Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday July 22 Ag News

UNL Ag Econ Creates Professorship Focusing on Cooperatives

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Agricultural Economics and the Nebraska Cooperative Council signed an agreement July 20 to create a new professor of agricultural and rural cooperatives.

The tenure-track position will be jointly funded for the first six years by the council and the Institute of Agricultural and Natural Resources. The new faculty member will develop and conduct training for cooperative members and leaders. Research on issues relevant to cooperatives and undergraduate teaching will also be part of the new role.

The Nebraska Cooperative Council is the state’s major trade association representing agricultural cooperatives. The association monitors the cooperative scene, watchful for new ideas and approaches to help agricultural cooperatives in a changing environment. Priorities include legislative representation, education for cooperative directors and managers, promotion and public relations and other services to meet the needs of Nebraska's agricultural cooperatives.

“We are looking forward to expanding our undergraduate offerings to include a new agricultural cooperative minor,” said Larry Van Tassell, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics. “The new faculty member will develop a class on the role of cooperatives in agriculture and direct a new cooperatives internship program.”

“The Council and the University of Nebraska have partnered, both formally and informally, on educational programs since the council’s inception in 1945. This new agreement will allow our members to have greater access to cooperative research and outreach programs well into the future," said Robert Andersen, president of the council. "This will provide exceptional value for our farmer and rancher members across the entire state."

Syngenta Omaha site named one of Nebraska’s Safest Companies

The National Safety Council of Nebraska has named the Syngenta Omaha crop protection formulating and packaging facility one of Nebraska’s safest companies. The Omaha site was also recognized with a Platinum Award of Honor. The National Safety Council of Nebraska annually recognizes businesses, organizations, and individuals that demonstrate exceptional commitment to safety.

“By receiving this award, the Syngenta Omaha plant has demonstrated their commitment and dedication to ensuring our work place is safe and healthy for all employees and visitors on site,” said James Collier, Syngenta Health, Safety and Environment Group Leader at Omaha. “Together we will continue our journey to a zero injury culture and continue to build our reputation as one of the safest places to work in Omaha.”

The Nebraska’s Safest Companies designation is provided to businesses that demonstrate superior safety results by maintaining injury rates below the national average for their industry and completing a comprehensive review of their safety programs. The Platinum Award of Honor is in recognition of the Omaha plant’s 13 consecutive years of meeting or exceeding safety award guidelines.

In 2013, as part of the introduction of The Good Growth Plan, Syngenta announced six commitments to address the global food security challenge. One of these is helping people stay safe.

“At Syngenta, we recognize that recordable injuries are more than just numbers on a page – they’re serious problems for real people, our people,” said Ana Davis, head of Health, Safety, Environment and Security for Syngenta. “The health and safety of our people is a core value at Syngenta.”

Iowa Soybean Association sponsors new events, long-time favorites at the state fair

The Iowa State Fair is right around the corner and the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) will ensure that fairgoers have fun while learning about agriculture and the role soybean farmers play in helping feed and fuel Iowa, the nation and world.

The association, based in Ankeny and committed to improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s 37,000 soybean farmers, is partnering with the fair and other organizations to bring some old favorites and a few new events to the list of must-see stops:

    Biodiesel powering the trams — It’s easy and safe for fairgoers to get from one end of the grounds to the other thanks to the ISA sponsorship of not only the tram tractors and carts, but also the biodiesel that fuels this popular transportation.

    Ag magic at your fingertips —Spectators will delight at Rhonda Renee’s Thank A Farmer show featuring storytelling, juggling and music. Renee’s performance illustrates that nearly everything we touch, consume and wear has a direct connection to agriculture and a farmer.  Thirty-minute shows will be held each day in the Christensen Farms Animal Learning Center at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Also in the Animal Learning Center,visitors can see livestock that eat Iowa grown soybeans and check out the 'Soy- House' to learn more about all the household products made from soy.

    Focus on water — Visitors to the Ag Building can see firsthand how Iowa farmers are committed to clean water. Meander through Farmville, learn about the many conservation practices being used to protect soil and water quality and sign up to win a patio set and grill package. ISA representatives will be on hand Aug. 13 and 20.

    Beat the heat, watch a free movie —“FARMLAND” follows the lives of farmers exploring the risks and rewards associated with farming and the passion that is passed down from generation to generation. It will be shown in the Maytag Family Theaters 1 p.m. daily with a farmer panel immediately following the featured presentation. Admission is free.

    Be conversational about conservation — Iowa soybean farmers excelling in environmental stewardship will be recognized Aug. 19 at the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award ceremony to be held at the Penningroth Center beginning at 9 a.m.

    Planting seeds of farming knowledge — Fun for children of all ages, Little Hands on Farm located just north of the Animal Learning Center is a place for children to learn how food is grown by participating in a variety of hands-on activities. They can also package soybeans to help feed Iowa’s pork and poultry industries.

