Saturday, August 30, 2014

Friday August 29 Ag News

Pork Producers, Soybean Board Offer Free Educational Aids to Raise Student Understanding of Nebraska Agriculture again for 2014-15 School Year

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) and the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) are offering again this school year two entertainment-based educational packages free to elementary school teachers to help increase student awareness--in a fun way--of the importance of agriculture to the state’s economy.

The teaching aids, featuring a video and a Bingo card game, were introduced to elementary teachers statewide two years ago and have been well received by teachers who have used them in their classrooms. Limited quantities remain, so teachers are urged to place their orders for these free learning tools. Orders can be placed online for the video at, and the Bingo game at

Food for Thought is a 22-minute animated video that teaches students in an entertaining way how hog farming is practiced in Nebraska. Learning about the economy is an important fourth-grade curriculum objective. The video tells the story of a suburban fourth-grader who knows nothing about hog farming or the economics and entrepreneurship that goes into running a successful business. He comes to appreciate what is involved in a successful hog farming business after he tours a working farm and meets a real-life farmer--and his fourth-grade daughter.

Food for Thought is accompanied by a complete lesson plan and a short video filmed on a real-life Nebraska hog farm to show real day-to-day farm life. The package has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Education.

Bingo is a two-in-one card game featuring “Pork Bingo” on one side and “Soy Bingo” on the other. Aimed at second-through-fifth graders, Bingo is an entertaining way for students to learn important facts about pork production, soybean farming and how science helps us use virtually every part of the pig and the soybean without wasting anything.

The game comes with a set of 25 double-faced cards, game tokens, call-out cards, 25 worksheets and a classroom poster. The worksheets feature an 18-word crossword puzzle and a matching game that teaches students about the variety of helpful products made from pigs and soybeans grown in Nebraska.

Teachers report finding that the tools really held the interest of their students.  “As a primary teacher, I am always looking for new ways to actively involve my students in the academic lessons,” said Sandra Seckel, a teacher at West Park Elementary School in Columbus.  “The Pork and Soy Bean Bingo activity is a wonderful way to bring the connection of agriculture in Nebraska to my students. They were highly engaged while playing and the products that contain pork and soy bean products that my students use on a daily basis were reinforced through this activity.”

Teachers responding to a Food for Thought follow-up survey report that the video met their expectations, while an overwhelming percentage of teachers indicated that they made good use of the accompanying worksheet. Nearly all responding teachers said they already had used the Bingo game in their classrooms. All respondents indicated they would use the game again this year, as well. Fully 97% said the materials were grade-level appropriate. Some teachers even reported using the game during indoor recess periods.

Orders can be made online. Food For Thought video:; Bingo game:


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Hay is for winter and pasture is for summer – right?  Well, maybe  we should rethink this schedule to increase overall production.

Many of us welcomed some late August rain and pastures are growing well.  That means we can continue grazing and can hold our hay until later.  Or does it?

Let’s think about this for a moment.  Does pasture grow during winter?  Of course not, so if we want more forage we need to encourage it during the growing season.  What will happen, though, if we graze pastures short now during late summer and fall?  Of course – growth slows down so our pasture produces less total forage than if we let it grow without grazing.

In order to let it grow and accumulate without grazing, we probably need to feed hay instead.  But if we feed hay now, won’t we have less of it available for winter?  Probably – but we shouldn’t need as much hay for winter because all that extra pasture growth that accumulates now while we feed hay can be grazed this fall and winter when we normally feed hay.

In fact, if we allow pastures to grow as much as possible from now until it freezes, we may feed less total hay before next spring than if we follow our standard practice of grazing now and saving hay for winter.

Think about it.  If you expect to feed hay eventually before next spring, it might be smarter to feed some of that hay now rather than later so your pastures can produce extra forage while they still can.

Sometimes doing things backwards from our normal practices can maximize production.  Feeding hay now and grazing this winter might be one of them.

Settlements with Pair of Related Norfolk, Neb., Pesticide Companies to Improve Pesticide Safety and Reliability
Custom Feed Services Corporation and Earthworks Health LLC, two separate pesticide companies based in Norfolk, Neb., with common ownership, have agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $74,513 to settle allegations related to the production and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

On behalf of EPA, in November 2011 the Nebraska Department of Agriculture conducted a for-cause inspection of the two companies at their shared facility in Norfolk, based on a tip. Custom Feed Services produces and distributes pesticides and agricultural products, while Earthworks Health sells and distributes pesticides and other products.

The inspection and subsequent investigation documented that on multiple occasions Custom Feed Services sold or distributed copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticide products that were not registered with EPA, and that were misbranded in that they lacked valid EPA registration numbers and production establishment numbers. The copper sulfate products also lacked applicable directions for use and personal protection language. In addition, Custom Feed Services produced the pesticide products in a facility that was not registered with EPA as a pesticide-producing facility in accordance with FIFRA.  Under FIFRA, repackaging constitutes production.

On multiple occasions, Earthworks Health sold or distributed unregistered and misbranded copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticides, in addition to an unregistered antibacterial product, Foaming DisposALL Drain Cleaner.

The use of non-exempt, unregistered pesticides may result in harm to human health or the environment, as they have not undergone the rigorous risk and label reviews necessary to ensure safe and effective use.  Copper sulfate is an inorganic compound that can be used as a pesticide to kill bacteria, algae, roots, plants, snails, and fungi. Improper use of copper sulfate can be toxic to fish and aquatic animals, and failure to take proper precautions may result in eye or skin injury to humans. Diatomaceous earth may cause eye or respiratory irritation if improperly handled.

Custom Feed Services’ civil penalty is $55,752 and Earthworks Health LLC’s civil penalty is $18,761.  EPA calculates penalties by considering a variety of factors, including risk to the environment, size of the business, and ability to pay.

Under FIFRA, distributors of pesticides must ensure that the information on their products’ labels contains the same required cautionary information as found on the labels filed with EPA by the pesticides’ registrants, and that those pesticides are not distributed with claims that differ from the registration information filed with EPA.

Through their respective settlements with EPA, Custom Feed Services and Earthworks Health LLC have certified that they are now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.

Climate Change Report Release Kicks Off 2014 – 15 Heuermann Lectures Season

            The Heuermann Lecture series' 2014-2015 season will feature experts spanning a host of topics including climate change, animal biotechnology and agricultural communication.

            Heuermann Lectures are free and open to the public.  Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.

            The lecture series, in its fourth year, begins on Sept. 25 and will coincide with the release of a report on climate change compiled by Donald Wilhite, Robert Oglesby, Clinton Rowe and Deborah Bathke, all UNL faculty members in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  Wilhite, the founding director of the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center, will lead a panel discussion on the issues surrounding our changing climate.  Copies of the report will be available at the lecture and on-line following the lecture. One of the goals of this report is to identify the key challenges associated with climate change for the state and potential actions to adapt to our changing climate.

            "Globally and locally, we face significant economic, social and environmental risks associated with climate change," Wilhite said. "The body of scientific evidence confirms with a high degree of certainty that human activities in the form of increased concentration of greenhouse gases since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, changes in land use and other factors are the primary causes for the warming the planet has experienced, especially in recent decades."

            Current and projected changes extend beyond temperature increases and include changes in precipitation amounts, seasonal distribution and frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The increasing frequency of extreme events raises serious concerns for all nations due to economic, social and environmental costs associated with responding to, recovering from and preparing for these events.  

            "Nebraskans will face many challenges as a result of climate change," he added. "However, embedded in each of these challenges are opportunities to create greater resilience as we adapt to these observed and projected changes in climate."

The complete Heuermann Lecture series schedule is as follows:

            – Donald Wilhite, emeritus director and professor, National Drought Mitigation Center; with panelists Robert Oglesby, Deborah Bathke, and Clinton Rowe, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors will engage in a discussion titled  "Understanding and Assessing Climate Change: Implications for Nebraska" on Sept. 25 at 3:30 p.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.  A 3 p.m. reception precedes the lecture.

            – Orion Samuelson, WGN – Chicago; with panelists Barb Glenn, National Association of State Directors of Agriculture;  Kevin Murphy, Food Chain Communications; Marcy Tessman, Charleston-Orwig; Ronnie D. Green, University of Nebraska will ask "What Does Agricultural Communication Mean in the 21st Century?" on Nov. 6 at 3:30 p.m. at Nebraska East Campus Union, 37th and Fair Street, UNL East Campus.  3 p.m. reception precedes the lecture.

            – Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California – Davis, 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Awardee will give a presentation titled "Genetically Modified Animals: the Facts, the Fear Mongering, and the Future" on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Drive.

            – Anthony Leiserowitz, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies will give a presentation titled "Climate Change in the American Mind" on Mar. 10 at 3:30 p.m. at Hardin Hall, 33rd and Holdrege. A 3 p.m. reception preceding the lecture.

            Lectures are streamed live online at, and aired live on UNL campus and state cable channel 4.  Lectures are archived after the event and are broadcast on NET2 World at a later date.

            The Heuermann Lectures are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

ICGA Annual Meeting and Policy Conference Held

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) hosted its Annual Meeting and Policy Conference in Des Moines. Delegates reviewed expiring policies and debated new resolutions during the policy conference. ICGA members who attended the meeting also had a chance to hear from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

The annual policy conference is the year-end event in the ICGA's annual policy development process, which includes a member survey, regional roundtable discussions across the state and the policy conference. Iowa policies relating to national issues and adopted at this meeting are then brought forward to the National Corn Growers Association winter meetings at Commodity Classic.

"The ICGA annual meeting and policy conference is an important event where members can participate in discussions on resolutions that will be brought forth during the upcoming legislative session," said Jerry Mohr, Iowa Corn Growers Association President and a farmer from Eldridge. "This year, it was great to see so many new members getting involved in the issues that face the agriculture industry."

During this year's policy development process, delegates approved policy in opposition of the EPA's "Waters of the U.S." rule, and renewed policy to limit the agency's efforts to expand their authority under the Clean Water Act. The new policy handbook includes support for a national voluntary GMO labeling law, protection of farmer's control over their production data, and encouragement of FAA regulations that would allow farmers to utilize drones for commercial use. Infrastructure was a priority, as delegates voted to continue their support of a balanced approach to funding Iowa's roads and bridges, as well as a variety of new policies aimed at upgrading fueling stations to ensure compatibility with higher renewable fuel blends. Delegates also affirmed their support of the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the USDA Foreign Ag Service, as they work to increase exports of Iowa agricultural products.

The complete 2014-2015 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing or calling 515-225-9242.

August 2014 Baseline Update for U.S. Agricultural Markets

(Food and Ag Policy Institute, University of Missouri)

In a major reversal of fortunes, prices for cattle, hogs and milk are at record highs in 2014, but prices for
grains, oilseeds and cotton have declined sharply from recent peaks. This report provides an update of the
2014 FAPRI-MU long-term baseline to reflect information available in mid-August 2014.

The baseline update uses 2014 acreage, yield and production estimates included in USDA’s August 2014
Crop Production report. These estimates reflect the first objective yield estimates of the year, and will be
subject to revision. Final market outcomes are certain to differ from these projections, perhaps in important
 ways, as weather and other factors will contribute to continued market volatility.

The baseline update assumes a continuation of current agricultural and biofuel policies. In some cases, there
remains considerable uncertainty about how legislation will be implemented. This baseline update is not a
forecast of what will happen, but is intended to provide a plausible reference point that can be used to evaluate
alternative scenarios.

Macroeconomic assumptions underlying these projections are based on July 2014 forecasts by IHS Global
Insight. The U.S. and world economies are forecast to grow at a faster pace, with U.S.  growth exceeding percent per year from 2015-2017. Inflation remains moderate, but interest rates increase
after 2015. Oil prices dip in 2015 and then increase slowly.

Given all of the assumptions of the analysis, here are a few highlights of the results:

The potential for record corn and soybean crops has weighed on prices for grains and oilseeds. Corn and
soybean prices for the crops harvested this fall could be the lowest since 2009.
Corn prices fall to $3.89 per bushel for the 2014 crop. Even with a projected decline in 2015 U.S. corn
production, prices remain around $4 per bushel in 2015 and beyond. 

  Large U.S. and global supplies cause soybean prices to decline to $10.30 per bushel for the 2014 crop
and below $10 per bushel for the crop harvested in 2015. 

Cotton prices have also declined sharply, partly in response to large Chinese and global cotton stocks.
Farm prices for cotton drop to 65 cents per pound this year, and remain near that level.

Ethanol production prospects depend, in part, on EPA decisions about how to implement the Renewable
Fuel Standard (RFS). With lower prices, ethanol exports continue to increase in 2015. 

Reduced cattle numbers, animal disease problems and strong international demand are among the factors
causing record cattle, hog and milk prices in 2014. Supply response to these high output prices and lower
feed costs contribute to lower meat and dairy prices in 2015.

