Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday September 29 Ag News


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Animal Science is hosting its annual Dr. Kenneth and Caroline Eng Trust Fund Symposium at noon, Oct. 5-6, at the Cornhusker Hotel, 333 S. 13th St., Lincoln, Neb.

This two-day symposium, co-hosted by Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University, begins at noon Oct. 5 and ends at 1 p.m. Oct. 6.

Its purpose is to present new research findings on improvements of beef cow efficiency and profitability by intensive and semi confined production systems by universities through grants provided by the Dr. Kenneth and Caroline trust fund.

"There continues to be growing interest in incorporating some intensive management into cowherds. As producers consider this, there are several management considerations they need to think through. The Eng Conference is a great place to find research based information on it,” said Karla Jenkins, UNL associate professor and range management cow/calf specialist.

Speakers and topics to be discussed are:
    Karla Jenkins, UNL – current cow/calf systems research focused on stalk grazing plus confinement
    Terry Klopfenstein, UNL – effects of early weaning on cow and calf efficiency
    Galen Erickson, UNL – response to systems of feeding calves from confined cows to slaughter
    Jason Sawyer, TAMU – Do antimicrobials contribute to sustainable beef production?
    Tyron Wickersham, TAMU – comparison of beef cow feeding scenarios, decision support for cow-calf producers 
    Kenneth Eng – merging cow-calf and feedlot operations
    Miles Redden, OSU – energy requirements of lactating beef cows managed in controlled environment systems
    David Lalman, OSU – matching cows to the environment
    Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef – producing and marketing branded beef for improved profits

RSVP by Oct. 4 at General registration is $150, however, pre-registration is $125. The registration form may be used to purchase Dr. Eng’s books, “Poetic Memories of Old Friends, Old Flames, and Tales We Can Tell” and “Just Started Small and Got Lucky.”

For more information, please visit or contact Karla Jenkins at 308-622-1245.

The Dr. Kenneth & Caroline Eng (-K-) Trust Fund was established in 2011 by Kenneth in memory and as a legacy to his wife, Caroline, who loved life, cattle and cattle people, and to provide research money to universities to study cow/calf efficiency. Through development and adoption of technologies that reduce cost of feed, the long-term economic sustainability of the U.S. beef industry cow-calf sector will improve. Kenneth is from San Antonio, Texas, and has had a long career as a rancher and consulting feedyard nutritionist.

Addressing Feedlot Lameness - Norfolk, NE, Oct 12, 2016

Bonita Lederer, NE Cattlemen Director of Producer Education

The Production Animal Consultation group and Zinpro Corporation are pleased to host a one day program focused on preventing lameness issues in feedlots.  The program titled “Addressing Feedlot Lameness” will be held Wednesday, October 12th, at the Pohlman Agriculture Complex in Norfolk, Nebraska.  The program was designed to be very practical and is aimed at an audience of feedyard managers and cattle crew managers.

Registration will be exclusively through the web link pasted below.  If you plan on attending please register early.  The facility will limit attendance to 100 participants and we expect the registration will fill quickly.  Register at


Al Juhnke – Executive Director, Nebraska Pork Producers Association

October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pork producers and share their stories with consumers.

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association (NPPA) is a grassroots, incorporated, non-profit organization established in 1961. Our mission statement, “Serving Nebraska’s Pork Industry - Responsible people. Sustainable Pork.” reflects our ongoing commitment to family farmers and communities across the state.  We work every day to promote the pork industry through the enhancement of consumer  demand, producer education and research.

Our pork producers make important contributions to our rural agricultural economy.  Nebraska is the 6th largest pork production state in the U.S. with more than 3.1 million pigs raised, generating over $1 billion in annual receipts. Pig operations come in all sizes and production methods, and provide good paying jobs helping to boost the economic health in rural areas.

The benefits of our local farm production are felt beyond our borders. Pork is consumed by more people worldwide than any other meat. Nebraska and U.S. pork producers help to feed these people by exporting about 25% of what we produce to other countries. We are proud of the healthy sustainable pork we produce and the rest of the world looks to us for a safe nutritious product.

Swine production has been a part of our country’s history for a long time. During the Revolutionary War, General Washington secured salt pork from New Jersey which was shipped behind British lines to Valley Forge to feed the hungry Continental Army in the winter of 1776 to 1777. Today, pork tenderloin is recognized as a ‘heart healthy’ food and is served on plates across our nation as part of a balanced diet.

