Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday September 8 Ag News


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) recently unveiled new marketing campaigns designed to bolster awareness of two long-running NDA programs.

According to NDA Director Greg Ibach, the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Program will now be known as NDA NextGen, while the Nebraska Farm Mediation Program will now be called the NDA Negotiations Program.  With the updated names, each program also has gone through a logo and website transformation.

“While the focus of the programs remains the same, we are pleased to offer a fresh, new look and feel for NextGen and the Negotiations Program, along with an easier to navigate web presence,” said Ibach.

NextGen utilizes the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act to help new producers get a head start in farming and ranching, while giving back to the farmers and ranchers who own agricultural assets and partner with a beginning farmer or rancher.  The program has assisted 250 beginning farmers since it was passed into law in 1999 and has provided $5.6 million in Nebraska income tax credits to asset owners.

The Negotiations Program, which is partially supported by federal funds, uses mediation as an effective means to resolve agriculturally based disputes.  The mediation process allows parties to negotiate a resolution to a dispute, maintains confidentiality and fosters positive relationships.

“Both programs are important as they help our farmers and ranchers be successful – whether it’s a farmer just starting out, or producers who have financial challenges, or USDA program issues” said Karla Bahm, who manages both programs for NDA.  “We’re pleased to raise the profile of NextGen and Negotiations with this new branding.”

NextGen and the Negotiations Programs new looks will be showcased for the first time at Husker Harvest Days, which will run from September 9-11 in Grand Island.  Both programs can be found in the Hospitality Tent.

Those looking for more information on the programs are encouraged to visit the new websites at: and

Cuming County 4-H Members Participate at the Nebraska State Fair

Cuming County 4-H members had another very successful year at the Nebraska State Fair that was held in Grand Island.  According to Larry Howard, UNL Extension Educator in Cuming County, sixty Cuming County 4-H exhibitors showed 125 animals at the livestock shows this year.

In the Beef Show, Sydney Williams of Wisner showed the Division 4 Champion Market Steer.  In the Swine Show, Erin Doernemann of Dodge showed the Heavyweight division Champion Gilt.  In the Goat Show, Sydney Williams of Wisner showed the Reserve Champion Middle Weight Champion and was the third place Senior Showman.  Eli Blum of Norfolk was the Reserve Champion Intermediate Showman. In the Rabbit Show, Joshua Sebade of Emerson showed the Overall Champion Rabbit which was also the Netherland Dwarf Best of Breed and Champion Fancy.  Joshua also showed the Best Opposite with his Mini Satin.

Cuming County 4-H Members Compete at the Norfolk Beef Expo

Cuming County 4-H Beef members participated in the 65th Annual Norfolk Beef Exposition that was held at the Northeast Community College Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex on Sunday, September 7.  According to UNL Extension Educator in Cuming County, Larry Howard, there were twelve 4-H members that showed 13 head of Market Beef.

Cassidee Stratman of West Point showed the Reserve Champion Division 2 Market Heifer and was third in the Intermediate Showmanship division Shaila Bennett of Beemer was third in the Senior Showmanship division.

Nebraska Corn Board encourages farmers raising Agrisure Duracade to make sure the corn grown has a place to go

The Nebraska Corn Board wants farmers to make sure that the corn they grow has a place to go.  In an effort to ensure the U.S. corn industry maintains important international trade markets, the Nebraska Corn Board is urging growers to follow stewardship protocols for U.S.-grown biotech hybrids yet to be approved in major export markets away from export channels.

Cutting-edge corn hybrids, such as Agrisure Duracade, a corn rootworm (CRW) control technology that has been approved in the U.S., are becoming more available options for farmers. While being approved in the U.S. and Japan, Agrisure Duracade does not have a synchronized regulatory approval in China –a growing market for U.S. corn - and having it enter the Chinese market would be detrimental.

At this point, China has closed its market to both corn and distillers grains from the United States due to traits that have not been approved by their government.  The lack of approval affects both Nebraska corn farmers and Nebraska ethanol plants.

“Farmers are in the most global business of anyone in our economy today. One out of every three farm acres planted in this country goes for exports,” said Tom Sleight, president and CEO of U.S. Grains Council. “It’s critical to our trading relationships that all corn producers heading in to harvest be mindful of the varieties they are growing and closely follow the stewardship agreements they have committed to.”