Higher retail meat prices contribute to an uptick in consumer food price inflation in 2014, but the projected
rate drops below 2 percent again in 2015.

For more detail on the livestock, poultry and dairy sectors and on consumer food prices, see a companion
report by the MU Agricultural Markets and Policy team, at   See the complete update here....

First U.S. Chilled Pork Shipment Exported to Colombia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's APHIS division reported Thursday that the first U.S. chilled pork shipment exports to Colombia have arrived.

On July 30, the first shipment of U.S. chilled pork entered Cartagena, Colombia.

The shipment, which consisted of 24,500 kilos of boneless sirloin, will be used in the production of sausages.

This successful outcome is a direct result of many years of negotiation under the enhanced relations of the United States -- Colombia Free Trade Agreement and is part of a larger effort by the U.S. pork industry to pursue worldwide market opportunities. U.S. industry projects increased exports to potentially grow to $50 million a year.

NCBA Pres on APHIS Proposed Rule to Allow Importation of Beef from Region in Argentina

The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Inspection Service published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today to allow the importation of beef from a region in Argentina. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bob McCan, cattleman from Victoria, Texas, issued the following statement:

"The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is deeply concerned by today’s announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to add the Patagonia areas of Argentina to the list of regions considered free of Foot-and-Mouth disease and to subsequently allow the importation of live cattle and fresh or frozen beef into the United States from this region. Our extreme concern is only further magnified by the associated proposed rule to allow chilled or frozen beef to be imported from the region of Northern Argentina. Northern Argentina is a region that is not recognized as being free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease by APHIS. We strongly believe that these recent actions by APHIS present a significant risk to the health and well-being of the nation’s cattle herd through the possible introduction of FMD virus.

"FMD is an extremely contagious viral disease of cloven-hooved animals and many wildlife species. This disease is considered to be one of the most economically devastating livestock diseases in the world and an outbreak of FMD could ultimately threaten the entire U.S. economy as well jeopardize our national food security.

"APHIS conducted their risk analysis based on a series of site visits to Argentina to determine the FMD risk status of these regions. NCBA’s repeated requests for written reports for these APHIS site visits to Argentina have gone unanswered. Finally, we were informed by APHIS that written reports are not required for APHIS site reviews. This lack of documentation and an obvious lack of management controls for the site review process calls into question the integrity and quality assurance for the entire risk analysis. Valid science-based decisions are not possible in this flawed system.

"It is evident that APHIS has charged blindly forward in making this announcement, ignoring the findings of a third-party scientific review identifying major weaknesses in the methodology of the risk analysis that formed the foundation for  the APHIS decision-making process. The third-party scientific review uncovered deficiencies in the APHIS hazard analysis and the exposure assessment, as well as an overly subjective qualitative format for the risk analysis.

"NCBA remains committed to supporting open trade markets, level playing fields, and utilizing science-based standards to facilitate international trade. At the same time, no amount of trade is worth sacrificing the health and safety of the United States cattle herd. Strict transparency for the adherence to sound science must be the basis for all animal health decisions of this magnitude."

Fargo Selected as Site for National Agricultural Genotyping Center

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board today announced that Fargo, N.D., will be the site of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. The final decision follows careful deliberations by the site selection committee, who visited Illinois and North Dakota to assess the possibility of locating the center in either Decatur or Fargo, and NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action Team.

“This is a first-time-ever, huge step for a farmer-led association that gives growers more influence on research agendas,” said Dr. Richard Vierling, director of research at NCGA. “This can help growers increase production and lower costs. We’re really excited about Fargo and the commitment from the many forward-thinking people involved in this project. The commitment from North Dakota State University, North Dakota Corn Growers, Gov. Jack Dalrymple, the state’s congressional delegation and many others really helped sell the plan to our team.”

The site selection committee, which includes Vierling, Pete Snyder, Bob Bowman, Bob Timmons, Phil Gordon and Chad Willis, was chosen to conduct these visits by the Research and Business Development Action Team, and come from states which did not submit proposals. The report submitted following the visits was based upon the team assessment of selection criteria determined by the team for use in deliberations over the final recommendation. The Corn Board approved the final recommendation during a meeting held earlier today.

The site visits followed a July vote taken by the Research and Business Development Team narrowing the final list of site location proposals under consideration.

The National Agricultural Genotyping Center will translate scientific discoveries, such as the information from the maize genome project, into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy and national security.

The NAGC partnership brings together Los Alamos National Laboratory, the premier research institution in the world with a proven track record in developing high-throughput genotyping technology, and the National Corn Growers Association, an organization representing more than 42,000 farmer members.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday August 28 Ag News

State Climatologist: Models Show Above Normal Precipitation for This Fall

            A big question this fall: will there be harvest delays due to wet weather?

            Tendencies for above-normal precipitation statewide with the highest probability south and west of a line from Scottsbluff to Grand Island are showing up for September according to the Climate Prediction Center, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln climatologist says.

            October through December forecasts also show above normal moisture is projected for the southeast half of the state with equal chance of above or below normal moisture for the remainder of the state, said Al Dutcher, state climatologist in the university's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

            There are equal chances statewide of temperatures being above or below normal, Dutcher said.

            However, during El Nino winters, Nebraska typically sees above-normal temperatures with below-normal temperatures across the southern United States.

            "We are borderline now with the expectation of a weak El Nino event starting as early as this fall," Dutcher said. Dutcher said forecasts indicate that El Nino conditions will become established during the fall period. However, he expects it to be weak and short lived.

            As for precipitation this growing season, Dutcher said, certain areas of the state did well as there was heavy precipitation this spring after a dry winter. June precipitation brought 12-17 inches of precipitation to northeastern Nebraska during June, which dropped off to the 5-9 inches across east central and southeast Nebraska.

            During the July through mid-August period, dry conditions developed across a substantial portion of eastern Nebraska, with pockets of dryness reported across the Panhandle. There has been crop damage in spotty areas across dryland cropping areas of east central and southeast Nebraska, Dutcher said.

            However, the "million dollar question" is how much of an impact did early season freeze events and multiple rounds of severe weather have on crop production this growing season. He said there is so much variability from field to field as several places across the state saw freezing, flooding, hail and having to replant once, twice, even three times.

            "For the majority of people that did not get freeze, hail or flooding, crop development is fairly close to normal, especially with these last two weeks of warmer temperatures," he said.

            However, those farmers that had to replant are the "big open-ended question," he said.

            "Based on available climate data and fall freeze probabilities, as long as producers that replanted corn varieties that require at least 300 less Growing Degree Day to reach maturity, there is less than 50 percent likelihood at this point in the game that they will incur hard freeze damage, based on a normal freeze date."

            Dutcher said soybeans may also be a "big story" this season due to the drier weather in July and August during pod fill.

            "We've been under stress in east and east central Nebraska where rains have not been as generous," he said. "To what extent crops may have been damaged is still up in the air."

            If forecasts play out, Dutcher said the entire state could see generous moisture during the final 10 days of August.  Forecasts indicate heavy rainfall with over 2 inches of rain possible across the state, with isolated pockets receiving more than 5 inches.  This would provide excellent moisture to finish grain fill and begin building soil moisture for the 2015 growing season.

            Dutcher said with winter wheat planting beginning in September, beneficial big rains also will be good for building soil moisture in top three feet of the soil profile prior to planting.

            Overall the Platte River system is doing well. Irrigation demand came later in the season and reservoir declines didn't occur until late July.

            Dutcher said if there is above normal snow in the central Rockies this winter, having enough room to store the spring runoff could be a problem.

            "Right now we are sitting at 2.5 million acre-feet in the Platte reservoir system," Dutcher said. "We were just under 2 million acre-feet in storage entering into the spring run off season. Net storage declined 500,000 acre-feet this growing season, but typically we see a 600,000 to 800,000 acre-foot decline.

            "So if we get a normal snow season and the fall precipitation forecast by the Climate Prediction Center verifies, we would be looking at essentially filling up all upstream reservoirs from Lake McConaughy upward."

            The North Platte River Basin generally has a positive response during El Nino events. In addition, an El Nino also typically brings beneficial moisture to California.

            "However, because this El Nino is so weak, it may not bring the rains they need," he said.

            For more information about weather and crops, visit CropWatch, UNL Extension's crop production newsletter, at

Nebraska LEAD Announces 2014-2016 Fellows

Nebraska LEAD Group 34 participants were announced by Terry Hejny, director, Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program.

The newest members of Nebraska's premier two-year agricultural leadership development program in its 34th year are made up exclusively of participants who are involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness in Nebraska, Hejny said.

"We are proud to say that Class 34 appears to be filled with outstanding individuals from throughout the state and I am excited to get started with them," Hejny said.  The two-year program will begin in September.

LEAD Fellows will participate in 12 monthly three-day seminars across Nebraska, a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a 14-16 day international study/travel seminar. The goal of the program is to develop problem solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for agriculture and Nebraska.

Seminar themes include leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, leadership through communication, agricultural policy and finance, our political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social and cultural issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, information technology, advances in health care, the resources and people of Nebraska’s Panhandle and other areas designed to develop leaders through exposure to a broad array of current topics and issues and how they interrelate.

The Nebraska LEAD Program is operated by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 10 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.

Nebraska LEAD 34 Fellows in alphabetical order are: Reed Allen, Wayne; Lance Atwater, Hastings; Ashley Babl, Norfolk;    Nicole Bohuslavsky, Omaha; Wayne Brozek, Gering; Adam Bruning, Edison; Jonathan Carlson, Callaway; Josh Cool, Gothenburg; Tabbatha Cornelius, Bassett; Jordan Feller, Wisner; Debra Gangwish, Shelton; Mat Habrock, Lincoln; Todd Heithoff, Elgin; Clayton Hensley, Fremont; Justin Jarecke, Kearney; Tyler Kugler, Elwood; Hilary Maricle, Albion; Brandon Mason, Blair; Mark Miles, Ainsworth; Bryan Palm, Mitchell; Esther Rickert, Wood River; Jacob Robison, Elk Creek; Cecil Schriner, Hildreth; Jeff Schroeder, West Point; Alex Schwarz, Bertrand; Rick Spencer, Culbertson; Misty Stauffer, Harrisburg; Sarah Werner, Davenport; Lance Williams, Nora; and Teri Zimmerman, Wymore.   

21 Graduate from Iowa Corn Leadership Class

Recently, 21 members of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) Class 6 graduated and completed their two year leadership journey. The class consisted of farmers, agribusiness and governmental emerging leaders from across the state.

"Over the past two years, I-LEAD members have learned communication skills, gained worldly knowledge, built lasting relationships, and have grown to be leaders for the future of Iowa agriculture," said Bob Hemesath, a farmer from northeast Iowa and an Iowa Corn director who oversaw the program. Integral parts of the I-LEAD program include; gaining an understanding of agriculture, making decisions as a group and developing leadership skills. Many of the two-day meetings are spent discovering more about members' leadership style and building a foundation for working with different personalities and points of view.

This past winter, I-LEAD Class 6 had the opportunity to explore agriculture in a different part of the world. During a ten-day mission to China, members of I-LEAD Class 6 met with government officials, corn customers and industry experts to learn about Chinese culture and the process of developing export markets for Iowa's agricultural commodities through connections with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Following the China mission, the class took a domestic mission to California to take a look at agriculture challenges closer to home. Members of the class enjoyed learning about different farming practices, the wide range of crops grown in California and the challenges they face. To conclude their journey, I -LEAD Class 6 spent four days in Washington D.C. learning about national issues and policy.

Graduates of I-LEAD Class IV include: Jarrod Bakker (Dike), Laurie Bedord (Ankeny), Carly Cummings (Ames), Ryan Gallagher (Washington), Paul Gieselman (Morning Sun), Adam Gregg (Johnston), Jeff Johnson (Riverton), Mark Kenney (Ankeny), Josh Lammert (Silver City), Kayla Lyon (Ames), Gretchen McClain (Stockport), Thomas Meierotto (West Des Moines), Devin Mogler (Des Moines), Jason Ribbens (Webster City), Brian Rouse (Emmetsburg), Dan Runner (Gilman), Brent Schipper (Conrad), Vince Sitzmann (Prairie City), Adam Stamp (Ankeny), Jody Van Regenmorter (Inwood) and Chris Wolters (Sanborn).

I-LEAD Class 7 will start their journey in November. For more information, visit


Preliminary prices received by farmers for winter wheat for August 2014 averaged $5.90 per bushel, a decrease of 46 cents from the July price according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The preliminary August corn price, at $3.70 per bushel, decreased 50 cents from the previous month.

