Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday February 27 Ag News

USDA Provides One-Time Extension of Deadline to Update Base Acres or Yield History for ARC/PLC Programs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that a one-time extension will be provided to producers for the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres has been extended one additional month, from Feb. 27, 2015 until March 31, 2015. The final day for farm owners and producers to choose ARC or PLC coverage also remains March 31, 2015.

"This is an important decision for producers, because these programs provide financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. Producers are working to make the best decision they can. And we're working to ensure that they've got the time, the information, and the opportunities to have those final conversations, review their data, and to visit the Farm Service Agency to make those decisions," said Vilsack.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm's current yield and base will be used. A program choice of ARC or PLC coverage also must be made by March 31, 2015, or there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.

"These are complex decisions, which is why we launched a strong education and outreach campaign back in September. Now we're providing a one-time extension of an additional month so that every producer is fully prepared to enroll in this program," said Vilsack.

Nationwide, more than 2.9 million educational postcards, in English and Spanish, have been sent to producers, and over 4,100 training sessions have been conducted on the new safety-net programs. The online tools, available at, allow producers to explore projections on how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation under possible future scenarios.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Statement by NeFB Regarding Farm Bill Sign-Up Extension
Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

"We greatly appreciate Secretary Vilsack's decision to provide more time for farmers to make decisions related to updating yield history and reallocation of base acres as relates to the 2014 Farm Bill."

"The extension in these areas until March 31, 2015 is a welcomed change. By bringing sign-up for these provisions in line with decisions that must be made related to the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) farmers have a clear picture of sign-up expectations, eliminating speculation of any further extensions."

Bipartisan Group of Former Agriculture Secretaries Urges Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

A bipartisan group of former U.S. Agriculture Secretaries, representing all past Administrations from those of President Jimmy Carter to President George W. Bush, today issued the following open letter urging Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority. The former secretaries note that boosting trade and exports is highly beneficial to America's agriculture economy and that Trade Promotion Authority—which has been given to all previous presidents since Gerald Ford (with similar authority granted to all presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt)—is critical for successfully negotiating new trade partnerships that boost exports and create jobs. Congress could begin consideration of legislation to grant President Obama Trade Promotion Authority as early as next week.

The letter from the former secretaries follows:

As former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture, we know firsthand the importance of trade to America's farm and ranch families. Access to export markets is vital for increasing sales and supporting farm income at home. Recognizing the importance of exports, we worked hard to open foreign markets, including negotiating new or expanded trade agreements with other countries. Trade agreements lead to expanded agricultural exports by promoting economic growth, removing trade barriers and import duties and developing mutually beneficial trade rules.

Key to our ability to negotiate and implement market-opening agreements has been enactment of trade negotiating authority. This authority, now called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), ensures that the U.S. has the credibility to conclude the best deal possible at the negotiating table. TPA also ensures common negotiating objectives between the President and the Congress, and a continuous consultation process prior to final Congressional approval or disapproval of a trade agreement.

Every President since Gerald Ford has received TPA. Thanks to opportunities created by trade agreements, U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2014 soared to a new record of $152.5 billion propelling farm income also to new highs. Trade helps farmers, their suppliers, distributors and customers. Exports support rural economies and the U.S. economy as a whole through agricultural processing, ancillary services and a host of related businesses. This was true when each of us served as US Secretary of Agriculture, and it is true now.

We are excited about new opportunities for U.S. agriculture in foreign markets. Opening markets helps farm families and their communities prosper. Other governments also recognize this and are actively forging their own trade agreements. If the United States stands still, other countries will quickly move ahead of us.

For us, the choice is clear: we encourage Congress to enact Trade Promotion Authority and support trade agreements that help U.S. farmers, ranchers, and producers thrive.

Secretary Ed Schafer (2008–2009)
Secretary Mike Johanns (2005–2007)
Secretary Ann Veneman (2001–2005)
Secretary Dan Glickman (1995–2001)
Secretary Mike Espy (1993–1994)
Secretary Clayton K. Yeutter (1989–1991)
Secretary John R. Block (1981–1986)
Secretary Robert Bergland (1977–1981)

USGC Statement on Vilsack Trade Comments

A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight following remarks by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at the 2015 Commodity Classic in Phoenix:

“We appreciate the Secretary’s call today at Commodity Classic for renewed engagement in trade policy by U.S. farmers and completion of game-changing agreements currently being negotiated, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“In the past 20 years, much of the growth in trade we have seen in coarse grains and co-products has come directly from the access granted by free trade agreements. NAFTA, CAFTA-DR and agreements with Korea, Panama, Peru and Colombia have lowered tariffs, kept us competitive in the global marketplace and spurred new innovation by our trading partners that has, in turn, created new demand for our products.

"Free trade measures are in effect with 14 of our top 30 U.S. corn customers from the last marketing year. We have also established favorable trade agreements with top importing countries of U.S. sorghum and barley.

"We are confident that the next generation of trade agreements will have even more dramatic impact as the global economy becomes more integrated and more countries realize the potential for vigorous trade to improve their economies, levels of food security and qualities of life.”

Standing Up for the 2014 Farm Bill
National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association,
National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers

“On behalf of our farmer members, we are united in our support for the comprehensive farm bill passed by Congress just over one year ago. We are keenly aware of the cuts just made to mandatory spending across many titles and strongly oppose any changes or cuts to farm bill programs, many of which are just now being implemented.

“Commodity Classic attendees are anxious about the 32 percent drop in farm income projected for this year, compared to 2014. On a wide range of issues, from the farm safety net to the Renewable Fuel Standard to biotech approvals, certainty is what America’s farmers need most from their elected officials at this time, and we worked hard to improve farm programs in the 2014 farm bill to reduce the burden on taxpayers while ensuring farmers get support when they need it the most.

“Our family farmers work hard each season to provide a safe and abundant supply of food, feed, fuel and fiber for the world. The best way for Congress to support our work is to not stand in the way of a law that works and has great promise for rural America.”

BLM Seeks Bids for New Off-Range Pastures to Care for Wild Horses

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking proposals for new off-range pasture facilities that can provide a free-roaming environment for wild horses removed from Western public lands.
Proposals will be accepted from the following states through April 22, 2015: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming.

One or more off-range pasture contracts will be awarded and each must accommodate a minimum of 100 wild horses.  The contractor must provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for a four-year or nine-year period. 

Applicants who have never conducted business with the government must first obtain a Duns and Bradstreet number at before registering at  to do business with the Federal Government.  There is no fee involved.

To obtain the solicitation: (1) go to ; (2) click on “Search Public Opportunities”; (3) under Search Criteria, select “Reference Number”; (4) put in the solicitation number “L15PS00182”; and (5) click Search” and the solicitation information will appear. The solicitation form describes what to submit and where to send it. 

For assistance, visit or contact Eric Pagal at (202)-591-5079/ or Ken Lund at (202) 912-7034/ They can assist with general questions and/or coordinate a meeting for you with a local BLM contracting officer and small business specialist.

Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended, the BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros while working to ensure that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.  The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is estimated to be 49,209, as of March 1, 2014, which exceeds by more than 22,500 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level. The BLM is also using population growth-suppression (PGS) measures, and is supporting research to improve existing and develop new PGS tools. 

For general questions about the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, please contact 866-468-7826 or


Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowans to nominate farmers for the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award who have taken voluntary actions to improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state. Nominations are due by June 15, 2015 and the nomination form can be found at

The award is a joint effort between the Governor, Lt. Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recognize the efforts of Iowa’s farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality.

“The Iowa Water Quality Initiative is growing due to farmers’ engagement in the plan,” Branstad said. “The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award is our chance to recognize producers who are going the extra mile in their land stewardship.”

“Iowa’s farmers are leading the way in environmental stewardship through collaborative, science-based practices,” said Reynolds. “The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award allows the state to recognize the famers who feed the world and continue to drive Iowa’s economy.”

Farmers that are nominated should have made environmental stewardship a priority on their farm and incorporated best management practices into their farming operation. As true stewards of the land, they recognize that improved water quality and soil sustainability reaps benefits that extend beyond their fields to citizens of Iowa and residents even further downstream.

Nominations may be submitted on a year-round basis and are due by June 15th of the year to be considered for the award. Farm owners and operators are eligible for consideration.

“Iowa is leading the way in using voluntary, science-based practices to protect our soil and improve water quality.  This would not be possible without the thousands of farmers who have collectively invested millions in conservation practices on their farms.  This award is an opportunity to highlight those farmers that are leading the way and going above and beyond to adopt conservation practices on their farm,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

An appointed committee of representatives from both conservation and agricultural groups will review the nominations and select the winners. The recipients will be recognized at the Iowa State Fair.

Since creation of the award in 2012, 219 farm families have been recognized. Winners are presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto. Hagie Manufacturing also sponsors a recognition luncheon for award recipients following the ceremony

USDA Reports IA Corn Price Up Six Cents on the Month, Soybeans Gain 20 Cents

The average price received by farmers for corn in Iowa was $3.85 per bushel according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Agricultural Prices report. This is up $0.06 from the December full month price, but $0.58 lower than January 2014.

