Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday July 9 Ag News

Nebraska Cattlemen to Host State Wide Educational Road Trip

The Nebraska Cattlemen staff is hitting the road this summer for an educational road trip.  These educational meeting are exclusive to Nebraska Cattlemen paid members.  NC staff will be discussing various hot button industry issues at each of the seven stops across Nebraska July 21-24.

Join NC for a discussion about how you can be engaged in tax discussions and impact change at the local level, hear a review of changes made during the 2014 legislature, and understand what we see coming in 2015 and beyond.

EPA has proposed a new regulation that will require small and medium livestock operations to get burdensome permits and could end up regulating every day practices, like weed management and fertilizer application in pastures and fields.  Join NC to find out how this regulation will impact you and what you can do to tell EPA to "Ditch The Rule!"

With small changes in how brand inspection is handled in counties that border the inspection areas NC will be taking this opportunity to provide members with a refresher course on requirements both in and out of the inspection area.

The last few months have raised awareness of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) again. Upon a directive from the board of directors NC will be discussing FMD.

Road trip stops will include:

Monday, July 21
    1:00pm MDT:  Alliance - Westside Event Center
    7:30pm CDT: North Platte - Holiday Inn Express Conference Center

Tuesday, July 22
    1:00pm CDT: Cambridge - Cambridge Community Building                  
    7:30pm CDT: Fairbury - Jefferson Co. Fairgrounds, 4-H Building

Wednesday, July 23
    1:00pm CDT: Wahoo - Saunders Co. Fairgrounds, Commercial Building
    7:30pm CDT: Norfolk - Agriculture Allied Health Building, Northeast Community College Main Campus

Thursday, July 24
    1:00pm CDT: Bloomfield - Bloomfield Community Center

For more information about the meeting schedule please contact Bonita Lederer at 402.329.6273.

Soybean Farmers Honor Sen. Mike Johanns with Soy Champion Award

The farmers of the American Soybean Association (ASA) honored Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska with the association’s Soy Champion Award this morning in Washington. In a ceremony held during this week’s meeting of the ASA Board of Directors, former ASA President Steve Wellman presented Sen. Johanns with the award, which is given twice yearly to recognize exemplary representation of soybean farmers and soy-related issues by elected officials.

“Sen. Johanns has proven himself to be not only a champion of farmers, but an advocate well-versed in the realities of modern agriculture,” Wellman said. “Senator Johanns understands what we do on our farms every day, and he brings that here to Washington to help craft legislation that helps us succeed, compete and excel. We owe a large portion of our success in the recent farm bill to his experience and foresight, and we are grateful to him for the voice he has given our farmers on Capitol Hill.”

Sen. Johanns, who will not seek reelection at the end of his term, was recognized officially for his service in the Senate, however also noted were the impacts that the senator had during his tenure as Secretary of Agriculture under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, and as governor of Nebraska from 1999 to 2005.

“As senator, Agriculture Secretary, and as governor of a vital agricultural state, Sen. Johanns has brought a wealth of experience to his representation of American farmers, and we cannot thank him enough for his leadership,” added ASA President Ray Gaesser, who farms close to the Nebraska border in southeastern Iowa. “We will miss his leadership and diplomatic touch on agriculture issues, and we wish him all the best as he takes his next step.”


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Rain is growing more grass this year, but just how good is that grass?  To find out, study the cow pies.

Walking across your pastures can give you a good idea of the condition of the plants.  Besides examining your grasses, legumes, forbs, and weeds, though, also take a closer look at the cow pies.

Guess what?  You can learn a lot by looking closely at cow pies.  Especially about the diet quality of grazing cattle.

Examine the cow pies for consistency, color, and composition.  Loose and flowing cow pies, kind of like sheet cake batter, indicate that the animal has been grazing a high quality, protein rich diet.  Forage is digesting quickly and moving through the animal rapidly.  It's the kind of diet we want for dairy cows and for stockers.  A little firmer cow pie that still is soft and spreads easily suggests a bit more fiber in the diet but still enough quality to produce good stocker gains.  And as nutrient concentration in the diet gets less and less, the pies get firmer and firmer.  Green color also indicates high quality coming from young pasture plants when compared to cow pies that are olive or brown in color due to cows eating older growth.

