Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday August 28 Ag News

Common Sense Nebraska Coalition Reacts to Court Action to Halt EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “Waters of the U.S. Rule”
Statement by Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

"Yesterday's action by the District Court for the Southeastern Division of the District of North Dakota is a win for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, homebuilders, electric utilities, golf courses and all Nebraskans who turn the soil.”

“We are pleased this overly broad and closed-minded approach taken by the federal government to massively expand the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps Engineers has been put on hold.”

"From the beginning we've maintained that this rule was not about protecting water quality, but instead was an effort to expand the EPA's jurisdictional powers over private property and trump the rights granted to the states by Congress under the Clean Water Act in regard to managing water quality. The District Court’s action is validation of our overriding concerns.”

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of Nebraska’s elected officials including Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, who initiated Nebraska’s legal actions against the rule. We thank Governor Pete Ricketts for helping raise public awareness of the consequences of this misguided rule.”

“We also want to thank all members of Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation, especially U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, Congressman Adrian Smith and Congressman Brad Ashford for leading the legislative fight in Washington D.C.”

Common Sense Nebraska is a diverse, Nebraska-based coalition consisting of organizations and entities that have united in response to the EPA’s “Waters of the U.S.” Rule; a regulatory proposal that would harm both rural and urban Nebraskans through expansion of the EPA’s powers and authorities under the federal Clean Water Act. The coalition’s purpose is to build awareness and understanding of the EPA proposal and the impacts it would have to Nebraskans. For more information visit Common Sense Nebraska on Facebook.

Common Sense Nebraska Coalition members include:

AKSARBEN Club Managers Association
Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter
Farm Credit Services of America
Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association
National Federation of Independent Businesses/Nebraska
Nebraska Agribusiness Association
Nebraska Association of County Officials
Nebraska Association of Resource Districts
Nebraska Bankers Association
Nebraska Cattlemen
Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Nebraska Cooperative Council
Nebraska Corn Board
Nebraska Corn Growers Association
Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation
Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association
Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Association
Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board
Nebraska Pork Producers Association
Nebraska Poultry Industries
Nebraska Rural Electric Association
Nebraska Soybean Association
Nebraska State Dairy Association
Nebraska State Home Builders Association
Nebraska State Irrigation Association
Nebraska Water Resources Association
Nebraska Wheat Growers Association
Nemaha Natural Resources District
Pawnee County Rural Water District #1

Federal Court Ruling in North Dakota Blocks Implementation "Waters of the United States" Rule

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis statement regarding Federal Court ruling in North Dakota that will Block EPA and the Army Corps' “Waters of the United States” rule.

“America’s cattlemen and women applaud the decision of the federal judge in North Dakota to block EPA’s “waters of the United States” rule, which was set to go in effect tomorrow, August 28. EPA’s rule is nothing more than an attempt to put more land and water under federal jurisdiction, blatantly disregarding private property rights. Over the last year and a half, the agency continually ignored the concerns of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country, to the point of calling the concerns of cattle producers ludicrous. In fact, only six months after receiving over one-million comments the agency pushed forward to finalize the rule, a clear indication there was no intention of considering public comment or stakeholder input. While the EPA claims it clarifies the Clean Water Act, even the Army Corps, which shares jurisdiction over the rule, has serious concerns for the scientific basis of the rule making. In a statement released shortly after the decision was made, an EPA spokesperson said the ruling only holds for 13 states and that they plan to implement the rule in all others on Friday. If the EPA actually wants to protect navigable waters as it claims, they will put this subjective and ambiguous rule to rest and start over with stakeholders at the table this time around.”

American Farm Bureau Federation on Injunction Against EPA Water Rule

Statement by Bob Stallman, President

“Last night Chief Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court of North Dakota issued an order to stop the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule in its tracks. He found strong evidence that the EPA was arbitrary and capricious in its rulemaking. He saw no connection between key provisions of the rule and science that was presented to support it. Based on evidence presented so far, he ordered that the rule be stopped while the litigation continues to a conclusion.

“We applaud the court’s decision. The so-called Clean Water Rule is yet another example of EPA’s reckless and unlawful behavior in the face of science, economics and the law. Whether you’re a farmer, a rancher, a homebuilder or landowner of any stripe, the evidence is clear: This rule simply has to be stopped.

“Even in the face of this court order, EPA is reportedly asserting it will enforce the new rule in the 37 states that are not part of the North Dakota lawsuit. Thus, for much of the nation, this unlawful rule will continue to create uncertainty and legal risk for commonplace land uses like farming and ranching. It’s clear that now is the time for Congress to act and pass S. 1140 to send EPA back to the drawing board. We won’t stop until this rule is finished.”

NCGA Supports North Dakota Court Decision, Urges Senate Action on WOTUS

Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, postponing implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.

Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, issued the following statement:

“We support the judge’s decision in North Dakota, which should give the courts and the public more time to figure out how to proceed with WOTUS. The Army Corps of Engineers has stated this rule is not based on science or law and is unlikely to withstand a legal challenge. When even the federal agencies responsible for this rule can’t agree on its constitutionality, it’s time for EPA to withdraw the rule and start this process over.

“It is EPA’s view that this injunction only applies to the 13 states that filed the request. We believe EPA is incorrect. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Whether the injunction applies to 13 states or all 50, the WOTUS rule will have serious consequences for every farmer and rancher in America. It must not be allowed to stand. From the beginning, we have asked for a rule that provides farmers with clarity and certainty about their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. Instead, what we got was less clarity and less certainty – along with more paperwork, more permits, and more hassle.

“This court decision reinforces the need to permanently repeal the WOTUS rule. We urge the Senate to pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, as soon as possible. This law will force EPA to withdraw WOTUS and work with farmers and other stakeholders to rewrite the rule.

“Clean water is important to all of us. NCGA is committed to working with the EPA, the Corps, and other stakeholders to protect America’s water resources.”

NPPC Urges Delay In ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule

Following yesterday’s federal court injunction against a new Clean Water Act (CWA) rule, the National Pork Producers Council today strongly urged the Obama administration to delay implementation of the regulation, which would adversely affect hundreds of thousands of farmers, businesspeople and landowners. The organization also again asked the administration to withdraw it and to work with the agriculture and business communities to craft a rule ensuring the cleanliness of the nation’s rivers, streams and other waterways that the public can understand and with which it can easily comply.

“NPPC applauds the District Court’s decision,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “The rule that was blocked is vague and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law.

“We all want clean water, but this regulation isn’t about clean water. This massive land grab is about federal control of private property, growing the size of government and allowing activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.”

The “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule was proposed in April 2014 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify the agencies’ authority under the CWA over various waters. Currently, that jurisdiction – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – includes “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The rule would broaden that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also would encompass lands adjacent to such waters.

Thursday the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota stopped implementation of the regulation, which was set to take effect today. “It appears likely that the EPA has violated its congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the rule,” said Chief Judge Ralph Erickson in ruling in favor of 13 states that brought suit in North Dakota against EPA and the Corps of Engineers.

EPA, however, has indicated it only will recognize the injunction in the states that filed suit before the North Dakota court.

NPPC in early July joined other agricultural organizations and business groups in filing a similar lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, arguing that the rule finalized in May “bears no connection” to the CWA and violates provisions of the U.S. Constitution. They also alleged that in writing the rule, EPA and the Corps of Engineers misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s decisions on CWA jurisdiction and subverted the notice-and-comment process by failing to seek public comments on scientific reports used to write the regulation and on major revisions of the proposed rule, conducting an inadequate economic analysis and engaging in an advocacy campaign during the comment period. 

“EPA and the Corps of Engineers really failed to work with the agriculture and business communities to come up with a regulation that people could comply with,” Prestage said.

NPPC is backing bills now making their way through Congress that would require EPA and the Corps of Engineers to withdraw the WOTUS rule and to work with affected parties, including farmers, on a new regulation.

NAWG Encouraged by District Court's Action Against WOTUS

NAWG is pleased by the thoughtful action of the North Dakota district court late Thursday to block implementation of the Waters of the U.S. regulaton. The parties involved in the temporary injunction will not be subject to the new rule, effective today, and instead will be subject to prior regulation. Regarding the court's action, NAWG President, Brett Blankenship made the following statement:

“NAWG is encouraged by the action taken in the North Dakota district court to approve a temporary injunction against the Waters of the U.S. regulation.  This decision provides breathing room for grower concerns to be discussed in the courts without enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s draconian new rule hanging over the heads of our nation’s family farmers.

We will watch closely the ongoing lawsuits and call on Congress to take action to address the regulation in a comprehensive manner.  It is time for action to send the regulation back to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to be rewritten.  Wheat growers support clean water and know the importance of protecting the natural resources that sustain our farming operations, feed our families and feed a growing world population.  The Waters of the U.S. regulation expands the reach of the Clean Water act and falls short in providing clarity to growers."

Nebraska Counties Designated as Presidential Disaster Due to May and June Storms

Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director, Dan Steinkruger, announced 51 Nebraska counties have been designated as primary and contiguous natural disaster areas due to severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding.  The primary (notated with an asterisk) and contiguous counties are Adams*, Arthur*, Box Butte*, Buffalo, Butler, Cedar, Chase, Clay*, Cuming, Dawes*, Dixon, Dundy, Fillmore*, Frontier, Gage, Garden, Grant, Hall, Hamilton*, Hayes*, Hitchcock, Hooker, Jefferson, Johnson*, Kearney, Keith, Lancaster, Lincoln, McPherson, Madison, Merrick, Morrill, Nemaha*, Nuckolls, Otoe, Pawnee*, Perkins, Pierce, Polk, Richardson*, Saline,  Scotts Bluff, Seward*, Sheridan, Sioux*, Stanton, Thayer, Thurston, Wayne*, Webster, and York*.

The primary counties were declared a Presidential Major Disaster on August 14, 2015, based on May 6 to June 17, 2015 storms.  This designation authorizes Emergency (EM) Loans for eligible producers in primary and contiguous counties.  Steinkruger stated, “Producers in these 51 counties are encouraged to contact their local FSA Service Center for detailed information about available programs and updated disaster designations.”

In addition to the Emergency (EM) Loan Program, the FSA has other loan programs and disaster assistance programs which can be considered in assisting farmers to recover from their losses.

Contact your local FSA Service Center or access additional information about FSA Disaster Assistance and Farm Loan programs at

While this release pertains to the availability of FSA programs, other federal agencies such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and SBA (Small Business Administration) may also have assistance to the public.  Information is available from these two agencies at the following websites: and

CLAAS of America Rebuilds After Tornado Destroys Harvest Center

CLAAS of America is pleased to announce that the newly rebuilt Nebraska Harvest Center is open for business, nearly two years after an F4 tornado tore through Wayne, Nebraska. After the tornado struck, community members rallied together to rebuild the city, and among them was CLAAS of America.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said John Buse, Executive Vice President – Retail, CLAAS of America. The twister hit in October 2013, forcing Nebraska Harvest Center to react quickly on behalf of their customers. Immediately after the storm, CLAAS leapt into action to ensure that customers had access to the support needed, and they diligently worked toward a long-term solution.

“Within days we moved our service and parts operation to a farm just outside of town to support our growers who were still in the field,” said Buse. After harvest, the CLAAS dealership moved to a temporary building adjacent to their location while work began to rebuild the property that had been destroyed.

“We not only re-built, we expanded,” noted Paul Westbrook, Complex Manager for the Seward and Wayne locations of Nebraska Harvest Center. “The new dealership has an additional 4,800 square feet of shop space, a better space for spare parts, and a conference room above our offices.

“With our new dealership in Wayne, we have the structure in place to serve our current customers as well as those who are just now getting to know our dealership and the excellent CLAAS equipment we support.

Even though the tornado resulted in extensive damage, CLAAS combined its available resources and drive to rebuild and support the community and quickly find a solution to ensure that the Nebraska Harvest Center stayed in Wayne.

“We’re very proud to be a part of rebuilding the community,” said Buse. “Moving into our new, larger facility will allow us to continue to grow our business and provide the after-sales support our customers in this area deserve… we are happy to have rebuilt our facility in the great community of Wayne.”