The preliminary August sorghum price averaged $6.10 per cwt, a decrease of 65 cents from July.
The preliminary August soybean price, at $11.80 per bushel, was down $1.20 from last month.

The August alfalfa hay price, at $112.00 per ton, was down $1.00 from July. The other hay price, at $87.00 per ton, was down $10.00 from July.


The preliminary August 2014 average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa was $3.50 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is down $0.56 from the July price, and $2.82 lower than August 2013.

The  preliminary August  2014  average  price  received  by  farmers  for  soybeans,  at  $12.10  per  bushel, was  down $0.90 from the July price, and $2.10 lower than the August 2013 price.

The preliminary August oat price was $3.40 per bushel, down $0.54 from July, and $0.31 below August 2013. 

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $145.00 per ton  in August, up $2.00 from  the July price, but $44.00 per  ton  less than August 2013.  Alfalfa hay prices fell $49.00 per ton from one year ago, to $156.00 and other hay prices were $28.00 per ton lower than last year, at $102.00.  

The preliminary August average price was $24.40 per cwt for milk, up $0.60 from July, and $4.40 per cwt above one year ago.  

August Farm Prices Received Index Unchanged

The preliminary All Farm Products Index of Prices Received by Farmers in August, at 109 percent, based on 2011=100, was unchanged from July. The Crop Index is down 2 points (2.2 percent) and the Livestock Index decreased 1 point (0.8 percent). Producers received higher prices for cattle, milk, apples, and broccoli and lower prices for corn, broilers, soybeans, and wheat. 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 cattle, grapes, hogs, and calves offset the decreased marketing of wheat, corn, soybeans, and hay.

The preliminary All Farm Products Index is up 4 points (3.8 percent) from August 2013. The Food Commodities Index, at 120, was unchanged from last month but increased 14 points (13 percent) from August 2013.

All crops:

The August index, at 90, decreased 2.2 percent from July and is 13 percent below August 2013. The lower index for oilseeds & grains was the major contributor to the decline in the all crops index.

Food grains: The August index, at 82, is 3.5 percent below the previous month and 14 percent below a year ago. The August price for all wheat, at $5.85 per bushel, is down 31 cents from July and $1.03 below August 2013.

Feed grains: The August index, at 64, is down 5.9 percent from last month and 38 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.70 per bushel, is down 35 cents from last month and $2.51 below August 2013. Sorghum grain, at $6.79 per cwt, is 61 cents below July and down $2.03 from August last year.

Oilseeds: The August index, at 94, is down 8.7 percent from July and 15 percent lower than August 2013. The soybean price, at $12.20 per bushel, decreased 90 cents from July and is $1.90 below August 2013.

Other crops: The August index, at 98, is down 6.7 percent from last month and 3.9 percent below August 2013. The all hay price, at $185 per ton, is down $7.00 from July but $8.00 higher than last August. The price for upland cotton, at 66.9 cents per pound, is down 15.2 cents from July and 10.0 cents from last August.

Livestock and products:

The August index, at 132, is 0.8 percent below last month but 23 percent higher than August 2013.  Compared with a year ago, prices are higher for cattle, milk, hogs, broilers, calves, and turkeys. The price for market eggs is down from a year earlier.

Meat animals: The August index, at 140, is up 1.4 percent from last month and 30 percent higher than last year. The August hog price, at $88.30 per cwt, is down $5.00 from July but up $14.10 from a year ago. The August beef cattle price of $160 per cwt increased $4.00 from last month and is $39.00 higher than August 2013.

Dairy products: The August index, at 118, is up 1.7 percent from a month ago and 20 percent higher than August last year. The August all milk price of $23.70 per cwt is up 40 cents from last month and $4.10 higher than August 2013.

Poultry & eggs: The August index, at 124, is down 8.8 percent from July but 8.8 percent above a year ago. The August market egg price, at 86.2 cents per dozen, decreased 18.8 cents from July and is 0.8 cents lower than August 2013. The August broiler price, at 60.0 cents per pound, is down 6.0 cents from July but 6.0 cents above a year ago. The August turkey price, at 73.0 cents per pound, is down 1.0 cent from the previous month but up 5.6 cents from a year earlier.

Prices Paid Index down 1 Point

The August Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW) is at 111 (2011=100). The index is down 1 point (0.9 percent) from July but 5 points (4.7 percent) above August 2013. Lower prices in August for feeder pigs, complete feeds, concentrates, and mixed fertilizer more than offset higher prices for feeder cattle, herbicides, supplies, and insecticides.

NEBFARMPAC Endorses State Senator Brad Ashford for Congress in General Election

Nebraska Farmers Union’s Political Action Committee, NEBFARMPAC announced their enthusiastic endorsement of State Senator Brad Ashford for Congress in the Second Congressional District in the General Election.  They made their announcement at an afternoon event hosted by NEBFARMPAC for Ashford and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.  The event highlighted the economic development benefits of renewable energy and urban agriculture.

The NEPFARMPAC Board made the following statement:

“We know Brad Ashford.  “Our organization has enjoyed a positive working relationship with State Senator Brad Ashford as we have worked with him on a wide range of issues for the past sixteen years he has served in the Legislature. He is a known and proven public official.  He has an open door, and an open mind.  State Senator Ashford is an even handed problem solver.  He tackles the tough problems by gathering the facts, and then bringing people together to solve problems and represent the public’s best interests.   He is a proven public servant.”

“State Senator Brad Ashford represents the bi-partisan problem solving approaches that is needed in Congress to bring together different ideas and forge solutions,” said Gale Lush of Wilcox, NEBFARMPAC President.  “The extreme partisanship in recent years has created a toxic atmosphere in Congress that has produced the least productive Congress in recent history if not ever.  We need to send people to Washington, D.C. who knows how to get things accomplished and represent the folks back home.”

NEBFARMPAC Secretary and Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said “There is a reason why the voter approval rating of Congress has rightly sunk to an embarrassing 18%.  That reason is that Congress has forgotten that its job is to govern and do the people’s business.  Instead of working together to solve problems for the good of society, they participate in hyper-partisanship winner take all politics.  It is time for a change.  NEBFARMPAC endorses and recommends Brad Ashford to voters because we believe he represents the very best attributes of a dedicated, hardworking, non-partisan Nebraska State Senator in our unique, non-partisan, one-house unicameral legislative system.  We think Brad Ashford’s 16 years of outstanding public service earns him our unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement for Congress in the Second Congressional District.” 

FREE BQA Certifications from Sept. 1-Oct. 31

For the third time, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) is supporting the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program by sponsoring all online certifications this fall for producers who enroll from September 1-October 31.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. BIVI will pick up the $25-$50 certification fee for beef or dairy producers who are interested in becoming certified or recertified during this period. Visit to take advantage of the open certification period.

The BQA program is important to the cattle industry as it gives producers a set of best practices for producing a safe and high quality beef product. And for dairy producers, this offering is also beneficial as a large percentage of dairy calves and market cows make their way into the food chain.

The BQA certification modules are customized to fit the specific needs of each segment of the cattle industry – cow-calf, stocker, feedyard and dairy operations. The program covers best management practices such as proper handling and administration of vaccinations and other products, eliminating injection site blemishes, and better cattle-handling principles.

“One of the challenges that beef producers face is having all of their employees become BQA-certified,” says Dr. Jerry Woodruff, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. “Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s partnership with BQA helps offset some of those expenses, and we encourage producers and their employees to use the web-based training programs.”

More than 11,000 producers have taken advantage of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.’s BQA certification partnership. Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc.’s partnership also includes financial support of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, which developed the certification module.

Gulf Offshore Aquaculture Rule Finally Released for Comment

(American Soybean Associaiton)

A long-awited notice of proposed rulemaking on the Gulf Fisheries Management Plan was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 28, 2014. The rule will set up a permitting process for offshore aquaculture operations in the Gulf of Mexico and has been widely anticipated by ASA and offshore aquaculture stakeholders. A link to the proposed rule is here. The 60-day comment period closes on Oct. 27, 2014.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council prepared the plan in 2009. The Federal Registerannouncement states that “If implemented, this rule would establish a comprehensive regulatory program for managing the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico…The purpose of this rule is to increase the yield of Federal fisheries in the Gulf by supplementing the harvest of wild caught species with cultured product.”

ASA met with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and OMB (Office of Management and Budget) officials in May to urge publication of the rule. In conjunction with the Soy Aquaculture Alliance, ASA will review the proposal and offer comments on areas where it can be improved. State associations are encouraged to comment as well.

U.S. Corn Exports to the Middle East and North Africa Surge this Marketing Year

(US Grains Council)

Exports of U.S. coarse grains and co-products to the Middle East and North Africa have rebounded dramatically this marketing year due to price, world market conditions and consistent trade servicing.

As of Aug. 21, the region had outstanding sales and accumulated imports of U.S. corn of nearly 4.4 million metric tons (173 million bushels) for this marketing year, which ends Aug. 31. This is in stark contrast to the fewer than 300,000  tons (11.8 million bushels) that went to the region in 2012/2013. “The U.S. Grains Council is staying in touch with the major buyers in the region, reminding them what’s going on with U.S. price wise,” said USGC Regional Director of the Middle East and Africa Cary Sifferath.

“We are also reminding them about U.S. corn and DDGS, corn gluten feed and other products to help them consider bringing in some combination shipments. The Council also does a fair number of technical programs working with the feed, broiled and dairy industries to keep them up to date.”

Vietnam Grants Licenses to Four Genetically-Modified Corn Varieties


The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) for the first time has granted licenses to four genetically-modified corn varieties to be used for both human consumption and animal feed.

This process started four years ago when Vietnam announced it would start field trials of these four varieties of genetically-modified corn. Since then, the varieties have gone through extensive testing and evaluation, as well as being approved by Vietnam’s Council of Food Safety for Genetically-Modified Food and Animal Feed.

This is partly a result of years of educational outreach by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) promoting science-based approaches to biotechnology among policy-makers, said Adel Yusupov, USGC regional director of south and southeast Asia.

The Council believes that the introduction of these genetically-modified varieties will foster sustainable agriculture in the country and increase the quality of its corn.

“It is certainly a welcomed development in Vietnamese agriculture that will improve the livelihood of Vietnamese grain farmers, reduce feed costs for the animal sectors and reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imported feed ingredients,” Yusupov said. “The decision also shows Vietnam’s modern and proactive approach to solving agrarian problems.”

Even though this regulation could reduce Vietnam’s reliance on imports, the country’s macro-economic conditions – including population growth, continual urbanization and dietary shifts towards increased animal protein consumption – offer prospects for increase in feed grain demand and imports of U.S. coarse grains and related co-products.

Enrollment for New Dairy Farm Risk Management Program to Begin Sept. 2

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that starting Sept. 2, 2014, farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We've made tremendous progress in implementing new risk management programs since the Farm Bill was signed over six months ago," said Vilsack. "This new program is another example of this Administration's commitment to provide effective safety net programs that allow farmers and ranchers to manage economic risks beyond their control. And the supplemental Web tool will empower the nation's 46,000 dairy producers to make decisions that make sense for them."

Development of the online resource was led by the University of Illinois, in partnership with the USDA and the Program on Dairy Markets and Policy (DMaP). DMaP partners include the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and Michigan State University.

The Margin Protection Program, which replaces the Milk Income Loss Contract program, gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment begins Sept. 2 and ends on Nov. 28, 2014, for 2014 and 2015. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018 and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee each year. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level during open enrollment each year.

Dairy operations enrolling in the new program must comply with conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin dairy insurance program. Farmers already participating in the Livestock Gross Margin program may register for the Margin Protection Program, but the new margin program will only begin once their Livestock Gross Margin coverage has ended.

The Margin Protection Program final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 29, 2014. The Farm Service Agency (FSA), which administers the program, also will open a 60-day public comment period on the dairy program. The agency wants to hear from dairy operators to determine whether the current regulation accurately addresses management changes, such as adding new family members to the dairy operation or inter-generational transfers. Written comments must be submitted by Oct. 28, 2014, at or

The 2014 Farm Bill also established the Dairy Product Donation Program. The program authorizes USDA to purchase and donate dairy products to nonprofit organizations that provide nutrition assistance to low-income families. Purchases only occur during periods of low dairy margins. Dairy operators do not need to enroll to benefit from the Dairy Product Donation Program.

NMPF Pleased with Newly Unveiled Margin Protection Program for Dairy Farmers

The new margin protection insurance program for dairy farmers, which was developed by the National Milk Producers Federation and enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, was formally unveiled today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. NMPF said it is pleased with the overall provisions of the new program, and urged farmers to begin familiarizing themselves with what will be a “valuable tool” to help manage farms’ financial risks in the future.