The January 2015 average price received by farmers for soybeans, at $10.20 per bushel, was $0.20 more than the December full month price, but $2.60 lower than the January 2014 price.

The January average oat price per bushel was $3.76, unchanged from December, but $0.29 below January 2014.

All hay prices in Iowa averaged $138.00 per ton in January, $33.00 per ton less than January 2014. Alfalfa hay prices fell $39.00 per ton from one year ago, to $156.00 and other hay prices were $23.00 per ton lower than last year, at $107.00.

The January average price was $17.40 per cwt for milk, down $3.50 from December, and $6.50 per cwt below one year ago.

January Farm Prices Received Index Down 2 Points

The January Prices Received Index (Agricultural Production), at 99, based on 2011=100, decreased 2 points (2.0 percent) from December. At 83, the January Crop Production Index is unchanged. At 123, the Livestock Production Index decreased 4 points (3.2 percent). Producers received lower prices for milk, hogs and calves and higher prices for lettuce, broilers and broccoli. In addition to prices, the indexes are impacted by the five-year average monthly mix of commodities producers market. Increased monthly movement of soybeans, cattle, and lettuce offset the decreased broiler, cotton, and egg marketings.

The Prices Received Index is down 1 point (1.0 percent) from January 2014. The Food Commodities Index, at 110, decreased 5 points (4.3 percent) from the previous month and 1 point (0.9 percent) from January 2014.

All crops:
The January index, at 83, is unchanged from December but is 8.8 percent below January 2014. Index increases for oilseeds & grains and vegetable & melon production offset the index decrease for other crop production.

Food grains: At 89, the index for January is 3.5 percent higher than the previous month but is 9.2 percent below a year earlier. The January price for all wheat, at $6.14 per bushel, is up 3 cents from December but is 51 cents below January 2014.

Feed grains: The January index, at 64, is unchanged from last month but is 14 percent below a year ago. The corn price, at $3.81 per bushel, is up 3 cents from last month but is down 61 cents from January 2014. At $7.40 per cwt, sorghum grain is 7 cents above December but 12 cents below January a year earlier.

Oilseeds: At 82, the index for January is unchanged from December but is 20 percent lower than January 2014. The soybean price, at $10.30 per bushel, is unchanged from December but is $2.60 below January a year earlier.

Livestock and products:
The index for January, at 123, is 3.1 percent below the previous month but is up 6.0 percent from January a year earlier. Compared with a year ago, prices are lower for milk and hogs. Prices are higher for cattle, market eggs, calves, broilers, and turkeys.

Meat animals: At 131, the January index is down 2.2 percent from the previous month but is 15 percent higher than a year earlier. At $57.40 per cwt, the January hog price is down $6.90 from December and $3.80 lower than a year earlier. The January beef cattle price of $164 per cwt is unchanged from the previous month but is $26.00 higher than January 2014.

Dairy products: The index for January, at 88, is down 13 percent from the previous month and 25 percent lower than January a year earlier. The January all milk price of $17.60 per cwt is down $2.80 from December and $5.90 lower from January 2014.

January Prices Paid Index Down 2 Points
The January Index of Prices Paid for Commodities and Services, Interest, Taxes, and Farm Wage Rates (PPITW), at 109 percent (2011=100), is down 2 points (1.8 percent) from December but is 1 point (0.9 percent) above January 2014. Lower prices in January for feeder cattle, concentrates, diesel, and herbicides more than offset higher prices for other services, complete feeds, share rents, and taxes.

National Pork Industry Forum to Be Held March 5-7

Delegates from across the United States will gather in San Antonio, March 5-7 for the annual National Pork Industry Forum.

The 15 producers who serve as members of the National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff staff leadership will hear directly from the forum delegates appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Each year the Pork Act Delegates confer, vote on resolutions and advisements and provide valuable direction on the important issues facing pork producers and the industry.

The theme for the annual pork forum – People. Pigs. Planet . – is in reference to the recently adopted Pork Checkoff 2020 Strategic Plan. The new strategic plan is focused on anticipating and managing the changing world facing U.S. pork producers now and in the future.

“As an industry, we have a defined commitment to “elevate U.S. pork as the global protein of choice by continuously and collaboratively working to do what’s right for people, pigs and the planet,” said Dale Norton, president of the National Pork Board and a producer from Bronson, Mich. “It has never been more critical that we work together as producers, processors and foodservice and retail leaders to make a collective difference to pork’s consumers.”

In advance of the annual meeting, members of the National Pork Board also will convene their March board meeting. The agenda for that meeting will include updates on 2015 plans to enhance pork demand, increase market opportunities, improve pork production practices and invest in research priorities.

Included on the 2015 Pork Forum agenda will be opportunities for pork producers to become trained in the pork industry’s Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) certification process, as well as learn more about pork industry programs.

The full agenda is available at As the event draws near, the website will be updated with current information and links to the Pork Forum manual and videos of candidates nominated for industry positions.

Did You Know...  Beef Audio Shorts

... The beef checkoff recently conducted a Content Search Analysis Research Study to uncover the content needs of consumers actively seeking information about beef and competitive proteins online? This study identified how consumers are searching for this information on the web through tools such as Google and Bing Search. Data shows that cooking method searches online have increased year-over-year, specifically slow cooker, with more than 2,000,000 monthly searches. While a majority of “slow cooker” searches happen in the fall and winter, the search volume remains substantial throughout the rest of the year. To capitalize on this consumer search activity, the "Beef. It's What's For Dinner" website created a recipe collection that is focused solely on Slow Cooking beef recipes, and the checkoff utilizes digital advertising to ensure that consumers are aware of these delicious and nutritious recipe options. For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

... Millennial consumers oftentimes both watch TV and, at the same time, are on Twitter, sharing their thoughts about the shows through online social media with friends, family and followers?  The “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” Twitter handle, @Beef, takes advantage of this “second screen” movement by tweeting alongside popular food television shows. By using special TeleContext technology, the beef checkoff has engaged consumers like never before. Be sure to follow @Beef to see each and every delicious tweet! For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

...The checkoff’s “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” brand inspires consumers to cuddle up with comfort foods for winter on social media? Throughout the winter months, the checkoff shared comfort food ideas to warm the winter blues. The Facebook posts helped consumers, including older Millennial parents, find ideas and inspiration on how beef can be included in delicious and convenient comfort foods that are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. The checkoff will continue to reach consumers by sharing recipes and tips, to the over 881,000 fans on the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” Facebook page and the nearly 13,000 @Beef Twitter followers.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

National Pork Board Statement Regarding the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015

The National Pork Board reminds Americans that meat, including pork, is a nutrient-dense food that is not overconsumed on average in America. More than 60 percent of the U.S. population is consuming the Protein Food Group at or below recommended intake levels.1 Scientific evidence shows that eating lean, high-quality protein like pork can help people lose or maintain weight by contributing to feeling full and by preserving lean muscle.2,3,4,5,6 Americans can enjoy six cuts of pork that have less fat than a skinless chicken thigh.7 In fact, the popular pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast. Ideally Americans will seek information from their health professional or registered dietitian to choose lean cuts of meat such as pork. A lean meat for labeling purposes is defined as a meat with less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat.

Meats, including pork, offer a greater percentage of high “nutrient density value” compared to all other protein sources, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.8 A 3-ounce serving of lean pork provides about the same amount of protein as 1.5 cups of black beans, but with 21% fewer calories.7 Research demonstrates that pork can increase dietary variety without adversely affecting total fat or saturated fat intake.9

On the important subject of sustainability, pork production’s carbon footprint is a small fraction (0.35%) of total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.10 Compared with 50 years ago, farmers are now using less land (78 percent) and water (41 percent) per pound of pork produced.

Projected Revenue Insurance Prices

The month of February is important for corn growers in the key Corn Belt states who purchase revenue-based crop insurance policies. It's when the projected prices for those policies are set.

According to DTN, the running average as of 02/27/14: $4.15 per bushel for corn and $9.73 per bushel for soybeans and $5.85 per bushel for wheat.

NFU: Eliminating Corn Ethanol Mandate Would be a Set Back

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said that the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act would cripple rural America's economy and be an enormous step backwards for America's goal of energy independence by a decade or more.

"The elimination of corn-based ethanol as an option to fulfill the Renewable Fuel Standard will reverse the enormous economic prosperity we've seen in rural America since the passage of the RFS and will severely hamstring this nation's goal of energy independence," said Johnson.

Johnson pointed out that corn-based ethanol has been used to fulfill the lion's share of the RFS because it is among the most efficient renewable transportation fuels to produce. It has not only helped reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil but also generates a very valuable by-product that has proven invaluable as animal feed.

"Not only will this bill hurt family farmers and ranchers and the rural economies they support, but it will also increase carbon emissions and petroleum use, neither of which is good for the nation or the environment," said Johnson.

Some of the nation's largest food companies and meat processors have argued that the rise in corn prices since passage of the RFS has forced them to raise food prices for consumers.

Soy Checkoff Positions U.S. Soy Industry as Global Leader

When farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board (USB) wrote the organization’s current long-range strategic plan, they included their vision that U.S. soybeans will be the leader of the global oilseed industry. This summer, USB will join the American Soybean Association and the U.S. Soybean Export Council in leading the global oilseed industry during the 18th International Oilseed Producers Dialogue (IOPD), to be held here in the United States for the first time since 2006.

