Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday April 2 Ag News

Gov. Heineman Approves More Than $400 Million in Tax Relief for Nebraskans

Today, Gov. Dave Heineman announced that Nebraska taxpayers will receive more than $412 million in tax relief over the next five years. He signed several tax relief bills into law at a news conference where he noted the relief as responsible, meaningful and significant.

“I am pleased that Nebraska taxpayers will be receiving more than $412 million in tax relief, which is responsible, meaningful and significant tax relief,” said Gov. Heineman.

Governor Heineman has clearly stated that the priority for this legislative session was providing responsible and meaningful tax relief. In his State of the State address, Gov. Heineman demonstrated how Nebraska could accomplish tax relief between $370 and $500 million citing state financial reports holding the line on state spending, utilizing a portion of the record high state cash reserve fund, and citing Nebraska’s growing economy.

Bills signed into law that affect tax relief include:

LB 987 will index Nebraska’s individual income tax brackets for inflation, as well as exempt portions of social security and veteran retirement. Specifically, the bill will exempt social security income for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less for married persons filing jointly, and $43,000 or less for all others. This bill also allows a veteran to make a one-time election, within two years after separation from military service, to exclude portions of military retirement benefits. The exclusion may be to either exclude 40 percent of the military retirement benefit income for seven consecutive years or to exclude 15 percent of the military retirement benefit for all taxable years after the person turns 67.

LB 96 eliminates sales tax on the sale, lease, rental or storage of repair or replacement parts for agricultural machinery and equipment that are used in commercial agriculture.

On March 29, Gov. Heineman signed LB 905 into law.  LB 905 increases the Property Tax Credit Program by $25 million on an annual basis, in addition to the current $115 million ongoing funding. In 2007, the Governor worked with the Legislature to create the Property Tax Credit Program to offer property tax relief in Nebraska. The amount contributed has stayed flat over the last few years while statewide property values have increased.

LB 986 will expand Nebraska’s homestead exemption program so that more Nebraskans could qualify. This bill increases amounts of household income limits. For a 100 percent exemption from property tax, single filers can earn up to $26,900. As household income increases up to a maximum of $39,500, the exemption percentage is phased-down incrementally. For a 100 percent exemption, married filers can earn up to $31,600. As household income increases up to a maximum of $46,900, this exemption percentage is phased-down incrementally. This bill also creates a new eligibility category under the homestead exemption program to include certain individuals with developmental disabilities.

LB 1087 will expand eligibility for the current property tax homestead exemption to include a 100 percent property tax exemption for honorably discharged veterans. To qualify, veterans must be drawing compensation for a 100 percent service-connected disability from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, beginning in 2015. This bill also gives a 100 percent exemption to unremarried widows or widowers of honorably discharged veterans who died as a result of a service-connected disability, as well as to unremarried widows or widowers of servicemen and servicewomen whose death on active duty was service connected.

Additionally, Gov. Heineman outlined an additional bill that just reached his desk Monday that he plans to sign.

LB 867 will exempt sales and use taxes on purchases made by historic automobile museums, and would exempt sales and use tax on the sale, lease or rental of gold or silver bullion and U.S. postage charges. The bill would exempt non-profit corporations that make charitable donations of land from the documentary stamp tax and accelerate the sports arena sales tax turnback payments to the Ralston arena. It would also exempt retail sales of compressed natural gas that is used for motor vehicle fuel.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Backed Farm Truck Bill Passes, Provides Regulatory Relief

Nebraska farmers and ranchers can look forward to regulatory relief in the area of farm truck regulations thanks to the passage of a bill supported by Nebraska Farm Bureau. Gov. Dave Heineman signed LB 983 into law March 28 after state lawmakers gave final approval to the measure. The law includes provisions designed to bring Nebraska farm truck regulations in line with federal farm truck requirements.

“The passage of federal MAP-21 legislation in 2012 provided some exemptions for farm operated vehicles as it relates to Commercial Driver License (CDL) requirements, hours of service, medical testing and some other requirements. Up until now, Nebraska farmers and ranchers haven’t been able to take advantage of those changes. The passage of this bill allows us to do so as has been the case in other states,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

One of the most notable changes allowed by the legislation is the exemption from CDL requirements for farm covered vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating less than 26,000 pounds, regardless of how far the farm vehicle travels. The changes also provide the CDL exemption to farm vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 26,000 pounds provided they operate within the state or a 150-mile radius from their farm operation.

