Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thursday December 31 Ag News

Nebraska Corn Industry Faced Challenge, Capitalized on Opportunity in 2015

During 2015, Nebraska’s corn farmers saw another year of abundant production, but also faced some serious challenges in terms of commodity prices and federal policy. 

Leaders of the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) and Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) recently outlined their organizations’ 2015 programs and initiatives on behalf of Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers.

The Nebraska Corn Board manages the half-cent-per-bushel checkoff on all corn marketed and sold within the state.  The nine-member board is made up of Nebraska corn farmers who determine where those dollars are invested.

“In response to lower commodity prices, 2015 saw a high priority on building demand for corn and corn-related products—and on helping farmers improve efficiency, sustainability and profitability,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.  “At the same time, we continued to focus on our cornerstone issues of market development, research, education and promotion.”

Some key highlights of Nebraska Corn Board activity and investments during 2015 include:

•    Through a partnership with several other state agencies, the Nebraska Corn Board helped apply for a federal grant to increase the number of flex-fuel pumps across Nebraska.   The successful grant and matching funds will provide more than $3 million to establish new pumps in key markets that offer a wide range of American Ethanol blends.

•    Oversaw the launch of the new American Ethanol brand at fuel pumps, making Nebraska one of the first states in the nation to implement the consumer branding effort that emerged from the American Ethanol partnership with NASCAR.

•    Participated in continuing discussions with the nation’s auto manufacturers regarding thenext generation of automobile engines capable of operating on higher ethanol blends.

•    Worked with its national cooperators to increase exports of corn, ethanol, distillers grains, red meat and other value-added corn-based products.

•    In partnership with the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (UNL), the Nebraska Corn Board has helped fund research managing herbicide-resistant weeds, canopy sensor research for improved nitrogen fertilizer efficiency, the use of distillers grains in beef and dairy feed rations, and the development and release of the new Decide NOW marketing app.

•    Conducted a strategic survey of Nebraska corn farmers to help guide overall research priorities for Nebraska Corn Board investments.

•    Nebraska corn checkoff funds have also established a new Presidential Chair faculty position at UNL which will be focused on new uses for corn.  That position should be filled in early 2016.

•    The Nebraska Corn Board also supported a number of youth development initiatives including scholarships and internships with the Board’s major cooperators including the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation.

•    NCB also initiated its new Ag Champions competition which engaged Nebraska’s FFA chapters in becoming advocates for agriculture.

•    Promoted the responsible expansion of Nebraska’s livestock industry through research, partnerships and engagement with the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN).

•    Continued to provide financial support and expertise for Raising Nebraska, the award-winning exhibit on the Nebraska State Fairgrounds focused on helping consumers discover more about their food and the families who grow it.

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association is a membership association supported by dues-paying corn farmers and others who support the state’s corn industry.  NeCGA complements the activities of the Nebraska Corn Board by serving as the “boots-on-the-ground” grassroots advocacy organization for Nebraska’s corn farmers.

“NeCGA is the voice for Nebraska corn farmers in the State Capitol and on Capitol Hill,” said Larry Mussack, a Decatur, Nebr. corn farmer and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.  “Our focus is on creating a positive policy and regulatory environment for corn farmers and developing and empowering the grassroots network needed to tell our story to decision-makers and the public. This past year certainly kept us busy on all fronts.”

During 2015, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association:

•    Continued to advocate for the interests of corn farmers as the Nebraska Legislature especially in the area of property tax relief.

•    Became highly engaged at the federal level on issues such as the Waters of the U.S., the Renewable Fuel Standard and trade promotion authority and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

•    Announced the formation of the new Central Plains local chapter, which involves corn farmers in Boone, Nance and Platte counties.

•   Spearheaded the development of a new "Nebraska Corn" specialty license plate in the state.

•    Sponsored training on grain engulfment prevention and response—and helped place five grain engulfment rescue tubes with first responders across the state.

•    Sponsored highly successful “Ethanol Night at the Races” events at four race tracks across Nebraska—and promoted renewable fuels at the NeCGA booth at Husker Harvest Days.

•    Sponsored thirteen Nebraska farmers, including farm couples, as part of its annual leadership event in Washington, DC, to inspire involvement and engagement in key issues and advocacy for the corn industry.

•    Sponsored its third Grassroots Advocacy Training workshop to help Nebraska corn farmers become informed and confident spokespersons for their industry.

•    Helped raise funds for the Food Bank of Lincoln and the Food Bank of the Heartland through golf tournaments and other activities.

Nebraska Corn was also well-represented on the national level this past year.  Alan Tiemann, a corn farmer from Seward, Nebr. and a farmer-director on the Nebraska Corn Board, is the current chairman of the U.S. Grains Council.   Jon Holzfaster, a corn farmer from Paxton, Nebr. and a farmer-director on the Nebraska Corn Board, is on the board of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).  Lynn Chrisp, a Kenesaw, Nebr. corn farmer and board member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, also serves on the NCGA board.

NC 2015 Year in Review

For Nebraska Cattlemen the year 2015 brought many challenging yet satisfying accomplishments.

The seedstock segment of our association saw record high production sales during the winter and spring months. Adequate rains across much of Nebraska allowed for herd expansion. Factors that took the cattle markets to all-time highs in 2014 corrected in 2015 putting the fed cattle and feeder cattle markets under pressure.

The conclusion of the 2015 Unicameral Session stemmed several studies that Nebraska Cattlemen engaged.  A balance between adequately funding schools and the tax burden agricultural producers are incurring as a result of rapidly accelerated valuation of production lands was elusive and will continue.  Many NC members were involved in studies on transportation this fall, testifying to challenges on weights of equipment deemed "implements of animal husbandry" and the enforcement of laws associated with these implements.

Understanding the importance of trade to our industry, Nebraska Cattlemen was busy reaching out to our trade partners. Leaders participated in trade missions led by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts that included Mike Drinnin, Columbus, traveling to Europe in June and Barb Cooksley, Anselmo, traveling to Japan in September, allowed our story to be shared worldwide. Exports of U.S. beef reached a significant level in 2015 of more than $350 per head. These are real dollars that benefit all producers from our beef checkoff program. Livers typically selling at home for 75¢ a pound, marketed in Egypt for $7 to $8 a pound, this is a real example of how the beef checkoff and producers like Cooksley and Drinnin make a quantifiable difference.

Other NC members making a difference in 2015 were the efforts by Morrill County Cattlemen to improve the quality of the local school lunch program. Unfortunately, nationally established school lunch standards don't require high quality protein for students. The difference makers in the Morrill County Cattlemen worked with the Bridgeport superintendent to create a program for more beef in their school lunch diets. NC member Rob Marsh, Belvidere, was impressed by the efforts of Morrill County Cattleman, taking the idea to his county resulted in the creation the "Titan Beef Boosters". Gregg Wiedel, Hebron, and the rest of the NC Board voted to endorse the "Nebraska Beef to Schools" program that provides local beef to schools. The effort is growing into many schools across the state

The year-end has NC staff and leaders preparing for the 2016 legislative session. Members are looking to the seedstock production sales once again to be the bell weather for prices. Nebraska Cattlemen will continue working for Nebraska beef producers - pasture to plate in 2016.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today provided a review of the top ag issues in Iowa in 2015.

“Many farmers saw the best ever yields in 2015 as it was a year of record production for both corn and soybeans in Iowa.  Unfortunately there were several challenges as well.  Iowa was at the center of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak this spring.  Also, a significant drop in crop and livestock prices have created real challenges economically for farmers,” Northey said.  “However, farmers are optimistic and are looking forward to 2016 and new opportunities.”

Avian Influenza

The USDA has described the H5N2 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak of 2015 as the largest animal health emergency in U.S. history.  Nationwide there were 223 detections of HPAI from Dec. 19, 2015 through June 17, 2015.  There were 48 million birds in 21 states affected, but Iowa and Minnesota were the most severely impacted.

In Iowa, there were a total of 77 premises in 17 counties and 31.5 million birds were affected with the disease. This includes 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, 1 chicken breeding flock, 1 mail order hatchery, and 5 backyard flocks.

As of early December, all HPAI quarantines have been lifted.  Iowa poultry producers are resilient, with all but one of the 72 commercial poultry farms that had quarantines on their facilities having begun the restocking process or are fully restocked.  To lift the quarantine, all sites completed the cleaning and disinfection process and had negative environmental tests.  They also underwent a 21 day fallow period following disinfection.

The Iowa response operated under a Unified Command involving the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services.

The Department had responsibility for maintaining safe movement of poultry and poultry products from farms that were affected by HPAI. IDALS issued a total of 3,700 movement permits to 42 states and the Virgin Islands. This includes 2,323 permits issued for movements within Iowa and 1,377 permits have been issued for movements out of state.

Iowa Water Quality Initiative

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is continuing to expand efforts to work with all Iowans to make water quality improvements.

Earlier this year Northey announced that 1,800 farmers committed $3.5 million in cost share funds to install nutrient reduction practices in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.  The practices that were eligible for this funding are cover crops, no-till or strip till, or using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Participants include 980 farmers using a practice for the first time and more than 830 past users that are trying cover crops again and are receiving a reduced-rate of cost share.  Farmer using cost share funding contribute 50% or more to the total cost of the practice.

In addition, 29 demonstration projects are currently located across the state to help implement and demonstrate water quality practices.  This includes 16 targeted watershed projects, 4 projects focused on expanding the use and innovative delivery of water quality practices and 9 urban water quality demonstration projects.  More than 100 organizations are participating in these projects.  These partners will provide $16.72 million dollars to go with the $11.11 million in state funding going to these projects.