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced today that $3.5 million in cost share funds to help farmers install nutrient reduction practices have been obligated to farmers in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.  The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer.

“Farmers continue to show they are willing to invest in practices focused on limiting nutrient loss and improving water quality.  To consider that this program went from zero to more than 1,800 farmers over the past three years shows that farmers are committed to action and willing to invest in water quality,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received applications covering 187,000 acres from more than 1,800 different farmers seeking to participate in the program. Farmers in each of the 100 Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state received funding.

Participants include 980 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 830 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share.  The first-time users cover 79,000 acres of cover crops, 7,450 acres of nitrification inhibitor, 7,150 acres of no-till and 3,950- acres of strip-till.  The past users will use cover crops on nearly 89,500 acres.

Farmers not already utilizing the practice were eligible cost share rate for cover crops of $25 per acre, $10 per acre for trying no-till or strip till and $3 per acre for using a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Farmers that had used cover crops in the past were eligible for $15 per acre in cost share.  Cost share was only available on up to 160 acres.

Farmers are encouraged to still reach out to their local Soil and Water Conservation District office as there may be other programs available to help them implement water quality practices on their farm.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship received $9.6 million for the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in fiscal 2016.  These funds will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to encourage the broad adoption of water quality practices through statewide cost share assistance as well as more intensive work in targeted watersheds.

95 Iowa Farm Families Honored as Environmental Leaders

Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Sec. of Agriculture Bill Northey and Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp presented 95 Iowa farm families with the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair.

"It is a pleasure to have the opportunity each year to recognize Iowans who go above and beyond to be good stewards of our land," said Branstad. "Farmers take pride in conservation efforts and preserving and protecting our natural resources. The Farm Environmental Leader award gives us all an opportunity to recognize their efforts as exceptional leaders."

"The passion and dedication exhibited by the farmers honored at this year's Farm Environmental Leader awards was inspiring. Many of the recipients remarked at how long they had been working to achieve such recognition," said Reynolds. "We know that across Iowa farmers are committed to protecting the land and we were pleased to be able to highlight the work of some farm families' exemplary work."

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. It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.

This is the fourth year for the award program and to date more than 300 families have received recognition.

"Iowa is a national leader in conservation and water quality efforts and it is important that we recognize the farmers who are making a significant investment in conservation efforts and serving as examples in how we can continue to better care for our air, soil and water," Northey said.

Winners were presented a certificate as well as a yard sign donated by Monsanto and a commemorative program provided by the Iowa Ag Water Alliance.

Half of Iowa Farmers Haven’t Identified Successors

Many farmers nearing retirement have not identified successors who will take over their operations. The Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll: 2014 Summary Report (PM 3073), indicates that fewer than half of the farmers surveyed have identified successors for their farm operations.

“In 2012, just 18 percent of the state’s farmers were under 45 years of age,” said J. Gordon Arbuckle, sociologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “With nearly 60 percent of Iowa farmers over the age of 55, discussion of farm succession is common and this year’s survey sought to learn more about farmers’ retirement and succession plans.”

According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, the average age of Iowa farmers is 57, and farmers who are age 65 and over made up nearly 30 percent of Iowa farmers. “The average age of Iowa farmers has increased steadily over the last several decades,” said Arbuckle.

“There are four times as many Iowa farmers over the age of 65 as under the age of 35,” said David Baker, farm transition specialist at the Beginning Farmer Center with ISU Extension and Outreach. “The more we know about farmers’ plans for the future, the better. Knowledge of farmers’ thoughts about and plans for retirement can help us to better match our programs to the needs of farmers and successors,” said Baker. Survey questions were developed in collaboration with staff from Iowa State’s Beginning Farmer Center.

Farmer Retirement Plans

In the survey, farmers were provided eight categories regarding retirement plans and were asked to select the one that best applied to them. The most frequent response, at 20 percent, was “I expect to semi-retire from farming.” Fifteen percent of farmers responded as “already semi-retired” and another 15 percent selected the “would never retire” category. Fourteen percent planned to retire within five years and another 14 percent planned to retire in 6 – 10 years.

Since one-third of Iowa farmers are over the traditional retirement age of 65, one of the objectives of the survey was to ask farmers their opinion about why so many farmers delay retirement. When asked to rate the importance of a number of possible reasons, the top-rated reason was that “farming is such an important part of [a farmer’s] identity that retirement is very difficult.” The second-highest rated reason was that modern equipment allows farmers to farm longer than they used to.

Several reasons were rated as important or very important by about three-quarters of respondents: that farmers stay healthier longer (75 percent); they love farming too much to stop (75 percent); they don’t know what else they would do with themselves (73 percent); and, they do not want to relinquish control of the operation (73 percent). The two lowest-rated reasons, both at 39 percent for important or very important, were that young people are not interested in farming, and that farmers cannot afford to retire.

Farm Succession Plans

Overall, 49 percent of farmers had identified a potential successor that will eventually manage the farm operation. “If we look at farmers who reported that they will retire in the next five years, the number is a little higher, at 55 percent,” said Arbuckle. “But that still leaves 45 percent of farmers who will be retiring soon and do not have someone who will take over.”

Of those farmers who had identified a successor, 74 percent indicated that one of their children would carry on the farm operation. About 12 percent of respondents reported that their successor would be a relative such as a nephew or niece, and 14 percent reported that a non-related person would take over the operation. The successors, on average, were 37 years old.

Plans among farmers who had not identified a successor

Farm Poll participants were asked what would happen to their farm operation when they no longer managed it. Among the farmers who had not identified a successor, the most common plan was to rent out land. “Overall, 35 percent of farmers without successors reported that they would rent out land,” Arbuckle said. “But more than half of farmers who planned to retire within five years indicated that they would rent land, 19 percent did not know what would happen to the operation, and 17 percent planned to sell their land.”

“If farmers do not have successors for their farms, then those businesses will fail to continue,” Baker noted. “If rural Iowans do not enhance and create opportunities that attract the next generation, then the next generation will migrate away. We will continue to see consolidation of farm businesses into fewer, larger farms.”

Resources available

Baker explained the Beginning Farmer Center works in conjunction with ISU Extension and Outreach program staff to offer materials, speakers and support to help beginning and exiting farmers. “We have resources for farmers who need help with succession planning, like the Ag Link program, which helps families make the transition to a multiple generation farm business. We match beginning farmers who don’t own land, with retiring farmers who do not have heirs to continue the family farm business,” Baker said.

Massey Ferguson Introduces 4600M Series Utility Tractors

Massey Ferguson®, a worldwide brand of AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), is naming this year the year of the utility tractor with the introduction of the Massey Ferguson 4600M Series. With models ranging from 70 to 99 engine HP, this series of utility tractors gives operators greater performance, durability and versatility to provide customers with cost-effective solutions they demand. The Massey Ferguson 4600M Series replaces the 4600 Series with a model lineup that includes the MF4607M, MF4609M and MF4610M ranging from 56 to 80 PTO HP. The new 4600M Series was designed with utility in mind and furthers its reputation for excellence in loader work, hay production, mowing operations and wide-ranging farm use.

"Hobby farmers and rural lifestylers are growing in numbers, and we've thought about all of their on-farm needs with the new Massey Ferguson 4600M Series," says Warren Morris, AGCO Massey Ferguson tactical marketing manager. "With a new deluxe cab option that features standard air ride seat, LED lights and fender mounted hitch controls, this tractor provides comfort and ease of use for any application."

A tractor with versatility

Two transmission options allow customers to match control with their needs. They can choose between a standard 12x12 power shuttle transmission and an 18x18 with the optional creeper gear package. In addition, farmers can choose between 2WD and 4WD offerings.

The 4600M Series also comes equipped with a category II hitch and 540/1000 PTO. With a combined 3,300 or optional 4,400 pounds in lift capacity at 24 inches behind ball ends, this tractor is capable of completing even the most demanding tasks.

The 4600M Series includes features to make operation and ownership simpler. With telescopic lower links, implement changes are easier and faster. Easy-access service points combined with intuitive electronic controls provide operators maximum uptime and performance.

Updated technology improves power management and lowers emissions

A Tier 4, three-cylinder engine from AGCO Power™ powers the 4600M Series. The engine features four valves per cylinder to improve airflow and enhance the fuel/air mixture.

"Following the same philosophy as AGCO's high-horsepower tractor engines, the MF4609M and MF4610M tractors utilize selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to treat the exhaust after combustion," explains Mr. Morris. "This keeps all components doing what they do best, and doesn't rob the engine of power and torque when it's needed the most."

Electronic engine management is incorporated into the power system with a high-pressure common-rail (HPCR) fuel injection system. The engine management system monitors every aspect of the engine's operation, resulting in optimum performance and lower fuel consumption.

Updated operator's station improves ease of use, comfort and visibility

Cab and platform models offer a new convenient and ergonomically designed console that incorporates engine RPM, rear remote and 3-point hydraulic valve levers, PTO control and storage tray for improved comfort during any task at hand.

The 4600M Series optional deluxe cab allows operators added comfort and convenience. The standard air-ride seat brings comfort to long days in the field while the 3 point hitch fender control makes attaching implements a simple task.

The deluxe cab option also includes a LED lighting package with rear defrost and wiper, giving operators increased visibility of the front and rear implements in all conditions.

Thursday August 27 Ag News

WOTUS Rule—Preliminary Injunction Hearing

Today, Judge Erickson, in the District Court for the Southeastern Division of the District of North Dakota, issued an order enjoining the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson stated, “Today’s order enjoining the EPA from implementing the new WOTUS rule is an important first step for Nebraska and other states that have challenged the federal government’s ‘exceptionally expansive’ view of the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act.

 “I applaud the work of Attorney General Peterson in protecting the citizens of Nebraska through this lawsuit against the EPA,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Judge Erickson is exactly right when he said in his opinion, ‘The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely.’”

The Court’s ruling was largely based on the view that Nebraska, and the other plaintiff states, are likely to succeed in challenging the rule because it appears to be a violation of the EPA’s rulemaking authority. Today’s ruling supports the state’s position that the EPA has exceeded its authority in promulgating the Waters of the U.S.

Sen. Davis Encourages Ranchers to Testify at Hearing on Brand Committee in Grand Island

The Nebraska Legislature's Agriculture Committee will hold a public hearing to review the fee structure of the Nebraska Brand Committee on Friday, September 4th at 11:00am at the Grand Island City Council Chambers, 100 East First Street. The Committee will be taking testimony from interested parties about modifying fees charged by the Nebraska Brand Committee for brand inspection, transfer fees, grazing permits, and whether registered feedlots should be assessed fees in a different manner than non-registered feedlots, salebarns, and private ranch sales.

Senator Al Davis of Hyannis strongly encourages those interested parties to attend the hearing.

“It is important that ranchers share their vision for the future of the Brand Committee fee structure, since significant changes could result in dramatically different rates for the various sectors,” Senator Davis said. “I encourage you to attend, give testimony, and then take in the state fair.   Your voices need to be heard.”

Current National Drought Summary

A significant upper-level trough over the central part of the contiguous U.S., accompanied by a slowly moving cold front, brought up to several inches of rain across the eastern and southern states during the past week. The cold front reached the Eastern Seaboard and continued out over the western Atlantic, while the southern portion of this front stalled across the deep South. Later in the week, another upper-level trough moved out of central Canada across the northern High Plains of the United States, before heading east and bringing additional rainfall to the eastern contiguous U.S. In the Southwest, light to moderate precipitation (generally less than 1.5 inches) was observed in association with the summer monsoon. In the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, the USDA Forest Service reported approximately 40 large wildfires in progress as of August 26th, as warm and very dry weather persisted.

Northern and Central Plains

Abnormal dryness (D0) in eastern Montana was expanded south-southwestward due to the ongoing lack of precipitation. No changes were rendered to the depiction in Kansas, as rains that did fall during the week missed the residual D0 area in the northwest part of the state.

