Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday January 29 Ag News


All cattle and calves in Nebraska as of January 1, 2016 totaled 6.45 million head, up 3 percent from January 1, 2015, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

All cows and heifers that had calved totaled 1.91 million head, up 6 percent from last year.
Beef cows totaled 1.85 million head, up 5 percent from last year.

Milk cows totaled 58,000 head, up 7 percent from January 1, 2015.

All heifers 500 pounds and over totaled 1.79 million head, up 4 percent from last year.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.34 million head, up slightly from last year.

Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 95,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Calves under 500 pounds totaled 315,000 head, up 7 percent from January 1, 2015.

All cattle on feed fed for slaughter in Nebraska feedlots totaled 2.52 million head, down slightly from the previous year.

The 2015 calf crop totaled 1.66 million head, up 5 percent from 2014.

Iowa Cattle Inventory Report

All cattle and calves in Iowa as of January 1, 2016, totaled 3.95 million head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle report. This was up 100,000 head from January 1, 2015. Beef cows, at 940,000 head, were 4 percent above last year. Milk cow inventory remained the same at 210,000 head.

All heifers 500 pounds and over were down 2 percent to 920,000 head. Heifers for beef cow replacement were up 6 percent from 2015 to 190,000 head; heifers for milk cow replacement, at 120,000 head, were down 8 percent from the previous year; and all other heifers were down 3 percent to 610,000 head.

Steers weighing 500 pounds and over were up 2 percent from last year at 1.32 million head. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over were unchanged from a year ago at 60,000 head. Calves under 500 pounds on January 1, 2016, totaled 500,000 head, up 11 percent from last year’s historical low of 450,000.

The 2015 calf crop was estimated at 1.06 million head, up 2 percent from the 2014 calf crop. Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all feedlots on January 1, 2015, totaled 1.23 million head, up 1 percent from one year ago.

January 1 Cattle Inventory Up 3 Percent

All cattle and calves in the United States as of January 1, 2016 totaled 92.0 million head. This is 3 percent above the 89.1 million head on January 1, 2015.

All cows and heifers that have calved, at 39.6 million head, are 3 percent above the 38.6 million head on January 1, 2015. Beef cows, at 30.3 million head, are up 4 percent from a year ago. Milk cows, at 9.32 million head, are up slightly from the previous year.

All heifers 500 pounds and over as of January 1, 2016 totaled 19.8 million head. This is 3 percent above the 19.3 million head on January 1, 2015. Beef replacement heifers, at 6.29 million head, are up 3 percent from a year ago. Milk replacement heifers, at 4.82 million head, are up 2 percent from the previous year. Other heifers, at 8.71 million head, are 3 percent above a year earlier.

All Calves under 500 pounds in the United States as of January 1, 2016 totaled 14.1 million head. This is 4 percent above the 13.5 million head on January 1, 2015. Steers weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 16.3 million head, up 4 percent from one year ago. Bulls weighing 500 pounds and over totaled 2.14 million head, up 2 percent from the previous year.

Calf Crop Up 2 Percent

The 2015 calf crop in the United States was estimated at 34.3 million head, up 2 percent from last year's calf crop. Calves born during the first half of 2015 were estimated at 24.8 million head. This is up 2 percent from the first half of 2014. The calves born during the second half of 2015 were estimated at 9.50 million head, 28 percent of the total 2015 calf crop.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for all feedlots totaled 13.2 million head on January 1, 2016. The inventory is up 1 percent from the January 1, 2015 total of 13.0 million head. Cattle on feed, in feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head, accounted for 80.2 percent of the total cattle on feed on January 1, 2016. This is down 1 percent from the previous year. The combined total of calves under 500 pounds and other heifers and steers over 500 pounds (outside of feedlots) is 25.9 million head. This is 5 percent above one year ago. 


All sheep and lamb inventory in Nebraska on January 1, 2016 totaled 80,000 head, down 1,000 head from last year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Breeding sheep inventory totaled 67,000 head, unchanged from last year. Ewes one year and older totaled 55,000 head, unchanged from the previous year. Rams one year and older remained unchanged from last year’s 3,000 head. Total replacement lambs was 9,000 head, unchanged from last year.

Market sheep and lambs totaled 13,000 head, down 1,000 head from last year. A total of 1,000 head were mature sheep (one year and older) while the remaining 12,000 were under one year. Market lamb weight groups were estimated as follows: 2,500 lambs were under 65 pounds; 1,800 were 65-84 pounds; 3,000 were 85-105 pounds; 4,700 were over 105 pounds.

The 2015 lamb crop totaled 71,000 head, down from 73,000 in 2014. The 2015 lambing rate was 129 per 100 ewes one year and older, compared with 135 per 100 ewes in 2014.

Shorn wool production during 2015 was 460,000 pounds, up 15,000 pounds from last year. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 63,000 head, up 1,000 head from 2014. The average price paid for wool sold in 2015 was $0.90 per pound, compared with $1.06 in 2014. The total value of wool produced in Nebraska was $414,000 in 2015.

Milk goat inventory in Nebraska totaled 3,200 head on January 1, 2016, down 500 head from last year.

Iowa Sheep & Goat Inventory Report

All sheep and lambs inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2016, totaled 175,000 head according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. The sheep and lambs inventory remained unchanged from last year. Total breeding stock, at 125,000 head, was equal to one year ago. Market sheep and lambs equaled last year’s total at 50,000 head. The lamb crop for 2015 decreased 3 percent to 145,000 head. Wool production for the State was 900,000 pounds, with fleece weights averaging 5.5 pounds.

Milk goat inventory in Iowa as of January 1, 2016 was 33,000 head, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Sheep and Goats report. Iowa ranked third in total milk goats. The inventory was up 6 percent from January 2015. Total meat and other goat inventory was 25,000 head, a decrease of 2 percent from the previous year.

Total Sheep and Lamb Inventory Up 1 Percent

All sheep and lamb inventory in the United States on January 1, 2016 totaled 5.32 million head, up 1 percent from 2015. Breeding sheep inventory at 3.97 million head on January 1, 2016, increased 1 percent from 3.94 million head on January 1, 2015. Ewes one year old and older, at 3.13 million head, were slightly above last year. Market sheep and lambs on January 1, 2016 totaled 1.36 million head, up 1 percent from January 1, 2015. Market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining 6 percent of total market inventory.

The 2015 lamb crop of 3.44 million head was unchanged from 2014. The 2015 lambing rate was 111 lambs per 100 ewes one year old and older on January 1, 2015, also unchanged from 2014.

Shorn wool production in the United States during 2015 was 27.1 million pounds, up 1 percent from 2014. Sheep and lambs shorn totaled 3.68 million head, unchanged from 2014. The average price paid for wool sold in 2015 was $1.45 per pound for a total value of 39.3 million dollars, up 1 percent from 38.9 million dollars in 2014.

Sheep death loss during 2015 totaled 230 thousand head, up 5 percent from 2014. Lamb death loss increased 3 percent from 365 thousand head to 375 thousand head in 2015.

Total Goat and Kid Inventory Down 1 Percent

All goat inventory in the United States on January 1, 2016 totaled 2.62 million head, down 1 percent from 2015. Breeding goat inventory totaled 2.16 million head, down 1 percent from 2015. Does one year old and older, at 1.61 million head, were 2 percent below last year's number. Market goats and
kids totaled 459 thousand head, down 1 percent from a year ago.

Kid crop for 2015 totaled 1.68 million head for all goats, down 2 percent from 2014.

Meat and all other goats totaled 2.10 million head on January 1, 2016, down 1 percent from 2015. Milk goat inventory was 375 thousand head, up 3 percent from January 1, 2015, while Angora goats were down 6 percent, totaling 150 thousand head.

Mohair production in the United States during 2015 was 765 thousand pounds. Goats and kids clipped totaled 139 thousand head. Average weight per clip was 5.5 pounds. Mohair price was $5.30 per pound with a value of 4.05 million dollars.

Nebraska Dairy Convention Postponed

Rod Johnson, Executive Director, Nebraska State Dairy Association

The Nebraska State Dairy Convention Scheduled for February 2nd  at the Ramada Inn in Columbus, has been postponed until February 18th.   We will have the same schedule and agenda at that time.

We have made the decision to postpone after watching the forecast for the last couple days, and they seem pretty convinced that we will get hit with major snow and wind.   We do not expect people to be out on the road in the projected conditions, and our farmers need to be caring for their animals.

NeFB's Ag Edge Conference Focuses on Farm Technology, Ag Markets, Policy Issues and More

Nebraska farmers and ranchers can’t control the weather, but there are areas where decision making can dramatically affect their operation’s profitability in 2016 and beyond. The Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation’s 2016 Ag Edge Conference will bring both local and national experts to the Embassy Suites in Lincoln, Feb. 8-9, to “give farmers and ranchers a competitive edge today for success tomorrow,” according to Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

“Managing risk in agriculture operations is key to protecting the bottom line for farmers and ranchers. The weather, global markets, new technologies and politics all impact agriculture and volatility in the marketplace. The focus of this conference is to give attendees information and tools to help manage these issues,” said Nelson.

National speakers headlining the conference include Dr. Matt Roberts, a commodity broker turned professor at Ohio State University. His talk entitled “The Six Hats of a Farmer,” will focus on the six businesses that comprise a modern grain farm: agronomist, grain elevator, custom machinery operator, land speculator, futures speculator and capital allocator.

“It is important for farmers to focus on the changes they can make to their business to help ensure that their farm is successful in the 21st century,” Nelson said.

