Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday July 31 Ag News

UNL Extension Water Meter Calculator App Now Available

            A University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension app will help irrigators calculate the amount of water pumped by their irrigation pumping plant.

            The Water Meter Calculator App allows the user to store data, such as field size in acres, flow meter units and allocation and annual irrigation caps for each field.

            The user inputs the beginning and ending meter reading and the app calculates the amount of water pumped for the field and on a per acre basis. The app keeps track of total water pumped for the irrigation season, the remaining allocation for future years, the annual cap remaining as well as any annual cap penalties.

            The developers of the Water Meter Calculator App include: Chuck Burr, Tim Lemmons and Tom Dorn, all UNL Extension educators, and Bryan Lubeck and Shirlee Poyser, both of the Lower Republican River Natural Resources District. It was made by Jeff Abele of Move Creative, LLC.

            The Water Meter Calculator App is available for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play store for $1.99.


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for July 2014 averaged $6.30 per bushel, a decrease of 63 cents from the June price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary July corn price, at $3.80 per bushel, decreased 74 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary July sorghum price averaged $6.55 per cwt, a decrease of 96 cents from June.

The preliminary July soybean price, at $12.60 per bushel, was down $1.60 from last month.

The July alfalfa hay price, at $113.00 per ton, was down $20.00 from June. The other hay price, at $97.00 per ton, was down $8.00 from June.

The preliminary July dry edible bean and oat prices were withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations. 

Iowa Monthly Prices

The preliminary July 2014 average price received by  farmers for corn  in Iowa was $3.80 per bushel according  to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is down $0.69 from the June price, and $3.11 lower than July 2013.

The preliminary July 2014 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $12.90 per bushel, was down $1.50 from the June price, and $2.50 lower than the July 2013 price.

The preliminary July oat price was $3.90 per bushel, down $0.28 from June, but $0.20 above July 2013. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $143.00 per ton in July, down $22.00 from the June price, and $70.00 per ton less than July 2013.   Alfalfa hay prices  fell $76.00 per  ton  from one year ago,  to $164.00 and other hay prices were $47.00 per ton lower than last year, at $108.00.  

The preliminary July average price was $23.90 per cwt for milk, up $0.20 from June, and $4.50 per cwt above one year ago.  Prices for replacement milk cows averaged $1,990 in July. 

July Farm Prices Received Index Down 4 Points

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in July, at 108 percent, based on 2011=100, decreased 4 points (3.6 percent) from June. The Crop Index is down 8 points (7.1 percent) but the Livestock Index increased 4 points (3.9 percent). Producers received lower prices for corn, soybeans, broilers, and wheat and higher prices for cattle, hogs, eggs, and onions. In addition to prices, the overall index is also affected by the seasonal change based on a 3-year average mix of commodities producers sell. Increased monthly movement of wheat, grapes, hay, and cotton offset the decreased marketing of milk, cattle, oranges, and hogs.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is unchanged from July 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 120, decreased 2 points (1.6 percent) from last month but is up 13 points (12 percent) from July 2013.

All crops:
The July index, at 90, decreased 8.2 percent from June and is 16 percent below July 2013. The index decrease for oilseeds & grains led the decline in the crop production index.

Food grains: The July index, at 84, is 6.7 percent below the previous month and 12 percent below a year ago. The July price for all wheat, at $6.10 per bushel, is down 39 cents from June and is 85 cents lower than July 2013.

Feed grains: The July index, at 64, is down 15 percent from last month and 43 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.80 per bushel, is down 69 cents from last month and $2.99 below July 2013. Sorghum grain, at $7.16 per cwt, is 37 cents below June and $2.47 lower than July last year.

Oilseeds: The July index, at 100, is down 11 percent from June and 17 percent lower than July 2013. The soybean price, at $12.70 per bushel, decreased $1.70 from June and is $2.60 below July 2013.

Livestock and products:

The July index, at 133, is 3.1 percent above last month and up 24 percent from July 2013. Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, milk, hogs, broilers, calves, eggs, and turkeys.

Meat animals: The July index, at 138, is up 6.2 percent from last month and 29 percent higher than last year. The July hog price, at $92.80 per cwt, is up $8.00 from June and $17.00 higher than a year ago. The July beef cattle price of $155 per cwt increased $8.00 from last month is up $35.00 from July 2013.

Dairy products: The July index, at 116, increased 0.9 percent from a month ago and is 22 percent higher than July last year. The July all milk price of $23.40 per cwt is up 20 cents from last month and is $4.30 higher than July 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The July index, at 139, is down 0.7 percent from June but is 14 percent above a year ago. The July market egg price, at $1.05 per dozen, increased 17.6 cents from June and is 22.9 cents above July 2013. The July broiler price, at 68.0 cents per pound, is down 3.0 cents from June but 8.0 cents higher than year ago. The July turkey price, at 74.1 cents per pound, is up 1.3 cents from the previous month and 6.4 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index up 1 Point

The July Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is 113 percent of the 2011 base. The index is up 1 point (0.9 percent) from June and 6 points (5.6 percent) above July 2013. Higher prices for feeder cattle, other services, milk cows, and feeder pigs more than offset lower prices in July for feed grains, nitrogen, complete feeds, and supplements.


Quad County Corn Processors announced today that it will host a grand opening event for its new “bolt on” bio-refinery that is turning corn kernel fibers into cellulosic ethanol.  Quad County is the site of Iowa’s first cellulosic ethanol gallons and the world’s first corn kernel fiber cellulosic ethanol, a process that was invented by Plant Engineer Travis Brotherson and patented by Quad County Corn Processors.

Quad County’s Adding Cellulosic Ethanol (ACE) project grand opening ceremony will take place at 11:00 am (CT) on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the plant. We ask that interested media members come to the plant at 10:00 am to attend a short guided tour that will be held for VIP’s and the media.

“After four years of research and development, financing hurdles, waiting on EPA rule clarifications and construction, we are excited to see the ACE project working and are proud to be producing the world’s first corn kernel fiber cellulosic ethanol gallons and Iowa’s first cellulosic ethanol gallons”, said Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors.  “This state-of-the-art technology will create 2 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol out of the corn kernel cellulose, a feed stock that we already have on site”, he continued.  “In addition to creating 4 new full-time jobs in Galva, this process will increase our ethanol yields by six percent, increase our corn oil removal by three times and create a feed product that is much higher in protein and lower in fiber.  In essence, we will create more value out of the corn bushels we already process which increases our efficiency so we can continue to be a leader in the ethanol industry.”

Confirmed speakers for the ceremony include:  Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, DC; Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association; Brian Jennings, Executive Vice-President of the American Coalition for Ethanol; and David Witherspoon, Head of Renewable Fuels for Syngenta.

Event attendees can meet by the tents on the west side of the plant which is located at 6059 159th Street.  Quad County is situated two miles south of Galva at the intersection of Highways 20 and M-25.  Due to limited parking and truck traffic safety, guests are asked to park in the field northwest of the plant and enter the parking area from Highway M-25.

Governor Branstad proclaims August as Iowa Soybean Month

Celebrating 50 years of service to soybeans farmers and the dedication of those farmers to environmental stewardship, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) is honored to have Gov. Terry Branstad proclaim August as Iowa Soybean Month.
“The continuous efforts of Iowa soybean farmers have built interest in the crop and made Iowa the national leader in soybean production,” said Brian Kemp, ISA president and farmer from Sibley. “Farmers respond to global market demands to deliver the best crop possible, and as a result, we planted more acres this year than we have in a decade.”
Soybean Month in Iowa coincides with National Water Quality month. It’s a timely combination of designations, says ISA president-elect Tom Oswald, given the dedication soybean farmers have to the land and water quality. Therefore, the association will use the opportunity to highlight efforts of farmers in the area of nutrient reduction beginning Aug. 1 with an open house and tour of the Smeltzer Trust Farm near Otho.
The ISA was organized in 1964 by farmers who came together with a common goal – to increase the profitability of soybean production in the state. 
Today, Kemp and Oswald are two of 21 volunteer farmers elected to serve on the ISA board of directors, representing nearly 11,000 members. Kemp says the soybean month proclamation recognizes the value of soybean production to Iowa and ISA’s innovative offering of programs and services, particularly those related to environmental stewardship and water quality.
“Farmers have stepped up this year to embrace their part in the nutrient reduction strategy,” said Kemp. “By working with the ISA to implement new practices, do research and conduct trials, many farmers are bettering their land and protecting the water that runs through it.”
ISA is committed to working with farmers to enhance their long-term sustainability and provide expanded opportunities and results on key issues including production research, environmental programs, market development, soyfoods, biodiesel, transportation and agricultural awareness.
“We even have a certified water quality lab in our building and are working with famers to assess water quality and evaluate impacts of their practice solutions,” said Roger Wolf, ISA director of Environmental Programs and Services. “Our goal is to help farmers set a benchmark and measure their progress as they move forward.”
Oswald, who farms near Cleghorn, said soybean farmers have a long history of doing what’s best for the land and looking forward to the future. “They are committed to raising a crop that has many uses and to do so in a sustainable way,” he said.

Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters celebrates 30 years of service at Iowa State Fair

The Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters, a favorite dining destination for many who attend the Iowa State Fair, marks its 30th year of service this year.

“A visit to the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters is a tradition for many who attend our great State Fair. We are proud to serve the highest quality beef to our customers and proud to have established ourselves as a true staple of the fair experience,” says John Mortimer, manager.

According to Mortimer, the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters began its 30-year journey at the fair to serve as an advocate for Iowa cattlemen and women and the high quality beef they raise. It is comprised of 68 county cattlemen’s associations and is staffed by some 1,200 beef industry volunteers each year. These loyal cattle farmers serve about 74,000 customers annually and prepare some 35,000 pounds of beef during the 11-day event.

Mortimer says that the secret to 30 years of success is creating and offering new menu items that will appeal to fairgoers. The all-beef menu includes such favorites as Prime Rib, the Mark and Gary Burger, taco salad and the Hot Beef Sundae. 

“One detail that makes us special is that we have something for everyone on our menu from the casual, on-the-go diner, to those interested in a true sit down meal. Our menu has expanded and changed through the years, but one thing remains constant—it’s always about the beef,” says Mortimer.

Cattle Operations Honored for Stewardship Efforts

Seven cattle operations were recognized here today as regional winners of the 2014 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program. The awards, announced during the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference, honor the industry’s best land stewards. The seven regional winners will now compete for the national ESAP award, which will be announced during the 2015 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas.

The awards, now in their 24th year, were developed to recognize beef producers for their efforts to implement practices which improve the environmental sustainability of their operations. The ESAP award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservations Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

The 2014 regional winners are: Conlan Ranches California/True Grass Farms, Valley Ford, Calif.; Rock Hills Ranch, Lowry, S.D.; Wineinger-Davis Ranch, Colo.; Rocosa Ridge Ranch, Bosque County, Texas; Nichols Farms LTD, Bridgewater, Iowa; Sherwood Acres Farm, LaGrange, Ky.; Two Rivers Ranch, Thonotosassa, Fla.

“The cattlemen and women of this country take seriously their responsibility to the environment. Each of these award recipients serves as a shining example of how the beef industry is working to preserve open space and leave the land better than they found it,” said NCBA President Bob McCan. “The ESAP award serves as a showcase for the practices used by farmers and ranchers to improve air, land and water quality. Those practices, in turn benefit the land, improve fish and wildlife habitat and serve as an outstanding example to their fellow producers.”

The work by cattlemen and women to protect their natural resources helps to improve the environmental sustainability of the beef industry. Those efforts also help this year’s regional winners improve the land for future generations, a goal shared by each of these operations.

ROI Study Shows $11.20 Return on Checkoff Dollar

In the most comprehensive study ever rendered about the Return on Investment (ROI) of beef checkoff assessments, Dr. Harry Kaiser of Cornell University concludes that each dollar invested in the Beef Checkoff Program between 2006 and 2013 returned about $11.20 to the beef industry.

“The news for beef checkoff investors couldn’t be better,” said Kaiser, the Gellert Family professor of applied economics and management at Cornell and director of the Cornell Commodity Promotion Research Program, who is sharing study results this week at the 2014 Cattle Industry Summer Conference.

“It is clear to me that activities funded through the Beef Board budget have a substantial impact on beef demand in the U.S. and in foreign markets. The return on producers’ and importers investments into this program is vastly greater than the cost of the program.”

Commissioned through the checkoff’s Joint Evaluation Committee, this new ROI study could be a useful tool for producers who make decisions about how to invest checkoff dollars.

“This really tells us that we’re on the right track with how we plan our checkoff programs,” said cattleman Ted Greidanus of California, who chairs the checkoff’s Evaluation Committee. “We are accountable to beef producers and importers who fund the work we do with checkoff dollars, so we wanted to know how much difference we were really making in the marketplace, good or bad -- and I must say that I am quite pleased at how good the news really is.”

Some additional key findings in Kaiser’s benefits-cost analysis include:

    Had there not been any CBB-funded marketing between 2006 and 2013, total domestic beef demand would have totaled 15.7 billion pounds – or 11.3 percent less than it was with the checkoff programs in place. Holding the effects of all other demand drivers constant, the activities funded by the CBB resulted in an increase in beef demand of 2.1 billion pounds per year.
    Had the national Beef Checkoff Program not invested in foreign-market development between 2006 and 2013, foreign demand for U.S. beef would have been 6.4 percent lower.
    The statistical results indicate that all eight CBB demand-enhancing activities -- generic beef advertising; channels marketing; industry information; new-product development; public relations; nutrition research; beef-safety research and product-enhancement research -- have a positive and statistically significant impact on increasing per capita beef demand.
    At the bottom line, the increase in beef demand due to CBB-funded marketing efforts resulted in higher prices for beef producers and importers, which means higher net revenue than they would have experienced without those checkoff programs.

Given the tremendous budget challenges of the checkoff in recent years, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board commissioned the all-encompassing study to provide a more thorough evaluation possible of checkoff activities than it traditionally has. As a result, this new study presents a more complete and accurate picture of checkoff returns and provides a new benchmark.

“Let me caution against trying to compare the results of this study with the 2009 study, which reported a return of $5.55 on each checkoff dollar,” Dr. Kaiser said. “This time around, the Beef Board asked for a more comprehensive study than ever before, so I evaluated all commercial beef disappearance, including retail, foodservice, and international data over eight years, whereas the 2009 study looked solely at domestic retail data for a five-year period.

“Furthermore,” Dr. Kaiser continued, “my study analyzed individual categories of nine marketing categories separately, and then brought the categories together to identify an overall beef checkoff return on investment. In 2009, the Beef Board commissioned a study analyzing only the checkoff as a whole.”

Greidanus said he is quite confident in the study results.

“As chairman of the Evaluation Committee, I know that Dr. Kaiser’s research methods are well-respected, so we are very confident about the analysis and very pleased with the results,” Greidanus said. “And this tells us that the benefits of all CBB programs are 11.2 times more valuable than their costs… As a cattleman who pays into the program, it’s invigorating to know that my investment is making a difference.”

Kaiser, who has performed similar analyses for other checkoff programs, said the results should be encouraging to the country’s beef producers and importers.

“If I was investing my hard-earned dollars into the checkoff, as beef producers and importers are, I would be proud to do so, based on the findings of this study,” Kaiser said. “Most of us probably wish we could get that kind of return on all of our expenditures!”

Wheat Growers Pleased with House Action on Regulatory Relief Bill

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) appreciates the House votes in support of H. R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act.

“The passage of HR 935 is an important step in addressing the duplicative regulation on pesticide applications,” says NAWG President, Paul Penner, a wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kans. “NAWG has been engaged in this issue for many years, and we send our thanks to Congress for continuing to address regulatory issues impacting agriculture.”

H.R. 935 the Reducing Regulatory Burdens act addresses a duplicative permit required for pesticide application.  For over 30 years, the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulated pesticide applications and growers and other pesticide applicators must follow the label requirements to be in compliance with the law.  H.R. 935 eliminates the second requirement for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit under the Clean Water Act. The bill passed 267-161 and will now go to the Senate.

USDA Extends Deadline for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that the enrollment deadline for the 2012 and 2013 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) has been extended to Aug. 15, 2014. Originally, program sign-up was scheduled to end Aug. 1.

The new deadline gives livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers who experienced losses because of disease, adverse weather, wildfires or colony collapse disorder between Oct. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2013, an additional two weeks to enroll in ELAP.

"Because ELAP is an important safety net for key sectors of American agriculture, we’ve provided this two week extension so that producers can submit required documentation and apply for program benefits," said Garcia.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA service center or visit FSA’s website at for additional information regarding ELAP.

ELAP was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

NCGA Applauds OSHA Guidance on Grain Safety Standards

The National Corn Growers Association applauds the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's announcement of the final guidance to the agency's field staff restricting enforcement of grain safety standards. The guidance ensures on-farm grain operations continue to fall under the long-standing exemption for farms and thus that OSHA will not take enforcement actions against farms with ten or fewer employees over the way they manage their grain bins.

"The guidance provides necessary clarity and guards against overreach," said NCGA President Martin Barbre. "Farmers across the country already work tirelessly to ensure that their farms run in a safe manner. We thank OSHA for its efforts to provide certainty and ensure farmers ability to operate without unnecessary regulation."

The guidance came as a result of a requirement included in the fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill requiring OSHA to consult with USDA on the issue. OSHA withdrew a field memorandum that had led to the enforcement effort following the passage of this provision.

Grain bin entrapments fell from 57 in 2010 to 19 in 2012 according to statistics released by OSHA. During the same period, the number of fatalities resulting from such situations also fell from 31 to eight. Notably, NCGA released a video on the importance of grain bin safety and proper protocol in 2011.