Northey also highlighted that more than $325 million in state and federal funds have been directed to programs with water quality benefits in Iowa last year. This total does not include the cost share amount that farmers pay to match state and federal programs and funds spent to build practices built without government assistance.

More information about the initiative can be found at

Record Production, Economic Challenges

A near ideal growing season in much of the state saw Iowa farmers produce record corn and soybean crops.  The 2.49 billion bushel corn crop is 5 percent above the 2014 production and tops the previous record, set in 2009, by 4 percent.  A record yield of 189 bushels per acre is 11 bushels above last year and exceeds the previous record of 181 bushels per acre set in 2004 and 2009.

Iowa farmers produced a record 550 million bushels of soybeans, up 10 percent from 2014 and 5 percent above the previous record of 525 million bushels produced in 2005. The yield of 56 bushels per acre is 5.0 bushels above 2014 and 3.5 bushels above the previous record yield, set in 2005.

However, crop prices have continued to fall as a result of large crop production worldwide, softening global demand and a strong dollar.  Average statewide corn prices fell from $3.76 to $3.48 from Dec. 2014 to Dec. 2015 and statewide average soybean prices fell from $9.89 to $8.17 over the same period.

The livestock industry faced challenges as the prices they have received have fallen as well.  Fed cattle have seen the price drop from $161 per hundred weight down to $116. Hogs are down from $76 to $49 per hundred weight.

The tighter margins seen on the farm are starting to ripple through the economy.  Land prices are down 3.9 percent.  There have been several announcements of layoffs at manufactures, machinery providers, seed companies, and other business that serve the agriculture industry.

Despite the challenges, opportunities remain.  In general, exports remain strong.  Agricultural exports account for 10% of the U.S. exports and supports nearly one million jobs across the country.  Value added products such as ethanol and meat products have made up the largest share of agricultural exports at approximately 63%.

Iowa is a leading producer and exporter of agricultural products, ranking 2nd among the 50 U.S. states in the value of its agricultural exports in USDA’s most recent calculations. Iowa’s exports help boost farm prices and income, while supporting about 77,300 jobs both on the farm and in related industries such as food processing, transportation, and manufacturing.

To help continue to grow exports, Northey participated in trade missions with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, USDA and Iowa Agriculture organizations to Malaysia, the Philippines, China and Japan.

Current National Drought Summary

A large complex storm system produced copious amounts of precipitation in the Central and Southern US during this USDM week. The seasonably cold air behind the system mixed with the unseasonably warm, moist air that was entrenched across the east. This produced an unstable air mass kicking off heavy rains, thunderstorms, blizzards, tornadoes and historic flooding. Rainfall amounts on the warm side of the system were in excess of 10 inches, while some areas received more than 20 inches of snow on the cold side. The 7-day precipitation totals amounted to 800 percent of normal or greater for a large swath stretching from eastern Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, much of Missouri, and Illinois. Portions of Alabama and Georgia also recorded far greater than normal precipitation amounts. The larger precipitation amounts missed areas in western Kansas, eastern Colorado, south Texas, Florida, the Desert Southwest, and areas in the Northern and High Plains. Record setting warm temperatures occurred across large portions of the eastern third of the US. Average temperature departures were in the range of 20-25 degrees above normal for the USDM week. Temperature anomalies were as much as 20 degrees below normal in the western third of the country.


As the storm moved northeastward, a mixture of rain and blizzard like conditions affected the Central region. Heaviest rain amounts were in Missouri and Illinois where much of the area received at least 5 inches or more. Historic flooding was a concern along the banks of the Mississippi. In St Louis, the river was expected to crest at 44.8 feet – its second highest level ever recorded - only behind the great flood of 1993. For some places along the Mississippi and its tributaries, a record high crest is expected or has occurred. The storm left nearly a foot of snow in some locals. Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin had several sites measuring 10 inches or more. A 1-cat improvement was made in southern Indiana where abundant precipitation has fallen during the last 30 days. D0 was removed from eastern Illinois and western Indiana. In Nebraska, D0 was trimmed back along the northwest corner based on recent percent of normal (>300 percent), but eradication was put on hold for one more week in the southwest. Kansas saw a slight expansion of D0 into Pawnee County based on 7 and 14 day percent of normals (<5%). DO was removed from the eastern portion of Kansas based on the recent precipitation more than double the normal.

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (December 31 – January 5) a system pumps Pacific moisture into southern Texas. Totals are projected to be 1-2 inches for the area. That same system skirts across the southern Gulf States and eventually makes its way into Florida by day 3. Precipitation totals are projected to exceed 1 inch. In the Northeast, lake effect snows are expected to ramp up during the first part of the period. On Day 4, a Pacific system is expected to bring much needed precipitation to most of California. This is followed by another Pacific system 2 days later. Much of the rest of the country is quiet during this 5-day period. Above average temperatures that have been present in the eastern half of the country are expected to give way to temperatures that are closer to average.

For the ensuing 7 days (January 6 - 12), odds favor above normal temperature in the east and below normal temperatures in the west. Chances are likely that precipitation will be above normal in the Southwest, South and parts of the Southeast. The probability of below normal precipitation exists for the Northwest, Great Lakes and Northeast regions. The outlook is for wetter- and warmer-than-normal weather for much of Alaska.

Crop Insurance Indemnities at $4.4 Billion for 2015 Crops

Crop insurance indemnities total $4.4 billion for 2015 crops as of Dec. 28, up from $3.45 billion at the end of November, according to Risk Management Agency (RMA) data.

The level of net acres insured for 2015 crops appears to have set a new record, reaching 297.151 million, ahead of the prior high-water mark of 296.079 million acres in 2013.

The loss ratio for the program currently stands at .45, up slightly from a month ago when it was .37. Indemnities will continue to rise so that loss ratio will also climb. But the lowest loss ratios going back to 2003 are .54 for 2007, .56 for 2010 and .58 for 2009. Rice is the only program crop with a loss ratio greater than 1.0 for 2015 crops (indemnities paid out exceed the premiums paid in) with a mark of 2.48. Flue-cured tobacco carries a level of 1.14.

The total payouts at $4.4 billion are down more than 50% from the 2014 crop total of $9.115 billion. Wheat remains the top payout on a by-crop basis, with indemnities of $1.155 billion compared to corn at $1.118 billion. The next closest crop is soybeans at $832 million.

The downturn in payouts under the program reflects fewer crop issues facing producers and lower prices for most crops compared to 2014 levels. The indemnity levels are likely to continue rising as we move into calendar 2016. At this stage a year ago for 2014 crops, indemnities stood at $5.212 billion and eventually rose to $9.115 billion. The potential is there for 2015 crops to be one of the lowest payout levels in recent years and give the program one of its lowest loss ratios in years.

Texas, N.M. Dairies Lose More Than 30K Cows

(AP) -- A dairy association official says that West Texas and eastern New Mexico producers continue to assess how many animals died in the winter storm last weekend, but the number will probably climb to more than 30,000 animals.

Texas Association of Dairymen executive director Darren Turley said Thursday that about 15,000 mature dairy cows died in the storm's primary impact area - from Lubbock west to Muleshoe and north to Friona. Turley says the number of younger animals killed by Winter Storm Goliath could be just as high.

Turley says officials with New Mexico State University's extension service told him the area around Clovis, New Mexico, lost an estimated 20,000 dairy cows.

The Texas producers are working with state environmental officials to find ways to dispose of the carcasses.

SUBWAY to Serve Only Cage-Free Eggs in North America

The SUBWAY submarine sandwich shops have been announcing numerous menu improvements over the past few years as part of in its journey to make its menu even better. The brand has reiterated its commitment to serve only eggs from cage-free layer hens across its 30,000 North American locations. The transition to cage-free eggs has already begun in select markets in the U.S. and Canada and will be completed across its 30,000 North American locations by 2025.

"Serving food that reflects our commitment to the humane treatment of animals has long been a priority to our brand," said Elizabeth Stewart, director of corporate social responsibility for the SUBWAY brand. "We know how important it is for consumers to feel confident that the food they eat is ethically sourced, and our customers care deeply about animal welfare. As a result of this commitment, not only can you come to our restaurants for a great-tasting, quality, affordable meal, but our customers will be able to enjoy delicious breakfast sandwiches made with cage-free eggs."

The company says their commitment builds on a number of other menu and ingredient improvements announced by the SUBWAY sandwich shop over the past year, including the brand's decision to remove all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from North American menu items by 2017 and its plan to serve only antibiotic-free proteins in U.S. restaurants by 2025. The brand continues to monitor layer hen housing research to identify future, best-practice menu and ingredient solutions that meet the highest standards of animal welfare.

Wednesday December 30 Ag News

Final Four in Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge Prepare for January Competition

An intense round of competition is expected when the final four competitors pitch their business ideas to a team of judges during the Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 97th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, in January. A live feed of the finals competition will be available starting at 10:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, Jan. 10, at

AFBF announced the final four national competitors in October, when each was awarded $15,000. The challenge, now in its second year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural regions of the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses

The final four will pitch their business ideas to a team of judges in front of a live audience in hopes of winning the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year Award for an additional $15,000 and the People's Choice Award for $10,000 more, totaling prize money of up to $40,000 to implement their ideas. The winners of the competition will be announced in the morning on Monday, Jan. 11.

The finalist businesses competing in January were chosen from 165 applicants:

    AccuGrain; (Rose Hill, Iowa), ag tech entry, X-ray technology to inventory flowing grain in real time. Team lead: Ryan Augustine.

    AgriSync; (Dallas Center, Iowa), ag tech entry, mobile customer support platform for crop farmers. Team lead: Casey Niemann.

    Farm Specific Technology; (Bolivar, Tennessee), ag tech entry, no-till crimper for cover crop production. Team lead: Shawn Butler.