Nebraska farmers are also facing many decisions related to drone use, water and managing farm and ranch finances; this conference will address these topics. The Ag Edge conference will also feature local experts like Nebraska state climatologist, Al Dutcher from the University of Nebraska, who will talk about weather patterns during the 2016 growing season. Dr. Suat Irmak, who will talk about the Ag Water Management Network through the University of Nebraska, and two more from Natural Resources Districts will share activities related to integrated ground and surface water management. In addition, conference attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation staff on key state and national legislative and regulatory initiatives in the new session of the state Legislature and in Congress.

“This conference is targeted to farmers and ranchers, but anyone involved in any facet of Nebraska agriculture will find value from attending,” said Nelson.

The Ag Edge Conference registration is $100 per person for both days for Farm Bureau members, which includes a special members-only reception with Nebraska’s elected officials. For non-members the two-day conference registration is $130 per person. For more information or to register for the conference visit or contact Whittney Kelley at 402-421-4760 or via email at


Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach is encouraging representatives of Nebraska agricultural companies to consider participating in an upcoming U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) trade mission to Peru and Chile. The event is set for March 14-18, 2016, and those interested in participating must apply by Friday, Feb. 5.

The trade mission is being led by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“U.S. exports to Peru and Chile have increased dramatically in the past decade and a half. This is a great opportunity for food and agriculture businesses in Nebraska to explore a growing marketplace,” said Ibach. “Increasing the state’s ag exports is part of Governor Ricketts’ initiative to grow Nebraska.”

USDA is screening participants for the trade mission, and those interested in attending must submit an application by Feb. 5, 2016. The form, along with further details of the trip, can be found at

NDA International Trade Representative Stan Garbacz is available to discuss the trade mission and potential opportunities in Chile and Peru. He can be reached at (402) 471-2341 or

According to USDA, export opportunities have grown in Chile and Peru due to free trade agreements the United States signed with each country in the past 12 years. U.S. farm and food exports to Peru have nearly tripled, reaching a record $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2015. In the Chilean market, U.S. exports have grown more than 500 percent, totaling $803 million in fiscal year 2015. Both countries also are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which is awaiting Congressional consideration.


    Nebraska women will learn how to plan and make better business decisions for their farms and ranches, communities, families and themselves at the 31st Women in Agriculture Conference, the longest-running women's conference of its kind in the country, Feb. 25-26 at the Kearney Holiday Inn, 110 S. Second Ave.

            This year's theme is "Women in Agriculture: The Critical Difference," and the conference features a variety of workshops, "funshops" and speakers, including Jolene Brown of West Branch, Iowa, and Trent Loos of Litchfield.

     Brown will be the keynote speaker the morning of Feb. 25 with her talk, "The Balancing Act: 10 Ideas to Relieve Stress and Bring Renewal to Our Farm and Family Life," about realistic and applicable ideas to help bring a breath of fresh air, renewal and balance to work and family life. Brown's talk is sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America. Loos will be the capstone lunchtime speaker on Feb. 26 as he presents "Passion for the Purpose" about developing and sharing a passion and meaningful purpose in one's life.

    Five concurrent sessions will offer participants more than 30 workshops to choose from with topics including crop and livestock marketing, applications for big data, forestry, alternate livestock, real-estate trends and lease provisions, labor management, women's heart health, pesticide training, business transition, family communication, livestock disease outbreak, farm programs, financial planning and agronomy issues. The evening of Feb. 25 includes time for networking and exercise.

    Booth exhibitors will share information with participants that may also be useful in their farm/ranch operation.

            Those interested can register online at or mail a completed registration form with a check to UNL Agricultural Economics, 303 Filley Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0922. More information about Women in Agriculture is available at that site.

    The early-bird registration fee is $125 for those registering by Feb. 12. Beginning Feb. 13, the fee is $150. The fee includes workshop materials, registration and all meals and breaks.

            The conference is sponsored by the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nebraska Extension, the Department of Agricultural Economics, Farm Credit Services of America, Reinke Irrigation and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation. Opportunities for conference sponsorship and booth exhibits still remain.

            Lodging is available at the Kearney Holiday Inn, 110 S. Second Ave., by calling 308-237-5971.

Four Candidates Compete for Nebraska Dairy Princess

Four young women involved with the Nebraska dairy community are competing to win the title of Nebraska Dairy Princess. The contest judging was held January 23 in Norfolk, with the coronation to be held during the banquet at the Nebraska State Dairy Convention on Thursday, February 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Columbus.

The princess represents dairy farm families and the dairy industry by helping consumers learn more about dairy products and how farm families care for their cows and land.

The contestants are:
    Sonya Hochstein, 18, daughter of Neal and Sharleen Hochstein of Wynot;
    Morgan Haverluck, 18, daughter of Kimberly Haverluck of Grand Island; 
    Dawn Klabenes, 17, daughter of Steve and Kerri Klabenes of Chambers; and
    Marta Pulfer, 16, daughter of Kent and Jodi Pulfer of Wayne.

The winner is chosen on the basis of her knowledge and enthusiasm about dairy, personality and communication ability. The Nebraska State Dairy Princess and the runner-up will each receive scholarships from Midwest Dairy Association, which sponsors the contest and princess program on behalf of Nebraska’s dairy farmers.

Central Valley Ag Teams Up With The Home Agency

Central Valley Ag (CVA), a cooperative serving primarily eastern parts of Nebraska and Kansas announced this week they will be teaming up with The Home Agency.

The company announced in a press release the collaboration will help leverage insurance expertise and knowledge with CVA’s grain marketing, agronomy, and finance experience to develop a complete marketing plan.

“Offering crop insurance will bring an important service to our members-owners, to help understand and navigate through complex risk management decisions, said Carl Dickinson, CEO of CVA.  We are extremely happy to be teaming up with The Home Agency.”

Jim Baldonado, CEO of The Home Agency also has a positive outlook on this new venture.  “We are proud to team up with Central Valley Ag.  CVA has a great reputation in the industry, and that is very important to us.  We can bring a good product with many services to CVA customers.”

The Home Agency is a full-service company operating in 14 locations in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Colorado offering a variety of insurance offerings.

Central Valley Ag is a farmer owned cooperative headquartered in York, Nebraska.

Five Beef Quality Assurance Awards Presented

This week, three producers were honored with the checkoff’s annual national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) award and Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) award, which were created to recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers from across the country who incorporate BQA principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their operations. In addition, key cattle industry influencers who promote BQA principles on a daily basis were honored. One individual was recognized with the BQA Marketer Award, and one individual received the BQA Educator of the Year Award.

2016 winners were:
    Frank Stoltzfus, Masonic Village Farm from Elizabethtown, Pa. (BQA Cow Calf Award)
    Todd and Kristi Drake, Nodaway Valley Feeders from Nodaway, Iowa (BQA Feedyard Award)
    Reid and Diane Hoover, Brook-Corner, LLC from Lebanon, Pa. (BQA Dairy Award)
    Scott Mueller, Samson, Inc. from Columbus, Neb. (BQA Marketer Award)
    Lisa Pederson, North Dakota State University (BQA Educator of the Year Award)

“Our 2016 award winners are exemplary models for promoting beef as a quality product from the local to the national level,” says Chase Decoite, associate director of BQA. “They are working diligently to implement the newest, safest, most efficient animal health, handling, daily management and record-keeping practices. They are truly examples of sharing the BQA story!”

NCBA Recognizes 2015 Top Hand Club Winners at Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2015 Top Hand Club celebrated today the recruitment of 1,240 new NCBA members, all recruited by NCBA members over the past year.

The Top Hand Club was initiated in 1982 as NCBA’s member-recruit-a-member program that recognizes volunteer leaders for their commitment in growing a strong national association. To become a Top Hand Club member, individuals must recruit at least three new NCBA members. To remain in the club, members must recruit two new members each subsequent year. The Top Hand Club recruitment year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30. The program is sponsored by Case IH and Roper, Stetson.

Each year, three high achieving Top Hands are recognized for their recruitment efforts, as those members who signed on the most new NCBA members. Again this year, the Top Hand Club sponsored an additional award which recognizes the Top Hand who recruited the most in dues revenue. Congratulations to the 2015 Top Hand Club top three recruiters and the top recruiter for revenue.

2015 Top Hand Club Champion – Frank Daley, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
With 87 recruits, the 2015 Top Hand Club Champion is Frank Daley of New Castle, Colo. Daley has earned awards including $1,000 in Cabela’s gift cards as well as airline tickets, housing and registration for the 2016 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade show, boots and apparel from Roper Stetson, and an exclusive personalized Top Hand Red Bluff Buckle. 

2015 Top Hand Club Res. Champion and Top Recruiter for Revenue – Melody Benjamin, Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association
From Lakeside, Neb., Benjamin has not only been awarded reserve champion recruiter for signing up 80 new NCBA members, she has also been awarded the Champion recruiter for revenue award for earning over $12,000 in dues revenue from her recruits. Benjamin received $1,500 in Cabela's gift cards and registration, travel, and lodging to the Cattle Industry Convention.

2015 Top Hand Club 3rd Place Recruiter – Adam McClung, Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association
Adam McClung of Little Rock, Ark., was honored as the third place recruiter for 2015. Recruiting 66 members in McClung also earned a paid trip to the Cattle Industry Annual Convention and a free pair of Stetson, Roper or Tin Haul boots.