The Nebraska Corn Board is encouraging farmers to take three important steps this harvest season when it comes to marketing Agrisure Duracade:
-    Re-read the stewardship agreement you signed to understand your obligations.
-    Visit with your elevator or ethanol plant about their harvest policies.
-    If your first purchaser has channeling requirements, follow them.  Deliver Agrisure Duracade to the right place—and make sure the corn you grow has a place to go.

There are more than 800 outlets accepting Agrisure Duracade. Elevators across Nebraska have been calling farmers to follow up on what they are growing and locations at which they are accepting this hybrid.

“Biotechnology has been a great thing for corn farmers—and will continue to be, so long as everyone in the chain from farmers to elevators follow the rules and do our part to be responsible stewards,” said Tim Scheer, farmer from St. Paul and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “As we harvest this year's crop, know what you need to do to deliver Agrisure Duracade to the right place—and keep biotechnology working for all of us.”

Nebraska’s Golden Triangle Benefits Renewable Fuels

Nebraska’s economic prosperity is deeply rooted in agriculture. Very few states can stake claim to the high rankings and diverse production that Nebraska consistently maintains year after year. Besides taking the top ranking in cattle on feed, in 2013 Nebraska also ranked first in popcorn and Great Northern dry edible bean production.

Last year, Nebraska ranked third in corn production and fifth in soybean production, accounting for nearly 12 percent of the nation’s corn bushels and almost 8 percent of the nation’s soybean bushels. Nebraska’s centralized location, access to water, and fertile soils make it a natural hub for crop, livestock and even biofuels production – all of which make up Nebraska’s Golden Triangle.

“The ability to grow a large corn crop, year after year, makes Nebraska a prime location to produce ethanol,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development for the Nebraska Corn Board. “Nebraska’s ranked second nationally in ethanol production and distillers grains in 2013. These production numbers clearly illustrate the interdependent nature of the biofuels and feed industries.”

Farmers have solid, established markets for corn – ethanol and livestock – while the two-dozen ethanol plants across state then provide renewable fuel and a feed ingredient for the livestock industry, giving cattle feeders in Nebraska more feed options and an advantage over feeders in other states.

Soybean acres in Nebraska are up nearly 13 percent from last year. Not only do soybean farmers expect a large crop, but they also expect to find a market for that large crop as well. Roughly 97 percent of domestic soybean meal goes to feeding poultry, hogs and other livestock.

The majority of the oil from soybeans continues to be used for human consumption, but biodiesel production has increased significantly over the last few years, helping to alleviate a glut of soybean oil that remained on the market. According to a study conducted by the USDA, the increased usage of biodiesel has returned nearly $0.74 per bushel to soybean farmers.

Terry Horky, a soybean farmer from Sargent and chairman of the Domestic Marketing Committee for the Nebraska Soybean Board, thinks Nebraska’s Golden Triangle makes perfect sense. “Agricultural production in Nebraska is part of a very dynamic system, a system in which soybeans, corn, and biofuels production can fit in perfectly with livestock production. We can market our crops locally, create jobs locally and keep some of these tax dollars in our communities.”

CASNR Helps Prospective Students Experience the Power of Red

High school and transfer students can learn about the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the Experience the Power of Red Open House on Oct. 18.

The open house, held on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus, gives students the chance to hear about the college’s 30 academic programs and two pre-professional programs, said Laura Frey, UNL college relations director. They can also meet current UNL faculty, staff and students.

“They get to explore career opportunities and just become familiar with UNL in general,” she said.

The open house will begin at 9 a.m. with refreshments and a browsing session, when students can get a brief introduction to each department in the college. Following a welcome at 10 a.m., students and parents will attend academic sessions that offer more in-depth information about each academic program. The event finishes with lunch and a scholarship drawing at 12:45 p.m. Optional tours of both UNL campuses start at 2 p.m.

Academic interest areas featured at the open house include agribusiness/agricultural economics; agricultural education/agricultural and environmental sciences communication/hospitality, restaurant and tourism management; agronomy; animal science; applied science; biochemistry; food science and technology; food technology for companion animals; forensic science; grazing livestock systems; horticulture; insect science; mechanized systems management/agricultural engineering/biological systems engineering; microbiology; natural resources, including applied climate science, environmental restoration science, environmental studies, fisheries and wildlife, grassland ecology and management, natural resources and environmental economics and water science; PGA golf management; plant biology; turfgrass and landscape management; veterinary science; and the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program.