    Fedora Malthouse; (Village of Shepherd, Michigan), value-added processing entry, malted barley production for use by craft beer brewers. Team lead: Julie Baker.

"The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is directly tied to AFBF's mission of building strong and prosperous agricultural communities," AFBF President Bob Stallman said.

"We can all learn something from the great ideas put forward by the final four competitors for successful businesses in their local communities."

The top challenge teams were selected by 40 judges with expertise in business development, equity investment fund management, agribusiness lending and entrepreneurial coaching.

NCGA Accepting Applications for Reaching for Excellence Award

Over the decades, state associations representing corn farmers have developed innovative solutions to address a variety of challenges.  To recognize these achievements, the National Corn Growers Association has created the Reaching for Excellence Award. This award will be given to spotlight new approaches and encourage implementation of such advances in other states facing similar challenges.

NCGA's Grower Services Action Team announced this new award at their December meeting in St. Louis.

"Any state corn association or state checkoff board program, project, process, procedure, or strategy that has significantly advanced the mission of their association is eligible," said GSAT Chairwoman Patti Mann, a farmer from Ohio. "The goal of the program is to not only recognize excellence across state's programs and training but, also, to provide the details for other states that need help in those same areas." 

While there is not a formal application, state grower associations and/or state checkoff boards interested in applying should supply a two to three-page narrative that includes the following elements:
-    Program Summary - a precise two to three-paragraph description of the program, the need it addressed and its outcome.
-    Program Description - What was the level of effort required and resources used? How many staff members, consultants or volunteers were involved? What were their roles? What was the estimated cost of implementation?  Did the program collaborate with other ag or community groups?
-    Program Evaluation - Describe the qualified or quantified performance outcomes for the program.  Why do you consider this program a success?  What advice or recommendations would you have for others considering your program?

Please submit the outlined two to three-page narrative documenting programmatic excellence by Friday, January 22, 2016.  All submissions should be sent to Steve Uram ( or Rita Abney (  A panel, comprised of members of the Grower Services Action Team, will select the winner.  All submissions will be posted on ShareFile to better facilitate the sharing of ideas and successes among NCGA's state affiliate organizations.

The winning state and program will be recognized during the NCGA Awards Banquet at the 2016 Commodity Classic in New Orleans, La.

FDA gives food industry more time to define ‘natural’

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to give food industry groups more time to weigh in on what "natural" should denote on product labels.

The agency asked the public to comment in November on whether it should define the term and set guidelines for its use on food products, including those that are genetically engineered or made with genetically engineered ingredients.

Public comments were originally due Feb. 10, but the Natural Products Association (NPA) asked the FDA for an additional 90 days to gather input from its members.

“Defining ‘natural’ is a major undertaking, and NPA feels that no harm will result from FDA extending the comment period due to the interest, significance, and complexities surrounding the topic,” Dan Fabricant, the group’s executive director and CEO, said in a news release earlier this month.

Although the FDA has not yet engaged in a formal rulemaking to define the term “natural,” the agency said it has long considered it to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic, including color additives, was used in producing the food.

The public now has until May 10 to submit comments.

Website takes ‘FReSH’ look at agricultural safety and health

A plethora of agricultural safety and health information is available by typing a few key words into a search engine, but trying to synthesize and validate the masses of content can be difficult. The Farm & Ranch eXtension in Safety and Health (FReSH) Community of Practice (CoP),, gathers and disseminates practical, research-driven information.

FReSH obtains most of its content from the Cooperative Extension system based at land-grant universities, and from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) agricultural centers. But FReSH also works with smaller organizations such as Farm Safety for Just Kids and AgriSafe Network to disseminate their resources as well.

The CoP is a collaborative effort between universities, industry, and government, with more than 100 individual members from multiple regions of the country who review and produce agriculture safety and health information. These members work to provide usable resources such as videos, publications, online safety courses, and webinars to the general rural population, agricultural producers, and agricultural safety and health professionals.  Financial support for the project is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture; eXtension; and CHS Inc.

“The aim of eXtension is to summarize the health and safety information that is out there.  We don’t want to duplicate anything.  The goal is to get the information all in one place where people can find it and be brought to the original sources,” said Aaron Yoder, the CoP Leader of FReSH.

FReSH is currently working to integrate ag safety and health information related to food systems and climate change, including information on wearable technology throughout the food system. Wearable technology such as smart watches and fitness technology have the potential to provide safety to field workers, including the ability to detect heat illness. Members of the CoP are examining the entire system of food production to determine where useful messaging for safety and health can be distributed.

Hershey Rejects Sugar Beets Because of GMO Concerns

Something was different about a lot of the Hershey's kisses in your stocking this year: The popular chocolates no longer contain sugar made in Minnesota. For decades, the Hershey Co. has used sugar made from both sugar beets and sugar cane, but it decided earlier this year to stop buying beet sugar because it comes from genetically modified, or GM, seeds that some consumers don't like.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Hershey, with 2014 sales of $7.4 billion and more than 80 brands of candy sold around the world, was a huge customer for beet sugar farmers, and its decision was significant enough to be noted earlier this month at two annual shareholder meetings of sugar beet cooperatives.

David Berg, president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar in Moorhead, Minn., the nation's largest sugar beet co-op, told members gathered in Fargo, N.D., that the anti-GM movement is one of the industry's biggest challenges. And Kurt Wickstrom, president and CEO of Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in Wahpeton, N.D., said that anti-GM groups are a real threat whose claims need to be countered.

Hershey communications director Jeff Beckman confirmed that the kisses and many other products stocked on shelves since Halloween no longer contain beet sugar. The company also is transitioning away from artificial to natural ingredients, he said.

Minnesota is the top sugar beet producer in the nation, followed by Idaho and North Dakota, and industry officials would not disclose how much of their sugar is sold to candy companies. About 55 percent of domestic U.S. sugar is produced from sugar beets, and nearly 100 percent of the beet seeds are genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup.

Calif. Snowpack 136% of Normal

(AP) -- Officials in drought-stricken California say the water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack has measured 136% of normal for this time of year.

Frank Gehrke of the Department of Water Resource said Wednesday he is encouraged by the manual measurement taken Wednesday in the Central Sierra, which includes Lake Tahoe.

However, he says the parched state has a long way to go before the drought is over.

Gehrke says the measurement marks an improvement over the previous survey taken in April, when no snow was found at the site.

Gehrke's survey followed an electronic measurement last week that put the water content of the snowpack at 112% of normal.

Even more snow has fallen since then.

National Farmers Convention ’16 Spotlights Transitions, Climate Change, Sustainable Ag

National Farmers 2016 national convention, themed Serving Agriculture for 60 Years, Jan. 25-27, East Peoria, Ill., offers a speaker lineup with professionals who help American producers with real solutions for their farms.

Convention Speakers & Topics

“National Security, Climate Change and the American Farmer: How they all Fit Together and What the Future Holds”
Dr. Chris King, dean of academics, Command and General Staff College, Army Combined Arms Center, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He is the U.S. member of an international military advisory council on security and climate change.

“Transition Planning: A Process, not an Event”
Curt Ferguson, J.D., The Estate Planning Center, Salem, Ill. The transfer of a farm from one generation to the next is an ongoing process. Curt Ferguson will share a strategy for tax-efficient transfer of opportunity, control and capital to successors.

“Farm Policy Perspectives: Past, Present, and Future”
John Ikerd, Ph.D., professor emeritus of agricultural and applied economics, University of Missouri-Columbia. Ikerd has published a variety of books and papers about small farming and sustainable agriculture.

‘The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth”
Alan Guebert, Delavan, Ill., award-winning agricultural journalist and co-author of the book with the same title as his presentation, will share his humor with convention-goers. Guebert co-authored the book with his daughter, Mary Grace Foxwell.

“Grain Marketing in Risky Times”
Pete Lorenz, Beloit, Kan., senior National Farmers Grain Marketing Plus Analyst, will talk about the combination of strategies producers can use to harvest the best revenue in narrow-margin times. He will highlight the “Grain Marketing in Risky Times” Midwestern meeting series, as well.

“Organic Grain Demand and Import Impacts”
Grain Division Director Tim Ennis and NForganics Field Representative Tim Boortz will highlight key certified organic grain fundamentals and how organic crops on the other side of the world affect U.S. certified organic grain producers.

“Young Cattlemen Success Panel”
Nexus Ag Marketing, a subsidiary of National Farmers, presents the Livestock Division commodity workshop, bringing you the perspectives of three young producers who have succeeded in cattle production and marketing, in their family operations, along with an agricultural lender who works with producers like them.

“Animal Well-being on a Wisconsin Dairy Farm”
National Farmers Field Representative and Dairy Farmer Ashley Peterson will emphasize how cow health and comfort lead to high quality milk. She’ll share how she and her family achieve this on their operation.

“Family Farm, Family Endeavor”
National Farmers Wisconsin Board Member Don Hamm, will share how his family co-labors, spearheading the majority of the work on their 300-cow dairy. This allows the Hamm family to participate at church and school, and in 4-H, National Farmers and local government.

Today's National Farmers members represent a cross-section of both conventional and organic production - grain growers, cattle producers and dairymen and women.

For agricultural producers, belonging to National Farmers offers access to marketing, health and crop insurance, and a gamut of dairy, grain and livestock risk management services from professionals who really want farmers and ranchers to succeed.