So, whether your favorite pork product is ham, ribs, chops, tenderloin or bacon (who doesn’t like bacon), this month we recognize the people who produce this food. These Nebraska family farmers are proud members our communities, our neighbors, and our friends. We recognize their many contributions and thank them for all they do!


Platte Valley Distillers has closed on $20 million in New Markets Tax Credit capacity from CEI Capital Management LLC, enabling the company to begin manufacturing high-quality feed for livestock out of distillers grain using a proprietary, patented new process.

Distillers grain is an agricultural byproduct of ethanol and grain production. Platte Valley Distillers will use its licensed and innovative technology to capture the protein-rich elements from ethanol production and process it into feed cube and pellet products for livestock. The company will focus on direct manufacture, and expand adoption of the technology to other licensed facilities through the manufacture and refurbishment of production equipment.

Platte Valley Distillers’ business is not only a boon to the farmers and ranchers who will able to purchase their product, but also to the surrounding community of Lexington, where it will increase jobs, serve as signal of stability in the community, and provide opportunities for future growth and expansion, especially in the agricultural technology sector. The new operation is projected to add 14 full-time equivalent jobs. The financing includes an additional community benefit toward the creation of the next generation of ag-tech workers through a $50,000 scholarship fund for qualifying students.  

“Platte Valley Distillers is converting a byproduct into treasure for employees, its community, the agri-business industry, and ultimately, consumers who benefit with foodstuff having better nutritional value,” said CEI Capital Management CEO Charlie Spies. “The New Markets Tax Credit program is helping this company bring an idea to reality, put people to work in a rural community, and build a sustainable business model. This is a perfect example of the triple bottom line mission that guides our parent organization, CEI.”

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation provided the New Market Tax Credits equity with Lincoln Savings Bank providing the debt financing for the transaction.

“This project is a wonderful combination of job creation and environmental sustainability that will benefit the Lexington area for years to come. We were happy to be part of the team that helped bring this effort to life," said Steve Kramer, senior vice president of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.

Interactive Map Helps Tell The Story of Grain Export Value To U.S. Economy

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) launched this week an interactive online map showing the value of U.S. grain exports to farmers and the economies of each U.S. state.

The new tool is available at

A recent study commissioned by USGC and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) showed that exports of U.S. corn and corn products generated $74.7 billion in annual economic output in 2014, with sales of all U.S. feed grain products contributing $82 billion.

The study offered details of these results by state and selected Congressional districts, showing results for corn, ethanol and its byproduct distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn gluten feed and the corn equivalent of meats, in addition to sorghum and barley.

Now these results are available in an online map format, where users can click on their own state or district, explore the results for each crop and share the information on social media.

Results are also displayed in the map by export value and value of total production.

In addition to social media share graphics, PDF briefers with detailed information for each state and covered Congressional districts are also available through the map portal.

House Passes Water Resources Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5303, the Water Resources and Development Act of 2016 (WRDA 2016), late Wednesday, by a vote of 399-25. The National Corn Growers Association thanks the House for making the bill a priority during the short September legislative session.

"Farmers and ranchers need to be able to get their products to market quickly and safely, and inland waterways are a critical part of that process for much of the country. The Water Resources Development Act helps maintain and modernize our inland waterways infrastructure and plays a vital role in moving corn to export markets," said NCGA First Vice President Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas.

A main focus of the WRDA 2016 bill is clearing the backlog of projects at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It also provides more than $10 billion in funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop, maintain and support the nation's port and waterways infrastructures.

"We would like to thank Congressman Bob Gibbs of Ohio, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, for his leadership and continued support for our inland waterways system," said Spurlock.

The next step for WRDA 2016 is a conference of the House and Senate bills, with a potential final bill ready to be signed by the President by the end of the year.

Senate Ratifies Plant Genetics Treaty

The Senate passed the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on Wednesday evening.

The American Soybean Association (ASA) supported passage and ratification of the Treaty. In February, ASA President Richard Wilkins wrote to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) to express support, noting that it “establishes uniform terms for the exchange of plant materials which provide the greatest certainty to public sector plant breeders and seed companies.” The Treaty was signed by the U.S. in 2002.