For more information or to register, visit

NCTA applauds fall census, irrigation tech, farmers market and alumni events

Fall enrollment at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture at Curtis is at a 4-year high, announced Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.

“Our fall enrollment is up 28 percent from a year ago, with 384 students enrolled in classes as full time, part time, or dual credit students,” Rosati said Monday. “This growth is great news for the college and our community.”

An incoming freshman enrollment represents almost a 50 percent increase in new, first-year students, he said.

“I credit this uptick in enrollment to strong outreach, students recognizing the quality academic programs we offer, increases in scholarships and financial aid, and some new programs,” Rosati said.  The newer academic offerings include an irrigation technician concentration, equine training management, laboratory animal care and agricultural education concentration.

“We have seen significant growth in our major academic divisions,” he added. Agriculture production systems grew to 140 students and veterinary technology systems grew to 85 students.  Agribusiness management systems, horticulture and general education courses round out the offerings.

Additionally, NCTA has 130 high school students around the state taking college classes on line over the Internet, or through a combination of instruction at their high school or on campus.

“We are fortunate to have great partnerships with Medicine Valley High School in Curtis and with Cozad High School in dual credit academics,” Rosati added. The affordability of college credits for high school students is a drawing card at a rate of $43.75 per credit hour.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

Do you grow alfalfa for your beef cows or for feedlots?  If so, maybe you should try harvesting your last cutting as a higher value cash crop this year.

Local alfalfa and grass hay prices have been declining recently, especially hay for beef cows and feedlots.  With a larger than usual last cutting expected due to recent rains and an abundant supply of corn stalks about to become available, more downward pressure is likely.

Many remaining alfalfa acres belong to cattle producers growing hay for their own cows or feedlots.  Since cow hay and grinding hay currently is worth at least 50 dollars per ton less than dairy hay, can you folks take advantage of this difference in price?

Well, quite frankly, cattle producers have a tremendous advantage over commercial hay growers.  If you harvest your hay before it blooms, get it baled in heavy, transportable packages with most of the leaves intact, stored under cover to prevent weather damage, and then marketed to get its true value, you also can sell it for a premium price.  But unlike them, if your hay does not meet premium standards, you still can feed it to your own animals.

Now you're thinking "I can't sell my hay.  I need it for my own animals."  And you're right.  But, if you do sell some dairy hay, what you can do is buy other, less expensive hay at the grinding or stock cow hay price. But you get to pocket the extra 40, 50, maybe 60 dollars for each ton of hay you sold and still have hay for your own animals.

What do you have to lose?  It costs little to at least try to harvest premium quality hay.  If you succeed, you get a bonus.  And if your hay doesn't qualify for a bonus, you simply feed the hay to your own animals, just like you would have done anyway.

No risk, high returns.  Indeed, what do you have to lose?

Iowa 2014 County Cash Rent Information Released

Cash Rent paid for non-irrigated cropland in Iowa during 2014 averaged $260.00 per acre, an increase of $5.00 from 2013, according to the latest report released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.   

Non-irrigated cropland rents ranged from an average of $149.00 per acre in Appanoose County, to $322.00 per acre in Grundy County.  Besides Grundy, two other counties, Sioux and Ida also averaged over $300.00 per acre in 2014.  Eleven counties had average cash rents less than $200.00 per acre in 2014, compared with 15 counties in 2013.  These 11 counties were all in the south central and southeast districts.
County - dollars per acre

Audubon - 272
Caroll - 291
Cass - 221
Crawford - 264
Harrison - 244
Ida - 307
Manona - 252
Pottawattamie - 265
Sac - 289
Shelby - 287
Woodbury - 255

Cash rent paid for pasture in Iowa averaged $50.00 per acre in 2014, up $1.00 from 2013.  Average cash rents ranged from $33.50 per acre in Lee County to $74.00 per acre in Pottawattamie County. 

Iowa kicks off Soil Health Partnership Field Days

Soil Health Partnership field days begin their schedule of presentations and demonstrations on Wednesday, Sept. 10 in Iowa. Bruce Kent will host area farmers, soil health experts and neighbors on his farm near Lu Verne, Iowa.

The day’s agenda topics will include the benefits of soil health and advanced nutrient management, cover crop integration in corn systems, and new equipment for seeding cover crops. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CDT regardless of weather conditions.

