Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesday April 23 Ag News

Nebraska Economy, Job Market Reaps Major Benefits from Renewable Fuels Industry

The Fuels America coalition today released an economic impact study by John Dunham & Associates showing the far-reaching benefits of renewable fuels for Nebraska workers and businesses.  

Renewable fuels now represent nearly 10% of America’s fuel supply and have helped reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil to the lowest level in years.  The analysis takes into account the entire supply chain for renewable fuels and quantifies the impact to the economy.

Benefits to Nebraska from the renewable fuels industry include:
-    Driving $11.1 billion of economic output
-    Supporting 39,629 jobs and $2.9 billion in wages
-    Generating $313.4 million in state tax revenue each year

Nationally, the report show that homegrown American fuels support 39,629 Jobs and $2.9 Billion in Wages.  The full analysis is available on the Fuels America website, including detailed state by state reports.

The report tells the story of an innovative, advanced renewable fuels and biofuels industry that is producing growing benefits for America’s economy.  “The data are in:  The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is driving billions of dollars of economic activity across America,” the report concludes.  “This is the result of years of investment by the biofuel sector to bring clean, low carbon renewable fuels to market.”

Embraced by both Democrats and Republicans and signed into law by President Bush – but bitterly opposed by the oil industry – the RFS calls for the use of American-grown renewable fuels in our transportation fuel supply.  The oil industry is urging the U.S. EPA and/or Congress to repeal or weaken the RFS so that renewable fuels do not further reduce oil industry market share.  

Fuels America stands with the thousands of farm families, workers, small business owners, environmental advocates, veterans and military families who submitted comments to the U.S. EPA urging the agency to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard and support the development of clean, homegrown American fuels.

Clare, Schafer Named ‘Friend of Agriculture’ by Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation PAC

Tim Clare of Lincoln has been named a “Friend of Agriculture” by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee.

Clare serves on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents representing district 1 and is currently seeking re-election to the position.

“Tim has demonstrated time and again that he understands the importance of agriculture and the role the University of Nebraska plays in supporting our agriculture economy,” said Mark McHargue, chair of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“It’s important that we continue to maintain and build the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources in order to carry out the land grant mission of the University of Nebraska and Tim has been helpful in moving that mission forward,” said McHargue.

Clare’s understanding of the important role research and extension plays in aiding Nebraska farmers and ranchers is one of the reasons he’s received the designation, according to McHargue.

“Tim is well connected to the needs of agriculture. He understands how important advancements in technology are to farmers and ranchers and the role the University plays in helping keep Nebraska farmers and ranchers on the cutting edge of that technology,” said McHargue.

Also, Rob Schafer of Beatrice has been named a “Friend of Agriculture” by NFBF-PAC, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s political action committee.

Schafer serves on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents representing district 5. He is currently seeking re-election to the position. Schafer was appointed to the board by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2013.

“Rob has first-hand experience and a tremendous understanding of the needs of agriculture and rural Nebraska. During his time on the board he’s shown that he understands how the University fits into the bigger picture of supporting agriculture and rural communities,” said Mark McHargue, chair of NFBF-PAC and first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau.

McHargue says it is vital that those leading the University have a strong grasp of its land grant mission be in tune to the needs of farmers, ranchers and the state’s agriculture based economy.

Rob’s involvement in his farming operation and in his law practice dealing with agriculture issues make him uniquely qualified to bring real rural and agriculture knowledge to the table. He’s made rural growth and agriculture a key part of his priorities and will keep those priorities on the forefront for the University,” said McHargue. 

The Friend of Agriculture designation is given to selected candidates for public office based on their commitment to and positions on agricultural issues, qualifications and previous experience, communication abilities and their ability to represent the district, McHargue said.

Annual 4-H/FFA Golf Classic June 23 in Omaha

            The 20th annual 4-H/FFA Golf Classic will be June 23 at the Indian Creek Golf Course in Omaha.

            This year participants will not only celebrate 4-H and FFA, but also the 20th year anniversary of the event, said Stuart Shepherd, executive director of the Nebraska 4-H Foundation.