Many crops grown in the U.S. rely on genetic diversity from other countries, in fact, few crops originated in North America. Today, 139 countries have ratified the Treaty, many of which are key competitors with the U.S. in international seed markets.  Even without ratification, U.S. companies, universities and government agencies are impacted by the Treaty, and must abide by its legally binding material transfer agreement in order to access critical, international germplasm. Ratification of the bipartisan Treaty requires no changes in existing U.S. laws and no additional appropriations.

Congress Approves Continuing Resolution Keeping Government Open until December

After weeks of political wrangling, the Senate and House of Representatives acted on a continuing resolution to enable government operations to continue at largely FY 2016 levels until December 9, 2016.  When Congress acts on CRs, Congressional leaders will usually minimize the inclusion of any extraneous provisions.  The debate this time around centered around the inclusion of funding to combat the Zika virus, respond to flooding in Louisiana, and fix the water infrastructure system in Flint, MI following the lead contamination disaster. The question of how to address funding for Flint ended up being one of the last sticking points preventing completion of the CR.  Following a failed procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday, House leadership agreed to allow for consideration of an amendment providing funding for Flint as part of Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  With that step being taken, the CR was able to move forward through both the Senate and the House on Wednesday, ultimately meaning the government will not shut down come October 1.

With action on the CR now complete, this will set up the need for action on another CR or an omnibus appropriations bill during the Lame Duck session of Congress following the election.  The National Assoc. of Wheat Growers is focused on a number of priorities in an omnibus appropriations bill, including ensuring there are no cuts to crop insurance or other areas of the Farm Bill, increased funding for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative (as was included in the House and Senate versions of the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill) and the Small Grains Genomic Initiative, limitations on funding for implementation of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, sufficient funding for FSA loan programs, and funding for a study required by the new GMO labeling law, among other priorities.

House and Senate Co-Sponsors Needed on Biodiesel Tax Credit Extension

The American Soybean Association (ASA) continues efforts to get Congress to take up a tax extenders package that includes extension and restructuring of the biodiesel tax credit before it expires at the end of 2016. This week, ASA joined with a diverse group of over 50 organizations and industries in a letter to Congress, urging action on multi-year extension of the tax provisions slated to expire.

Current House Sponsors/Cosponsors:
Noem (R-SD)
Pascrell (D-NJ)
Peterson (D-MN)
Loebsack (D-IA)
Blum (R-IA)
King (R- IA)
Young (R- IA)
Adrian Smith (R-NE)

Jason Smith (R-MO)
Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Wagner (R-MO)
Guthrie (R-KY)
Bishop (D-GA)
Takai (D-HI)
Kuster (D-NH)
Cicilline (D-RI)

Current Senate Sponsors/Cosponsors:
Grassley (R-IA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Blunt (R-MO)
Roberts (R-KS)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Thune (R-SD)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ernst (R-IA)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Kirk (R-IL)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Hirono (D-HI)
Murray (D-WA)
Franken (D-MN)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Markey (D-MA)

To bolster the case and support for the biodiesel tax credit, ASA wants to increase the number of cosponsors on the House and Senate marker bills. ASA encourages growers at the state level to contact their members of the U.S. House of Representatives and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 5240, introduced by Noem and Pascrell. Likewise, Senators are urged to cosponsor S. 3188 introduced by Sen. Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Cantwell (D-WA). These bills would provide a three year extension (2017-19) of the biodiesel tax credit and shift it from a blender’s to a production credit to further promote domestic biodiesel production. Under the current blender’s structure, biodiesel imported to the U.S. qualifies for the $1 per gallon incentive when it is blended in the U.S. – even when the imported fuel often already receives incentives in its country of origin. ASA and the U.S. biodiesel industry supports restructuring the tax incentive to a domestic producer’s credit, as proposed under H.R. 5240 ad S. 3188.

IGC Keeps Global Grain Output Forecast at 2.069B Tons

The International Grains Council kept its September forecast for 2016-17 global grains production unchanged at 2.069 billion metric tons on Thursday.

The harvest is set to be the biggest on record. The London-based IGC increased its forecast in each of the previous five months amid favorable weather conditions for crops in most of the world's major growing regions.

"A further upgrade for wheat is offset by reductions for coarse grains. This is mainly linked to maize (corn), as overly dry weather has affected crop prospects in the EU and China," the IGC said.

"The outlook for wheat is again cut for the EU, but this is outweighed by increases for Australia, Canada, China and Kazakhstan."