“Today’s release of the new dairy program’s details is the culmination of five years of work by NMPF, the nation’s dairy cooperatives and other farm groups to create an important new safety net for dairy farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “We applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its hard work during the past six months putting the final touches on the dairy provisions of Congress’s Farm Bill. While some of the issues we raised could not be fully resolved in the short time available to complete the rulemaking, we’re pleased with the final package.”

Mulhern said NMPF will be working in the coming weeks to help dairy farmers understand the importance of the new safety net program. He said the organization is updating its website with relevant information for farmers, including a spreadsheet of historical margin trends, and an online calculator that will allow farmers to enter pricing and production data to help them select insurance coverage levels in the future.

Every farm producing milk commercially is eligible to sign up for the new program. USDA said producers can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency offices starting on Sept. 2, and the sign-up period will run through November 28. This 13-week period will allow farmers to register for coverage for the last four months of calendar year 2014, as well as for the entire year of 2015. There is a $100 sign-up fee for each calendar year, which qualifies a farmer to receive free, basic margin insurance coverage. Once farmers pay that fee, they are enrolled in the MPP for its duration, through 2017, and must annually pay at least the $100 fee.

The MPP allows farmers to protect the margin between milk prices and feed costs. Producers will insure their margins on a sliding scale, and must decide annually both how much of their milk production to cover (from 25% up to 90%), and the level of margin they wish to protect.

Basic coverage, at a margin of $4 per hundredweight, is offered at no cost. Above the $4 margin level, coverage is available in 50-cent increments, up to $8 per cwt. Premiums are fixed for five years, but will be discounted by 25% in 2014 and 2015, for annual farm production volumes up to 4 million pounds. Premium rates are higher at production levels above 4 million pounds.

Importantly, USDA agreed with NMPF that the lower premiums will apply to the first 4 million pounds of a farm’s enrolled annual milk production, regardless of the farm’s total production. For example, a farm with an annual production history of 8 million pounds that elects to cover 50% of its production history would pay the lower rate on all 4 million pounds enrolled in the program. Farmers will be able to change their coverage (the percentage of milk insured, as well as margin level) on an annual basis, with USDA establishing a 90-day enrollment window of July 1-Sept. 30 each year after 2014.

The MPP’s margin definition is the national all-milk price, minus national average feed costs, computed by a formula NMPF developed using the prices of corn, soybean meal, and alfalfa hay. Farms in the program will be assigned a production history consisting of their highest milk production in either 2011, 2012 or 2013. A farm’s production history will increase each year after the farm first signs up based on the average growth in national milk production. Any production expansion on an individual farm above the national average cannot be insured.

When the margins announced by USDA for the consecutive two-month periods of Jan.-Feb., Mar.-Apr., May-June, etc., fall below the margin protection level selected by the producer (from $8/cwt. down to $4), the program will pay farmers the difference on one-sixth (or two months’ worth) of their production history at the percentage of coverage they elected to insure. Premiums must be paid either in full at sign-up, or 25% by February 1, with the remaining 75% balance to be paid by June 1. NMPF had urged USDA to provide greater flexibility on producer premium payment, such as through milk check deductions. “While USDA advised us they did not have time to set up such a system for the initial launch of MPP, we will continue to work with the department in an effort to modify this feature for future years,” Mulhern said.

“The new Margin Protection Program is more flexible, comprehensive and equitable than any safety net program dairy farmers have had in the past,” Mulhern said. “It is risk management for the 21st century, and we strongly encourage farmers to invest in using it going forward.”

Also today USDA issued the rules for another element of the farm bill’s dairy title design to help farmers: a Dairy Product Donation program through which USDA will purchase consumer-packaged dairy products for food assistance programs during extreme low-margin periods. “This is a positive step as well,” said Mulhern, “since it will stimulate demand, help dairy farmers when they need it most, and provide additional food to those in need.”

New Vaccine from BIVI doubles up against Salmonella in pigs

Veterinarians and producers now can protect pigs against two of the most virulent types of Salmonella with a single, convenient oral dose administered by the drinking water or oral drench.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) introduces a new swine enteric vaccine. Enterisol® Salmonella T/C is the only swine single-dose oral vaccine labeled as an aid in preventing disease due to Salmonella Choleraesuis and Salmonella Typhimurium when administered by drinking water.

"Among traditional enteric diseases affecting pigs today, Salmonella is one of the most widespread, resilient organisms and for many producers, may be a common cause of lost production on farms," said Greg Cline, DVM, technical manager for enteric products at BIVI. "Preventing both common types of Salmonella is the most effective way to protect pigs from disease, improve pig performance and increase farm profits."

Either type of Salmonella infection can be harmful to pigs and costly to producers:
-    Salmonella Choleraesuis is more invasive and can result in septicemia, bronchopneumonia and death. Although there are no food safety concerns with S. Choleraesuis, it is more devastating in terms of mortality and lost production.
-    Salmonella Typhimurium infection is more localized. It causes diarrhea that can lead to dehydration and reduced performance. Because S. Typhimurium poses a food safety risk to humans, producers should be especially vigilant in preventing this disease.
“Extensive research has documented the vaccine’s effectiveness against both types of Salmonella”, Cline said.

"After the 14-day Salmonella Choleraesuis challenge period, clinical signs were significantly reduced in the vaccinated pigs" he said. "Specifically, there was no dehydration, mortality, abnormal body condition or fever. No clinical signs or adverse events from the vaccine were reported."

Results of the Salmonella Typhimurium study also are encouraging.

"Vaccinated pigs had a significant reduction in clinical disease," Cline said.

Enterisol® Salmonella T/C is available in lyophilized (freeze-dried) or frozen formulations. It can be administered via the drinking water or oral drench to pigs as young as two weeks of age.

In addition, oral delivery of the vaccine results in less stress for pigs and greater convenience for workers by eliminating the need for injections. Oral vaccination through the drinking water may also improve worker safety and pork quality.

"Immunization, along with the implementation of proper sanitation programs, biosecurity protocols and diagnostic tools, can reduce the impact of salmonellosis in your swine herd, improve the safety of the pork you provide and increase farm profitability," Cline adds. “This newest enteric vaccine fits easily into a producer’s preventive disease management strategy.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday August 27 Ag News

Rain Delays Ruskamp Seed Field Day near Beemer
The Ruskamp Seeds plot tour scheduled for 10:00 AM on Thursday August 28th is postponed to a later date.  However, the appreciation dinner will go on as scheduled.


Bruce Anderson,  UNL Extension Forage Specialist

How much did the spring and summer's weather affect the feed value of your hay?  Let’s talk about why forage testing is so important this year.

Nutrient concentration varies considerably in hay.  Why does this happen?  Well, there are many causes.  For example, leafiness of the hay, or maturity of the plant when your hay was cut, or even how you handled the hay during raking and baling all can affect its feed value.

Weather conditions often make things more complicated.  This spring's cool, wet weather caused many folks to delay first cutting.  Leaf diseases, mature plants, and other factors made much alfalfa lower in quality.  But some fields had the second growth already growing when first cut was taken, keeping feed value relatively high.  We had some periods this summer of hot and very humid weather that often causes plants to burn off their easily digested nutrients at night, leaving us with hay that looks really good but is high in fiber and low in energy.  And who knows how hail affected quality.

Grass hay might be even more difficult to predict.  Some fields had fewer seedheads than normal.  This might give higher quality hay, but if harvest was delayed in hopes of increasing yield or if the heat affected grass quality like it affects alfalfa, grass hay quality might actually be lower.  And when growth is stimulated by extra rain, many nutrients are used for tonnage instead of quality.

So you see, this year, just like always, forage testing is important.  It is the only way that you can find out for sure ahead of time what the feed value is of your hay.

So gather samples now for testing, before feeding your animals and before it's too late.

Valmont Acquires Majority Stake in AgSense

Valmont Industries, Inc., Omaha, a leading global provider of engineered products and services for infrastructure and mechanized irrigation equipment for agriculture, announced today that it has acquired a majority interest in South Dakota-based AgSense ( The acquisition further extends Valmont's leading offerings in remote monitoring and control technology for agriculture.

AgSense's cutting edge global WagNet network provides growers with a more complete view of their entire farming operation by tying irrigation decision making to field, crop and weather conditions.

"We are pleased to have entered this long-term partnership," said Leonard Adams, group president of Valmont's Global Irrigation Division. "Growers increasingly seek to utilize data driven technology to increase yields and maximize water efficiency. The cutting edge approach AgSense takes to providing technologies that our customers desire, their passion for customer service and their outstanding reputation fit perfectly with Valmont's strategy. Combining AgSense with our industry-leading BaseStation products will deliver the most comprehensive line of integrated solutions available to the market."

AgSense President Terry Schiltz said the similarities in customer-focused values led to the creation of this strategic alignment. "We are very excited about this partnership with Valmont," Schiltz said. "Partnering with the recognized market leader not only enhances our strong position in North America, but will provide opportunities to accelerate our growth internationally."

Cedar Co. ECP Signup Begins for Restoring Damaged Permanent Fences

Cedar County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED) Angela Teboe announced that farms suffering severe damage from the June 17, 2014, tornados may be eligible for assistance under the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) to restore permanent fences for the purpose of enclosing or excluding livestock.

A producer qualifying for ECP assistance may receive cost-share levels not to exceed 75 percent of the eligible cost of restoration measures. No producer is eligible for more than $200,000 cost sharing per natural disaster occurrence.

Producers who have suffered a loss from the tornados may contact the Cedar County FSA Office and request assistance by Sept. 23. To be eligible for assistance, practices must not be started until all of the following are met:
-- an application for cost-share assistance has been filed
-- the local FSA County Committee (COC) or its representative has conducted an onsite inspection of the damaged area
-- a needs determination has been completed.

If the repair of the fencing has started already, please contact the FSA office to discuss if assistance would still be available. CED Teboe reminds producers that they may be eligible for the Livestock Indemnity Program and other disaster assistance programs for livestock deaths or other damage due to the tornados.

For more information and to apply for ECP or other disaster assistance programs, contact the Cedar County FSA office at 402-254-6855 extension 2, or by going to

United Western Coop and Heartland Coop Complete Merger

The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA announced it has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014.

The terms of the merger provides the member-owners of UWC an influx of capital for new infrastructure, rolling stock, and customer service support. The employees of UWC will become employees of Heartland Co-op.

Milo Ruffcorn will represent the new district, District K, on the Heartland Co-op Board of Directors.

Trent Sprecker has been named Regional Operations Manager.

Chris Russmann will serve as the Agronomy Sales Manager for this region.

Tom Hauschel, CEO for Heartland Co-op will continue as CEO for the new organization which will be headquartered in West Des Moines, IA.

Heartland Co-op has corporate offices located in West Des Moines, Iowa and consists of a total of 71 locations in Iowa.

The organization serves more than 5,500 members with operations in grain handling and marketing, fertilizer and application, agriculture chemicals and application, livestock feed and processing, agriculture energy products, and propane.

EPA Finally Hands Over Maps Detailing the Extent of their WOTUS Proposal

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released maps today of waters and wetlands the Environmental Protection Agency has to-date refrained from making public. After multiple requests, the Agency finally handed over the maps to the committee, which appear to detail the extent of the “Waters of the United States” proposal.

“Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA’s desire to minimize the importance of these maps,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Chairman of the House Science Committee, in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “But EPA’s posturing cannot explain away the alarming content of these documents. While you claim that EPA has not yet used these maps to regulate Americans, you provided no explanation for why the Agency used taxpayer resources to have these materials created.”

Knowledge of the maps came as the Committee was doing research in preparation for a hearing regarding the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule. The maps were kept hidden while the Agencies marched forward with rulemaking that fundamentally re-defines private property rights, said Chairman Smith.

“It is deplorable that EPA, which claims to be providing transparency in rulemakings, would intentionally keep from the American public, a taxpayer-funded visual representation of the reach of their proposed rule,” said Ashley McDonald, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association environmental counsel. "Unfortunately, it is just another blatant contradiction to the claims of transparency this Administration insists they maintain.”

These maps are very similar to the maps produced by NCBA and other agricultural groups, which also showcase the EPA’s extensive attempt to control land across the country. These maps show individual states facing upwards of 100,000 additional stream miles that could be regulated under the proposed regulation.

“This is the smoking gun for agriculture,” said McDonald. “These maps show that EPA knew exactly what they were doing and knew exactly how expansive their proposal was before they published it.”

The maps are available on the House Committee website here....  

Webinar to Help Producers Expand Profitably

CattleFax will hold another of its popular CattleFax Trends+ webinars at 5:30 p.m. MT, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, and registration is now open. Previous Trends+ webinars have attracted nearly 1,500 cow-calf producers, stockers and backgrounders over the past year.

The upcoming webinar will provide producers and industry leaders with a discussion on market factors affecting the cow-calf, stocker and backgrounding segments of the cattle industry this fall and winter. Elanco Animal Health is sponsoring the webinar – making it free for all cattle and beef producers to attend.