            "We're celebrating 20 years of support to two of Nebraska's most largest and successful youth programs," Shepherd said. "We are most grateful for the financial support over the 20 years from our gold, silver, tee and green sponsors; their financial support reaches over 149,000 kids annually in Nebraska."

            Registration and lunch begin at 11 a.m., followed by the shotgun start at noon. Participants will enjoy an 18-hole round of golf with cart and dinner. Registration deadline is June 1.

            The golf classic is for men and women of all ages who are advocates for 4-H and FFA.

            The Golf Classic is a major fundraiser for both organizations.

            "We have had many participants and companies in the past and a fair number have been very loyal to the fundraiser," said Rich Hickman, chairman of the 4-H/FFA Golf Planning Committee. "A number of agribusinesses are aware of the impact that 4-H and FFA have on the education of rural and urban children. Many of the resumes that we receive almost always include one or both of the organizations. Employers recognize the need for accomplished future employees. Both organizations help a great deal. It takes a community to raise and educate a child."

            In Nebraska, more than 143,000 youth ages 8 to 19 participate in 4-H and 6,000 high school students are members of FFA. Many high school-aged youth participate in both organizations, Stuart said.

            In addition to golfing, silent and live auctions of donated items and a dinner are a part of the event. Typically, about $40,000 is raised with 4-H and FFA each receiving $20,000.

            2014 Golf Classic confirmed sponsors as of April 21 include: Gold Sponsor: Dupont Pioneer, Farmers National Company; Silver Sponsor: Hertz Farm Management, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, NAU Country Insurance Company; Tee Sponsors: Ag and Food Associates, LLC, Bank of the West, DLR Group, Print Solutions, Lindsay Corporation, Rain and Hail Agricultural Insurance, Reinke Manufacturing Company, Inc., Ward Laboratories, Inc., Wiles Brothers Fertilizer, Hudson Crop Insurance Services, Inc., Valley Irrigation; Hole-in-One Car Sponsor: Copple Chevrolet, GMC; and Drinks Sponsor: Midwest Farmers Cooperative.

            For more information or to register, visit or contact Desirae TePoel with the Nebraska 4-H Foundation at 402-472-7688,

Weekly Ethanol Production for 4/18/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 910,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 38.22 million gallons daily. That is down 29,000 b/d from last week’s year-to-date high. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 917,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.06 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 16.5 million barrels. That is a 3.5% increase from last week and a seven-week high.

Imports of ethanol were 11,000 b/d, up from zero last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 354.1 million gallons daily, a seven-week low.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.79%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.798 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 101,559 metric tons of livestock feed, 90,540 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.74 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

RFA Committed to Rail Safety, Says Priority One is Keeping Trains on the Tracks

Today, Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), testified before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) forum on Rail Safety: Transportation of Crude Oil and Ethanol. In his testimony, Dinneen focuses on the safety record of ethanol shipments via the DOT-111A railcar, the intense focus of the RFA on safety training and best practices within the ethanol industry, and the need for the NTSB to focus on the root cause of recent derailments, track conditions and human error, and not exclusively on railcar design.

Dinneen explained, “… trains have historically served as an economical and efficient ‘virtual pipeline’ for ethanol.” Seventy percent of ethanol travels to the marketplace via rail and has done so for over 30 years. Dinneen gave credit to the railroads that since 2012 have successfully shipped 99.997 percent of hazardous material carloads, noting that with more than 2 million railcar shipments of ethanol since 2006, only 91 derailed and released product.

The focal point of Dinneen’s testimony centered on the need to focus on the root causes of derailments. “In evaluating past ethanol derailment incidents, the NTSB has each time determined the derailment to be the result of rail operation. The major causes of the incidents were substandard track integrity, switching failures, inspection errors, maintenance problems or lack of communication between train crews … These root causes will not be addressed by the rulemaking effort for the DOT 111A railcar.

“Keeping the cars on the track by eliminating the root causes of these DOT-111A tank car derailments is the only way to achieve a perfect safety record.”