“This event brings together oilseed industries from all over the world – Asia, Australia, Europe and South and North America,” says Bob Haselwood, soybean farmer from Berryton, Kansas, and USB chairman. “It really highlights that we all have the same goals, and it helps us to find ways to work together to achieve these goals. We’re looking forward to hosting our oilseed colleagues and leading the way to a successful IOPD 2015.”

In addition to hosting the IOPD event, a gathering of representatives of both North and South American soybean farmers will come together as part of the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA). ISGA, which represents 90 percent of the world’s soybean production, works to advance issues important to soybean farmers in North and South America, such as approval of biotech events.

“ISGA is all about showing a united front,” says Jared Hagert, soybean farmer from Emerado, North Dakota, and USB vice chairman. “USB has been involved in several ISGA missions to meet with governments of major soy-importing countries, such as China, and talk about the importance of science-based approval systems for biotech varieties. There is not a stronger signal we could send than standing together with farmers from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay with a common view on an issue.”

Exact dates and locations will be announced in the coming months.

Brazil Trucker Protest Enters 10th Day

As Brazilian truckers blocked highways for a 10th day, the prospect that the protests will impose massive losses on the soy sector, and agribusiness in general, becomes more real.

There is little sign of the protest movement waning. As of 9:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m. CST), blockades were detaining trucks at 111 points across all the main agricultural regions, topping the 97 points registered at the same time Thursday, said the highway police.

The blockades are really starting to slow the soy harvest in northern Mato Grosso, Brazil's biggest producing area, as farms see stocks of diesel to fuel machinery run dry.

On Thursday morning, Mato Grosso Agricultural Economy Institute (IMEA) estimated 20% of the Mato Grosso's soybean farmers had already run out of diesel.

Compounding farmer problems, protestors are sometimes blocking beans traveling from the farm to the elevators. With little on-farm storage, farmers are worried that they will have nowhere to put beans, if they continue harvesting.


Monsanto is advancing toward commercializing Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybeans, and this year the company will expand its training and education efforts to reach a broader number of growers and geographies.  The USDA deregulated Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in January, and Monsanto anticipates the new technology will be available to growers in 2016 pending necessary regulatory approvals.

“This will potentially be the largest biotech launch in Monsanto’s history,” said Miriam Paris, Xtend system launch manager. “Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will provide farmers another tool for weed management, and we are excited to bring farmers an expansive number of varieties with superior germplasm and enhanced agronomic packages. Our breeders have been working diligently through the last decade to develop a robust series of products to fit farmers’ needs.”

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will be available in potentially more than 60 varieties across eight maturity groups, which is more than six times the varieties offered in the launch year of Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybeans. In addition, farmers can look forward to improved resistance packages against nematodes and phythophthora root rot with these varieties.

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will be available in Asgrow® brand, Channel® brand, Monsanto Regional brands and licensee brands. Asgrow brand will lead with the largest number of varieties spanning eight maturity groups.  Longer term, the company believes this technology to be a fit on the majority of the 200 million acres in North America and South America.

Expanded Training and Education Efforts in 2015
In 2015, there will be more in-field training available to growers and retailers, which will include Roundup Ready Learning Xperience sites and the Ground Breakers® program. These Ground Breakers farmers will have first-hand experience with these new products. To learn more about their experiences, visit In addition, Monsanto will host in-field education events at dozens of locations including field days and learning centers. These sites help engage and educate growers, seed dealers, retailers and applicators about effective and sustainable weed management.

Thursday February 26 Ag News

Mid Plains Beef Session -  Preparing for the Breeding Season
April 2  UNL Ag Research and Development Center, 1071 County Road G, south of Mead, NE
Program Schedule:  Lunch 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
     Program Speakers - 12:45 p.m.  – 3:15 p.m.
     Breeding Soundness Exam and Trich Testing of Bulls – Dr. Richard Randle, UNL Extension DVM
     Keep vs. Cull – What to do with problem cows –non calvers, late calvers, last calf – Dr. Kate Brooks, UNL Extension Livestock Economist
     Pasture Lease Provisions – Al Vyhnalek, Platte Co. Extension Educator

Cost is $10 if registered by March 27 or $15 at the door.  Pre-register by contacting Saunders County Extension Office 402-694-8030 or email Lindsay Chichester at


Dietary changes needed for early lactation beef cows

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist

Beef cow owners have known for years that body condition at calving time is a critical determinant in the re-breeding performance of the cows during the next breeding season.  Another key factor that impacts return to estrus cycles and re-breeding is the maintenance or loss of body condition after calving and before breeding.  Cows losing body condition after calving and before the breeding season will be slower to return to heat cycles and rebreed at a lower rate.  Therefore it is necessary that the cow manager understand the change in nutrient requirements of beef cows as they change from gestating cows to early lactation cows.

Using an example of a 1200 pound cow in late gestation, one can examine the nutrient increases as she delivers the calf and starts to lactate.   A 1200 pound late gestation cow requires 1.9 pounds of crude protein daily and 12.9 pounds of Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN).  She can consume voluntarily 24 pounds of dry matter feed/day.  The same cow after calving will weigh at least 100 pounds less (birth weight of calf, placenta, and fluid loss).  An 1100 pound cow in early lactation requires 2.9 pounds of protein each day.  That is a 52% increase in protein needs.  Her energy requirements go up substantially as well.  She needs 16.8 pounds of TDN each day (if she is an average milking beef cow).  This represents a 30% increase in energy intake per day.  Her daily dry matter intake also increases from 24 to 29 pounds but this represents only a 20% increase.

As we examine this example it is very clear that the cow will voluntarily consume a small increase in dry matter, however her needs in protein and energy both increase in larger percentages.  Therefore an increase in both diet quality and quantity is necessary after calving to insure that body condition is maintained into and through the breeding season.

Management questions to consider: 
     - Am I meeting the nutrient requirements of my lactating cows?
     - Have I saved my highest quality forages  for my lactating cows?
     - What is the protein and energy content of the feedstuffs I’m feeding my lactating cows? 
     - What is an average body condition score for my mature cows at calving?
     - What is an average body condition score for my first calf heifers and 3 year old cows at calving?


A new study co-authored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers has unearthed the genetic roots of resistance to a wheat disease that has recently devastated crop yields from southern Africa through the Middle East.

    Though reports of stem rust date back to biblical plagues and ancient Greece, plant breeders successfully combated the disease by introducing rust-resistant cultivars in the mid-20th century. Stem rust epidemics largely faded until 1999, when a mutated strain -- Ug99 -- emerged in the east African country of Uganda.

    Ug99 and its recent variants have toppled nearly all previously resistant genes. The rare holdouts include Sr2, found in an especially hardy wheat variety named Gage that was co-released by the University of Nebraska and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1963.

    The recently published study isolated and examined DNA sequences of Gage to ascertain why it enjoys greater resistance to stem rust, including Ug99, than other cultivars featuring the Sr2 gene. The authors concluded that Gage's rust-resistance during adulthood likely owes to a combination of Sr2 and an additional gene, which the team believes also contributes to the wheat’s resistance in the seedling stage of its development.

    The researchers have narrowed down the location and potential identity of this additional gene, which they said they hope to soon verify through further study.

    "It so happens that the source of Sr2 that was used to create Gage -- the variety Hope -- actually had a number of other stem rust resistance genes in it," said P. Stephen Baenziger, a co-author and the Nebraska Wheat Growers Presidential Chair at UNL. "Our results would say that it looks like Gage got the lucky straw, so to speak, from Hope.

    "If it's a two-gene resistance, then it should be more durable. Let's say you have a mutation that
allows something to become virulent to your gene one in a million times. When you have two genes, the idea would be that a mutation that overcomes both genes happens only once in a million multiplied by a million."

    Drawing a genetic map to that level of resistance could prove extremely valuable against Ug99, which has raced down the Nile River valley to threaten some of the most fertile areas of the Middle East and west Asia.

    The wealthiest African farmers fight Ug99 with fungicides, which introduce foreign chemicals into the environment. Yet most farmers in the affected regions cannot afford these fungicides, leaving them little defense against the ravages of the mutated strain, according to Baenziger.

    "It's already crossed over into the Arabian Peninsula. It's spreading now toward Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, which are the real breadbaskets for that part of Asia," Baenziger said.

    "It's important to understand the resistance to stem rust, because with the mutations that are coming out of Africa, we're losing genes all the time. But Sr2 is still resistant to it, and now that we can associate parts of the genome with the resistance, we're making good progress."

    The team's study appeared in the January-February edition of the journal Crop Science. Baenziger's UNL co-authors included Tadele Kumssa, postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Plant Science Innovation, along with postdoctoral researcher Mary Guttieri, professor Ismail Dweikat and assistant professor Aaron Lorenz, all with the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Researchers from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Minnesota, North Carolina State University and Kansas State University also contributed to the study.


Nebraska's layer numbers during 2014 averaged 9.47 million, up 2 percent from the year earlier, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The annual average production per layer on hand in 2014 was 302 eggs, up 1 percent from 2013.