The CattleFax team will share its analysis and perspective on how these factors will influence cattle producers in the upcoming year:
-    Outlining the market factors and price expectations for the fall and winter calf, feeder cattle and feedstuffs market
-    Developing a management plan for restocking pastures during an expansion-phase cattle market
-    Managing expansion efforts with a focus on long-term ranch profitability

The one-hour webinar will help attendees understand how to navigate through the next six to 12 months of market activity, and gain CattleFax’s insight on the market trends that will have the biggest influence on profitability over the next few years.

The Trends+ webinar is designed to inform cattle producers about current market realities and provide producers with decision-friendly information to assist in making intelligent marketing decisions. To participate in the seminar and access program details, producers and industry leaders simply need to register online at

Weekly Ethanol Production for 8/22/2014

According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 913,000 barrels per day (b/d)—or 38.35 million gallons daily. That is down 24,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 921,000 b/d for an annualized rate of 14.12 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 17.3 million barrels. That is a 5.1% decrease from last week and a 14-week low. It also represented the largest week-to-week percent change in stocks since a 5.6% build during the week ending 1/17/2014. Stocks were under the 20-day supply mark for the first time since late May.

Imports of ethanol were zero b/d for the fourth straight week.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 382.2 million gallons daily.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 10.03%.

On the co-products side, ethanol producers were using 13.843 million bushels of corn to produce ethanol and 101,279 metric tons of livestock feed, 90,224 metric tons of which were distillers grains. The rest is comprised of corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal. Additionally, ethanol producers were providing 5.37 million pounds of corn distillers oil daily.

Urge Congress, Secretary of Ag to Act in Corn Farmers' Best Interest

The COOL Reform Coalition, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a member, asks farmers to join them in respectfully urging Congress to authorize and directing the Secretary of Agriculture to immediately suspend the Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling regulations for meat upon a final WTO adjudication of non-compliance with international trade obligations.

Such a congressional action would neither pre-judge the pending WTO litigation on this matter nor allow an on-going period of knowing violation of international trade obligations.

Composed of a diverse group of associations and companies, the COOL Reform Coalition represents U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries, advocating for U.S. compliance with WTO obligations. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling rules require most retailers to provide country of origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, meat and poultry. The rules are required by the 2002 farm bill, as amended by the 2009 farm bill.

U.S. corn farmers have a vested interest, as corn products are included on the retaliatory list already outlined by Canada and will likely be included in any list produced by Mexico. Inclusion in the retaliatory lists has the potential to impact trade demand, thus harming the economic well-being of the U.S. corn industry.

Less than one year after the COOL rules took effect, both Canada and Mexico challenged the rules in the World Trade Organization, arguing that COOL has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market.

On June 29, 2012, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body adopted its Appellate Body's holding that COOL rules violated the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement because they treat imported Canadian cattle and hogs and imported Mexican cattle less favorably than domestic livestock.

A WTO Arbitrator set a deadline of May 23, 2013, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to correct its regulations. On that date, USDA published its revised rule. Unfortunately, government officials of both Canada and Mexico stated that the revisions were inadequate.

On September 25, 2013, Canada and Mexico requested the establishment of a compliance panel to determine whether the revised rule is WTO compliant. Should the compliance panel find that the revised rule is noncompliant, both nations indicated they would seek authorization from WTO to retaliate against U.S. exported goods. The WTO is expected to make the decision public in September 2014.

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® seeking next class of stewardship stars

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, is now accepting nominations for the 2015 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards. The awards recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business. In its fourth year, the awards program will feature two new categories: Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship and Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships.

“These two categories recognize the increasingly systemic and collaborative approaches we are seeing to food, energy and water security challenges in communities across the country,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “The winning stories will show how innovation and improvements sparked by one farm, one person or one organization can have a ripple effect that goes well beyond their farm gate or front door.”

Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2014, to all segments of the U.S. dairy value chain — from farm to table — for the following categories:
-    (New) Outstanding Achievement in Resource Stewardship: Recognizes dairy operations (both on and off the farm) that have measurable success in managing their resources with optimal efficiency and quality. Successful nominations have implemented efficiencies or innovations in areas such as energy, water and soil conservation, manure and waste management, and/or renewable energy generation.
-    (New) Outstanding Achievement in Community Partnerships: Recognizes collaborations (both on and off the farm) to improve lives and communities through their positive impacts on child health and wellness, hunger relief and/or environmental stewardship. Successful nominations will demonstrate instances where organizations collaborate with other stakeholders to develop practical and effective solutions to shared challenges and goals.
-    Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability: Recognizes three farms that serve as examples of socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy production. Successful nominees take a holistic approach to sustainability and provide replicable results that can inspire greater industrywide change.
-    Outstanding Dairy Processing & Manufacturing Sustainability: Recognizes dairy processors and manufacturers whose businesses exemplify the triple bottom line of sustainability. Successful nominees have demonstrated both measurable progress and corporate commitment.

“There are incredible efforts underway by farmers, processors and brands that are changing the way we think about producing, processing and delivering the nutritious dairy products consumers love,” said Paul Rovey of Rovey Dairy and chairman of Dairy Management Inc.™ “We encourage dairy farms and businesses to nominate themselves, their business partners or their neighbors so that we can tell the great story of dairy stewardship both within the industry and directly to consumers.”

Winner Benefits

The U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards have honored 19 businesses in the past three years. Help us celebrate others who are changing the equation in dairy. The 2015 winners will receive:
-    A trip to Washington, D.C., in April 2015 for the awards ceremony provided by this year’s sponsors
-    National and local recognition of their stories and passion for sustainability
-    A featured case study on to share insights and lessons learned with industry peers
-    Opportunities to work with others in the industry, helping to advance sustainability

Program Details

The awards are part of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment, an industry-wide effort to understand and communicate about dairy sustainability, demonstrate progress, create long-term economic growth and build consumer trust.

An independent panel of judges will evaluate all nominations based on measurable results and the potential for other dairy farms and businesses to adopt the practices; demonstrated learning, innovation and improvement; and scalability.

This year’s gold-level sponsors include: the Center for Advanced Energy Studies; DeLaval; DVO Anaerobic Digesters; Elanco Animal Health; InSinkErator; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; World Wildlife Fund and Zoetis. Silver-level sponsors include ChemTreat; DSM Nutritional Products; HDR; Organic Solution Management; and Syngenta.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 7, 2014. There is no fee to enter. For more information, visit

World Dairy Expo Entries Due Now

Dairy cattle exhibitors are encouraged to submit their entries now for World Dairy Expo. The initial deadline, to avoid late fees, is Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 by midnight (CDT). Paper entries must be postmarked by that date to avoid late fees.

Exhibitors are encouraged to submit entries on the user-friendly Expo online entry system. The Premium Book is available online at Animal entries, stalling requests, tent and/or booth space purchases and 2017 International Futurity entries can be submitted within the online entry system. World Dairy Expo’s Youth Fitting and Youth Showmanship Contest entries may also be submitted. Special thanks to AgriLabs for sponsoring the Premium Book and their support of the show.

When submitting animal entries, please include an AIN 15-digit number (visual or electronic) for all animals. Acceptable forms of animal identification are: USDA AIN 840 tag (RFID or visual), Canadian CIA RFID 124 tag, Manufacturer Coded RFID 900, 982, or 985 tag. This information will be used for health check-in upon arrival. Breed show check-in will continue to use an original breed association registration paper.

Entries may be made between Sept. 1 and Sept. 7 online or by paper at $50 per animal. After Sept. 7, all entries are $100 per animal. Online entries will be accepted until Sept. 14. After Sept. 14, all entries must be submitted via the paper entry form. You may utilize the online entry system and pay by credit card (online only) until 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on Sept. 14, 2014.

Staff is available to answer entry and show-related questions as Expo approaches. Please contact either Ann Marie Magnochi or Laurie Breuch for assistance at 608-224-6455.

BASF study highlights the need for increased innovations to help feed the world

A majority of U.S. consumers and farmers agree that farmers are responsible for feeding the world and new technology and innovations are critical to achieving this goal.

These findings were uncovered in the latest BASF Farm Perspectives Study, conducted in early 2014, comparing consumer and farmer viewpoints on agriculture-related issues. More than 9,000 people located in seven different countries participated in the study.

“Farmers and consumers understand the importance of new technology in agriculture and the role it plays in feeding a growing world population,” said AJ Woodyard, Technical Crop Production Specialist, BASF. “BASF recognizes the need for innovative solutions and continues to develop new tools and technologies to meet this important challenge.”

Farmer and Consumer Opinions

Nearly all farmers (95.6%) in the seven surveyed countries agree they have a shared responsibility to feed the growing population, and they’re held to high expectations when doing so. With the world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, production will need to increase by 70 percent, and must include production of high-quality crops.

Although farmers feel prepared for this tremendous responsibility, most feel the responsibility is not valued by consumers. Only 40 percent of U.S. farmers feel respected by the general U.S. population. Despite this feeling, farmers understand the importance of feeding the world and look forward to new innovations and technologies to help them achieve this goal.

Most U.S. farmers (78.6%) and consumers (67.9%) agree that innovations are necessary to help farmers with the challenge of feeding a growing population. Survey respondents noted that feeding the world will require sustainable food production, possible through innovations in precision agriculture, machinery, fertilizers and chemical developments.

“The agricultural industry has made significant strides in innovation to improve food production methods over the years,” Woodyard said. “At BASF, our goal is to continue to provide advanced tools and resources to help farmers get the most out of every acre.”

In addition to partnering with farmers to bring value to their operation, BASF helps farmers through the introduction of new product innovations. BASF recently introduced Priaxor® fungicide, an advanced soybean fungicide, and plans to bring two new products – Engenia™ herbicide and Limus® urease inhibitor – to the market in the near future. These products, among others, will help growers be more successful and ultimately provide more food for a growing world population.

About the Study

The U.S. results of the BASF Farm Perspectives Study were announced today at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, with insights from Brady Spangenberg, Market Intelligence & Research Manager, BASF and Woodyard. The most recent wave of the study was conducted in early 2014 and included more than 2,100 farmer and 7,233 consumer participants in seven countries: U.S., Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, India and China.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday August 26 Ag News


This Labor Day weekend, Animal Planet unveils its latest crowning achievement with the introduction of its first-ever LABOR LIVE multimedia event. Throughout the holiday weekend, live animal births from the Nebraska State Fair will be broadcast as they happen via the LABOR LIVE Cam on Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock access to animals. Animal Planet television viewers will be made aware of every calf, lamb, piglet, and chick delivery occurring online with breaking on-air birth alerts. The cam is live now at

While awaiting the next birth alert, audiences will enjoy labor of a different kind with daily marathons of DIRTY JOBS from Friday, August 29, through Monday, September 1. The network also delivers a litter of premiere programming in primetime for the long weekend; including REDWOOD KINGS on Friday, beginning at 9PM ET and TOO CUTE: PINT SIZED on Saturday beginning at 8PM ET.  Sunday offers a stack of the world premiere series MUD LOVIN’ REDNECKS from 8-11PM ET and Monday features an ICE LAKE REBELS marathon punctuated by an all-new episode at 10PM ET.

Each year, the Nebraska State Fair welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors and Animal Planet L!VE is inviting the Internet to join in and celebrate the beauty of birth. The Birthing Pavilion provides State Fair guests the opportunity to witness live animal births under the supervision of trained professionals from the University of Nebraska School of Veterinary Medicine and members of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association.

With expert commentary from University of Nebraska veterinarians, the LABOR LIVE Cam will broadcast 24/7 from the Pavilion, which is the temporary home to expecting cows, sows, ewes and chickens.  Animal Planet L!VE will cover breaking births in addition to offering a schedule of programming including a morning review and lunchtime chats with experts.

“The miracle of birth is perhaps the most beautiful and wondrous moment in all of the nature, and Animal Planet will offer viewers the unique chance to witness it live,” said Rick Holzman, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Animal Planet. “This is just the beginning of a significant initiative where Animal Planet will offer our audience unprecedented live coverage of animal births and other astonishing moments of the natural world, both on air and online at Animal Planet L!VE.”

"Animal Planet's presence further exemplifies the Nebraska State Fair's mission to focus on interactive agriculture and educational experiences. The ability to take the Nebraska State Fair Birthing Pavilion and make it available to a worldwide audience is an opportunity that doesn't come along too often,” said Nebraska State Fair Sponsorship and Marketing Director, Shaun Schleif. "The opportunity to see live births and baby animals taking their first steps in their first few days of life is something that most folks don't have the opportunity to observe. Animal Planet is making that possible, and we're extremely grateful for that."