Upper Great Lakes region and Midwest

Heavy rains (generally 2-4 inches) during the past week helped to offset deterioration across the northern portion of the Red River Valley of the North Watershed near the Minnesota/North Dakota border, as well as across the Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota. The western and northern flanks of the abnormal dryness (D0) in the Arrowhead region were trimmed away accordingly. Along the border between Iowa and Wisconsin, the only alteration made to the depiction was the upgrade from moderate drought (D1) to abnormal dryness (D0) from Dubuque County in Iowa, based on receiving adequate rainfall in the past 7-days. The current North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) top 1-meter soil moisture anomaly (ensemble mean) ranges between 1-3 inches in this region.

Colorado, Kansas & Nebraska Water Agreement Further Helps Water Users

Today, the states of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska have reached an agreement that will ensure more certainty to the basin’s water users in both Nebraska and Kansas. The agreement, in the form of a Resolution approved by the Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA), was achieved through collaborative negotiations that began in April 2015 and will provide timely notice and access to water for the 2016 irrigation season.

The agreement provides additional flexibility for Nebraska to achieve its Compact obligations while ensuring that the interests of Kansas are protected. The additional flexibility will allow the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources to provide a portion of the forecasted compliance water early in 2016 and provide any additional shortfall later in 2016 and through April 1, 2017. This also provides some improved operational predictability for Nebraska water users in that water users will not be subjected to closing notices related to the 2016 irrigation season.

The 2016 agreement builds upon the agreement reached for the 2015 irrigation season with further beneficial developments for water users. This agreement provides more advanced notice to irrigators in the basin of compliance activities that will likely occur in 2016, allowing for an advanced planning period producers desire for their efficiently run operations.

The States’ agreement is contingent upon the Nebraska and the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation Districts, working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, – reaching agreement on modifications of certain contract provisions contained in their Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) also adopted last year. Thus, ensuring the availability of the water pumped from Nebraska augmentation projects for RRCA compliance.

Current RRCA Chairman, Gordon W. “Jeff” Fassett, Director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, said, “Today’s agreement is good news for Nebraska water users and represents the continuation of the cooperative and positive collaboration we’ve fostered between our states as we work to find mutually agreeable solutions that best serve our citizens. Additionally, we are hopeful that this positive momentum will continue to move us closer to the goal of securing a long-term agreement. With significantly more planning time, Nebraska’s water users will have greater certainty in their water supply and make the best decisions for their operations.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Nebraska and Colorado as we continue to develop balanced and fair water solutions benefiting all of the basin’s water users that reflects good water management,” said Kansas Commissioner David Barfield. “This fourth in our series of recent agreements with Nebraska allows Kansas to make effective use of its water supply in 2016 and allows the states additional time and experience with Nebraska’s compliance activities as we continue to move toward long-term agreement.”

Colorado Commissioner Dick Wolfe said, “This agreement exemplifies the success that can be achieved through collaboration and cooperation of the RRCA and the water users in the basin.”

The RRCA is comprised of one member each from the States of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. The purpose of the RRCA is to administer the Republican River Compact. This Compact allocates the waters of the Republican River among the three states. The next RRCA annual meeting is scheduled for August of 2016 and will be hosted by the State of Colorado in a location of their choice.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey recognized Century and Heritage Farm families during a ceremony at the State Fair again this year.  To qualify, a family must have owned at least 40 acres for 100 years or more in the case of Century Farms and 150 years or more for a Heritage Farm.

This year 366 Century Farms and 101 Heritage Farms were recognized.

“Being able to recognize these farm families is one of my favorite days of the year.  This award is a tremendous celebration of the families who have cared for the land and raised the crops and livestock that helped build our state and feed the world.  To own a farm for 100 or 150 years is a testament to the values of land stewardship, hard work, patience, dedication and perseverance that are found in Iowa’s farm families,” Northey said.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has partnered with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation since 1976 to recognize families that have owned and worked a farm for 100 years or more.  Including this year’s recipients, more than 18,600 farms from across the state have been recognized.

The Heritage Farm program was started in 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the Century Farm program and now 837 farms have been recognized.

The 2015 Century and Heritage Farms Program ceremony was held at the Iowa State Fair in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion on Thursday, August 20.  Joe Heinrich, Vice President of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Northey recognized all award recipients.

“The program acknowledges the deep roots of Iowa agriculture and the special bond that exists between Iowa families and the land they farm,” Northey said.  “The Iowa State Fair is a celebration of Iowa and Iowa agriculture, so it’s a great place to recognize the Century Farm and Heritage Farm recipients.”

NCGA, DuPont Launch Third Year of New Leaders Program

The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the third year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program.  The program is designed for corn growers who are newly active or considering involvement in agriculture leadership, and seek to build their communications skills so they can better serve their peers.

“American agriculture needs farmers who are strong spokespersons for our way of life,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a corn grower from Maryland. “We thank DuPont for its generous support, and we’re proud of the men and women who have participated in the first two years of this program. Now, we’re actively looking for more couples and individuals to get involved in this exciting program.”

Ideal participants will be farming couples or individuals from NCGA’s affiliated states, such as those considering a board position. Those interested must be at least 21 years of age, active in corn farming, NCGA members and not currently serving as an officer on their state affiliate board.

“We are proud to sponsor the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program,” said Steve Reno, DuPont Pioneer vice president, regional business director - US & Canada.   “These participants will gain skills that will help them advocate on behalf of their farm and their industry at the local, state and national level.  They also will build friendships that will last a lifetime.”

“The program has encouraged me to be more involved to make a difference,” said Michael Howlett, a 2015 participant from New York. “It was well worth the time and energy, and I will be more involved from this point forward, due to the New Leaders Program.”

One couple or up to two single persons per NCGA-affiliated state will be chosen to participate in this hands-on communications and leadership training. The program will be implemented with two plenary sessions. The first will be in Iowa in February 2016 and the second in Washington in July 2016.

Applications are due Friday, Oct. 30, and will be reviewed by the NCGA and forwarded to the appropriate state affiliate association for approval. Participants accepted for the program will be notified in November. All program-related travel and lodging expenses will be covered, per NCGA policy and procedures. For more information and/or to register, visit

Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

FY 2016 Exports Forecast Down $1.0 Billion from 2015 to $138.5 Billion; Imports at a Record $122.5 Billion

Fiscal 2016 agricultural exports are projected at $138.5 billion, down $1.0 billion from the revised $139.5 billion forecast for fiscal 2015. This decline is primarily due to oilseeds and products, which are down $4.4 billion as a result of lower expected soybean and soybean meal prices and reduced export volumes. Grain and feed exports are forecast to be up $1.1 billion from fiscal 2015, largely due to higher expected wheat shipments. Cotton exports are forecast down $400 million due to a smaller U.S. crop. Exports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products are up $600 million as higher export volumes for a number of livestock products more than offset a decline in prices. Horticultural exports are forecast up $2.0 billion to a record $36.5 billion with higher export values for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, as well as tree nuts. Agricultural exports to China are forecast down $2.0 billion from fiscal 2015, primarily due to lower soybean values. Canada is expected to return as the largest U.S. export market for the first time since 2010.

U.S. agricultural imports in 2016 are forecast at a record $122.5 billion, $7.0 billion higher than fiscal 2015. Increases in import values are expected for most products in 2016, with the largest gains in horticultural, and sugar and tropical products. The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to fall by $8.0 billion in fiscal 2016 to $16.0 billion. This would be the smallest surplus since 2007.

For fiscal 2015, the forecast of $139.5 billion for exports is down $1.0 billion from last quarter’s forecast. Imports are down $1.5 to $115.5 billion.

Read the full report here....

Vilsack on Updated Forecast for U.S. Agricultural Exports

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's fourth quarter Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.

"The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues. Fiscal years 2015 and 2016 exports are forecast to be the third- and fourth-highest on record, respectively. Bulk export volumes are expected to rise in fiscal year 2016 and reach near record levels, and horticultural and livestock product exports are also expected to be higher.

"Today's forecast provides a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain stable in the face of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation's history and while the western U.S. remains gripped by drought. Thanks to the resilience of our farmers and ranchers, fiscal years 2009 to 2015 represent the strongest seven years in history for U.S. agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling more than $911 billion.

"We expect that new trade agreements, made possible thanks to Trade Promotion Authority, will allow American farmers and ranchers to better reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside of our borders and drive the continued strength of American agricultural exports. USDA will continue to fight to get the best trade deals for farmers and ranchers that open new markets and new customers to them. Expanded trade strengthens the agricultural economy, supports more than one million good paying American jobs, and helps to preserve the rural way of life."

USGC:  Where is U.S. Corn Going?

This week’s U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) Chart of Note illustrates the top 10 U.S. corn markets as of Aug. 20 for the 2014/2015 marketing year.

The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report for August projected U.S. corn exports for the year at 47 million metric tons (1.85 billion bushels) - 13 percent of U.S. corn production. Representing 85 percent of sales, these markets are important to supporting demand and, ultimately, the prices farmers receive for their harvests.

Of the top 10 importers, three are located in Asia, five in Latin America and two in Middle East/North Africa. In addition, of these top 10 markets, five (or half) have free trade agreements (FTAs) in place with the United States.

Japan is once again on track to be the largest importer of U.S. corn having already imported 12 million tons (472.4 million bushels). Mexico is following close behind having imported 10.9 million tons (429.1 million bushels) so far this year. Colombia rounds out the top three with purchases of 4.5 million tons (177 million bushels) this marketing year.

Through educational seminars and trainings, trade teams and missions and more, the Council has helped open the doors of countries around the world to trade and have helped markets remain open to U.S. products.

“Our top 10 markets are winding down this marketing year, having purchased more than 40 million tons (1.5 million bushels),” said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, who farms in Nebraska. “With 10 days left in this marketing year, this chart highlights the places the Council has to continue to work to build demand for U.S. corn as well as defend U.S. market share.”

Soybean Cyst Nematodes Overcomes Common Management Tool

A common tool used to manage a destructive soybean pest is losing its effectiveness, warned a Kansas State University nematologist.

Scientists at a recent meeting of Midwestern plant nematologists reported that they had observed a steady decrease in effectiveness of PI 88788 resistance against the soybean cyst nematode.

"This is becoming a serious concern for Kansas soybean producers," said Tim Todd, research nematologist in K-State's Department of Plant Pathology.

PI 88788 is a common source of genetic resistance to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) that was introduced into many soybean varieties to counter the pest. The nematodes cost U.S. soybean producers more than $1 billion each year in lost yields, according to some estimates, Todd said. Every major soybean growing county in Kansas is infested this year.

The availability of alternative sources of resistance are currently limited. "Kansas soybean farmers desperately need additional sources of resistance against this widespread pest," Todd said.

Todd was one of a group of nematologists from eight Midwestern states and Ontario that discussed the development at a July 7-9 meeting of the North Central Committee on Practical Management of Nematodes on Corn, Soybeans and Other Crops of Regional Importance in Chaska, Minnesota. The committee reviews and coordinates ongoing research on managing nematode parasites of crops, with special emphasis on corn and soybeans.

The scientists concluded that a coordinated approach using multiple management options, such as alternating soybeans with non-host crops, planting SCN-resistant soybean varieties and using nematode-protectant seed treatments, provide the greatest likelihood of sustained success for producing soybeans profitably in SCN-infested fields.

They also planned coordinated research projects for upcoming years, including work on nematode-resistant varieties, non-host crops, seed treatments, new nematode detection methods and soil health.

Soy Growers to EPA: Don’t Place More Barriers to Efficient Farming

The American Soybean Association (ASA) submitted comments on two federal actions on pollinator health issues, given the potential ramifications for soybean farmers. The actions announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–one dealing with an approach from the White House to stem the decline of Monarch butterfly populations, and the other with mandatory label restrictions on foliar pesticides in an effort to mitigate harm to honeybees during contract pollination–have the potential, if managed incorrectly, to place another barrier between farmers and the tools they need to farm more efficiently. While soybean operations do not utilize contract pollinators, ASA recognizes that the issue of pollinator health is a huge one for our industry, and is committed to working with our partners at EPA and USDA toward a solution.