Nebraska egg production during the year ending November 30, 2014 totaled 2.86 billion eggs, up
3 percent from 2013.

Total number of chickens on hand on December 1, 2014 (excluding commercial broilers) was
11.6 million birds, up 1 percent from last year.

The total value of all chickens in Nebraska on December 1, 2014 was $35.8 million, down 13
percent from December 1, 2013. The average value decreased from $3.60 per bird on December
1, 2013, to $3.10 per bird on December 1, 2014.

I-29 Dairy Beef Short Course March 24

The I-29 Dairy Outreach Consortium is offering the Moo University, Dairy Beef Short Course March 24 as part of the Central Plains Dairy Expo pre-conference educational events.

This event is being co-sponsored by the I-29 Dairy Outreach Consortium which includes SDSU Extension, University of Minnesota Extension, Iowa State University Extension, North Dakota State University Extension, and Nebraska Extension Services, Iowa State Dairy Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers, & SW MN Dairy Profit Group and Hubbard Feeds.

The Moo University, Dairy Beef Short Course which will be held March 24 begins at 11 a.m. and concludes around 3 p.m. in rooms 6 & 7 of the Sioux Falls Convention Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (1201 N. West Avenue).

This event is free and lunch will be provided to attendees.

Due to limited seating capacity, attendees are encouraged to pre-register for the event. To pre-register, for this free short course, contact Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Specialist at 605.882.5140 or by email.

Topics to be covered during the short Course include the following:

-- Is There Profit in Dairy Steers? Economics (Budgets, Breakeven & Marketing) of Dairy Beef Production; led by Robert Tigner, Nebraska Extension Educator, Agriculture

-- Nutritional and Management Strategies for Dairy Beef Producers; led by Reid McDaniels, SDSU Extension Beef Feedlot Specialist.

-- The impact of the Veterinary Feed Directive on Dairy Beef Production; led by Russ Daly, SDSU Extension Veterinarian, Associate Professor and State Public Health Veterinarian.

-- Specialized Management for Dairy Beef: High energy feeding, implants, marketing dairy beef; led by Hubbard Feed's representative.

Upon completion of the seminar attendees are encouraged to partake in the evening activities during the Welcome Reception for the Central Plains Dairy Expo, featuring Thompson Square as entertainment.

The Welcome Reception is free to dairy producers, dairy beef feeders and others in the dairy industry. It is being held in the Sanford Premier Center, which is adjacent to the Convention Center. To learn more, visit the Central Plains Dairy Expo website.

Fuel Tax Legislation Signed by Branstad

Transportation infrastructure is essential for corn growers and Iowa's economy. Because Iowa's roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair, today Governor Branstad signed SF 257 into law, which will provide the necessary funding for the growing maintenance demands. The legislation increases the state fuel tax by 10 cents, directing more than $200 million into Iowa's Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF), a constitutionally protected mechanism to support transportation infrastructure projects.

"Farmers and agribusiness rely on Iowa's roads and bridges, and the longevity of our infrastructure relies on us," says Jerry Mohr, a farmer from Eldridge and current ICGA president. "We thank Governor Branstad and the Iowa Legislature for passage of this important bill for Iowa's future."

The bill passed both the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate on Tuesday, and Governor Branstad signed the bill into law this morning. SF 257 increases the current state fuel tax by 10 cents, effective March 1, while maintaining a differential incentive for ethanol and adding an incentive for biodiesel blends of fuel.

On behalf of its nearly 8,000 farmer members across the state, the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) thanked Branstad and the Iowa Legislature for their support of SF 257 which will ensure the future of Iowa's transportation infrastructure.

Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey Shows Slight Increases for 2015

Rates for custom machine work and services are showing a steady increase again for 2015, according to the 2015 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey. The service categories that were surveyed include information on tillage, planting, spraying, harvesting and hauling grain and forages. Also included are values for miscellaneous services, and machinery and grain storage rental.

Alejandro Plastina, economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, indicates that expected farm custom rates for 2015 increased 1.2 percent from their 2014 survey results.

“In dollar terms, rates are 19 cents higher on average. However, 90 percent of the changes in custom rates range between a decline of $2.10 and an increase of $2.20 from their 2014 levels, averaging only a 1-cent increase,” said Plastina.

Reported values on the survey are averaged from all the received responses for each category. The range of the highest and lowest responses received is also reported. The values survey participants report are what they expect to pay or charge in the coming year. These values are intended only as a guide to help both custom operators and people who hire custom work done arrive at a reasonable rate.

A total of 166 Iowa farmers, custom operators and farm managers replied to the survey. Twenty-five percent of them reported that they performed custom work for others, 11 percent reported hiring custom work done and 64 percent indicated that they did both.

There are many reasons why the rate charged in a particular situation should be above or below the average. These include the timeliness with which operations are performed, quality and special features of the machine, operator skill, size and shape of fields, number of acres contracted, and the condition of the crop for harvesting. The availability of custom operators in a given area also will affect rates.

Ag Decision Maker offers a Decision Tool to help custom operators and other farmers estimate their own costs for specific machinery operations. The Machinery Cost Calculator, File A3-29 can be found under Crops, then Machinery in the Ag Decision Maker left-hand navigation bar.

The 2015 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey is available at your county extension office or online as publication FM-1698, from the Extension Online Store, or as Information File A3-10, Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, on the Ag Decision Maker website

FARMLAND Documentary Debuting on DVD

Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll's feature-length documentary, FARMLAND, will be available on DVD beginning Tuesday, March 3, at Walmart and The availability of the documentary at retail locations across the country and online, provides another opportunity for viewers to experience the film, which offers a firsthand glimpse inside the world of farming by showcasing the lives of six young farmers and ranchers in their twenties.

FARMLAND premiered in theaters across the country in spring 2014, and now, beginning March 3rd, is available on hard disk for rent and purchase at Netflix, Amazon, select retail outlets and via On Demand platforms.

"Walmart is certainly the premier retail outlet for top-line DVD releases," said Mark Borde, Freestyle Media. "We were thrilled they selected FARMLAND to be one of their new documentary titles this month."

DVDs of FARMLAND will be for sale at select Walmart locations and on beginning March 3rd. The documentary is also now available to rent on DVD from Netflix and to purchase on Amazon, with continued availability for rent and purchase via digital download on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On-Demand, Sony PlayStation,, Xbox and YouTube.

"I'm thrilled by how wide the distribution has been for Farmland." said Moll. "There's a lot of interest out there in the lives of young farmers and ranchers. It is a fascinating topic and I'm glad that there's such a demand for the film on DVD and online."

During its theatrical debut in 2014, FARMLAND was shown in more than 170 theaters across the country. The film was also featured at film festivals in Atlanta, Cleveland, Nashville and Newport Beach, Calif.

Produced by Moll's Allentown Productions, FARMLAND was made with the generous support of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, of which the National Corn Growers Association was a founding affiliate. Check out the official trailer and more information about the feature length documentary at

National Wheat Foundation Announces Wheat Yield Competition

Today the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) announced the creation and implementation of a National Wheat Yield Contest during a press conference at Commodity Classic. Through the primary support of BASF, NWF is able to launch this new venture.

“We appreciate the generous support of our primary industry partner, BASF, to assist in the creation of this program. We are looking forward to this contest increasing grower productivity, helping build a stronger U.S. wheat industry and increasing knowledge transfer between growers,” commented NWF chairman, Dusty Tallman, wheat grower from Brandon, Colo.

The contest hopes to increase U.S. wheat grower productivity to ensure an ample supply of quality U.S. wheat to reliably meet the needs of the domestic wheat market and our foreign customers.

“Our goal is to help growers get the most out of every acre,” said Neil Bentley, Director of Marketing, BASF. “Initiatives such as the National Wheat Yield Contest give growers an opportunity to work with innovations that help them break yield barriers, and allows farmers to grow and learn from one another.”

A few objectives of the National Wheat Yield Contest are: drive innovation, enable knowledge transfer between growers, urge experimentation with new technologies, and identify top wheat producers in each state.

Yield contest participants will compete by wheat class, by dryland or irrigated and by state and region to ensure the competition is between peers. Contest parameters include class, geography, quality and yield. The contest rules are still being developed and will be announced well prior to the entry start date.

USDA Releases Data Showing How Trans Pacific Partnership Benefits All 50 States

In conjunction with a series of Made in Rural America Executive Actions announced today by President Obama and the White House, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released data today showing the opportunities for agriculture of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to help boost agricultural exports across the 50 United States. TPP is a 21st century trade agreement that will promote job growth, increase farm income, generate greater rural economic activity, and help expand U.S. agricultural exports to some of the fastest growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region. USDA released its TPP data today after President Obama announced a set of new executive actions to help grow manufacturing in rural areas and to provide new markets to small businesses across our nation's heartland. The President's announcement underscored the White House's "Made in Rural America" initiative launched in February 2014 and co-led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Fiscal years 2009 to 2014 represent the strongest six years in history for U.S. agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $771.7 billion, despite the fact that many other countries' markets are not as open to American products as our markets are to theirs. Agricultural exports last fiscal year reached $152.5 billion, the highest level on record. U.S. agricultural exports now support more than one million jobs here at home, a substantial part of the nearly 11.3 million jobs supported by exports all across our country.