“Most family farm and ranch operations in Nebraska, and the drivers of the farm-plated vehicles used in these operations, are by no means commercial trucking operations. Yet at the same time, they rely heavily upon trucking and hauling to maintain their farm business. We believe these changes will give the appropriate degree of regulatory flexibility and relief for farm and ranch families and are proud to have helped make these changes reality,” said Nelson.

Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton introduced the original bill containing the changes and Farm Bureau worked closely with the Nebraska State Patrol and others to help bring the bill to fruition.

“We greatly appreciate the work of everyone involved and look forward to continuing that effort as we help bring awareness to what these changes mean for Nebraska farm and ranch families,” said Nelson.

Field Crop Scout Training Offered in May

            A May 6 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension crop scout training course will provide crop scouts an opportunity to enhance their skills.

            The training is designed for entry level scouts who will be working for crop consultants, industry agronomists or farm service centers across Nebraska and neighboring states, said Keith Glewen, UNL Extension educator.

            The course is from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the university's Agricultural Research and Development Center near Mead.

            "Past participants have consistently given the training high marks and state that the knowledge gained from attending improved their scouting skills," Glewen said.

             Topics include: how corn and soybean plants grow and develop, soybean and corn insect management, identifying weeds – plant morphology, using a key to identify weed seedlings, crop diseases and quiz, and nutrient deficiencies.

            "Some of the benefits registrants stated the training provided included practical/working knowledge and better accuracy in field scouting," Glewen said. "Other participants appreciated the hands-on, practical format."

            Cost is $135. Fees include lunch, refreshment breaks, workshop materials and instruction manual. Registrants should preregister one week in advance to reserve their seat and to ensure workshop materials are available the day of the training session. Updated reference materials are included in this year's take home instruction manual.

            A total of 5.5 Certified Crop Advisor Continuing Education Units is anticipated in the integrated pest management (4.0), crop management (1.0) and fertility/nutrient management (.5) categories.

            For more information or to register, contact the ARDC, CMDC Programs, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca, Neb., 68033, call 402-624-8000, fax 402-624-8010, email or visit

            The training is part of the UNL Extension Crop Management Diagnostic Clinics and is sponsored by extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Additional diagnostic clinics include: Mid-Summer Diagnostic Clinic – July 17; Precision Ag Clinic – Aug. 27; Physical, Chemical, and Biological Properties of Soil and Water Clinic – Aug. 28.

USDA Sets Date for Soybean Request for Referendum

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will offer soybean producers the opportunity to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order (Order), as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act (Act).

The Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a Request for Referendum every 5 years after the initial referendum, which was conducted in 1994.  The last Request for Referendum was conducted in 2009.  Soybean producers who are interested in having a referendum to determine whether to continue the Soybean Checkoff Program are invited to participate.

The Request for Referendum will be conducted at USDA's county Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices.  To be eligible to participate, producers must certify and provide documentation that shows that they produced soybeans and paid an assessment on the soybeans during the period of January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2013.

Beginning May 5 and continuing through May 30, 2014, producers may obtain a form by mail, fax, or in person from the FSA county offices.  Forms may also be obtained via the internet at during the same time period.  Individual producers and other producer entities may request a referendum at the county FSA office where their administrative farm records are maintained.  For the producer not participating in FSA programs, the opportunity to request a referendum will be provided at the county FSA office where the producer owns or rents land.  Completed forms and supporting documentation must be returned to the appropriate county FSA office by fax or in person no later than close of business May 30, 2014; or if returned by mail, must be postmarked by midnight May 30, 2014, and received in the county FSA office by close of business on June 5, 2014.

USDA will conduct a referendum if at least 10 percent of the nation’s 569,998 soybean producers support a referendum.  Not more than one-fifth of the producers who support having a referendum can be from any one State.

The Soybean Checkoff Program is administered by a 70-member producer board and is designed to expand uses of soybeans and soybean products in domestic and foreign markets.  The national Soybean Checkoff Program is financed by a mandatory assessment of one-half of 1 percent of the net market price of soybeans.

