Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Deceber 15 Ag News

2014 NC Industry Service Awards and Hall of Fame Honoree

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) today announced the winners of the 2014 Industry Service Awards and Hall of Fame honoree. Awards were presented at the Annual Convention and Trade Show held last week in Kearney, Nebraska.

Industry Service Awards were presented to feedyard owner Anne Burkholder of Cozad, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Sr. Vice President of Government Relations Colin Woodall of Washington, D.C. and Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman. The awards are presented for outstanding service to the beef cattle industry.

"Nebraska beef is the best beef in the world and that's thanks to the hard work of our Cattlemen," said Gov. Dave Heineman. "It has been an honor to promote Nebraska beef within the U.S. and around the globe. I thank the Nebraska Cattlemen for this award and I especially thank them for the countless ways these outstanding individuals and families contribute to our great state."

Hall of Fame Honoree

Homer Buell of Rose, Nebraska was presented the 2014 Hall of Fame Award. The award highlights Nebraska Cattlemen members who exemplify an ongoing commitment to the beef cattle industry. Presented once annually, the Hall of Fame award is the organization’s highest honor.

2014’s honoree was Homer Buell of Rose, Nebraska. Buell’s family has operated Shovel Dot Ranch since its founding in 1883. He is a Past President of Nebraska Cattlemen and the Nebraska Hereford Association. He has also held leadership roles on the boards of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Hereford Association and served as President of the Nebraska 4-H Foundation Board.

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Buell also serves on UNL’s President’s Advisory Committee and the University of Nebraska Foundation Board Of Directors and was recognized as the UNL Animal Science Department’s Block and Bridle Honoree in 2009.

Nebraska Farm Bureau on Congressional Action on Appropriations

Steve Nelson, President

“We are appreciative of the Senate’s action Dec. 13 and the House’s action last week in passing an omnibus spending package that addresses many of the key issues of interest to Nebraska farmers and ranchers.”

“Among those of interest is $2.7 billion for agriculture research programs, including funding for the Agriculture Research Service.”

“In addition, this legislation prevents United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing a new beef checkoff program. Delegates to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s annual meeting just last week expressed concerns about the implementation of an additional beef checkoff program as has been proposed by USDA Secretary Vilsack.”

“We are also pleased by the inclusion of language that requires both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the interpretive rule associated with Sec. 404 wetland permitting under the agency’s “Waters of the U.S.” proposal. While this measure does not address the underlying legal and policy concerns of the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” regulation including Sec.402 permits for certain practices on farms, this is a step in the right direction as we work for full withdrawal of the “Waters” proposal.”

“We look forward to the President approving this measure for the betterment of Nebraska farm and ranch families.”


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               Corn silage is a main feedstuff for many livestock.  But choosing the right hybrid to plant can be tricky.

               You know what to look for when choosing corn hybrids for grain — things like yield, standability, maturity, and pest resistance.  But what about silage?  What else should you look for?

               Of course, yield is very important — both grain yield and forage yield.  But since we feed whole plant silage to livestock, forage quality or feed value of the silage is especially important.

               Historically, we thought high grain hybrids would produce the best silage.  But now we know we were wrong!  Characteristics good for grain, like fast kernel drying and hard texture, are bad for silage.  Fortunately, genetic advances by corn breeders have helped improve silage feed value so you can select hybrids based on forage quality.

               When comparing silage forage quality traits, primarily look for high starch digestibility and high NDF digestibility.  Starch digestibility is affected by many factors, but hybrids with soft kernel texture and slow kernel drying tend to digest easier and preserve better.

               High fiber digestibility also comes from several traits.  One trait is called brown midrib.  It helps livestock on high silage diets perform better although brown midrib hybrids tend to yield less and lodge more than regular hybrids.  Regardless of source, though, high fiber digestibility is desired.

               If you feed silage to high performing livestock, it may be profitable to sacrifice some yield for higher quality.  So look at quality traits next time you plant corn for silage.

Private Pesticide Safety Training Offered from UNL Extension

            Pesticide safety education training sessions start in January for Nebraska's private pesticide applicators seeking first-time certification or recertification for licenses expiring in 2015.  Those interested should contact their local University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension office for information on these training sessions.