Here is just a snapshot of how the TPP would boost exports of some U.S. food and agricultural products:

    Soybeans and Soybean Products: Under the Agreement, tariffs across the TPP region will be cut, offering new market access opportunities to U.S. producers and exporters of soybeans and soybean products. In 2014 the United States exported $5.5 billion of this product to the TPP region.

    Poultry and Beef: Under the Agreement, tariffs across the TPP region will be cut, offering new market access opportunities to U.S. poultry and beef producers and exporters. In 2014, the United States exported about $7 billion in poultry and beef to the TPP region.

    Fresh Fruits and Fresh and Processed Vegetables: Under the Agreement, tariffs across the TPP region will be cut, offering new market access opportunities to producers and exporters of U.S. fresh fruits and fresh and processed vegetables. In 2014, the United States exported about $8.1 billion of these products to the TPP region.

Trade is a vital contributor to the U.S. economy. More than 95 percent of the world's potential consumers, representing nearly 80 percent of the world's purchasing power, live outside our borders. To learn how the TPP would benefit your state's food and agricultural economy, visit

Ethanol Industry Leaders Gather in Phoenix

Today, Growth Energy, the leading trade organization representing ethanol producers and supporters, kicked off its sixth annual Executive Leadership Conference at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.

This morning, Jeff Broin, co-chair of Growth Energy’s Board of Directors, delivered a “Chairman’s Report” that outlined the current state of the renewable fuels industry and how this year is all about “moving ahead and moving faster” to bring clean, homegrown fuels to the American consumer. Broin noted how 2014 was a historic year for our industry, stating that producers have been selling a “clean, green, high octane, homegrown product at a huge discount.”

Broin continued by thanking retailers who have started offering E15, noting that, “We are proud to support you and stand with you to bring American Ethanol to our customers." Broin highlighted what is at stake – saying, “This is more than a war simply between ethanol and oil; it’s a war between agriculture and oil.” Broin concluded by saying, "This is a war we need to keep fighting, a war we cannot loose. The world is depending on us."

Following Jeff Broin’s speech, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, delivered his annual “CEO Report.” In his address, Buis told attendees, “We are winning this battle and we are winning because of you.” He outlined how oil “Hates us, cause they ain’t us.” He highlighted the accomplishments of the industry this past year. Buis stated, “We have always faced challenges, that’s life, but we focused on growing demand for our product. We have doubled the number of retailers offering E15 this past year, it’s only a matter of time before 2015 becomes the year of E15.” He explained that E15 is the “low hanging fruit” we have to promote and get into the marketplace.

Buis also attacked the so-called food vs. fuel myth, explaining how this fallacy cannot be substantiated by any facts and stated, “It’s time to stick a fork in this food vs. fuel debate.” Furthermore, Buis outlined how defending the Renewable Fuel Standard and expanding market access to E15 will be among the industry’s top priorities in 2015.

Additionally, Buis highlighted the importance of engaging with members of Congress and candidates – telling attendees, “We must continue to educate them on the benefits of ethanol – it reduces our dependence on foreign oil, improves our environment and creates jobs that can be outsourced and ensures a robust farm economy.”

In conclusion, Buis noted that this will not be an easy challenge, and that “America has a can do attitude, and that is what we have to get back to.” He recalled how he called on President Obama to “Tear down this bendwall”
a year ago, continuing, “We are still waiting Mr. President.” Buis also recalled a famous quote of the president, noting that “Yes we can,” when it comes to energy independence, clean air and higher blends of ethanol that are better performing and less expensive and offer consumers a choice and savings at the pump.

Buis closed by saying, “We all know that this is a battle – one over market share, and one that will not be accomplished overnight. Whenever you think there is a challenge, remember what Henry Ford said, ‘When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.’ The facts are on our side and regardless of the challenges; we are going to win this fight.”

Toomey, Feinstein & Flake Legislation Shortsighted Policy

In response to legislation to be introduced today by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) that would repeal the corn ethanol portion of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following statement.

“Just like their previous failed attempt, this legislation is incredibly shortsighted. Nearly identical legislation has been introduced in the past and has always failed to gain any traction since a majority of senators understand the importance of homegrown, American renewable fuels. This bill would eviscerate the RFS - the most successful energy policy enacted in the last 40 years. It will continue to keep us addicted to foreign oil and more than anything, it seems like this legislation is appeasing the wishes of Big Oil and Big Food.

“Additionally, this legislation is based on false, misleading information. To blame ethanol for an increase in the price of food may make for good rhetoric, but it is completely devoid of any facts to back it up. Corn ethanol is not the cause of higher food prices; it is the price of oil that is responsible. Even the World Bank outlined how crude oil prices are responsible for over 50 percent of the increase in food prices since 2004. Countess studies have shown that oil prices, Wall Street speculators and the high costs of manufacturing, packaging and transportation are the true culprits driving up food prices. Furthermore, 2014 yielded a record corn crop and the price of corn dropped precipitously throughout the harvest, even as food costs increased.

“The authors of this legislation fail to understand the actual process of how ethanol is produced. Only the starch is removed, while all of the valuable components – the fiber, oil and protein are returned to the food chain in the form of a high protein animal feed.

“Additionally, ethanol has clear environmental benefits. According to the Argonne National Laboratory, compared to gasoline, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent. Advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 percent in comparison to gasoline.

“If this legislation was adopted, it would embrace the status quo of our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil, concede we no longer are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and seek to pursue a policy that would result in massive upheaval and job loss in today’s booming rural economy.

“It appears to me, this legislation is nothing more than a concession to demands of Big Oil and Big Food, who care more about their own bottom line than the American consumer. Furthermore, this is a slap in the face to consumers who deserve a choice and savings when they go to fill up at the pump.”

Corn Growers to Congress: Don’t Turn Your Back on Ethanol and Other Renewable Fuels

Today, Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act. National Corn Growers Association board member Keith Alverson of South Dakota issued the following statement:

“Every year, corn ethanol gets cleaner and more efficient, and oil gets dirtier. Congress should not turn its back on the success we have seen in renewable fuels. The Renewable Fuel Standard is working. We are growing renewable, clean energy right here in America. Corn ethanol is better for the environment and has historically lowered the cost of filling our tanks by nearly a dollar.

"With a second consecutive record crop, there is more than enough corn to meet all demands for food, fuel, feed, and fiber. Corn farmers have more than met our commitment on the RFS. There are many good reasons to continue this policy, and we look forward to working with Congress to support it.”

Agroconsult Raises Brazil Soy View to 94.7 MMT

Agroconsult, a Brazilian farm consultancy, Thursday raised its forecast for the local 2014-15 soybean crop by 828,000 metric tons to 94.7 million metric tons based on the good health of the crops encountered during the first three stages of its Rally da Safra crop tour.
Farmers were busy harvesting soybean crops Feb. 25 at Sorriso, Mato Grosso and averaging 48 bushels per acre. (DTN photo by Marcia Zarley Taylor)

The hike bucks the recent trend for declining estimates due to the dry January in the top-producing Center-West region.

The strong development of the crop in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul and Parana and the center-west state of Mato Grosso do Sul will offset losses registered due to dry weather in Minas Gerais and Goias, said Agroconsult in a press statement.

The Agroconsult number is at the top end of forecasts for the 2014-15 crop, which range from 90 mmt to 95 mmt. The crop is about 25% harvested.

The consultancy lowered its summer corn forecast by 979,000 mt to 29.0 mmt due to poor yields in Minas Gerais. Second-crop corn production is pegged at 50 mmt, up 4% on the year before.

USDA Opens Public Comment Period for Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Interim Final Rule

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on its interim final rule for the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), designed to help producers protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated three previous conservation easement programs into ACEP to make it easier for diverse agricultural landowners to fully benefit from conservation initiatives.

“Since 2009, USDA has worked with producers and private landowners to enroll a record number of acres in conservation programs. This interim final rule takes into account recommendations from agricultural landowners and conservation stakeholders about how to better streamline and enhance conservation easement processes,” Vilsack said.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers ACEP, a voluntary program created in the 2014 Farm bill to protect and restore critical wetlands on private and tribal lands through the wetland reserve easement component. ACEP also encourages farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forest landowners to keep their private and tribal land in agricultural use through the agricultural land easement component. ACEP also conserves grasslands, including rangeland, pastureland and shrubland.

Under ACEP’s agricultural land component, tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with USDA to purchase conservation easements. NRCS easement programs have been a critical tool in recent years for advancing landscape-scale private lands conservation.  In FY 2014, NRCS used $328 million in ACEP funding to enroll an estimated 143,833 acres of farmland, grassland, and wetlands through 485 new easements.  In Florida, NRCS used ACEP funds to enroll an additional 6,700 acres in the Northern Everglades Watershed, supporting the restoration and protection of habitat for a variety of listed species, including the Wood Stork, Crested caracara, and Eastern Indigo Snake.  In Georgia, NRCS used these funds to complete the Roundabout Swamp project by enrolling 270 acres of the Carolina Bay to help restore and protect the entire bay ecosystem to historic hydrology and vegetation.