In addition to being the 2015 Top Hand Club sponsor, Case IH added an additional incentive for recruiter’s ­– $15,000 toward a Case IH purchase. Those who recruited five or more members were entered into a drawing for this grand prize, and for every five additional recruits, they received an extra entry into the contest. This year’s winner, drawn on stage at the annual Best of Beef awards breakfast, is Ryan Higbie of Kansas. Case IH announced today that they are proud to sponsor this same promotion for the 2015 recruitment year.

CattleFax Predicts Market Shock Is Nearly Over, Turbulence Still Ahead

Recent price shock in the market and insights about the turbulence ahead were explained today to more than 2,000 beef producers at the CattleFax Outlook Session held during the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

The downward spiral in price from record high cattle prices has been a rough ride for many in the business, but CattleFax CEO Randy Blach said the market correction has mostly occurred.  He explained how tight global protein supplies and a strong export market in 2014 and 2015 led to the ‘perfect storm’ of market peaks and significant drops seen in recent extremes. Animal health challenges in both poultry and pork production led to tight supplies in 2014, which saw the tightest per capita protein supply in the last 20 years.

“We are coming off of historic peaks in the cattle market, created by unique conditions in the global beef and protein markets,” said Blach. “Dynamics, specifically global beef supply, led to a large correction in price. That big market downward swing is nearly over now. However, the cycle shows prices continuing to trend lower in 2016, 2017 and 2018.”

Analysts predicted the cattle feeder will lose about $200 per head, stocker operators with tight margins, and cow/calf with profitable margins. The team of economists expect fed cattle prices averaging $130 to $145 over the next year.

“The cow/calf margins will still be profitable, but substantially lower than in the past two years,” said Kevin Good, Senior Analyst and Fed Cattle Market Specialist, CattleFax. “We predict the cattle feeder will have tight margins for the year overall with potential for profit mid-year.”

A two-year El Nino weather pattern has replenished moisture conditions across the country, specifically the West coast, which saw some relief in 2015.  The weather outlook appears favorable, especially moisture conditions for grasslands, according to the weather outlook from Art Douglas, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Creighton University.

“As we head into 2016, a split jet stream pattern will favor above-normal precipitation from California to the Southern Plains and the Southeast through March,” said Douglas. “In the Corn Belt, spring will be wetter-than-normal which will be accompanied by slower spring warming. Delays in fieldwork and planting dates are likely to result.”

Analysts predicted $294 added value per head in exports for the year ahead, a $66 drop per head from 2014 values. This decrease in export potential is caused by a combination of a strong U.S. dollar, slowdown in global market and challenges with market access. Russia and China are still the biggest opportunities for U.S. beef but trade restrictions will continue to limit potential in the year ahead.

Imports of beef are predicted to be down 8 percent since domestic cow kill will increase. In recent years the United States was in a rebuilding stage and females were held back for the cow herd. Imports of slaughter cows from Australia were available because of drought, but improving moisture conditions in 2016 will keep females in Australia for herd rebuilding. Analysts predict the U.S. cowherd growth will see slowed growth in the coming year and predict a 600,000 head cowherd increase, which is down from a 1.1 million increase in 2015.

Atlantic Heifer Development Session Rescheduled

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Heifer Development 3 program in Atlantic has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 8. The Iowa caucus and a new snow forecast for the original date of Feb. 1 led site host Chris Clark to reschedule the event for the following Monday.

“I hope rescheduling to Feb. 8 will allow more producers to attend. We heard from several people who wanted to attend but couldn't because of the caucuses, and it sounds like we may have some weather to contend with as well," said Clark, an ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist. "We want to be accommodating and do what works best for area beef producers."

The program will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Cass County Community Center.  Registration begins at 5 p.m. and the presentation starts at 5:30 p.m.

“There will be an opportunity to visit with our sponsors during that check-in/registration time prior to the actual start of the presentation," Clark said. "We are partnering with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, ABS Global, Accelerated Genetics, Select Sires and Merial to conduct this series and most of those sponsors will be represented at the Cass County site.”

This is the third installment of the heifer development series, building on 2012 and 2014 programs on yearling and first-calf heifer best management practices, respectively. The focus of this year’s series is on current genetic and phenotypic selection tools that can be utilized to improve cow longevity and enhance lifetime productivity.

A catered meal will be served during the session. Cost is $20 when preregistered three days prior to event, with the new preregistration deadline of Feb. 5.  Walk-in registration is $25 per person with no guarantee of meal.

To register, call 515-294-BEEF (2333) or email For more information, contact Clark by phone at 712-250-0070 or by email at

IPPA announces 2015 class of Master Pork Producers

The 2015 class of Master Pork Producers was formally introduced by the Iowa Pork Producers Association at the 44th annual Iowa Pork Congress Banquet in Des Moines last night.

This 74th class features 10 Iowa hog farmers or production company employees who were selected and recognized by their peers for excellence in pork production. A slide show highlighting each new Master Pork Producer's operation was shown and the coveted brass belt buckle, emblematic of the award, and a certificate of achievement was presented to each producer.

The 2015 Master Pork Producers are:
    Tom and Kathy Langel, Le Mars, Plymouth Co.
    Leon Puhrmann, Paulina, O'Brien Co.
    Marv and Helene Rietema, Sioux Center, Sioux Co.
    Jim and Lisa Boyer, Ringsted, Emmet Co.
    Alan Bormann, Livermore, Kossuth Co.
    Mike Kuhlemeier, Rockwell, Cerro Gordo Co.
    Keith Wilgenbusch, Winthrop, Buchanan Co.
    Matt and Courtney Gent, Wellman, Washington Co.

IPPA created the Master Pork Partner Award in 2014 to recognize pork production company employees who don't have active daily roles at a specific production site, but have demonstrated positive impacts in their production systems and a commitment to the pork industry's We Care ethical principles.
    Master Pork Partner - Ed Koedam, Larchwood, Lyon Co.
    Master Pork Partner - Bill Steenstra, Independence, Buchanan Co.

Nominated by their peers and neighbors, all of the award winners are recognized for their expertise in their segments of the production cycle and understanding of current industry issues, quality assurance, animal identification and well-being and their production efficiency.

There is considerable diversity and specialization in pork production in Iowa today and it's evident in the 2015 class of Master Pork Producers. The majority of hog farming is still done primarily by farm families and the production diversity helps maintain the strength of the Iowa pork industry and enables Iowa producers to compete successfully in the domestic and international commodity and specialty markets.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association and Iowa State University co-sponsor the Master Pork Producer program, which began in 1942, to demonstrate the character and breadth of Iowa pork production.

Iowa Corn Farmer-to-Farmer Discussion Yields Soil Health Insights

With conversations increasingly revolving around water quality, conservation and soil health, Iowa Corn Growers Association gave farmers the opportunity to learn from other farmers at a recent panel discussion. The event was held at Iowa State University and also offered via live streaming.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey who moderated the discussion and spoke to the audience about the progress that has been made since introducing the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy three years ago.

“We’re very proud of what farmers across the state are doing when it comes to conservation and water quality,” said Northey. “We’ve seen a lot of interest and adoption of cover crops because of the water quality benefits, and also because farmers see the long-term value that they have on soil quality.”

Iowa corn farmers, Steve Berger, Jolene Riessen and Jerry Mohr were the three panelists who shared their experiences with conservation practices, such as no-till planting, cover crops and saturated buffer strips. Though they each have different ways of incorporating conservation practices on their farms, they all have taken steps toward improving the health of their soil and quality of the waters surrounding their farms.

“Forty years ago, we had no idea about soil health or soil quality, but I have really seen the changes over time since I started using cover crops,” stated Berger, who farms in southeast Iowa.

Riessen and Mohr also are using cover crops and have seen the benefits first hand over the past few years.

“We just had a historically wet December, and my neighbor’s terraces were filled with water while mine hadn’t even started to hold water yet,” said Mohr. “It’s not a process that’s easy to measure, but you start to see small improvements as time goes on.”

Riessen concurs. “We use a number of conservation practices such as no till, cover crops that are used as a feed source for cattle, and we’re strong proponents of terraces and buffer strips,” she said. “Stewardship is so important to me because I have two boys coming back to farm and I want them to be able to farm.”

Another benefit noted was earlier planting. “Farmers using a no-till, cover crop system are often first to the field,” says Berger. “It creates stable soils that can hold up the heavy equipment. When it’s time to plant corn, it’s time to plant corn and these practices help us to be able to do that.”

Mark Heckman, Iowa Corn Promotion Board President and a farmer from West Liberty, shared the organization’s commitment to helping farmers be good stewards. “A priority for Iowa Corn is helping farmers be the best possible stewards of land and water resources, and this event was one way of doing that,” he explained. “We’re also very committed to working with the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), a corn-farmer led, 5-year initiative to help measure management practices that improve soil health.”

Heckman and Berger are both involved in the SHP and spoke to the audience about their experiences and the data that will be coming from this program. Sixteen farmers in Iowa currently are involved and they are looking to add more. Berger encouraged interested farmers to consider getting involved. “It’s really a great learning process to help us determine how we can adopt conservation practices and learn from other farmers,” he says.