Iowa Learning Farms’ April Webinar Focuses on Gully Soil Erosion

The Iowa Learning Farms’ April webinar Wednesday, April 16 will feature Rick Cruse, Iowa State University agronomy professor. He will discuss soil erosion that is ignored or unreported by most agencies, and even by the Iowa Daily Erosion Project.

The 11:30 a.m. webinar is part of a free series hosted by ILF through Adobe Connect. The series is held on the third Wednesday of each month.

Cruse is part of research efforts more clearly identifying soil erosion that occurs in ephemeral gullies – the small gullies formed by water runoff typically tilled shut by farm operations. Many fields are scarred by gullies that channel soil and chemicals into streams, which are not accounted for in Iowa State’s erosion estimates or those typical of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Rick Cruse is a professor of agronomy at Iowa State and director of the Iowa Water Center.  His research focus is on soil management and soil erosion processes. He is co-leading the expansion of the Iowa Daily Erosion Project to states adjoining Iowa and has been actively involved with multiple soil erosion studies in China. Cruse also teaches a graduate level soil management class at Iowa State.

To connect to the webinar, go to at 11:30 a.m. on the morning of the webinar and log in using the guest option. A computer with Internet access is all that is needed to participate. The ILF website contains links for archived webinars from all previous sessions at The webinar archive is also available in a podcast through iTunes.

Biodiesel Tax Credit, Section 179 Expensing Included in Senate Finance Committee Chairman’s Tax Extenders Package

As part of its proposed taxed extenders package released yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee included two items critical to soybean farmers, including a two-year extension of the dollar-per-gallon biodiesel tax incentive, and a reinstatement of the pre-2014 expensing amounts for farm infrastructure and equipment under Section 179. Both issues are among the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) key policy priorities for the coming year, and ASA First Vice President Wade Cowan, a farmer from Brownfield, Texas, issued the following statement on the committee’s proposal:

“More than ninety eight percent of American farms are owned by families, making ours an industry of small businesses, and like our counterparts on main streets across the country, farmers have a crucial stake in the country’s tax structure. That’s why today’s proposal from the Senate Finance Committee is such an important one for agriculture. It extends the biodiesel tax credit through the end of 2015, and reinstates the amounts we can expense under Section 179. Both elements enable us to compete and succeed in the face of growing competition.

“The extension of the biodiesel tax credit is huge. Biodiesel blenders create a renewable and safe domestic energy source for our country and a valuable market for the soybean oil American farmers produce. The credit further encourages the development and sustained success of the biodiesel marketplace, and much credit goes to Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch and specifically Sens. Grassley and Cantwell for recognizing the importance of the biodiesel tax incentive and including it in their proposal. The industry has been operating in the absence of the credit since the end of the fiscal year in September, and we’ve seen the biodiesel industry’s production dip and progress stall in the absence of this tax credit in the past, so this proposal is a welcome first step toward putting the industry back on track for the next two years.

“The proposal’s Section 179 reinstatement is also important. This enables farmers and other small business owners to expense investments made in new technology, equipment and infrastructure in their operations. Given the land-based and capital-intensive nature of farming, not to mention the ever-advancing technology we need to farm sustainably and competitively, this program helps us to stay on the cutting edge of our industry.

“We hope that the full committee will take up and advance this proposal quickly, and we call on the full Senate and the House to pass these provisions in the interest of farmers and our fellow small business owners nationwide.”

NCGA Breaks Membership Record for Second Consecutive Month

National Corn Growers Association membership climbed to even higher heights setting yet another membership record at the end of March, with 40,793 on the rolls. This membership record replaces the former record, of 40,287, set in February of 2014.

"We're thrilled to set yet another membership record at a time when the average membership in trade associations like ours is flat or declining," said NCGA President Martin Barbre. "Not only do we offer a terrific set of member benefits, but our growers know the value NCGA offers in Washington and throughout the country and recognize that grassroots efforts have been the strength and driving force behind their organization."

NCGA has members across the contiguous United States and works in cooperation with grower associations and state corn checkoff boards from 28 states, representing the interests of its members and the more than 300,000 growers who contribute corn checkoff funds in their states.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 3/28/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 922,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 38.72 million gallons daily. That is up 37,000 b/d from the week before and the highest output rate so far this year. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 892,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 13.67 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 15.9 million barrels. That is a 1.4% increase from last week and the second straight uptick.