U.S. Wheat Market Share Projected to Keep Slipping

Although global and U.S. wheat exports are projected to rise over the next decade, the U.S. share of the world market will continue to decline because of competition from other exporters.

Global demand for wheat is expected to expand, driven primarily by income and population growth in developing country markets, including Sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil.

The number of major exporting countries has, however, expanded in recent years from the traditional wheat exporters--the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, and the European Union--to include Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

Although variable, the wheat export volume of those three Black Sea exporters together now rivals that of the United States. Low production costs and new investment in the agricultural sectors of the Black Sea region have enabled their world market share to climb, despite the region's highly variable weather.

Competition from the Black Sea region, as well as from traditional exporters, has resulted in a decline in the U.S. share of expanding world exports from an average of about 39 percent in the first half of the 1980s to an average of about 20 percent over the last 5 years.


Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with leaders from business, law enforcement, and faith communities to discuss a wide range of immigration issues, including the need for commonsense immigration reform. Today’s meeting is part of the on-going thorough and inclusive review process Secretary Johnson’s is undertaking to assess how the Department of Homeland Security can better enforce and administer immigration laws.

As part of the ongoing review, Secretary Johnson continues to engage with various stakeholders and members of Congress that are also working towards achieving a permanent solution by enacting commonsense immigration reform that will strengthen our security. In addition, Secretary Johnson has included and continues to seek the advice and input of his team within DHS including component leadership and frontline employees - the very people that are charged with implementing DHS policies and enforcement priorities. Since taking office, the Secretary has made clear that he shares the President’s commitment of enforcing and administering our immigration laws effectively and sensibly, in line with our values as a country.

During the meeting, Secretary Johnson underscored the importance of Congressional action to pass commonsense immigration reform– which will offer a permanent solution to our broken immigration system.

Participants in today’s meeting included:
    Mr. Kevin Appleby, Policy and Public Affairs Director, Migration & Refugee Services, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
    Mr. Ken Barbic, Senior Director for Federal Government Affairs, Western Growers
    Commissioner Fred Bealefeld III (Ret.), Baltimore, MD
    Ms. Kristi Boswell, Director of Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation
    Ms. Theresa Brown, Director, Immigration Policy/Bipartisan Policy Center
    Mr. Galen Carey, National Association of Evangelicals
    Mr. Charles (Chuck) Conner, President & CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
    Mr. Manuel Cunha, President, Nisei Farmers League
    Mr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy & Research, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
    Ms. Patricia (Patty) First, Raben Group
    Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Harris County, TX
    Mr. Randel (Randy) Johnson, Senior Vice President for Labor, Immigration, & Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
    Chief Tom Manger, Montgomery County, MD
    Mr. Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum
    Ms. Maria Gaby Pacheco, Co-Director, Bridge Project
    Mr. Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, American Horticulture Industry Association
    Reverend Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
    Mr. Todd Schulte, Executive Director,
    Ms. Hanna Siegel, Chief of Staff, Partnership for a New American Economy
    Reverend Tony Suarez, Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
    Ms. Jessica Toliver, Deputy Director of Technical Assistance, Police Executive Research Forum
    Mr. Chuck Wexler, Executive Director, Police Executive Research Forum
    Mr. Jimmie Williams, Director, Global Government and Public Affairs, McDonald's Corporation
    Ms. Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy, World Relief

For more information, visit

Vilsack Announces New Report on Scientific Breakthroughs from USDA in 2013

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report on scientific breakthroughs discovered by USDA researchers that led to new patents and inventions with the potential for commercial application and potential economic growth. Innovations included in the report range from flour made out of chardonnay grape seeds that prevents weight gain to antimicrobial packets that keep food from spoiling, efforts to protect U.S. troops in Iraq from diseases carried by sand flies, new processes for turning grass clippings and raked leaves into bioenergy, and many more.

"Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to the economy. We have accelerated commercialization of federal research and government researchers are working closely with the private sector to develop new technology and transfer it to the marketplace," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA has a proven track record of performing research that benefits the public."