Bunge Profit Soars on Strong Agribusiness Sales

Bunge Ltd. said its second-quarter profit more than doubled as large crops and increased demand drove up sales in its main agribusiness segment.

The company's results crushed market expectations, and Bunge said it expects good results to continue in the second half of the year as demand for agricultural commodities should remain strong.

One of the largest grain handlers in the world, White Plains, N.Y.-based Bunge buys, sells, stores and transports oilseeds and grains world-wide, among other businesses.

It has been expected to benefit from this year's benevolent weather and strong crop season. In addition, a big Brazilian soybean harvest and the record planting of 84.8 million acres this spring by U.S. farmers has been seen as a boon for the agricultural trader.

"We had a strong performance in the second quarter with all segments reporting higher year-over-year results," Chief Executive Soren Schroder said. "Strong global oilseed processing margins, driven by big crops and growing demand, led to significantly better results in agribusiness."

Bunge reported a profit of $288 million, up sharply from $136 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, which includes certain dividend payments, the profit was $1.81, compared with 75 cents. Excluding certain gains and charges, the company recorded a per-share profit from continuing operations of $1.71 in the latest quarter, up from 74 cents.

Sales rose 8.4% to $16.79 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.36 a share on revenue of $15.25 billion.

Sales in the agribusiness segment, by far the company's largest business by revenue, climbed 11% to $12.86 billion. The sugar and bioenergy business posted 26% higher sales to $1.19 billion. Meanwhile, its milling products segment's sales rose to 8.6% to $553 million, driven in part by the addition of new wheat mills in Mexico.

Bunge's sales of edible oil products, however, fell 12% to $2.10 billion.

IGC Raises Wheat 2014-15 Output

The London-based International Grains Council Thursday revised its expectations for the global wheat crop to 702 million metric tons, a rise of 3 million metric tons, citing greater winter harvest acreage levels in Russia and Ukraine.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week revised its expectations for the 2014-15 Russian grain crop, increasing it by 2 million tons to 94 million tons. The total included: 52 million metric tons of wheat, 16 million tons of barley, 13 million tons of corn and almost 13 million tons of pulses.

"The increase is due largely to good weather...," said the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

From Beans to Machines: John Deere Supports Industrial Uses for Soy

Two million pounds. That’s how much Envirez soy-based, sheet-molding compound John Deere estimates it uses in its HarvestForm™ tractor and combine panels every year.

Envirez was developed and commercialized by Ashland Specialty Chemical Company in 2001, with support from the soy checkoff. Ashland was the first in its industry to develop this technology and was proud to introduce it through John Deere’s agricultural equipment in 2002, particularly because of Deere’s commitment to soybean farmers.

Ashland says 25 percent of the raw material in Envirez comes from soybean oil and corn-derived ethanol. Each 37,000-pound batch of Envirez that John Deere uses saves 10 barrels of petroleum and reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 34,000 pounds.

John Deere Global Manager of Materials Engineering & Technology Jay Olson says the resin adds strength, flexibility and endurance to the HarvestForm body panels. After more than a decade of real-life “field” testing, the durable panels have proved their ability to withstand the elements.

Olson’s department continues to evaluate sustainable, soy-based materials to replace petroleum in other industrial uses, including foam seats.

“John Deere has always been a green company, in color and policy,” Olson confirms. “If soy-based materials perform equally and there is cost parity, why not do the right thing?”

Its longstanding partnership with John Deere is just one example of the checkoff’s commitment to helping companies to incorporate U.S. soy in more industrial uses. These partnerships have resulted in the commercialization of hundreds of soy-based products.

Beef Checkoff Sizzles in Atlantic City

Beef topics sizzled on the Boardwalk at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival in Atlantic City July 25-27, thanks to a national checkoff partnership with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and Roseda Farm.

As part of its Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), the checkoff distributed beef materials, interacted with festival-goers, and cooked more than 400 pounds of Roseda Farm beef sirloin samples at its booth in the Grand Market before the inaugural Burger Beach Bash, featuring Martha Stewart.

Winners of the checkoff’s “I Love Beef” trivia challenge had the opportunity to meet Stewart, and checkoff mascot, Miss Patty Melt, made an appearance at the Bash with National Beef Ambassadors Emma Morris and Justana Von Tate and Pennsylvania Beef Ambassador Elizabeth Palmer.

"The Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival was a big success when it came to interacting with the consumers,” Palmer said. “Our stand was, by far, one of the most popular ones there. Everyone loved the beef that Roseda provided and often stopped back for seconds.... There were also a lot of people interested in the recipes and beef cut charts we handed out and enjoyed the ‘Pin the Cuts on the Cow’ game for cool beef prizes.”

Back in the tent at the Grand Market, beef ambassadors played educational games to teach the largely millennial crowd about various lean cuts of beef, to provide beef recipes, and to hand out more than 7,500 samples of Roseda sirloin.

“We had an amazing time talking to the thousands of guests who stopped by our tent at the festival this weekend, said Mike Brannon of Roseda Farm. “It was great hearing such wonderful feedback about our meat.... With a versatile meat like beef, it’s amazing what a simple rub of sea salt, finely ground dark roast coffee and Montreal steak seasoning can create!”

Wednesday July 30 Ag News

Nebraska Soybean Management Field Days Set Aug. 12-15 at Four Locations

The 16th annual Soybean Management Field Days Aug. 12-15 focuses on staying competitive in a global marketplace, increasing profits and meeting the world's growing food and energy needs starting right here in Nebraska.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board in partnership with UNL Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board promoting progress powered by U.S. farmers.

The field days will offer producers unbiased and research-based information to improve their soybean profitability. Greg Peters of DeWitt, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board of Directors, says Soybean Management Field Days is an opportunity for soybean producers to see firsthand some management tips they may use on their operations. It also gives them a chance to visit with other producers as well as some experts from the university and industry about issues they may have that are not covered by the field day, or to give the soybean board ideas for field days next year.

The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research/ demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. Producers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

Topics include:  herbicide applications, water quality and resistance management; growth, development and growth enhancement products; multiple soybean input study – row spacing, fungicides - foliar and seed applied, insecticides, and nutrient management; soybean irrigation management; grain marketing/ag policy/risk management; Nebraska Soybean Checkoff investment; and how to handle, store and use biodiesel in the farming operation.

By participating in the Soybean Management Field Days, producers will see their checkoff dollars at work bringing leading technology and ideas to producers.

Presenters include university specialists, educators and industry consultants.

Agronomists, plant disease, and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for complimentary identification.

The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event. Dates, locations and directions are:
       – Aug. 12 - Louis Stukenholtz farm near Auburn.  Go 8.5 mi. W. of Peru or 7.5 mi. N. of Auburn OR 13.5 mi. S. of Nebraska City.  Field day site is ½ mi. W. of intersection of Hwy. 75 and Cnty. Rd. 736.
       – Aug. 13 - Corey and Chris Stengel farm near Shickley.  From Shickley, go W. on Hwy. 74 for 4 mi., go N. on Cnty. Rd. 2 for 2 mi.  Field day site is located just west of the intersection of Cnty. Rds. 2 and R.
       – Aug. 14 - Craig Frenzen near Belgrade.  From Fullerton, go N. on Hwy. 14 approx. 5 mi. to Hwy 52. Go W. on Hwy. 52 for 3 mi. to Cnty. Rd. 227/Cemetery Rd. Go S. on Cnty. Rd. 227/Cemetery Rd. 3 mi. or from Belgrade, go 1 mi. E. on Hwy. 52 to Cnty. Rd. 227/Cemetery Rd. and approx. 3 mi. S. Field day site is on W. side of the road.
       – Aug. 15 - Dennis Mueller farm near Snyder.  Go 1 mi. S. of Snyder on Hwy. 79. Field day site is on the W. side of the road.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board in partnership with UNL Extension in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and are funded through checkoff dollars. The United Soybean Board (USB), through soybean checkoff investments, is committed to making your checkoff pay off.

For more information about the field days and maps to sites, visit the Soybean Management Field Days Web site at Or contact the Nebraska Soybean Board at 800-852-BEAN or University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension at 1-800-529-8030.

Lawmakers Want Good TPP Deal For Agriculture

Nearly one-third of the U.S. House urged the White House to pursue a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement without countries that prove unwilling to fully open their markets to all U.S. agricultural products.

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.

In a letter sent this afternoon to President Obama, 140 members of the House, led by Ways and Means trade subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., indicated that congressional support for the TPP would be jeopardized if U.S. negotiators accept anything less than elimination of all trade barriers to U.S. agricultural goods. They pointed to Japan’s current offer, demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination for certain “sensitive” products, including pork. (Click here to read the letter.)

“If accepted,” the lawmakers said in the letter, “this unprecedented and objectionable offer would significantly limit access for U.S. farmers and ranchers to the Japanese market and, most likely, to other TPP countries as well.”