To view the panel discussion or to learn more about Iowa Corn’s water quality, soil health and conservation initiatives, visit If you are interested in getting involved with the Soil Health Partnership, go to

Farm Bureau Approves Strategic Action Plan for 2016

The American Farm Bureau Federation today released highlights of its 2016 strategic action plan, which addresses public policy issues in the coming year. The plan is a result of deliberations of delegates to the AFBF's 97th Annual Convention in Orlando. The board-approved plan focuses the organization's attention on a number of key issues including:
-    Creating a more-positive dialogue with consumers about modern agricultural practices;
-    Protecting farmers' ability to use biotech plant varieties and other innovative technologies;
-    Opposing unlawful expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act; and
-    Moving forward with congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

"We will continue to work hard to protect the business of American agriculture on all fronts. This plan is an important roadmap to key issue areas that AFBF and our grassroots members will address in 2016," AFBF President Zippy Duvall said.

The Environmental Protection Agency's new Waters of the U.S. rule remains among the most pressing issues in agriculture. Although presented as a water issue, the measure in fact would unlawfully regulate land in violation of the Clean Water Act itself. The rule takes over local and state authority while threatening private property rights and normal farming activity nationwide.

"EPA's blatant overreach is nothing short of a federal land grab," Duvall said. "The administration has refused to listen to business owners, local governments and lawmakers. The courts have ordered this rule temporarily stopped. The Government Accountability Office found EPA's actions illegal, and Congress--which originally gave EPA its authority under the Clean Water Act--called for an end to this rule. We won't give up until it's gone and farmers are free to care for their own land."

AFBF's action plan also supports agricultural biotechnology that promises great benefits for agriculture, consumers and the environment.

"Farmers and ranchers need better tools to be more productive and efficient. We will continue to defend farmers' and ranchers' access to biotechnology and protect their right to use other promising new technologies, from data services to drones," Duvall said.

The AFBF board reaffirmed its commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

"TPP promises to open up markets around the Pacific Rim. These are some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and America's farmers and ranchers are ready to expand business there," Duvall said. "We're ready to work with Congress to move this agreement forward for the overall good of U.S. agriculture."

The action plan also places a special focus on food safety and security issues.

"Consumers should have the confidence that their food is safe and wholesome. As farmers, we want the best for our families and yours. We've made great strides in opening up the dialogue to help consumers understand more about modern agriculture, but there's a long way to go," Duvall said. "All consumers deserve access to safe, affordable food, and we will continue to protect agriculture's ability to meet that need."

The AFBF board approved an additional list of issues that will require close monitoring as they develop over the course of 2016. Those issue areas include advancing legislation that addresses agriculture's long- and short-term labor needs, implementing business tax reform, monitoring the overall farm economy, and energy availability and affordability.

More Work Still Needed on EU Biotech Approvals Timeline

The American Soybean Association (ASA) urged the European Commission today to continue its work in addressing delays in the approvals timeline for crops grown with new biotechnology traits, saying the delays create a barrier to entry into the market for American soybeans and risk the supply of high quality feed for Europe’s livestock industry. ASA noted the improvements the current Commission has made, and urged the Commission to give final authorization to new biotech events after they have passed through the EU’s long review process. The statement followed a report released earlier this month from European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly highlighting delays in the previous Commission’s decisions on approving the import of new biotech crops that she said amounted to “maladministration.” ASA President Richard Wilkins noted that while the current Commission is making progress, it must continue to do so:

“While Ombudsman O’Reilly’s report is a reaffirmation of what we have known to be true for some time, it is still a good acknowledgement of the work that is ahead with regard to Europe. The process for approving new traits for export must be a transparent, efficient and science-based one. And the current Commission must not shirk its responsibility to provide final authorization of new biotech products after they have traveled through the EU’s established reviews and processes. Several new soybean biotech traits now are awaiting final approval by the Commission; it needs to provide final authorizations expeditiously and in accord with EU regulations.” 


While a new rule that took effect Wednesday now allows U.S. banks to provide direct financing for exporting products to Cuba – the Obama administration’s latest action in normalizing relations with the island nation – agricultural commodities still must be paid by cash-in-advance or through third-country financing. The export financing changes allow U.S. companies to sell goods directly to Cuban state-run enterprises. Under the revised rule, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security can approve license applications for exports and re-exports of commodities and software to Cuban human rights or non-governmental organizations or to individuals “that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba.” The bureau also can approve license applications for certain agricultural items such as commodities not eligible for a license exception, insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. Applications for exports and re-exports of items for use by state-owned enterprises, agencies or other organizations of the Cuban government that primarily generate revenue for the state generally will be denied. Most agricultural commodity exports to Cuba are covered under a general license, but the Commerce Department will look at any proposed sale that would contribute to the Cuban government, such as sugar. Other parts of the rule ease travel restrictions to Cuba.

New Video Showcases Growth of Marine Fish Culture in Turkey

The U.S. Soybean Export Council today announced the launch of “Growing the Business of Growing Fish,” a video showcasing sea bass and sea bream production by Kilic, the largest vertically integrated fish farm operator in Turkey.

The short video, the latest in a series showcasing sustainable aquaculture operations around the world, is funded by the soy checkoff program and can be viewed at

Kilic is one of the largest aquaculture operations in Europe, raising sea bass, sea bream and meagre in marine cages, and freshwater trout in dam lakes. A 2007 directive from the Turkish government to move all marine cages 1.2 kilometers offshore allowed the company to sustainably grow its operations with cutting-edge technology, increased efficiency and minimal environmental impact. A key component to its growth has been replacing quantities of fishmeal with high quality alternative proteins such as U.S.-grown soy protein concentrate, which has increased the sustainability and economic viability of its feed.

“The marine fish sector represents the greatest opportunity for growing the volume of high-value farmed fish worldwide,” says Colby Sutter, USSEC marketing director for Aquaculture–Customer Focus. “Feed formulation research has proven that soy protein concentrate offers the best nutritional profile for replacing limited supplies of fishmeal in feed for marine species.”

Sutter adds, “Most importantly, soy production is scalable and can meet increased demand for feed ingredients as the aquaculture industry grows.”

USSEC’s Aquaculture Program has been producing short educational videos for public viewing online that showcase innovative fish farms producing healthful fish and seafood in an environmentally sound manner. In addition to being featured on, the fish farmer videos are posted on YouTube and Vimeo. The series explores different types of aquaculture methods, technologies and species, with a focus on how soy industry support is helping to make global aquaculture more sustainable.


Agricultural producers and professionals learned strategies to improve soil health and boost farm success during the 20th annual Winter Conference hosted by No-till on the Plains at Salina’s Bicentennial Center Jan. 26-27.

The event attracted more than 1,000 attendees from across the United States and beyond, including international guests from Germany, Ireland, Australia, Canada, eastern Europe and Africa.

“Twenty years after our inaugural conference, it’s very encouraging to see that interest in implementing no-till practices is exploding,” said Ryan Speer, president of No-till on the Plains board of directors and producer from Sedgwick, Kan. “Producers and ag professionals are hungry for information and our organization has assembled some of the industry’s brightest minds to share their experiences and keys to success.”

The conference, themed “Celebrating Our History, Transforming Our Future,” featured a new format with three keynote speakers, a beginner’s session and rainfall simulator on Tuesday. Wednesday offered 23 breakout sessions and a closing keynote speaker. A two-day trade show featured 90 exhibitors and offered opportunities for participants to learn about the latest developments in the industry.

Keynote speakers discussed global issues in continuous no-till and food production and examined their effects at the producer level. Speakers included Terry Fleck, executive director for the Center for Food Integrity; Dr. Kofi Boa, director of Ghana’s Center for No-till Agriculture; Dr. Dwayne Beck, research manager for Dakota Lakes Research Farm; and Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist and soil health specialist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Breakout sessions covered topics including strategies for weed control, benefiting from insect cycles, integrating grazing, feeding soil with cover crops, discussing no-till with financial partners, managing soil fertility and much more. Producer panels provided practical insights on continuous no-till in low- and high-moisture climates, as well as on farms using irrigation.

No-till farming systems offer several advantages to producers willing to implement the system. Fewer trips across fields without tillage passes will reduce fuel costs. Increasing crops in rotations breaks weed and insect pest cycles. Increased crop residue and root systems will increase soil organic matter and microbiological activity, thereby increasing the productiveness and fertility of the soil. Implemented in a site-specific systems approach, no-till will, over time, outperform conventional tillage.

No-till on the Plains offers field events, networking opportunities and the annual Winter Conference to provide crop producers with valuable no-till information. For more information, visit

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wednesday January 27 Ag News

Ricketts Announces the 28th Annual Governor’s Ag Conference

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced the schedule for the 28th Annual Governor’s Ag Conference, which serves as a key event for Nebraska’s agriculture community.  The conference is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, March 2-3, 2016 at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Kearney.

“This conference brings together leaders in Nebraska agriculture to address challenges facing agriculture and to identify new opportunities for continued growth of our state’s top industry,” said Governor Ricketts. “It’s also a great chance for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, agriculture leaders and key agri-business managers to provide input to my administration as we work together to keep Nebraska’s ag industry growing.”

This year’s Nebraska Governor’s Ag Conference will focus on subjects designed to spark conversation about key themes on the future of rural Nebraska.  The nationally-recognized speakers will focus on topics such as: biotechnology opportunities for Nebraska, positioning the state for advantages in a shifting global trade market, understanding consumers’ demand for transparency in the food production process, and discussion of the term “sustainability” and its implications for agriculture.

“I strongly encourage anyone with a career connected to the agriculture industry to attend this conference,” said Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach.  “It is an opportunity to stay on the cutting edge of information in our industry and also to network with colleagues, share ideas and concerns, and prepare for the future with sound advice and policy knowledge.”