    Eat and enjoy —The Soyfoods Council will present two chances to experience soyfoods at the fair on Aug. 17. The Annual Soy Salad Dressing Professional Chef Contest will be held 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Ag Building — stop by to test the chef’s creations! The second opportunity is a cooking demonstration and soyfoods contest judging at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Elwell Building.

    Iowa Food & Family Project exhibit – Again this year, the ISA is partnering with the Iowa Food & Family Project to feed people’s curiosity about how food is grown and the dedicated farmers who grow it. The must-see exhibit is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily in the southeast atrium of the Varied Industries Building and will feature a must-see sculpture created from more than 50 tons of sand. Win Casey’s pizza for a year, grab your copy of the Iowa Food & Family Cookbook and test your knowledge of agriculture to win great prizes! 

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Sets Course Toward Continuous Improvement

More than 120 beef producers, retailers, foodservice operators, processors, academics, allied industry partners and non-governmental organizations gathered in Denver on July 14 and 15 for the first U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef General Assembly meeting. Their common goal: continuously improving beef sustainability.

"Continuously improving beef sustainability requires the cooperation and collaboration of every segment of the beef value chain, from the rancher to the consumer," said USRSB Board Chair Nicole Johnson-Hoffman of Cargill. "The General Assembly meeting was really the first opportunity we've had to gather the membership of the USRSB in one location to set a course toward establishing criteria and actions to achieve mutually agreed upon goals."

The primary outcome of the two-day event was to align members to five objectives of the USRSB: 1) the establishment of sustainability indicators; 2) development of a method to verify those indicators; 3) creation of a program philosophy for implementing sustainability objectives; 4) generation of field projects that prove sustainability concepts; and 5) establishment of goals for progress.

"Cattle producers are committed to raising a sustainable, safe and nutritious product for consumers around the world," said USRSB Chair-Elect John Butler, a Kansas cattle producer. "The USRSB allows everyone in the beef value chain to work together to positively shape the industry for future generations."

Throughout the two-day event, attendees reviewed sustainability efforts in the crop, dairy and potato industries, as well as results of beef sustainability pilot projects in Florida and Canada. Three USRSB working groups - Indicators and Goals for Progress, Verification, and Field Projects - met to discuss their objectives, scope of work and next steps.

USRSB members also voted to ratify the following Board of Directors during the business meeting:
Allied: Mark Shaw, Micro Technologies; Jennie Hodgen, Merck Animal Health
Civil Society: Nancy Labbe, World Wildlife Fund; Chad Ellis, Noble Foundation
Processor: Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, Cargill (Chair); Cameron Bruett, JBS
Producer: John Butler, Beef Marketing Group (Chair-Elect); Ben Weinheimer, Texas Cattle Feeders Association
Retail: Brittni Furrow, Walmart; Susan Forsell, McDonald's Corporation

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef was formed in March 2015 and has 93 founding members. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain.  Learn more at

USDA Cold Storage Report Highlights - July 22, 2015

Total red meat supplies in freezers were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 23 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 30 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 3 percent from the previous month but up
18 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were down 31 percent from last month and down 47 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on June 30, 2015 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 13 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 22 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were up 4 percent from last month but down 1 percent from June 30, 2014.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on June 30, 2015 were up 3 percent from the previous month and up 8 percent from June 30, 2014.  Butter stocks were down 4 percent from last month but up 28 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 11 percent from last month and up 5 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 5 percent from last month and up 5 percent from a year ago.

New Pipeline Infrastructure Key to Unloading Freight Rail Backlog, Helping America’s Farmers

Expanding America’s pipeline infrastructure would relieve the nation’s overburdened freight rail network and improve service for farmers nationwide, according to a new study from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The booming energy business in the Upper Midwest spiked rail congestion and freight costs for farmers in the region and cut their profits by $570 million during the 2014 harvest. The AFBF study found that the average North Dakota corn farmer may have received $10,000 less than the traditional market rate for the crop. Increasing U.S. pipeline capacity – particularly in the Bakken region – is a prime solution for adding freight system capacity overall and relieving rail congestion, according to AFBF.

“American farmers depend upon rail freight to move their products to market. The surge in rail transportation of crude oil has affected that ability and timing in recent years,” AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young said. “Construction of new pipelines would certainly be a more effective way to move that product to market. It would take crude oil off the rails and, in doing so, improve the overall efficiency of the transportation system. Improved pipeline infrastructure will also help enhance American energy security for everyone.”

Study author Elaine Kub said farmers face challenges in getting their goods to market that others do not.

“Due to the nature of grain production and use, the industry is fairly inflexible about which freight methods it can use, so any time one of those methods is unavailable, crops are lost or cost more to transport,” she said. “This leads to more expensive food for families and less profitable incomes for farmers. Crude oil, however, can be more efficiently and affordably shipped through pipelines, and can be done without crowding already overstressed railways.”

