Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday September 30 Ag News


Nebraska old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 182 million bushels, up 29 percent from 2014, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of the total, 51.0 million bushels are stored on farms, up 6 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 131 million bushels, are up 41 percent from last year.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions totaled 15.6 million bushels, more than double last  year’s holdings. On-farm stocks of 2.65 million bushels are up 83 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 13.0 million bushels, are up 145 percent from 2014.

Old crop sorghum stored in all positions totaled 908,000 bushels, down 30 percent from 2014. On-farm stocks of 125,000 are down 26 percent from a year earlier, while off farm holdings of 783,000 are down 31 percent from last year.

Wheat stored in all positions totaled 56.0 million bushels, down 15 percent from a year ago. On farm stocks of 5.80 million bushels are down 42 percent compared to 2014 and off-farm stocks of 50.2 million bushels are down 11 percent from last year. On-farm oats totaled 1.70 million bushels, up 70 percent from 2014.


Iowa corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2015, totaled 372 million bushels, up 39 percent from September 1, 2014, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Grain Stocks report. Of the total stocks, 34 percent were stored on-farm. The June 2015-August 2015 indicated disappearance totaled 505 million bushels, 10 percent above the 460 million bushels used during the same period last year.

Iowa soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2015, totaled 37.3 million bushels, up 73 percent from the 21.6 million bushels on hand September 1, 2014. Of the total stocks, 28 percent were stored on-farm. Indicated disappearance for June 2015-August 2015 is 88.3 million bushels, 22 percent more than the 72.6 million bushel sused during the same quarter last year.

Iowa oats stocks stored on-farm on September 1, 2015, totaled 3.1 million bushels, up 35 percent from September 1, 2014.

USDA:  Corn Stocks Up 41 Percent from September 2014

Soybean Stocks Up 108 Percent
All Wheat Stocks Up 10 Percent

Old crop corn stocks in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 1.73 billion bushels, up 41 percent from September 1, 2014. Of the total stocks, 593 million bushels are stored on farms, up 28 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.14 billion bushels, are up 48 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2015 indicated disappearance is 2.72 billion bushels, compared with 2.62 billion bushels during the same period last year.

Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 191 million bushels, up 108 percent from September 1, 2014. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 49.7 million bushels, up 133 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 142 million bushels, are up 101 percent from last September. Indicated disappearance for June - August 2015 totaled 436 million bushels, up 39 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Based on an analysis of end-of-marketing year stock estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushings, and farm program administrative data, the 2014 soybean production is revised to 3.93 billion bushels, down 41.7 million bushels from the previous estimate. Planted area is revised down
425,000 acres to 83.3 million acres, and harvested area is revised down 470,000 acres to 82.6 million acres. The 2014 yield, at 47.5 bushels per acre, is down 0.3 bushel from the previous estimate. A table with 2014 acreage, yield, and production estimates by States is included on page 17 of this report.

All wheat stored in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 2.09 billion bushels, up 10 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks are estimated at 647 million bushels, down 9 percent from last September. Off-farm stocks, at 1.44 billion bushels, are up 21 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2015 indicated disappearance is 716 million bushels, up 1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Durum wheat stocks in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 73.8 million bushels, up 28 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 44.4 million bushels, are up 15 percent from September 1, 2014. Off-farm stocks totaled 29.4 million bushels, up 54 percent from a year ago. The June - August 2015 indicated disappearance of 34.3 million bushels is up 93 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Barley stocks in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 219 million bushels, up 22 percent from September 1, 2014. On-farm stocks are estimated at 136 million bushels, 39 percent above a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 82.9 million bushels, are 1 percent above September 2014. The June - August 2015 indicated disappearance is 74.4 million bushels, 11 percent below the same period a year earlier.

Oats stored in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 93.3 million bushels, 26 percent above the stocks on September 1, 2014. Of the total stocks on hand, 47.2 million bushels are stored on farms, 14 percent higher than a year ago. Off-farm stocks totaled 46.1 million bushels, 40 percent above the previous year. Indicated disappearance during June - August 2015 totaled 50.0 million bushels, compared with 20.7 million bushels during the same period a year ago.

Old crop grain sorghum stored in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 18.4 million bushels, down 46 percent from a year ago. On-farm stocks, at 1.90 million bushels, are down 3 percent from last year. Off-farm stocks, at 16.5 million bushels, are down 49 percent from September 1, 2014. The June - August 2015 indicated disappearance from all positions is 15.9 million bushels, down 73 percent from the same period a year ago.

Old crop sunflower stocks in all positions on September 1, 2015 totaled 238 million pounds, up 19 percent from a year ago. All stocks stored on farms totaled 44.1 million pounds and off-farm stocks totaled 194 million pounds. Stocks of oil type sunflower seed are 79.2 million pounds; of this total,
33.4 million pounds are on-faRm stocks and 45.8 million pounds are off-farm stocks. Non-oil sunflower stocks totaled 158 million pounds, with 10.7 million pounds stored on the farm and 148 million pounds stored off the farm.


Winter wheat production is estimated at 46.0 million bushels, down 35 percent from last year. The area harvested for grain totaled 1.21 million acres, down 17 percent from 2014. Planted acreage totaled 1.49 million, down 4 percent from a year earlier. The yield is 38.0 bushels per acre, down 11.0 bushels from last year.

Oat production is estimated at 2.68 million bushels, up 34 percent from 2014. Area harvested for grain, at 40,000 acres, is up 33 percent from last year. Planted acreage totaled 135,000, up 23 percent from a year earlier. Average yield is a record 67.0 bushels per acre, down 13.0 bushelsfrom 2014.


OAT production is estimated at 4.16 million bushels, up 18 percent from last year, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Small Grains 2015 Summary. Oats planted, at 125,000 acres, is down 14 percent from last year. Harvested area for grain is 57,000 acres, up 4 percent from 2014. Oat yield, at 73.0 bushels per acre, is up 9 bushels from last year.

WINTER WHEAT production, at 780,000 bushels, is up 6 percent from last year. Planted acreage, at 20,000, is down 23 percent from 2014. Winter wheat harvested area is 15,000 acres, unchanged from last year. Winter wheat yield, at 52.0 bushels per acre, is up 3 bushels from 2014.

USDA Small Grains 2015 Summary

All wheat production totaled 2.05 billion bushels in 2015, up 1 percent from the revised 2014 total. Area harvested for grain totaled 47.1 million acres, up 2 percent from the previous year. The United States yield is estimated at 43.6 bushels per acre, down 0.1 bushel from the previous year. The levels of production and changes from 2014 by type are winter wheat, 1.37 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent; other spring wheat, 599 million bushels, up less than 1 percent; and Durum wheat, 82.5 million bushels, up 53 percent.

Oat production is estimated at 89.5 million bushels, up 27 percent from the revised 2014 total of 70.2 million bushels. Yield is estimated at 70.2 bushels per acre, up 2.3 bushels from the previous year and represents a new record high for the United States. Harvested area, at 1.28 million acres, is 23 percent above last year.

Barley production is estimated at 214 million bushels, up 18 percent from the revised 2014 total. Average yield per acre, at 68.9 bushels, is down 3.8 bushels from the previous year. Producers seeded 3.56 million acres in 2015, up 17 percent from last year. Harvested area, at 3.11 million acres, is up 25 percent from 2014.

President Obama Wednesday Night Signs Seven Bills into Law, Including Ag Reauthorizations

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, the President signed into law:

H.R. 23, the "National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015," which reauthorizes the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program through FY 2017, and makes modifications to the Program;

H.R. 719, the "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016" which provides fiscal year 2016 appropriations for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government through, Friday, December 11, 2015; requires the Transportation Security Administration to implement changes to come into compliance with existing Federal law concerning criminal investigator positions; and requires the Department of Homeland Security to provide a variety of security-related updates and reports to the Congress;

H.R. 2051, the "Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015," which extends the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999; reauthorizes certain authorities of the United States Grain Standards Act; and authorizes appropriations for the National Forest Foundation;

H.R. 3614, the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015," which extends authorization for Federal Aviation Administration programs and related revenue authorities for six months, through March 31, 2016;

S. 230, which transfers to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation a specified parcel of Federal land in Bethel, Alaska, by warranty deed;

S. 501, the "New Mexico Navajo Water Settlement Technical Corrections Act," which modifies and makes technical corrections to current law relating to the Navajo water rights settlement in the State of New Mexico; and

S. 2082, the "Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2015," which extends certain expiring authorities affecting veterans and their families, including:  health care; benefits; homelessness; and miscellaneous authorities; and amends various VA authorities related to medical facilities projects.

Senate Hearing Reviews Army Corps’ Role in WOTUS
Today the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water held a hearing on the Army Corps of Engineers’ participation in the “waters of the United States” regulation. The subcommittee focused on internal memos released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. While the memos show the Corps leadership having serious concerns with the science underlying the WOTUS rule, Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army insisted, as co-author, the Corps supported the final rule. 