National Farmers’ 2016 annual meeting and convention will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Riverfront Hotel and Conference Center, 100 Conference Center Drive, East Peoria, Illinois.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesday December 29 Ag News

U.S. Corn Crop Quality Confirmed in USGC Report

The overall quality of the United States' 2015 corn crop was good, with 94 percent of corn samples samples rated at quality grade No. 2 or better in the U.S. Grains Council's newly-released  2015/2016 Corn Harvest Quality Report. USGC, of which the National Corn Growers Association is a founding member, works collaboratively with NCGA to build demand for U.S. corn.

"This is the fifth year of releasing our corn quality reports," said USGC Chairman Alan Tiemann of Nebraska. "Our objective in compiling and publishing this unique information is to arm our customers with the data they need to make good purchasing decisions - and take advantage of the excellent U.S. crops now available to them."

According to the corn quality report, the 2015 U.S. crop is entering marketing channels with the following key characteristics:
-    Average test weight within the range for No. 1 grade corn, indicating good kernel filling and maturation.
-    Low levels of broken corn and foreign material, with 98 percent within the range for No. 2 grade corn, indicating little cleaning will be required.
-    Low levels of total damage, with 96.1 percent within the range for U.S. No. 2 grade.
-    No observed heat damage.
-    Average elevator moisture of 15.7 percent, which will decrease the potential for stress cracking.
-    100 percent of the corn samples tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration action level for mycotoxins.

Our customers look forward to this information on an annual basis, and we are pleased to be able to offer it to them in a way that benefits their businesses," Tiemann said. "We've had a lot of success with building relationships with overseas buyers and end-users by presenting the findings of the corn quality reports."

The corn report is based on 620 yellow commodity corn samples taken from defined areas within 12 of the top corn-producing and exporting states, including Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Inbound samples were collected from local grain elevators to observe quality at the point of origin and to provide representative information about the variability of quality characteristics across geographic regions.

The corn samples were tested at the Illinois Crop Improvement Association's Identity Preserved Grain Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Federal Grain Inspection Service's Grain Inspection Handbook. This follows the methodology that was developed for USGC's 2011/2012 Corn Harvest Quality Report and that has been used in each subsequent year's follow-up study.

Nebraska Farmers Union Says Platte Institute Report on Public Power is a Non-Solution to a Non-Problem

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) was not impressed with the quality of the research or the conclusions contained in the Platte Institute’s report on Nebraska’s unique Public Power system.

NeFU President John Hansen said “The last time the ideologically driven Platte Institute came out with a plan to supposedly help rural Nebraska they supported LB405 that repealed all individual and corporate income taxes and made up the lost revenue by adding new regressive sales taxes for health care users, energy users, and production agriculture while increasing property taxes.   Where was their concern about higher energy costs when they publicly supported LB405 that dramatically increased energy costs?”  

Hansen pointed out that Nebraska’s unique public power system provides affordable and reliable electrical service to agricultural, residential, and industrial users.  He said “The idea that costs will go down and the overall quality of service to rural Nebraska will be somehow improved by for profit companies is ridiculous.  The reality is that for profit companies are not interested in incurring the operating costs of transmission and service to rural Nebraska when there are only 2.6 customers per mile for the system.  They forget that before public power was authorized, rural Nebraska was in the dark.”

“In the case of electrical service for irrigation, farmers understand that there are infrastructure costs to rural utilities for gearing up for an irrigated load that often comes at peak use times, is seasonal at best, and when it rains, is not needed at all.  We understand our public power service providers have to recover those systems costs in the rates for the power we do use.  Rural utilities do an excellent job of keeping the costs down by encouraging scheduling for irrigation at night when the loads are less and there is less water lost to evaporation.  It is a good team effort that works to everyone’s advantage,” Hansen said.   

Hansen concluded “Public power provides Nebraskans with the important ability to own and control our own destiny by electing the boards of directors that private sector profit driven companies cannot provide. We own and control it.  If we perceive a problem, we can vote for someone different to represent us on the Board of Directors.  In our state, when our electrical costs go up, we know it is because the cost of providing services went up, not because of price gouging and profit taking.” 


The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship today announced that the order cancelling all live bird exhibitions at county fairs, the Iowa State Fair, livestock auction markets, swap meets, exotic sales and other gatherings of birds due to avian influenza will be lifted on January 1, 2016.

“This is very good news and another sign that we continue to recover from this devastating animal health emergency.  We know the ban on exhibitions caused some real challenges for those anticipating showing or selling birds, but we appreciate everyone cooperating as we worked to stop the disease and then allow the industry to recover,” said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

The Department issued the order prohibiting poultry exhibitions on May 21 in the midst of the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The ban was put into place to minimize spread of HPAI and protect the state’s domestic bird population. Lifting the poultry exhibition ban comes as a result of no new cases of HPAI in Iowa since June and the lifting of the final quarantine on December 1.  Iowa is now considered free of HPAI.

Total of 77 premises and 31.5 million birds were affected with the disease in Iowa. There are 35 commercial turkey flocks, 22 commercial egg production flocks, 13 pullet flocks, 1 chicken breeding flock, 1 mail order hatchery, and 5 backyard flocks.

More information about the avian influenza situation in Iowa can be found at

Iowa Farmers Gain Insight into New Year at local Crop Fairs

Iowa Corn will begin the New Year by offering a series of crop fairs hosted at local venues around the state. These crop fairs feature an array of speakers on topics that will help farmers navigate the progressive agriculture industry and allow learning opportunities to directly interact with local and state experts.

One of the first crop fairs of the season will be held in Burlington, Iowa on January 8, 2016 at the Comfort Inn Suites. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and the program will begin at 9:00 a.m. with lunch provided. The program will conclude around 1 p.m. Attendees are also able to receive their continuing education credits with the Iowa Private Pesticide Applicator Course.

Featured speakers include:
-    Dr. Elwynn Taylor, ISU Extension Climatologist
-    Daren Mueller, ISU Extension Crop Plant Pathologist
-    Chad Hart, Associate Professor of Economics and ISU Extension Grain Market Specialist

“These crop fairs are a great way for growers to gain insight for the New Year on the latest ways to manage their operations. With the evolving agriculture industry it is imperative to stay up-to-date and we invite all of Iowa’s corn farmers to come and attend a crop fair across the state, “said Iowa Corn District Field Manager Alyssa Preston.

Pre-registration is encouraged. Please contact Pamela Moore, Merschman Seeds at or 319-837-6111.  More information is available at

Other crop fairs on the schedule include....
  - Jan. 18, 2016 - Tama Crop Fair
  - Jan. 21, 2016 - Rock Rapids Crop Fair
  - Jan. 26, 2016 - Ames Crop Fair
  - Jan. 26, 2016 - Iowa City Crop Fair
  - Jan. 27, 2016 - Sheldon Crop Fair
  - Jan. 27, 2016 - Fayette Crop Fair

Crop fair sponsors include Merschman Seeds, Inc., Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State Extension and Outreach, and University of Illinois Extension.

New exclusive savings on Cat® Construction Equipment will help Iowa Farm Bureau farmers install and maintain conservation measures on their farm

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) members can now save up to $2,000 on their purchases of Cat agricultural construction equipment, including machines used to construct and maintain soil conservation practices as well as machines to manage livestock feed or manure.

Eligible equipment includes Cat skid steer loaders, compact and multi-terrain loaders, wheel loaders, telehandlers, backhoe loaders, hydraulic excavators and track-type tractors.  A range of incentives from $250 - $2,000 are offered, depending on which equipment a farmer purchases.

“Caterpillar and agriculture have a shared history that goes back more than 100 years.  This new partnership will make it easier for our members to improve productivity and efficiency and that’s all a part of sustainability.  This program is especially well-timed, since skid steer loaders, backhoe loaders and hydraulic excavators can give farmers the opportunity to maintain conservation buffers, grassed waterways, filter strips and terraces on their farms, which slow down storm water as it falls on their fields.  Finding tools to help farmers continue their goals of improving conservation practices on their farm is something that has always been important to us and increasingly important in the future,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.

The Farm Bureau exclusive savings on Cat machines can be combined with any current retail discounts, promotions, rebates or offers through Caterpillar or its dealers.  Members must provide a valid IFBF member verification certificate to the Cat dealer at the time of purchase to get the discount.  Discounts can’t be applied to past purchases.  Certificates may be obtained at

For more information about this Cat benefit, or other savings available exclusively to IFBF members, call (866) 598-3693 or visit or your local Cat dealer. 

Mixed Outlook for 2016 Grain Prices

Corn prices could head higher in 2016 but the outlook for soybeans is less certain, according to a new analysis by Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

Writing in the latest issue of the Purdue Agricultural Economics Report, Hurt forecasts a stronger market for corn after early-season flooding in 2015 damaged some Indiana crops.

"Corn prices are expected to increase in the winter and next spring by at least enough to cover on-farm storage costs," Hurt writes. "Eastern Corn Belt basis levels are expected to remain very strong, especially in Indiana where low yields were dominant in the northern two-thirds of the state."

According to Hurt's projections, cash prices for corn could reach the low-$4 range per bushel in coming months at processing plants and perhaps go as high as $4.40 per bushel in summer.

But soybean prices are likely to remain flat or even decline slightly if, as expected, there is a strong harvest in South America and farmers in the U.S. devote more acreage to soybeans next year. Hurt expects cash prices for soybeans to reach as high as $9.40 this winter at processing plants before falling back in spring and summer.

"Greater soybean acreage in 2016 may keep soybean prices depressed, maybe at levels that are not much different from the 2015 crop," Hurt writes. "Soybean prices are thus expected to stay well below total production costs."

Grain prices could also be held in check by a strong dollar, which makes American products more expensive overseas, he said.

"There are two ways the strong dollar is weakening U.S. grain prices," Hurt writes. "First, a strong dollar means that the currencies of our foreign buyers are weak and have reduced buying power for U.S. farm products. Secondly, the currencies of our export competitors are weak, and this makes their corn, soybeans and wheat more price competitive."