Ethanol imports totaled 11,000 b/d, snapping a 25-week streak of non-existent imports dating back to the week of 10/04/2013.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 365.9 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.58%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.980 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 102,898 metric tons of livestock feed, 91,734 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.80 million pounds of corn oil daily.

Hints of Ethanol Price Retreat

Ethanol spot prices have increased steadily since early February, reflecting logistical challenges for the industry, according to "This Week in Petroleum" issued Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

By late March, New York Harbor spot ethanol prices exceeded the price for RBOB, the petroleum component of gasoline, by more than $1 gallon. Ethanol spot prices in Chicago and Gulf Coast markets also climbed above NYH RBOB prices. The NYH premium over Chicago spot ethanol prices had averaged roughly 25 cents per gallon in January, close to the typical transportation costs of moving ethanol from production centers in the Midwest to terminals on the East Coast in recent years. It widened to $1 gallon in early March.

"Logistical constraints in and around ethanol production centers in the Midwest, mainly involving railroads on which approximately 70% of ethanol is shipped, appear to be a key factor driving recent prices," EIA said.

Ethanol futures prices suggest that market participants expect the recent price increase to be short-lived. The Chicago Board of Trade ethanol futures curve is heavily backwardated, meaning near-term contracts are selling at a premium to longer-term contracts. On March 31, the futures contract price for May delivery was more than $1 gallon below the Chicago spot price for immediate delivery.

Rail system conditions appear to be improving, EIA said. In addition, the recent ethanol price increase has driven ethanol operating margins and crush spreads to their highest values in recent years, providing a strong incentive for increased ethanol production rates over the coming weeks.

Extremely cold weather this winter led to rail congestion in and out of Midwestern terminals that delayed shipments to other regions and resulted in significant ethanol stock draws. Railcar dwell times at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.'s Galesburg, Ill., terminal nearly doubled in early 2014 to reach a peak of 60 hours in February and remain above year-ago levels. Dwell times are the time loaded railcars spend in a terminal awaiting movement.

While over 70% of ethanol producers are equipped to load unit trains, only 35% of gasoline blending terminals are equipped to receive them.

The average speed of manifest trains decreased by 20% -- from 22 miles per hour to 17 mph, over the past 12 months. Manifest trains include cars carrying different products and are often used to deliver ethanol to gasoline blending terminals that are not equipped to handle unit trains.

Ethanol stocks were drawn down nationwide by nearly 2 million barrels (bbl) from mid-February to mid-March, partially recovering to 15.9 million bbl on Mar. 28. This is more than 4 million bbl below typical March levels, which averaged more than 20 million bbl from 2011 through 2013. East Coast inventories were especially hard hit, and on March 14 reached their lowest level of 4.5 million bbl since EIA began recording data in June 2010.

Despite an abundant corn supply and strong ethanol margins in early 2014, ethanol production rates also appear to be have been adversely affected by rail system problems and other weather-related issues in recent months. After averaging more than 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) for four consecutive months beginning in November 2013, ethanol production dropped below 900,000 bpd during March.

Oil Spills and Car-Stopping Contaminated Gasoline – Open Ethanol Letter Takes on API Ads

Today’s editions of the New York Times and Politico have published a good-humored, but factual takedown of Big Oil’s false, hypocritical attacks against clean, renewable ethanol.

The full page ad, which is published in Politico and all DC editions of the New York Times, is an open letter to Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute. It is signed jointly by the Renewable Fuels Association’s Bob Dinneen and Growth Energy’s Tom Buis.

Dinneen and Buis write, “Despite the millions of dollars your industry has spent on bogus TV ads, there hasn’t been a single reported case of engine damage from ethanol blended fuels like E15. But last week, Exxon admitted selling customers in Louisiana more than 5 million gallons of oil-based gasoline that was so bad that it’s been stopping cars dead in their tracks. In fact, one auto shop reported 40 or 50 customers who had trouble starting their engines as a result of Exxon’s contaminated gas. That’s 40 or 50 more cases of engine problems than have been reported in the entire country from E15, and that’s just one shop in Baton Rouge!”

