC’s internship is a great opportunity to experience policy making first-hand,” said Emily Buck, a University of Tennessee senior and spring 2014 intern. “I enjoyed working alongside a team that makes a powerful impact on legislation while staying true to their roots. It’s rewarding to be able to advocate for cattle producers across the nation, and I would encourage students interested in agricultural policy to apply.”

NCBA Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts said this is a great opportunity for students with an interest in the beef industry and public policy.

“From food safety and trade to environmental issues and taxes, this internship will give college students the opportunity to work alongside staff on many critical issues affecting U.S. cattlemen and women,” Butts said. “The internship is designed to work closely with the lobbying team on Capitol Hill; to assist with NCBA and PLC’s regulatory efforts; and to work closely with the communications team.”

The full-time internship will begin Jan. 12, 2015 and end May 8, 2015. To apply, interested college juniors, seniors or graduate students should submit the application, college transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a resume to More information about the NCBA public policy internship is available on

Russia Grain Exports Up 47.3%

Russia's grain exports between July 1, 2013 -- the beginning of the current marketing year -- and April 2 totaled 20.847 million metric tons, 47.3% more than in the corresponding period of the previous marketing year, the agriculture ministry reported Monday.

The exported grain included 15.377 mmt of wheat, 3.106 mmt of corn, 2.111 mmt of barley and 253,000 mmt of other, minor grains.

The ministry said grain exports between March 1 and March 31 totaled 2.015 mmt, including 1.296 mmt of wheat, 593,000 metric tons of corn, 102,000 mt of barley and 24,000 mt of other, minor grains.

In 2013, Russia harvested 89.3 million metric tons of grain in clean weight, 30% more than in 2012, when 68.7 million tons were harvested because crops were damaged by drought.

Russia's grain exports in the 2012-2013 marketing year fell to 15.69 mmt from 27.2 mmt in the previous marketing year. In the current marketing year, July 2013-June 2014, the agriculture ministry expects Russia's grain exports to rise to 22 mmt.

Cowan Joins Animal Health International as Swine Sales Manager—Midwest Region

Animal Health International, Inc. today announces Chris Cowan has joined Animal Health International as Swine Sales Manager—Midwest Region. Chris will report directly to Region President Chuck Vander Ploeg.  Chris joins Animal Health International following 28 years in the animal health industry in Sales and Management roles with other leading animal health companies.

Chris began his career in animal health as Leader/Vet Crew for commercial cattle feeding company Caprock Industries and subsequently joined Upjohn Animal Health as a Swine Specialist.  After 8 years with Upjohn, Chris joined APC Company, Inc. as Eastern Region Sales Manager for plasma feed ingredients and then for value-added nutritional health products.

Immediately prior to joining Animal Health International, Chris spent over 12 years with Pig Improvement Company in sales and gilt multiplication management roles.

On his joining Animal Health International, Chris said “I love the pig business and I’m really excited to join the premier animal health company serving the swine industry. There are tremendous opportunities to grow our swine business and I look forward to working with such a high caliber team of seasoned professionals. Together we can accomplish great things.”

Chris was raised on a farm near Beresford, SD and is the son of a large animal veterinarian.  Chris graduated from South Dakota State University with a BS in Animal Science, and while working for APC Company earned his Masters of Business Administration at the University of Iowa.  Chris lives in Ankeny, Iowa and is devoted to his wife Lisa of 22 years, son Cameron (15) and daughter Brianne (10).

Potash Corp Names New CEO

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Ltd. said late Sunday that Bill Doyle, longtime president and chief executive, will step down in July after a 27-year career with the potash-mining giant.

Potash Corp., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, said mining veteran Jochen Tilk will take over from Doyle, who has held the top post since 1999 and will remain as a senior adviser until June 2015.

A company spokesman said Doyle is 64 years old.

Tilk most recently was president and chief executive of Inmet Mining, which was taken over last year by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. after a hostile battle.

Potash Corp. said Tilk's appointment follows a three-year selection process to identify a successor to Doyle.

"Jochen's successful track record, his reputation among peers and commitment to the industry made him the ideal candidate to serve our customers and lead Potash Corp. through our next phase of growth," Doyle said in a statement.

Potash Corp., which in 2010 successfully fended off a $39 billion hostile takeover attempt by mining company BHP Billiton Ltd., has seen its profits hit recently by slumping potash prices after the breakup last year of a Russian-Belarusian trading partnership that helped control supply in potash, a key fertilizer ingredient. Most recently, the company posted a 45% drop in fourth-quarter earnings and slashed its outlook for 2014.

According to Raymond James, Doyle's decision to step down isn't unexpected, "particularly in light of previous communication that he would look to do so upon reaching 65."

However, Raymond James said the timing of the change is somewhat surprising.

"'s hard not to be a little taken aback, that such a monumental 'changing of the guard' will unfold on the heels of one of the potash industry's most volatile periods," Raymond James analysts said in a note.

The global market in potash has been in disarray since last summer, when Russian potash-mining concern OAO Uralkali announced it would leave a trading partnership with Belarus, which controlled about 40% of the world's potash trade, and promised to increase production. The move effectively ended an informal global pricing cartel, sending prices of the commodity tumbling.

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