The hearing provided ample opportunity to highlight the issues raised in the memos and the gulf between the Corps and EPA in the arbitrary standards used in the final rule. Philip Ellis, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president and Chugwater, Wyo., cattleman, said the arbitrary nature of this rule poses a danger to all land uses.

“This rule is clearly not based on science, nor does it relate to keeping our waters clean,” said Ellis. “It is a transparent land grab by the administration and EPA. Cattlemen and women will continue to oppose this rule in Congress and in the courtroom. This rule and the flawed rulemaking process underlie the need for legislation to withdraw the rule and compel the agencies to work with all stakeholders.”

The WOTUS rule became effective in all but 13 states on August 28. A Federal Circuit Judge in North Dakota granted a temporary preliminary injunction on implementation of the WOTUS rule in the case brought by the 13 states before his court. Since enforcement of the rule, 31 states and numerous stakeholders, including the NCBA and Public Lands Council, have engaged in 22 lawsuits challenging EPA’s transparent lack of authority to regulate all waters in the United States.

NCBA and PLC support S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that would direct the EPA to withdraw the final WOTUS rule and work with stakeholders in drafting a new rule to clarify the Clean Water Act.

NCBA Chief Veterinarian Addresses Joint Public Meeting Regarding Antimicrobial Data Collection

Today, Kathy Simmons, DVM, Chief Veterinarian, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, delivered comments before a joint public meeting of the Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, and Center for Disease Control addressing antimicrobial use and resistance data collection.

“NCBA believes that a clear strategy for data collection, analysis and reporting must first be established before moving forward with the data collection process in order to provide information that correctly represents actual antimicrobial drug use in food-producing animals,” said Dr. Simmons, adding that antimicrobial use data collection needs to be revised. “We agree that the antimicrobial drug sales and distribution data currently collected by FDA under ADUFA does not equate to antimicrobial drug use in food-producing animals. We are appreciative of the desire of the agencies to obtain broad stakeholder involvement and collaboration in the process to seek the best possible options available for collecting and analyzing on-farm antimicrobial drug use information.”

NCBA has a long history supporting antimicrobial stewardship that directs responsible antibiotic use in all sectors of the beef cattle industry. This commitment dates back to the first release of the Beef Producer Guidelines for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials in 1987, which is still utilized in an updated form by producers today.

“We do not believe that the reduction in the volume of antimicrobial drugs used in food-producing animals should be used as the sole measurement for the success of a judicious antimicrobial drug use strategy,” said Simmons. Instead, “there must be a way to link antimicrobial drug use metrics with the reason for drug use and animal population parameters rather than simply reporting aggregate quantities for which the only goal is reduction.”

Additionally, Simmons cautioned FDA on privacy concerns, stating that ensuring the anonymity of participants and safeguarding the information gathered in the system is of utmost importance to cattle producers.

As the conversation continues in Washington D.C., NCBA will remain engaged. Cattlemen and women appreciate the efforts of FDA to help bring more transparency and increased granularity to the antibiotic sales data for food-producing animals as well as the collaborative approach FDA is taking between industry users, federal agencies, and animal health companies.

Rabobank: Beef Traded Volumes Reaching Quota Limits

New Zealand and Australia beef exports to the U.S. are set to reach their quota limits in Q4. Meanwhile, global economic conditions--such as the appreciation of the U.S. dollar and the depreciation of the yuan and the real--are having an impact on beef trade, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q3.

A strong U.S. dollar has led to a reduction in U.S. exports and support for U.S. imports, while a weakening Chinese economy and devaluation of the yuan are curbing beef prices in China, and the devaluation of the real is expected to support Brazilian exports in the coming months.

"With little change expected in major beef-trading economies in the coming quarter, other than a possibility of the U.S. FOMC raising interest rates, a strong U.S. currency is expected to continue to affect global beef trade," according to Angus Gidley-Baird, senior animal protein analyst at Rabobank.

Highlights from the report include:

-- New Zealand and Australia exports to the U.S. are reaching quota limits, which--combined with the availability of supply in the U.S.--will result in some short-term softening in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

-- There has been little progress in trade developments in the quarter. Australia is still awaiting parliamentary processes to enact the China FTA, Brazil is still progressing towards a trade protocol with the U.S., and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) remains in negotiation.

-- Russia has extended its ban on agricultural products from the EU, the U.S., Canada, Norway and Australia by another year.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks, Demand Fall

Total ethanol inventories fell last week despite higher domestic plant production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The report showed ethanol stocks fell 118,000 barrels (bbl), or 0.6%, to 18.782 million bbl during the week-ended Sept. 25 while down 0.2% versus a year ago.

The report showed domestic ethanol production rose 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 943,000 bpd while up 62,000 bpd or 7.0% year-on-year.

Blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, fell last week by 11,000 bpd, or 1.2%, to 881,000 bpd while up 2.2% versus a year earlier.

There were no ethanol imports recorded last week, the report showed, after 44,000 bpd of ethanol was imported to the East Coast a week prior.

EIA data showed implied demand for gasoline dropped 194,000 bpd during the week-ended Sept. 25 to 9.021 million bpd, yet was 4.2% higher than the same week a year ago.

Former Senator Jim Talent Announces Americans for Energy Security and Innovation to Expand Support for Renewable Fuel Standard

Former Senator Jim Talent today launched a new group aimed at building and expanding support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI) will focus its efforts on building support for a stronger RFS to reduce our dependence on foreign oil from unfriendly nations and stimulate domestic innovation and economic development in the biofuels sector.

“I was one of the prime movers behind passage of this critical legislation ten years ago, when President George W. Bush signed the Renewable Fuel Standard into law,” said former Senator Jim Talent. “I believe that biofuels are the most feasible replacement for oil as automobile fuel, and that we need a strong RFS so that private investors can develop the biofuels industry with adequate assurance that their potential market won’t be destroyed by manipulations from the foreign oil cartel.”

The RFS has been successful policy over the past decade – with 10 percent of the nation’s fuel supply now coming from cost-competitive biofuels. The industry has also created more than 850,000 well-paying jobs in rural America and across the country. However, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a step backwards this May when they proposed the annual blending targets to lower levels than were intended when the RFS was enacted into law. These proposed standards jeopardize the already frozen $13.7 billion in existing investments in advanced biofuels, while threatening to ship future investments – and jobs – overseas.

“The Obama Administration’s justification for these lowered levels use a criteria that is not included in the EPA’s clearly defined statutory waiver authority. The RFS has been the only consistent and effective energy policy that Washington has produced. Yet, the Obama Administration plans to ax the only policy we have on the books that actually works to wean us off our dependence on fuels controlled by foreign oil cartels, while creating jobs at home.”

AESI will work to create an environment to prevent regulations and restrictions to the renewable fuel industry by increasing support and mobilizing elected officials to support our efforts.

Growth Energy Welcomes Announcement of the Launch of Americans for Energy Security and Innovation, Further Protecting the RFS

 In response to the announcement of the formation of a new, pro-biofuels group that will advocate for and support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to ensure a robust renewable fuels industry, Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that Americans for Energy Security and Innovation have joined the important fight to ensure that the RFS is protected and that America has a strong, robust and resilient renewable fuels industry.

“Former Senator Jim Talent from Missouri has always been a true advocate for renewable fuels and rural America. I am confident that Senator Talent and Americans for Energy Security and Innovation will be effective in the battle to improve our environment, create jobs in America that cannot be outsourced and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, all while providing consumers with a choice and savings at the pump.”

More than 60,000 Expected to Converge on Louisville Oct. 28-31 for 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo

The 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo will celebrate its last year of its three-year run in Louisville beginning Oct. 28. More than 60,000 FFA members and guests from throughout the United States are expected at this year's event, which runs through Oct. 31.

The convention and expo will bring an estimated economic impact of $40 million, making it the largest convention for Louisville this year. Attendees will stay in 136 hotels within a 60-mile radius of Louisville. After this year, the convention and expo will move to Indianapolis from 2016-2024.

“Amplify” is the theme for this year’s convention and expo. "With the opportunities we are given in our lives, we must take action and share the message of agriculture with others," said 2015-16 National FFA President Andy Paul, a student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia. “It's time we all amplify our voice when it comes to the message of agriculture, and boost our impact.”

Nine general sessions will draw FFA members together at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Students will have countless opportunities to engage exhibitors from more than 450 corporations, organizations and colleges at the expo inside the center. Other events will be held at venues downtown, in the suburbs and beyond.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the National FFA Creed as well as the 50th anniversary of the merger of New Farmers of America, an agricultural organization for African-American students, with the National FFA Organization.

The convention and expo will kick off with keynote speaker Rick Rigsby during the opening sessions on Oct. 28 and 29. On Friday morning, past state FFA officer Amberley Snyder will share her message with FFA members on how she overcame adversity, and that evening, Brad Montague, who developed the idea for Kid President, will share his story.

Throughout the week, students will attend more than 70 leadership and personal growth workshops. FFA members will tour industry destinations, including Papa John’s international headquarters, Ford’s Louisville assembly plant, Churchill Downs and more.