            Pesticide applicators with private licenses can buy and use restricted-use pesticides on their own farming operations after completing the training. Statewide, around 3,500 private applicators are eligible for recertification in 2015.

            In taking the training, applicators will learn about "Nebraska's pesticide laws and regulations, the pesticide label, personal safety, worker protection standard, environmental protection, integrated pest management, pesticides and application, application equipment, and equipment calibration," according to Clyde Ogg, UNL Extension pesticide safety educator.

            Updates covered in the 2015 training include spill management, proper glove handling, pesticide disposal and storage, updates to the Driftwatch website to protect sensitive sites from windblown pesticides, water quality effects on pesticide performance, and an update from UNL cropping systems specialist Greg Kruger on nozzle drift prevention technology and spray nozzle selection.

            Private applicators needing recertification in 2015 should have received an expiration notice letter from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in mid-December.  The letter includes a barcode, which eliminates the need to complete the standard NDA application form for those recertifying.  Applicators should bring the letter with them to training sessions to avoid having to fill-out the application form.

            "All persons eligible for recertification will be notified by their local UNL Extension office of recertification training sessions in their area," Ogg said.

            Current licensed applicators should check the expiration date on their license.  If it expires in 2015 and they have not yet received a letter from NDA, contact them at 402-471-2351 or 877-800-4080.

            UNL Extension provides the educational training for initial certification and recertification, while NDA is responsible for licensing. For a list of training sessions, sites and dates, contact your nearest UNL Extension office or go online to, where applicators will find training sites for private applicators listed by county. Cost of UNL training is $30 per person.

            Applicators may also certify through completing an online course, completing a self-study manual, or attending and participating in a UNL Extension Crop Production Clinic. Cost of for the online course and self-study options is $60 while the Crop Production Clinic is $65.

            Pesticide applicators can purchase access to the online course via

            After completing the training, certification applications will be sent to NDA which will then send a bill to the applicator for the $25 state license fee. The private self-study manual is available from local Extension offices. Crop Production Clinics are conducted in January at locations across the state.  For more information and a schedule visit

UNL Extension Commercial/Noncommercial Pesticide Safety Program Begins In January

            Nebraska's commercial and noncommercial pesticide applicators seeking first-time certification or recertification of their license to use or purchase restricted-use pesticides in 2015 can get training through University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.

            "Training is offered at a variety of locations statewide from January through April," said Clyde Ogg, UNL Extension pesticide safety educator.

            UNL Extension's Pesticide Safety Education Program has sent commercial/noncommercial pesticide applicators with certifications expiring in April a 2015 Pesticide Safety Education Program Schedule booklet that has certification information and dates. Copies of the schedule booklet are available at local extension office or by phoning UNL's pesticide education office at 800-627-7216 or 402-472-1632 or online at

            "Commercial applicators are those using restricted-use pesticides, and in some cases general-use pesticides, on a contract or for-hire basis," Ogg said. "Noncommercial applicators are those applying these same pesticides to sites owned by an employer or for a governmental agency or political subdivision of the state."

            Advance registration is required for all initial commercial/noncommercial applicator training and most other training sessions. A $60 fee applies for each applicator registering for February through April sessions, regardless of the number of categories registered for. Required study materials for initial training range from $10 to $30 per manual, depending on category.

            "Initial certification requires passing a general standards exam and one or more specific applicator categories," Ogg said. Applicants can study by themselves, but for best results, Ogg recommends combining the training with the study materials.

            "Training combined with individual study has the best track record for preparing someone to take the state license exams," he said.

            Recertification opportunities are available at several Extension offices in February and March and at several annual conferences and trade association meetings early in 2015. The only opportunity for commercial applicators to recertify in the Agricultural Plant category and Demo/Research subcategory, other than by examination, will be at UNL Crop Production Clinics in January.

            UNL conducts the training programs, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture grants the licenses.  NDA testing is offered at initial training locations. Questions about individual applicator license status should be directed to NDA at 402-471-2351 or 877-800-4080.