Going directly at the current API boat ads, the open letter continues, “While your ads are misleading people about the impact of ethanol on marine engines, boats in Houston are in dry dock because of your oil spill! In fact, that one company has been fined for 77 different oil spills since 2008, which means they have averaged more than one oil spill per month for the last six years. That’s a lot of boaters impacted by oil spills, Jack.”

The open letter is summed up in one simple closing thought, “You see, Jack, the real environmental peril is oil, not renewable fuels like ethanol.”

Ukraine Spring Grain Planting Ahead of Last Year

Ukraine spring grain planting for this year's harvest, is picking up pace after a slow start, with 2.385 million hectares planted to April 2, which is 86% of the planned total planted area for early spring grains, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry didn't give last year's figures for comparison but, according to its past reports, Ukraine planted spring grains on 678,000 hectares to April 1, 2013.

The ministry said Ukraine's farmers had begun planting spring grains for the 2014 harvest on time, despite the current political uncertainty, and the planting campaign would be carried out within the optimal timeframe for the development of the crops.

In 2012, Ukraine planted spring grains on 32,200 hectares to March 20. In 2011, Ukraine planted spring grains on 113,300 hectares to March 17. In 2010, planting was also delayed by the weather, with no spring grains reported planted to March 16, while in 2009, 200,000 hectares was planted to March 16 and in 2008 400,000 hectares was planted to March 16.

Satellite Shows High Productivity from U.S. Corn Belt

Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere's growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to NASA and university scientists.

Healthy plants convert light to energy via photosynthesis, but chlorophyll also emits a fraction of absorbed light as fluorescent glow that is invisible to the naked eye. The magnitude of the glow is an excellent indicator of the amount of photosynthesis, or gross productivity, of plants in a given region.

Research in 2013 led by Joanna Joiner, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., demonstrated that fluorescence from plants could be teased out of data from existing satellites, which were designed and built for other purposes. The new research led by Luis Guanter of the Freie Universitat Berlin, used the data for the first time to estimate photosynthesis from agriculture. Results were published March 25 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to co-author Christian Frankenberg of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., "The paper shows that fluorescence is a much better proxy for agricultural productivity than anything we've had before. This can go a long way regarding monitoring – and maybe even predicting – regional crop yields."

Guanter, Joiner and Frankenberg launched their collaboration at a 2012 workshop, hosted by the Keck Institute for Space Studies at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, to explore measurements of photosynthesis from space. The team noticed that on an annual basis, the tropics are the most productive. But during the Northern Hemisphere's growing season, the U.S. Corn Belt "really stands out," Frankenberg said. "Areas all over the world are not as productive as this area."

The researchers set out to describe the phenomenon observed by carefully interpreting the data from the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment 2 (GOME-2) on Metop-A, a European meteorological satellite. Data showed that fluorescence from the Corn Belt, which extends from Ohio to Nebraska and Kansas, peaks in July at levels 40 percent greater than those observed in the Amazon.

Comparison with ground-based measurements from carbon flux towers and yield statistics confirmed the results.

The match between ground-based measurements and satellite measurements was a "pleasant surprise," said Joiner, a co-author on the paper. Ground-based measurements have a resolution of about 0.4 square miles (1 square kilometer), while the satellite measurements currently have a resolution of more than 1,158 square miles. The study confirms that even with coarse resolution, the satellite method could estimate the photosynthetic activity occurring inside plants at the molecular level for areas with relatively homogenous vegetation like the Corn Belt.

The research could also help scientists improve the computer models that simulate Earth's carbon cycle, as Guanter found a strong underestimation of crop photosynthesis in models. The analysis revealed that carbon cycle models – which scientists use to understand how carbon cycles through the ocean, land and atmosphere over time - underestimate the productivity of the Corn Belt by 40 to 60 percent.

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

CME Group Wins Case Over Grain Settlement Rules

CME Group Inc. can keep in place rules that factor in electronic trades for settling end-of-day grain futures prices, an Illinois judge ruled on Monday following a legal challenge from veterans of the Chicago trading floor. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jean Prendergast Rooney in Chicago ruled that CME Group, which owns the Chicago Board of Trade, had the authority to implement the settlement method in June 2012 without taking a vote among certain stakeholders.