FFA members will roll up their sleeves and participate in several planned community-service initiatives starting Oct. 29 as part of the National Days of Service. FFA members will pitch in and help a host of local organizations, including YouthBuild Louisville, where young adults realize their potential through the development of life and job skills; The Parklands of Floyds Fork, where the goal is to build a world-class, systemic addition to Louisville's park system; and Louisville Grows, Inc., an organization promoting urban agriculture and forestry.

Center for Food Integrity Planning Annual Summit

Consumers expect transparency from today's food system, and new research from The Center for Food Integrity details what they want to know, from whom they want to hear it and how they expect to access information. Research results and new transparency best practices for the food system will be presented at the 2015 CFI Food Integrity Summit: A Clear View of Food Transparency, Nov. 17-18 in New Orleans.

The Summit will bring together leaders in the food industry, government, academia and non-governmental organizations for an honest evaluation of consumer trust in the food system. Research by CFI shows that transparency is key to building trust.

"Transparency is no longer optional. It's a consumer expectation for those in today's food system," said Charlie Arnot, CEO of The Center for Food Integrity. "We are going to take an in-depth look at what that means and how to go about achieving it."

As part of the research, a quiz posted on the CFI Facebook page invites consumers to discover their "food personality" by answering questions about their favorite weekend restaurant or typical lunch. They're also encouraged to provide additional feedback on food system transparency at by answering open-ended questions like, "What do you want to know about the food you and your family eat?" and "What would you like food entities to be more transparent about?"

Results are being collected through Oct. 1. The comments will be combined with quantitative data from CFI's annual consumer research to develop transparency best practices for the food system.

The Summit will be held at the historic Roosevelt New Orleans Waldorf Astoria. More information and a registration link can be found at

NEW N-BOUND™ stabilizer for urea, UAN and anhydrous offers option to protect nitrogen

Eco Agro introduces N-BOUND™ nitrogen stabilizer as a breakthrough for protecting nitrogen against loss in the soil, due to denitrification and leaching. Unique PENXCEL technology delivers a proven nitrogen stabilizer, Dicyandiamide (DCD), for applications not possible with previous formulations.

Norm Davy, Chief Marketing Officer for Eco Agro explains, "Using PENXCEL technology, we have engineered a formulation that can be applied to three different nitrogen sources to protect against loss. First, on urea we can add our fast-drying stabilizer and keep the granules flowing freely. Second, in UAN, N-BOUND eliminates the floating clumps of powder and settling hassles." Davy continues, "And third, for anhydrous ammonia, growers can use non-corrosive N-BOUND stabilizer in their fall and spring applications, either blended into the tank or metered in line." In all tests conducted with various anhydrous equipment manufacturers, N-BOUND stabilizer has been proven non-corrosive and was accurately metered through standard systems.

N-BOUND stabilizer is a breakthrough for a stabilizer with limited use because of its handling characteristics. Davy recounts the challenges. "With the original powder DCD you have a real hard time mixing it into fertilizer. While DCD delivered results at a research level, without a viable formulation, the market never developed. It was just too difficult."

Davy thinks growers and retailers will now give this stabilizer another try. "N-BOUND opens up possibilities for growers and retailers never available before. We make it easy to use with a liquid formulation that blends fast and eliminates the hoisting of heavy bags of powder into a tank".
The N-BOUND product can also be combined with N YIELD™ urease inhibitor that protects against losses into the air from surface applications of urea and UAN. Fertilizer dealers can customize the blend as local conditions change.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday September 29 Ag News

NePPA Host Common Swine Industry Audit Preparation Sessions

Pick from Four Locations
Tuesday, October 6, Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
Wednesday, October 7, Cuming County Courthouse, West Point
Thursday, October 15, Holiday Inn Express, Beatrice
Friday, October 16, Holiday Inn Express, Columbus

Morning or Afternoon Classes Available
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Class I
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Class II

In 2013, an Industry Audit Task Force was formed, which included producers, veterinarians, animal scientists, retail food service personnel and packer representatives. Their goal was to develop a consensus on consistent on-farm auditing standards using Pork Quality Assurance®
Plus and Transport Quality Assurance® programs as a foundation.  The result is the Common Swine Industry Audit, which was announced at the 2014 World Pork Expo.

Preparation Training:
NePPA in cooperation with ISU Extension and Outreach Swine Field Specialist will provide:
·  Overview of the Audit Tool (the 89 questions which have different point values)
·  Discuss the audit process and focus points of the audit
- Critical 5 Questions - Euthanasia: articulate insensibility and confirmation of death
·  Provide a 3-ring binder to help manage records, documents and SOP’s
·  Provide a flash-drive with SOP templates which each farm may customize
·  Will assist with SOP development/customizing

Sponsored by the NE Pork Producers Assoc, Iowa State University Extension, and the National Pork Board.  Register by phone 402-472-0493 or on-line at  Walk-ins are also welcome. 


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               What will happen to your hay if you have a snowy winter.  Will you be able to get to it?  Prepare now for any heavy snow with proper placement.

               As I think back about some of the long, cold, and snowy periods we all have experienced in years past, I begin to realize how lucky we have been the past few winters.  Sure, we've had some cold and snowy weather.  But it rarely lasted terribly long.

               But what if it does last a long time this winter?  Will you be ready?  Will you have adequate feed supplies for your livestock on hand?  Will you have easy access to all your hay supplies during a blizzard?  And will you be able to get it to your animals?

               While driving across the state, I see many hay stacks and round bales stored next to trees or in low spots or along fence lines that might get drifted in during a blizzard.  In some cases, the access road to this hay might get drifted in.  And in a lot of sites, when the snow eventually melts during winter or next spring, it might be too muddy to get to the hay.

               I also wonder how well the hay is organized.  Is good hay separated from poor hay?  Has it even been tested so you know what hay should be fed to cows needing only a maintenance diet and what hay should be saved for animals needing extra protein and energy.  And then, can you get to either one whenever you want?  Also, has the hay been tested for nitrates?  Nitrate poisoning occurs most frequently when high nitrate hay is fed to hungry animals right after a snow storm.

               Don't neglect planning for bad weather in placement of your hay yards.  Then if storms do occur, you'll be ready.


    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will lead a $13.5 million, multi-institutional research effort to improve sorghum as a sustainable source for biofuel production.

    Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, this five-year grant takes a comprehensive approach to better understand how plants and microbes interact, and to learn which sorghum germplasm grows better with less water and nitrogen. This research requires a range of expertise, and UNL is teaming with scientists at Danforth Plant Science Center, Washington State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Boyce Thompson Institute, Clemson University, Iowa State University, Colorado State University and the DOE-Joint Genome Institute.

    "UNL is delighted to be leading this large project with partners from prestigious institutions," said Prem Paul, UNL vice chancellor for research and economic development. "Only by collaborating across disciplines and institutions can we find solutions to complex challenges, especially those at the intersection of our food, water and energy systems."

    Most U.S. biofuels currently are made from corn, but sorghum varieties create more biomass for cellulosic ethanol. That makes it a top contender to replace corn and relieve pressure on an important global food source, said project leader Daniel Schachtman, professor of agronomy and horticulture and director of UNL's Center for Biotechnology, who will lead this project.  

    "It's becoming more recognized that we need to move biofuel production to more marginal lands, so they don’t compete with food crops," Schachtman said. "You also don't want to use a ton of water or fertilizer to keep the system productive."

    To improve sorghum's productivity under resource-limited conditions, the team is taking a systems approach. Researchers will investigate sorghum genetics as well as the soil microbes that interact with plants. The research should lead to strategies to increase plant biomass as well as more water use- and nutrient-efficient sorghum crop systems.

    The work takes advantage of advances in marker-assisted breeding, metagenomics and computational genomic analysis. Geneticists will search for and study sorghum varieties that use water and nitrogen more efficiently under limited water or nitrogen conditions. At the same time, microbiologists will identify and characterize soil microbes that interact with and benefit sorghum, such as by enhancing nutrient uptake, water-use efficiency and disease protection.

    Bringing both approaches together, the team will experiment to find the genetic and microbial combinations with the greatest productivity benefits.

    The team also will create an extensive catalogue and repository of sorghum-related soil microbes and their genetic sequences as a resource for the scientific community.

    Looking for microbial solutions to improve plant productivity is not well studied, so the project will advance scientific understanding in a potentially significant direction for other crops as well, Schachtman said.

    The project's strength is the interdisciplinary depth and expertise of the team, he added, because it allows the researchers to tackle sorghum production as a whole system. Working together, researchers expect to accomplish far more than is possible at any single institution.

    UNL's Ismail Dweikat, sorghum breeder and professor of agronomy and horticulture, and Arthur Zygielbaum, remote sensing expert and associate research professor of natural resources, are teaming with Schachtman on this project.

    "Nebraska will be the focal point of a lot of the work," Schachtman said. "The university has developed fantastic field research facilities that really put us ahead. It's highly significant work because we could be creating a more sustainable biofuel system for the United States."