The LABOR LIVE Cam joins more than 20 addictive cams on the popular Animal Planet extension that has generated more than 22 million streams and three million hours watched since launching in April 2013. Animal Planet L!VE is available via desktop and mobile devices at APL.TV and on Xbox, Roku, Amazon Fire and select Samsung Smart TVs.

Saunders County Corn Growers Association Twilight Tour

Thursday, September 4

Stop 1 - Starts at 5:00 p.m. at the the Ray and Kevin Kucera Farm - 2379 County Road 17, Cedar Bluffs. Farm located ¼ mile South of County Road intersection 17 & U  
• At this stop the Kucera’s and Twin Diamond Industries (maker of Strip-Cat),  will share with us how they use strip till technology to maximize yields.  We’ll have a look at their strip till rig and corn crop growing nearby.

Stop 2 - Farmers Union Co-op Association  Fertilizer Plant – Cedar Bluffs - 1771 County Road X or Or ½ mile West of Cedar Bluffs on County Road X
• Formed in 1888, this Co-op has been the foundation for crop production services in Saunders County. Employees and Board Members will share with us the mission and focus of this modern day operation. We’ll also see and hear how they use dry and liquid products to meet the needs of their customers.

Stop 3 -  Chvatal Family Farm – (Glenn, Eileen, Eric & Bryon) 2615 County Road U, Prague - ¾ mile East of Hwy 79 and County Road U
• The Chvatal’s are growing corn in 15” rows. We will discuss the practice of narrow row corn production and view their planting and harvesting equipment. In addition, the Chvatal’s have been researching corn plant populations as part of the Nebraska On-Farm Research Network. We will discuss this and other on-farm research results. Finally, we will take a look at the Chvatal’s new farm shop and the many practical features they included in the construction.

Lunch and enjoyable refreshments to follow, compliments of the following sponsors:
• Farmers Union Coop
• Tejkl Ag Services
• Twin Diamond Industries (Distributer for Strip-Cat)
• Channel Seed (Chvatal Seed Sales)

For questions or more details, call Keith Glewen, UNL Extension Educator at  402-624-8030 or e-mail or Bryon Chvatal, President, Saunders Co. Corn Growers Association  at

Weed Workshop Was Informative

The Northeast Nebraska Weed Management Area (NNWMA) in cooperation with the Northeast Nebraska RC&D Council and the Nebraska Environmental Trust held a tour recently at Niobrara State Park.  “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Noxious Weed Control” offered the 32 participants an education on noxious weeds and control methods being used.

First stop was the Niobrara Public School to hear from the student leaders about their Purple loosestrife bucket garden.  Students rear the insects the feed on this weed and then later release them into infestations of the plant.  These biological control insects feed exclusively on that plant.   Students shared with the group the many life skills they’ve learned in doing this project.  The NNWMA and the South Dakota/Nebraska Purple loosestrife groups have assisted teacher Sharla Hanzlik and the students over a number of years with this project.

A visit to the Niobrara boat ramp offered a look at native Phragmites and Purple loosestrife in their natural environment.  Experts pointed out that both native and non-native Phragmites are growing in the area, and often in the same spot, so control methods are difficult to implement.

Salt cedar is another noxious weed that has shown up along the Missouri River in Nebraska and South Dakota.  The NNWMA and partners have been vigilant each spring and now in late summer as well, to get out on the river and the sandbars to keep up the fight.  They use boats to get to the areas of infestation and then walk with backpack sprayers and buckets.  They spray the larger ones and pull out (and carry out) the small plants in an effort to control its spread.

The group was shown Canada thistle and Phragmites in an infested area which NE Game & Parks Commission manages.  Previous efforts to control this particular situation haven’t worked so well so plans are to conduct a prescribed burn to clean up the field and then farm it for a couple of years.  If they get the weeds in check then they’ll reseed with native grasses and forbs. 

Governor proclaims September as Renewable Fuels Month in Nebraska

The month of September has been declared as Renewable Fuels Awareness month in Nebraska by Governor Dave Heineman. Renewable Fuels Month aims to celebrate Nebraska’s renewable fuels industry and its positive contributions to Nebraska and our citizens.

The proclamation was coordinated through the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Soybean Board. The two organizations will celebrate the proclamation with a campaign geared at educating Nebraskans about renewable fuels through a four-part series of news releases to be published during September.

“Nebraska is the Golden Triangle.  We grow the corn and soybeans, raise the livestock and produce the renewable fuels,” said Gov. Heineman. “Renewable fuels provide many benefits to our state including developing rural communities, creating jobs, providing a locally produced homegrown fuel for consumers, and more.”

In Nebraska, ethanol is blended with nearly 90% of all fuel and this number continues to increase each year.  There are over 180,000 flex fuel vehicles in the state and one in ten Nebraska motorists drives a flex fuel vehicle.  

Last year, renewable fuels reduced the nation’s need for imported oil by over 462 million barrels of crude oil - and 1.1 billion gallons of imported petroleum diesel. Biodiesel was named America’s first Advanced Biofuel and has continuously exceeded the production benchmarks set forth by the EPA.

One of the co-products from ethanol production is distillers grains, which plays a key role in the Nebraska agricultural economy.  “We are fortunate in Nebraska that livestock producers can use distillers grains co-products from ethanol production as a high-value feed,” said Tim Scheer, a farmer from St. Paul and chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Only the starch portion of the kernel is used to make ethanol. The protein, fiber, and fat portions still remain for the livestock.”

Terry Horky, a farmer from Sargent, Nebraska and chair of the Domestic Marketing committee for the Nebraska Soybean Board said as Nebraska farmers head out to harvest this year’s crops, over half will be fueling their equipment with a soy biodiesel blend.

“Farmers use renewable fuels like soy biodiesel because of the many benefits it has for engines,” said Horky. “But also because soy biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced by farmers right here in America.”

The four-part series to be released by the Corn and Soybean Boards during September will focus on: renewable, homegrown energy that can be used in food, fuel and feed; providing a consumer choice that is better for your engines and the environment; the “Golden Triangle”; and blend choices and where consumers can fill up with renewable fuels.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Plastic.  That's our word for today.  Plastic.  Plastic is one of those things you forget how useful and valuable it can be.

Many of you are chopping or about to chop silage.  You will invest time and money to store good feed for your livestock.  However, when you start to feed your silage you may find that the top couple feet has an off color, smells bad, or has spoiled.

After silage has been chopped and piled and packed correctly, it still can be damaged seriously by air and moisture slowly penetrating the outer 3 to 4 feet.  Animals often eat less when fed moldy silage and can even experience health problems due to mycotoxins.  Good, well-eared silage can lose over 20 percent of its feed value from fermentation and spoilage under normal conditions.  Silage made from corn with little or no grain might have even greater losses.  This loss can be cut in half, or even less, if covered well by a sheet of plastic.

Cover freshly chopped silage with black plastic immediately after you finish filling the trench, bunker, or pile.  Then cover the plastic with something to help hold it down.  Old tires are readily available and do a good job of keeping the plastic from blowing away.  But tires only keep the plastic in contact with the silage directly under the tire.  In between the tires, air can circulate and cause some spoilage.  An even better choice would be a solid cover, something like freshly chopped forage or weeds.  Then, the entire surface of the silage will be fully protected.

You go to a lot of time and expense to make good silage.  Isn't it worth it to spend just a little bit more to protect that investment?  Cover silage with plastic – it's worth it.

Iowa Learning Farms to Host Four Cover Crop Field Days in September

Iowa Learning Farms is hosting four cover crop field days this September. Each event will have a different aspect of this conservation farming practice. ILF field days are open to the public and include speakers who are experts on the field day topic as well as local farmers who are using the conservation practice.

Iowa Learning Farm field days are an opportunity for farmers to talk with other farmers and experts to gain knowledge leading to the adoption of conservation practices.
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 5-7 p.m.; Seth Watkins farm, Taylor County

Seth Watkins is using cover crops and has planted perennial prairie strips within his cash crop fields. He will talk about using both of these practices for soil health and reducing erosion. Also speaking are Iowa State University assistant professor and pollinator expert Mary Harris, ISU agriculture specialist and prairie plant expert Tim Youngquist, and NRCS District Conservationist Doug Davenport. A complimentary meal is included, with Taylor County Cattlemen at the grill.
Wednesday, Sept. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Bio-Renewables Field Day at the University of Iowa miscanthus test plot, Iowa City

Join landowner Dan Black and Emily Heaton, Iowa State University assistant professor of agronomy, at this field day as they discuss the University of Iowa’s Miscanthus Pilot Project. The project is exploring the use of this grass as a biofuel on the UI campus. Ben Anderson of the UI Power Plant will explain how miscanthus is being used in its solid fuel boilers.  Enjoy a meal prepared by the Johnson County Cattlemen.
Friday, Sept. 12, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Titan Machinery, Williams

Adding cover crops to a cash crop rotation is the emphasis at this field day, co-sponsored by Farm Bureau. Iowa State University associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and extension agricultural engineer Matt Helmers will talk about the benefits of adding cover crops and the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Also, hear from an area farmer who is incorporating cover crops.
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 12-2 p.m.; Dennis Lundy farm, Adair County

This field day will explore ways to add cover crops and also no-tilling alfalfa following wheat through extended crop rotations. Host farmer Dennis Lundy and his neighbor Wendell Zimmerman will share how they are using cover crops on their farms. Although they are using them in different ways, both farmers are reducing soil erosion and increasing soil health. Iowa Water Center Director and ISU Agronomy Professor Rick Cruse will discuss erosion in Iowa’s fields and how cover crops and other practices can reduce this problem. Enjoy a meal prepared by the Adair County Cattlemen.

Worksheet Helps Producers Identify Selections for 2014 Farm Bill

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation. It provides farmland owners and operators the opportunity to make a one-time election of a commodity program for 2014 through 2018. The legislation also allows the operator to enroll annually in a chosen program. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach provides several resources to assist in this decision-making process.

“While the Farm Bill of 2014 provides opportunities for farmers to update their farm selections, it is important that they consider several factors before making these decisions,” said Ann Johanns, extension program specialist. Johanns coordinates Ag Decision Maker, an agricultural economics and business website sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“We have developed several tools, including the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update, to assist owners and operators as they determine what is best for their business and family,” Johanns said.

Alejandro Plastina, an extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, developed the Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update.

“Opportunities to update base acres and payment yields for commodity programs are few and far between,” Plastina said. “So farmers should seriously consider this opportunity provided by the 2014 Farm Bill.”

“The worksheet is a simple tool to evaluate the convenience of having the payment formulas for some commodity programs updated to better reflect current production patterns on a farm-by-farm basis,” Plastina added. He noted that the decision tool includes multiple worksheets to allow information for up to five farms.

The Base Acreage Reallocation and Payment Yield Update worksheet was designed to help Iowa farmland owners with base acreage reallocation decisions for the Agricultural Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, and with payment yield update decisions for the PLC program. To access this and other online tools, go to

To further support producers, a series of workshops will be held across Iowa to provide information about the Farm Bill and the impact it has on producers. The meetings will be held once final regulations are set. A complete schedule will be posted on the AgDM Farm Bill Web page at

Net Farm Income Forecast To Fall in 2014


Net farm income is forecast to be $113.2 billion in 2014, down 13.8 percent from 2013’s forecast of $131.3 billion. If realized, the 2014 forecast would be the lowest since 2010, but would still remain more than $25 billion above the previous 10-year annual average. After adjusting for inflation, 2013’s net farm income is expected to be the highest since 1973; the 2014 net farm income forecast would be the fifth highest. Net cash income is forecast at $123 billion, down 6 percent from the 2013 forecast. Net cash income is projected to decline less than net farm income primarily because it includes the sale of more than $10 billion in carryover stocks from 2013. Net farm income reflects only earnings from current calendar-year production.


-   Total production expenses are forecast to be 4 percent higher in 2014, which would be the fifth consecutive increase since last falling in 2009.
-   Livestock receipts are expected to increase by more than 15 percent in 2014, due to a 21-percent increase in dairy, a 20-percent increase in hog, and a 15-percent increase in cattle receipts.
-   Crop receipts are expected to decrease 7 percent in 2014 ($15.2 billion), led by a $12.8-billion decline in corn receipts.
-   The elimination of direct payments under the Agricultural Act of 2014 is partially offset by higher payments for supplemental disaster assistance, resulting in a 15-percent decline in projected government payments.
-   Farm equity is projected to reach another record, despite an expected slowdown in asset growth and the expectation of higher debt levels.
-   Farm financial risk indicators such as the debt-to-asset ratio are expected to continue at historically low levels, indicating continued financial health for the sector.