            Initial certification in several categories is offered at various locations and dates. Available categories vary at each of the locations; check the pesticide applicator education schedule booklet for details. Those seeking initial certification must preregister for one of the following training sessions and purchase study materials at least 10 days in advance of the training. Preregistration is required at
            Beatrice: Gage County Extension Office, Fairgrounds, 1115 W. Scott, March 17.
            Columbus: Platte County Courthouse, 2610 14th St., Feb. 3.
            Fremont: Dodge County Extension Office, 1206 W. 23rd St., Feb. 3.
            Grand Island: College Park, Hall County Extension Office, 3180 W. Hwy. 34, Feb. 3, 26.
            Lincoln: Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Rd., Feb. 3, 19, April 9.
            Norfolk: Madison County Extension Office, Lifelong Learning Center, 601 E. Benjamin Ave., Feb. 3, 26.
            North Platte: UNL West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Rd., Feb. 3, 26, April 9.
            Ogallala: Valentino's, 55 River Rd., March 24.   
            Omaha: Douglas/Sarpy County Extension Office, 8015 W. Center Rd., Feb. 3, March 12, April 9.
            Scottsbluff: UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave. I, Feb. 3, 26, March 17, April 9.
            Valentine: Cherry County Extension Office, 365 N. Main St., Suite 3, March 12.

            Recertification in several applicator categories is offered at the following locations and dates. Available categories vary at each of the locations; check the pesticide applicator education schedule booklet for details. Preregistration required at

            Beatrice: Gage County Extension Office, Fairgrounds, 1115 W. Scott, Feb. 5, 24, March 19.
            Columbus: Platte County Courthouse, 2610 14th St., Feb 5.
            Dakota City: Farm Service Center, 1505 Broadway, Feb. 24.      
            Fremont: Dodge County Extension Office, 1206 W. 23rd St., Feb. 5, March 19.
            Grand Island: College Park, Hall County Extension Office, 3180 W. Hwy. 34, Feb. 5, 24.
            Holdrege: Phelps County Fairgrounds, Ag Center, 1308 2nd St., Feb. 5, March 19.
            Lincoln: Lancaster County Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Rd., Feb. 5, 17, March 19.
            Norfolk: Madison County Extension Office, Lifelong Learning Center, 601 E. Benjamin Ave., Feb. 5, 19, March 19.
            North Platte: UNL West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Rd., Feb. 5, 24.
            O'Neill: Holt County Courthouse, 204 4th St., Feb. 5, 24,
            Ogallala: Valentino's, 55 River Rd., March 26.
            Omaha: Douglas/Sarpy County Extension Office, 8015 W. Center Rd., Feb. 5, 24, March 19.
            Scottsbluff: UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center, 4502 Ave. I, Feb. 5, 24, March 19.
            Valentine: Cherry County Extension Office, 365 N. Main St., Suite 3, March 19.

            UNL Crop Production Clinics are a great way to recertify in the Agricultural Pest Control – Plant category. Preregister on-line for $65 ( The clinics begin at 8:45 a.m., local time, at the following locations:
            Jan. 6 – Gering; Gering Civic Center, 1050 M St.
            Jan. 7 – North Platte; Sandhills Convention Center, 2102 S. Jeffers
            Jan. 8 – Hastings; Adams County Fairgrounds, 947 S. Baltimore
            Jan. 13 – Kearney; Younes Conference Center, 416 Talmadge Rd.
            Jan. 14 – York; Holthus Convention Center, 3130 Holen Ave.
            Jan. 15 – Beatrice; Classics Country Club, 1301 Oak St.
            Jan. 20 – Atkinson; Atkinson Community Center, 206 W. 5th St.
            Jan. 21 – Norfolk; Lifelong Learning Center, 601 E. Benjamin Ave.
            Jan. 22 – ARDC; 1071 County Road G, Ithaca

            Recertification is also available through attending annual trade organization conferences. Conferences offering these opportunities for specific categories include:

            Nebraska Turf Conference: Jan. 6-8, LaVista Conference Center, 12540 Westport Parkway, LaVista. Recertification in Ornamental and Turf pest control category and Demo/Research subcategory. Preregister at or call the Nebraska Turfgrass Association at 402-472-5351 for questions.

            Nebraska Urban Pest Management Conference: Feb. 10-11, The Cornhusker Hotel, 333 S. 13th St., Lincoln. Recertification in Structural/Health-related pest control, Wood Destroying Organisms, Public Health pest control, and Fumigation categories. Preregister at or call the UNL Department of Entomology at 402-472-6857 for copies program and registration information.