They also said that accepting such a deal – as well as a less-than-ambitious offer from Canada – would set a “damaging” precedent for, and compromise, U.S. negotiations with future TPP members and on future free trade agreements, including one with the European Union.

The TPP was envisioned as a high-standard, 21st century trade agreement, so Japan and Canada must be held to the same high standards as other TPP partners, said the House members. “We owe our farmers and ranchers the best deal possible,” they concluded.

The National Pork Producers Council, which has taken a similar position on Japan’s recalcitrance on tariff elimination, welcomed the congressional show of support for U.S. agriculture.

“U.S. pork producers are grateful that Chairman Nunes, Ranking Member Rangel and many other House members are looking out for America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NPPC President Dr. Howard Hill, a veterinarian and hog farmer from Cambridge, Iowa. “It’s very important that Japan and other countries know that the U.S. Congress isn’t going to agree to a trade deal that would leave on the negotiating table billions of dollars in U.S. sales and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.

“NPPC will not support the TPP unless the Gate Price in Japan is eliminated and all tariffs on pork in Japan and the other TPP nations are abolished,” Hill added.

Japan is the fourth largest market for U.S. agriculture, which shipped $12.1 billion of products to the island nation in 2013; Canada is the second largest export destination for U.S. agricultural goods, importing $21.3 billion worth in 2013.

Weekly Ethanol Production for 7/25/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 954,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 40.07 million gallons daily. That is down 5,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 946,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.50 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.6 million barrels. That is a 3.6% increase from last week.

Imports of ethanol were 7,000 b/d, up from last week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 378.3 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.59%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.465 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 106,469 metric tons of livestock feed, 94,918 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.97 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

All Retail Fertilizers Lower Again

For the second week in a row, average retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN slid lower, though the declines were slight.  For the fourth week of July 2014, all eight of the major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, though none were down by any consequence once again.  DAP had an average price of $585 per ton, MAP $617/ton, potash $483/ton, urea $527/ton, 10-34-0 $562/ton, anhydrous $683/ton, UAN28 $345/ton and UAN32 $394/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.57/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.62/lb.N and UAN32 $0.62/lb.N.

With fertilizers moving higher earlier in the year, just one of the eight major fertilizers is now double-digits lower in price compared to July of 2013.  DAP, MAP and urea are all now nearly unchanged from last year. 10-34-0 is down 6% while anhydrous, UAN28 and UAN32 are all now 7% less expensive. Potash is 14% lower compared to a year earlier.

Cattle Producers Gather in Denver to Help Establish Direction for Industry

More than 650 cattle producers are expected to gather at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver this week to help set direction for industry programs. The conference will run July 30 - Aug 2. 

The event includes meetings of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National CattleWomen and National Cattlemen’s Foundation. Among the purposes of the yearly conference is to create a framework for checkoff and policy efforts on behalf of U.S. cattle producers for the 2015 fiscal year, which for NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board begins Oct. 1.

Keynote speaker at Thursday’s Opening General Session is Steffan Tubbs, well-known Colorado reporter on KOA radio and co-host of a community affairs program on Colorado Public Television. Tubbs, who has nearly 25 years of news experienced and has received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award four times, will talk about his soon-to-be-released documentary film called Droughtland, which focuses on the devastating conditions of the recent drought in Southeastern Colorado and what the drought has meant to a huge portion of the West.

Also during General Session I, W.D. Farr Scholarships will be presented to two graduate students by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. The $12,000 scholarships are presented to students who want to further their educations in in meat science and animal agriculture. General Session I is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

During General Session II on Friday, Kevin Good of CattleFax will outline the state of the cattle industry, the factors that have gotten the industry where it is and what his organization expects to see in the future. The session is sponsored by Bayer Animal Health.

“We’re seeing unprecedented conditions in our industry, and the producers who understand all of the factors for how we got here will be best positioned for success in the future,” according to Bob McCan, a beef producer from Victoria, Texas and NCBA president . “The working sessions at the Summer Conference will not only help provide that understanding, but will give participating producers a chance to play a leadership role in determining where we go from here.”

Joint Committees and Subcommittees will meet on Thursday and Friday to develop proposals for 2015 checkoff-funded research, education and promotion programs. Also on Friday NCBA policy committees will meet to determine priorities and discuss strategies for 2015. The NCBA Board will hold a session on Saturday, as will members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

“Though the market has been good, our challenges remain sizeable,” says McCan. “It’s tremendous that we have so many leaders at the state and national levels who take time out of their schedules here to help chart our course.”

Cargill to Close Wis. Beef Plant

Cargill Inc. said Wednesday it is closing a Wisconsin beef plant that employs 600 workers, the latest example of how tight cattle supplies are roiling the meat business.

The closure comes after years of drought in major cattle-raising regions of the U.S. have forced ranchers to cull their herds, resulting in the smallest national cattle herd in more than six decades.

Cargill, one of the largest U.S. beef processors, said it would close the beef slaughter facility in Milwaukee, effective Aug. 1. The plant, which it purchased in 2001, has the capacity to process 1,300 to 1,400 animals daily. A separate ground-beef plant that shares the site and employs roughly 200 people will remain open.

Cargill said it made the decision after an 18-month analysis of the region's cattle supply. "The harsh reality is that the U.S. beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951, with any significant herd expansion being years away," said John Keating, president of the company's Cargill Beef division, which is based in Wichita, Kan.

Cargill, which currently operates six other cattle slaughter plants, also closed one in Plainview, Texas, last year, citing the cattle shortage. National Beef Packing Co., another major producer, announced in January it would close a California processing plant that employed 1,300 workers, also because of shortages.

The dearth of cattle has sent prices for beef soaring to record highs, forcing restaurant companies and supermarkets to adjust, too, by promoting smaller steaks or pushing other items such as chicken. The situation also has led to a revival in sales of finely textured beef, a relatively low-cost beef ingredient made from processing slaughterhouse trimmings that critics dubbed "pink slime."

Tight cattle supplies have been exacerbated this year by a precipitous drop in the cost of animal feed, which has caused ranchers to keep more female cattle to breed animals and rebuild herds, in the short term cutting the number of animals entering the supply chain.

Be Wary of Wheat Quality after Wet Weather

This summer’s excessive rain has left the wheat harvest lagging behind and the crop in suboptimal condition, according to one grain management expert.

Dr. Max Hawkins, a nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management Team, said that the most common mycotoxin issue with wheat is Deoxynivalenol (DON), produced by Fusarium graminareum mold. This is the same mold that produces Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), and the two are commonly associated in wheat. However, in some cases DON can still be present even if FHB is not spotted.

Fusarium graminareum prefers extended wet periods or relative humidity more than 90 percent with temperatures from 59 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The maps for June rainfall and temperature indicate these factors have been in play across a major portion of the Grain Belt.

“In the 2014 wheat crop, there are reports from across the U.S. of DON levels ranging from two parts per million (ppm) to 14 ppm. There are areas where the wheat has been relatively free of DON and bushel test weights have been excellent,” Hawkins said. “However, the areas contaminated with DON are increasing as rainfall and temperature play a more significant role. There have been recent reports of wheat being rejected at grain terminals for DON levels ranging from five ppm to more than 10 ppm.”

A standard alternative to corn in poultry and swine diets, wheat can be formulated into a diet on a lysine basis and provide similar nutritional value. Wheat can also be utilized to stretch a short corn supply or at certain times be a more economic replacement for corn. However, just as in corn, there can be a risk for mycotoxins.

“Wheat producers may have used fungicide to help prevent FHB but this requires proper timing and application rates to be more effective,” Hawkins said. “If there is variability in plant maturity across a field at application, this will result in fungicide being improperly timed for a percentage of the wheat crop. This will result in a percentage of the plants not being protected against FHB and at risk for DON formation.”

Since DON tends to be higher on light weight, damaged kernels or fines, Hawkins advises these tips for wheat growers:
-    Be proactive by increasing fan speed on combines to 1375 to 1475 rpm and increasing shutter openings to 3.5 inches.
-    When storing grain, it should be screened as it goes into storage and screened again when it is removed from storage.
-    Screening should not be used for livestock feed.
-    If the wheat grain contains DON, the straw from the crop will contain DON also so care must be used if the straw is destined for feeding or bedding.

“It is highly recommended to have the grain analyzed prior to feeding. Alltech’s 37+TM laboratory provides an in-depth analysis of 38 different mycotoxins and not only analyzes for DON but also for six different Type B Trichothecenes that can be formed by Fusarium graminareum,” Hawkins said. “The employment of a total mycotoxin management program that covers all areas from the field to the feeder will provide the greatest amount of information and the safest feed possible.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday July 29 Ag News

Johanns Applauds OSHA’s Formal Clarification That it Cannot Regulate Family Farms

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb) today applauded Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) formal clarification that it cannot regulate family farms with 10 or fewer employees. In a guideline issued today, OSHA recognizes that postharvest activities integral to farming operations, including drying and storing grain, are exempt from regulations if the farm has 10 or fewer employees, consistent with current law.