USDA Expands Farm Safety Net, Offers Greater Flexibility for Beginning, Organic and Fruit and Vegetable Growers

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance will be available in every county in the nation in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also making changes to the policy to help farmers and ranchers with diversified crops including beginning, organic, and fruit and vegetable growers, better access Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.

"Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance allows producers who have previously had limited access to a risk management safety net, to insure all of the commodities on their farm at once instead of one commodity at a time," said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. "That gives them the option of embracing more crop diversity on their farm and helps support the production of a wider variety of foods."

USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) introduced the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot program for a majority of counties in the 2015 insurance year. Starting with the 2016 insurance year, the new program will be available in all counties in the United States, a first for the federal crop insurance program.

USDA also provided additional flexibility to producers by making the following changes, including:

    Beginning Farmers and Ranchers – RMA makes it easier for more beginning farmers and ranchers to participate in the program by reducing the required records from five to three historical years, plus farming records from the past year. Additionally, any beginning farmer and rancher may qualify by using the former farm operator's federal farm tax records if the beginning farmer or rancher assumes at least 90 percent of the farm operation

    Livestock Producers – RMA removed the previous cap that limited participants to those who received 35 percent or less of their income from livestock production. Producers will now be able to insure up to $1 million worth of animals and animal products.

    Expanding Operations – RMA increased the cap on historical revenue for expanding operations to 35 percent from its previous 10 percent to better allow growing farms the opportunity to cover their growth in the insurance guarantee.

Whole-Farm Revenue Protection includes a wide range of available coverage levels, provides coverage for replanting annual commodities, includes provisions that increase coverage for expanding operations, and allows the inclusion of market readiness costs in the coverage. The policy is tailored for most farms, including farms with specialty or organic commodities (both crops and livestock), or those marketing to local, regional, farm-identity preserved, specialty, or direct markets. The policy covers farms or ranches with up to $8.5 million in insured revenue.

For more information, including product availability, visit the RMA Whole-Farm Web page. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at

TPP Update: Talks Continue; No Predictions on Outcome

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators are continuing quiet bilateral discussions, with the Canadian elections scheduled for Oct. 19 and the intensifying U.S. presidential race adding new pressure to an already challenging calendar.

“In 2014, the U.S. had Congressional elections and Japan had parliamentary elections. That gave the two largest economies involved in the talks a year to act before a new election cycle again complicated the talks,” said Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) director of trade policy and biotechnology.

“But barring a last-minute deal in the near future, the opportunity is going to be missed even with trade promotion authority legislation passed here at home.”

Despite the most recent impasse in reaching a deal, talks continue. In addition to the ongoing discussions among negotiators, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman took advantage of this week’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur to meet senior representatives of several TPP participants, including Australia, Brunei, Malaysia and New Zealand. The White House also announced that President Barack Obama had again discussed the TPP negotiations with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week by telephone.

“It is important to see the high-level commitment continue, but we continue to be concerned about the time available to actually get a deal done,” Gaibler said.

“Under TPA, there are statutory requirements for extensive Congressional and public comment after a tentative deal is reached. Even if a deal were signed tomorrow, there is no longer time to get it passed this year. And in a presidential election year, all bets are off.”

A high-quality agreement reducing tariffs and expanding market access for U.S. agricultural products is a longstanding objective of the Council. The Council also anticipates that a high-standard agreement will reduce non-tariff trade barriers related to sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, including biotechnology.

Sunflower Launches New Era in Tillage

Sunflower®, the leading tillage line from AGCO Corporation (NYSE:AGCO), has introduced the new SF6830 high-speed rotary finisher and SF6610 vertical tillage tool, as well as the SF4630-09 to Sunflower's line of SF4600 Series of disk rippers. The revolutionary SF6830 high-speed rotary finisher and the SF4630-09 disk ripper combine multiple tasks into one-pass systems, while the SF6610 rounds out Sunflower's Vertical Tillage offering providing a vertical tillage tool to fit every size farm.

SF6830 Sunflower's Latest High-Speed Rotary Finisher

"Sunflower is launching a new era in tillage with the SF6800 Series, a tillage tool specifically designed to utilize a new concept in seedbed preparation," says Larry Kuster, AGCO senior product marketing specialist.

The SF6830 Series provides operators the high-speed, high-residue flow capabilities unattainable with traditional shank-equipped finishers and cultivators. The heavy-duty optimum design of the SF6830 Series is completely void of sweeps, combining four types of rolling-ground engaging tools into a three-step process.

"The SF6830 Series utilizes a gang of 20-inch, low-concavity blades set at an 8-degree angle to provide just the right amount of lateral soil movement to level soil and anchor residue," continues Mr. Kuster.

Placed behind those blades, the SF6830 Series has sealed, service-free disc gang reels that turn at twice the speed of the disc blades. This allows the gang reels to aggressively break up clots and root crowns, while limiting excess lateral movement of the soil, preventing the soil ridging normally associated with single-gang tillage tools. Wavy coulter blades are positioned in a gang behind the blades and reels to continue sizing crop residue and to fracture the soil to provide avenues for root development.

The final element of the SF6830 Series is two intermeshed gangs of Sunflower’s exclusive Rotary Spider Tines. These tines are designed to ensure that the soil is leveled and that crop residue is equally mixed across the entire width of the tool. The Rotary Spider Tines sculpt the seedbed floor flat, as they lift the soil and blend it with crop residue.

Because all of the ground-engaging tools utilized in the SF6830 are of the rolling type, the possibility of the unit plugging-up is virtually eliminated. The SF6830 Series is a low-maintenance, high-speed rotary finisher.

New 6610 Vertical Tillage Tool

The Sunflower 6610 vertical tillage tool provides operators the same features and high level of performance of the larger Sunflower vertical tillage tools but in a smaller package. The SF6610 is available in two operating widths - 11 and 14 feet. These new, smaller, single-section tools join the nine larger models of the SF6600 Series for a total of 11 sizes in "true cutting widths" from 10 feet, 7 inches, to 48 feet, 7 inches.

The SF6610 is equipped with tandem axles, large tires and a strong frame, accommodating the heavy finishing attachments used in vertical tillage. Equipped with Sunflower Saber Blades™, and the proven overlapping/staggered gang design. The SF6610 produces an excellent seedbed avoiding the ridged and valleyed seedbed profile produced by other tools.

The SF6610 is capable of cutting through the toughest residue and penetrating the hardest soils to fulfill any operator's needs. The SF6610 can be used multi-seasonally, from opening a cold, damp field in the spring to performing residue management duties in the fall.

Like the other models in the SF6600 Series, the SF6610 is a highly capable, long-lasting, low-maintenance vertical tillage tool. The standard walking tandem axles come with triple-sealed bolt-in spindles that cannot be damaged by over-greasing, offset C-Flex™ bearing standards and a maintenance-free lift system with ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic bearings. The reduction in daily maintenance results in more time in the field.

Sunflower 4630-09 Disk Ripper

The SF4630-09 is designed to combine three important post-harvest tillage tasks in one pass, capable of crop residue management, eradication of soil compaction and seedbed preparation. The SF4630-09 is a narrow-transport, folding frame, nine-shank disc ripper equipped with walking tandem axles between large 385/65R by 22.50 tires. The SF4630-09 frame is constructed of high-strength, 4-inch by 8-inch by 3/8-inch steel tubing and is engineered and manufactured to withstand the high stress of aggressive deep combination tillage.

The SF4600 Series is available in models ranging from seven to 13 shanks, with three models in folding configurations.

Everything about the SF4630-09 disk ripper is designed to maximize the crop residue decomposition process. The large, individually mounted 28-inch diameter disc blades are spaced 7.5 inches apart in two rows. Operators can choose between the extremely aggressive 28-inch Saber Blade or a conventional 28-inch smooth-edge blade; both styles operate at working depths ranging from 0 to 8 inches. The tandem gang design is extraordinary at sizing and incorporating crop material into smaller, faster-decaying pieces, and the C-Spring individual blade mounting produces optimal material flow and rock protection.

SF4630-09 gang depth is fingertip-controlled from the cab and adjusted independently of the ripper shanks, achieving the perfect balance between two components.

The heavy point load and true auto-reset designed service free parabolic shanks of the SF4600 Series maintain the correct point position even at maximum depth.

The SF4360-09 is available with four optional finishing attachments, each tailored to a different soil type and crop residue. Operators can choose between the heavy-duty coil tine harrow, the two-bar heavy-duty coil tine harrow and reel, the five-spike tooth drag harrow, and the two-bar heavy-duty coil tine harrow and hydraulic controlled reel, giving operators the ability to choose a finishing attachment best suited to the final condition of their soil.

For more information, visit your Sunflower dealer or

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Wednesday August 26 Ag News

Ag Committee Hearings On Dairy Growth and Brand Law in Grand Island

Senator Jerry Johnson, Chairman of the Legislature's Agriculture Committee, announced that the Committee will conduct a public hearing on September 4th at the Grand Island City Council Chambers.  The city council chambers are located at 101 East 1st Street in Grand Island, near the intersection of HWY 30 and South Locust Streets. 

The committee will hear testimony for two interim study resolutions.  Interim study resolution LR 270 introduced by Senator Ken Schilz of Omaha directs the committee to examine the fee structure supporting the functions of the Nebraska Brand Committee.  LR 214 introduced by Senator Johnson asks the Committee to examine means to implement recommendations of a study of Nebraska’s dairy industry completed in November last year by the Department of Agriculture at the direction of the Legislature.  Both study resolutions were introduced earlier this year during the 2015 legislative session. 

Last session, the Legislature approved LB 85 which increases the maximum inspection fee that may be charged for brand inspections performed by the Brand Committee.  While the Legislature approved the additional fee authority, debate on LB 85 sparked discussion about the need to examine the revenues supporting the Brand Committee and to explore means to diversity its funding base.  The LR 270 study is also intended to initiate discussions on other ways the Brand Committee might be able to provide value and service to producers. 

LR 214 was introduced as a forum to follow up the Dairy Growth and Development Study, completed by the Department of Agriculture as directed by LB 914 enacted in the 2014 legislative session.  The report identified avenues for growth in both dairy production and processing in Nebraska and includes recommendations of the Director.  A link to the report is available at from the website of the Agriculture Committee or may also be accessed from the home page of the Department of Agriculture

According to Senator Johnson, growth in Nebraska’s dairy sector has been stagnant, but there are opportunities for expansion and reason for optimism that Nebraska can attract new investment in dairy farms and dairy processing facilities.  “We need the direct economic benefits that dairy production brings, and an expanded dairy sector would be a much needed diversification of our agricultural base.”  Senator Johnson said he hopes that the interim study can provide guidance for initiatives that can help support the dairy industry in the next legislative session. 

The hearing for LR 270 will begin at 11:00 a.m. and the hearing for LR 214 will begin at 1:15 p.m..  At the conclusion of the hearings, the committee’s schedule includes time for members of the Committee to visit to the State Fair where the committee will be hosted by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce and the State Fair Board.

Stalk and Ear Rot Diseases Developing Early in Few Fields

Tamra Jackson-Ziems, NE Extension Plant Pathologist

Much of the 2015 Nebraska corn crop experienced prolonged stress and sometimes wounding earlier this season. While most of the crop looks good, we are beginning to see early evidence of problems developing, in particular, stalk and ear rot diseases. Producers should watch for early symptoms and consider monitoring high risk corn fields for stalk and ear rot diseases as harvest approaches. 
Weakened stalks have already become evident in some corn.  Remember that high winds can lead to lodged corn where stalks have become weakened by stalk rot diseases and other problems.  Crop stress during the 2015 growing season has and will likely contribute to the development of some stalk rot diseases.  Pay special attention to fields that have one or more risk factors for stalk rot diseases and lodging:
    Higher yielding hybrids
    Lost leaf area (due to leaf diseases, hail, etc.)
    Excessive rainfall/ponding anytime during season
    Stalk wounding, usually by hail
    High planting populations
    Thin stalks
    Tall hybrids with ears set high on plant

Scouting for Stalk and Ear Rot Diseases

The first indication of a problem could be the early, and sometimes rapid, discoloration of the corn plant turning from green to brown or gray.  Individual plants or patches of several plants may be affected. Affected plants often have stalks that are hollow and easily crushed by hand or bent using the "push or pinch" test.  Stalk rots can occur at any point in the stalk from the crown at/below the soil line all the way to the tassel.  Rotting that occurs at an upper node and kills only the upper plant parts is referred to as "top rot" and does not necessarily cause lodging of the whole plant. However, degradation of the stalk below the ear can lead to plant lodging and losses during harvest.