            Nebraska Aviation Trades Association Convention: Feb. 16-18, Ramada Inn, 301 S. 2nd Ave., Kearney. Recertification in Aerial Pest Control category. Visit, email, or call the Nebraska Aviation Trades Association 402-475-6282 for information.

Beef Checkoff Ensures Farmers and Ranchers Are Heard at Major Food for Tomorrow Conference

On Nov. 11-12, 2014, the beef checkoff, through the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), participated in the New York Time's "Food for Tomorrow" conference held at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantino Hills, NY - a place many would call a "foodie" mecca.

The theme of the event was "Farm Better. Eat Better. Feed the World." It was hosted by the New York Times with prominent positioning of celebrity chefs and authors, such as Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Sam Kass, Tom Colicchio and many others. The event was well-attended by food influencers and decision-makers around the country, yet prior to USFRA’s involvement, the voices of conventional agriculture were not represented anywhere in the panel discussions. USFRA, through the beef checkoff, sponsored a panel of farmers on the topic of "Big Ag, Big Food: How being good for the Environment is not about Size." The panel was moderated by Frank Sesno, director of George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs and former CNN Washington, D.C., bureau chief.

Farmers and ranchers serving on the panel included:
-    Joan Ruskamp, cattle feeder, Dodge, NE, Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) member and beef checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy graduate
-    Julie Maschhoff, pig farmer and vice president, public policy and public relations, The Maschhoffs, Carlyle, IL
-    Bruce Rominger, farmer, Rominger Brothers Farm, Winters, CA

The panel discussed everything from transparency to antibiotic use on farms and ranches to their desire to be part of the dialogue about raising food. Ruskamp pleaded passionately with the audience, saying: “We want to feed you. We don’t want hungry kids either. That is a passion for us too. We will get better. We want to be part of the conversation you are having. PLEASE let us be involved in your conversation about our food for tomorrow!”

Similarly, Seth Watkins, a farmer feeder from Iowa, who is very involved with Iowa Beef Council, Iowa Cattlemen and Iowa Team Beef, was invited to be part of the last panel discussing “Who Will Farm and How?” which was moderated by Mark Bittman. Watkins shared his thoughts on the challenges facing farmers today and shared the conversation efforts he’s implementing on his farm to be able to raise food for future generations.

“I believe we changed the tone of the conversation at this significant event from one of attack on ‘industrialized agriculture’ to one of dialogue - a key goal for us in conversation with all detractors,” said Randy Krotz, USFRA CEO.  “We knew that without USFRA’s involvement, the voices of farmers and ranchers would not be heard. The panelists, as well as the farmers and members of the agriculture community who attended the meeting with us, showed that American agriculture wants to be part of the dialogue on tough topics - and that we are committed to healthy food for everyone.”

While not all opinions may have been changed, farmers, ranchers and other members of the agriculture community had the chance to engage in one-on-one dialogues with major food influencers.

“Mark Bittman, in particular, although he remained critical about antibiotic use, government involvement in agricultural regulation and the food industry in general, seemed to welcome our farmers' voices,” said Krotz. “We would never expect to change his opinions - but we would like him and others to understand and acknowledge farmers' and ranchers' commitment to providing healthy food for everyone in a sustainable way.”

NeFU Specialty Crop Producer Workshops Begin in January

Nebraska Farmers Union will begin a farmer training series on specialty crops, held in five cities: Grand Island, Norfolk, Lincoln, Scottsbluff (via video conference) and Omaha. The series will include local producers as well as national trainers to offer a unique farmer training program that is unlike anything NeFU has done before. The goal is to help producers move to the next level of production by providing the skills necessary to increase efficiency and profitability.

These trainings are open to any speciality crops producers, beginning or experienced, that are producing for markets.

-- Jan. 13, 14, 15, 16: GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) Level 1: GAPs are production and farm level approaches to ensure the safety of fresh produce for human consumption. GAPs Level 1 will cover education training in preparation for a self-audit and on farm food safety plan. A USB Drive will be provided with the materials needed for the training.

-- Jan. 27, 28, 29, 30: GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) Level 2: Continuation of GAPs Level 1 with more detail on the Farm Food Safety Plan and how to have a successful audit. GAPs Level 1 attendance is required to participate in this training. We will help with the development of your farm food safety plan.