“OSHA had no business regulating family farms in the first place,” Johanns said. “Even though OSHA overreached, I applaud their promise to obey the law and listen to the concerns of the farmers and ranchers who are affected.”

Earlier this year, Johanns’ language clarifying a 30-plus year provision that excludes all farming activities on farms with 10 or fewer employees from being regulated by OSHA was included in the omnibus appropriations package. Today’s guidance formalizes Johanns’ clarification. He also led 42 Senate colleagues in a bipartisan letter demanding the agency immediately stop the regulation of family farms. OSHA had pledged to clarify its policies on regulating the activity of these farms, which it has now done.

In 2011, OSHA illegally targeted a Holt County farm. The case, which included approximately $132,000 in fines, was dropped in February 2014 after Johanns’ intervention.

Jenkins Questions Farm Bureau’s Rushed Endorsement of Sasse

Nonpartisan U.S. Senate candidate Jim Jenkins, today sent a letter to the Nebraska Farm Bureau questioning their endorsement of Ben Sasse in the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Senator Mike Johanns.

“Several weeks ago, your organization made the decision to endorse Ben Sasse in the race for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Mike Johanns. As the only candidate in the race with extensive, long-term experience in agriculture, alternative fuels and the food industry, I would like to tell you why I am running,” Jenkins wrote.

“When I announced my decision to run for the U.S. Senate as a nonpartisan candidate, I understood that it would be a long, uphill battle, but I fully expected to receive a fair hearing from Nebraska business and agricultural organizations, given my track record of leadership in these areas.”

“While I realize that the Nebraska Farm Bureau decided to endorse Mr. Sasse early on, I would like to place my rural resume in front of you and allow you to compare it to that of Mr. Sasse who, while very intellectual, has virtually no agricultural or private sector experience and a very thin Nebraska resume, having moved back to the state only five years ago.”

    Managing partner for family ranch, including cow-calf, yearling, feedlot and farming enterprises
    Founded or co-founded a dozen businesses
    Nine years on the Custer County Planning Commission
    Two terms on the Nebraska Ethanol Board
    Past-president of the Nebraska Restaurant Association
    Member of Nebraska Ag Builders
    Collaborated with Nebraska Beef Council and University of Nebraska to promote the newly developed Flat Iron Steak
    Assisted with one of the first wind development projects in Nebraska

“Despite this record, I was not invited to speak to your board or to address your membership.”

“Mr. Sasse and I differ significantly in how best to address the most important issues facing our state and our country. Our country can ill-afford the continued, excessive partisanship that prevents Congress from dealing with important issues, such as the deficit, tax reform, budgeting, the Highway Trust Fund and immigration.”

“Mr. Sasse has taken positions on nearly every major issue that are to the extreme right of the political spectrum, which will only exacerbate the political divisions now gripping Washington. Congress is already filled with partisan dividers, when what we need are bridge-builders and uniters.”

“Our state and nation have a critical choice this November: We can continue to allow our politicians to engage in excessive partisanship, which undermines our country, or we can send leaders to Congress who are committed to putting the interests of the nation ahead of the party.”

“I pledge to help find solutions in Washington that are based on what is best for my home state and my nation, not for the parties who posture and bare their political teeth over self-serving bones. I invite Nebraska farmers and ranchers to join my campaign to move our nation beyond the partisan posturing that is undermining Nebraska and our country.”

Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation President Steve Nelson Responds to Jenkins News Release

“As we have stated on numerous occasions, Ben Sasse was the overwhelming choice of our county Farm Bureau’s to receive Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Agriculture” designation for U.S. Senate. This support was expressed through our grassroots process where our County Farm Bureau’s demonstrated overwhelming consensus for Ben Sasse to receive Nebraska Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Agriculture” designation in both the primary and then again in the general election.”

“Ben Sasse has built a strong grassroots network of support across Nebraska that comes from meeting and listening to the concerns of real Nebraskans. Sasse’s workman like grassroots campaign has shown he genuinely cares about what farmers, ranchers and rural communities have to say. And he’s demonstrated that he is committed to being a strong voice for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families in Washington D.C.”

“Our next U.S. Senator will face many challenges. One of the largest is tackling the issue of runaway federal spending and government growth. The future prosperity of Nebraska farm and ranch families is dependent on Congress’ ability to get our country’s fiscal house in order, which has a direct connection to the development of sound farm policy.  We believe Ben Sasse is the right person to address this critical issue and with that ensure, we continue to have federal farm policy that meets the needs of farmers, ranchers and all Americans who benefit from the food, fuel and fiber derived from agriculture.”


On Wednesday, Aug. 20 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., The Center for Food Integrity, in cooperation with the Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska, will host the Forum for Sustainable Water Management in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Agriculture today consumes more than 70 percent of the world’s freshwater resources, the vast majority of which is used for irrigating crops. As the world’s population continues to grow and diets improve around the world, intense pressure on the world’s water resources is increasingly becoming a constraint on the ability to produce food for millions of people. Discussing these issues and finding potential solutions will be key to producing the food needed to feed future populations.

Wednesday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Nebraska Innovation Campus
2200 Vine Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Speakers and topics include:

•    Terry Fleck, The Center for Food Integrity – “Sustainability and Building Trust”
•    Dr. James Specht, emeritus Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – “Soybean Genomics and How They Relate to Water Conservation”
•    Dr. Derek Heeren, Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Assistant Professor – “The Tools for Most Effective Irrigation”
•    Dr. Trenton E. Franz, Hydrogeophysicist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – “Advances in Soil Water Monitoring”
•    Dr. Nicholas Brozovic, Director of Policy at the University of Nebraska’s Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute – “Policy and Economic Challenges to Water Sustainability in Agriculture”
•    Dr. Martha Shulski, Assistant Professor of Applied Climate Science in the School of Natural Resources and the Director of the High Plains Regional Climate Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – “Delivering Useful Climate Change Information – Message Makes a Difference”
•    Dr. Francisco Munoz-Arriola, Assistant Professor of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln – “Hydroinformatics”
•    Expert Panel – “Linking Water and Food Insecurity”

Those interested in raising their awareness of water sustainability issues as it pertains to agriculture and understanding potential solutions to assuring a sustainable water supply are invited to attend. To RSVP, please contact Abby Strawder,


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Summer is flying by and soon this season will be over.  Today I’m going to be optimistic and assume we will get some welcome rain to grow fall forage crops.

If you’re like most folks, you could use more pasture and winter feed.  If it rains, what can you plant for quick feed?

Right now your two best choices are turnips for grazing and oats for either hay or grazing.  Winter small grains like cereal rye, wheat, and triticale won’t produce much fall growth although they will provide early grazing next spring.

Oats can produce a couple tons of hay in the fall when seeded by mid-August if it receives good moisture and fertility.  We usually drill about three bushels per acre in a prepared seedbed, but drilling directly into weed-free stubble of corn, beans, wheat, or other crops already harvested or hailed out works well when soil remains moist for several days in a row after seeding.

For turnips, plant just two or three pounds per acre and barely cover the tiny seeds.  Add 30 to 50 pounds of oats for an even better grazing mix.  Broadcasting onto bare, tilled soil often works well as does shallow drilling into weed-free crop stubble.

Oats can be ready to graze in six to eight weeks, moisture permitting, but don’t start grazing turnips until late October or November.  Ease animals slowly into grazing either one to minimize respiratory or digestive problems.  Oats will die following a real hard freeze, but turnips continue to grow slowly until temperature drops below twenty degrees.  Even into the dead of winter, the root of the turnip remains a very desirable, and grazable, feed.

You need to look ahead to fall and winter.  If late summer rains appear, be ready to capitalize using oats and turnips.

Univ. of Iowa Researchers Find Changes in Ag Increase High River Flow Rates

Just as a leaky roof can make a house cooler and wetter when it's raining as well as hotter and dryer when it's sunny, changes in land use can affect river flow in both rainy and dry times, say two University of Iowa researchers.

While it may be obvious that changes in river water discharge across the U.S. Midwest can be related to changes in rainfall and agricultural land use, it is important to learn how these two factors interact in order to get a better understanding of what the future may look like, says Gabriele Villarini, UI assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, assistant research engineer at IIHR--Hydroscience & Engineering and lead author of a published research paper on the subject.

"We wanted to know what the relative impacts of precipitation and agricultural practices played in shaping the discharge record that we see today," he says. "Is it an either/or answer or a much more nuanced one?

"By understanding our past we are better positioned in making meaningful statements about our future," he says.

The potential benefits of understanding river flow are especially great in the central United States, particularly Iowa, where spring and summer floods have hit the area in 1993, 2008, 2013 and 2014, interrupted by the drought of 2012. Large economic damage and even loss of life have resulted, says co-author Aaron Strong, UI assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and with the Environmental Policy Program at the UI Public Policy Center.

"What is interesting to note," says Strong, "is that the impacts, in terms of flooding, have been exacerbated. At the same time, the impacts of drought, for in-stream flow, have been mitigated with the changes in land use composition that we have seen over the last century."