Similarly, an early sign of ear rot disease is the early discoloration of the ear husk or even evidence of white, cottony mold on the outside. Affected ears also may droop sooner if the shank has been weakened, allowing the ear to tip over. Inside the husks, fungal growth may be evident on the ear or between the kernels, which also may be discolored.

Push/Pinch Stalk Test

As corn begins to senesce and harvest approaches, you can conduct push or pinch tests to evaluate stalk strength. Walking through a field, randomly select a minimum of 100 plants representing a large portion of the field.  To test for stalk rot you may choose to push the plant tops away from you approximately 30° from vertical.  If plants don't snap back to vertical, then the stalk has been compromised by stalk rot.

An alternative method is to use the pinch test to evaluate plants for stalk rots.  Pinch or squeeze the plant at one of the lowest internodes above the brace roots.  If the stalk crushes easily by hand, its integrity is reduced by stalk rot and it will be prone to lodging. If more than 10% of plants exhibit stalk rot symptoms, harvest that field before other fields at less risk to reduce the chance of plant lodging and the potential for yield loss.

Similarly, when scouting for ear rot diseases, you must open the husks to inspect the ear and kernels for discoloration or fungal growth.

Several fungi are common in our production fields and can opportunistically cause stalk rot diseases in stressed plants. Several fungal and bacterial pathogens can cause stalk rot diseases. The more common ones are summarized in Corn Disease Profile II: Stalk Rot Diseases and in greater depth in Common Stalk Rot Diseases of Corn. Likewise, some of the same fungi that cause stalk rot disease can also cause ear rot diseases and are summarized in Corn Disease Profile III: Ear Rot Diseases and Grain Molds .


Nothing can be done at this point in the season to stop stalk or ear rots in corn. Affected plants will continue to degrade and weaken over time.  You can minimize your losses by identifying which fields have the worst stalk rot diseases and harvesting those fields first.

Consider harvesting or chopping fields that are heavily impacted by stalk rots first to minimize losses that can occur after lodging. Avoid storing grain from fields with ear rot diseases. If necessary, it can be stored for a short time if cooled and dried to less than 15% moisture within 48 hours of harvest to slow mold growth. 

If you are in doubt about the identity of a disease or cause of another plant problem, you can submit a sample to the UNL Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic (PPDC) for diagnosis.  For more information about these and other plant diseases or for instructions and forms for submitting samples to the PPDC, visit the clinic site on

USDA Rural Development Awards Funding to 23 Nebraska Recipients to Assist with Energy Needs

Twenty-three Nebraska applicants have been selected to receive $486,026 in grants from USDA Rural Development through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).  Funds will be used to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements that will promote energy conservation.

“Through these projects, energy consumption will be reduced, thereby making more dollars available to be kept within rural Nebraska and assisting the state’s rural economy,” said Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development.  “Enough energy will be generated or saved to power 217 homes.”

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen and geothermal.  Additional information on the Rural Energy for America Program may be found at or contact Jeff Carpenter,; (402) 437-5554.

Detailed below by county aren some of the energy projects selected from Nebraska’s allocation of funding. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreements.

-          Pete C Schmit and Sons, Ltd. - $34,750 – Install a 25 kW wind turbine to replace existing energy source.

-          Kvols, Rod - $19,920 – Replace existing grain dryer with a more efficient model.

-          Ortmeier, Michael J. - $5,439 – Diesel irrigation motor conversion and variable frequency drive.

-          Braun’s IGA, Inc. - $18,651 – Replace coolers in grocery store.
-          The Alley/Millie’s Coffee - $10,240 – Replace existing windows and install an insulated roofing system to an existing building.

-          Central City Scale, Inc. - $18,750 – Install a 25 kW photo voltaic solar system on an existing building to replace existing energy source.
-          D Bar K, P.C. - $18,750 – Install a 25 kW photo voltaic solar system on an existing building to replace existing energy source.
-          Williams, Billy Monte - $24,558 – Install a 25 kW photo voltaic solar system on an existing building to replace existing energy source.

Iowa Part of National Avian Flu Surveillance Effort

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is participating in a national surveillance effort to test waterfowl for the presence of avian influenza. Testing began this summer as part of the DNR's annual waterfowl banding work and will continue with hunter harvested ducks this fall and winter.

The project is coordinated by the USDA Wildlife Services that is targeting watersheds by season. This fall, hunters in the Upper Mississippi, Iowa, Skunk and Wapsipinicon River watershed and the Chariton and Grand River watershed may be asked to have samples collected from their harvested ducks. Later this winter, the focus shifts to the Missouri and Little Sioux River watershed.

"We are targeting dabbling ducks -- teal, gadwall, widgeon, mallards are the highest priority and hope to fill our sample quotas on the opening day of regular duck season," said Orrin Jones, waterfowl biologist with the Iowa DNR.

Watersheds were selected based on the likelihood that dabbling ducks would be intermingling with other ducks and were assigned quotas to determine if avian influenza is present in the watersheds: 60 samples, 80 samples and 140 samples, respectively.

Collection takes only a few minutes and no hunter information is taken. Hunters can be notified of the results if they choose.

While the sample collection is focused on specific watersheds, Jones asked that hunters from all parts of the state call the DNR if they find five or more dead ducks in an area.

"That is a situation we would like to investigate," Jones said.

Hunters concerned about avian influenza should avoid taking ducks that appear sick or unhealthy or are acting odd, and should clean, rinse and cook it thoroughly. Hunters should also avoid eating, drinking or smoking while field dressing the fowl. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the risk of becoming sick from a duck contaminated with avian influenza is very low.

Ethanol Supply Flat, Output Drops

U.S. ethanol stocks were little changed while domestic production plants throttled back output to the slowest pace since early May during the week-ended Aug. 21, data released Wednesday, Aug. 26, by the Energy Information Administration shows.

U.S. ethanol supply totaled 18.6 million barrels (bbl) on Aug. 21, holding near the lowest inventory level of the year for the third consecutive week. That's still more inventory than the year prior when supply totaled 17.3 million bbl.

U.S. ethanol plant production eased 13,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 952,000 bpd during the week profiled, the lowest output rate since the week-ended May 8. U.S. ethanol plant output averaged 961,000 bpd during the four weeks ended Aug. 21, up 40,000 bpd, or 4.3%, compared with year prior.

Refiner and blender net inputs of ethanol, a proxy for ethanol demand, eased 5,000 bpd to 903,000 bpd during the week under review. Ethanol inputs averaged 905,000 bpd during the four weeks ended Aug. 21, 26,000 bpd, or 3.0%, above the comparable year-ago period.

Implied gasoline demand tumbled 516,000 bpd to 9.189 million bpd during the week-ended Aug. 21, with gasoline supplied to market averaging 9.567 million bpd during the four weeks through this past Friday, up 5.8% versus year prior.

U.S. regulator sued for withholding information on GMO crops

A food safety advocacy group sued an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday, saying it illegally withheld public information on genetically engineered crops.

The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), claims the regulator has routinely failed to respond as required to requests for records that relate to many concerns with the GMO crops.

The lawsuit accuses the agency of violating the Freedom of Information Act dozens of times, unlawfully withholding information for more than 13 years. APHIS had no immediate response.

In particular, the lawsuit alleges that the agency failed to respond as required to requests for records related to new GMO regulations that APHIS proposed in 2008 but withdrew earlier this year.

The lawsuit also accuses the agency of failing to respond as required to inquiries about the handling of experimental genetically engineered wheat that was found growing uncontrolled in an Oregon field in 2013. That incident led to lost U.S. wheat export sales as foreign markets feared contaminated supplies.

The lawsuit says APHIS has also failed to respond to requests or withheld records it sought about the handling of other experimental crops that the group believes have escaped review and regulation.

The requests have covered GMO wheat, rice, alfalfa, sugar beets, bent grass, corn and other GMOs. Delays in providing information have run years for some requests, and violated federal law covering the release of public information, according to the lawsuit.

For years, advocacy groups, lawmakers and others critics have harshly criticized U.S. regulation of GMOs as too lax. APHIS has been cited in government auditing for oversight lapses. Some GMO contamination events have led to food recalls and disrupted trade.

In July, the White House directed APHIS and the two other U.S. agencies that oversee biotech crop products, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, to improve and modernize their regulatory framework to boost public confidence.

The CFS lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, asks the court to declare APHIS's actions unlawful and order the agency to produce the records by date to be set by the court. CFS also asks that the court supervise the regulator for compliance.

The Freedom of Information Act provides for the release of federal agency records when requested, with certain exemptions and provisions, and imposes strict deadlines on government agencies to respond.

Last Chance for Good Steward Recognition Nominations

Monday is the deadline for the National Corn Growers Association's Good Steward Recognition nominations. State affiliates, as well as industry and organizational partners, are urged to submit qualified growers dedicated to production standards that deliver high sustainable yields with extraordinary conservation and environmental benefits. 

"Practical solutions are what drive the adoption of best practices on the farm," said Don Glenn, chairman of NCGA's Production and Stewardship Action Team. "Discovering new methods for improving soil health, preserving water quality and improving the profitability of farming makes everyone take notice. This is why we recognize individuals who excel at demonstrating leadership in sustainable corn production."

NCGA is looking for a farmer who implements best management practices validating environmental stewardship, efficiency and productivity. One award recipient will be selected from nominees submitted by NCGA state affiliates and other corn industry and organizational partners.

Nominees will need to demonstrate their superior commitment to sustainability through the application of best management practices and innovation, have a history in adopting technological advancements, exhibit effective communication skills and work with farm data such as farm level mapping software, GPS guidance systems and yield monitoring.

Required criteria for nomination:
    NCGA member in good standing
    In compliance with FSA/NRCS HEL and wetland provisions
    Implements conservation tillage practices of no-till or strip-till
    Demonstrates agricultural innovation
    Possesses excellent communication and networking skills

 Best management demonstration includes:
    Irrigation (if applicable)
    Cover crops
    Soil erosion control
    Nutrient management
    Water quality

NCGA will process all submitted nominations returned to and  Submission forms are available at Experts in the field of agricultural conservation, environment and sustainability will select a Good Steward Recognition recipient. Nominations are due close-of-business August 31, 2015. The selected grower announcement occurs during the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2-5, 2016. 

Syngenta comments on Monsanto announcement

The Board of Syngenta confirms that it received a verbal proposal from Monsanto to acquire the company at a price of CHF245 in cash and a fixed ratio of 2.229 Monsanto shares per Syngenta share. At market close on August 25 this equated to a price of CHF 433 per Syngenta share.

After engaging with Monsanto on their latest approach, the Board unanimously rejected their revised proposal. It significantly undervalued the company and was fraught with execution risk. Furthermore, recent market volatility highlighted the significant risk for Syngenta shareholders resulting from the structure of this proposal. In addition, certain key issues were not addressed by Monsanto in sufficient detail to allow Syngenta to make a proper assessment of the proposed new entity, which would have been 30 percent owned by Syngenta shareholders.

In particular, Monsanto did not provide sufficient clarity on the following four issues:
1.    Their estimate of total cost and revenue synergies
2.    Their assumptions regarding net sales proceeds of seeds and traits
3.    The nature and extent of regulatory covenants that they were prepared to offer
4.    The assessment of risks and benefits from a tax inversion to the United Kingdom

Michel Demaré, Chairman of Syngenta, said: “We engaged with Monsanto in good faith and highlighted those key issues which required more concrete information in order to continue a dialogue.  We take note of Monsanto’s decision.  Our Board is confident that Syngenta’s long-term prospects remain very attractive with a leading portfolio and a promising pipeline of new products and technologies. We are committed to accelerate shareholder value creation.”