-- Feb. 10, 11, 12, 13: Insurance, Forward Contracting, Internship & Employee Management: The Midwest Agency will present on farmer related insurances needs. Markets, Contracts, and methods to sell your product with Lori Tatreau of Lone Tree Foods. Internships and Employee Issues covered by local farmers and UNL Extension.

-- Feb. 24, 25, 26, 27: Holistic Financial Management with Ralph Tate: Plan for and produce a profit. Determine what enterprises to run. Know what to spend money on and when. Determine the best investment strategies for business growth and resource productivity.df

-- March 3, 4, 5, 6: Wholesale Success with Atina Diffley: Atina Diffley will cover Post-Harvest Handling, Maintaining the Cold Chain, Cleaning and Drying, Packing and Grading, Relationships with Buyers, Food Safety Best Practices. Participating producers will receive a free copy of the Wholesale Success manual

Trainings will be held weekly in the following cities at a cost of $20. Pre-registartion is required.
-- Tuesdays -- Grand Island at Stuhr Museum -- Visit
-- Wednesdays -- Norfolk at Lifelong Learning Center
-- Thursdays -- Lincoln at Southeast Community College
-- Thursdays -- Scottsbluff (video)at Western College
-- Friday's -- Omaha at Metro College - Fort Campus

The trainings are at of $20 each to cover your meal costs.

For more information or to register, go to or call 402-476-8815.

2015 Iowa Pork Congress to be held Jan. 28-29 in Des Moines

The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) will hold the 2015 Iowa Pork Congress on Jan. 28 and 29 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

The nation's largest winter swine tradeshow and conference will be held in Hy-Vee Hall with show hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 28 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 29.

"The Iowa Pork Producers Association works hard every year to present the best show possible and the fact that it draws from such a wide area of the Midwest is a testament to the quality of the show," said IPPA President Jamie Schmidt, a Garner hog farmer. "You'd be hard pressed to find what the Iowa Pork Congress offers anywhere else."

At least 281 different companies covering all facets of the pork industry will be represented at the trade show in more than 530 booth spaces. Iowa's status as the leading pork producing state in the U.S. is recognized by companies worldwide and the exhibitor list includes many international firms that market products and services of interest to pork producers. Several companies will be introducing new offerings to the marketplace during the show.

IPPA will welcome attendees to the Pork Information Plaza on the north trade show floor where guests can visit with Iowa's producer leaders and representatives from the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and other affiliated organizations.

Damian Mason, known as "Agriculture's Professional Funny Man," will deliver the keynote presentation on Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. He will call on his sharp wit and intelligent humor in discussing modern ag trends, challenges and what lies ahead in telling farming's story. Mason, the owner/operator of a beef, grain, and hay farm, has addressed more than 1,600 audiences in all 50 states and eight foreign countries.

Attendees will be able to expand their pork producing knowledge at any of the several business seminars that will be offered at Pork Congress. Sessions on Iowa regulations and nuisance cases, PEDv, pit foaming, economic forecasts, policy and more will be facilitated by some of the industry's best sources.

IPPA has made arrangements to show Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll's feature length documentary "Farmland" on Jan. 29. The film takes viewers inside the world of farming and the lives of six young farmers and ranchers in their twenties.

Hog farmers also will be able to obtain or renew their PQA Plus and TQA certifications, and a certification session for confinement site manure applicators is being offered.

IPPA is excited to host its 7th annual Youth Swine Judging Contest on Jan. 29 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 4-H and FFA members from around Iowa are expected to journey to Des Moines to learn more about pork production, compete for valuable scholarships and attend the tradeshow.

"Despite the industry's disease challenges, 2014 has been a pretty good year for most everyone associated with pork and we hope that producers can attend the show and get 2015 off to a great start," Schmidt said.


Producers can pre-register to attend Pork Congress through Jan. 9, 2015. IPPA members can attend the tradeshow and conference at no cost by registering by the deadline. Register at or by using the form in the November issue of the Iowa Pork Producer magazine.

Non-IPPA members can save $5 off of the normal $10 admission cost by registering online by the deadline. Registrations will be accepted after the deadline through each day of the show, but the cost will be $10.

The week's activities begin on Jan. 26 with the annual IPPA Taste of Elegance contest and reception. The IPPA Annual Meeting will be held on Jan. 27, followed by the annual Kickoff Reception and Auction. The Pork Congress Banquet is on Wednesday evening.