    Ronnie Green, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the project "represents a payoff on the investments we're making in faculty and facilities that expands our expertise in critical areas such as sustainable biofuels. Strengthening our capabilities to study the root microbiome enables us to take the systems approach that is so critical in agricultural research."

USDA Helps Rural Businesses Create Jobs and Increase Economic Opportunities; $336,489 Goes to Eight Nebraska Projects

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today awarded 385 grants to help support the start-up or expansion of rural small businesses.

“These grants will strengthen the economic fabric of our rural small towns and communities by providing capital to small and emerging businesses,” Vilsack said.

USDA is awarding the grants through the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. Recipients may use the funds to provide technical assistance, training and job-creation activities.

The City of Atkinson is receiving $53,874 to renovate a 3,500 square foot building space and create a business incubator to grow develop entrepreneurs in the area.

Central Community College at Columbus is receiving two grants.  They will use $7,247 to provide business planning and development opportunities for entrepreneurs in Boone, Butler, Colfax, Merrick, Nance, Platte, and Polk Counties.  Another $19,193 will allow the College to provide technical assistance to new, small and emerging businesses with planning and development of business ideas to implementation, through intensive coaching and mentors in Boone, Butler, Colfax, Merrick, Nance, Platte, and Polk Counties.

The Center for Rural Affairs at Lyons is also receiving two grants, with $38,687 to provide technical assistance through a series of training session that will assist small emerging businesses in accessing and using value-added food minimal processing facilities in Burt, Cuming, Stanton, Thurston, and Wayne Counties.  Another $99,000 will be used to provide training, technical assistance, support, and farmer’s market opportunities for Native American food-based businesses in the communities of Santee and Macy, Nebraska.

Twin Cities Development Association, Inc. (TCD) at Scottsbluff/Gering will receive $44,960 to create a community commercial kitchen and technical assistance to assist food-based business entrepreneurs in Scotts Bluff County.  TCD will be collaborating with University of Nebraska Food Processing Center and their Recipe to Reality Program to assist entrepreneurs that are starting a food-based business.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will receive $21,039 to provide technical assistance in Kimball and Chadron, Nebraska to enhance online marketing strategies for rural business owners.

The Village of Walthill will receive $82,489 to provide technical assistance and to establish a training program to assist Native American rural small business and small business start-ups in the Village of Walthill, Nebraska.  The Village of Walthill will be collaborating with Nebraska Indian Community College, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and the Omaha Nation Community Response Team to ensure the success of the small businesses $53,874 for a small business incubator.

Funding of each award announced is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. In total, USDA is providing nearly $20 million in grants.

USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant Program is one of several that support rural economic development. Since the start of the Obama administration, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service has helped 85,000 rural businesses.

11th Annual EHS Summit Kicks Off Oct. 13 in Kearney

Safety professionals from across the state will gather in Kearney, Nebraska, for the 11th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The daylong summit, which is presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board, includes speakers from agencies across the country including the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Pinnacle Engineering, Fletcher Safety and Southeast Community College.

“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest government regulations and compliance changes,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “We are proud that the summit has grown to include diverse companies beyond the ethanol industry during the past 11 years.”

Originally established to provide compliance, safety, public health and emerging technology information for the rapidly developing ethanol industry, the program has attracted the attention of other professional sectors as government regulations continue to increase, Sneller said.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works with a variety of private partners and ethanol plant personnel, who focus on compliance, worker safety and public health issues, to put on the summit. College students also are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the registration fee.

The event is presented in cooperation with the Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers (ANEEP) and open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. For registration details, contact the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit

Meat Price Reporting Bill Sent To President

The National Pork Producers Council is urging the president to quickly sign into law legislation reauthorizing the livestock mandatory price reporting law. The current statute is set to expire tomorrow.

The law requires meat packers to report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the prices they pay for cattle, hogs and lambs and other information. USDA publishes twice-daily reports with information on pricing, contracting for purchase, supply and demand conditions for livestock, livestock production and livestock products.

“America’s pork producers urge President Obama to sign into law this important legislation, which provides producers and meat packers transparent, accurate and timely national market information to make knowledge-based business decisions about selling and buying hogs,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C.

The reauthorization legislation, which the House approved yesterday after the Senate last week sent it a slightly different measure than the one the lower chamber passed in June, includes new provisions sought by the U.S. pork industry, including one that establishes a “Negotiated-Formula” price category to better reflect the total number of hogs negotiated each day regardless of how buyers and sellers arrive at the prices. Another provision will require that pigs sold after 1:30 p.m. be included in the next morning’s price report.

“Livestock producers are dependent on mandatory price reports for making informed decisions about transactions,” Prestage said. “The president’s timely action on the five-year reauthorization bill will ensure the reports will continue to be published.”

The Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 changed a voluntary reporting system for hogs, cattle and other livestock at slaughter to a requirement for meat processors to report detailed price and sales data. The law requires packers to submit to USDA regional and national data on a daily and weekly basis for hogs and similar information for cattle and lambs. It also required USDA to establish a library of the types of contracts offered by packers to pork producers for the purchase of hogs, including future delivery purchases.

NAWG Applauds House Action on Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015

Following House passage last night of the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015, Brett Blankenship, NAWG President and wheat grower from Washtucna, Wash. issued the following statement.

“This bill establishes more transparency and ensures there is no disruption in inspection services should a delegated state agency discontinue providing services. This bill provides the certainty wheat growers need. It’s important to have bipartisan bills like this make their way through Congress and we look forward to the President signing the bill into law.”

The Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015 includes three separate titles, including one to reauthorize the Grain Standards Act for five years. This component of the bill would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) to immediately take such steps as are necessary to resume inspections when a delegated State agency discontinues services. Additionally, the reauthorization will require a recertification process, including a public comment period for delegated State agencies, as well as several reporting requirements to ensure transparency.

Chinese Agriculture Minister Visits USGC Leader’s Farm To See Harvest, Build Relationships

Han Changfu, the Chinese minister of agriculture, and members of his delegation visited U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Vice Chairman Chip Councell’s farm late last week to see harvest firsthand and learn directly from Councell and his neighbors about how U.S. farmers plan, make decisions and produce their crops.

The tours included stops at Councell’s corn fields and produce stand, a ride on a combine harvesting soybeans and on-site explanations of how farmers effectively manage risk and use modern practices to increase productivity including no-till farming, nutrient management plans in the sensitive Chesapeake Bay watershed and seeds improved with biotechnology.

“We were excited to have such a rare opportunity to host Minister Han on the farm and in our region,” Councell said. “Having him and his staff here was a unique chance to not just talk about U.S. agriculture but to show it as it is happening. This type of visit makes our conversations about conservation, sustainability, biotechnology and food security come alive.”

Han and his staff also visited farms in Louisiana early in the week with USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann, a farmer in Nebraska, and USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight accompanying a group of corn and soybean farmers and industry representatives.

The Council has worked in China for more than 30 years to promote sales of U.S. coarse grains and co-products and help develop the rapidly growing Chinese agriculture industry. The size, importance and complexity of the Chinese market makes it a focus of USGC’s worldwide market development program, which touches a total of more than 50 countries.

AFBF Concerned New EPA Rule More About Regulation than Safety

The American Farm Bureau Federation is reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency's final revisions to the Worker Protection Standard, in hopes that the agency veered to a science-based approach in guarding against risk.

Farmers and ranchers are committed to the safe and effective use of all crop protection tools. And Farm Bureau agrees that chemicals should be handled with care, whether to protect a small home garden or rows of crops on commercial farmland.

"Farm Bureau shares the agency's desire to protect workers, but we are concerned that the agency is piling regulatory costs on farmers and ranchers that bear little if any relation to actual safety issues," said Paul Schlegel, director of environment and energy policy for AFBF.

AFBF filed extensive comments on the proposal more than a year ago. Then, as now, AFBF said EPA itself could not justify the regulation it was proposing.

"We are hopeful the agency's final rule will reflect our concerns and protect farmers' and ranchers' ability to promote a safe, productive environment," Schlegel said.

World Dairy Expo Kicks-Off in Wisconsin

One of the largest agricultural events in Wisconsin begins today as World Dairy Expo opens its gates in Madison. Officials with the dairy and trade show say they expect about 80,000 people from over 90 countries to attend the five-day event through Saturday.

The festivities kicked off Monday with the National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest, National Intercollegiate & International Post-Secondary Dairy Cattle Judging Contests, 4-H Awards Banquet and the International Post-Secondary Judging Contest Awards Banquet. The Wisconsin 4-H team placed first in their competition, with Ben Powers named top individual of the event.

Tuesday's show ring activities include the International Junior Holstein Show, International Ayrshire Show and International Jersey Show. The FFA Dairy Judging Contests will also be held today. And the World Dairy Expo Championship Dairy Product Contest will hold an auction of all first place winners on Tuesday, where the proceeds will go to youth dairy programs.

Meanwhile, organizers say this year's tradeshow will be as large as ever with over 1,000 exhibitors from nearly 30 countries providing producers a chance to explore everything from new self-propelled feed delivery systems to computerized herd management systems.