The IGC hiked its forecast for wheat production by 4 million tons to 747 million tons and cut its forecast for corn by 3 million tons to 1.027 billion tons. It sees soybean production 4 million tons higher at 329 million tons and rice production 2 million tons lower at 482 million tons.

The forecast for year-end grain stocks was also unchanged at 492 million tons.

Vilsack to Discuss Biobased Industry’s Impact on Rural Economy at National Press Club

On Monday, Oct. 3, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver remarks at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, DC. Vilsack will discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) historic investments into rural communities under the Obama Administration, in particular those made to support the biobased products industry. These investments are creating opportunity for the 50 million Americans who live in rural areas, and are building thriving rural economies for the long term.

During his remarks, Vilsack will also release new data demonstrating the tangible contributions that biobased products—which include plastics, chemicals and other everyday items made from plants or waste products—are making to our economy in terms of revenue and jobs created. These impacts are especially felt in rural communities, where the biobased industry is helping to bring back manufacturing jobs and spurring innovation, and it is one of the USDA’s four pillars for strong rural economies.

Vilsack has helped lead an effort to promote the domestic production and use of advanced biofuels to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural communities. Today, USDA’s BioPreferred program has an online catalog of more than 15,000 products, of which 2,700 have been certified to carry the USDA Biobased Product label. The increased use of biobased products currently displaces about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year – that’s the equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road. USDA support has also helped 21 states build nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations to strengthen the rural economy and increase the demand for agricultural commodities used in the production of biofuels, giving American consumers more options at the pump, while at the same time creating jobs and driving down fueling costs.

American Farm Bureau Insurance Services and Granular Announce Alliance To Simplify Crop Insurance

American Farm Bureau Insurance Services (AFBIS Inc.), a Managing General Agent (MGA) for Approved Insurance Providers (AIP's), has partnered with Granular, leading provider of farm management software, to streamline the crop insurance data collection and reporting processes for agents and their customers.

With the alliance, AFBIS agents will be able to get the production reports for their customers via Granular with just a few clicks, making it easier for all parties to share and get the information they need. Both companies have committed to developing automatic crop insurance reporting capabilities by the end of 2016, in advance of spring 2017 acreage and production reporting deadlines.

Based in San Francisco, Calif. and Champaign, Ill., Granular's farm management software helps farmers run more profitable businesses by enabling them to manage their operations and analyze their financials for each of their fields in real time. Granular also enables farmers to quickly create reports for third parties such as landowners, bankers, etc. Both Granular and AFBIS share a commitment to working with farmers and agents to strengthen the financial health and risk management of farm businesses through better reporting and more transparency.

"Granular works with the most technologically driven farms in the country, and their platform will allow us to uniquely deliver on our promise to make crop insurance easy," said Tim Green, vice president and general manager of AFBIS.

"We are thrilled to work with AFBIS to help their agents better partner with farmers to understand and manage risk, and do so in a way that doesn't involve hours of trying to collect and organize the right information," said Sid Gorham, co-founder and CEO of Granular. "It is great to see insurance leaders recognize the value that our software brings to their own customer relationships."

Feed the Herd, Not the Parasites

When it comes to keeping breeding stock healthy and performing, many producers automatically lean toward reproductive vaccines. But vaccines aren’t the only herd health protocol that can help ensure the reproductive performance of a herd, according to Gary Sides, PhD, managing nutritionist, Beef Strategic Technical Services at Zoetis.

“As beef producers head into fall, it’s important to remember that with parasites, the same effects you see in feedlot cattle also occur in the cow herd,” Sides said. “Producers can see reduced feed intake and less energy utilization. Heading into winter, cows trying to grow a fetus with a parasite load can bring down the body condition of those animals. It may even affect the subsequent reproduction of the cow.”

Additionally, Sides says, parasites can be responsible for depressed immune systems, making cattle more susceptible to disease challenges. When added to the losses from increased days to market and longer postpartum intervals, producers could be losing as much as $200 per head each grazing season they do not deworm cattle.1

What’s more, many producers think that cold winter weather will help kill parasites, like Ostertagia ostertagi, overwintering on pastures; however, this often is not the case. It has been shown that infective larvae were able to survive on Minnesota pastures during winter months.

“There is no reason to feed the cow, calf and the parasites,” Sides said. “If you deworm in the fall, you’re making sure you’re feeding only your cattle and not parasites.”