Monsanto Drops Bid for Syngenta

Monsanto Co. dropped its $46 billion bid for Syngenta AG after the Swiss agribusiness giant rejected a sweetened offer, dashing chances of a union that would have reshaped the global market for seeds and pesticides. The Wall Street Journal reports that the surprise disclosure on Wednesday capped four months of aggressive pursuit by St. Louis-based Monsanto, which Syngenta had consistently rebuffed even as some of its shareholders pressured the Swiss company to negotiate.

The deal's demise forestalls what some analysts anticipated, and some farmers feared, would be another round of consolidation in the global marketplace for crop seeds and chemicals, a sector currently dominated by six top firms.

Dropping the bid marks a high-profile defeat for Monsanto Chief Executive Hugh Grant, who spent much of the spring and summer pitching the deal to investors. The combination of Syngenta's position in pesticides with Monsanto's seeds business offered 'transformative' potential, he had said, and the deal was his most ambitious expansion plan in 12 years at the helm.

NASS Delays 2014 Organic Survey Report

USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is delaying release of the 2014 Organic Survey report, originally scheduled for Aug. 31 at noon ET. More time is needed for data review and analysis to assure the highest quality data. A new release date will be announced on Sept. 8.

When published, the 2014 Organic Survey report will provide valuable, detailed, objective information to help determine the scope and economic impact of organic production in the United States. The survey is a program of the Census of Agriculture and is a complete inventory of all known organic producers in the United States that are certified, exempt from certification, and those producers transitioning to organic production.

The survey gathered information about organic farming and ranching activities, including:

-- Production of field crops, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, berries, livestock and poultry;

-- Production practices such as pest management, cover crops, crop rotation, rotational grazing, conservation tillage, water management and buffer zones;

-- Production expenses;

-- Marketing practices, including wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer sales; and

-- Value-added production and processing.

WDE Dairy Cattle Entries Due Aug. 31

World Dairy Expo is right around the corner and the deadline for dairy cattle entries is fast approaching. All entries must be submitted by midnight (CDT) on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 to avoid late fees. Paper entries must be postmarked by that date as well. Late entries will be accepted until the day of the show at an increased rate (online late entries close Sept. 13, 2015).

Entry forms are available online through the Dairy Cattle Entry System or for print on the Expo website. Additional entry information, schedule of events, rules and changes/additions can be found in the Premium book, available on the Expo website. 

Display booth space, end-cap display, stalling requests, discounted exhibitor passes, 2018 Futurity entries, 2016 judge nominations and Dairy Cattle Exhibitor Committee representative nomination forms can all be found on the online entry system as well. Youth fitting and showmanship contest entries may also be submitted.    

World Dairy Expo will be held Sept. 29 - Oct. 3, 2015 at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. with this year’s theme of “Dairy in our DNA.” WDE, recognized as the meeting place for the global dairy industry, attracts more than 70,000 attendees from more than 90 countries each year. Visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@WDExpo or #WDE15) for more information.

Non-Corrosive N-BOUND™ stabilizer offers new option for anhydrous ammonia 

Eco Agro Resources (EAR) introduces N-BOUND™ nitrogen stabilizer as an alternative to current nitrapyrin formulations to control denitrification and leaching. Unique PENXCEL technology delivers a proven nitrogen stabilizer, Dicyandiamide (DCD), in a non-corrosive liquid formulation. This product is not classified as a restricted use pesticide, and does not impact soil bacteria in the same way as the industry standard product.

Fertilizer dealers have the flexibility to introduce N-BOUND directly into the tank or use metering systems. Eco Agro Resources conducted tests with manufacturers of pumps for filling tanks and metering devices for anhydrous equipment. All tests have confirmed that the product is non-corrosive and works well with these the systems in field tests.

Norm Davy, Chief Marketing Officer for Eco Agro Resources explains, "Anhydrous ammonia users like to stabilize their nitrogen, but have experienced corrosion of their equipment and would prefer a product that wasn't a restricted use pesticide. Now they have an option to use non-corrosive N-BOUND stabilizer in their fall and spring applications. In all tests conducted with various anhydrous equipment manufacturers, N-BOUND stabilizer has proven non-corrosive and was accurately metered through standard systems.

N-BOUND stabilizer is a breakthrough liquid formulation that makes handling easy. Davy has heard from retailers and growers who have witnessed nitrogen losses due to wet weather in 2015 that they want a new option. "N-BOUND opens up possibilities for growers and retailers never available before. Our liquid formulation blends fast, provides a safer alternative than the current restricted use treatment, and eliminates the hassle of corrosion."

The N-BOUND product can also be used on urea and in liquid UAN. This provides extra flexibility to retailers who offer a range of nitrogen fertilizer options with nitrification inhibitors.

Fall-Applied Phosphorus: A Rooted Investment

As commodity prices decrease and input prices continue to rise, farmers are seeking more efficient strategies for meeting a high yield goal that is in line with their production budgets. Fertilizer purchased in the fall is often discounted at lower prices, and when treated with AVAIL® Phosphorus Fertilizer Enhancer, return on fertilizer investments can be maximized.

After a fall application of AVAIL-treated phosphorus (P), the nutrient protection of AVAIL reduces tie up of that essential plant nutrient in the soil through the spring. With more available P, AVAIL can help boost crop yield results in corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa at a wide range of fertilizer application rates.

Research from the University of Minnesota, Kansas State University and the University of Illinois has shown AVAIL increases yield potential, regardless of the rate at which P is applied. Trials with AVAIL combined with dry P fertilizer documented strong corn yields are maintained even when P rates are reduced.

“Prices are important to farmers right now, and they will continue to be price sensitive throughout the fall season as we make our fertilizer recommendations,” says Scott Coon, executive vice president of agronomy for West Central Cooperative in Ralston, Iowa. “We are having that conversation with our customers this fall – adding AVAIL in the mix allows us to make a confident recommendation for possibly lowering phosphorus rates and saving them some money.”

Many other benefits can be found from applying P this fall, including saving time on workload during the planting season and a greater potential of soil incorporation into the root zone due to winter moisture.

Fall-applied phosphorus will remain in the soil for spring-planted crops, as phosphorus is generally an immobile nutrient,” said Ryan Bond, Ph.D., vice president, marketing & technical development at Verdesian. “The real issue is, phosphorus is bonding with positive ions during the winter, causing it to become fixed in the soil and unavailable to crops. The use of AVAIL focuses on improving the efficiency of your applied phosphorus and can help keep the nutrient from being tied up in the soil come time for planting and the following growing season.”

For the strongest ROI, Verdesian Life Sciences recommends developing a nutrient management plan with the International Plant Nutrition Institute’s 4R approach: use the right fertilizer source and apply at the right rate, place and time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday August 26 Ag News

Husker Ag Wins Inaugural Award

Continued efforts to provide consumers access to higher blends of American Ethanol earns Husker Ag, LLC the Power By People Award.

The new award was presented during the annual American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Conference in Omaha Aug. 20. It is presented to a plant or an individual who has gone the extra mile to help get ethanol’s message out to the public.

“Everyone is very proud to have worked together to receive this prestigious award,” said Seth Harder, Husker Ag general manager. “We are proud to be members of Husker Ag.”

ACE Executive Director Brian Jennings said Husker Ag’s recent response to a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) public hearing made them a perfect fit for the inaugural Power by People Award.

According to Jennings, when the RFS hearing was announced, Harder and his team immediately stepped forward with a group of employees, shareholders, investors and a fuel retailer to testify in Kansas City despite short notice.

In addition to addressing policy issues, Husker Ag provides support for flex fuel infrastructure throughout northeast Nebraska.

In 2012, Husker Ag passed a resolution to promote higher ethanol fuel blends at the retail level. Since then, the Plainview ethanol plant has provided grant money and ethanol for several retail locations including Creighton, Crofton, Hartington, Osmond, and Pierce at two locations.  Plainview and Norfolk locations are in various stages of flex fuel pump installation, and equipment is ready for installation at possibly four more locations.

“Husker Ag is a leader in ethanol infrastructure development,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “The Husker Ag team continues to invest capital to expand a marketing network for ethanol fuels in communities across Nebraska. Seth and his team know that when consumers have a choice of fuel they generally opt for high octane, lower cost fuels that burn cleaner and provide high performance. Husker Ag invests in fueling sites with partners who understand the value of providing consumers with more choices at the pump.”

Approximately 90 pumps in Nebraska offer higher blends of American Ethanol, including 32 flex fuel pumps and 58 E85 dispensers.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               As we approach September, it's time to decide when to take your last cutting of alfalfa.

               The date you take your last harvest of alfalfa affects its winter survival and next spring's vigor.  Alfalfa needs about six weeks of uninterrupted growth in the fall to become well winterized.  This winterterizing generally begins about three weeks before the average date of first frost.  To have little worry about harvest affecting stand life, your last harvest can occur anytime before winterizing begins or after the winterizing period is over.  But, harvest during winterizing can be risky.

               How risky is it to harvest alfalfa during winterizing?  Well, that depends on how much total stress your alfalfa experienced this year.  The most important factor is the number of cuts you took this year.  Fields cut 4 or 5 times are more susceptible to winter injury than fields cut 3 times or less.  Also, young stands of winterhardy, disease resistant varieties are less stressed and can be harvested during winterizing with less risk than older stands of varieties that may be only moderately winter hardy.

               Also consider your need for extra alfalfa or its cash crop value.  Dairy hay still is priced high, so cutting dairy hay from this final harvest may be worth the risk of lowering next year’s yield.  Stock cow and grinding hay, though, is quite plentiful and has dropped in value this year.  When this hay is available and reasonably priced, it may be better to purchase extra hay rather than risk another cutting.  Remember, you can cut after winterizing with less risk.

               Harvesting alfalfa during its winterizing period is risky, but by reducing total stress, you control how risky it is.

Ricketts Announces Hamilton County as Nebraska’s Newest Livestock Friendly County

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that Hamilton County has become the newest county in the state to become designated as a Livestock Friendly County (LFC) through a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA).

“The livestock industry in Nebraska generates more than half of the total on-farm receipts of our state’s number one industry, agriculture,” said Gov. Ricketts. “That’s why is so important that counties like Hamilton demonstrate they want to promote the expansion of current livestock operations and establish new businesses in their area. It not only supports and grows the local economy, but it also Grows Nebraska as a whole.”

Created in 2003 by the Nebraska Legislature, the LFC program is designed to recognize counties in the state that support the expansion of the livestock industry. In 2014, livestock receipts in the state comprised over half of the $24 billion of Nebraska’s total on-farm receipts. The LFC designation gives counties an extra promotional tool to encourage expansion of current livestock operations and attract new businesses that spur local economies.

“Hamilton County is a great example of a county that looks to the future and includes agriculture in that vision,” said NDA Assistant Director Bobbie Kriz-Wickham. “They already have a strong agriculture and agribusiness base. The county’s willingness to grow responsible livestock production further supports existing grain producers, encourages opportunities for diversification of farms, and positively impacts main street businesses.”

With the addition of Hamilton County, there are now 34 counties designated as Livestock Friendly through the state program.

Counties wishing to apply for the LFC designation must hold a public hearing and the county board must pass a resolution to apply for the designation. Then a completed application must be submitted to NDA. Local producers or groups can encourage county officials to apply.

Additional information about the Livestock Friendly County program is available on the NDA website at or by calling 800-422-6692.

Governor Ricketts to keynote York-NCTA ag kickoff

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will be the keynote speaker on September 3 in York as a new partnership kicks off career readiness and agricultural workforce training of York High School sophomores, juniors and seniors.

New dual credit agricultural training programs are being offered this year by YHS staff, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Central Valley Ag Cooperative and Reinke Manufacturing, Inc.

Combined with their classroom and laboratory training by YHS and NCTA faculty, students can gain work certification through internships with CVA and Reinke, said Mike Lucas, superintendent at York Public Schools.

“We are extremely excited to see the amazing things our students will do with this cutting-edge opportunity,” Lucas said. The partnership with NCTA is significant to readying students for careers in two of Nebraska’s primary industries – irrigation and agricultural production.