Daily entrance fees for World Dairy Expo are $10 per person, or $30 for a season pass. Hours for the event run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Survey Examines Farm Bill Decision-Making Tools

The University of Illinois is asking farmers and land owners to participate in a survey about their decision-making for the 2014 farm programs and provide feedback on the tools and resources available during that process.

"Farmers had a variety of educational services and tools available to help them make decisions about farm bill risk management options," said Sam Willett, NCGA Senior Director of Public Policy. "We encourage all farmers to provide feedback on those resources by participating in the University of Illinois survey. This kind of feedback is important to understanding what tools and resources were useful, and what could be improved."

The survey is anonymous, and results are only reported in aggregate. Individual survey responses are confidential and will not be released. To participate in the study, please click here or copy and paste  into your internet browser.

Evaluation Key to Building Strong Herbicide Program

As growers across the Corn Belt prepare for harvest and scout their fields, they may see an increased level of weed pressure due to summer rains, which may have delayed postemergence herbicide applications.

Harvest is an ideal time to examine a weed control program — assess weed infestation and evaluate herbicide efficacy. For Midwest growers who were unable to make postemergence applications because of heavy rain during peak growing season, it’s an ideal time to evaluate and think about using a preemergence herbicide program next spring.

Evaluating a herbicide program is fundamental to managing resistance and preventing the same weed problems from occurring next year no matter what the weather brings, says Luke Peters, corn herbicides product manager, Dow AgroSciences.

“Implementing a resistance management strategy is no longer an option; it’s a necessity,” Peters says. “The first step in building a strategy is evaluating your current program at the end of the growing season to determine what worked in your field. This will help growers craft an improved weed control program for next year that mitigates resistance issues.”

These tips can help evaluate herbicide programs and maximize weed control next year:

    Adjust. Switch to a program approach that uses multiple modes of action, which is vital to control herbicide-resistant weeds.

Glyphosate resistance was the main reason lifelong Missouri grower Jimmy Daniels started using a preemergence herbicide. Daniels, who farms 1,500 corn and soybean acres, has seen waterhemp become increasingly difficult to control over the years. As a result, he started using SureStart® II herbicide to tackle the resistant weed populations in his cornfields.

“Waterhemp and the giant ragweed are becoming more of an issue all the time,” Daniels says. “Waterhemp’s got a really bad resistance problem to glyphosate, so that’s one reason we’re using SureStart [II].”

    Scout often. Scouting fields during harvest will help determine which uncontrolled weeds compete with crops for essential nutrients during peak growth stages, Peters says. A field’s weed spectrum at harvest is a good indication of which weed problems will be lurking at planting next spring.

    Consider a residual herbicide. Residual herbicides are increasingly important to control early season weeds and make control easier later in the season. Since switching to SureStart II, a residual herbicide, Daniels says, his fields went from being heavily weed-infested to clean during the growing season.

“To have a clean field at the end of the year is a great thing,” he says.

September 28 Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending September 27, 2015, temperatures averaged six to eight degrees above normal with an  inch or more of rain common across a wide swath of central and eastern Nebraska, according  to  the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Silage cutting was coming  to  a close.  Soybean harvest gained momentum but was slowed due to wet soil conditions.  Seed and high moisture corn harvests continued as soils dried.  Dry conditions in many western counties allowed winter wheat seeding to progress, as did dry bean and millet harvests.  There were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork.  Topsoil moisture supplies  rated  7  percent  very  short,  24  short,  63  adequate,  and  6  surplus.  Subsoil moisture  supplies  rated  6 percent very short, 25 short, 66 adequate, and 3 surplus.
Field Crops Report:

Corn  condition  rated  2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19  fair, 54  good,  and  20  excellent. Corn  dented  was  at  96  percent,  near  97  last  year  and  99  for  the  five-year  average.  Mature  was  at  65  percent,  near  61  last  year  and  69  average.  Harvested  was  at  10  percent,  near  6  last  year,  but  behind  16 average. 

Soybean condition  rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20  fair, 56 good, and 18 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was at 78 percent, ahead of 73  last year, but near 74 average. Harvested was at 13 percent,  ahead of  5 last year, but near 14 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 25 fair, 57 good, and 17 excellent. Sorghum coloring was at  96  percent,  near  97  last  year  and  94  average. Mature was  at  59  percent,  near  55  last  year,  but  ahead  of  47 average. Harvested was at 2 percent, equal to last year and near 3 average.

Winter wheat planted was at 69 percent, behind 75 last year, but near 67 average. Winter wheat emerged was at 25 percent, behind 38 last near, but near 27 average. 

Alfalfa condition rated 1 percent very poor, 4 poor, 28 fair, 55 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa fourth cutting was at 90 percent, ahead of 75 last year and 79 average.
Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor,  27 fair, 55 good, and 7 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 8 short, 88 adequate, and 2 surplus.  

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Wet  conditions  in western  Iowa  kept  farmers out of  the  fields, while warm  and dry  conditions  in  the  rest of  the State marked  the beginning of harvest activities for many during  the week ending September 27, 2015, according  the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.  Statewide there were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork, though conditions varied from only 2.5 days  suitable  in Southwest  Iowa  to 6.7 days  in Southeast  Iowa. Fieldwork  for  the week  included cutting hay, chopping silage, harvesting seed corn, corn for grain and soybeans. There was also some tillage of harvested fields.  Scattered reports indicate that cover crops are off to a good start, with some emerging.  

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.   Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. 

Seventy-one percent of the corn crop was percent mature, 6 days ahead of last year, but 3 days behind the 5-year average. Five  percent  of  the  corn  crop  for  grain  has  been  harvested,  a week  ahead  of  last  year,  but  13  days  behind  average. Moisture content of all corn being harvested was at 24 percent. Corn condition rated 80 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-two percent of soybeans were turning color or beyond, while 72 3percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 4 days ahead of 2014, and 2 days ahead of normal.   Seven percent of  the soybean crop has been harvested.   Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent. 

The  third  cutting  of  alfalfa  hay  is  29  percent complete,  2  days  behind  last  year  and  8  days behind the average. Pasture condition rated 66 percent good to excellent.  Livestock conditions were reported as good.  


Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Iowa  experienced  another unseasonably warm week with  temperatures averaging 8.2 degrees  above normal.     Monday (21st)  brought  the  lowest  temperatures with  highs  in  the  seventies  statewide while Elkader  recorded  a morning  low  of 41 degrees.     Daily  highs were  in  the  seventies  and  eighties  for  the  remainder  of  the week with  highest  readings  of 86 degrees on Tuesday  (22nd) at Atlantic, Lamoni, Oakland and Osceola.     Rainfall was exceptionally variable.     There was no  rain  statewide on Monday  (21st), Saturday  (26th) and Sunday  (27th).     A very  slow moving  low pressure  center brought an extended period of showers and  thunderstorms  to western  Iowa between Tuesday morning and early Friday morning.     Torrential  rain was  centered  upon western  Pottawattamie  and Mills  counties  on Wednesday morning with another area across  southwest Monona County.     No  rain  fell over  the eastern one-half of  Iowa during  the week while Council Bluffs recorded as much as 9.28 inches of rain and Glenwood saw 6.80 inches.   Rainfall of two inches or more was common across a wide area of west central and southwest Iowa.   The statewide average precipitation was 0.79 inches or just slightly more than the weekly normal of 0.75 inches.

USDA:  Soybean Harvest 21% Complete; Corn 18%

The nation's corn harvest advanced to 18% complete as of Sept. 27, according to USDA's latest weekly Crop Progress and Conditions report. That's a bit behind the five-year average of 23%. Corn conditions held steady in the past week with 68 percent of the corn crop remained rated good to excellent. 

Soybeans are 21% harvested and 74% dropping leaves, compared to five-year averages of 16% and 70%. Soybean condition worsened slightly.  USDA reduced the good-to-excellent rating from 63% to 62%, which is still above the five-year average of 59. 

Winter wheat planting is 31% complete, compared to 19% last week and a 35% five-year average. 

Ninety-six percent of sorghum is coloring, compared to 90% last week and an 89% five-year average. Sixty-five percent of the crop is mature and 36% is harvested, compared to 52% and 31% last week and five-year averages of 55% and 32%. Sorghum condition worsened slightly.

Sixty-nine percent of the cotton crop has bolls opening, compared to 57% last week and the five-year average of 70%. Cotton is 11% harvested, compared to 7% last week and the average of 12%. Cotton condition worsened.

Rice is 69% harvested, compared to 55% last week and a five-year average of 63%. Rice condition worsened.

Brazil Soy Planting Starts.... Slowly

Soybean planting in Brazil has gotten off to a quick start in the southern state of Parana but has been sluggish in Mato Grosso -- the main soy state -- as farmers await rain.

Generally speaking, Brazil soybean planting sweeps from north to south. However, in recent years it is actually the southern state of Parana that gets off to the quickest start. So it has been at the start of the 2015-16 season as well.