Look closely at a fresh pie spread out by a boot and you often see undigested fiber particles.  This fiber becomes more numerous and longer as grazing periods lengthen on individual paddocks.  This happens because cattle get lower quality feed each day they are on a paddock, causing rumen microbes to constantly adjust digestion processes, thus reducing utilization.

Studying cow pies may not be for everyone.  But if you want to estimate diet quality of your animals, it's an easy technique.

Darci Vetter Confirmed to Speak at USGC Summer Annual Meeting

International trade policy, and current developments in agricultural trade with China, will be in the spotlight as Darci Vetter addresses the U.S. Grains Council’s 54th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, July 28-30, 2014.

Helping implement the North American Free Trade Agreement, resolving agricultural trade issues with Canada and Mexico, and participating in the World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations are among the highlights of Vetter’s distinguished career at senior levels of U.S. trade policy. With trade policy service in both the Clinton and Obama administrations and in the U.S. Senate as a senior staffer for the Senate Finance Committee, she has been a consistent advocate for expanding U.S. agricultural exports. Currently USDA deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, Vetter was nominated last December for chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Vetter’s nomination was approved by the Senate Finance Committee in May and is now awaiting approval from the full Senate.

In Omaha, Vetter’s insights will be followed by an expert discussion about the recent disruptions in U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exports to China. She will underscore that these types of developments have happened before, and that continued engagement with China is necessary.

“Darci’s insights into this emerging powerhouse’s trade policy will leave attendees with an in-depth understanding of the issue at hand,” said USGC Chairman Julius Schaaf.

During the 2013 calendar year, China produced 217.7 million metric tons of corn (8.6 billion bushels), yet imported 3.3 million tons (130 million bushels) of corn, 4 million tons of DDGS and 1.1 million tons (43.3 million bushels) of sorghum valued at more than $2.5 billion in total, nearly all of which was from the United States.

“After 30 years of at or near double digit economic growth, China’s capacity to continue increasing domestic corn and feed grain production is believed to be below projected consumption growth,” Schaaf said. “This means that trade disruptions, while costly to U.S. producers and exporters, are more costly to end-users in China and, ultimately, most costly to consumers in China.”

Register today for the Council’s summer annual meeting to learn more about this fast-moving situation impacting trade.

Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index Shows GMO Benefits Win Over Iowa Grocery Shoppers

Nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) Iowa grocery shoppers say knowing that crops developed with genetically modified organisms (GMO) can produce foods which provide better nutritional value would influence their decision to purchase this type of food for their family; that’s according to the latest research recently completed for the Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index ™, conducted online by Harris Poll. 

The study also showed that Iowa grocery shoppers would be influenced to buy GMO foods once they learn that GMOs reduce pesticide use and provide food with better texture or flavor (84% and 82%, respectively).

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index ™ is a semi-annual survey of Iowa grocery shoppers to study the factors driving their food purchases. The spring survey focused on packaged food products. This survey included Iowa residents between 20 and 60 years old who have primary or shared responsibility for household grocery shopping; 506 such respondents were interviewed online in May for this spring wave of research.

“Iowa grocery shoppers are common sense food buyers, and they are also hungry for more information about GMO foods and learning why farmers choose that technology,” says Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president and Milo grain and livestock farmer. “Iowa has long been recognized around the world for our ability to grow food and while farmers know why we choose certain kinds of seeds, consumers may need more information, and a different kind of information to answer the questions they have. This is an opportunity for all farmers to be transparent about what we grow and why we grow it to help consumers make more informed food choices,” said Hill.

“Hundreds of independent tests done nearly twenty years have proven that GMO crops are safe he added. “In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ‘foods from genetically engineered plants must meet the same requirements, including safety requirements, as foods from traditionally bred plants. FDA considers a consultation to be complete only when its team of scientists are satisfied with the developer’s safety assessment and have no further questions regarding safety or regulatory issues.’”  To learn more about how the FDA evaluates GMO foods for safety, visit

Consumers look to FDA

The Iowa Farm Bureau Food and Farm Index ™ also showed that when it comes to the most trusted sources of food safety information for packaged food products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (54%) rated the highest, followed by medical professionals (50%), dietitians/nutritionists (47%) and farmers (37%).