The conference starts Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 3:30pm with welcomes and remarks from Governor Ricketts and Director Ibach followed by Scott Aughenbaugh with the Center for Strategic International Studies.  Aughenbaugh’s world-view analysis of key issues like population growth, technology trends and economics will help to generate dialogue about Nebraska’s role in a global economy.

The annual “Celebrate Nebraska Agriculture” reception begins at 6:00pm on March 2nd and features motivational speaker and author Gus Gustafson.  A Nebraska native, Gustafson has inspired thousands, telling how he overcame a tragic accident that took one of his arms when he was very young.

The conference resumes on Thursday, March 3, 2016 featuring the following:
·      A panel discussion on “Nebraska’s Place in Biotechnology’s Next Frontier.”  The panel features top experts from Merck Animal Health, Evonik Industries and Bio Nebraska.
·      Cameron Bruett, with meat company JBS USA, defines “sustainability” and discusses what the term means from the farm gate all the way through the food chain.
·      Charlie Arnot, with the Center of Food Integrity, will present the results of the Center’s recent nationwide study on consumers demand for transparency when it comes to the food they buy.
·      Jerry Gulke, Illinois farmer and founder of ag marketing and strategies firm, The Gulke Group, will provide analysis of national and international issues affecting agricultural trade and the impact on agriculture in the United States and specifically Nebraska.

Anyone interested in agriculture issues is invited to attend.  A $100 registration fee covers participation at activities on both Wednesday and Thursday.  Registration and additional information is available online at, or by calling NDA toll-free at (800) 831-0550.


Farm operators and agronomists across the state are invited to attend Nebraska On-Farm Research Network update events in February. Producers will obtain valuable crop production-related information from on-farm research projects conducted by Nebraska farmers in partnership with University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty.

The network is a statewide, on-farm research program that addresses critical farmer production, profitability and natural resources questions. Growers take an active role in the on-farm research project sponsored by Nebraska Extension in partnership with the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Soybean Board.

The programs will provide an opportunity to hear growers who conducted on-farm research share their results from the 2015 growing season. Field length replicated treatment comparisons were completed in growers' fields, using their equipment.

Research projects to be discussed will include: variable rate seeding, planting populations, Maize-N nitrogen rate decision tool for sidedress nitrogen, starter fertilizer, fungicide applications, row spacing, cover crops, foliar micronutrients and seed treatments (including new treatment for Sudden Death Syndrome). Project SENSE (Sensors for Efficient Nitrogen Use and Stewardship of the Environment) will also be discussed. This is a special three-year initiative that focuses on using crop canopy sensors to direct variable-rate, in-season nitrogen application to improve the efficiency of nitrogen fertilization in corn.

Certified Crop Advisor credits may be available.

Locations and times are: 
> Feb. 8: West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Road, North Platte.
> Feb. 9: Hall County Extension office, College Park campus, 3180 W. Highway 34, Grand Island.
> Feb. 11: Lifelong Learning Center, Northeast Community College campus, 801 E. Benjamin Ave., Norfolk.
> Feb. 12: UNL Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1071 County Road G, Ithaca.

Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and the program is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Grand Island, Norfolk and Ithaca. Registration is at 11:30 a.m. and the program is from noon to 4:30 p.m. at North Platte. Lunch will be served at all locations.

There is no fee to attend. Pre-registration is requested for meal planning purposes. Call 402-624-8000 or email to register for any of the sites. To learn more about the research network and how to participate, visit

Open Data from USDA, Microsoft Cloud Technology Become Tools to Strengthen Food Supply Through "Innovation Challenge" Winners

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Microsoft officials today announced the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge, in which contestants used USDA agriculture production open data to develop online tools that can help make the American food supply more resilient in the face of climate change.

"In yet another example of how public and private resources can be leveraged together to address significant global concerns, the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge have used open government data to create an impressive array of innovative tools to help food producers and our communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and ensure our nation's ability to provide plentiful, affordable food," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "For more than 100 years, USDA has compiled data on the farm economy, production, and the health of crops around the country, and it is exciting to see such modern, useful tools spring from these information sources."

The Challenge was created in support of the President's Climate Data Initiative, which aims to harness climate data in ways that will increase the resilience of America's food system. USDA provided contestants with more than 100 years of crop and climate data through Microsoft Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing platform.

"Combining the advantages of cloud computing resources with the government's desire to provide open access to public data is likely to transform scientific research and business innovation," said Dr. Daron G. Green, the Deputy Managing Director of Microsoft Research. "Microsoft's partnership with the USDA evidences how public-private partnership can stimulate new applications, explore novel scenarios and, in this case, work towards a more resilient and sustainable food production."

A total of $63,000 in cash and prizes were awarded, with winners selected from more than 346 registrants and 33 submissions from around the world.

The award recipients announced today, and their projects, are:

    Grand Prize, Open Source Application Award, and Best Visualization in Time or Space Award recipient: Farm Plenty, submitted by George Lee of San Francisco, Calif. This application allows farmers to analyze USDA data about crops grown within five kilometers of their farms to make informed decisions about their own crop choices.

    Second Prize and Open Source Application Award recipient: Green Pastures, submitted by Khyati Majmudar of Mumbai, India. This comprehensive dashboard interface allows a farmer to visualize production, economic, livestock, and commodity data from NASS, ERS, ARMS, and other sources at scales from national to local, including information on farmers' markets.

    Third Prize recipient: What's Local, submitted by Benjamin Wellington of Landscape Metrics LLC in Brooklyn, N.Y. This tool analyzes the resources that are required to produce agricultural outputs by using data from the Census of Agriculture in a way that allows urban population centers to connect with farmers in their area.

    Honorable Mention: Open Source Application Award, and Best Student-Made Award recipient: Farm Profit Calculator, submitted by Fernando Napier and Matt Pedersen of Lincoln, Neb. Farmers can use this mobile phone application to compare their input costs (fertilizer, seed, fuel, etc.) to regional averages, and find financial efficiencies where their costs are above the norm.

    Honorable Mention recipient: Croptrends, submitted by Chaiyawut Lertvichaivoravit and Ta Chiraphadhanakul of Thousand Eyes in San Francisco. This useful tool can be used for viewing spatial and temporal trends in crop production and yield by county for the entire United States by using NASS data.

    Popular Choice Award recipient: VAIS, submitted by Ken Moini of Thallo Tech in Nashville, Tenn. This tool uses NASS data for the entire United States to provide a unique approach to visualizing crowd-sourced pricing data.

    Large Organization Recognition Award recipient: Farmed, submitted by Bryan Tower of Applied Technical Systems in Silverdale, Wash. This tool allows farmers to view crop conditions in their area by using VegScape data from NASS combined with local weather data.

USDA is an active founding member of the Global Data Partnership through the memberships of both the U.S. Government Open Data and the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiatives. USDA is helping pave the way for coordinating global efforts to make agriculture and nutrition data open. USDA's Open Data Catalog is the authoritative source of publicly available USDA data.

Douglas, Lancaster County Farm Bureaus Receives National Honors for Innovative Programs

Douglas County Farm Bureau was recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) for innovative program ideas in this year’s County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards at AFBF’s 97th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, Jan. 8-13 in Orlando.

Douglas County Farm Bureau received the honor under the category of “Education and Promotion”. They were the lead force in creating an ag display entitled “Once Upon a Farm,” at the Omaha Children's Museum. A 10,000 square foot display creatively representing the “farm to fork” concept exposing both urban youth and consumers to all aspects of agriculture.

“The museum is located in the largest city in Nebraska, with most residents having limited exposure to rural experiences, farm animals and crop production. We wanted to give them an experience they wouldn’t forget,” Larry Hadan, Douglas County Farm Bureau president said.

Douglas County Farm Bureau provided sponsorship dollars and collaborative support for supplemental educational experiences during the exhibit including; daily ag lessons, farm tours, food samplings and much more.

“This was a natural fit for us. We want people to understand that their food comes from a farm, not a grocery store. The exhibit allowed us to start a conversation with parents and have real farmers talk about food,” Hadan said.

The museum staff offered Nebraska Farm Bureau members free admission on fours specific days into the museum. This brought value to Douglas County Farm Bureau memberships and was a great opportunity to put a public face to Nebraska agriculture.

“One of our biggest goals was to create the largest ag-focused event and display for children in the community and state utilizing this partnership with the museum. We were able to provide agriculture related learning experiences to children and adults attending the exhibit. We live and farm around a city that is not agriculture focused, through this museum partnership we hoped to open the door for people to ask questions and get answers from real people behind the food plate,” Hadan said.

Lancaster County Farm Bureau was recognized by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) for innovative program ideas in this year’s County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards at AFBF’s 97th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show, Jan. 8-13 in Orlando.

Lancaster County Farm Bureau was honored in the membership category for their work on Ag Night at Haymarket Park, sponsoring a membership appreciation night at a Lincoln Saltdogs baseball game.

“The goal was to increase membership and retention rates while developing strong relationships between members, agents and staff during a fun family event. There is always a need to increase renewals and retention rates for non-ag members within the county. We need to keep existing membership to keep Farm Bureau viable,” Rod Hollman, president of the Lancaster County Farm Bureau said.

Lancaster County Farm Bureau along with other County Farm Bureaus are dedicated to promoting and preserving agriculture awareness in Nebraska.

Outstanding farmer leaders recognized by Iowa Soybean Association

An up and coming high school star, long-time farmer-leader and passionate “ag-vocate” were honored at the annual Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) Awards Banquet in Des Moines.  The Jan. 26 ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of past, current and future leaders of the soybean industry.