Hot, dry weather in Mato Grosso and the rest of the northern Cerrado states means few farmers started fieldwork once the official planting window opened on September 15.

Amid rising costs and low soybean prices (in dollars), few growers in Mato Grosso have been willing to plant until consistent spring showers return, noted AgRural, a local farm consultancy.

In contrast, farmers in western Parana have been planting ahead of expected heavy showers in the rest of September and early October. As a result, planting is already 10% complete across the state, ahead of the 7% planted at the same stage last year, while in Mato Grosso only 0.3% of area has been planted, compared to 1.6% last year, according to an AgRural forecast.

Overall, Brazil's soybean crop was 1.7% planted as of Friday, slightly down from 1.6% at this time last year.

Sparse rainfall, high temperatures and low soil moisture mean planting in Mato Grosso has been limited to those who plan to plant cotton after the soybeans, noted AgRural.

That situation will likely continue over the next week with farmers mindful that last year those who planted early for double cropping saw crops suffer through a dry October.

In contrast, planting is going full speed ahead in Cascavel and other parts of western Parana.

AgRural forecast Brazilian soybean planted area will rise 2.7% to 81 million acres and output will increase 3.4% to 99.4 million metric tons.

Monday September 28 Ag News

Many Omaha area high school students may not see themselves as having a career in the agriculture sector. However, for the approximately 150 students who attended Friday’s Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI)-Omaha event, they were able to see that the possibilities are endless.

“After today I definitely have a new outlook on the ag industry and how it could be a good career for me,” said Dan Cronin, a student at Bennington High School. “Coming from somewhat of an ag background, I definitely have an interest in the ag industry. It could be a good career for just about anybody.”

The day-long event, held at the CenturyLink Center in conjunction with AKSARBEN Stock Show and Rodeo, is designed to give students the opportunity to learn about non-traditional careers in the agriculture sector and the availability of those jobs in the Omaha area. NAYI-Omaha was coordinated by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) in partnership with the AKSARBEN Foundation and the Greater Omaha Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve heard the term ‘brain drain’ too many times in recent years,” NDA Director Greg Ibach said. “We feel if we can demonstrate to youth of all different backgrounds that they can have a successful and satisfying career in agribusiness, then many of them will decide to stay right here in Nebraska.”

NAYI-Omaha was developed following work of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce over the past year and a half to identify economic strengths within the Omaha region. The result of that effort is the Greater Omaha Economic Partnership Strategy, unveiled at the Governor’s Ag Conference in March. The goal of the strategy is to position Omaha as a global leader for value-added agricultural companies.

A component of the strategy is to train and educate a workforce that can meet the growing needs of the agribusiness industry. NDA participated in the task force that developed the strategy.

“Sometimes students pigeonhole agriculture, thinking it’s only about producing crops or livestock,” said Omaha Bryan teacher Krystal Kolb, who brought several students to the NAYI-Omaha event. “But technology, industry and business have become so very important to agriculture that almost any area of study can be incorporated in an ag-related career.”

Lindsey Parks, a student at Omaha Bryan said she has had an interest in teaching and after joining FFA and attending NAYI-Omaha she is now considering a career as an agricultural teacher. Another Omaha Bryan student, Luis Alcaraz Duvon, said the event has opened his eyes to possible careers in agriculture in engineering or finance.

For the past 44 years, NDA has coordinated a NAYI summer event that targets students who typically already have a keen interest in a career in agriculture. Ibach said that the Omaha event enables the department to expand its youth outreach efforts into urban areas.

Additional information about NAYI along with photos for the NAYI Omaha event can be found on the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute Facebook page.


Bruce Anderson, UNL Extension Forage Specialist

               I often talk about my experiences grazing the many paddocks on my little farm.  They often teach me something new or remind me of things I should have remembered.

               Heavy rainstorms challenged my grazing plans this year.  We just finished the fifth storm of the summer with over three inches of rain.

               My pastures are divided into a dozen permanently fenced paddocks, and most of them can be easily subdivided whenever I want.  Fence placement is based on things like topography, plant species, and so forth.  Two of them in particular are primarily low ground.  Just two of the twelve.  One I call my reed canarygrass pasture for obvious reasons and the other is a mix of grasses, edible forbs – and weeds.

               So why is it that every time it rained heavily this summer the cattle were in or about to move into one of the low ground paddocks?  I had to either move them out of or completely by-pass that paddock to avoid damaging the grass or getting calves stuck in the mud.  While I basically like my fence placement, I may need to consider small adjustments to put some higher ground into these areas.

               During one of the storms, the creek washed out part of a perimeter fence.  Of course the cattle quickly found it and in the middle of watching a football game on television the neighbor knocked on my door and said “your cows are out”.  Naturally, I jumped up and rushed out.  Getting to the pasture I started hollering for the cows, fully expecting to spend much of the evening chasing them down.

               I should have known.  With all my paddocks, these animals come quickly to my calls to move to new, fresh grass.  So I called, they came running, and in just a few minutes everyone was back where they belonged.  And I learned another value to having many paddocks.

Wind and Solar Conference Attendee Favorite to Return as Keynote Speaker

This year’s  eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference and Exhibition being held at the Omaha Hilton in Omaha, NE, November 4-5, will feature some exciting new speakers, and the return of a conference attendee favorite, Lauren Thirer with GE Renewables. A Consumer Energy Showcase, open to the public, will be held the evening of Tuesday, November 3.

Thirer will be the keynote speaker during lunch on the first day of the conference, Wednesday November 4.

“Lauren’s session was one of the top presentations at last year’s conference and she is an incredible presenter,” said Dean Mueller, Division Manager of Sustainable Energy & Environmental Stewardship for Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). “Several people asked for a copy of the presentation and had follow-up questions.”

Thirer is the Director of Customer Analytics at GE Renewables and joined GE in 2009 as part of the Renewable Energy Leadership Program a two-year rotational program where she held high-impact roles in parts remanufacturing, the commercial team and the offshore product line. Thirer is responsible for the development of all new wind turbine models, including competitive assessment, analysis of global market trends and drivers, and specification of key product requirements.

“New technology and new wind turbine models, together with well-sited projects in high resource locations are a key factor for utilities in their future renewable energy choices,” said Dan McGuire, conference co-chairman. “Lauren has good insight into these important subjects, and she has a very engaging presentation style that relates the material to attendees in an easy to understand manner.”

Early standard Registration is $140 by close of business September 30, and $160 until October 25th.  Student Registration is $65. Rooms at the Hilton Omaha are $122 per night until October 4, which includes free parking. Those not staying at the hotel will receive a reduced daily parking rate of $5. Standard and student registration includes the Consumer Energy Showcase, which is open to the general public for a $5 admission fee and includes parking.

Registration information is available at the conference website

Save the Dates: Corn Expo, Crop Production Clinics

Calendars fill up quickly and we don't want you to miss out on some great educational opportunities occurring just after the holidays. When you buy that new 2016 calendar, be sure to add these events:

Thursday, Jan. 7 — Fremont Corn Expo
- Speakers will include
    Bob Nielsen, Purdue University Extension corn specialist (Chat n' Chew Cafe);
    a farmer panel on "What We Learned from the Corn Yield Contest That Helped Our Farm Profit;"
    UNL Ag Economist Eric Thompson on the "Economic Impact of Expanding Livestock Production on Corn Demand;"
    UNL Plant Pathologist Tamra Jackson-Ziems on "Battling Corn Diseases,"
    Extension On-Farm Research Coordinator Laura Thompson on "Utilizing On-Farm Research to Evaluate Profitable Practices," and more.

Nitrogen applicator training will be provided by Extension Educator Aaron Nygren and producers from the Lower Platte North NRD. And don't forget the complimentary lunch and waffle breakfast.

Jan. 6 - 21 — Crop Production Clinics
(9 sites)
Practical, profitable, environmentally sound, high-impact training for agricultural professionals and producers in the areas of soil fertility, soil water and irrigation, insect pests, plant diseases, weeds, cropping systems, and agribusiness management and marketing. On-line registrations are already available.  Click here for more information...
January 6 - Gering 
January 7 - North Platte
January 8 - York 
January 12 - Beatrice 
January 13 - Hastings 
January 14 - Kearney 
January 19 - Atkinson 
January 20 - Norfolk 
January 21 - Mead 

Nebraska Discount for No-Till Education

Paul Jasa, UNL Extension Engineer

Seventy-five Nebraskans will receive a discounted registration fee to attend the 20th Annual No-till on the Plains Winter Conference in Salina, Kan. Jan 26-27, 2016.

Thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund (NET) and support from Nebraska Extension, the first 25 first-time attendees from Nebraska to register (using the process below) will receive $150 off their registration fee.  For those who have attended a No-till on the Plains Winter Conference in the past, the first 50 repeat attendees from Nebraska to register will receive $50 off their registration fee.