Factors driving packaged food purchases   

Taste (73%) and price (73%) were the most popular responses Iowa grocery shoppers cited as being among the top three factors influencing their packaged food purchases. This finding aligns with the results of the winter Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm Index ™, which showed shoppers look for taste (76%) and price (79%) when buying meat, poultry and dairy products.


Harris Poll conducted the spring survey online on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau, within the United States from May 8-14, 2014.  A total of 506 Iowa residents aged 20-60 were surveyed, who have primary or shared responsibility for grocery shopping for their household.

Iowa's Top Grillers Compete To Be Crowned Champion at 51st Annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest at the Iowa State Fair

Recent studies from the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association found that nearly 3 in 4 Americans own a grill, and consumers find outdoor cooking to be convenient, pleasurable, and one of the best ways to spend quality time with family and friends.  The smells of smoked meat and sweet barbecue sauce are sure to make fairgoers’ mouths water when the state’s best grillers gather to compete in the 51st annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on August 12 during the 2014 Iowa State Fair.            

The championship pursuit begins for participants at local county Farm Bureau cookout contests where winners are selected in several outdoor cooking categories.  Finalists from the county Farm Bureau contests earn a spot in the main event during the Iowa State Fair.  Interested grillers and attendees should contact their county Farm Bureau office for more details and information on rules and local contests.           

Youth category participants will be vying for a gas grill, donated by Iowa Propane Gas Association (valued at $1,000).  The competitors will line up just south of the Grandstand on the Grand Concourse for the cookout competition, and the event always draws a crowd who come to sample various entries and pick up grilling tips from the competitors.             

“Iowans take their grilling very seriously and every year contestants from around the state look forward to showcasing their skills at our annual state cookout contest,” said Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Coordinator Denny Harding.  “The Cookout Contest is a great opportunity for grillers to demonstrate their creativity while preparing high-quality meats produced right here in Iowa.”          

Contestants will compete in six categories: beef, pork, lamb, poultry, turkey, and combo/specialty.  Brisket entries in the beef category are excluded due to time constraints.  Combo recipes combine two or more meats from the five other categories.  Specialty recipes may feature venison or any other Iowa domestically raised product.  All wild game is excluded.  Dishes will be judged on taste, appearance, and originality.  Special recognition will go to contestants in showmanship, youth and team cooking categories.  Youth grillers must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years, as of August 1, 2014.  Farm Bureau or affiliated company employees are not eligible to compete.                                   

For event details about county Farm Bureau qualifying contests, visit:

AVMA applauds U.S. House for passing a bill that allows veterinarians to provide complete care beyond their clinics

Veterinarians across the country can soon breathe a collective sigh of relief that they will be able to carry and use controlled substances to provide complete care to their animal patients beyond their clinics and across state lines due to the U.S. House’s passage today of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) thanks Congress for recognizing the important service that veterinarians provide to their animal patients wherever they may be by passing this commonsense piece of legislation.

“The AVMA was established more than 150 years ago by veterinarians who cared for the animals that provided food and transportation for Americans,” said Dr. Clark Fobian, president of the AVMA. “Although times have changed since 1865, veterinarians’ need to travel to their patients has not. Today, Congress made it clear that veterinarians are responsible public servants who must be able to use vital medications to treat their patients—no matter the location—so that they receive the best quality care. We applaud our elected officials for clarifying federal statute, which has left veterinarians confused and concerned over the past year. We look forward to seeing President Obama sign this important legislation into law in the near future.”

Sponsored by Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), both veterinarians, in the House, and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) and Angus King (I-Maine) in the Senate, this legislation makes it legal for veterinarians to transport and use controlled substances beyond their registered places of business. It also allows licensed veterinarians to register in multiple states, regardless of where their principal place of business is located. The Senate unanimously passed its version of the bill on Jan. 8.