In order to study the effect of changes in agricultural practices on Midwest river discharge, the researchers focused on Iowa's Raccoon River at Van Meter, Iowa. The 9,000-square-kilometer watershed has the advantage of having had its water discharge levels measured and recorded daily for most of the 20th century right on up to the present day. (The study focused on the period 1927-2012). During that period, the number of acres used for corn and soybean production greatly increased, roughly doubling over the course of the 20th century.

Not surprisingly, they found that variability in rainfall is responsible for most of the changes in water discharge volumes.

However, the water discharge rates also varied with changes in agricultural practices, as defined by soybean and corn harvested acreage in the Raccoon River watershed. In times of flood and in times of drought, water flow rates were exacerbated by more or less agriculture, respectively. The authors suggest that although flood conditions may be exacerbated by increases in agricultural production, this concern "must all be balanced by the private concerns of increased revenue from agricultural production through increased cultivation."

"Our results suggest that changes in agricultural practices over this watershed--with increasing acreage planted in corn and soybeans over time--translated into a seven-fold increase in rainfall contribution to the average annual maximum discharge when we compare the present to the 1930s," Villarini says.

The UI research paper, "Roles of climate and agricultural practices in discharge changes in an agricultural watershed in Iowa," can be found in the online edition of Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.

Soybean Checkoff Produces Big ROI

Under the soy checkoff program, all U.S. soybean farmers contribute a small percentage of their gross soybean sales for research and marketing projects that maximize their profit potential. According to the results of a new, independent study, the checkoff continues to grow those small investments into big results for U.S. soybean farmers.

The results of the checkoff’s most recent regular, independent return-on-investment (ROI) analysis found that all U.S. soybean farmers receive $5.20 in profits for every dollar they invest in the checkoff.

“Farmers are always looking for ways to improve profitability and become more efficient, so ROI is very important to them,” says United Soybean Board (USB) Chairman Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minnesota. “This study shows that U.S. soybean farmers are better off because of the checkoff.”

Gary Williams, Ph.D., an agricultural economics professor from Texas A&M University who conducted the study, says 5 percent of all U.S. soybean farmers’ revenues are due to the checkoff’s research and marketing efforts. Williams also pointed out other conclusions, including:
-    The soy checkoff has increased the size of the U.S. soybean industry.
-    It has lifted the markets for U.S. soybeans, meal and oil, as well as U.S. soybean farmer returns.
-    The checkoff has also increased U.S. soy exports and reduced the competitive threat of the South American soybean industry. As a result, U.S. soybean farmers currently enjoy a larger share of the global soy market.
-    The benefits of the checkoff for U.S. soybean farmers and the industry in terms of net additional returns have far exceeded the cost of the program expenditures over time.

According to USB Audit & Evaluation Committee Chair David Hartke, a soybean farmer from Teutopolis, Illinois, it is one of several tools the checkoff uses to keep farmers’ dollars working for them.

“We’re always very diligent in making sure that U.S. soybean farmers get the most for their investment,” Hartke says. “The ROI study, along with all the other evaluations and reporting we require, ensure that all of our projects remain consistent with our strategy and are working for the good of the farmer.”

The results of the most recent soy checkoff request for referendum balloting indicate that farmers know the value of the checkoff. The U.S. Department of Agriculture received 355 request-for-referendum forms from U.S. soybean farmers during May, the month designated this year for the opportunity provided every five years for U.S. soybean farmers to request that a referendum be held on the checkoff’s existence. Of those, only 324 were valid, which represents 0.06 percent of all eligible U.S. soybean farmers, falling far short of the 10 percent needed to trigger a full referendum.

National FFA Organization names 2014 American Star finalists

The National FFA Organization has selected 16 students from throughout the United States as finalists for its 2014 top achievement awards: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience.

The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. Recognized are FFA members who have developed outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs; earned an American FFA Degree, the highest level of achievement the organization bestows upon a member; and met agricultural education, leadership and scholarship requirements.

The American FFA Degree recognition program is co-sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Service, Case IH, Elanco, Farm Credit, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

The finalists include:

American Star Farmer

Alan Barka, Litchfield FFA Chapter (Minnesota) – Barka owns a dairy cattle operation, in which he manages and sells the milk produced.
Josh Stutrud, Rugby FFA Chapter (North Dakota) – Stutrud manages his own diversified agricultural livestock and grain operation of beef cattle, alfalfa and corn.
Zach Weichel, Cordell FFA Chapter (Oklahoma) – Weichel operates his beef and grain production, where he markets and sells his feeder cattle and wheat crop.
Thomas Michael Allen, Reedsburg FFA Chapter (Wisconsin) – Allen breeds, raises, and markets dairy cattle and then sells his livestock at shows and sales.

American Star in Agribusiness

Jared A. Eilertson, United South Central FFA Chapter (Minnesota) – Eilertson operates his own custom hay bailing, ditch-hay sales and agricultural commodities trucking enterprises.
Dustin Stanton, Centralia FFA Chapter (Missouri) – Stanton owns Stanton Brothers, a poultry operation that supplies fresh eggs to community members, local businesses and farmers markets.
Ethan VanderWal, Sioux Valley FFA Chapter (South Dakota) – VanderWal started a custom round hay bailing and rolling business, where he provides services to customers in his community.
Thomas Larson, Viroqua FFA Chapter (Wisconsin) – Larson created a business for repairing machinery and re-selling fixed items, including chainsaws, weed eaters, lawnmowers and more.

American Star in Agricultural Placement

Travis A. Poppe, Crofton FFA Chapter (Nebraska) – Poppe works for his family’s farm, Poppe Farms, where he manages swine and cattle and operates the diversified crop production of corn and soybeans.
Garrett Sharp, Waukomis FFA Chapter (Oklahoma) – Sharp operates and services equipment, moving and preparing land  and implements conservation practices while being employeed at his uncle’s farm.
Matt Eichacker, McCook Central FFA Chapter (South Dakota) – Eichacker operates corn and soybean productions, manages beef cattle and applies fertilizers and chemicals for two farms and a cooperative.
Jessica Woodworth, Mineral County FFA Chapter (West Virginia) – Woodworth works for her family’s farm and store. While there, she assists in the beef cattle, swine and produce operations and sells retail meat cuts, fruits, vegetables and other products.

American Star in Agriscience
Patrik Arkfeld, Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca FFA Chapter (Nebraska) – Arkfeld conducts swine research in meat quality, genetics, waste management and more.

Sarah Cox, Zane Trace FFA Chapter (Ohio) – Cox studies animal and food sciences through research projects including zooenotic diseases, plant diseases and microorganisms.
Katie Osborn, Greenwood FFA Chapter (Pennsylvania) – Osborn has performed four studies in dairy cattle mastitis, an infection in the udders.
Witney L. Bowman, Stonewall Jackson FFA Chapter (Virginia) – Bowman studies the effects of feeding calves additional milk replacer and injecting rooting hormones in Juniper trees.

Each star finalist receives $2,000 from the National FFA Foundation.

A panel of judges will interview finalists and select one winner for each award at the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 29 - Nov. 1, in Louisville, Ky. The four winners will receive an additional $2,000 and be announced at the convention and expo’s eighth general session , as part of the Stars Over America Pagent and before the American FFA Degree Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The Stars Over America is a special audiovisual presentation featuring the star award finalists funded as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Race Makes History with Jeff Gordon and American Ethanol

Jeff Gordon may have won his fifth NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend but American Ethanol was his co-pilot. Not only was he running on E15 American Ethanol as he crossed the finish line, but he also was part of NASCAR's celebration of the sport logging six million miles  on Sunoco Green E15.

For more than three years, NASCAR has run on an E15 race fuel blend called American Ethanol, or Sunoco Green E15. It seemed appropriate that the notable achievement came at the Brickyard in Indianapolis, one of the world's most historically significant tracks.

On Saturday and Sunday, supporters of American Ethanol were out in force to see the historic milestone firsthand. Representatives of the retail fuel industry, ethanol plants who make the corn-based fuel, and corn growers from five states were on hand to see the green biofuel prove itself once again under some of the toughest driving conditions on the planet.

District Court Strikes Down Injunction Against Country of Origin Labeling

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement after receiving news of the District Court of Appeals’ en banc decision on a challenge to enforcement of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) by the multinational meatpackers and our foreign competitors.  By a 9-2 majority, the panel upheld an earlier 3-judge panel decision to deny an appeal to halt the enforcement of the popular labeling law, passed in 2008.

 “NFU, and our broad coalition of consumer and producer organizations, have achieved yet another victory in our long battle to uphold the enforcement of the COOL regulation as modified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA).   This marks the third time that COOL has won in court. There is no need for this case to proceed.