Falling Crop Prices Expected in 2014

The annual value of U.S. crop production is expected to decline 10.6 percent in 2014 from 2013’s predicted all-time high. Expected declines in cash receipts are especially large for feed crops such as corn. Corn receipts are expected to experience the largest dollar decline in 2014 receipts among farm commodity categories. While U.S. corn production is forecast to reach a record level in 2014, the annual corn price is expected to fall significantly (by 32.4 percent), lowering both corn receipts and the value of production. Corn exports are also expected to decline in the 2014 corn marketing year. Receipts for wheat are also expected to decline, reflecting lower production and price and an expected drop in exports in marketing year 2014.

Declines in soybean receipts are anticipated as higher production and quantities sold are more than offset by large price declines (11.3 percent). Soybean exports are expected to increase in the 2014 soybean marketing year. A large increase in peanut production is expected to be more than offset by a large drop in the annual peanut price, resulting in lower peanut receipts.

Higher expected hay receipts reflect forecasts of higher production, drawing down of hay inventories, and higher average prices. The expected increase in rice receipts mostly reflects higher forecast rice production in 2014. Both domestic and foreign use is expected to increase in the 2014 rice marketing year. Higher cotton lint and cottonseed receipts reflect substantial increases in production, which more than offset anticipated declines in cotton lint and seed prices.   

Despite predictions of increased production, cash receipts for dry beans and potatoes are expected to decline in 2014 as price declines are forecast for both. A decline of $2.3 billion is forecast for receipts from fruits and nuts in 2014, reflecting expected declines in production of cranberries, grapes, peaches, pears, grapefruit, lemons, and oranges.

Record Prices Expected To Drive Livestock Receipts in 2014

Record-high annual prices are expected for livestock, dairy, and poultry products. Large gains are expected in receipts from sales of cattle and calves, hogs, milk, broilers, and eggs. While beef production is expected to decline in 2014, the annual cattle price is expected to increase dramatically (20.4 percent), to its highest level on record. Cattle and beef prices have benefited from foreign demand, especially Asia, and low cattle inventories.  Hog receipt forecasts also reflect declining production accompanied by record high prices. Forecasts for wholesale milk, broilers, and chicken egg receipts reflect expectations of higher production accompanied by record annual average prices. Sluggish growth in broiler production is placing upward pressure on prices. High turkey prices are expected in 2014.  Chicken egg receipts have benefited from strong demand and increased production. Strong demand, both foreign and domestic, is contributing to record high milk prices.

Production Expenses Continue To Increase in 2014

The projected $14.2-billion increase in 2014 production expenses extends a 5-year upward trend. Forecast production expenses in 2014 would be the highest on record both nominally and in inflation-adjusted dollars. However, expected increases in 2013 and 2014 are significantly smaller than increases experienced in 2011 and 2012. The principal reason for the projected 2014 increase is higher input prices, as reflected by the Production Items, Interest, Taxes, and Wage Rates (PITW) index, which is forecast to rise 4.2 percent during the year. If realized, total production expenses would constitute 77 percent of gross farm income in 2014, the highest since 2010, indicating a return to tighter margins.

Livestock and poultry purchases account for the largest portion of the increase in total expenses at $5.4 billion (a 22.6-percent increase over 2013 purchases). Other components that contribute to the increase, but rise by smaller amounts, are fuels and oils (up $1.0 billion); repairs and maintenance ($1.1 billion); total labor expenses ($1.4 billion); and miscellaneous expenses (which include items like animal health and breeding expenses, contract production fees, irrigation water, and general production and management expenses). Seed and fertilizer expenses will also rise nearly $1 billion. Feed expenses should fall $1.7 billion and net rent to nonoperators is expected to be down $0.9 billion.

The two major livestock-related expenses—feed and livestock/poultry purchases—are expected to move in opposite directions, but together are expected to rise by $3.7 billion (4.3 percent). The projected decrease in feed expenses and the increase in livestock and poultry purchases are both primarily the result of price changes. Despite a drop of 12.5 percent in feedgrain prices since the beginning of the year and the likelihood that they will drop further, the annual average feed prices-paid index is forecast to fall only 2.7 percent in 2014 because prices for other types of feed have not fallen off. In particular, the price of complete feeds, which carry the heaviest weight in the feed prices-paid index, has increased 5 percent since January. Livestock and poultry purchase expenses are being driven by a predicted 24-percent increase in the annual average price for feeder steers as a result of reduced inventory for cattle, especially feeder cattle, and increased demand for cattle as a result of lower feed prices and strong demand for beef.

The three major crop-related expenses—seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides—are expected to increase a combined $2.3 billion (3.5 percent) in 2014.  Prices for all three inputs are up. Fertilizer prices have risen 17 percent since the beginning of the year and, although they will fall off during the second half of the year, are expected to remain above last year’s level. The 2014 forecast of the number of planted acres is up 2.4 percent from 2013. The increase in planted acres coupled with a projected 3.6-percent increase in fuel prices is responsible for the projected rise in fuel expenses.

Payments to Stakeholders Expected To Rise Moderately in 2014

Net value added is distributed among stakeholders and equity owners. Stakeholders provide the hired labor, leased capital, and rental land used in agricultural production. Since stakeholders do not own what is produced, they do not share in the risks involved in producing highly variable agricultural output. As a result, the payments that stakeholders receive are more stable over time than net returns to the owners of agricultural production. Payments to stakeholders can move in a different direction than net value added, as occurred in 2009 and 2011 and is predicted to occur again this year. In 2014, payments to stakeholders are forecast to rise by $1.2 billion (2.0 percent) while net value added is forecast to fall $16.9 billion (8.8 percent). If these changes occur, payments to stakeholders will comprise 35 percent of net value added in 2014, up from 32 percent in 2013.

Employee compensation (hired labor) is expected to increase $1.4 billion (5.1 percent) in 2014 due to a predicted 1.8-percent increase in wage rates and a 2.3-percent rise in total output. Since declining in 2011, hired labor expenses will have risen 28 percent. Hired labor accounts for all of the increase in total labor expenses as an expected drop in production of vegetables and fruits/nuts (which are heavily reliant on contract labor) should result in a small reduction in contract labor expenses. Output on greenhouse/nursery and dairy farms—farms that typically employ a large share of the sector’s hired labor—will likely be up 3 percent. Labor use in the production of feed grains and oilseeds will be constrained by falling prices for these crops.

In line with the 10.6-percent drop in the value of crop production, net rent to nonoperator landlords is forecast to fall $0.9 billion (5.7 percent) in 2014. This fall follows a 29.8-percent increase over the previous 2 years, spurred by the expansion in the value of crop production. Cash rent is forecast to increase 4.2 percent, based on a relatively small increase in total real estate values and higher planted acreage. Share rent is forecast down 10 percent, following the decrease in the value of crop production. Government payments and crop insurance indemnities received by landlords are a consistent proportion of sectorwide payments and indemnities and are expected to be lower in 2014.

Total interest expenses are forecast to increase 4.3 percent in 2014 as nonreal estate interest expenses climb 1.5 percent and real estate interest expenses increase 5.9 percent. Debt and interest rates are discussed in the Assets, Debt, and Wealth section.

Government Payments Forecast To Decline in 2014

Government program payments going directly to producers are expected to total over $9 billion in 2014, representing a 15-percent decrease from 2013 (see table on government payments). The 2014 forecast includes payments made by the U.S. Government in 2014 for losses incurred in earlier years.  Market prices are still high enough for most crops that 2014 payments from price-dependent programs (such as countercyclical payments, marketing loan gains, loan deficiency payments, and milk income loss payments) are anticipated to be zero for all but a few commodities (peanuts, upland cotton). Farmers are currently expected to receive Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments in 2014 from their 2013 crop-year revenue losses, mostly from corn.

Under the provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014, direct payments are largely phased out. Cotton producers, however, are eligible to receive Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) payments for crop years 2014 and 2015 as they transition into coverage authorized by the new Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX). The Tobacco Transition Payment Program paid out 95 percent of its 2014 payments in February, and will make final payments in October.

Supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance payments are forecast to increase significantly in 2014. The continuing drought is expected to generate increased payouts, especially from the Livestock Forage Program (LFP), which is expected to account for over 78 percent of all other government payments in 2014. About 51 percent of LFP payments in 2014 result from the 2012 drought, 35 percent from the 2013 drought, and the remainder from the current 2014 drought.

2014 Farm Income Forecast: Improved Outlook since February’s Forecast

USDA’s August forecast for the 2014 farm sector economy is more optimistic than the one issued last February. Both forecast net farm income and net cash income for 2014 have been revised upward. Net cash income excludes noncash items included in net farm income, such as value of inventory adjustment, gross imputed rental income, nonmonetary compensation of hired labor, and capital consumption.

Our improved outlook is largely the result of improved prospects for the value of both crop and livestock production. The more favorable forecasts for crops and livestock reflect more optimistic price expectations over calendar-year 2014, relative to expectations in February. Many of the livestock categories are now anticipated to benefit from record annual average prices in 2014. Direct U.S. government payments have been revised upward since February’s forecast, mostly due to drought-induced payouts under the Livestock Forage Program. Production expenses are now forecast to be $20 billion higher than they were in February, with increases in the feed expense and livestock purchase forecasts accounting for most of the change.

Cenex Tank Program assists retailers offering E15

CHS, a leading energy, grains and foods company and the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative, has announced a new program to better enable some of the 1,400 Cenex® branded locations to meet consumer demand for an E15 ethanol blend. "We are excited to offer a new Cenex® Tank Program, which further demonstrates CHS leadership in renewable fuels and helps keep the Cenex brand at the forefront in meeting consumer demand for ethanol blends," says Doug Dorfman, CHS vice president – refined fuels.
Cenex Retailer

For Cenex retailers wanting to offer E15 in addition to their current gasoline products, the Cenex® Tank Program will cover a significant portion of the cost to purchase and install an additional storage tank for the purpose of offering E15.

The Cenex network was among the first in the country to offer mid-level ethanol blends under its brand and has achieved significant increases in ethanol sales over the last five years, according to Dorfman.

"We value our partnership with Cenex retailers and will continue to assist them in their efforts to meet consumer demand for ethanol blends," says Dorfman. "Supporting ethanol demand also adds value to CHS member owners and farmers."

USDA Raises Price Forecast for Beef, Pork

USDA has raised its price forecast for beef and pork consumed at home this year.  USDA now expects retail beef and veal prices to rise by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent during 2014. Prices rose by 0.4 percent from June to July and have shot up 10.4 percent between July 2013 and last month.  Retail pork prices in 2014 are predicted to rise by 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent. Prices rose by 0.7 percent from June to July and have shot up 10.9 percent since July of last year.

Restaurants appear to not boost prices as much, according to Meatingplace.  Still, the cost of food consumed away from home is expected to rise 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014. For poultry, USDA predicted retail prices in 2014 would rise between 3 percent and 4 percent. Poultry prices rose 0.4 percent in June to July and have risen 2.7 percent since July 2013.For 2015.


Today, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is launching a new campaign entitled I AM FARMLAND geared to help support the expanded distribution of FARMLAND, a new feature length documentary about the lives of young farmers and ranchers. Funds raised by the I AM FARMLAND effort will be used to bring the film to high school classrooms, college campuses, in addition to communities all across the country.

USFRA invites others in agriculture to help spread the message that FARMLAND accurately depicts life as an American farmer and rancher. I AM FARMLAND is a group of friends of the film working to reach broader audiences and wider distribution.

“Farmers and ranchers owe it to ourselves to help ensure this film is seen by young people in an effort to curb the criticisms and lack of understanding consumers have for food production,” said USFRA board member and Minnesota farmer Gene Stoel. “Consumers are generations removed from agriculture today and they don’t know the people growing and raising our food. This is the first authentic representation of modern agriculture on this scale and the agriculture industry needs to step up and support it in a big way.”

USFRA will use the funds raised in this campaign to continue to heighten the energy of FARMLAND by offering screenings on college campuses, a curriculum-based program for high schools, and screening kits for farmers and ranchers who would like to conduct outreach in their local communities.

“If you have seen the film, you realize that it’s something everyone in America should see,” said USFRA CEO Randy Krotz. “Initial distribution of FARMLAND has been successful but limited. Now that we know the positive impact viewing the film has on non-ag audiences, we owe it to interested consumers to get the film in front of them. We need agriculture’s support to help more people around the country view this amazing film.”

Court Ruling in Hawaii Finds that Crop Protection is Matter of State Law

A United States District Court in Hawaii recently reinforced the role of state law in regulating the use of pesticides and biotechnology in an Aug. 25 ruling. CropLife America (CLA), the national trade association for the crop protection industry, is pleased that U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren decided in favor of plaintiffs in Syngenta Seeds, Inc., et al. v. Kauai County and ruled that Kauai Ordinance 960 is invalid and preempted by Hawaii state law.