YHS students can earn NCTA certificates in diversified agriculture or as irrigation technicians, and potentially as certified agricultural chemical applicators.

“Nebraska agriculture has strong demand for skilled employees in technical, industry-specific jobs,” said Governor Ricketts. “This ‘Ag Track’ program can launch career-ready workers upon high school graduation.”

A year ago, YHS started an agricultural academy with Monsanto, Mycogen, Pioneer and Syngenta and is continuing courses focused on agronomy and agribusiness.

In addition to the keynote by Governor Ricketts, the Sept. 3 kickoff will include student and partner remarks and signing the “Agricultural Workforce Development and Career Track” agreement. The public is invited to attend at 1 p.m. in the YHS Theater, 1005 Duke Drive.

Ron Rosati, dean of the University of Nebraska NCTA, and Ron Yoder, associate vice chancellor of the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, also will participate in the event.

 Toxic Gasoline Emissions Topic of Omaha Science Café

David Hallberg, Urban Air Initiative policy consultant, will present “Examining the Public Health Threat of Gasoline Emissions in Urban Areas” at The Slowdown during a Science Café Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.

“The fuels combusted on our nation’s roadways are a predominant source of the most dangerous particle-borne toxic emissions,” said Hallberg, an Omaha resident. “Adding toxic carcinogens to gasoline is the way oil companies achieve the octane your engine needs to perform. Using more biofuels is a non-toxic octane enhancer and a proven method of reducing those toxic levels.”

Hallberg has served as legislative director in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and was actively involved in drafting and enactment of much of the ethanol industry’s formative legislation from 1977 to 1981. Hallberg founded and served as president/CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association from 1981-1985. He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the G8 Forum on climate change in Shonan Village, Japan, in 2001.

Hallberg is the inventor of three U.S. patents for integrated processes to produce renewable fuels and reduce carbon emissions. Appointed by Gov. Ben Nelson, he served as a Nebraska Ethanol Board member from 1998-2010. Hallberg is the recipient of American Coalition of Ethanol’s Grassroots and Merle Anderson awards. He currently works with a number of clients in the biofuels arena.

Republican River Compact Administration to hold annual meeting

The Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA) will hold its 55th annual meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 27, 2015, at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, Hawthorne Conference Room, 333 South 13th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.

The RRCA 2015 meeting is hosted by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. The meeting will focus on water related issues and activities, including compact compliance, within the Republican River basin in  Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas.

Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska entered into the Republican River Compact in 1943 to provide for the equitable division of the basin’s waters, remove causes of potential controversy, promote interstate cooperation and joint action by the States and the United States in the efficient use of water and the control of destructive floods as well as provide for the most efficient use of waters in the Republican River basin. The RRCA is comprised of three commissioners representing Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska: Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources Chief Engineer David Barfield; Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe and Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Director Jeff Fassett.

In addition, RRCA will hold a work session to prepare for the annual meeting at 1:00 p.m. August 26, at the Nebraska State Office Building, Lower Level Conference Room F, 301 Centennial Mall South. Both the work session and the annual meeting are open to the public.

For additional information about the Republican River compact and this year’s annual meeting, please visit:

Rapid City workshop examines stewardship of antimicrobial drug use in livestock

Stewardship of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food animals is the subject of workshop targeted to all livestock producers, feed suppliers and veterinarians in the Upper Plain States. The workshop will be Oct. 13, 2015, at the Journey Museum, 222 New York Street, Rapid City, SD.

Organized by Farm Foundation, NFP, the workshop is an opportunity for participants to gain a comprehensive understanding of two Guidance for Industry (GFIs) issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals, as well as FDA's revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). These actions mean some drugs will see label changes allowing only therapeutic uses, and some drugs will require veterinary oversight in the form of a veterinarian's prescription, direct administration by a veterinarian or a veterinary consultation on disease management protocols.

This free workshop is targeted to all pork, cattle, poultry and sheep producers, veterinarians and feed suppliers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Eastern Wyoming, Nebraska, Eastern Montana, and Minnesota. While not required, advance registration is requested and can be completed online here. This is one of 12 regional workshops Farm Foundation is hosting across the nation. A complete list of workshop locations is available on the Farm Foundation website.

The Oct. 13 workshop will include presentations by regional producers, veterinarians and feed industry representatives. Officials from FDA and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be at the workshop to discuss the policies and answer questions. A major part of the agenda is designated for producers, veterinarians and feed suppliers to identify and discuss the management challenges ahead. The workshop is also an opportunity for state and federal agencies, colleges of veterinary medicine and university extension personnel, to gain insights into the changes needed to meet the requirements.
To gauge awareness of the changes being put in place by FDA on the use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food animals, Farm Foundation, NFP is asking stakeholders to complete a brief survey. The survey is also intended to learn more about the potential implications of these changes. The survey is open to all livestock producers, feed suppliers and veterinarians, whether or not you attend a workshop. CLICK HERE to complete the survey. Survey results will only be gathered and reported in the aggregate. Survey results will be shared with workshop participants.

Comments gathered at the 12 workshops will be compiled in a report assessing the economic and physical challenges facing producers as they implement the new provisions in the GFIs and revised VFD. Informational and educational needs will also be evaluated, as well as the role of veterinarians in monitoring and managing antimicrobial drug use.

Farm Foundation will convene a national summit in late fall 2015 for farmers, ranchers, feed suppliers, veterinarians, academics and government agency staff to address the issues identified in the regional workshops. This will also be an opportunity to advance the conversation on the industry's adaptation to the changing landscape of antimicrobial drug use.

Many producers and businesses across the entire food and agricultural value chain have already taken action to reduce the use of medically-important antimicrobial drugs in food animal production. FDA's  GFI 209 and  GFI 213 call on animal drug sponsors of approved medically-important antimicrobials administered through medicated feed or water to remove production uses (i.e., to promote growth or improve feed efficiency) from their product labels, and bring the remaining therapeutic uses of these products--to treat, control, or prevent disease--under the oversight of a veterinarian. Manufacturers of products containing these medically-important antimicrobial drugs have voluntarily agreed to submit changes to their product labels to comply with the GFIs no later than December 2016. FDA also revised the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to facilitate the increased veterinary oversight of medicated feeds called for by GFI 209 and 213.

Successful adaptation to the policy changes is critical to public and animal health, ensuring consumer confidence in food safety and the future viability of animal agriculture in the United States. "The success of achieving this goal--for both public health and the economic health of animal agriculture--hinges on producers having access to the information they need to adjust production practices, feed retailers and distributors understanding their changing responsibilities, and the capacity of veterinarians to provide the additional oversight needed," says Farm Foundation President Neil Conklin. "As an organization respected for its objectivity, Farm Foundation is well positioned to quickly respond to this informational need and draw relevant and diverse stakeholder groups to the table for constructive discussions on this important topic."

Farm Sector Profitability Expected To Weaken in 2015

Across nearly all measures, farm sector profitability is forecast to decline for the second straight year. Net cash income is forecast at $100.3 billion, down about 21 percent from 2014 levels. Lower crop and livestock receipts are the main drivers of the change in 2015 net cash farm income from 2014, while cash production expenses are projected down by 1.1 percent. Net farm income is forecast to be $58.3 billion in 2015, down 36 percent from 2014’s estimate of $91.1 billion. The 2015 forecast for net farm income would be the lowest since 2006 (since 2002 in inflation-adjusted terms) and a drop of nearly 53 percent from the record high of $123.7 billion in 2013. As a measure of profitability, net cash farm income is generally less variable over time than the broader net farm income measure. One explanation is that it is possible to exercise greater control on the timing of cash receipts and expenses and thereby moderate large swings from year to year.

Crop receipts for 2015 are expected to decrease by $12.9 billion (6.2 percent) in 2015, led by a projected $7.1-billion decline in corn receipts, $3.4 billion in soybean receipts, and $1.6 billion in wheat receipts compared to 2014. Livestock receipts are forecast to decrease by $19.4 billion (9.1 percent) in 2015 largely due to lower milk and hog prices. Government payments are projected to rise 16 percent ($1.6 billion) to $11.4 billion in 2015. Total production expenses are forecast to decrease by $1.5 billion (less than 0.5 percent) in 2015.

Farm asset values are forecast to decline by 3.5 percent compared to 2014, and farm debt is forecast to increase by 5.8 percent. The farm sector equity measure combines both of these, and is down by $123.9 billion, or 4.8 percent compared to 2014. The primary driver of the drop in asset values is farm real estate, down $49 billion (2.1 percent). Debt is driven by increases in both real estate debt (up 5.3 percent) and nonreal estate debt (up 6.5 percent). While the movements in the balance sheet show an increasingly leveraged farm sector, financial risk ratios remain in acceptable ranges for now.

Median Income of Farm Operator Households Expected To Dip in 2015

The median income of farm households has increased steadily over the past 5 years, peaking at an estimated $80,620 in 2014. However, farm household median income is forecast to decrease slightly in 2015, to $79,287. Given the broad USDA definition of a farm, many farms are not profitable even in the best farm income years. The projected median farm income of -$1,504 is lower than the 2014 estimate of -$869. Most farm households earn all of their income from off-farm sources—median off-farm income is forecast to increase 4 percent in 2015 to $72,494. (Note: Because they are based on unique distributions, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.)

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on Updated 2015 U.S. Farm Income Forecast

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:

"Today's farm income forecast is heartening for all Americans. The past several years have seen unprecedented highs in farm income, and despite the fact that farm income is forecast to be down from record levels, today's projections provide a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain stable and resilient in the face of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation's history and while the western United States remains gripped by drought. Thanks to its ability to be competitive through thick and thin, American agriculture remains fundamentally sound, supporting and creating good-paying American jobs for millions.

"The American agriculture success story is not celebrated often enough. That success is due, in part, to U.S. farmers' bold willingness to seize opportunities in new markets, both domestic and foreign, and harness the best of American technology and innovation. At the same time, markets continue to expand for locally-grown food, a market valued at $11.7 billion last year, and America's biobased economy has emerged as a new frontier for U.S. growth. The country's biobased industry contributed 4 million jobs and $369 billion to the economy in 2013, while displacing about 300 million gallons of petroleum-equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road. American agriculture achieved record exports last year and USDA continues to pursue strong new trade deals so that farm and ranch businesses don't miss out on new markets for their products.

"Since 2009, USDA, under President Obama, has made historic investments in rural America and American agriculture. Two-thirds of all rural counties gained jobs over the past year and the overall economy continues a record-breaking pace of 65 straight months of private-sector job growth. USDA and the Obama Administration will continue to stand with America's farming families, small businesses and rural communities as they build a brighter future for our country on the land that they love."

U.S. Soybean Farmers Observe and Evaluate Work of the Checkoff

A recent immersion course provided 10 farmers from around the country the chance to see and evaluate the work of the soy checkoff. This course, the United Soybean Board’s (USB’s) See for Yourself program, took the farmer-participants from St. Louis to China and Vietnam from July 30- Aug. 7 to learn about U.S. soy’s customers,  the soy checkoff’s role in marketing U.S. soy to those customers, and the research being done both domestically and internationally to improve U.S. soy.

“After my participation in the See for Yourself program, I think the checkoff is a worthwhile investment for farmers,” said Antron Williams, a South Carolina soybean farmer and See for Yourself participant. “It is working behind the scenes, where we aren’t even thinking about it, by creating new markets and new technologies.”

Sponsored by USB’s Audit and Evaluation (A&E) Committee, the program began at USB’s St. Louis headquarters. Participants learned more about the soy checkoff and some of the ways their soybeans are used domestically. A tour of DuPont’s™ Nutrition & Health Facility demonstrated a few of the ways soy is being incorporated into a growing number of food products.

Participants next traveled to the country that uses roughly 25 percent of all U.S. soy, China. The group first visited an aquaculture facility that recently increased production by nearly 300 percent, thanks to checkoff-funded technology and the benefits of using a soy-based feed. The farm now uses feed containing more than 60 percent soy. Participants also had the chance to tour the Shanghai Xinnong Feed Mill, which provides feed for numerous large-scale swine operations in the country. Soybean meal is an important component of the feed ration.