To control parasites Sides recommends producers look for broad-spectrum dewormers like DECTOMAX® (doramectin) products. DECTOMAX Pour-On or Injectable treats and controls Ostertagia ostertagi, also known as the brown stomach worm, for up to 21 days and is safe for pregnant cows, newborn calves and bulls.

Research has shown an advantage in parasite control for DECTOMAX. Stocker trials showed DECTOMAX Injectable controlled parasites to outgain cattle treated with ivermectin by up to 26 pounds.2 In a study comparing DECTOMAX Pour-On with ivermectin pour-on, the animals treated with DECTOMAX showed a 21-pound advantage in live weight at slaughter.3

“With DECTOMAX, the label claims for internal parasites and external parasites are superior,” Sides said. “That’s why I continue to recommend it.”

DECTOMAX Injectable has a 35-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. DECTOMAX Pour-On has a 45-day pre-slaughter withdrawal period. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. DECTOMAX has been developed specifically for cattle and swine. Use in dogs may result in fatalities.

CropLife America Elects Board Leaders and Honors Award Recipients at 2016 Annual Meeting

During the association’s 2016 Annual Meeting held this week in New Orleans, La., CropLife America (CLA) announced the results from the annual election of directors. “The work of our Board of Directors is imperative to making sure that farmers have access to crop protection technology today and in the future,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “The Board’s leadership continues to drive projects and priorities at CLA that take the association, as well as the ag industry, forward. We are grateful to each director for their commitment to the association, the industry, America’s farmers, and consumers worldwide.”

The current officers on the Board of Directors will continue to serve in 2017, including Diane Allemang, director of North America business development and global portfolio at FMC Corporation, as CLA’s 46th chair of the board. In addition, the following candidates were elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the term 2016-2019:
-    Andrew Bodane, Sipcam Agro USA, Inc.
-    Brendan Deck, NuFarm Americas, Inc.
-    Dave Tretter, Crop Production Services, Inc.
-    David Cassidy, Tessenderlo-Kerley, Inc.
-    Gregory Johnson, Fine Americas, Inc.
-    James Blome, Bayer
-    Jeff Bunting, GROWMARK, Inc.
-    Mark Ripato, Tenkoz, Inc.
-    Michael Steffeck, Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC
-    Spencer Vance, Albaugh, LLC
-    Vincente Gongora, United Phosphorus, Inc.

CLA also recognized exceptional member company employees, allies and staff with awards during the general session and farewell gala dinner on Tuesday, September 27. Award recipients were nominated by industry professionals and selected by CLA leadership.

Named for the association’s first and longest-serving president, the Lea S. Hitchner Service Award represents CLA’s greatest honor. The recipients of this year’s award were:
-    Iain Kelly, Bayer
-    Lisa Drake, Monsanto Company (retired)

Presidential Path to Leadership Award: Presented to those CLA members who have shown exemplary service as voluntary chairs of one or more CLA committees. This year, CLA honored three individuals with the Roosevelt Award (presented to those who have served one full, aggregate term leading a committee or Issues Management Team).
-    Aaron Whitsel, DuPont
-    Jason Gonzalez, DuPont
-    Ray Brinkmeyer, Dow AgoSciences

Workhorse Award: Recognizes significant and progressive contributions that support the crop protection industry as serving a key role in the production of a safe, affordable and abundant food supply for U.S. consumers.
-    Matt Kern, Waterborne Environmental
-    Kevin Henry, NovaSource / Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.
-    Jason Gonzalez, DuPont

State Legislative Award: Honors those who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the area of state legislative issues and who promote initiatives that preserve, protect and advance the ability of farmers to provide a safe, affordable and abundant food supply to America.
-    Senator Mac Middleton, Maryland
-    Ted McKinney, Indiana Department of Agriculture

Urbanowski Grassroots Award: Presented to non-member individuals who work to promote crop protection within communities and through grassroots activities.
-    Lynne Hoot, Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association
-    Lindsay Thompson, Delaware-Maryland Agribusiness Association

Agriculture Ambassador Award: Honors members of the media or allied organizations who have made a major contribution to the education of the public about crop protection and their contribution to a safe, affordable and abundant food supply.
-    Barb Glenn, National Association of Conservation Districts
-    Jim Gray, 2,4-D Taskforce
-    Bucky Kennedy, Southern Crop Production Association
-    Lisa Nichols, Crop Production Services