National Farmers Disappointed by Loss of Labeling Law

National Farmers Organization leaders are disappointed by President Obama’s signature on a Congressional federal spending bill that includes the repeal of COOL for cattle and hogs.

“We question whether or not the best interests of consumers are served with this decision,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “Food security is a rising concern of consumers, and they certainly deserve access to more information —not less — about where their food is being sourced.”

The move comes after language to repeal most significant components of COOL were contained as a rider in the 2016 Appropriations Act. The legislation was written after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law warrants $1.01 billion in retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico.

A voluntary version of COOL had support from Democrats and Republicans, but the repeal dashes any hope for meaningful labeling legislation now.

The Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law was passed in 2002, and reworded in 2008, calling for labeling that informs consumers about the country where the product was sourced. It covered muscle cuts of meat and some vegetables, nuts and fruits sold on a retail basis.

National Farmers is a conventional and organic marketing organization for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.

ADM to Build New Ethanol Hub in North Carolina

Archer Daniels Midland Company announced an agreement with Kinder Morgan, Inc. and Bailey Feed Mill to construct a new unit train rail facility and ethanol offloading system in Selma, North Carolina, U.S. KMI will invest in and construct the new facilities, which will be located at the Bailey Feed Mill and will have the ability to offload up to 96 railcar-long unit trains in a 24-hour period.

KMI will also build a new pipeline, approximately 2.6 miles in length, to connect the unit train offload system to their vast tank farm in Selma, allowing ethanol to be distributed to blending terminals in Selma and the surrounding markets, reports

"This project will help us improve the efficiency of our ethanol delivery in this market with added unload capacity, quick-turn time on railcars and a pipeline connection to tankage," said Craig Willis, president of ethanol for ADM. "And by working with KMI and Bailey Feed Mill on this project, we will achieve the benefits in a cost- and capital-efficient manner. ADM has been a long-time supplier in this market, and we are excited to work with KMI and Bailey Feed Mill to bring a more flexible, reliable and efficient solution to customers in the Selma area."

ADM and KMI anticipate having inter-terminal connections in service as early as the third quarter of 2016, with the remainder of the project expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

KMI is an energy infrastructure company in North America. It owns an interest in or operates approximately 84,000 miles of pipelines and 165 terminals.

ChemChina Looking to Buy Syngenta

The Chinese-based chemical company ChemChina says it has ambitions of buying Syngenta. ChemChina has currently increased its takeover offer for Syngenta AG, the biggest Swiss crop science company.

Bloomberg news reports that the company has offered about $472 a share for a 70 percent slice of Syngenta and the option to buy the remainder of the company at a later date, which is an increase of more than $20 a share from the roughly $450 a share ChemChina proposed earlier this year in an offer that was rejected.

Report says that the Chinese government wants to increase the slow growth of grains in China through the buyout effort as a way to develop the genetically modified organisms.

The merger of Syngenta would also help China deal with the shortfall of grain supply, which is increasingly important because China imports more grain from overseas.

It is estimated that China's grain demand will reach near 700 million tonnes with a shortfall of about 100 million tonnes in 2020.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday December 28 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Some things you just can’t plan for – you just need to take advantage of the opportunities when they happen.  Winter field work is one example.

               It may be early winter, but have you thought about what field work you could do before spring?  Since most winters give us at least a few nice days without snow cover, take advantage of them to improve your pastures and hay fields.

               For example, if the ground isn’t frozen, spray your alfalfa for winter annual weeds.  Or maybe dormant seed some warm-season grass.  Maybe you should move bales out of the field before spring rains make it a muddy mess.  A really good practice would be to move cows out onto yucca-infected pastures to winter graze and reduce some of the yucca problem.  Or you could frost seed legumes, spray herbicides to control downy brome or wild oats if they are green, build cross fences, tighten sagging perimeter fences, smooth out gopher mounds, spread phosphorus on alfalfa, or even cut some cedar trees.

               If you are like me, though, you never even think about those tasks this time of year, much less go out and do the work.  And that’s too bad because once spring arrives there will be so many other demands on your time that some of these jobs will be skipped entirely and others probably will be rushed and completed less effectively.

               Winter normally isn’t thought of as a time for field work, but if you’re prepared you can take advantage of breaks in the weather to get a jump on spring activities.

               I’m not trying to make you feel guilty or give you more work to do.  Just a friendly reminder that if weather breaks again, maybe you can take special advantage of it.

Ranching for Profitability Series- Looking to 2016

Gary Stauffer – NE Extension Educator, Holt-Boyd Counties

As beef producers look ahead to 2016, what will the upcoming year bring?  The annual “Ranching for Profitability” series will be held across Nebraska in mid-January to cover timely beef issues.   Nebraska Extension beef specialists and educators will cover a variety of topics that may influence the cowherd.   To find out what topics will be covered at your meeting, check with the local extension contact.

How will the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) affect you?  Dee Griffin, Nebraska Extension Veterinarian, will discuss what VFD and it will affect your operation.  The FDA passed the final ruling of VFD in June 2015 to reduce antibiotic resistant bacteria.   Products deemed “important for human medicine” and used by both animals and humans will be affected.  Veterinarians and producers can still use these products to treat illness, but will not be allowed for growth or to improve feed efficiency in cattle.  Dr. Griffin will also give a beef cattle disease update at the meetings.

Rental rates for pastures continued to climb in 2015, as hay prices fell.  Nebraska Extension Beef Specialist, Rick Rasby, will cover management when “grass is high priced and hay is cheap.”
What is one of your biggest costs in your cowherd?  This silent expense may surprise you- cow depreciation!   Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator, talks about the shocking impact cow depreciation can have on your bottom line.

Economics show that an animal grazing is less expensive to feed, than hauling the feed to the animal.  Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Specialist, will share ways to extend your grazing season into the fall and winter.

While winter brings a freezing halt to livestock pests, now is the time to plan ahead for good control this summer.  Dave Boxler, Nebraska Extension Livestock Entomologist, will discuss control methods for pasture flies on your cattle.

Local beef educators will discuss tips to build your bottom line at each meeting.

Meetings will be held January 12-14, and January 19-20.  Call the local extension office to register for a meal one week prior.   Registration fee- $20.

January 13, 10 am MT, Whitman, Gudmundsen Sandhills Lab,, 308-645-2267 or 1-800-657-2113.
January 14, 10 am CT, Ainsworth, Zion Lutheran Church, 402-387-2213.
January 14, 5 pm CT, O’Neill, Courthouse Annex,, 402-336-2760.
January 19, 10 am CT, Burwell, Burwell Legion, 308- 346-4200.
January 19, 5 pm CT, Broken Bow, Broken Bow Country Club, 308-872-6831.
January 20, 10 am CT, Brady, Brady Community Center, Brady Nebraska,, 308-532-2683.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to hold educational forums

In an effort to provide continuing education to Iowa’s beef producers, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) will hold 3 educational forums in January 2016.

The first event will be held at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar on January 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This cow/calf forum will prepare producers for the upcoming year. The program will offer an overview of sire selection as well as a BQA training. Participants will also have the chance to ask a panel of local veterinarians and nutritionists questions regarding the new Veterinary Feed Directive. The event is free and includes lunch. Contact ICA at 515-296-2266 to RSVP.

On January 19, ICA will partner with the Iowa Beef Center and ISU Extension to offer a Feedlot Forum in Sioux Center at the Terrace View Event Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. This event will focus on defending agriculture, sustainability, competitiveness, antimicrobial usage and profitability. The cost to attend is $25 and $10 for students. Registrations are due Jan. 12 to the ISU Extension and Outreach office in Sioux County.

The third event, another feedlot forum, held in Carroll at the Carrollton Inn on January 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., will offer a market outlook and discussion on the quickly approaching Veterinary Feed Directive. Attendees will have the opportunity to listen to area producers share their environmental compliance stories and learn from state officials the state’s response plan during a Foreign Animal Disease outbreak. The event is free and includes lunch. Contact ICA at 515-296-2266 to RSVP.

ICA will also hold pasture walks and other educational events around the state later this year in order to provide each segment of the cattle industry information on critical topics to them.


One of the Midwest's premier indoor farm events, the TRIUMPH OF AGRICULTURE EXPOSITION will be held March 9-10, 2016 at the CenturyLink Center-Omaha, 10th and Capitol Avenue, just off I-480. The 50th Annual Farm and Ranch Machinery Show will once again be filled with the latest agricultural innovations, equipment and supplies with more than 900 exhibits for farmers, ranchers, and their wives to visit all on one level of over 200,000 square feet in the state-of-the-art CenturyLink Center-Omaha.

"It's an excellent opportunity to see all types of Short-Line farm equipment, new products, labor and time saving ideas all under one roof," says Bob Mancuso, Jr., the Show's Producer. "The Triumph of Ag Expo is the best place for farmers to find answers for what they do control while taking advantage of the new technologies at the Expo - ranging from machinery to new plant varieties that are available." The Farm Show is open 9 AM to 4 PM on Wed and 9 AM to 3 PM on Thurs. Advance free admission tickets can be obtained from Exhibitors, County Extension agents, farm machinery and equipment dealers or at the CenturyLink Center-Omaha door. This is an ideal time for area Farm Operators to find ways to improve productivity and increase profits, before spring field work begins.

Brien McCready from John Deere and A & M Green Power and Show Councilman says he's looking for a great Show at the CenturyLink Center Omaha and says, "The Triumph of Ag Expo is always packed with lots of new improvements and helpful information." At no other time this spring will area Farm Operators be able to see this much farm equipment and technology on display. The Triumph of Ag Expo offers visitors a hands-on experience with continuous demonstrations so those attending will be able to compare and evaluate quickly and conveniently, all under one roof, in one location and on one level with over 4,500 on-site parking available.