ACEP’s agricultural land easement component offers many benefits to landowners and citizens. The easements protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. Other benefits include environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space.

Under ACEP’s wetland component, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of wetland reserve easements. NRCS helps restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands to provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species; improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals; reduce damage from flooding; recharge groundwater; protect biological diversity and provide opportunities for educational, scientific and limited recreational activities. Under the wetland reserve easement component, eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts that are available only for lands owned by American Indian tribes.

The official notice of the proposed ACEP interim final rule can be found in the Federal Register.  Electronic comments during the 60-day comment period must be submitted through  Comments also can be hand carried or mailed to Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. NRCS-2014-0011, Regulatory and Agency Policy Team, Strategic Planning and Accountability, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Building 1-1112D, Beltsville, MD 20705.


They are the heart of the family and the backbone of their farm operation. They are farm moms, and they nourish, nurse and care for everything and everyone in their families, on their farms and in their communities. To once again recognize and thank these inspiring women, Monsanto Company today announced it has opened up nominations for its 2015 America’s Farmers Mom of the Year contest. Nominations will be accepted now through March 31.

“The America’s Farmers Mom of the Year program is one of the most fulfilling things we have the honor of doing all year,” says Tracy Mueller, Monsanto Corporate Brand Communications Manager. “Each year we read about the strong, caring and dedicated moms who not only help raise their crops, livestock and other agricultural goods, but who nurture their families and actively support their communities. Every story is amazing.”

Anyone can nominate their favorite farm mom, whether it’s their mom, sister, aunt, daughter, friend or community member. Just visit during the nomination period and submit a brief essay online or by mail that explains how the nominated farm mom contributes to her family, farm, community and agriculture. Be sure to address all four areas as a panel of judges from American Agri-Women will use that as part of the criteria they use to help Monsanto select five regional winners.

“It’s so humbling to read about all of the amazing farm moms who give so much of themselves and ask for nothing in return,” says Donnell Scott, Vice President of Education for American Agri-Women. “It truly is just a part of who they are, and they don’t expect, or want, a lot of credit or attention for what they do. It’s their selflessness that makes our job to judge the nominations extremely difficult, but also so rewarding.”

The five regional winners will be announced at the end of April, and each winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize. Profiles of the winners will then be posted to, where the public can vote for one national farm mom winner. Announced just prior to Mother’s Day, the national winner will receive an additional $5,000 cash prize above and beyond her regional prize, for a total of $10,000.

For more information on the program or for complete eligibility requirements and official contest rules visit Interested parties may also send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to America's Farmers Mom of the Year, Attn: Sue Dillon, 349 Marshall Ave., Ste. 200, St. Louis, MO 63119.

Pioneer Arms Professional Agricultural Advisory Network with Latest Tools, Services and Products

DuPont Pioneer will showcase new tools and services available to growers from its industry-leading professional advisory network at the 2015 Commodity Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. During the trade show, Pioneer will demonstrate a new mobile-enabled agronomy App and a new input management platform available through Encirca services. 

“In today’s complex and intensely competitive agricultural environment, growers count on reliable information and insights to help them make the best management decisions for their operations,” said Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer vice president, business director-U.S. and Canada. “For nearly 90 years, Pioneer has excelled in providing growers with access to an expert field team that provides tailored advice and whole-farm solutions to position the right products on the right acres and improve their productivity and profitability.”

Pioneer showcased the uniqueness and strength of the DuPont Pioneer field team with a new video clip titled “With You from the Word Go,” which spotlights the team of specialized professionals who provide on-the-ground support to Pioneer customers – from Pioneer agronomists to Pioneer sales professionals to Encirca℠ certified services agents.
Top Agronomy Library Now Mobile-Enabled

During Commodity Classic, Pioneer will unveil a new, free Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy App that will enable growers, Pioneer sales professionals and Pioneer agronomists to easily access and search the Pioneer Agronomy Information Service library on any mobile device. This tool provides access to hundreds of agronomy insights, articles and photos across a variety of topics, including weed and pest control, overall crop management and more.

Pioneer has more than 150 technical product and agronomy professionals who lead more than 10,000 on-farm trials and collaborate with dozens of universities across the United States and Canada to conduct Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy trials. This work ensures that agronomic advice is tailored to local conditions and to a grower’s operation and that insight is captured each growing cycle.

“Pioneer has led the industry in bringing professional agronomy services to growers since the 1950s,” said Reno. “I’m proud of this legacy and that today we are making our vast resource library more easily accessible.”

Download the Pioneer® GrowingPoint® agronomy App for iOS (iPhone, iPad) or for Andriod devices. Once installed, resources are available even without a cellular or internet connection.
Input Management Services Draw New Users

Pioneer continues to build on its Encirca℠ services, including the recent release of Encirca℠ Yield Stand to give growers the insight to help them maximize plant stands and yield potential on every acre.

The service helps growers tailor corn and soybean planting prescriptions to unique areas of each field. It includes risk analysis and planting priority tools to make real-time adjustments if weather or other factors interfere with spring planting. At the end of the season, a trusted Pioneer advisor will consult with growers and conduct a yield analysis to learn from every field, every season.  Encirca℠ Yield Stand joins the Encirca℠ Yield Nitrogen Management Service as a cutting-edge input management offering for growers.

Pioneer is seeing strong grower adoption of these new productivity tools with nearly 500,000 acres enrolled in the Encirca℠ Yield Nitrogen Management Service and solid interest in the newly available Encirca℠ Yield Stand service.
Advancements for Corn and Soybean Product Lines

Focused investments in research and development continue to drive innovation in the Pioneer seed product pipeline with near-term launches in corn and solid progression in its North America soybean lineup.

Pioneer launched Pioneer® brand Optimum® Leptra™ corn hybrids in the southern U.S. in 2014 under a stewarded program. With the recent Chinese import approval of the Agrisure Viptera® trait, Pioneer will expand the U.S. lineup of Optimum® Leptra™ corn hybrids in 2015 and growers who use these trait stacked corn products will no longer be subject to grain channeling requirements. In addition,

Pioneer is expected to launch Event DP 4114 early in the second half of this decade, pending regulatory approvals in key import markets. Event DP 4114 will help enable Pioneer to develop higher yielding corn hybrids and expand its triple-stack offerings to about half of its North American corn volume in the years following introduction. DP 4114 received cultivation approval in the United States and Canada in 2013 and will conduct IMPACT™ trials with the product this year.

In soybeans, Pioneer is making solid progress transitioning its North America lineup to its newest Pioneer® brand T series varieties, which will account for about two-thirds of volume in 2015. This year soybean varieties with the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ trait will be tested in our IMPACT™ trial system with first commercial sales anticipated as early as 2016, pending completion of field testing and applicable regulatory reviews.

Pioneer also launched BOLT™ technology herbicide-tolerant trait in soybeans, which provides growers with more options and flexibility to manage glyphosate-resistant weeds from the start of the season. For 2015, Pioneer® brand T Series with BOLT™ technology will be available to farmers across the Mid-South in maturity groups IV and V.

Whether growers are seeking best-in-class data management solutions for their planting programs, or a wide range of seed options to help them maximize their yield potential on their farms, DuPont Pioneer has the tools to bring their plans to life.

“With growers increasingly focused on managing against tightening margins, we see our products and service offerings as an important tool for growers seeking innovative solutions,” Reno said. “Our team of experts will be available to help growers identify the right solutions to help get them to their yield goals in 2015.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday February 25 Ag News

Fortenberry Introduces Farm to School Act

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) today joined Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to introduce the Farm to School Act to expand and strengthen the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm to School Grant program. Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

“Schools throughout Nebraska and across the U.S. are eagerly embracing local foods from local farms,” Fortenberry said. “More than 10,000 schools participate in Farm to School programs and we can incentivize this important trend. The Farm to School Act creates a win-win-win for schools, students and area farmers. Schools have more options to purchase fresh food, students receive nutritious meal choices, and farmers and ranchers are given new market opportunities.”

The Farm to School Act promotes the use of fresh, locally produced foods in schools. The legislation will expand the existing USDA Farm to School Grant program to include preschools and summer and after school programs. Tribal schools will also see increased access to foods from tribal producers.   

In the 2008 Farm Bill, Fortenberry sponsored language allowing optional geographic preference in sourcing local foods for school nutrition programs and helped improve USDA’s Farm to School initiative.

Fortenberry is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He is a former chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Credit.  

Policy to be Focus at Commodity Classic

With Commodity Classic Grand Opening in Phoenix only one day away, the National Corn Growers Association invites attendees to dig a little deeper at three association-sponsored Learning Centers and one What's New Session. Highlighting some of NCGA's hottest programs and offering valuable advice for farmers, these opportunities offer a unique chance to get ahead of the curve and support the overall industry.

The first session, "Finding CommonGround," kicks off Friday at 12:30 pm. CommonGround volunteers Sara Ross and Joan Ruskamp will show attendees how CommonGround, a grassroots movement of farm women who want to foster conversations between the women who grow and raise food and those who buy it. Using the power of their personal experiences, Ross and Ruskamp will explain how farm women across the country are sharing their experiences and helping consumers feel confident about American ag today. The session will also feature an interactive component that will allow all attendees to work in groups and put the CommonGround approach to consumer conversations in action.