For more information, contact IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or visit   


Ladies, the 11th Annual Women in Denim Conference not only features Jolene Brown as the keynote speaker, but also offers several other nationally acclaimed speakers as well!  This year sessions will include the following nationally acclaimed speakers, Myron Stine, Dr. Patrick Webb, and Elaine Kub.

Myron Stine is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Stine Seed.  Stine provides direction in marketing strategies and sales force infrastructure for Stine Seed.  Women in Denim is privileged to have him speak at the conference. Myron will explain what is in that bag of seed corn that is put in the ground each spring.  He'll explain everything from research to production.

Dr. Patrick Webb is the director of swine health programs at the National Pork Board.  He is responsible for the Pork Checkoff's efforts in animal identification, pre-harvest traceability, and foreign animal disease planning, preparedness, and response.  He will speak to the group on foreign animal disease.

Elaine Kub is the author of "Mastering the Grain Markets: How Profits are Really Made".  The book is a 360-degree look at all aspects of grain trading, which draws on her experiences as a futures broker, market analyst, grain merchandiser, and farmer.  She will speak at the conference on grain marketing.

Women in Denim, a conference dedicated to women in agriculture, is set for January 16-17, 2015.  The 2015 conference will take place at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. The Women in Denim conference targets women involved in farm management and the agriculture economy, or those who simply want to learn more about the industry. Participants may choose from a variety of sessions, covering topics such as farm and personal finance, agriculture marketing, family communication, health, cooking, gardening and more!

Are you a Woman in Denim?  If so, mark your calendar for Women in Denim 2015!  For more information, find us on Facebook, go to or email 

New USB Chairman Elected to Keep Moving Checkoff Forward

Bob Haselwood, soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas, has been elected by his fellow United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-directors to lead the board in investing soy checkoff funds for the next year. In addition to the support from the other 69 farmer leaders, Haselwood also has the input from the recently held 2014 CONNECTIONS meeting to help guide him.

“Having the feedback from the industry-wide CONNECTIONS meeting really helps us as farmer-directors to lay a path for the future of this organization,” says Haselwood. “And in addition to that, I’ve got a great group to help me lead this board, and we’re excited to get to work.”

The following farmer-leaders will be joining Haselwood on the executive committee to oversee USB’s profit-building projects:
    Vice Chairman: Jared Hagert, Emerado, North Dakota
    Secretary: Dwain Ford, Kinmundy, Illinois
    Treasurer: John Motter, Jenera, Ohio
    Meal Action Team Chair: Laura Foell, Schaller, Iowa
    Oil Action Team Chair:  Jimmy Sneed, Hernando, Mississippi
    Freedom to Operate Action Team Chair: Bill Beam, Elverson, Pennsylvania
    Customer Focus Action Team Chair: John Dodson, Halls, Tennessee
    International Opportunities Target Area Coordinator: Dwain Ford, Kinmundy, Illinois
    Domestic Opportunities Target Area Coordinator: Lewis Bainbridge, Ethan, South Dakota
    Communications Target Area Coordinator: Nancy Kavazanjian, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
    Past Chairman: Jim Call, Madison, Minnesota

Additionally, Nebraska farmer Gregg Fujan will serve as Supply Target Area coordinator. Keith Tapp, from Kentucky, will serve as Audit & Evaluation Committee chair.

Members of the Strategic Management Committee (SMC) will continue to keep the checkoff’s strategic goals at the forefront. Farmer-leaders who will serve on the SMC include:
    Jared Hagert, Emerado, North Dakota
    Jim Call, Madison, Minnesota
    Mike Beard, Frankfort, Indiana
    Larry Marek, Riverside, Iowa
    Ron Ohlde, Palmer, Kansas
    John Motter, Jenera, Ohio

In addition to electing a new slate of officers, 19 checkoff farmer-leaders were sworn in. Five of these directors are new to the board, with 14 returning.

ASA: "CRomnibus" Provides Investments, Presents Setbacks for Soybean Growers

The Senate has passed a combination continuing resolution and omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government for the 2015 fiscal year, after the House passed the same legislation earlier this week. Informally dubbed the "CRomnibus," the bill designates funding for 11 individual spending bills, including the agriculture appropriations legislation. The American Soybean Association (ASA) thanked Senate committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and House committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) for their leadership on the bill.