USDA reports receiving 51 patents, filing 147 patent applications, and disclosing 180 new inventions in the last fiscal year, which are detailed in the Department's 2013 Annual Report on Technology Transfer released today. Helping drive these innovations, USDA has 259 active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with outside investigators, which includes Universities and other organizations, including 117 with small businesses. The USDA's technology transfer program is administered by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Discoveries from USDA's 2013 Technology Transfer Report include:
-    A new kind of flour made from chardonnay grape seeds that can prevent increases in cholesterol and weight-gain (the Mayo Clinic is currently conducting human clinical trials on the product);
-    New ways to turn lawn clippings and tree leaves from cities into bioenergy;
-    An enzyme compound that can be used to develop insecticides to combat sand flies, a disease spreading insect that poses a major problem for U.S. military in Iraq and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of childhood deaths in Africa;
-    A computer-based model of the fluid milk process to lower greenhouse gas emissions (the model has been distributed to more than 100 processors in the United States and should help the dairy industry realize its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent per gallon of milk by 2020);
-    Oat concentrates, a digestible, functional food from oats licensed for the production of Calorie-Trim and Nutrim;
-    A new process for turning old tires into zinc fertilizer;
-    A handheld device that uses gold nanoparticles to detect West Nile virus (and potentially other diseases) in blood samples;
-    Window cleaners that use a biodegradable solution of nanoparticles that prevent water-beading that are superior to current cleaners;
-    A small packet that when inserted in small fruit containers releases an antimicrobial vapor that helps keep fresh fruit from rotting on the shelf.

Over the years, USDA innovations have created all sorts of products Americans use every days, from cosmetics, to insect controls, leathers, shampoos, and of course food products. Here are just a few examples of things USDA research is responsible for:
-    Frozen orange juice concentrate;
-    "Permanent press" cotton clothing;
-    Mass production of penicillin in World War II;
-    Almost all breeds of blueberries and cranberries currently in production, and 80% of all varieties of citrus fruits grown in the U.S.;
-    "Tifsport", a turf used on NFL, collegiate, and other sports fields across the country, specifically designed to withstand the stress and demands of major team sports. Tifsport is also used on PGA and other golf course fairways, while its sister turf, "Tifeagle", specially designed to be mowed to one-tenth of an inch daily, is used on PGA putting greens.

The 2014 Farm Bill will help to build on these accomplishments by establishing a new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research that leverages $200 million in public funding and another $200 million from the private sector to support groundbreaking agricultural research.

More information about the USDA innovations contained in this year's report, as well as a look at previous USDA research discoveries is available here:

Ukraine, Kazakhstan Grain Exports Up

Ukraine has exported 28.963 million metric tons of grain since the start of the current marketing year, despite the current political unrest, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.

According to the ministry's previous reports Ukraine exported 20.5 million tons of grain in the same period in 2013.

The total amount of grain exported to date included 8.157 million tons of wheat. Corn exports totaled nearly 18.27 million tons, barley exports 2.213 million tons.

The agriculture ministry said earlier that Ukraine grain export in the 2013-2014 marketing year, July 2013-June 2014, was likely to rise to 33 million tons from about 23 million tons in the previous marketing year as the 2013 harvest was greater than in 2012.

The agriculture ministry said earlier that Ukraine's 2013 grain harvest was over 63 million tons in bunker weight, up from 46.2 million tons in 2012, when crops were damaged by drought.

MOSCOW--Kazakhstan exported 7.3 million metric tons of grain, mostly wheat, between July 1 2013 and April 20, the agriculture ministry reported Wednesday.

The ministry said Kazakhstan was likely to export a total of 9.5 million tons of grain in the 2013-2014 marketing year.

Kazakhstan's grain harvest in 2013 rose to 21 million tons from 12.8 million tons in 2012 when crops were damaged by drought. In the 2011-2012 marketing year Kazakhstan exported 12 million tons if grain, mostly wheat. Grain exports in the 2012-2013 marketing year totaled 7.1 million tons.

Adequate Rhizobia Populations Help Protect Soybean Yields

Maintaining adequate levels of rhizobia organisms in the soil can help increase nitrogen (N) fixation, potentially leading to higher yields, according to DuPont Pioneer agronomy experts. When a field is planted with soybeans in a corn-soy rotation, the rhizobia populations tend to remain adequate. However, when growers change from soybeans to other crops, such as continuous corn, rhizobia populations drop.