Among the speakers at this year's conference are:
    Charlie Arnot, Gladstone, Mo., Chief Executive Officer, Center for Food Integrity; President/Founder, CMA
    Jill Clapperton, Ph.D., Reardan, Wash., Principal Scientist and Co-Founder, Rhizoterra, Inc.
    Dwayne Beck, Ph.D., Pierre, S.D., Research Manager, Dakota Lakes Research Farm
    Ray Ward, Ph.D., Kearney, Neb., President and Co-Owner, Ward Laboratories, Inc.
    Gabe Brown, Bismarck, N.D., No-till Producer
    Wendy Taheri, Ph.D., Pelham, Ga., Research Microbiologist
    Ray Archuleta, Greensboro, N.C., Conservation Agronomist, NRCS East National Technology Center

See the No-till on the Plains website for more information on the 2016 Winter Conference and the Agriculture's Innovative Minds Symposium which follows it.

Discount Requirements

To receive the discount, please register for the Winter Conference on-line at:

Fill out the on-line registration form with your information and indicate that you will pay by phone.  Do not complete the section for paying by credit card on-line as you will not receive the Nebraskan discount using this method.  To receive the discount and make your payment, call 785-210-4525 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Central Time), after completing the on-line registration form.  No-till on the Plains (NTOP) will check to see if you are one of the first 25 first-time attendees or if you are one of the first 50 repeat attendees and process your registration accordingly.  On the registration site, you'll notice that the registration fee goes up on Oct. 1 and again on Nov. 16.

The main purposes of the NET grant are
    to enhance the adoption of continuous no-till systems,
    to educate producers about soil health, and
    to provide networking opportunities for producers to learn more about no-till and soil health.

The No-till on the Plains Winter Conference — the largest gathering of its kind in North America — provides all three kinds of educational opportunities.  The Winter Conference and Trade Show will be followed by the Agriculture's Innovative Minds Symposium on Jan. 28.  A reduced combination pricing is available for both events if registering before Nov. 15.

New USDA Grading Module Available

The USDA meat grading system sets standards of quality and cutability (yield of edible meat) used in buying and selling of meat. As a voluntary program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cost of the quality and yield grading program is borne by meat packers. Grading provides consumers an assurance that the product purchased conforms to an expected standard of palatability.

To better explain the procedures and technologies involved in quality and yield grading, the beef checkoff’s research team has developed a guided simulation and learning module....

“Beef quality continues to be one of the key demand drivers for beef, but many in the industry never have the chance to develop the understanding of how beef carcasses are assigned yield and quality grades,” says Bridget Wasser, checkoff executive director of Meat Science & Technology. “The USDA Grading Module and Simulation includes educational modules such as grading’s history and teaches the carcass grading process step-by-step. The simulation put words into action and allows users to yield and quality grade a beef carcass from start to finish as USDA Agricultural Marketing Service employees do on a daily basis.”

The Importance of Beef Imports to the US Cattle Producer

Brenda Boetel, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

The USDA ERS livestock and meat trade data released in September showed an increase in beef imports of 32% coupled with a decrease of 10% in beef exports.  Given current trade expectations, approximately 14% of the US supply of beef in 2015 will be from imports, as compared to 12% in 2014.  The recent decline in cattle price combined with these changes in trade have many questioning the reason for beef imports and the importance of these imports to the US cattle producer.

The primary sources of domestic beef are grain-fed cattle and culled dairy cows.  US exports of beef consist primarily of the high-valued beef cuts in the form of steaks and roasts from grain-fed cattle, whereas beef imports are primarily ground beef.   Retail level ground beef is typically made up of different combinations of lean trimmings.  For example, 76% lean hamburger is determined by blending 90CL trimmings with 50CL trimmings.  The majority of 50CL trimmings come from grain-fed cattle, while 90CL trimmings are from culled cows or grass-fed cattle.  The majority of US beef imports are from countries that produce grass-fed cattle and without these imports the US would have significantly less 90CL trimmings that are used in hamburger. The US could produce a greater amount of lean beef and decrease imports, but by doing so there would eventually be a decrease in the production of high-value beef cuts that are consumed domestically or exported.

The recent decline in cattle prices combined with the increase in beef imports has prompted several comments regarding the need to restrict beef imports as the lower total supply of beef would support cattle prices.  This solution is problematic in the long term.  In the short term, the US would have a challenging time filling the needs for lean beef due to decreased cow slaughter and heavier finished cattle weights.  Hence the 90CL beef price would increase, eventually increasing the retail price of ground beef.  Beef is already the highest priced protein product and additional increases would likely shift consumer demand faster from high cost beef to lower cost poultry or pork.  Additionally, the long-term increases in production of lean beef would decrease the more profitable sales of high-valued cuts both domestically and in the export market further reducing the overall profit margin for US cattle producers.

As herd rebuilding continues and the US supply of grain-fed beef grows, the US supply of lean beef will likely continue to decrease due to heavier finishing weights and decreased cow slaughter.  This indicates that higher, not lower, levels of imports will be needed to meet US demand needs and keep market share from shifting to lower price alternatives such as poultry and pork products. 

NPPC Names Manager Of Production Issues

Dustin Baker has been hired as manager of production issues for the National Pork Producers Council, covering such matters as the farm bill and marketing and pork economics. Baker, who begins his duties today, is in NPPC’s Washington, D.C., office, reporting to Nick Giordano, NPPC’s vice president and counsel for global government affairs.

Baker comes to NPPC from the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), where he served as an economic analyst and coordinator of NMPF’s Young Cooperator program. Prior to that, he was a research assistant with Woodward Risk Management Consulting in Ithaca, N.Y. He also completed internships with Newedge Group, a Chicago brokerage firm; with the U.S. Senate, where he was a legislative intern; and with Great Lakes Cattle Marketing in St. Louis, Mich.

“Dustin brings experience in economic analysis and financial risk management as well as knowledge of the legislative process,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “I know he’ll be a great asset to our domestic public-policy team.”

A native of Michigan from a livestock family who served as state president of the Michigan Future Farmers of America Association, Baker earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in applied economics and management from Cornell University.

Baker joins NPPC’s D.C. policy team, which includes, in addition to Giordano, Cara Cramer, manager of communications; Michael Formica, assistant vice president, domestic policy & counsel; Courtney Knupp, deputy director of international trade policy, sanitary & technical issues; Dr. Dan Kovich, assistant director of science & technology; Kelly Randall, director of administration; Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian; Dave Warner, director of communications; Mykel Wedig, manager of congressional relations; and Maria Zieba, manager of international affairs.

House Reauthorizes Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauds the House in reauthorizing Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting through 2020. NCBA President, Philip Ellis, a Wyoming cattle producer, said this action will ensure cattle producers have access to critical market information.

“We thank the members of the House in passing this important legislation to ensure cattlemen and women have access to market information,” said Ellis. “Failure to act would have left cattle producers nationwide without critical price information at a very significant time in the marketing year.”

Mandatory Price Reporting requires meat packers to report to USDA the prices they pay for cattle, hogs and sheep purchased from farmers and ranchers for slaughter, as well as the prices they receive for the sale of wholesale beef, pork and lamb. Mandatory Price Reporting also requires USDA to issue daily, weekly and monthly livestock and meat market reports.

“Unfortunately for America’s cattle producers, Senator Stabenow did not feel this legislation warranted an ‘essential government service’ designation, which makes market transparency vulnerable to future government service interruptions,” said Ellis. “Had the Senator acted in accord with the original provisions in the House bill, we could have been assured price information would not be subject to political whim.”

Mandatory Livestock Price Reporting now must be signed by the President prior to expiration on Sept. 30, 2015.

Senate to Hold Hearing on WOTUS Water Bill

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday will hold a hearing on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' participation in the development of the "Waters of the United States" rule.

The regulation would expand the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over various waterways, including ones typically found on farms.

Farm groups have asked the agencies to withdraw the rule and to get input from agriculture on a proposal that is workable for farmers and ranchers.

Omaha Fuel Tests Indicate High Level of Toxics in Base Gasoline

Does Omaha have bad gas? According to recent fuel tests, it does—at least in terms of the levels of toxic substances, which approached 30 percent by volume in base gasoline.  But adding ethanol to gasoline significantly lowers the health threat of the fuel we put in our vehicles.

In early July, four fuel samples were pulled from the Magellan fuel terminal in Omaha.  The samples were independently tested by Midwest Laboratories in Omaha.

The results indicated a high level of toxics in base gasoline in the Omaha market, even higher than those found in similar samples tested in January, which were pulled from a variety of retail locations in the city.

Toxics such as benzene, xylene and toluene are added to gasoline to increase octane, which is necessary to reduce engine knock.  These substances, known collectively as "aromatics", are known toxins and, in some cases, known or suspected carcinogens or cancer-causing substances.

In the July fuel samples, these toxics accounted for nearly 30 percent of volume in base gasoline without ethanol added.  However, when 10 percent ethanol was added to the mix, the volume of toxic compounds dropped to 23 percent—or nearly by one-fourth that of straight gasoline.

"While 'aromatics' may sound like a good thing, they are actually a huge threat to human health," said Angela Tin, vice president of environmental health for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest.  "These toxics do not completely combust in the engine and therefore exit the tailpipe as tiny particles that enter our lungs, heart, brains and bloodstream."