Regarded as one of the largest indoor diversified short-line farm machinery shows, Ben Hellbusch, from Busch Equipment of Columbus, Nebraska and Council Board Member said, "The Expo has something for every kind of farm operation," including tillage equipment, planters, monitor and control systems, soil testing equipment, mowers, cattle chutes, augers, fertilizers, various seed hybrids, feeders, tanks and pumps, hay moving and handling equipment, plows, combines, computers and software, tractors, and many more agricultural products and services for today's farmers and ranchers.

Bob Mancuso, Jr., said if you are interested in agriculture and farming, this year’s Expo is the place to be on March 9-10, 2016 . In addition to all of the latest equipment, products, and services - there will be seminars throughout the Show, craft items and displays, antique farm tractors and equipment, and special programs. The Triumph of Ag Expo is a charter member of the North American Farm Show Council – the Top 25 shows in North America!

THE TRIUMPH OF AGRICULTURE EXPOSITION FARM & RANCH MACHINERY SHOW is produced by Mid-America Expositions, Inc. and is sponsored by the Mid-America Farm & Ranch Machinery Council.

NCGA, States Explore Ways to Involve, Expand Grassroots

This winter, the National Corn Growers Association will convene task force of state and national staff to examine ways in which the association can broaden membership and continually improve grassroots communications. The group, assembled at the behest of NCGA's Grower Services Action Team with input from state corn organizations, will report back to GSAT during its annual spring meeting.

"At NCGA, we recognize the incredible importance of both deepening grassroots engagement and broadening the community of those involved in corn farming that we reach," said GSAT Chairwoman Patty Mann, a farmer from Ohio. "We recognize that many modern farms need many people to pitch in, be it by running the combine or keeping the books, in order to be successful. By finding innovative ways to expand our reach and inspire members to action, NCGA is taking a proactive approach to building the strong base we will need for a bright future."

The Membership Task Force, which came about as a result of the most recent GSAT meeting, will explore issues including: extending full membership to farming spouses, expanding communications to interested parties beyond farmer members, potentially expanding membership categories, and identifying the tools necessary to track members' and advocates' preferred contact methods, social media handles and other alternate contact information.

Following the February meeting, GSAT will make recommendations to the Corn Board for consideration. Final discussion on recommended changes and possible further action will be taken during the State and National Staff Meeting held in April of 2016.

Vilsack Announces Cattlemen’s Beef Board Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed 37 members to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.  Thirty-six appointees will serve 3-year terms and one appointee will serve a 1-year term.

Newly appointed members representing cattle producers are:  Mary Jo Rideout, Red Rock, Ariz.; Hugh Sanburg, Eckert, Colo.; Cindy Greiman, Garner, Iowa; Stephanie Dykshorn, Ireton, Iowa; DJ Edwards, Hamilton, Kan.; Randall W. Debler, Alma, Kan.; Amelia Kent, Slaughter, La.; Ken Blight, Albion, Mich.; Theodore Daniel Reichmann, Villard, Minn.; Larry Jefcoat, Soso, Miss.; David B. Hutsell, Hartville, Mo.; Joan Ruskamp, Dodge, Neb.; Kristy Lage, Sutherland, Neb.; Bill King, Moriarty, N.M.; Robert Crabb, Jr., Siler City, N.C.; Brett Morris, Ninnekah, Okla.; Eric J. Sumption, Frederick, S.D.; Tammy Basel, Union Center, S.D.; Larry Cunningham, Spring City, Tenn.; Charlie Price, Oakwood, Texas; Charlie Risinger, Terrell, Texas; Dave Edmiston, Brady, Texas; Don Smith, Sulphur Springs, Texas; Wallace J. Schulthess,Woodruff, Utah; Keith York, Lake Geneva, Wis.; Bob Mitchell, Wauzeka, Wis.; Irvin J. Petsch, Meriden, Wyo.; Jack Parent, Swanton, Vt.; William L. McLean (1-year term), Coulee City, Wash.; C.W. Senn, Jr., York, S.C.; Melvin Medeiros, Laton, Calif.; Ruby L. Uhart, Wells, Nev.; and Rocky Pinheiro, Glenn, Calif.

Newly appointed members representing importers are Danielle Rind, Seattle, Wash.; Terry Meikle, Washington, D.C.; and Tom Healey, Minneapolis, Minn.

The 100-member board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. The Secretary selects the appointees nominated by beef, veal, dairy, and importers-certified organizations.  The board contracts with established national, non-profit, industry-governed organizations to implement programs of promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, and producer communications.

FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration Begins

FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration BeginsIt’s here! The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry is now live and ready for UAS owners to use at

Registration is free for the first 30 days with a rebate, then $5 after that.

During the registration process, each owner must provide his or her name, home address and e-mail address. When registration is complete, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership including a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

All aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms), including payloads such as on-board cameras, must be registered.

Under this rule, owners who previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system. Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

The FAA also reminds unmanned aircraft owners there's no need to work with a “drone registration” company to help file an application for a registration number. The Registration site is designed to be simple and easy to use for every hobbyist.

The FAA has partnered with several industry associations to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Remember these rules when you fly:
• Fly below 400 feet altitude.
• Keep your unmanned aircraft in sight at all times.
• Never fly near manned aircraft, especially near airports.
• Never fly over groups of people, stadiums or sporting events.
• Never fly near emergency response efforts.

If assistance is needed with registration, email phone support is available  from 7am to 5pm Eastern, seven days a week. Phone assistance is available at 844-244-3565.

Hogs and Pigs Report Shares Some Insight

David P. Anderson, Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

USDA's Hogs and Pigs report was released on December 23rd.  In the Cattle Markets is normally devoted to cattle market analysis, but this report holds some important information on competing meats for the coming year.  While the number of all hogs and pigs and the breeding herd were up 1 percent over last year all of the increase was in market hogs over 120 pounds.  Four percent fewer sows were farrowed in the quarter, but the growth in pigs per litter left the pig crop down just over 1 percent.  The number of pigs per litter continued to grow, up 3 percent, to a record 10.53 pigs per litter.  That growth rate continued the strong growth in pigs per litter following the recovery from PEDv.  Projected sows farrowing over the next 6 months were projected to be lower than the year before.  If these projections turn out then the expectation will be for hog slaughter to be close to the record high of 2008.  Low hog prices are contributing to farrow-finish financial losses that may change farrowing expectations in the future.

There are many styles of BBQ in Texas, but many nationally would think of beef brisket being the most well known Texas style.  Brisket prices have come down dramatically along with cattle and beef prices.  Choice brisket (120A) finished the year at $3.89 per pound.  That is down from the end of 2014's $5.71 per pound.  At the end of 2013 the same cut was $3.77 per pound.  Lower prices have brought some relief to restaurant's input costs and may promise some relief to bbq lovers in the coming year.

Steer dressed weights continue to decline, under 910 pounds by late in the year.  The major winter storm in the Southern Plains over the weekend of December 26th-27th may further cut into weights and pull back beef production.  The snow, rain, high winds, and cold will generate a number of management challenges throughout the Southern Plains.

Cropp Expects Lower Milk Prices Through Early 2016

The past year has not been a profitable one for most dairy producers. And according to University of Wisconsin-Extension expert Bob Cropp, that trend may not change anytime soon. In his latest Dairy Situation and Outlook report, Cropp says the continuous rise in total U.S. milk production means that supplies are still exceeding demand--despite the fact that holiday orders for dairy products were strong in recent weeks.

"Good cheese and butter sales have held prices in early December... but orders for strong holiday sales have been filled so orders for additional product is now much lower," Cropp noted.

However, he says there is a silver lining as the momentum behind increased milk production is slowing down. Cropp stated that eight of the 23 reporting states showed a decrease in output in 2015; and the overall percent-increase in production for the year was lower than in 2014.

"The biggest relative increase in milk production was South Dakota at 13.1-percent, followed by Wisconsin at 4.3-percent," he said. "But, the combined increase of South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota of 142 million pounds did not offset the big decrease in California."

The professor emeritus says he is hopeful that cheese prices have bottomed out and could show some strength over the next month or two. But he predicts that butter prices will likely decline going into the new year.

"With these lower dairy product prices the December Class III price will be about $14.50 compared to $15.31 in November," he said. "The Class IV price will be about $15.79 compared to $16.48 in November. But, unless prices do rally, which is not likely over the next couple of months, we could see the Class III price in the low $13s during the first quarter of next year and the Class IV price below $13.00."

Cropp says low milk prices mean that cow slaughter will be higher than a year ago and with increases in milk per cow reduced, production may show little or no increase over a year ago for the first half of next year.

Chinese Ethanol Exports Reach a New Record

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a significant jump in ethanol exports to China this year, following a USDA-led trade mission to the country last year. Representatives from nine state departments of agriculture and 28 U.S. companies, including renewable fuels businesses, traveled to northeast China to explore opportunities for trade in the region.

China is the largest market for U.S. food and farm products - U.S. agricultural exports to the country tripled over the last decade, now accounting for nearly 20 percent of all foreign sales of U.S. agricultural products.

"Our objective for every trade mission is to create new markets for farm products made in rural America," said USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, who led the mission. "U.S. ethanol exports to China have jumped from $8 million to more than $86 million since our May 2014 visit. In October, we exported more ethanol to China than in the previous 10 years combined."

Scuse led the delegation to promote U.S. agriculture, and explore the role that renewable fuels might play in China's long-term clean energy strategy. The delegation met with gasoline companies, fuel blenders, oil companies, commodity traders, and government officials to promote the benefits of using higher ethanol blends.