Award recipients included:
    Rising Star — Vance Ohnemus, Milo
    New Leader — Brent Renner, Klemme
    Environmental Leader — Mike Bravard, Jefferson
    Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer — Darcy Maulsby, Yetter
    Legacy of Leadership — Roy Bardole, Rippey

The Rising Star Award, presented to Ohnemus by Farm Credit Services of America recognizes an ISA member’s son or daughter who’s active at the local, state and national level and preparing to continue ag studies in college. Ohnemus is a high school senior and member of his family farm near Milo, Iowa. He has been highly engaged in agriculture activities during his high school career through vocational ag courses and multiple leadership roles and honors in FFA. Ohnemus utilizes every opportunity to promote agriculture including volunteer work at the Iowa State Fair where he helps educate non-farmers on modern production practices and exhibiting show cattle across the Midwest. Ohnemus plans to attend Iowa State University to pursue a degree in agricultural business this fall. The award included a $1,000 stipend to assist with educational expenses.

Brent Renner was presented the New Leader Award with the help of DuPont Pioneer. It recognizes an ISA member’s outstanding involvement and commitment to promoting the soybean industry and agriculture. Renner has been farming for 16 years near Klemme. He and his wife, Nikki, have three young children and raise soybeans, corn, alfalfa and hogs. Life on the farm is busy, but the Iowa State University graduate finds time to serve fellow farmers as an ISA District Advisory Council member and policy delegate. In 2015, he was a candidate for the ISA Board and completed the ISA Experience. Renner has leadership experience with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and contributes to his community by serving as a youth group leader at his church.

The Environmental Stewardship Award, presented by Monsanto, was awarded to Mike Bravard for his commitment to conservation and championing water quality practices. A third-generation farmer from Jefferson, Bravard and his wife, Kathy, have four children who are all actively involved in the farming operation. They raise soybeans and corn as well as custom feed hogs. Committed to conservation, Bravard uses conservation tillage nitrogen stabilizers, plants cover crops as well as maintains terraces, riparian buffers and waterways. Additionally, he worked with ISA to install a bioreactor to improve nutrient management on his farm.

Cargill presented the Friend of the Iowa Soybean Farmer Award to Darcy Maulsby. A native of Calhoun County, Maulsby’s agricultural roots inspired a passion for sharing information about where food comes from and the values of family and dedication that consumers and farm families share. Upon graduation from Iowa State University, Maulsby became a recognized journalist for a variety of agricultural organizations, with works published in local, state, national and international ag publications. Maulsby continues to report on agricultural issues and rural life through her own marketing and communications company, Darcy Maulsby & Co.

The Legacy of Leadership Award, presented by Stine Seed Company, was awarded to Roy Bardole of Rippey. The fifth-generation farmer has dedicated many years as a leader for famers, the soybean industry and the environment. Bardole is a former ISA president, American Soybean Association leader and United Soybean Board member. Most recently, he served two years as a U.S. Soybean Export Council chairman, where he played a critical role in turning it into a world-class export organization. In many ways, Bardole was instrumental in the launch of the ISA’s Environmental Programs and Services due to his efforts in the early 1990s on nutrient management. Across the country and the globe, Bardole has consistently demonstrated his commitment to serving the needs of Iowa agriculture and farmers. During his time as president of the ISA, he played a critical role in pushing for more planting flexibility in the farm program and the result was a major expansion of soybean acres across the country. Also during his time as ISA president, the state and national soybean checkoffs were established.

PEDv Confirmed on Canadian Hog Farms

Three pig farms in the province of Ontario, Canada, have confirmed cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. The most recent case was confirmed on January 21 at a finisher operation in Huron County.

A farrow-to-partial-finish farm was confirmed for PEDv on January 15 in Bruce County, and a third farrow-to-finish farm in Lambton County tested positive for the virus on December 2.

Ontario Pork reported earlier this month that environmental testing had shown increased detections of PEDv at federal and provincial processing plants.

Cattle Industry Kicks off Annual Meeting and NCBA Trade Show in San Diego
More than 6,000 cattlemen and women from across the country are gathered in San Diego, Calif., this week for the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. The convention, which will run through Jan. 29, is the largest annual gathering of the beef industry.

“The convention and trade show is a great opportunity for cattle industry members to come together to network, create policy for the industry, and to have some fun,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis. “We will reflect on the many successes of the past year and discuss what lies ahead for 2016. If you’re in the cattle business, then you need to be in San Diego.”

Cattlemen’s College kicked off yesterday, featuring sessions focused on profit-building, policy briefings and education. Hailed as the premier educational resource for cattlemen and women, Cattlemen’s College had an impressive lineup for its 23rd year. The convention officially kicked off this afternoon with the Opening General Session featuring Robert Irvine, celebrity chef who put on a theatrical demonstration.

On Friday, Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill will share what he has learned during his more than 400 combat missions across four theaters of war. Through his moving and emotional stories drawn from lessons learned during some of the country’s most headline-stealing conflicts, O’Neill will show how the military’s best-of-the-best approach to strategic planning succeeds when mission failure is not an option.

In addition to the excellent keynote speakers, Cattlemen’s College, a record-breaking Trade Show and industry trend discussions, convention-goers will have the opportunity to attend committee meetings and take part in the grassroots policy development.

“NCBA is grounded in the grassroots policy process,” said Ellis. “It’s important for cattlemen and women to be involved and stay engaged. This week, we have the opportunity to set policy which will direct our policy initiatives in the following year.”

Producer Education at Cattlemen’s College Opens Cattle Industry Convention

Two days of robust producer education set the tone for the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention Jan. 26-27.  Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis Animal Health, is known as one of the most thorough and beneficial educational events in the country designed specifically for cattlemen and women. Celebrating its 23rd year, the event had a remarkable crowd with more than 900 attendees.

“This educational program provides an impressive diversity of topics to beef producers,” said Josh White, NCBA executive director of producer education. “We have producers speaking to producers about real life ranch issues, industry partners presenting consumer expectations and academic leaders providing the latest findings in cattle research. The best of the best in the cattle industry are selected to speak at Cattlemen’s College to help producers propel the beef industry forward.”

A ‘Whole Herd Makeover’ discussion kicked off the event Tuesday night, highlighting perspectives about what the U.S. cowherd should look like in the future. Five industry experts, Tom Field, Ph.D., David Daley, Ph.D., Patsy Houghton, Ph.D., Tom Brink and Don Schiefelbein, shared their perspectives about what the cattle herd should look like in the next five years. These influential speakers commented on genetics, land prices, health protocols and beef marketing.

Cattlemen’s College started back up Wednesday morning with a keynote address from Robert Fraley, Ph.D., executive vice president with Monsanto, who is a respected leader in agriculture biotechnology. Fraley spoke frankly about how the agriculture industry will use technology to feed more than 9.5 billion people by 2050, with two times the food demand by that time.'

“We will have to produce more and waste less to get there,” said Fraley. “I absolutely believe that we have the tools and technology to do that.”

This year represents the 20th anniversary of the introduction of GMOs, which were first used in agriculture in 1996.There are about 30 countries growing 450 million acres of GMO food; there have been more than 4 billion acres of GMO crops over the last 20 years, according to Fraley.

Fraley said there remains skepticism among some consumers about the use of science in agriculture. “There is clearly a gap between what science can do and what consumers are comfortable with,” he said.

Throughout the day attendees chose from a total of 18 classes within the topics of Healthy Cattle - Healthy Ranch, Advances in Cattle Nutrition, Industry Hot Topics, Your Business - Our Industry, Evolving Beef Production, and Creating the Future. The range of informative, hands-on workshops were created for cattle operations of every size and sector. Cattlemen and women of all age groups were in attendance, but young beef producers especially made a strong showing.

“We had more than 140 collegiate students pre-register to attend Cattlemen’s College this year,” said White. “As we think about the future of our industry it is encouraging to see young people keen to learn and get involved. Students absorb a lot of high-quality education over several days, as well as make important connections in the industry.”

Audio presentations from the 2016 Cattlemen’s College will be available online following the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Cattlemen and women who were unable to attend the event in San Diego can take advantage of this online option at:

Two Important Beef Checkoff Reports Released

The 2015 Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) Annual Report and 2015 Beef Checkoff Evaluation Report were released today from the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention in San Diego.

The CBB Annual Report now is available at, and the 2015 Evaluation of Beef Checkoff Programs from the checkoff’s Joint Evaluation Advisory Committee is available at Both reports are delivered in electronic form only, though the publishing program used allows for transformation to a pdf document for easy self-printing.

Included in the Annual Report is an overview of revenues and expenditures for fiscal 2015, as well as summaries of results from each Beef Board budget category, including promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, and producer communications.

The goal of the publication is to demonstrate to beef producers and importers who pay into the checkoff not only how their dollars are being invested, but also the results of those investments. (In addition to the direct link above, all CBB annual reports since the start of the national checkoff program are available through, under the "Resources" tab.)

“Fiscal year 2015 brought us a combination of the best and the worst of times in the cattle industry,” 2015 CBB Chairman Jimmy Maxey notes in his letter to checkoff investors. “The good news? We maintained substantial gains in beef demand throughout the fiscal year, thanks in great part, to our Beef Checkoff Program. While we certainly can’t control the marketplace, maintaining strong demand through the roughest times gives us the best possible outcome given the marketplace fluctuations. Beef checkoff efforts are largely designed to address building long-term demand in domestic and foreign markets rather than short-term market volatility.”