Kauai County passed Ordinance 960 in a misguided attempt to regulate five specific growers’ use of pesticides and biotechnology through a county-level ordinance, despite state law established to regulate these modern agricultural tools. Ordinance 960’s requirements placed an undue financial burden on the targeted growers and required disclosure of confidential business information that is protected by Hawaii and federal law. Such public disclosure would have exposed these growers to potential acts of vandalism, trade secret theft and harassment. U.S. Magistrate Judge Kurren rightly recognized the role that the Hawaii Pesticide Law (HPL) plays in regulating pesticides, and that state pesticide law preempts the county-specific Ordinance 960. HPL sets out a uniform platform for regulating pesticide use, which includes establishing the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the Department of Health (HDOH) as having regulatory authority over pesticide use and enforcement within the state.

“The regulatory system for crop protection products is purposefully robust and protective of human health and the environment,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “We thank Judge Kurren for recognizing that federal and state statutes are established to help ensure the responsible use of modern farming technologies, including crop protection products and biotechnology.”

Ordinance 960 also attempted to circumnavigate state law regarding the regulation of biotechnology crops. State law vests the HDOA with exclusive rulemaking authority over agricultural research and the regulation of biotechnology.

The agricultural seed industry is a vibrant contributor to the Hawaii economy. According to an economic analysis commissioned by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, the Hawaii seed industry contributes approximately $144 million of economic activity to the state’s economy. This generates $13.8 million in annual taxes to the state, $137 million in annual labor income and more than 2,500 jobs.

“The crop protection industry supports a sound science-based pesticide regulatory system. In addition to being preempted by Hawaii state law, the provisions in Ordinance 960 have no basis in sound science,” noted Rachel Lattimore, senior vice president and general counsel at CLA. “Any further attempts to advance Ordinance 960 would present little more than a waste of government resources.”

CWT Assists with 1 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 3 requests for export assistance to sell 912,714 pounds (414 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, to customers in Asia. The product will be delivered October 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 83.456 million pounds of cheese, 48.051 million pounds of butter and 19.877 million pounds of whole milk powder to 43 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.062 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

CWT-assisted exports of American-type cheeses, butter and whole milk powder make up a significant percentage of the exports of those products. In the long-term, assisting CWT member cooperatives through the Export Assistance program helps them 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.

NIAA Announces Keynote Speaker for Antibiotic Symposium

“Stewardship is an opportunity to change the conversation about antibiotics and forge new relationships between animal and human health,” Dr. Lonnie King, dean, College of Veterinarian Medicine at The Ohio State University (OSU), says. As the keynote speaker for the 2014 Antibiotics Symposium being hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), King’s address, titled “Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance through Integration and Stewardship: A New Call to Action,” fully embraces the theme of the symposium, “Antibiotic Use and Resistance: Moving Forward Through Shared Stewardship.” The Antibiotics Symposium is set for Wednesday, Nov. 12-Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, in Atlanta, Ga., at the Crown Plaza Atlanta Midtown hotel.

In addition to his responsibilities as dean, Dr. King, DVM, MS, MPA, ACVPM, is also a professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, holds the Ruth Stanton Endowed Chair in Veterinary Medicine and serves as the executive dean for the seven health science colleges at OSU. Dr. King is also a former administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Washington, DC.

More information about the Antibiotics Symposium and NIAA can be found at NIAA’s purpose is to provide a resource for individuals, organizations and the entire animal agriculture industry to obtain information, education and solutions for challenges facing animal agriculture.

ADM Opens New Global Headquarters in Chicago

Archer Daniels Midland Company opened its global headquarters and customer center in downtown Chicago this week.

"As we continue to grow our company, this location allows us to more easily reach global markets, while keeping us in close contact with U.S. farmers, customers and operations," said Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz.

About 70 employees are based in the two-floor space, which also includes a culinary facility for ADM to showcase its broad portfolio of food ingredients.

The global headquarters and customer center is located at 77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 4600.

CLAAS Introduces Large 4x4 Tractor for North American Farmers

CLAAS of America will introduce one of the world’s most innovative all-purpose tractors to North American farmers this week at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. The company’s new XERION tractor line was designed with sophisticated American farms, and the implements they require, in mind.

XERION tractors provide best-in-class productivity for tillage, speed for efficient transport, a light footprint when seeding, and game-changing maneuverability that makes it suitable for nearly any task. The line has been upgraded from previous European versions to handle the demands of large-scale American farms.

“The XERION is not just "an off the shelf" product for us. We have worked hard to meet the specs of the North American market,” said Drew Fletcher, CLAAS of America Product Manager/Tractors. “Those changes include improved power transmission, duals rather than singles, a better ladder, enhanced hydraulics, and dozens more. It can help our farmers increase their acreage, better utilize their equipment investment, and complete more work in less time.”

There are three models of XERION to choose from. The XERION 5000 and 4500 both come equipped with powerful 12.8 liter Mercedes-Benz engines, while the 4000 is equipped with an efficient 10.6 liter Mercedes-Benz engine. All three models achieve maximum output (530 hp, 490 hp and 435 hp, respectively) at 1700 rpm, meaning that farmers can push hard and still get the fuel efficiency they need.

“They’re powerful machines,” Fletcher said, “but in today’s world, power isn’t enough. The new XERION line was designed to meet the performance, productivity and efficiency requirements of today’s North American farmer.”

CLAAS is known for its technology, and the XERION offers everything farmers have come to expect, including:
-  Efficient Agriculture Systems (EASY) for integrated equipment settings, steering systems, software solutions and more 
-  CEBIS control terminals, for comprehensive machine monitoring
-  CMOTION handle, for ergonomic performance that's unmatched in the industry
-  TELEMATICS connection, for remote monitoring, operating documentation and data capture

Maneuverability and ease of operation are keys factors on today’s complex American farms, and the XERION line doesn’t skimp in those areas. With six steering modes, the tractor can fit into the tightest spaces, remain stable on uneven ground, and be gentle on the soil when needed. Three driving programs give operators complete control over speed, power and fuel efficiency. And the optional TRAC VC rotating cab means that operators can see what they’re doing, in whatever direction they’re headed.

ADM Announces Sponsorship to Support National FFA Organization Programs

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) recently donated $50,000  in support of the National FFA American Degree and the American Star Awards recognition as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. This is a renewed gift on behalf of ADM’s Crop Risk Services business unit and 2014 marks the 55th year in ADM’s history of giving to FFA. The donation, in addition to its other contributions to the National FFA Foundation, places ADM at the organization’s silver sponsorship level for the year with support of more than $345,000.

The donation was given through ADM Cares, a social investment program that directs funds to initiatives and organizations that drive meaningful social, economic and environmental progress worldwide. The program comprises three distinct focus areas: supporting the responsible development of agriculture, improving the quality of life in ADM communities and fostering employee giving and volunteer activities.

“ADM is proud to partner with the National FFA and to do our part to help develop the next generation of leaders in the agricultural industry,” said Mark Schweitzer, ADM’s managing director of intermodal and container freight and a member of the National FFA Sponsors' Board.

 ADM has also donated in support of National FFA Organization’s leadership programs including National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO) and State Presidents’ Conference (SPC), which recently concluded in Washington, D.C. for 2014.

“SPC is the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” said Apolinar Blanco, Washington State President. “”It has opened my eyes that we can go out and change lives and change the world. I’m honored that ADM has sponsored this event. It shows that they believe in us and what we are trying to do in promoting agriculture.”

In addition to contributing to FFA programs, ADM Alliance Nutrition, another business unit of ADM, is also a National FFA Convention & Expo exhibitor.

“Generous, broad and continued support from ADM has such an impact on our members at the local, state and national levels,” said Molly Ball, President of the National FFA Foundation. “From leadership programs to student scholarships, ADM’s contributions contribute to students’ development for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.”

RemoteView Feature for FieldView® Allows Instant Viewing of Yield Maps, Anywhere

Precision Planting’s landmark app, FieldView, has brought instant, high-definition visualization of planter performance and yield maps to growers’ iPads across America.  Now, with the latest version of FieldView in the App store, farmers no longer need to be in the cab to have instant access to Yield Maps. 

“Most farm operations have multiple decision makers,” says Kyle Plattner, Lead User Interface Designer for FieldView.  “The RemoteView feature allows everyone in the farm operation with an iPad to have instant visibility into the combine cab — no matter where they are.” 

RemoteView uses the data connection of the iPads running FieldView to remotely connect any iPad to a YieldSense display.  Farm Managers can instantly keep tabs on each remote combine to monitor progress, watch real time yield maps, and diagnose problems. 

Precision Planting dealers and the Precision Planting product support team can also establish a remote connection to provide faster support — with permission granted by the operator. 

“RemoteView is another feature that makes YieldSense and FieldView the ultimate combination for harvest,  especially for large operations,” says Doug Sauder, Precision Planting’s Research & Development Lead.  “Wireless syncing of yield maps, wireless streaming of swath coverage, and simple operation wide reports make life easier for busy farm managers.” 

Mineral Requirements to Be Reevaluated at Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference

Is there a shift coming in pig mineral nutrition? According to one swine nutrition expert, change is inevitable – and overdue.

“Trace minerals are often supplemented into swine diets at levels above recommendations in the belief that this will enhance productive performance,” said Dr. Don Mahan, professor emeritus at Ohio State University. “This method can negatively affect not only the animals, but also the consumer and environment, as a greater level of trace mineral supplementation into diets can result in the additional excretion of minerals and more mineral waste flowing into the environment.”

The National Research Council (NRC) routinely publishes a review of the nutritional requirements for swine based on the available scientific literature; however, Mahan said that the relevance of most of the published literature is questionable, particularly in the mineral area.

Mahan will present some of his recent studies on addressing proper mineral nutrition at the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sept. 4. The paper, “A New Approach in Determining the Micro Mineral Needs of the Growing Pig,” highlights how the current NRC recommendations for micromineral supplementation are well above the pig’s requirement. One conclusion from his studies is that when mineral levels at or above 50 percent of the NRC (1998, 2012) requirements were fed, there was no effect on pig performance.

Mahan’s paper also indicates that organic trace mineral digestibility values averaged 20 percent greater than the digestibility of inorganic trace minerals. Mahan said that it is important to not only look at the mineral levels that are being fed to pigs, but also the source of the minerals. Organic trace minerals offer a form of supplementation that can be more naturally absorbed, stored and utilized by the animal.

Though there has been limited new research carried out in the area of trace mineral nutrition recommendations, Alltech has remained steadfast in the investigation of the nutritional benefits and appropriate levels of organic trace minerals for animals and their effects on the consumer and environment. To that end, Alltech has partnered with scientific experts, such as Mahan, in the investigation of trace mineral technology.

“As an industry, our focus, now more than ever, needs to be on efficiency. With proven methods for attaining improved productivity with less input, we need to further examine utilizing these technologies,” said Dr. Ryan Samuel, research project manager at Alltech. “In fact, current recommendations for mineral nutrition may be adding to the inefficiency and waste coming from our pigs’ diets.”

Alltech is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference held annually since 2000.

DuPont Announces Investment in Seed Treatment Solutions for Growers

Today, DuPont announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. These facilities – the first two centers of the new DuPont Integrated Seed Science Network – will be located in Wilmington, Del., and Johnston, Iowa, and will play an integral role in the expansion of the DuPont seed treatment portfolio.

“Seed treatments play a vital role in the success of a crop – from protecting seeds from pests and disease to complementing germplasm and traits to promoting plant vigor and stand establishment,” said Mick Messman, director of the DuPont Seed Treatment Enterprise. “DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Crop Protection have come together under the DuPont Seed Treatment Enterprise to develop a superior pipeline of integrated products to meet the demands of our customers around the world. These new facilities will support us in that mission.”

As part of this new venture, DuPont launched several new seed treatment products this year under the DuPont™ Lumigen™ brand, including the release of Dermacor® seed treatment products in the Brazilian soybean market and DuPont™ Lumiderm™ insecticide seed treatment for canola in Canada. DuPont is launching DuPont™ Lumivia™ insecticide seed treatment for 2015 U.S. spring planting. It will be available in the Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment (PPST) lineup as PPST 250 plus DuPont Lumivia for select Pioneer brand corn products.

The new seed science centers will build on a strong pipeline of seed treatment products and combinations by enabling DuPont to test new formulations under unique environmental conditions to create tailored treatments that meet specific grower needs, while also evaluating product dust-off. Facilities outside the United States will be added as needed to support the global market opportunity.

“The testing at our seed science centers will help us understand all of the dynamics of seed treatment application,” said Messman.  “Gathering this information is beneficial not only to us, but to our collaborators and customers as we will be able to better identify and develop improved seed treatment application combinations and techniques.”

Construction of the Wilmington location is scheduled to be completed in September of 2014 and the Johnston location in summer 2015.