A group of traders from the CBOT's 140-year-old agricultural trading floor in June 2012 sued the exchange to overturn the method, saying that it was putting them out of business. Prior to the change, the CBOT had a century-old tradition of settling futures prices for crops like corn and soybeans based on transactions executed in open-outcry pits.

The lawsuit was seen as something of a last stand for open-outcry traders, whose business has declined since the rise of electronic trading. The floor traders traditionally did much of their business at the close of trading and said CME Group's new settlement procedures made the pits largely irrelevant.

The traders had argued in court that CME Group failed to hold a required vote to approve the new settlement method among certain holders of CBOT memberships. CME said it did not need to take a vote, and the judge agreed.

Some traders believe CME wants to shut down the floor in favor of electronic trading because the pits are expensive to maintain. CME executives have said they are committed to keeping the floor open.

Monsanto Profit Improves on Soybean-Seed Sales

Monsanto Co. said its fiscal second-quarter earnings grew 13% as the agribusiness giant reported continued strength in its soybean seed sales as well as improved margins.

Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, closed its $930 million acquisition of farm-analytics company Climate Corp. late last year, a deal that enables Monsanto to offer tools including individualized weather statistics, part of a yearslong effort by Monsanto to expand its range of services to farmers to improve their crop yields.

Such "precision farming" technology already has started to change how some farmers operate, and has attracted the interest of rivals including DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co.

The new tools are being developed as farmers in the U.S. and elsewhere are confronting sharply lower grain prices after bumper crops last year in the U.S. and South America.

For the latest period, total seeds and genomics sales rose 6.9% to $4.65 billion. Corn seed and traits sales, which account for most of the segment's revenue, rose 4.1%, while soybean seed and traits sales jumped 21%.

Sales in the agricultural productivity business, which consists of crop-protection products and herbicide, grew 5.2% to $1.18 billion.

For the period ended Feb. 28, Monsanto reported a profit of $1.67 billion, or $3.15 a share, up from $1.48 billion, or $2.74 a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 6.6% to $5.83 billion.

Compass Minerals Completes Acquisition of Wolf Trax

Compass Minerals expands its position in the agricultural fertilizer market through the acquisition of Wolf Trax Inc., a global innovative plant nutrition company. The acquisition was finalized April 1, 2014.

“We are excited about this opportunity and looking forward to fueling the growth that Wolf Trax has demonstrated,” says Keith Espelien, senior vice president, specialty fertilizer with Compass Minerals. “It’s important to emphasize that business continues as usual – we understand how critical this busy spring season is to the agricultural industry. Fertilizer dealers can continue to access DDP® Nutrients and other Wolf Trax products through their traditional distribution channels.”

Wolf Trax nutrients ideal for compressed, late spring

Mark Goodwin, vice president of research and development for Wolf Trax, emphasizes that DDP Nutrients and PROTINUS® seed-applied fertilizer are ideal for fertilizer dealers and farmers dealing with a compressed, late spring. “Wolf Trax nutrients are designed to get into the plant early, which will be very important to get the crop up and out of the ground in cool, wet soils, or if planting is delayed. PROTINUS is also a good fit under challenging conditions as it enhances early plant vigor, resulting in earlier emergence and longer, stronger root growth.”

The Wolf Trax DDP (Dry Dispersible Powder) formulation is available for zinc, boron, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and calcium.

Compass Minerals becomes one-stop shop for premium fertilizers

“We are extremely pleased to be adding the leading products and strong pipeline of innovations from Wolf Trax to our Compass Minerals portfolio,” says Espelien. “Compass Minerals will become a one-stop shop for growers and retailers seeking premium plant nutrition products.”

Wolf Trax nutrients have been recognized by fertilizer retailers and growers around the world as doing a better job of delivering important micronutrients and secondary nutrients to crops, compared to traditional granular micronutrients. Over the past decade, proven product performance in farmers’ fields has resulted in strong growth throughout North America, Latin America and Europe.

“Wolf Trax has built a business on innovation and a commitment to technical and sales service,” explains Espelien. “Compass Minerals looks forward to nurturing that legacy and allocating additional resources to provide even more value to the agricultural industry in the future.”

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