At 1:45 that afternoon, "Helping Farmers Take Political Action" will explore how farmers can make their voices heard in the media, state capitol and in Washington to protect your way of life and defend your ability to produce food, feed, fiber and fuel for the world. The public respects the American farmer and trusts farmers over many of the opponents we face. However, agriculture can only use that tremendous advantage if farmers use their voices. Join nationally-renowned grassroots influence expert and author Amy Showalter to be motivated to become involved through a greater understanding on how powerful and important your voice as a farmer is with media and lawmakers.

At 3:00 pm, join The Soil Health Partnership for "Farmers of the Soil Health Partnership - A Panel to Discuss Soil Health Contributions to Productivity, Profitability and Sustainability." Demonstration network farmers will discuss what they've learned, experienced and shared while hosting farmer-to-farmer field days within their communities, The session will begin with a  review of the current program goals and first year focus geography and benchmark data collected from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. This panel boasts a diverse set of agronomic skills and experiences that will help grower attendees around the country improve their operations. They will share their thoughts on soil health, experiences with conservation cropping system practices and give advice to those interested in adopting cover crops, prescription nutrient management and other soil health practices.

Finally, at 3:30 pm, NCGA, National Association of Wheat Growers, American Soybean Association and American Farm Bureau Federation, present a What's New Session titled "Learn About New Guidelines to Help Protect Your Farm's Data." Every farmer's data is a valuable asset that can help increase productivity, but do they know who can assess it or how it is being used? Leaders from major farm organizations will explain the new Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data to outline what should be included in any data agreement a farmer signs.

 NFU Voices Strong Opposition to Fast Track, Says Trade Deals Should Be Transparent

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson urged members of Congress to oppose trade promotion authority – also known as fast track – noting that trade agreements should be fair to all parties involved, and the process should be transparent.

“Trade promotion authority (“fast track”) would remove an important constitutional check on the president’s power to negotiate trade agreements,” noted Johnson in a letter sent to all members of Congress today. “Trade agreements must be fair for all parties involved and should therefore be subjected to review by the Congress – not conducted secretly.”

Johnson reminded members of Congress that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was negotiated behind closed doors with little input from the public or Congress. “Congress should have full opportunity to review the provisions of a trade agreement, consistent with the authority and power endowed by the U.S. Constitution,” he said. “The lack of transparency in negotiating TPP is particularly egregious, considering its expansive scope.”

Johnson pointed out that past trade agreements have served to increase, not decrease, the trade deficit. “For 30 years and after several free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, the U.S. has grown a significant trade deficit,” he said.

Last year, the trade deficit increased to $505 billion, representing nearly 3 percent of GDP and slowing growth, Johnson noted. He said that while the positive trade balance of U.S. agriculture trade is good news, “it is massively overshadowed by the alarming overall U.S. trade deficit.”

Johnson pointed out that a major factor impacting the trade deficit is currency manipulation. “Several countries involved in the TPP negotiations are known currency manipulators including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan,” he said. “According to recent reports, the U.S.-Japan trade deficit reached nearly $80 billion in 2013, and currency manipulation was the most significant cause of the deficit.”

“The Economic Policy Institute estimates that this trade deficit with Japan resulted in 896,600 jobs eliminated in the U.S, in nearly every congressional district. Future trade agreements, including TPP, should directly address currency manipulation and include binding consequences for those that continue to manipulate currency,” he said.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. Reports Financial Results for Year-end and Fourth Quarter 2014

Land O'Lakes, Inc. today announced 2014 business results that included net earnings of $266 million on record sales of $15 billion and a record $184 million in cash returned to members. These results were driven by continued growth in key areas of the company’s core business units: Crop Inputs, Dairy Foods and Feed.

“Our 2014 results reflect record annual revenues, continuing nearly a decade of consistent growth and increasing returns for our member-owners,” said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “Our continuing strong performance, together with our value-added, branded focus in businesses which extend from the farm to market – Winfield crop inputs, Purina animal feed and Land O’Lakes consumer foods – positions us to successfully compete in a growing food and agriculture marketplace. From international partnerships to innovative products and services designed to improve on-farm productivity, we’re leveraging our broad portfolio and perspectives to help farmers more productively and sustainably feed the world.”


Net earnings were $266 million, down from $306 million the previous year. These results reflect $18 million in pretax restructure and impairment charges related to a facility closure in Denmark, Wisconsin, and other organizational restructuring. Pretax earnings on continuing operations before unrealized hedging and rebate adjustments, which are used to determine member patronage, were up 11.6 percent to a record $308 million compared to the previous year.

Cash returned to members of $184 million represents a 25 percent increase compared to the previous year. This is the sixth consecutive year cash returned to members has exceeded $100 million, bringing the nine-year total to more than $1 billion.


For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014, Land O’Lakes, Inc. delivered net earnings of $38.3 million on quarterly revenues of $3.5 billion, a slight increase in year-over-year revenues. Fourth quarter earnings reflected the downward pressure exerted on the global dairy markets.


· Crop Inputs reported sales of $4.9 billion, up from the previous year. Pretax earnings totaled $220 million, up $2 million compared to the previous year. These results continue a multi-year trend of growth, driven by the market strength of the WinField brand and successful pursuit of new opportunities in rapidly growing agribusiness segments that focus on productivity, sustainability and new technologies in precision agriculture. Corn volumes were down 3 percent as planted acres decreased due to declines in corn prices. Soybean volumes increased 24 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year. Alfalfa volumes increased 1 percent year over year.

· Dairy Foods reported sales of $5.1 billion, a 13.3 percent increase year-over-year. Pretax earnings for Dairy Foods totaled $40 million, down from $75 million in 2013. Dairy Foods earnings reflect a one-time charge associated with the closure of the Denmark, Wisconsin, dairy facility and a sharp devaluation in global dairy powder markets. Dairy Foods results were driven by strong volumes, particularly in the butter, refrigerated desserts and food service categories. Branded butter volumes increased 9 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year, reflecting the strength of the
LAND O LAKES brand in the resurging butter segment. Kozy Shack refrigerated desserts volumes were up 6 percent.

· Feed reported sales of $4.7 billion, down slightly from $4.8 billion in 2013. Pretax earnings of $27.8 million increased 58 percent compared to the previous year. These results were driven by increased demand for products in the core livestock and lifestyle segments and the successful marketing of the Purina Animal Nutrition Center, located in Gray Summit, Missouri. Livestock feed sales increased 6 percent and Lifestyle product sales increased 2 percent year-over-year. In its first full year of operation, the new Purina Animal Nutrition Center generated $5MM of incremental gross margin, more than triple the gross margin generated in 2012, the last full year prior to the remodeling investment.

During 2014, Land O'Lakes continued to implement previously announced plans to divest of its commodity egg business, operated through Moark, LLC. During the year, the company sold substantially all of the Western and Midwestern assets of this business for $166 million, a profit of $6 million. Land O’Lakes, Inc. continues to evaluate options with respect to the remaining commodity egg assets in the Eastern United States.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Soar; Output Down

Ethanol inventories in the United States soared to a near three-year high last week while domestic production and blending demand both eased, according to data released Wednesday, Feb. 25, by the Energy Information Administration.

Total ethanol stocks jumped nearly 500,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.0%, to 21.6 million bbl during the week-ended Feb. 20, the highest level since the week-ended Apr. 27, 2012. Supplies were up 4.6 million bbl, or 26.8%, from a year earlier.

Regionally, stock builds were reported along the major trade hubs in the East and West Coast plus the key Midwest.

Plant production slumped 18,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.0%, last week to 947,000 bpd while up 4.5% year-over-year with four-week average output up 6.0%.

Blender inputs, a proxy for ethanol demand, fell 7,000 bpd, or 0.8%, to 845,000 bpd, while up 10,000 bpd or 1.2% on a year-over-year basis. Four-week average inputs were up 2.8%.

EIA also reported implied demand for motor gasoline increased 106,000 bpd to 8.915 million bpd, 4.5% higher than the same week last year.

2015 NFU College Conference on Cooperatives a Success

More than 150 attendees from 25 states and Puerto Rico participated in the 2015 National Farmers Union (NFU) College Conference on Cooperatives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, over the weekend. The participants learned how cooperative businesses are adapting to changing environments and heard from cooperative experts from across the nation on why member-owned businesses are thriving in industries ranging from senior housing to healthcare.

“This is an opportunity for the cooperative community to teach young people about cooperative business principles and to show them that there are great careers in these dynamic, ethical and community-minded businesses,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

To bring cooperative education to life, students toured housing, retail, and marketing cooperatives in Minneapolis and St. Paul. They also visited the headquarters of CHS Inc., the nation’s largest agricultural cooperative, and the Mill City Museum, built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill. Students heard from cooperative leaders, farmers and government experts who explained current challenges they face.

Presenters ranged from members, directors, employees and managers of traditional and value-added agricultural cooperatives to representatives of housing and worker-owned co-ops, as well as consumer cooperatives such as REI and natural foods co-ops. These professionals offered insights on cooperative development here and abroad.