“This bill represents a mixed bag, with some ASA-championed programs receiving steady or increased funding, while other ASA-supported programs receiving cuts. It doesn't give us one hundred percent of what we need, but it does recognize a significant number of our priorities by making investments in the projects and programs that soybean farmers use every day,” said Wade Cowan, ASA’s president and a farmer from Brownfield, Texas.

Cowan noted that the association is pleased with the increase in funding that the bill provides for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which was given a three percent boost in funding. Additionally, ASA is very supportive of language in the bill that would withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency’s interpretive rule on the Waters of the United States.

In the area of conservation, ASA is disappointed in the bill’s further cuts to conservation programs on working lands like the voluntary Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), as these programs have been proven effective in improving soil and water health.

With regard to waterways infrastructure, significant funding increases were provided for several ASA priority areas. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction account for waterways infrastructure was increased by $514.5 million above the administration's request, including $112 million in additional funding for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) projects. Reflecting policy changes that were supported by ASA and made in the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) that was enacted earlier this year, the omnibus appropriations bill funds the Olmsted lock & dam project with a 85 percent to 15 cost-share between the IWTF and general treasury. Previously it was split 50-50, consuming nearly all of the available IWTF dollars. The omnibus also provides $1.1 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which is an increase of $100 million above the previous year. Overall, the Corps of Engineers fared well, with a $921 million increase in their Civil Works account and a $47.5 million increase in the Operations & Maintenance account, levels that will help the Corps in its efforts to maintain operations on the Mississippi River and other inland waterways and make upgrades to the aging infrastructure.

In the arena of international trade, the bill contains language directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a path forward on a fix to the ASA-opposed mandatory country of origin labeling requirements that have been found by the World Trade Organization to be out of compliance with U.S. trade obligations. “While Congress’ acknowledgement of the issue is a positive step, it stops short of the clear-cut fix that ASA is looking for as a member of the COOL Reform Coalition,” said Cowan.

Additionally, the Foreign Market Development and Market Access Programs were funded at their previous $34.5 million and $200 million levels, and the Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole Food For Education programs were funded at $1.5 billion and $192 million, respectively.

The bill will now head to President Barack Obama's desk for signature.

Joint Statement by NCBA and PLC on Senate Passage of Funding Bill

The $1.1 trillion omnibus package passed by the Senate today held several strong wins for the cattle industry. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Bob McCan and Public Lands Council President Brenda Richards remarked on Senate Passage of 2015 Funding Legislation:

“We greatly appreciate Congress’ passage of this important legislation which contained a number of critical provisions that will support the viability of our industry for the year to come. The bill made a major step in addressing over-burdensome regulation from the EPA by withdrawing the Interpretative Rule as part of the Waters of the United States proposed regulation. The rule, which attempts to clarify farming and ranching provisions under the Clean Water, adds uncertainty rather than explanation for landowners and threatens fines of up to $37,500 per day. While not a complete fix, this is a critical step in addressing the strong concerns farmers and ranchers have with this regulation.

“Viable public lands and the ranchers who lease those acres are critical not only to the cattle industry, but to the preservation of those lands for multiple use, wildlife habitat and wildfire prevention and suppression. The bill kept ranchers in the West on the land, holding budgets for the BLM and Forest Service level, despite the President’s request to cut funding for federal grazing and range programs.

“There is language included that prevents the Interior Department from listing the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act for the fiscal year and the additional funding to continue sage grouse conservation efforts is important to prevent a future listing of the bird. Listing the sage grouse would take the most successful natural resource stewards, ranchers, off the land.

“The bill also contained continued assurance on a number of environmental regulations. Specifically, the bill prevents funding for the EPA to require cattle producers to obtain greenhouse gas permits for livestock and to prevent mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems.

“The passage by both the House and Senate is a clear message that Congress supports our industry and is willing to put a stop the overzealous Administration and their attempt to take production agriculture off the land.”

ASTM Vote Opens Door for Biodiesel Innovation in Heating Oil

ASTM International, an organization which sets industry consensus standards for fuels and lubricants, has voted to approve performance specifications for blends of 6 to 20 percent biodiesel with traditional heating oil. 