Registration will occur on site and a continental breakfast and buffet lunch will be served to participants. The field day location is on the Kent Farm at 1506 190th Ave., north of Lu Verne and southeast of Algona, Iowa.

The next field day events will take place in Forrest and Decatur, Illinois, Sept. 15 and 16. Additional field days continue to be added to the schedule. For the most current listing of Soil Health Partnership field days and locations, visit or email

The mission of the Soil Health Partnership is to catalyze enhanced agricultural sustainability and productivity by demonstrating and communicating the economic and environmental benefits of improved soil health. For more information, visit or email

Top Pork Countries Want Tariffs Eliminated In TPP

In an open letter to negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks, organizations representing hog farmers in Australia, Chile, Mexico and the United States called for a “comprehensive, high-quality” agreement that eliminates tariffs on nearly all products, including pork.

The TPP is a regional negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP.

Australian Pork Limited, the Canadian Pork Council, the AsociaciĆ³n Gremial de Productores de Cerdos de Chile, the Confederacion de Porcicultores Mexicanos and the National Pork Producers Council pointed out that the agreed-upon objectives of the TPP are: that it include trade in goods – including agricultural ones – services, investment, e-commerce, competition policy and intellectual property; that there be no product or sector exclusions, especially in agriculture; that all tariffs and other market access barriers such as Japan’s Gate Price be eliminated by the end of the negotiated transition period; and that all transition periods have “commercially meaningful” timeframes, which should be short and not back-loaded.

“Failure to achieve these objectives,” said the groups in their letter, “would call into question the oft-stated pledge to make TPP the gold standard for future FTAs and our ability to support the agreement.”

The pork organizations also expressed concern that the TPP market access objectives won’t be achieved if negotiators accept the current trade offer from Japan, which is demanding special treatment for its agricultural sector, including exemption from tariff elimination of certain “sensitive” products, including pork.

“A broad exemption for Japan will encourage other TPP countries to withhold market access concessions, backtrack on current offers, lower the ambition on rules language and possibly unravel the entire agreement,” the groups said. “Additionally, it would set a dangerous precedent for the expansion of the TPP when other nations are likely to demand a Japan-type deal.”

The organizations called on their respective governments to “redouble their efforts to move Japan away from this untenable position” and, if it’s unwilling to open its markets fully to pork products, to conclude an agreement without Japan.

Canadian Beef Herd Declines

Tim Petry, Livestock Economist, North Dakota State University Extension Service

On Aug. 21, 2014, Statistics Canada released its Livestock Estimates, July 1, 2014, report which detailed cattle, hog and sheep inventories in Canada. That same day USDA-NASS released the United States and Canadian Cattle and the United States and Canadian Hogs reports.

The July 1 U.S. cattle inventory numbers were also previously released by NASS on July 24 in the Cattle report. Those numbers have been discussed in previous In The Cattle Market columns. Unfortunately, due to budget restrictions, the 2013 July report was not released. So year over year comparisons in the U.S. were not possible and comparisons must be with July 2012. In summary, NASS reported that all cattle and calves in the U.S. as of July 1, 2014, totaled 95 million head, 3 percent below the 97.8 million on July 1, 2012. Beef cows, at 29.7 million, were down 2.5% from 2012, and beef replacement heifers, at 4.1 million, were down 2.4%. The feeder cattle supply outside feedlots was down over 3% from 2012. The 2014 calf crop is expected to be 33.6 million head, down 1% from 2013 and down 2% from 2012.

All cattle and calves in Canada on July 1, 2014, totaled 13.33 million head; which was down 1.4% from the 13.52M recorded on both July 1, 2013, and 2012. Beef cows at 3.922M were 1% lower than 2013. Beef cow numbers had increased slightly in July of 2012 and 2013, so continued interest in beef herd rebuilding waned. That is consistent with beef cow replacements which increased 6.7% in 2011 to 640M head and maintained close to that in 2012 and 2013. However, on July 1, 2014, beef replacements fell 3.6% to 616M.

Both the U.S. and Canadian reports confirm continued historically tight supplies of cattle in the months ahead. Although both countries reported lower beef cow numbers, there are subtle signs of beef herd rebuilding in the U.S.