During October, the U.S. exported 32.5 million gallons of ethanol to China, valued at $57 million, or 46 percent of total U.S. ethanol exports for the month. Previous U.S. exports of ethanol to China averaged less than $3 million annually from 2005 to 2014.

Earlier this year, USDA partnered with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide, expanding the ethanol refueling infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps, a $210 million investment that will give consumers access to clean, American-made biofuels, and provide more choices at the pump.

Chipolte Sued Over GMO-Free Claims

A Florida resident is suing a chain restaurant over claims it uses genetically modified organisms in certain products that it claims to be GMO-free. Claudy Joseph Jr., individually and for all others similarly situated, filed a class-action lawsuit Dec. 11 in the Fort Lauderdale Division of the Southern District of Florida against Chipotle Mexican Grill, alleging negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, violations of the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act and false, deceptive, unfair and unlawful business practices in violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

On April 27, as part of its "GM-OVER IT" campaign, Chipotle announced that it ended its use of ingredients derived from GMOs, reports Legal

The plaintiff alleges, however, that Chipotle's corn chips, corn tortillas, and other corn products do in fact contain GMO corn.

Joseph and others in the class seek damages, equitable and declaratory relief, restitution, and attorney fees and costs.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wednesday December 23 Hogs & Pigs Report + Ag News


Nebraska inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2015, was 3.3 million head, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was up 3 percent from December 1, 2014, and up 3 percent from September 1, 2015.

Breeding hog inventory, at 420,000 head, was up 5 percent from December 1, 2014, and up 2 percent from last quarter. Market hog inventory, at 2.88 million head, was up 3 percent from last year, and up 3 percent from last quarter.

The September - November 2015 Nebraska pig crop, at 1.95 million head, was down 1 percent from 2014. Sows farrowed during the period totaled 175,000 head, down 3 percent from last year. The average pigs saved per litter was a record 11.15 for the September - November period, compared to 11.00 last year.

Nebraska hog producers intend to farrow 170,000 sows during the December 2015 – February 2016 quarter, unchanged from the actual farrowings during the same period a year ago. Intended farrowings for March – May 2016 are 170,00


On December 1, 2015, there were 20.8 million hogs and pigs on Iowa farms, according to the latest USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Hogs and Pigs report. The December 1 inventory was down 2 percent from September and down 2 percent from last December’s 21.3 million head.

The September-November quarterly pig crop was 5.61 million head, up 4 percent from the previous quarter and 3 percent above 2014. A total of 510,000 sows farrowed during this quarter. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.00 for the September-November quarter, a record high.

As of December 1, producers planned to farrow 500,000 head of sows and gilts in the December 2015-February 2016 quarter and 495,000 head during the March-May 2016 quarter.

United States Hog Inventory Up 1 Percent

United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1, 2015 was 68.3 million head. This was up 1 percent from December 1, 2014, and up slightly from September 1, 2015. This is the highest inventory of all hogs and pigs since quarterly United States estimates began in 1988.

Breeding inventory, at 6.00 million head, was up 1 percent from last year, and up slightly from the previous quarter.

Market hog inventory, at 62.3 million head, was up 1 percent from last year, and up slightly from last quarter. This is the highest market hog inventory since quarterly United States estimates began in 1988.

The September-November 2015 pig crop, at 30.3 million head, was down 1 percent from 2014. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.88 million head, down 4 percent from 2014. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 48 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 10.53 for the September-November period, compared to 10.23 last year. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 8.20 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 10.60 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

United States hog producers intend to have 2.84 million sows farrow during the December-February 2016 quarter, down 2 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2015, but up 3 percent from 2014. Intended farrowings for March-May 2016, at 2.85 million sows, are down slightly from 2015, but up 1 percent from 2014.

The total number of hogs under contract owned by operations with over 5,000 head, but raised by contractees, accounted for 46 percent of the total United States hog inventory, unchanged from last year.

USDA:  Commercial Red Meat Production Up 7 Percent From Last Year

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.03 billion pounds in November, up 7 percent from the 3.76 billion pounds produced in November 2014.

Beef production, at 1.93 billion pounds, was 5 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.29 million head, up 2 percent from November 2014. The average live weight was up 30 pounds from the previous year, at 1,393 pounds.

Veal production totaled 7.1 million pounds, 9 percent above November a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 38,800 head, up 8 percent from November 2014. The average live weight was up 4 pounds from last year, at 310 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.08 billion pounds, up 10 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.76 million head, up 11 percent from November 2014. The average live weight was down 1 pound from the previous year, at 285 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.8 million pounds, was up 3 percent from November 2014. Sheep slaughter totaled 181,100 head, 5 percent above last year. The average live wight was 130 pounds, down 3 pounds from November a year ago.

Red Meat Production by State in Nov 2015

                                     (1,000 lbs - % of Nov '14) 

Nebraska ..............:         653.4     -       110      
Iowa .....................:         577.6     -       105      
Kansas ..................:        391.0     -       104      

January to November 2015 commercial red meat production was 44.1 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2014. Accumulated beef production was down 3 percent from last year, veal was down 13 percent, pork was up 8 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 4 percent.


Nebraska Cover Crops: What, Where, and How

Earlier this year 258 Nebraska farmers responded to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln survey, sharing information and insights on their current management practices and the use of cover crops in Nebraska cropping systems. Farmers attending the 2015 Pesticide Safety Education Program Courses, Crop Production Clinics, and the Nebraska No-till Conferences were invited to take the survey.

The results of the survey showed:
-    Of the participating farmers, 34% planted cover crops during the previous cropping season.
-    The top ranked barrier to cover crop use was time and labor required to manage cover crops. This was followed closely by cover crop seed cost.
-    Despite being a small proportion of the acres managed, corn silage and hybrid seed corn acres made up slightly over one-third of the cover crop acres.
-    Brassicas and winter cereal grains were the most commonly planted cover crops.
-    Of the farmers who planted cover crops, 49% grazed some portion of their cover crop acres.

For more information on the survey results, please see the Cover Crop Survey of Nebraska Farmers Summary...

Also watch for more information and a follow-up cover crop survey at Nebraska Extension meetings this winter, including the Crop Production Clinics.

CVA Coop Makes Investment for Kansas Member-Owners

Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) has purchased a percentage of the Concordia Grain Terminal in Concordia, Kansas and will be joining AgMark Grain Marketing LLC. Concordia Terminal LLC partners are Cloud County Coop of Concordia Kansas, Farmway Coop of Beloit Kansas and Randall Farmers Union Coop of Randall Kansas. AgMark LLC partners are Farmway Coop, Cloud County Coop, Randall Farmers Union Coop and Pro-Ag Marketing.

“We believe this opportunity further demonstrates how local cooperatives can work together to add value for their members,” said Carl Dickinson, CEO of CVA. “We feel that joining other cooperatives is a much better answer than building duplicate assets.

The Concordia Grain Terminal is located on Highway 81 and Highway 9 in Concordia, Kansas this will provide the long needed rail access to provide member-owners with speed, space and access to the rail markets for years to come. Member-owners near CVA locations in Narka, Haddam, Washington, Greenleaf, Norway, Agenda, Linn, Barnes, Clyde and Clifton Kansas will benefit from this investment.

PorkBridge and SowBridge Program Registrations Now Open

Registrations for two valuable distance education programs for specific segments of the pork industry are now open through Iowa State University. SowBridge, for people who work with boars, sows and their litters, begins its eighth year, and PorkBridge, for those affiliated with grow-finish facilities, begins its 10th year, both in February 2016.

Iowa State animal science professor and extension swine specialist Ken Stalder said comments and suggestions from subscribers help maintain the value of both programs for future participants.

“These programs provide our subscribers with the opportunity to hear directly from experts on topics of current interest, and to contact those experts following the individual sessions,“ Stalder said. “We are also pleased to announce the registration fee has not changed for either program.”

Both program registration fees provide access to one phone line per session and all program materials for each registration, Stalder said. Program costs are slightly different for those with non-U.S. mailing addresses, and potential subscribers from outside the U.S. are encouraged to contact Sherry Hoyer at Iowa Pork Industry Center by phone at 515-294-4496 or email for more information. Iowa residents who want more information on either program can call IPIC at 800-808-7675.

Before each session, subscribers will receive an email message with links to download the materials for that session. Most participants will call a toll-free conference line to listen to and interact with presenters, and the audio portions of all sessions for both programs are recorded. Links to download those recordings are sent to all subscribers of the respective program after each session.

Registrations for both programs are due Jan. 10, 2016, to ensure participants receive materials in time for the first session of each program.

Registration is $250 for the 12-session program year. Sessions are approximately 45 minutes long, and are on the first Wednesday of each month beginning at 11:30 a.m. Central Time. See the program brochure with registration panel.

Registration is $125 for six sessions delivered on an every-other-month basis. These sessions are approximately 90 minutes long, and begin at noon Central time on the first Thursday of the specified months. See the program brochure with registration panel.

SowBridge and PorkBridge are sponsored by a group of 11 state universities – including Iowa State – from the major swine producing states.

Feedlot Forum 2016 to Focus on Pressing Issues

Feedlot Forum 2016 is an annual event but very little in the cattle industry seems to be annual or "regular" these days, according to Beth Doran, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

"The 2016 forum features a few of the latest pressures feedlot producers are facing," Doran said. "Defending agriculture, sustainability, competitiveness, drug usage and profitability are real issues challenging today's beef producers."

Feedlot Forum 2016 is set for Jan. 19 at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The program features more than 20 trade show exhibitors and includes presentations by industry experts.