The move is a significant leap forward in the industry effort to boost the percentage of cleaner burning biodiesel that homeowners and building managers use in oilheat equipment common to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The updated ASTM D396 Standard Specification for Fuel Oils, containing the new grade for blends of 6 to 20 percent biodiesel, will be finalized and published by ASTM for public use after the usual ASTM review and editing process. It is expected by February 2015. 

The mixture of biodiesel and heating oil is marketed as Bioheat® fuel, a registered trademark. 

“The fuel oil industry is reinventing itself as a 21st century fuel by moving to higher blends of low carbon biodiesel and near-zero sulfur levels across the board,” said John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance. 

The Bioheat renaissance gives oilheat dealers, mostly small, family-owned businesses, the ability to provide their customers with a desirable new product, according to Huber.

“Bioheat gives consumers the choice to use a clean, domestically produced fuel without having to invest in an expensive natural gas system,” said Paul Nazzaro, who leads the National Biodiesel Board’s Bioheat outreach program. “Setting these performance specs for increased biodiesel levels is hugely significant, because it opens the door for innovation in the heating oil industry and will allow more consumers to enjoy the full benefits of this fuel in their homes and businesses.”

Nazzaro added that environmentally speaking, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel puts Bioheat on par with natural gas, the biggest competitor to oilheat, while higher biodiesel levels up to 100 percent biodiesel could reduce the carbon footprint of Bioheat up to 80 percent compared to traditional fuel oil.  

The passage of 5 percent biodiesel into the No. 1 and No. 2 grades of ASTM D396 occurred in 2008.  During the last six years, the Bioheat Technical Steering Committee, comprised of industry technical experts and led by NORA and NBB, developed a tremendous amount of data that formed the basis for the ballot. The vote to pass the ballot came last week at the semi-annual meeting of the ASTM Committee D02 on Petroleum Products.

“The technical data with this ballot for the new B6-B20 grade verified what we have known for years—B20 made with high quality biodiesel works well,” said Seth Obetz, president of Pennsylvania-based Bioheat distributor Worley and Obetz.  “We have been marketing high quality B20 for 14 years and our customers see fewer problems with B20 than with conventional heating oil.”  

Wholesale fuel provider Amerigreen reported at the ASTM meeting that it has more than 100,000 B20 customers. The company said that number is growing because Bioheat customers see less maintenance than with conventional fuel oil.

The NBB and NORA have invested millions of dollars in Bioheat research, outreach and education through funding provided by oilheat dealers, biodiesel producers and the soybean checkoff program. 

Made from a diverse mix of sustainable resources, biodiesel is an Advanced Biofuel as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brazil 2nd-Crop Corn Area to Drop 6%

The planting window may be tight this season and futures prices indicate small-to-negative margins, but Brazilian second-crop corn area probably will only fall 6.2% in 2015, AgRural, a local farm consultancy, forecast.

Brazilian farmers will plant 19.0 million acres of corn after the current soybean crop is harvested, down from 20.3 million acres last year, it predicted.

A recent run-up in local prices has stimulated farmers to plant more second-crop corn than they originally planned, despite the elevated risks of insufficient rain in the center-west and frost in Parana due to delays caused by the late planting of the summer soybean crop.

 CWT Assists with 1.3 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 7 requests for export assistance to sell 1.268 million pounds (575 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia. The product will be delivered February through May 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 101.498 million pounds of cheese, 53.591 million pounds of butter and 56.729 million pounds of whole milk powder to 45 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 2.557 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Kubota Manufactures Its First Round Baler

Kubota Tractor Corporation this week commemorated the first official retail sale in the world of a Kubota Round Baler from the floor of the Tulsa Farm Show. The company introduced the second phase of its Kubota-branded Hay Tools, including round balers, bale wrappers, and disc mower conditioners, during its National Dealer Meeting this October.

John Scott, dealer principal of Kubota Center West Tulsa, sold the BV4180 premium baler to customer Frank Westbrook.

"We were thrilled to learn that our sale of a Kubota round baler would be the first in the world," said Scott. "But we're even more excited to have provided Mr. Westbrook with a quality product that we know he'll be very happy with for years to come. As his servicing dealer, we're committed to making sure of that."

Company representatives were on hand for the occasion, including Kubota Hay & Implement Business Development Manager, Clay Young.

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