Beef cow slaughter is down 17% for the year and about 25% during the last couple months. Fed heifer slaughter declined 8.5% so far this year and the number of heifers on feed on July 1 was down 5%. Although it is still dry in the Southern Plains with severe drought in the Southwest, particularly California, NASS is reporting U.S. pasture and range conditions at 20% poor and very poor compared to 34% last year which is also the previous 5-year average.

Breeding female cattle imports from Canada so far this year are at 16,840 compared to 6,145 last year. Furthermore, cattle prices are at record high levels which is likely stimulating interest in herd rebuilding where moisture conditions allow it.

NFU Board of Directors Votes to Withdraw from Beef Checkoff Working Group

National Farmers Union board of directors today voted to withdraw from the beef checkoff working group, effective immediately. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement:

“After three years of pushing for real reforms in the beef check-off program, NFU has decided that the process has become a bridge to nowhere and a waste of time and resources. The working group was designed to bring together vested parties from across the beef industry and to attempt to reach a consensus on substantial reforms that would make the check-off a stronger, more effective tool for the beef industry. Sadly, it has become clear that in reality, there is no willingness from key players within the group to allow real reforms to take place. NFU remains willing and eager to engage with others who are interested in reforming the beef checkoff, such that it operates in a manner like other checkoff programs.”

The resolution adopted by the board:

NFU has been working for the past three years to reform the beef checkoff system with other beef industry stakeholders. In accordance with NFU’s 2014 national convention Special Order of Business on the beef checkoff, NFU is hereby withdrawing from this working group, as the process is unlikely to result in necessary reform. It is time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to react to beef producers’ demand to reform this system.

The following reforms are necessary:
·        The CBB must have the authority to carry out checkoff projects on its own, similar to other checkoff oversight boards.
·        The CBB must be allowed to enter into checkoff contracts with non-policy organizations and private companies, such as ad agencies and public relations firms, in order to prevent policy-driven organizations from using checkoff dollars to fund overhead for political activity.
·        The beef checkoff must be completely refundable.
·        A referendum on the continuation of the beef checkoff must occur every five years.

It is our recommendation that USDA consider rewriting the beef check off program under the 1996 generic research and promotion act.

Leading Agriculture Organizations Launch Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture

The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) today announces its official launch and upcoming Precision Ag Forum, taking place Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C. Comprised of trade associations and organizations representing a diverse range of sectors within the agriculture industry, CAPA will serve as a voice for the benefits of precision agriculture technology. CAPA will be led by its co-chairs Daren Coppock, president and CEO, Agricultural Retailers Association; Dale Moore, executive director of public policy, American Farm Bureau Federation; and Jay Vroom, president and CEO, CropLife America.

The full roster of founding member organizations includes:
•  AgGateway
•  American Farm Bureau Federation
•  American Seed Trade Association
•  Agricultural Retailers Association
•  Association of Equipment Manufacturers
•  CropLife America
•  Field to Market ®, the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture
•  The Fertilizer Institute
•  National Agricultural Aviation Association
•  PrecisionAg Institute

The coalition will seek to increase awareness of the productivity improvements and sustainability enhancements provided through precision agriculture practices and technologies, including variable rate technology, guidance systems, and soil testing and monitoring. The coalition will work to communicate the benefits surrounding these technologies to Capitol Hill and other key policymakers.

“Precision agriculture technologies can play a major role in helping growers further their sustainability efforts through increasingly efficient use of inputs and resources,” noted Coppock. “Through a unified voice with CAPA, this coalition can help communicate those benefits to regulators and legislators.”

Moore added, “With the use of tools such as GPS technology and auto-steer, U.S. farmers and ranchers can be more efficient and productive than ever. This will be critical in meeting the growing global food demand.”

CAPA will host a kick-off Precision Ag Forum on Sept. 18, 2014, at the Capitol Room of the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The forum will include a panel discussion featuring growers and leaders in the realms of agricultural equipment, crop input and conservation. Panelists will discuss their perspectives on precision agriculture, results observed or achieved through their usage of precision agriculture technologies, and a personal forecast for what they see for precision agriculture in the future. A reception will follow the afternoon’s panel. Click here to RSVP for the Sept. 18 Precision Ag Forum and reception.

“The adoption of precision agriculture practices creates an opportunity for growers to improve efficiency on a large scale,” concluded Vroom. “We look forward to working with regulators and policymakers to discuss the economic and sustainability benefits this means for growers. CAPA is pleased to share this important story in Washington, D.C.”

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