-- Gary Sides, technical services nutritionist for Zoetis, speaks on "Modern Ag in a Facebook Culture"

-- Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, executive director of global sustainability for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, asks, "Is Beef Production Sustainable?"

-- Lee Schulz, extension livestock market economist with Iowa State University, talks about the status of the Iowa feedlot industry

-- Dr. Mike Apley with production medicine/clinical pharmacology at Kansas State University, speaks on implementing the veterinary feed directive

-- Carl Babler, senior hedge specialist with Atten Babler Commodities, reports "Feeding Cattle in a Global Market: Situation and Outlook"

-- Steve Rehder and Kent Pruismann, board members with the Iowa Beef Industry Council, talk about why we need the Beef Checkoff

-- District 1 Director Craig Moss with Iowa Cattlemen's Association gives the District One ICA update

Registration is $25 per person with student registration $10 per person. Registrations are due Jan. 12 to the ISU Extension and Outreach Office in Sioux County. For more information, contact Beth Doran at 712-737-4230 or email

Iowa Counties Sign Up to Evaluate Animal Confinement Sites

Counties interested in evaluating proposed animal feeding facilities must adopt and submit a construction evaluation resolution to the DNR between Jan. 1 and 31.

About 87 counties pass a resolution each year, which allows them to review construction permit applications required for larger totally roofed animal feeding operations (confinements).

The Master Matrix development, submittal and approval process allows applicants and county supervisors to discuss options for site selection, facility type and management.

"County supervisors review the master matrix items selected by the applicant and determine if a passing score for the matrix has been achieved. The county then submits a recommendation to the DNR on the permit application," said Ken Hessenius, the DNR's animal feeding operations enforcement coordinator.

Producers in counties that file the resolutions must meet higher standards than permitted sites in other counties. They must earn points on a master matrix by choosing a site and using practices that reduce effects on the environment and the community.

Counties that participate in the master matrix process may accompany the DNR on site visits to proposed locations. The county board of supervisors may also appeal the DNR's preliminary approval of a permit to the Environmental Protection Commission.

County boards of supervisors may approve the resolutions at any time, but must mail resolutions between Jan. 1 and 31, 2016, to Jerah Sheets at the DNR, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, email to or fax to 515-725-8202. Sign-ups in January apply to permit applications received in the following February through January of 2017.

For historical information on counties that adopted resolutions, check the DNR website at and search for master matrix.

Additional information is available from the Iowa State Association of Counties at

NEW Coop Annual Meeting Highlights Successful Year

The 43rd Annual Meeting of NEW Cooperative Inc. was held Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at the Webster County Fairgrounds. More than 350 members turned out for the dinner event.

General Manager, Dan Dix and Board President, Brian Wagner highlighted another impressive fiscal year, with an emphasis on the increase in both Local Net Savings and Capital Asset additions over the past 5 years.

Dean Lemke, Director of the Nutrient Management and Environmental Stewardship for the Agribusiness Association of Iowa was the guest speaker of the night. Lemke covered water quality issues and gave some insight to the members specifically on the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit.

The 2015-16 NEW Cooperative Scholarship Recipients were recognized and awarded their scholarship certificates.  This year’s recipients were Matt Aden, Jacob Clark, Taylor Hintch, Brett Holtorf, Jacob Lauver, Tristan Seil and Celeste Swanson.

Voting ballots were collected and counted, and the results of the 2016 Board of Director Elections were determined.  Roger Nelson, Troy Melohn and Roger Coon were re-elected to each serve another 3 year team on the board.

Iowa Corn Hosts Discussion Talking Soil Health with Secretary Northey

As farmers, we believe in being stewards of the land and water for our families, our communities and the next generation. Iowa Corn Promotion Board continues to take the lead in helping farmers find sustainable and doable science-based solutions to conservation and water quality issues. As part of this effort, Iowa Corn announced today it will hold a farmer-to-farmer roundtable discussion on Friday, January 15 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Fisher Theater, Iowa State University in Ames.

Invited to moderate the discussion is Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Three Iowa farmers will share their conservation practices. Northey will lead the panel in discussions on investing in technologies and practices to improve soil and water quality.  Participants will include:
 ·    Jerry Mohr, East-central Iowa Farmer
 ·    Jolene Riessen: Northwest Iowa Farmer
 ·    Steve Berger: Southeast Iowa Farmer

As Chairman of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Jerry Mohr understands the importance of using conservation practices, like incorporating cover crops, as a means of implementing the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. “The way I look at it is, when dirt moves, part of me moves,” said Mohr. “We need to preserve the top soil so we can grow productive crops today and for the next generations. The more we can convene as farmers in adopting changes, the further we will be in having a long-term positive impact.”

To participate, go to for information on attending in-person or watching the discussion via livestream.

Iowa Corn key water quality initiatives include:
 ·    Engaging in unique initiatives like the Soil Health Partnership which employ real-world, farmer-to-farmer education and encourage adoption of practices to support soil and water quality.
 ·    Working with the Iowa Ag Water Alliance to unify agriculture’s water quality efforts.
 ·    Proactively communicating the positive steps farmers are taking to implement these practices on their farms.

EIA Shows Ethanol Stock Build

U.S. Energy Information Administration reported domestic ethanol inventories increased by 100,000 barrels (bbl) to 20.4 million bbl in the week-ended Dec. 18, pushing the year-over-year surplus up 2.8 million bbl, or 15.7%.

The report showed domestic ethanol production decreased last week by 27,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 2.7%, to 973,000 bpd while down 2.0% year-on-year.

No ethanol imports were reported for the week-ended Dec. 18 after 32,000 bpd of ethanol imports were received by the United States a week earlier.

Blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, declined 10,000 bpd, or 1.1%, to 880,000 bpd while unchanged from a year earlier.

USDA Trade Mission Spurs Record Ethanol Exports to China

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced a significant jump in ethanol exports to China this year, following a USDA-led trade mission to the country last year. Representatives from nine state departments of agriculture and 28 U.S. companies, including renewable fuels businesses, traveled to northeast China to explore opportunities for trade in the region.

China is the largest market for U.S. food and farm products – U.S. agricultural exports to the country tripled over the last decade, now accounting for nearly 20 percent of all foreign sales of U.S. agricultural products.

“Our objective for every trade mission is to create new markets for farm products made in rural America,” said USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, who led the mission. “U.S. ethanol exports to China have jumped from $8 million to more than $86 million since our May 2014 visit. In October, we exported more ethanol to China than in the previous 10 years combined.”

Scuse led the delegation to promote U.S. agriculture, and explore the role that renewable fuels might play in China’s long-term clean energy strategy. The delegation met with gasoline companies, fuel blenders, oil companies, commodity traders, and government officials to promote the benefits of using higher ethanol blends. During October, the U.S. exported 32.5 million gallons of ethanol to China, valued at $57 million, or 46 percent of total U.S. ethanol exports for the month. Previous U.S. exports of ethanol to China averaged less than $3 million annually from 2005 to 2014.

Earlier this year, USDA partnered with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide, expanding the ethanol refueling infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps, a $210 million investment that will give consumers access to clean, American-made biofuels, and provide more choices at the pump.

“These are the kind of initiatives that strengthen our rural communities, and open new doors and help our farmers and ranchers capitalize on the tremendous export potential for American agricultural products,” said Scuse.

The past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $911.3 billion between Fiscal Years 2009 and 2015. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide. Not only that, U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the estimated 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across our country. Record agricultural productivity and exports are one example of how USDA has helped to bring transformative change to Americans living, working and raising families in rural America.

Independent Research Documents Yield Increases From Application of NutriSphere-N Through Irrigation Systems

After three years of trials in Yuma, Colorado, the Irrigation Research Foundation (IRF) has concluded application of NutriSphere-N® Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager through center-pivot irrigation systems provides a measurable yield increase of more than 10 Bu./A* on irrigated corn.

According to Charles Corey, executive director of the IRF, the use of NutriSphere-N helped keep more applied nitrogen available for plant uptake, regardless of field and moisture conditions. Untreated corn, Corey says, suffered considerably more under varying conditions - such as excessive rainfall, low water application, both hot and cool temperatures and other environmental stresses - throughout the three years of research trials.

“Looking at the outcome of these trials in comparison to the corn not treated with NutriSphere-N, we saw upwards of a 10 to 12* – in some cases 15* – Bu./A yield advantage where NutriSphere-N was applied, “ Corey says. “The improved plant performance and yield increases were pretty amazing to us.”

The field research trial showed:
·         In 2014, corn treated with 150 gallons per acre of UAN and NutriSphere-N produced 15 more Bu./A* than did 150 gallons of UAN applied without NutriSphere-N: 218.5 Bu./A* compared to 203.5 Bu./A, respectively.

·         The same research trial comparison in 2013 yielded 203.5 Bu./A* for the corn treated with the product versus 186.8 Bu./A for the untreated corn.

·         In 2012, the yield differential from application of 175 gallons per acre of UAN with and without NutriSphere-N was 237.7 Bu./A* and 225 Bu./A, respectively.

“This will be our fifth year doing trial work with the NutriSphere-N, and over the years we’ve seen quite a bit of variation in weather conditions and the amount of rainfall received, “ Corey explains. “This year, we had our entire annual rainfall in just two days, so it was a real nitrogen-management challenge given the degree of potential leaching and ideal environment for nitrogen loss.”

NutriSphere-N, a product from Verdesian Life Sciences, uses a patented polymer technology to keep more nitrogen available for plant uptake by slowing the conversion of nitrogen into forms which can be lost through volatilization, leaching and denitrification. Use of the product with applied nitrogen provides long-lasting protection of nitrogen for up to 10 to 12 months, according to Verdesian.