“Too little or too much water in a field also may impact rhizobia populations, but the effects are difficult to detect,” says Paul Carter, DuPont Pioneer senior agronomy research manager. “There are some indications drought may curb rhizobia numbers and limit the soybean plant’s ability to fix nitrogen.”
There’s no easy way to know a field’s rhizobia levels. If growers are uncertain — especially if they’re targeting yields above 50 bushels per acre — they may want to consider supplying additional rhizobia at planting. It can be a cost-effective way to help boost overall yields. Any field that’s never produced soybeans or that has been producing continuous corn for three years is a candidate for treatment with rhizobia inoculums.    
Fortunately, growers have the option of planting soybean seed that’s been treated with rhizobia inoculum. DuPont Pioneer provides a Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment (PPST) offering, PPST 120+, a premium on-seed, inoculant plus extender. PPST 120+ delivers a high concentration of beneficial rhizobia bacteria to the soybean plant.

PPST 120+ is an excellent companion to PPST 2030 FST/IST (fungicide and insecticide seed treatment) and helps prolong on-seed rhizobia life for up to 120 days or more. This provides added flexibility for growers, increasing effectiveness from the time the inoculant is applied until after the seed is planted.
“A seed treatment such as PPST 120+ helps provide inexpensive insurance — some peace of mind that nitrogen fixation avoids limiting yields,” Carter says. “As growers push yields to 60 or 70 or 80 bushels per acre, the crop will need more nitrogen. It’s important they exploit the plant’s ability to fix nitrogen as much as possible. This requires adequate rhizobia populations in the field.”
Growers may not realize how much N soybeans use during the growing season. Soybeans pull some N from the soil, just as corn does, but they also have a unique way of pulling nitrogen from the atmosphere. The mechanism is a soil bacterium, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, or rhizobia, that turns nitrogen gas in the soil into ammonium, a form the plant can use.

Unless there’s an abundance of N in the soil, the soybean plant will send out a chemical signal that attracts rhizobia bacteria to the roots. The bacteria invade soybean roots and establish colonies in rounded nodules on the roots. The plant supplies carbohydrates and minerals to the rhizobia, which then “fix” the N as ammonium, fueling plant growth and protein development.

 “Rhizobia are living organisms,” says Keith O’Bryan, DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager. “Any condition that affects the amount of oxygen in the soil can limit their numbers. Stresses such as drought, water saturation, high soil pH or sandy soils can curb rhizobia populations.” 

Novozymes increases 2014 profit outlook after strong Q1

Novozymes, the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes, today announced its 2014 first quarter results. Organic sales increased by 11% compared with Q1 2013 (7% DKK, 10% LCY). EBIT grew by 30%, and the EBIT margin was 30.4%, driven by a one-time positive impact from The BioAg Alliance and a better than expected development in underlying earnings. As a result, expectations for full-year EBIT growth, EBIT margin, net profit growth, ROIC and free cash flow are increased, despite the unfavorable currency development. Expectations for full-year organic and LCY sales growth are maintained, and expectations for sales growth in DKK are adjusted for currency within previous range.

“We’ve delivered a strong first quarter, and we’re increasing the outlook for full-year EBIT growth”, says Novozymes CEO Peder Holk Nielsen. “Double-digit organic sales growth, good underlying earnings performance and completion of The BioAg Alliance agreement mark a good start to 2014. We had expected sales to come in strongly in the first quarter, especially in Bioenergy and Household Care, and I’m pleased to see that we continue to add more value for our customers and grow our business in these two important markets. Reported earnings are extraordinarily high due to the impact from The BioAg Alliance agreement. Underlying productivity has improved compared with last year, and this drives our increased expectations for EBIT growth and margin for the full year. Regarding The BioAg Alliance, it feels great to have kicked off one of Novozymes' most significant projects for the years ahead. We’re excited to get started and are focusing resources and efforts on ensuring success in BioAg."

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