“Farmers Union remains true to its roots of both being an advocate for cooperative businesses and offering education programs,” said Johnson. “Our own history is very closely tied with the cooperative movement. Cooperatives were made possible by legislative activity and organized by farmers and ranchers to strengthen the economic opportunities in rural and urban communities. Farmers Union has a strong commitment to providing cooperative education not only to our own members, but also to the general public, and especially to young people, many of whom are just learning about the cooperative way of doing business.”

The conference was organized by National Farmers Union and sponsored by the CHS Foundation, CoBank, Farmers Union Industries Foundation, NFU Foundation, The Cooperative Foundation, CHS Inc., Minnesota Cooperative Education Foundation, Federated Youth Foundation and Organic Valley.   

Brazilian Truck Strike Threatens Food, Fuel Supplies

Truck drivers protesting high fuel prices for a seventh day on Tuesday interrupted supplies of diesel and raw materials across Brazil's farm belt and threatened to hold up grains exports at ports in the midst of a record harvest. The strike started as an isolated protest but has now spread to at least 10 states, reports Reuters.

President Dilma Rousseff has called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to seek ways to defuse the demonstrations before they hurt exports.

Brazil, a farming powerhouse that relies heavily on commodities exports, is weathering an economic downturn, which has been exacerbated by weaker global prices for crops such as soybeans, corn and sugar. On Monday, traders said soy exports were offered at a discount to attract buyers wary of long delays in ship loading.

The strike has led to a shortage of diesel fuel in parts of Brazil's bountiful center-west grains belt. Some farmers have temporarily halted soybean harvesting machinery.

Paranagua, Brazil's No. 2 port, said it had sufficient grain stocks to fill ships now loading, but worried a sharp drop in soy arriving by truck would disrupt the normal flow of vessels if the protest continued.

Ukraine Grain Exports Remain High

Ukraine grain exports remain high despite government's efforts to impose limits to ensure there's sufficient supply for the domestic market, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.

Ukraine has exported 24.0 million metric tons of grain since the marketing year began July 1, through Feb. 24, compared with 23.9 million tons on the same date last year, the ministry said.

Ukraine has exported 9.1 million tons of wheat, 3.9 million tons of barley and 10.8 million tons of corn.

Ukrainian grain traders have agreed to limit milling wheat exports to 1.2 million tons between Jan. 1 and the end of the current marketing year June 30. As a result, the ministry expects a decline in the pace of grain exports in the coming months.

The agriculture ministry said earlier that Ukraine's grain harvest in 2014 increased to over 64 million tons from 63 million tons in 2013, despite the loss of Crimea Peninsula and military conflict in the south-east of the country.

Reducing Food Waste Could Save the Global Economy $300 Billion a Year

Reducing consumer food waste could save between US$120 and 300 billion per year by 2030 according to a new report by WRAP (The Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. To achieve this would require a 20-50% reduction in consumer food waste.

One third of all food produced in the world ends up as waste, while the value of global consumer food waste is more than US$400 billion per year. As the global middle class expands over the course of the decade, the cost could rise to US$600 billion, according to new research conducted by WRAP for the Global Commission.

Their report, Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste, also identifies significant opportunities to improve economic performance and tackle climate change by reducing the amount of food that is wasted in agriculture, transport, storage and consumption.

Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Sustainable Food Systems at WRAP said: “Food waste is a global issue and tackling it is a priority. This report emphasises the benefits that can be obtained for businesses, consumers and the environment. The difficulty is often in knowing where to start and how to make the biggest economic and environmental savings. In partnership with UNEP and FAO, WRAP produced international guidance on how to achieve that through implementing effective food waste prevention strategies that can be used across the world.

“Consumers also have a role to play. In the United Kingdom, where we are based, the majority of food waste occurs in the home. Through our consumer campaign Love Food Hate Waste we empower consumers with advice and tips on how to waste less and save more. Between 2007 and 2012, this helped householders reduce avoidable food waste by 21%, saving a total of £13 billion.”

Reducing food waste can also make a significant contribution to tackling climate change. An astonishing 7% of all global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), or 3.3 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent (CO2eq) per year, are due to food waste.

WRAP estimates that by 2030 global GHGs could be lowered by at least 0.2 and possibly as much as 1 billion tonnes CO2eq per year through food waste reductions, more than the annual emissions of Germany. When food waste is decreased, this makes it more likely that an increasing population can potentially be fed from the same amount of land.

Helen Mountford, Global Programme Director for the New Climate Economy, said: “Reducing food waste is good for the economy and good for the climate. Less food waste means greater efficiency, more productivity, and direct savings for consumers. It also means more food available to feed the estimated 805 million that go to bed hungry each day. Reducing food waste is also a great way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. These findings should serve as a wakeup call to policymakers around the world.”

The report highlights how practical changes, such as lowering the average temperatures of refrigerators or designing better packaging, can make a considerable difference in preventing spoilage. Approximately 25% of food waste in the developing world could be eliminated with better refrigeration equipment.

WRAP’s findings contributed to Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report. This report, released in 2014 by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, demonstrates how countries can achieve economic growth while dealing with the risks posed by climate change. The report highlighted how reforms in urban development, land use and energy policy would lead to sustained growth in a low-carbon economy.

BASF focuses on the promise of a sustainable future in crop protection

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of BASF and BASF Crop Protection kicked off the anniversary year in the U.S. with the 9th annual media symposium, the Science Behind the Right Chemistry, at Commodity Classic in Phoenix, Arizona.

The company, which was founded in 1865 as Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik in Ludwigshafen, Germany, has played a key role in turning family farms into the modern operations they are today.

From developing ammonia synthesis processes to obtaining the industry’s first Plant Health label, BASF is a leader in providing innovative solutions to growers.

“Conscientious care toward the environment and society are two of the reasons for our long-term success,” said Paul Rea, Senior Vice President, Crop Protection, North America, BASF. “Sustainability is a core value that has supported our growth since 1865 into the world’s largest chemical company, and will take us into the next 150 years.” 

Innovative Solutions for Agriculture

From 2015 to 2019, BASF Crop Protection plans to introduce 45 new products to help growers increase yield potential and grow healthier, more abundant crops. More than $1.5 million is invested daily into research and development to make those introductions possible. These new products will be part of a robust portfolio of industry-leading products that includes Priaxor® fungicide, Xanthion™ In-furrow fungicide, Limus® nitrogen management, Kixor® herbicide technology, and Engenia™ herbicide, which will be BASF’s most advanced formulation of dicamba. Engenia herbicide is expected to receive U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration this year.

“The innovations from BASF help our customers meet these challenges, and continually improve sustainability,” Rea said. “Our goal is to be there alongside our customers today, tomorrow and 150 years from now.”

Next Class Products To Deliver Top Performance For Asgrow® And Dekalb® Brands In 2016

Farmers can count on strong yield potential in 2016 with the robust lineup of new Asgrow® and DEKALB® brand products. The high-performing products demonstrate the latest advances from the industry’s leading breeding program. Farmers will have the opportunity to protect their investment through leading traits and the best in plant health with the 2016 Next Class.

2016 Asgrow Next Class Products Offer Best Defensive Traits

The Asgrow brand’s lineup of Next Class products includes strong genetics and reliable technology, such as Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield®.  All Asgrow products are developed and tested in a broad, diverse network of breeding stations across the country where Asgrow breeders work to provide solutions to farmers in various agronomic situations. With a comprehensive package of agronomic traits, Next Class products offer high yield potential and protection against yield-robbing pests. Featuring exclusive and diverse genetics, the Next Class offers the best in the industry with new and reliable products.

Building on the trusted Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® technology, Next Class products plan to feature the highly anticipated Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybeans pending necessary regulatory approvals. As part of the largest biotech trait launch in Monsanto history, the Next Class products that contain the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™ soybean trait will offer tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate herbicides providing farmers more weed management options and increased application flexibility.

 “For the last 40 years, Asgrow has led soybean breeding innovation and is dedicated to bringing farmers more advanced products and agronomic solutions,” said Mike Bachman, Monsanto Soybean Product Development Manager. “Our products are the best-of-the-best from the Asgrow brand’s elite breeding program.”

DEKALB Next Class Product Lineup Innovates in 2016

The DEKALB brand’s 2016 Next Class lineup includes 23 top products. In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever for consistent high-yielding results that give farmers confidence in their products to help outlast the toughest conditions. With DEKALB Next Class products, farmers can expect the highest yield potential, improved crop protection and plant health with greater resistance from diseases and environmental stressors. Through advanced breeding practices, new products are created by tapping an expansive foundation of germplasm that pulls genetics from more than 30 countries. Breeders are then able to work with the best genetic ingredients which allow them to provide top products and solutions to farmers that are tailored to each unique location to optimize individual performance.

“The products in our portfolio today are a sample of the pipeline ahead, with more traits and products designed to optimize yield against stress, disease and environmental conditions,” said Matt Rowland, DEKALB Product Development Manager. “Our commitment to providing new and improved DEKALB products every year keeps us looking ahead beyond tomorrow to the fields of 2020 and 2030.”