“Today is a victory for veterinarians across this country, but more importantly, it's a victory for the health and well-being of the animals they are entrusted to care for,” said Rep. Schrader. “Ridiculous bureaucratic interference from the DEA would have seriously impeded veterinarians' ability to properly treat their patients. The Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will provide veterinarians with the certainty they need to continue to providing mobile or ambulatory services for their animal patients.”

“As a large animal veterinarian, my operating room wasn't always in an office. Most times, it was in the field,” said Rep. Yoho. “Expecting ranchers to transport their livestock to a veterinary clinic every time medication is needed is an example of overly burdensome policy created by bureaucrats rather than the folks who know the issue. This bill will correct that problem and allow veterinarians to practice their profession without fear of unnecessary government intrusion. I am thankful for my colleague and good friend Representative Schrader's hard work on this issue and look forward to this legislation being signed into law.”

Veterinarians have previously been told by the Drug Enforcement Administration that the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) barred registrants from taking controlled substances beyond their registered locations, such as their clinics or homes. This narrow interpretation of the law has been problematic for veterinarians who provide care in a variety of settings. The DEA had also maintained that veterinarians must have a physical address within each state where they want to be registered; this interpretation has restricted veterinarians who live along state borders, but need to provide care in both states.

The AVMA has been actively engaged with the DEA and members of Congress and their staff for more than a year, explaining how this restrictive provision in the CSA affected its member veterinarians’ ability to provide complete veterinary care to their animal patients. The AVMA helped raise awareness on this issue by encouraging members and allied organizations to contact their legislators in support of this important bill, running several advertising campaigns in D.C. publications, and creating a number of multimedia communications products. These advocacy efforts led to more than 27,000 letters sent to members of Congress, bipartisan cosponsorship by 185 representatives in the U.S. House, and the endorsement of the bill by over 130 veterinary medical and other organizations.

We're Looking for New Faces of Farming and Ranching

Thursday, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance will begin accepting applications for new Faces of Farming & Ranching. To help put a real face on agriculture,  later this year, USFRA will select standout farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement, and who are actively involved in sharing those stories in public and on social media.

Farmers and ranchers who grow and raise an assortment of foods through various methods, on differing scale and across all regions of the country are encouraged to apply, as it is important to show American agriculture and all of its diversity. The National Corn Growers Association is a proud founding affiliate of USFRA.

"We are proud of the improvements our farmers and ranchers are bringing to America's food supply and we think it's imperative that they have a strong voice in addressing consumer questions," said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer at USFRA. "The success we experienced with last year's ambassadors shows us that people want to hear directly from those who are cultivating our food."

To apply, visit to complete an application entry form, and to submit a video no longer than three minutes that shows your operation and your role on the farm/ranch. Entries will be accepted until midnight CDT Sunday, August 10.

Finalists will be announced by USFRA in early September, and each finalist will be profiled on The general public will be able to vote for their favorite in late October through early November.  

A combination of public votes and USFRA judges' scores will determine the winners, who will be announced on November 12 at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.  Winners will receive a $15,000 stipend to help cover costs at home while they are traveling. They'll also receive professional media/speaker training and full support from USFRA through their yearlong tenure.

Winners will serve in multiple high-visibility roles on behalf of USFRA, participating in a number of activities including national media interviews, advertising and public appearances.

Ethanol Stocks at 4-Week High

The Energy Information Administration released data Wednesday, July 9, showing U.S. ethanol inventories rose last week to a four-week high while production declined.

Total U.S. ethanol inventories increased 100,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.5%, to 18.3 million bbl during the week-ended July 4 while 2.6 million bbl, or 16.3%, higher than a year earlier.

Domestic ethanol production decreased 26,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.7%, to 927,000 bpd last week, although still 5.2% higher than a year ago. Four-week average output was up 8.3% at 948,000 bpd.

Blender inputs, a proxy for ethanol demand, held steady at 883,000 bpd for the week profiled, while down 1.45% from a year earlier. Four-week average input was up 1.6% from a year earlier.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.37%.