“The Court ruled that the government may require factual, uncontroversial information to be included on a label. American consumers want to know basic information about where their meat comes from, and livestock producers across this great nation are very proud of what they produce and happy to let consumers know where their meat comes from.  USDA’s new COOL rules will significantly improve the information available to consumers by reducing confusion about the origins of meat products.  It will also provide U.S. livestock producers the opportunity to differentiate their products, which they are proud to claim as theirs.”

USDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that will strengthen and expand insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers. The new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility.

"America's agricultural producers work hard to produce a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food for the country," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "It's critical that they have crop insurance options to effectively manage risks and ensure that they do not lose everything due to events beyond their control. Following the 2014 Farm Bill signing, USDA has made it a priority to ensure the Supplemental Coverage Option was available to help farmers in this upcoming crop year."

The 2014 Farm Bill strengthens and expands crop insurance by providing more risk management options for farmers and ranchers and by making crop insurance more affordable for beginning farmers. SCO, which is administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), further strengthens the farm safety net.

SCO will be available for corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties for the 2015 crop year. Producers should contact their crop insurance agents to discuss eligibility in time to sign up for winter wheat coverage. RMA plans to make SCO more widely available by adding more counties and crops. Information on SCO for 2015 winter and spring wheat is available on the RMA website at Selected counties for other commodities will be released later this summer.

SCO is a county-level policy endorsement that is in addition to an underlying crop insurance policy, and covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy. Producers who elect to participate in Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), which is offered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), are not eligible for SCO for the crop and farm participating in ARC.

Producers applying for SCO for the 2015 winter wheat crop may withdraw coverage on any farm where they have elected, or where they intend to elect, ARC for winter wheat by the earlier of their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, without penalty. This allows producers additional time to make an informed decision related to whether to elect to participate in either the ARC or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for their winter wheat. If producers withdraw SCO coverage for a farm by the earlier of their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, they will not be charged a crop insurance premium. In order to withdraw coverage without penalty, producers must notify their agents of their intended election for ARC by the earlier of their winter wheat acreage reporting date or Dec. 15.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

AgriBank Poll: Lenders Expect Farm Financial Performance to Moderate in 2014

A recent poll of chief credit officers for Farm Credit lenders in America’s heartland found that after years of exceptional growth, farm financial performance is expected to decline in 2014 as commodity prices moderate from recent record highs.

St. Paul-based AgriBank conducted the poll in July among chief credit officers for the Bank and its 17 affiliated Farm Credit Associations, which provide agricultural loans in a 15-state area stretching from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. Farm Credit is the top source of loans for agriculture and rural borrowers in these states.

Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed said farm financial performance would generally be slightly worse this year compared to last year, while 22 percent said it would be worse. Several noted that farm financial performance will differ among different market segments.

“The poll reflects the reality that grain commodity prices are lower compared to last year, which will likely have some negative impact on profitability for crop producers this year,” said Jerry Lehnertz, vice president, lending for AgriBank. “On the flip side, most crop producers have entered this lower commodity price environment with strong overall financial positions. In addition, producers who purchase these grains as inputs for dairy products, ethanol, livestock and poultry may see increased profitability resulting from the lower grain prices. ”

Risk Management Takes Center Stage

According to Lehnertz, despite a worsening outlook for profitability in 2014, a well-planned marketing strategy can help farmers accomplish short-run measurable objectives and long-run business goals.

“We are seeing commodity prices return to earth after a period of remarkable growth,” Lehnertz said. “But smart financial strategies can help commodity producers maintain healthy financial positions through these challenges.”

Lehnertz identified key steps farmers should consider taking to help them weather upcoming challenges:
-    Start by setting well-defined goals and objectives
-    Gather farm-specific production information, including historic yields, crop insurance levels, fixed and variable costs, to better understand your unique circumstances
-    Look at commodity price scenarios, not just market forecasts, so you can be better prepared for the unexpected
-    Develop a customizable marketing toolbox so you can access the tools you need
-    Be sure to have a flexible marketing plan so you can adjust to changing market opportunities and challenges

Producers who want to learn more about marketing strategy can contact their local Farm Credit lender or find their local lender at

Farm Bill Implications

The chief credit officers surveyed indicated their Farm Credit borrowers would generally experience a neutral impact from the Agricultural Act of 2014, or Farm Bill. These agricultural lending experts were asked to rate the Farm Bill’s effect on the financial success of their borrowers on a scale of one to 10, with one being negative and 10 being positive. They gave an average rating of approximately five.

Many Farm Bill implementation details have yet to be determined and, with the elimination of direct payments, crop producers will have to choose between several programs that provide income support under adverse price or yield conditions. More than 76 percent of the chief credit officers surveyed said farmers are talking to their Farm Credit lending officers (or crop insurance specialists) about how the new Farm Bill will affect their operations.

“Producers are actively discussing the Farm Bill, even as many program details have yet to be determined,” Lehnertz said. “The Farm Bill is just part of the equation when it comes to farm finances and risk management. Farmers and ranchers are talking to experts such as Farm Credit to help them navigate an increasingly complex and volatile operating environment.”

Grains Council Calls on China to Approve Trait in DDGs

The U.S. Grains Council is calling for China to approve MIR 162 following last week's announcement of new biotech certification requirements for distiller's dried grains with solubles by the Chinese import inspection authority, AQSIQ.

The new requirements effectively call for a certificate from the point of origin - in the case of U.S. shipments, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - guaranteeing that the shipment is free of the biotech trait. The mandate was made effective immediately, causing serious disruptions with existing DDGS trade and making future DDGS trade hard to achieve.

"China is asking for something that cannot be done. This certificate they're asking for does not exist," said Tom Sleight, USGC's president and CEO. "It's time for China to look at and approve this trait," Sleight said. "It's been approved for commercialization in the United States since 2010, and it's been approved by all importing countries, including the European Union, for quite some time. We think that the lack of approval of MIR 162 is becoming an undue impediment on trade."

The Council is working to address the new disruption to DDGS trade with the U.S. government and the U.S. ambassador to China, as well as with MAIZALL, which represents grower organizations in several major corn exporting countries.

Meanwhile, USGC staff and consultants around the world are working with other markets interested in DDGS, particularly since prices have declined.

USDA Urged to Immediately Restore Official Grain Inspection Service at the Port of Vancouver, Washington

Citing the “extremely troubling precedent” being set, 22 national, regional and state agricultural producer, commodity and agribusiness organizations, including U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers, have urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take immediate action to restore official grain inspection and weighing services at the Port of Vancouver, Washington.

In a recent letter to the Secretary of Agriculture and other key administration officials, the organizations cited a notice by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) stating that it no longer would fulfill its obligation to provide official grain inspection and weighing services at the Port of Vancouver. WSDA had been delegated the responsibility to provide official grain inspection and weighing services at the port by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).

In the July 1 notice stating that it was suspending official inspection services indefinitely, effective July 7, the director of WSDA’s grain inspection program stated as one of the reasons the belief that the “continued provision of inspection services appears to have been unhelpful in leading to any foreseeable resolution” of the labor dispute.

Several organizations also met last October with GIPSA and other USDA officials to urge that the agency prepare contingency plans to ensure an “immediate and effective” program to continue official services at the port after several service interruptions.

“This issue is of great concern to the wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest as well as around the country.” Said Paul Penner, National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) President and wheat farmer from Hillsboro, Kansas. “If Washington state inspectors are unable to perform their duties, then the time has come for federal grain inspectors to step in and do their mandated jobs to get grain flowing out of the port of Vancouver.” 

Alan Tracy, President of U.S. Wheat Associates added, "With the wheat harvest season well underway and the importance of exports to our producers, we hope that official services are restored at the Port of Vancouver as quickly as possible." 

“To our knowledge, this latest announcement by a designated state agency declining to provide official services is unprecedented,” the groups wrote in their letter. “We believe WSDA’s actions create an extremely troubling precedent that will cause irreparable damage to the integrity and reliability of the nation’s official grain inspection system.” 

The organizations also cited the “uncertainty” already created within the U.S. grain export industry, as well as among U.S. agricultural producers and international buyers of U.S. commodities, regarding potential future disruptions of official services at facilities operating at other U.S. export ports. They said, “in the absence of WSDA’s reliable performance of its duties, FGIS must intervene and make the necessary arrangements to provide the mandatory official (inspection) services.”

Federal law prohibits the export of U.S. grains and oilseeds unless inspected and weighed by official personnel in accordance with the U.S. grain standards. In addition, such exports are required to be accompanied by official certificates showing the grade designation and certified weight, unless the requirement is waived by the Secretary of Agriculture and the grain is not sold or exported by grade. Under the U.S. Grain Standards Act, Congress vested in USDA the responsibility and obligation to provide official inspection services to facilitate efficient and cost-effective marketing of U.S. grains and oilseeds. 

“To this point, confidence that the U.S. official grain inspection system will function in a continuous and consistent manner — and not be subject to unwarranted disruptions — has been instrumental in facilitating the ability of U.S. farmers and agribusinesses to reliably serve foreign customers and remain competitive in world markets,” the groups wrote. 