Chairman’s Award: Recognizes individuals within the CLA staff for exceptional service to member companies, the industry and the association.
-    Rebeckah Adcock, senior director, government affairs
-    Whitney Gray, coordinator, communications

“We are proud to honor the winners for their acumen, leadership and perservance to advancing crop protection technology and moving the industry forward,” continued Vroom. “The contributions of our members make CLA a leader in agriculture. Through an unwavering commitment to sound science, an openness to collaboration with partner organizations, and a willingness to go a step further and reach both consumers and growers, the association and its members continue to contribute to making the U.S. food system the most advanced in the world.”

Wednesday September 28 Ag News

U.S. Farm Economy Slumps into the Fourth Quarter
Nathan Kauffman, KC Fed Reserve Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive

The U.S. farm economy weakened further in the third quarter despite an upward revision to farm income projections. Following a brief rebound in crop prices in the second quarter, profit margins for crop producers deteriorated in August and September. Profit margins also remained poor in the cattle and dairy sectors. Agricultural credit conditions have weakened further as loan repayment problems have picked up steadily, and bankers throughout the Tenth Federal Reserve District have expressed increasing concerns about the softening farm economy spilling over to Main Street business activity in rural areas.

Farm Income

In August, expectations for 2016 farm income were revised up modestly from the February forecast, but income was still expected to decline notably from a year ago. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August revision can be interpreted as both positive and negative for the farm sector. On the positive side, farm income expectations for 2015 and 2016 were revised up by 43 percent and 31 percent, respectively. On the negative side, however, the expected decline in farm income from 2015 to 2016 widened from 3 percent earlier in the year to 11 percent in the most recent report. Essentially, farm income was higher than initially forecasted, but the deterioration from a year ago is now believed to be sharper than expected.

The improvement in farm income expectations was largely due to downward revisions in production costs for the farm sector as revenue expectations continued to weaken. Whereas cash receipts in the crop sector generally were expected to remain unchanged in February, the revision in August pointed to a decline of about 4 percent from a year ago. Similarly, in the livestock sector, the August report predicted a 10 percent drop in cash receipts from a year ago, slightly more than expected in February. Production costs for 2016, however, were also revised lower and more than offset the more pessimistic outlook for revenue. Total production expenses in the farm sector were anticipated to be more than 7 percent less than expected earlier in the year, with much of this adjustment coming from a reduction in capital outlays.

Profit Margins

Although U.S. farm income expectations were revised up in August, profit margins for many producers of major U.S. agricultural commodities weakened significantly in the third quarter. In the crop sector, the range of average monthly prices throughout 2016 has left very few opportunities for producers to sell at a profit (Charts 4a – 4d). Since 2013, profit margins have dropped precipitously for corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton, and both wheat and corn prices were hovering at or near 10-year lows in September.

Profit margins in the livestock sector have also dropped sharply over the past few years. In the cattle sector, losses at feedlots have persisted in 2016, following extreme losses toward the end of 2015. Profit margins have also remained weak in the dairy sector, and have narrowed considerably in the cow/calf sector following two consecutive years of strong profits. Among the major livestock markets, only profit margins in the hog sector generally have been positive in 2016, although prices were near breakeven toward the end of the third quarter.

Credit Conditions and Spillovers

The downturn in the agricultural economy has continued to affect credit conditions in the sector. From 2010 to 2014, borrowers had few problems repaying loans. Since 2014, though, bankers in the Tenth Federal Reserve District have consistently reported an increase in the severity of loan repayment problems. As of the second quarter of this year, Tenth District bankers indicated that more than 7 percent of their agricultural loans were experiencing either “major” or “severe” repayment problems, an increase from just 4 percent in 2015.

Bankers in the Kansas City Fed District also continued to point to spillover effects from the softening farm economy to Main Street business activity. As the downturn in the farm economy began in earnest in 2014, only 40 percent of District bankers indicated that the downturn was having a negative effect on their broader business environment at that time. Halfway through 2016, however, more than 80 percent of District bankers had indicated the downturn was causing ripple effects on Main Street in their rural lending area.