The AFBF study also featured mathematically simulated scenarios showing how expansion of any freight method – truck, rail, barge, or pipeline – can reduce overall congestion and, in certain scenarios, could increase the annual volume of grain moved by as much as 14 percent.

Ethanol Stocks, Output Down; Demand Up

Domestic ethanol stocks were drawn down 100,000 barrels (bbl) to 19.6 million bbl during the week-ended July 17, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday, while 1.7 million bbl, or 9.5%, higher than supply held during the comparable year-ago period.

EIA showed domestic production fell last week by 11,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 973,000 bpd, although 14,000 bpd, or 1.5%, higher than the year prior.

Blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, rose by 16,000 bpd to 897,000 bpd during the week profiled, with blending 25,000 bpd, or 2.9%, higher year on year.

EIA detailed a 346,000 bpd or 3.7% increase in implied gasoline demand to 9.749 million bpd last week, the highest weekly demand rate since August 2007.

NFU Strongly Urges Administration to Comply with RFS Levels in EISA Statute

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the administration to set Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations to the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) statutory levels.

“The volume standards issued in EPA’s proposed rule for RFS target levels are unacceptable and will further hurt investment in a renewable fuel sector that has already been damaged by significant delays in issuing the standards,” said Johnson. “NFU strongly urges the administration to comply with the RFS levels already provided in the popular, bipartisan EISA statute.”

Johnson noted that the volume standards in the proposed rule do not match the goals EPA claims to pursue through its execution of the RFS, and that EPA needs to set volume standards to those provided in the EISA in order to alleviate this problem.

“The proposed, lower volume standards demonstrate to industry that taking steps to increase consumer choice and pursue worthwhile environmental goals can be avoided, even when mandated by Congress,” said Johnson. “Instead, holding industry to the proposed targets would demonstrate the Administration’s stable, reliable commitment to biofuels and allow the biofuels and transportation fuels industries the certainty required to attract capital investment and build out the infrastructure needed to offer consumers higher-level ethanol blends.”

Johnson noted the proposed rule also hurts the administration’s goals for climate resiliency – important steps that mitigate the threats climate change poses to family agriculture. He said that transportation fuels promoted by the RFS have immense potential to reduce climate-influencing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector.

“EPA should pursue GHG emission reductions at every opportunity to try to mitigate climate change as much as possible,” said Johnson. “The RFS offers tremendous capacity to reduce GHGs by encouraging the use of transportation fuels that emit fewer GHGs than petroleum-based transportation fuels.

“NFU respectfully asks EPA to issue a final rule implementing volume standards that match those Congress set in EISA. Those standards will drive investment in advanced biofuel production and rural communities and contribute to climate resiliency. NFU stands ready to offer any support and assistance EPA may find helpful regarding these matters.”

Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products invests in the future of calf nutrition

Since bringing the industry’s first calf milk replacer to market in 1951, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products Co., has focused on doing what is best for the calf. To further its commitment to the next generation of calves, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products recently completed construction on a state-of-the art research facility outside St. Louis, Mo.

“This facility will provide us new opportunities to evaluate calf feeding methods such as three times-a-day feeding and 4 quart bottles, in addition to levels of nutrition and milk replacer technologies,” says Kevin Hoepker, general manager with Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products. “By investing in this facility, we can further our knowledge and the industry’s knowledge on calf nutrition. Our goal is to bring solutions to the dairy industry.”

More than 1,500 research trials, with over 60,000 calves have been completed to date – all to determine the best nutrition and feeding method. “Not only do we conduct research on nutrition, we also focus on management – the two go hand-in-hand when it comes to raising dairy calves to their fullest potential,” explains Hoepker. Studies conducted have included vaccine protocols and protein sources, to immune enhancers and probiotics.

In addition to this new facility, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products continues to collaborate with universities. “It’s important we partner with organizations and universities that share our vision and passion for calves, to strengthen the industry as a whole,” says Hoepker.

University research partnerships include: Cornell University, Iowa State University, The Ohio State University, Texas Tech University, University of Minnesota, University of New Hampshire and Virginia Tech to name a few.

Even though it is hard to see a newborn calf’s future as a milking cow, research has shown that a calf’s nutrient intake impacts her future milk production potential. Because of the importance of this time in a calf’s life, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products continually strives to understand what is best for the calf. There’s no second chance to feed calves right.

As a result of their dedication to research, Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products has brought the dairy industry several firsts in product development, including:
·         The first Jersey specific calf milk replacer.
·         The first milk replacer designed to meet the seasonal needs of calves.
·         The first product designed specifically for balancing pasteurized milk.
·         An advanced fatty acid profile to allow calves to better utilize energy in milk replacers.
·         Set the industry standards for electrolyte feeding.
·         The first USDA approved colostrum replacement.
·         The first protein blend milk replacer that was developed specifically for baby calves.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to bring solutions to dairy producers and calf raisers that allow them to do what is best for the next generation of their herds,” says Hoepker.

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