Included in the Evaluation Report is a review of the effectiveness every tactic in every national program approved for completion in fiscal 2015. The evaluation process has evolved over the years and is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of how effective programs have been at achieving measurable objectives stated in the Authorization Requests approved by the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. All programs are developed to support the Beef Industry Long Range Plan.

This year’s evaluation includes a one-page summary of all programs showing the status of dollars spent, progress against program objectives (e.g., Not Achieved, Achieved, Exceeded), and specific program feedback from Qualified State Beef Councils (QSBCs). Each individual program summary includes an overview of performance against each program tactic; contractor remarks for all objectives; a brief evaluation summary on program evolution and highlights; and a graphic representation of state beef council feedback on programs that states adapted for local use during the fiscal year.

“Overall, in fiscal 2015, 85 percent of all program tactical objectives were achieved or exceeded,” said CBB Member and Evaluation Committee Chairman Chuck Coffey. “Only 9 percent of objectives were not achieved, and 6 percent are still in progress. It’s important to note, too, that state beef council directors were pleased with 2015 national checkoff programs, with the overall rating from states hitting 8.1 on a scale of one to 10. All of the information derived from this process is important in our planning efforts for next year, as we want to invest our checkoff dollars in the most effective and efficient manners possible toward building consumer demand for beef.”

Producers Continue to Support the Checkoff

Three out of four producers (76 percent) continue to approve of the Beef Checkoff Program and the more they know about the program, the more supportive they are. Results of the January 2016 producer attitude study show support at the same level as a year ago, despite much more pessimism about what lies ahead for the live cattle market.

The random survey of 1,200 beef and dairy producers nationwide was conducted by the independent firm Aspen Media & Market Research in late December 2015 and early January 2016. The survey found an overwhelming majority of beef and dairy producers continue to say their beef checkoff has value for them in many ways:
-    84 percent of producers say the beef checkoff has helped to contribute to a positive trend in beef demand.
-    73 percent of producers say the beef checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations.
-    76 percent say the checkoff represents their interests.
-    67 percent of producers believe the checkoff is well-managed.

"With limited budgets, we’ve had to move more and more of our producer communications into digital media over the past couple of years," says Investor Relations Working Group (IRWG) Co-Chair Jo Stanko. "This survey found younger producers better informed and more supportive of checkoff programs than the older producers surveyed. This may the first indication that the digital strategy is paying off, since younger producers also are more likely to go online for information about their industries and they seem to be getting to know their checkoff while there," the Steamboat Springs, Colo., producer adds.

The key priority of the working group is to ‘develop strategies that communicate checkoff-funded program results, educate, and build relationships with checkoff investors to gain a better understanding of the Beef Checkoff Program,’ notes IRWG co-chair Kristin Larson, a producer from Sidney, Mont.

“While we know it’s our responsibility to make checkoff information available to all who pay into the program, we will always struggle with finding the right level of funding to do the job,” says Larson. “This latest survey illustrates conflicting realities when it comes to the checkoff. On the one hand, only 67 percent of producers consider themselves ‘informed’ about the checkoff, yet 84 percent now say the checkoff ‘has contributed to a positive trend in consumer demand.’ We know ‘better informed’ leads to greater support. So, for now, we’re hanging in there.”

BQA Free Certification Period Announced

During the 2016 Annual Cattle Industry Convention, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), announced a Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) free-certification period — from now through April 15. Beef and dairy producers can take advantage of free BQA certification online courtesy of BIVI and the BQA program, which is funded by the beef checkoff. Register today and complete your certification at your own convenience.

And, as an added bonus, anyone who becomes certified during this period is eligible to win a pair of Roper boots, courtesy of BIVI.

BIVI will pick up the $25-$50 online training fee for every person completing BQA training through April 15. That includes anyone who works with cattle – whether it is beef or dairy. Visit to take advantage of the open certification period.

The BQA program is important to the cattle industry because it is a producers’ consumer-friendly story to tell, helping them talk about using BQA Best Management Practices for producing a safe and high quality beef product. And for dairy producers, this offering also is beneficial as a tool to promote safe animal-handling practices and because a large percentage of dairy calves, as well as market cows, make their way into the food chain.

The BQA training modules are customized to fit the specific needs of each segment of the cattle industry – cow-calf, stocker, feedyard and dairy operations. The program covers best management practices such as proper handling and administration of animal health products, reducing injection site blemishes, and low stress cattle-handling principles.

Beyond reinforcing industry best practices for cattle production, obtaining certification can be a useful tool in an ever-changing landscape where consumers want to be assured they are receiving a product raised in ways that align with BQA.

29 New Industrial Products Open New Markets for Soy

Last year, the soy checkoff partnered with researchers to develop 29 new soy-based products that replace petrochemicals and help manufacturers meet sustainability objectives. These products, and hundreds of others developed with checkoff support, add value to U.S. soy and expand its market potential. 

“At a time when prices are low, it’s more important than ever to increase demand for U.S. soy,” says checkoff farmer-leader Jim Domagalski, a soybean farmer from Columbus, Michigan. “Part of that is finding new ways to use it.”

Products developed with checkoff support in 2015 include an insulating foam that helps green building contractors earn LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, soy-based adhesives that replace formaldehyde  without compromising quality, lubricants and solvents that reduce reliance on petrochemicals, and rubber belting that farmers can use in their equipment.  

New uses have helped farmers increase demand for U.S. soy from 14 million bushels  in 2003 to more than 111 million bushels in 2013. This sales trajectory is expected to continue as a result of the soy checkoff’s ongoing commitment to support the discovery  of new soy technologies and share previous research findings that companies use to create more sustainable products.  

New soy-based products and ingredients introduced in 2015 as a result of checkoff support include:

    Best Rest Eco Lux™ – a soy-foam mattress by Best Rest USA
    HeatLox XT™ – insulating foam for buildings by Demilec, Inc.
    U-Pack 5310™ – foam-in-place packaging foam by WFI Global
    UCore+™ – foam used to insulate plastic window frames by WFI Global

    WCCO Conveyor Belt – soy-and-rubber belting by WCCO Belting, Inc.

    Natural Environmental Barrier® – a new coating by Green Eagle Technologies
    ProSoy 7460™ – a soy-protein-based pigment binder for water-based flexographic and gravure inks. by Applied Protein Systems

    SOYAD Adhesive™ – an adhesive used in the manufacture of hardwood plywood by Solenis
    Acous-Tec Adhesive™ – an adhesive used to manufacture acoustic panels by W. F. Taylor
    ProSoy 4410™ –  a soy-protein-based adhesive for paper substrates by Applied Protein Systems
    ProSoy 4315™ –  a soy-based additive that can replace phenol formaldehyde in wood adhesives by Applied Protein Systems

    ProSoy 5452™ – a soy-protein-based binder and additive for paper and paperboard coatings by Applied Protein Systems
    ProSoy 5820™ – a lower cost soy-based binder and additive for paper and paperboard coatings Applied Protein Systems

    Elevance Clean™ 1000 – a solvent for industrial formulations by Elevance Renewable Services
    Elevance Clean™ 1200 – a solvent for industrial formulations by Elevance Renewable Services
    STEPOSOL SB-W® – a solvent for degreasing that also acts as a lubricating agent by STEPAN Company
    STEPOSOL SB-D® – a solvent for degreasing by STEPAN Company

    Elevance Concert GC-350™ – a processing aid for lithium grease manufacture by Elevance Renewable Sciences
    Soy Lube SL 100™ – a soy-based lubricant by BioKleen
    BioLube SD™ – a soy-based lubricant by Synalloy and Manufacturers Chemicals LLC

    Me-Pro™ – a soy-based aquaculture feed by Prairie Aquatech
    Me-Pro Plus™ – an enhanced soy-based aquaculture feed by Prairie Aquatech
    PETROSTEP Q-50S® – a down-hole corrosion inhibitor for oil wells by STEPAN Company
    NatureWax® –  premium candle wax by Elevance Renewable Sciences
    Elevance Soft CG-100® – emollients for personal care products by Elevance Renewable Sciences
    Elevance Smooth CS-100® – a film-forming material for personal care products by Elevance Renewable Sciences
    Defoamer Soy™ – a defoaming agent by Synalloy and Manufacturers Chemicals LLC
    Defoamer Eco Care™ – a defoaming agent by Synalloy and Manufacturers Chemicals LLC
    American Soybean Wax™ – a candle-making staple by Swan Creek Candle Company

Mato Grosso Soy Yields Mixed

Reports of low early harvest soybean yields continue to filter in from Mato Grosso, Brazil's top soy-producing state.  As of Friday, the Mato Grosso soybean crop was 3.7% harvested, down from 7.5% at the same point last year, said IMEA.

Soybean yields of 9 to 27 bushels per acre have been common across northern Mato Grosso in the first couple of weeks of the harvest.

"Some early planted beans suffered very badly from the dry weather," said Laercio Lenz, president of the farm society in Sorriso, Brazil's biggest soy district in the center-north of the state.

Rain was uncommonly patchy and inconsistent across the region in October, November and December.

However, not all Mato Grosso farms suffered equally. Early harvested crops in the south of the state have yielded good results and early harvest losses in the north have not been uniform.

While there are many farmers disappointed with yields, there are also a significant number harvesting well, with yields over 55 bpa, Lenz noted.  Overall, it's difficult to interpret this year's crop.

New Best Practices Aim to Increase Productivity for Lamb Producers

Lamb producers were introduced to the industry's first set of Productivity Best Practices at the 2016 Sheep Industry Convention January 27-30.