The outlook for the farm economy has continued to worsen through 2016, despite some occasional rebounds in income and profit margins. As 2016 winds down, there will be increasing focus on the outlook for 2017 and likely more questions about the ability of some producers to continue to operate after experiencing losses for multiple consecutive years. Many producers have relied more heavily on short-term financing and restructured debt to get through 2016, but if the outlook for cash flow remains poor during the next loan renewal season, some producers may need to consider more aggressive alternatives to shore up depleted working capital.

Top companies worldwide recognized for beef excellence

Chef and consumer demand for great-tasting beef continues to rise, and companies around the globe are intent on satisfying their needs with delicious, nutritious beef. At this year’s Certified Angus Beef® Annual Conference, held in Tucson, these beef companies were honored for dedication to excellence. The packers, processors and distributors gathered with family Angus cattle ranchers to nurture their focus on delivering premium beef.

“We are proud to partner with these companies and congratulate their ongoing successes,” says John Stika, the beef brand’s president. “Every time they recommend the Certified Angus Beef® brand, they embrace our family ranching heritage and dedication to quality from farm to table.”

    Greater Omaha Packing, Omaha, Neb., was recognized with the Fabricator Proficiency Award for most pounds of beef sold per certified carcass during the year. A longtime leader in carcass utilization, Greater Omaha works with customers worldwide to supply their beef product needs. Newly added capabilities for ground beef production helps further improve utilization, and simplifies logistics for customers. Greater Omaha also assists the brand in educating chefs and retailers by hosting plant tours.

    National Beef Packing Company, based in Kansas City, Mo., was named the Packer Marketer of the Year. While a company-wide 27% increase in sales this year reflects National Beef’s focus on the Certified Angus Beef ® brand, behind-the-scenes dedication makes it possible. This team procures high-quality cattle with Angus influence and sets weekly records for carcasses certified and product sold. Top-down leadership supports the brand, which includes offering Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime and helping educate the brand’s customers through in-plant video footage and research. National Beef Dodge City, Kan., was recognized as the Top Sales Volume Fabricator and achieved Four Million Head Certified since the location began offering the brand of beef.

    JBS-USA, based in Greeley, Colo., received the honor of International Packer Marketer of the Year. Through its global perspective, JBS-USA takes an active role in customer success. One example is JBS’s support of the Certified Angus Beef ® brand product launch at Calimax, a retailer in Mexico. JBS and Calimax leaders participated in a marketing planning session at the brand’s culinary center in Wooster, Ohio, and introduced single-packed culottes in stores. Billboards and product demonstrations led customers to the meat case and added to the company’s success in Mexico and beyond. JBS USA-Greeley received a Top Sales Volume Fabricator award and was honored for Three Million Head Certified since it first began offering the brand of beef. JBS-USA Dumas, Texas, was recognized for One Million Head Certified.

    Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, Kan., is the Top Sales Volume International Packer. Cargill continued to excel in sales worldwide, with the majority of products going to restaurants and stores in Canada, the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s top destination outside of the United States. Through the team’s understanding of growth potential in Mexico, Cargill also hosted a plant tour for customers and participated in distributor events. Cargill Meat Solutions - Schuyler, in Nebraska, was named a Top Sales Volume Fabricator and achieved Four Million Head Certified since it first began offering the brand of beef.
    Schweid and Sons, Carlstadt, N.J., received the Value-added Products Marketer of the Year. The family-run company continues to expand focus into the retail meat case with Certified Angus Beef ® brand ground beef and burgers. Schweid and Sons helps sponsor events like the New York City Burger Week and the Boston and New York Battle of the Burger to bring focus to the brand. The company also highlights the brand in trend reports and weekly podcasts. Active social media and their “This is not a Hamburger Cookbook” also inform consumers about top-quality burgers and preparation tips.

    Wolverine Packing Company, Detroit, Mich., remains the Top Sales Volume Ground Beef Processor. Wolverine is an expert at serving chains and worked closely with the brand to pursue new business. Energized marketing and new resources made an impact at food shows. The team also attended in-depth training and supported customer and chef education.

    Freedman Meats, The Colony, Texas, received two awards: Top Sales Volume Processor and Top Processor Sales Volume Increase. Customers of Freedman Meats know that Certified Angus Beef ® brand fajita meat is always in season. Freedman pursued business with restaurant chains and delivered seasoned cuts to foodservice distributors throughout the country to achieve a 50% gain in sales. Staff participated in educational programs to bring new menu ideas to restaurants and health services.