National organizations signing the letter to Vilsack were:  Agricultural Retailers Association; American Farm Bureau Federation; American Soybean Association; National Association of Wheat Growers; National Corn Growers Association; National Grain and Feed Association; National Oilseed Processors Association; North American Export Grain Association; Transportation, Elevator and Grain Merchants Association; U.S. Grains Council; U.S. Soybean Export Council; and U.S. Wheat Associates.

State and regional organizations signing the letter were:  Idaho Grain Producers, Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, Oregon Wheat Growers League, South Dakota Grain and Feed Association, South Dakota Wheat Inc., Pacific Northwest Grain and Feed Association, and Washington Association of Wheat Growers.

CWT Assists with 3.9 Million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 8 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America and Tillamook County Creamery Association to sell 1.645 million pounds (746 metric tons) of Cheddar cheese, and 2.222 million pounds (1008 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in North Africa, Central and South America. The product will be delivered July 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 78.313 million pounds of cheese, 47.995 million pounds of butter and 18.290 million pounds of whole milk powder to 42 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.936 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.  The year-to-date sums have been adjusted for cancellations.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program, in the long-term, helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them in the rapidly growing world dairy markets. This, in turn, positively impacts U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Green Plains Reports Second Quarter 2014 Results

Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. announced today its financial results for the second quarter of 2014. Net income for the quarter was $32.3 million, or $0.82 per diluted share, compared to net income of $6.0 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, for the same period in 2013. Revenues were $837.9 million for the second quarter of 2014 compared to $804.7 million for the same period in 2013.

"We are pleased to report another strong quarter as ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil set new production records. All of our plants were operating at optimal levels, even as rail transportation continues to impact movement of our products," said Todd Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Market fundamentals are favorable and based on a continuation of these conditions, we expect stronger earnings per share performance in the second half of the year."

During the second quarter, Green Plains' ethanol production segment produced 241.9 million gallons of ethanol, or approximately 95.1% of its daily average production capacity. Non-ethanol operating income from the corn oil production, agribusiness, and marketing and distribution segments was $16.5 million in the second quarter of 2014 compared to $17.3 million for the same period in 2013.

Revenues were $1.6 billion for each of the six-month periods ended June 30, 2014 and 2013. Net income for the six-month period ended June 30, 2014 was $75.5 million, or $1.88 per diluted share, compared to net income of $8.5 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, for the same period in 2013.

"We continue to enjoy excellent fundamentals that are driving a robust margin environment. Our balance sheet is in the strongest position of our history, with significant cash and liquidity, as a result of cash generated from operations and the recent refinancing of term debt," stated Becker. "Our focus and energy continues to be on growth of all of our business segments and we believe there are ample opportunities to achieve this objective."

Green Plains had $374.7 million in total cash and equivalents and $145.4 million available under committed loan agreements at subsidiaries (subject to satisfaction of specified lending conditions and covenants) at June 30, 2014. Second quarter 2014 EBITDA, which is defined as earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, was $74.5 million compared to $30.5 million for the same period in 2013. For the six-month period ending June 30, 2014, EBITDA was $168.6 million compared to $55.3 million for the same period in 2013. For reconciliations of net income to EBITDA, see "EBITDA" below.

Second Quarter 2014 Business Highlights

    In June 2014, Green Plains Processing LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Green Plains, completed a $225 million Senior Secured Credit Facility due in 2020. The proceeds of the credit facility were used to refinance debt outstanding at five subsidiaries in the ethanol production segment. Credit ratings assigned to the credit facility from Standard & Poor's and Moody's are BB and B2, respectively. Green Plains Inc. corporate credit ratings are B+ and B2 from Standard & Poor's and Moody's, respectively.
    In June 2014, Green Plains acquired the assets of Supreme Cattle Feeders from Agri Beef Co. The asset acquisition includes the feed yard doing business as Supreme Cattle Feeders and the Cimarron Grain storage facility based near Kismet, Kansas. Supreme Cattle Feeders financial results are reported as a part of Green Plains' agribusiness segment. The operation consists of approximately 2,600 acres of land that has the capacity to support 70,000 head of cattle. Supreme's current corn storage capacity, including the Cimarron Grain facilities, is approximately 3.8 million bushels.
    Mr. Gene Edwards joined the board of directors of Green Plains Inc. effective June 19, 2014. Mr. Edwards has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, previously serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Valero Energy Corporation until his retirement in April 2014. He began his 32-year career at Valero as an Analyst in Planning & Economics and spent his tenure with Valero in various managerial positions in Planning and Economics, Refinery Operations, Business Development and Marketing.

Nutra-­Flo introduces two new products to help growers boost yields and fight corn rootworm resistance

Growers have new choices when selecting insect control and crop nutrition products for next planting season because of two innovative new products from Nutra-­-Flo, North America’s leading liquid starter and foliar fertilizer manufacturer.

The company introduces Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC technology and PureGrade EC, the only combination of products on the market that allow growers the ability to blend their choice of EC-­-based liquid insecticide and fungicide with starter fertilizer.

The Technology: Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC

The new patented Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC technology works by holding standard EC pesticides together with liquid fertilizer for convenient in-­-furrow application of fertilizer and crop protection products to guard crops against corn rootworm and other secondary pests, throughout the growing season.

“Nutra-­-Flo is excited to deliver a game-­-changing technology to growers and retailers that solves a real problem,” said Jason Glover, Nutra-­-Flo director of business development. “Until now, only one insecticide could be blended into liquid fertilizer. The introduction of our Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC technology makes it possible for growers to select the EC-­-based insecticide or fungicide of their choice to mix with any starter fertilizer to achieve a uniform application and boost yields.”

Corn rootworm resistance is a growing concern, and protecting the crop with an in-­- furrow application of insecticide is a strong defense against damage. Growers need to be strategic and aggressive in their pest management approach. The Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC technology is an answer to that need.

“This technology has great potential for yield enhancements,” said Joey Hanson, an independent crop consultant and owner of Diversified Agronomy Consulting, Elk Point, S.D. “There is a rule of thumb that I live by; I never want a corn crop to have a bad day. The pairing of starter fertilizer, FlexEC, and a liquid insecticide helps with that. It provides early season nutrition and uniform application of season-­-long protection from corn rootworm and other pests.”

Nutra-­-Flo offers the FlexEC compatibility agent in 2.5-­-gallon jugs or totes, to accommodate any volume need for growers or retailers.

Blended Choice: PureGrade EC

Nutra-­-Flo is putting the new technology to work in their proven PureGrade liquid fertilizer line by also introducing PureGrade EC – the first liquid fertilizer that contains the patented FlexEC technology.

“PureGrade is the industry’s best selling liquid starter fertilizer that provides high orthophosphate, low salt, non-­-corrosive crop nutrition plants need to get out of the ground and off to a great start,” said Glover. “PureGrade EC has the FlexEC compatibility agent already blended in so growers need only to select the EC-­-based crop protection product of their choice to fight off insect or fungi problems that they have in their individual fields.”

Liquid fertilizers and EC-­-based insecticides and fungicides are generally considered incompatible. As a result, growers were forced to utilize options that lack flexibility, trouble-­-free blending and overall efficacy. Through his observations as an agronomist for Nutra-­-Flo, Kelli Barnett has seen many growers face this challenge.

“Because of the molecular make up of starter and EC pesticides, they just don’t bond. In a sense, it’s like oil and water,” said Barnett. “In the past, when a grower utilized an EC pesticide and starter fertilizer, they had compatibility issues, which plugged screens and tips and resulted in an inconsistent application. Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC solves those compatibility issues. Plus, growers can now choose insecticides that protect against multiple pests, instead of having limited options.”

Nutra-­-Flo’s FlexEC and PureGrade EC expand growers’ options. Growers now can simply add any EC insecticide or fungicide to NutraFlo’s pre-­-blended PureGrade EC starter fertilizer; or use the FlexEC compatibility agent with the starter and EC insecticide or fungicide they choose.

“Everybody likes choice, and Nutra-­-Flo’s FlexEC and PureGrade EC are giving growers a choice,” said Glover. “As a company, we are excited to deliver flexibility and convenience to growers with safe and innovative new products to help them boost yields and maximize profitability.”

Nutra-­-Flo FlexEC Technology and PureGrade EC Liquid Fertilizer are available through a network of more than 600 dealers across North America for the 2015 planting season. For more information or to order, contact the Nutra-­-Flo customer support team to locate a dealer near you by calling 1-­-800-­-831-­-4815 or emailing

Nutra-Flo Company, based in North Sioux City, S.D., began producing liquid fertilizer in 1954. The family-owned business has become the leading independent liquid fertilizer manufacturer in North America. The company’s main product lines include PureGrade Liquid Fertilizer, Microsolutions Liquid Micronutrients and Nulex Liquid Zinc. Plant locations are in Sioux City, Iowa, and Gibbon, Nebraska. Nutra-Flo offers high quality products, superior service and absolute dependability. Competitively priced fertilizer products are sold through local dealers across the country.