Particulate matter from vehicle exhaust has been linked to brain cancer, lung cancer, heart disease and asthma — and is especially harmful to infants, children and people suffering from heart or respiratory problems.

Tin says fuel with ethanol is a cleaner air alternative.  "Ethanol is a clean-burning, non-toxic source of octane," she said.  "The more ethanol in our fuel, the lower the volume of toxic compounds in our fuel and in the air we breathe."

Ethanol adds oxygen to fuel and that helps the fuel burn more completely.  "The oxygen leads to a more complete combustion of fuel," said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator.  "That means more of the toxic compounds are completely burned in the engine rather than coming out the tailpipe."

Ethanol also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked to climate change.

Tin added that higher blends of ethanol are especially valuable in lowering the levels of harmful particulate matter in the air.  "Higher blends such as E85—85 percent ethanol—are truly the clean air choice," Tin added.  "Anyone driving a flex fuel vehicle has the opportunity to help make our air healthier by simply making the right choice at the pump."

About one in seven Nebraskans is driving a flex fuel vehicle that can operate on any blend of ethanol and gasoline up to E85.  The owner's manual or other indicators such as a yellow gas cap or "flex fuel" insignia on the vehicle are indicators that one owns a flex fuel vehicle.

E85 is available at several locations in the Omaha area.   Visit for locations.

More information on toxic compounds in gasoline and the clean air benefits of ethanol can be found at or

Nation's strictest regulatory board affirms biodiesel as lowest-carbon fuel

In a fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California’s Air Resources Board has spent years looking for the cleanest, most efficient ways to cut carbon. Turns out, biodiesel is at the top of the list.

Friday the board finalized California’s revised Low Carbon Fuels Standard. The new standard affirms America’s Advanced Biofuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent and often by as much as 81 percent versus petroleum. This gives biodiesel the best carbon score among all liquid fuels.

“Biodiesel is the most sustainable fuel on the planet,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board director of sustainability. “Low carbon alternatives can also be low cost alternatives when we use diverse supplies of renewable resources.  This validates that California’s carbon reduction goals are obtainable.”

As part of the state’s low carbon fuel standard, the Air Resources Board has refined comprehensive lifecycle analysis to quantify the carbon intensity of conventional and alternative fuels. More than seven years of analysis have gone into addressing questions including indirect land use change.   California’s lifecycle model incorporates all the impacts for producing a fuel’s raw materials including conversion and transportation.  The model also includes the indirect economic impacts of growth in global agriculture-making it one of the most thorough and rigorous evaluations ever done to quantify the environmental footprint of biofuels.

The findings echo what the USEPA determined five years ago in establishing the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Under that program, biodiesel qualifies as an Advanced Biofuel, with the US EPA analysis showing that it reduces carbon emissions from 57 percent to 86 percent.

“California’s analysis, which has been validated by independent academic review, provides confidence that biodiesel is, without question, a more sustainable alternative for transportation fuel.  The commercial success of the growing biodiesel industry suggests goals to further reduce greenhouse gases and displace imported petroleum are appropriate and achievable.  With a focus on carbon reduction and the national policy to support it, biodiesel could reduce carbon emission by 40 million tons annually,” said Scott.

The estimates provided for likely fuel pathways include:

ULSD (standard diesel) - 102.76 g/MJ
Gasoline - 99 (CaRFG) g/MJ
Corn Ethanol - 80.09 g/MJ
Compressed Natural Gas - 79.46 g/MJ
     Soy - 51.83 g/MJ
     Used Cooking Oil - 19.87 g/MJ
     Tallow - 32.83 g/MJ
     Canola - 50.23 g/MJ
     Corn oil - 28.68 g/MJ

These scores are reported in grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule of fuel. All off the feedstocks listed for biodiesel are used in significant volumes.  Weighting these scores by the amount of each feedstock used nationally in 2014, suggests that the average biodiesel in the market has a carbon intensity of  38.4 g/MJ.-giving it the lowest carbon intensity of any category of liquid or gaseous fuel, and making it competitive with electric vehicles as a carbon mitigation strategy.

NCBA Urges Swift Conclusion to Trans-Pacific Partnership

This week the United States will host a meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Ministers in Atlanta. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association urges a swift conclusion to a TPP deal.

“Cattlemen and women have high expectations for the TPP as a true 21st century agreement, eliminating tariff and non-tariff trade barriers across 12 member countries,” said Philip Ellis, NCBA president. “We are encouraged by reports of a ministerial meeting this week in Atlanta and urge our negotiators to work quickly to bring this agreement to conclusion. Every day that goes by without a comprehensive agreement erodes our market share in these member countries and it is imperative that our negotiators find common ground.”

Japan is currently the top export market for U.S. beef, totaling $1.6 billion in 2014, even with a 38.5 percent tariff rate. One of the leading competitors for Japanese consumers is Australia. Last year Australia and Japan signed the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement that phases down the tariff on beef imports over 15 years and removes a 50 percent snapback tariff on Australian beef. This agreement gives Australia a competitive advantage and as a result Australia is taking market share away from U.S. beef. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will put U.S. beef producers on a level playing field with Australian beef producers.

“This is why agriculture cannot afford to delay action any longer,” said Ellis. “Other nations are actively pursuing individual trade agreements to benefit their producers. The U.S. is already one of the most open markets in the world and if we do not act to expand new market opportunities in these growing economies, our cattle producers will be severely disadvantaged.”

The United States announced its intention to participate in the TPP negotiations in November 2009. The other TPP nations include: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Dairy and Bacon Prices Down, Apples Too

Lower retail prices for several foods, including whole milk, cheddar cheese, bacon and apples resulted in a slight decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $54.14, down $.12 or less than 1 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 10 decreased and six increased in average price.

Higher milk and pork production this year has contributed to the decrease in prices on some key foods.

“Energy prices, which affect everything in the marketbasket, have been quite a bit lower compared to a year ago. Processing, packaging, transportation and retail operations are all fairly energy-intensive,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. Lower energy prices account for much of the modest decrease in the marketbasket.

The following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:
    whole milk, down 17 percent to $3.14 per gallon
    bacon, down 11 percent to $4.55 per pound
    apples, down 7 percent $1.45 per pound
    shredded cheddar, down 5 percent to $4.56 per pound
    flour, down 4 percent to $2.37 per five-pound bag
    bagged salad, down 4 percent to $2.46 per pound
    vegetable oil, down 3 percent to $2.61 for a 32-ounce bottle
    Russet potatoes, down 3 percent to $2.64 for a five-pound bag
    white bread, down 1 percent to $1.69 for a 20-ounce loaf
    chicken breast, down 1 percent to $3.42 per pound

These items showed modest retail price increases compared to a year ago:
    eggs, up 56 percent to $3.04 per dozen
    orange juice, up 7 percent to $3.43 per half-gallon
    ground chuck, up 6 percent to $4.55 per pound
    toasted oat cereal, up 3 percent to $3.09 for a nine-ounce box
    sirloin tip roast, up 3 percent to $5.67 per pound
    sliced deli ham, up 1 percent to $5.47 per pound

“As expected we saw higher egg prices because we lost so much production earlier this year due to the avian influenza situation in Iowa, Minnesota and some other Midwestern states,” Anderson said.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $2.21; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.79; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $4.16.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index ( report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Anderson said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $54.14 marketbasket would be $8.66.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 69 shoppers in 24 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

National FFA Organization membership sets record of 629,367 students

With global needs to fight hunger and prepare for the expected population growth, the industry of agriculture needs educated, skilled and passionate people dedicated to sustainability. The National FFA Organization is answering this need, as the record growth of the organization demonstrates.

Today, FFA membership stands at 629,367 students, up from 610,240 in 2014, an increase of 3 percent. The number of chapters grew from 7,665 in 2014 to 7,757 in 2015. The top five membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow, as membership has increased more than 20 percent since 2009-10.

“FFA, through agricultural education, is preparing our youth to ensure the security of our country's food, fiber and natural resources for years to come,” said National FFA Organization CEO Dwight Armstrong, Ph.D. “Through real-world experiences, the nation’s agricultural educators are helping students develop the technical knowledge, skills and problem-solving capabilities to be the industry's leaders of tomorrow. FFA continues to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture.”

Student membership was not the only thing that grew in 2015. National FFA Alumni membership also continued to grow, with 62,705 members this year, growing from 57,832 in 2014. FFA alumni play an important role in keeping agricultural education and FFA programs in local schools by providing both volunteers and financial support to local teachers.

CWT Assists with 2.5million Pounds of Cheese and Whole Milk Powder Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 15 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association who have contracts to sell 2,092,187 pounds (949 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese and 418,878 pounds (190 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September 2015 through March 2016.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 46.680 million pounds of cheese, 19.376 million pounds of butter and 34.516 million pounds of whole milk powder to thirty-four countries on five continents. The amounts of cheese, butter and whole milk powder in these sales contracts represent the equivalent of 1.119 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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