“The See for Yourself program has really shown me how our small checkoff investment in the world soybean industry really goes a long way to increase our demand and our customer base,” said Justin Knoebel, Pennsylvania farmer and See for Yourself participant.

The program’s final destination was Vietnam, an emerging market for U.S. soy. Participants first toured the Cai Mep Agricultural Port, which handles approximately 50 percent of all soybean meal imported into Vietnam. Roughly 300,000 metric tons of U.S. soybean meal has passed through the port just this year. One of the most beneficial stops in Vietnam was the opportunity to hear from industry individuals about the promising market outlook for U.S. soy in Vietnam in the near future.

“This year’s program was especially unique because our participants were able to see a well-established market in China, as well as a market that the checkoff is working to develop in Vietnam,” said Keith Tapp, Kentucky soybean farmer and A&E Committee chairman. “In all of our locations, I think the participants saw a wide range of activities demonstrating how the checkoff works for them and all U.S. soybean farmers.”

Urea, UAN28 Prices Finally Push Lower

For the first time in months, retail fertilizer prices are beginning to drift lower, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of August 2015. This comes after some time in which fertilizer retailers predicted prices would fall.

Prices for all eight of the major fertilizers slid compared to a month earlier. Both urea and UAN28 decreased 5% compared to a month earlier. Urea averaged $448 per ton and UAN28 was at $309 per ton.

This marks the first time in four months fertilizer prices moved significantly in either direction. The last time prices moved of any noteworthy amount was the second week of April when 10-34-0 was climbing higher because of acid shortage concerns.

The remaining six fertilizers registered lower prices, but these moves were fairly slight. DAP averaged $568/ton, MAP $587/ton, potash $477/ton, 10-34-0 $611/ton, anhydrous $667/ton and UAN32 $349/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.49/lb.N, anhydrous $0.41/lb.N, UAN28 $0.55/lb.N and UAN32 $0.55/lb.N.

Only one of the eight major fertilizers is double digits higher in price compared to August 2014, all while projected 2016 commodity prices are lower than a year ago. 10-34-0 is still 10% higher compared to last year.

The remaining seven nutrients are now lower compared to retail prices from a year ago. Potash is 1% lower, both MAP and DAP are 3% less expensive, anhydrous is 5% lower, UAN32 is 7% less expensive, UAN28 is down 8% and urea is 13% less expensive than a year earlier.

Millennial Listening Panel helps checkoff define opportunities

How do we know that millennial consumers have little understanding of beef nutrition but seem to feel as though beef is good, or even necessary, for their children? That they are ‘interested’ in health but are not ‘fanatics’?  That value and convenience are two of the most important attributes they want in beef? That they like to experiment in the kitchen but want more resources to improve their skills? That cooking at home is a creative event with family? Or that they are cooking at home more this year than last?

It’s all about research. Market research. And it’s absolutely critical to success in selling beef and beef products to today’s consumers.

Times, they are a'changin'

The “doing-it-like-we’ve-always-done-it” or “we-don’t-like-change” approaches simply won’t do the trick in today’s competitive marketplace. The entire beef chain – from farm to fork – must understand what consumers want from beef that would entice them to increase demand for this industry’s end products.

In short, consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to building demand for our end product, and in today’s marketplace, we cannot just toss our product out there and expect the crowds to swarm. If we don’t deliver exactly what consumers want, they’ll just choose something other than beef for their supper tables.

So it makes sense to start by asking them what they want from us, and that’s what why we base all of our checkoff decisions on sound market research.

Listen Up!

With this in mind, the national checkoff’s Market Research Working Group oversees consumer market-research efforts that serve as starting points for virtually all other checkoff programs and investments. The increased consumer demand for beef that we have been experiencing industrywide in recent years doesn’t just happen by chance. Of course, there are market fluctuations based on things li ke supply and Mother Nature’s latest antics, that affect demand but are out of the industry’s control, but listening to consumers and giving them what they want has been a key element of that demand growth.

During the last couple of years, the checkoff’s market-research efforts have included use of a cost-effective and adaptable tool – a Millennial Listening Panel – to understand our target market of 80 million millennials. This monthly panel is made up of millennial consumers from coast-to-coast, and provides us with insight about a range of checkoff programs and improve our understanding about current millennial perceptions and the potential impact of programs we can have on that.

The types of platforms we use to interview consumers on these panels is as varied as the questions we ask. For example, one month, we might ask about nutrition via an online survey; the next month, we might have the panel review a new video about cattle production to see if it improves their perceptions about the industry; panel members can post pictures of their favorite meals and describe what makes them so great; and other times, they might be ask to evaluate potential beef messages, fill out traditional questionnaires, or participate in Skype interviews, online focus groups, or one-on-one interviews..

You get the picture.

Identifying Opportunities and Acting on Them

The upshot is that this ongoing research keeps us up-to-date with consumer trends and perceptions. The responses help us identify consumers’ top barriers and motivators for choosing beef, and ultimately, give us a picture of the most compelling opportunities for helping to grow beef demand through investment of our checkoff dollars, so that every checkoff dollar is leveraged to the most effective and efficient degree possible.

So, imagine a millennial consumer at 4:30 p.m., driving home and stressing, yet again, about what to feed their families for dinner. They want a dinner that everyone will like; something that is tasty and nutritious.. Because our Millennial Listening Panel tells us that this is an ongoing dilemma with busy consumers – especially millennial parents with young families – the checkoff continues to create new recipe concepts that will help these millennial parents increase beef consumption for themselves and their children and families.

The four latest concepts were tested among millennial parents, and the winning concepts will be used to create checkoff content online and social channels (through articles, recipes, etc.). Of these new concepts, ‘hiding veggies’ in an everyday meal captured the most attention and excitement from the target group of millennial parents, intriguing them with its healthiness and the somewhat covert solution it provides them. Watch “Pizza with Purpose,” a short checkoff video that demonstrates this concept, and see additional videos at Bowls with Balance and Three Takes on Slow-Cooked Beef.

USDA Selects ASA’s WISHH to Develop West African Poultry & Feed Market

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has chosen the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program and key partners to implement a major poultry development project in the West African country of Ghana. U.S. soybean growers, as well as Ghana’s poultry and feed industry, and its protein-seeking consumers, will all benefit.

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Food for Progress Program helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors. As a result, it improves agricultural productivity and expands trade of agricultural products.

“ASA is pleased to partner with USDA in agricultural development that supports expanded and mutually beneficial trading relationships,” said ASA President Wade Cowan. “Nowhere is there greater need or bigger potential return on investment in agricultural development than in Sub-Saharan Africa. WISHH is a trailblazer for trade.”

The United States is among Ghana's principal trading partners, with two-way trade between the two countries reaching $1.45 billion in 2014, according to the U.S. State Department. Ghana is home to 26.4 million people, and a West African hub for business growth.

The Ghanaian government seeks to revamp the poultry industry, which has slumped in the last 30 years. “The project will contribute to increasing the supply of both meat and eggs to address ever-growing demand in Ghana”, said William Brown, Ph.D., country director of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA-Ghana), which is a partner on the initiative.

“The project could trigger the growth of poultry, maize and soy industries, which will provide employment and increased income,” Brown added. “This will culminate in poverty reduction.”

“The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and its members believe that U.S. support of the Ghanaian poultry industry and other agricultural development programs are part of an important relationship between Ghana and the USA, which in turn will allow for a healthy trade environment between the two nations,” said USAPEEC Vice President for Marketing Greg Tyler.

Kansas State University is a subcontractor in WISHH’s Assisting Management in the Poultry and Layer Industries by Feed Improvement and Efficiency Strategies in Ghana (AMPLIFIES Ghana).

The multi-faceted project will promote the use of improved poultry feeds, and procure feed ingredients, including 15,000 metric tons of U.S. soybean meal. It will train Ghanaian poultry producers, improve feed milling practices and products, enhance storage and handling of feedstuffs, and much more.

In the early 2000s, forward-thinking U.S. soybean leaders in multiple states recognized that the growing protein demand in developing countries was a driver for their soybean sales. Well-researched studies showed that most future growth in food demand would be in developing and middle-income countries where populations and incomes were both on the rise.

Today, the trends are even clearer, proving that WISHH-founding farmers planned well. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other economic analysis, developing countries dominate world demand growth for agricultural products. USDA projects developing countries' demand for agricultural products will increase faster than their production. As a result, these countries will account for 92 percent of the total increase in world oilseed and meat imports in 2013-2022.

 NFU Thanks Hill Leaders for Encouraging Greater FSMA Outreach to Family Farmers

 National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson thanked U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, and the 12 other members of Congress who sent a letter calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement programs to help family farmers and ranchers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

“There is a great deal of confusion surrounding FSMA’s requirements for family farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The FDA needs to ensure U.S. producers are provided with proper technical assistance, training and guidance related to the FSMA regulations. NFU thanks the 14 congressional leaders who urged the FDA to offer necessary support to our nation’s family producers.”

The letter urges the FDA to expedite implementation of technical assistance and training geared towards small farmers, and to begin distributing written materials and start conducting outreach and education immediately. Johnson notes that FSMA will be transformational to the agricultural sector and will have broad impacts on the farming community. FDA should help make sure all those that are impacted are prepared.

“While the final regulations have yet to be promulgated, family farmers and ranchers are making planning decisions now,” said Johnson. “NFU encourages FDA to use any available funding and authority to advance education and outreach to farmers across all sizes and sectors so that the farming community is fully aware of when and how to comply.”

Syngenta unveils 63 new corn hybrids for 2016 planting season

Syngenta reaffirms its long-time commitment to improving farmers’ return on investment with 63 new corn hybrids for the 2016 growing season. Resulting from the innovative Y.E.S. Yield Engineering System™, these new Golden Harvest®, NK® and Enogen® Corn hybrids are designed to improve farmer productivity and help them grow more corn.

The 2016 Syngenta corn hybrid portfolio offers a variety of maturities and key agronomic characteristics, delivering consistency, high performance and strong yield potential. The hybrids’ new-to-market genetics are expected to provide improved standability, disease tolerance and the flexibility to adapt to various soil and production environments.

The hybrids were developed using the Y.E.S. Yield Engineering System. This advanced program combines intelligent analytics, testing and technology to introduce new hybrids to the market faster. With ever-changing grower challenges, Syngenta can screen hybrid combinations quickly, using a global resource base to meet local farming communities’ needs more efficiently.

“The backbone of our Y.E.S. Yield Engineering System is our unique germplasm,” said Eric Boersma, product marketing manager, corn seed at Syngenta. “By tapping into the global pool of corn genetics offered by Syngenta, the new 2016 hybrids were developed to efficiently address environmental pressures to help growers maximize their yields and return on investment.”

The 2016 corn hybrids class includes a variety of innovative traits including:

-    13 Agrisure Artesian® hybrids that maximize yield when it rains and increase yield when it doesn’t. Artesian™ hybrids convert water into grain more effectively than other hybrids, representing a simple way to manage the unpredictability of weather.

-    20 hybrids contain the Agrisure Viptera® trait, delivering high-quality grain through the most comprehensive corn insect control. Trait stacks with Agrisure Viptera protect yield potential from key pests including black cutworm, corn earworm and western bean cutworm.

-    12 hybrids with the Agrisure Duracade® trait. Featuring a unique mode of action, Agrisure Duracade is an essential tool in a corn rootworm management program. Available in Agrisure E-Z Refuge® products, and in combination with other insect control, herbicide tolerant and water optimization technologies, Agrisure Duracade trait stacks are a convenient fit to any farming operation seeking corn rootworm control. 

This year’s corn portfolio also includes two new state-of-the-art Enogen® Corn hybrids. Enogen Corn enzyme technology is an exclusive in-seed innovation from Syngenta, and is the industry's first and only biotech corn designed specifically to enhance ethanol production. Farmers who grow Enogen Corn receive an average premium of 40 cents per bushel and ethanol communities benefit from keeping enzyme dollars local.