Lambs sold per ewe is the biggest influence on profitability, and implementing the new Best Practices to Increase Your Lamb Crop gives sheep producers more control over price volatility, according to the panel of sheep producers and production experts who developed the best practices.

"The long-term vision is to increase demand and profitability for the entire U.S. lamb industry," says Wes Patton, a California sheep producer who chairs the American Lamb Board. "As demand is increased over time, we want more American Lamb on more consumers' plates. That involves improving consistency and quality, while increasing productivity and reducing costs of production. By using best practices, the U.S. lamb industry can implement change that leads to increased demand and profitability."

The American Lamb Board, which administers the lamb checkoff, supported the efforts to develop the lamb crop best practices in collaboration with other industry groups, including the American Sheep Industry Association's "Let's Grow" program.

To make best practice information as accessible as possible, it is part of the new U.S. Lamb Resource Center website ( Funded by the national lamb checkoff program to support the efforts of the entire industry, the Lamb Resource Center pulls together important information from major sheep organizations into one central location. Topics on the site include the lamb checkoff, industry and market news, marketing, Productivity Best Practices, and other production resources.

Best practices are a cornerstone of many industries - from computer manufacturing to education - and guide processes to achieve a desired result. For the lamb industry, Productivity Best Practices identify ways to produce more with comparable resources, which is a critical component of profitability.

"Because they are based on both time-tested practical experience and research, the Best Practices to Increase Your Lamb Crop are reliable, worthwhile actions for U.S. sheep producers. Best practices help you find ways to be more efficient and allow you to take more control of your flock's productivity - actions you can take now to protect against price volatility," says Reid Redden, Ph.D., who chaired the team charged with developing the best practices.

Redden emphasizes even though sheep production practices in the U.S. vary, there are lamb crop best practices that will benefit every flock. Most sheep producers will be able to identify at least three of the 12 best practices that will help them gain efficiency and improve profitability.

For example, the lamb crop best practice topics include optimizing nutrition, selecting prolific genetics, culling underperforming ewes, pregnancy testing, disease prevention and reducing lamb loss. Another best practice involves breeding ewe lambs at the age of seven to nine months so they lamb at or near their first birthday. Research shows ewes that give birth to their first lamb before they are yearlings tend to be more productive throughout their lifetime compared to those that first lamb as yearlings. Yet, Redden points out, in this case, the specific practice requires management considerations that may not be an option for every flock.

"Our team recognizes that some of the lamb crop best practices mean challenging the status quo. Yet, that is what is required to take action so the U.S. lamb industry can be more competitive," Redden says.

Key indicators have also been developed to help identify which lamb crop best practices will be most beneficial for various production styles. For example, a range flock should have no more than seven to 10 percent of dry ewes, whereas a farm flock should have no more than five to seven percent.

"Best practices are an important way to implement the changes identified in the U.S. Lamb Industry Roadmap. These best practices will help increase demand while driving profitability for all industry segments," concluded Patton.

DuPont Reports Lower Sales in 2015

DuPont announced fourth-quarter sales were $5.3 billion, down 9 percent versus prior year due to negative impacts from currency (8 percent) and volume (1 percent). Full-year sales were $25.1 billion, down 12 percent versus prior year due to negative impacts from currency (7 percent), portfolio (2 percent) and volume (3 percent).

For its agriculture division, the company reported an operating loss of $54 million resulting in $188 million lower operating earnings as increases in local price and cost reductions and continued productivity improvements were more than offset by a $139 million negative currency impact and about a $30 million negative impact from the continued shutdown of the LaPorte manufacturing facility. Prior year results benefited from a timing impact from performance-based compensation adjustments and $36 million in gains from portfolio actions.

On Dec. 11, 2015, DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that their boards of directors unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which the companies will combine in an all-stock merger of equals. The combined company will be named DowDuPont. The merger is expected to close in the second half of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and approval by both Dow and DuPont shareholders.

Save the dates for World Pork Expo 2016, June 8-10

It’s not too early to plan to attend the 2016 World Pork Expo on June 8-10, held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa. Brought to you by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), World Pork Expo features the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, educational seminars, swine shows and sales, and an opportunity to interact with a wide range of pork professionals.

“World Pork Expo’s extensive trade show makes it easy to shop and compare new products and technologies for use on the farm,” says Ron Prestage, D.V.M., NPPC president and South Carolina pork producer. “It’s also an exceptional place to experience educational seminars about what’s happening in Washington, D.C., herd-health strategies, the market outlook and export prospects. The bottom line: anyone who does not attend Expo will have to play serious catch up to remain informed about issues and new developments affecting their businesses.”

Last year, 23,085 attendees from 48 countries participated in this three-day exposition, including more than 1,100 international guests. Looking ahead, NPPC organizers expect a similar showing in 2016.

World Pork Expo’s global flavor is further evident in the trade show with more than 310,000 square feet of commercial exhibits from hundreds of companies throughout the world. Expo’s trade show hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, and Thursday, June 9. On Friday, June 10, the trade show is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

An ever-popular feature at Expo is the free educational programming on Wednesday and Thursday. Pork producers and their employees can learn about new auditing programs, business strategies, animal well-being research, herd management and much more. Both the business seminars and PORK Academy include question-and-answer opportunities with the expert presenters.

Live hogs will be on display in the swine barn throughout Expo week, with the World Pork Expo Junior National kicking off on Monday, June 6. Hosted by the by the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA) and Team Purebred, the Junior National offers a Skillathon, judging contests and certification programs. In 2015, 975 youth from 29 states took part in the educational programs, competitions and hog shows. In all, 2,200 hogs were shown, marking a 38 percent increase from the previous year.

Open shows will take place on Friday, June 10, with breeding stock sales following on Saturday morning, June 11.

The opportunity for pork professionals to interact and exchange ideas has become an increasingly valuable part of World Pork Expo, and MusicFest offers just the setting. On Thursday afternoon, attendees can meander along the Grand Concourse, listen to live music, and enjoy grilled pork and refreshments.

A visit to Expo would not be complete without a stop at the Big Grill. Each day of Expo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., attendees can enjoy a free pork lunch. Last year, the Big Grill served up 10,000 pork lunches during Expo.

“A benefit of attending Expo that can be hard to measure is the opportunity for pork producers to visit and share ideas, as well as having an opportunity talk to NPPC board members and staff one-on-one,” Prestage says. “Anyone with a vested interest in pork production would find that attending Expo is time well-spent.”

For details about event schedules and the latest information on room availability at official World Pork Expo hotels, visit From Feb. 1 through June 2, attendees can register online at the discounted rate of $10 per adult (ages 12 and up), which covers all three days of Expo. On-site registration will be $20 per adult, with a special rate of $10 for people arriving on Friday.

Other ways to stay up-to-date include connecting with World Pork Expo on Facebook, following Expo on Twitter (@NPPCWPX, #WPX16), and downloading the free mobile app by searching for “World Pork” in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or BlackBerry App World.

If you are shopping for new products and services, are interested in the latest production and management information, or want to compare notes with fellow pork producers, make plans today to attend the 2016 World Pork Expo, June 8-10.

World Pork Expo, the world's largest pork-specific trade show, is brought to you by NPPC. On behalf of its members, NPPC develops and defends export markets, fights for reasonable legislation and regulation, and informs and educates legislators. For more information, visit


Beck Ag,, a leader of experience-sharing and market influence in the Ag industry, announces the acquisition of agriculture assets of Adayana Agribusiness Group, to expand the company's solution portfolio and diversify its customer base.

Founded in 1979, Adayana ABG is a highly respected institution in the global agriculture industry, with a focus on strategy and management consulting, and learning solutions delivery.

Adayana ABG COO J.T. Metzger: "We are excited to join the company with some of the strongest relationships with Ag Professionals in the industry. We see great opportunities for the combined company to add value for our clients."

The purchase strengthens Beck Ag's ability to strategically support clients. It diversifies the customer base and broadens capabilities as the company helps clients achieve measurable results by changing behaviors in the marketplace and ultimately accelerating the buying cycle.

For nearly 20 years, Beck Ag has built the industry's leading experience-sharing and market influence organization. Over the past three years, the company has made significant investments in:
     • Market Instruction - Facilitated experiential learning solutions
     • Market Intelligence - Through Ag IQ™ Customer Data solutions
     • AgInsight® - Market Research solutions

Beck Ag President and CEO, Stephanie Liska: "This acquisition enhances our ability to bring more comprehensive solutions to our clients, to measurably impact their business results."

The purchase adds depth in strategic consulting and learning management solutions, as well as bringing dozens of seasoned professionals to Beck Ag's already strong bench of Ag experts.

Adayana Agribusiness Group brings expertise in:

     • Strategy and Management Consulting - Helping Ag businesses define, clarify and implement through measurable objectives, building relationships with customers, channel partners, employees and stakeholders.

     • Learning Solutions and Delivery - Helping organizations learn through customized programs that blend instructor-led training, e-learning and mobile learning. This acquisition significantly raises the bar for Beck Ag in this area, bringing people with decades of experience in this space.

Beck Ag Founder, John Finegan: "The additional capabilities brought by the acquisition give us more depth in meeting the dynamic needs of the industry globally. Our combined clients include leading companies and trade organizations in the equipment, crop protection, fertilizer, seed, finance, animal health, Ag tech/precision technologies and energy sectors of agribusiness. We're excited to make an even bigger difference in the future of agriculture."