EIA reported ethanol imports at 9,000 bpd last week, with the overseas supply received along the West Coast.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 14.056 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 103,456 metric tons of livestock feed, 92,232 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 4.83 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

USDA Provides 12-Week Progress Update on Disaster Assistance

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack provided a 12-week progress report on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance programs today, announcing that USDA has processed 106,000 payments to farmers in 40 states across the country who suffered livestock and grazing losses between October 2011 and passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Farmers and ranchers who waited two and a half years for a Farm Bill are now getting some relief," said Vilsack. "We met the very ambitious goal to get these programs up and running in just 60 days. Now, thanks to our dedicated staff in offices across the country, we've provided more than 106,000 payments to farmers and ranchers in 40 states who suffered drought, blizzard, and other weather related losses."

A quick implementation of the disaster assistance programs has been a top priority for USDA. In February, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that enrollment for four disaster assistance programs would begin April 15, 2014, 60 days from the date the programs were reestablished by the 2014 Farm Bill. After the 2008 Farm Bill, it took over one year for the programs to get up and running.

Since then, dedicated full-time FSA staff, as well as temporary employees hired to expedite the application process, have processed over $1.2 billion in payments to qualifying farmers and ranchers. The first payments were sent out to farmers and ranchers within two weeks of enrollment. USDA estimated that roughly $2.5 billion would be provided in disaster relief to cover losses from October 2011 through September 2014. If those estimates prove accurate, it would mean nearly half of all disaster payments have already been provided.

While disaster relief is a critical lifeline that can prevent farmers and ranchers who do not have access to crop insurance from being wiped out by weather-related losses beyond their control, most producers only receive support equal to 60 percent of their actual losses.

USDA disaster programs include:

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) provides payments for grazing losses due to drought and livestock deaths due to adverse weather.

The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides assistance for livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), weather, wildfires and colony collapse disorder, or for losses not covered under other disaster assistance programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Tree Assistance Program (TAP) provides financial assistance to eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines that were lost or damaged by natural disasters.

Specific program deadlines are as follows:

-    2011-2013 ELAP – Friday, Aug. 1, 2014
-    2011-2014 LFP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
-    2011-2014 LIP – Friday, Jan. 30, 2015
-    2011-2014 TAP – Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

Producers affected by adverse weather should contact their FSA county office to make an appointment and learn if they are eligible for disaster assistance. For more information, producers may review the 2014 Farm Bill Fact Sheet, and the LIP, LFP, ELAP and TAP fact sheets online, or visit any local FSA office.

Vilsack also highlighted that more than $270 million in disaster assistance has been paid to farmers and ranchers in USDA StrikeForce counties experiencing chronic poverty. "Farmers and ranchers in these counties have extraordinary challenges. Through USDA's StrikeForce initiative, we can get federal support to areas that need it the most," said Vilsack.

June Fourth Warmest in Record Book

June 2014 might have been the fourth warmest June in the 36-year satellite record, but recent changes in the tropical Pacific might indicate the globe isn’t going to set any temperature records in upcoming months, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. The global average temperature for June was 0.30 C (about 0.54 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for the month, warm enough to tie June 2013 for fourth warmest. (The warmest June was in 1998, during the “El Niño of the century.” Global average temperatures in June 1998 were 0.51 C [about 0.92 degrees F] warmer than normal.)

Early indications that an El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event might be forming faded in June, although the atmosphere typically takes a couple of months to catch up to what is going on in the oceans. In June, the tropical Pacific Ocean did not continue to warm. This doesn’t mean a strong El Niño isn’t possible, so we shall wait and see.

In general, atmospheric temperatures do not immediately reflect that ocean cooling: The tropical atmosphere saw its second warmest June on record at 0.51 C (about 0.92 F) warmer than normal, as it was still feeling the extra ocean heat from two months ago. In the tropics, the only June warmer was in 1998, at 0.53 C warmer than normal.

Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest place in Earth's atmosphere in June was over the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctic winter temperatures were as much as 5.37 C (about 9.67 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than seasonal norms. Compared to seasonal norms, the warmest departure from average in June was southeast of the southern tip of South America, in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Temperatures there were as much as 2.85 C (about 5.13 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms.

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