    Macgregors Meat & Seafood, Toronto, Ontario, received the International Value-added Products Marketer of the Year award. Macgregors’ 44th Street product line made with Certified Angus Beef ® brand product is popular in Canada, where pot roast became the brand’s top-selling value-added item in the market this year. The branded beef logo is prominently featured on packaging and in radio spots. Macgregors enjoyed a 30 percent increase in sales, marking its 25th year offering Certified Angus Beef ® brand products.

    Sysco International Food Group, Jacksonville, Fla., earned the Top Sales Volume Exporter recognition. The Sysco International Food Group made key connections with restaurants and chefs in global markets. The team featured Certified Angus Beef ® brand fresh-cut steaks and boxed beef at the Gulfood Show and held a training session for the local distributor’s sales team. Through the company’s focus in the Middle East, educational programs were also held for distributors, and numerous restaurant accounts were visited to discuss beef quality and best cuts.

    Alyasra Food Company, in Sufat, Kuwait, was named the International Distributor Marketer of the Year. Alyasra focuses on leading the Middle East market as a food solutions provider. Educational programs help the staff and customers better understand beef quality and choose the best cuts for menus. Alyasra also hosted a Certified Angus Beef ® brand cook-off and encouraged participation in the brand’s International Chef Summit with leading chefs from around the world. Comprehensive marketing strategies also raise brand recognition among customers and consumers.

    Atlantic FS S.A.S., Medellin, Colombia, received the International Commitment to Integrity award. Atlantic serves premier restaurants in the market and helps them menu premium beef that receives acclaim. The staff works closely with customers to clearly identify the Certified Angus Beef ® brand on the menu, and is a world leader in ensuring the brand’s genuine quality.

Iowa State, Chevron to Develop Pilot Plant, Advance Biofuels

Iowa State University's Lysle Whitmer walked the length of the bio-oil production line -- from the 55-gallon solvent tank to the twin-screw extruder with its mixing, chopping, heating and pressurizing functions to the reactor in the middle and then to the product separators and the solvent recycling system.

Whitmer, the senior thermochemical research engineer for Iowa State's Bioeconomy Institute, said it takes special expertise to make all those operations work together.

"This is the culmination of everything we've learned about building pilot plants in the past 10 years," he said. "This is really a gem that represents everything we've learned thus far."

This latest pilot plant at Iowa State's BioCentury Research Farm is a joint project with Chevron U.S.A. University engineers are using the pilot plant to develop and demonstrate an advanced biorenewables technology called solvent liquefaction. The technology converts biomass such as quarter-inch wood chips into a bio-oil that can be processed into fuels or chemicals and a biochar that can enrich soils.

The project is supported by a four-year, $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Biomass Research and Development Initiative, obtained by Iowa State.

The Chevron-Iowa State collaboration began in 2013 when the company moved its $1.4 million Small Continuous Liquefaction Unit from Houston to the research farm just west of Ames. The company was looking for a research partner to develop the plant for continuous production and to build a system for recycling solvent back into the production process.

As part of the agreement, Chevron has donated the pilot plant to Iowa State.

"Our modular approach to the plant design allowed for a fair amount of prototyping and proof-of-concept experiments along the way," said Martin Haverly, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering and the lead design engineer for the project. "The system is a blend of commercially available products and custom solutions, all tied together at an industrially relevant scale. All of these efforts helped us end up where we are now, with a safe and functioning pilot plant."

"Chevron's internal and university-partnered R&D activities have been very successful in obtaining fundamental knowledge that enabled us to rapidly climb the biofuels learning curve," said Rick Powell, general manager of Downstream & Chemicals, Fuels and Products Strategy. "Programs such as the one with Iowa State help Chevron map the competitive landscape, deselect technically or economically unfeasible feedstock and technology options, and identify preferred paths for commercial collaboration."

"This pilot plant is like a mini commercial system," said Robert C. Brown, the director of the Bioeconomy Institute and an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering. "A good pilot plant has all of the unit operations that take biomass to a product. It's a big engineering challenge to tie all the steps together and have them operate in concert."

The solvent liquefaction technology used in the pilot plant was initially developed by Chevron. The process begins with a proprietary solvent that's mixed with wood chips or other solid biomass. The mixture is processed under moderate temperatures and pressures and the resulting slurry is extruded into a reactor.

After heating in the reactor, production is split into two processing streams: The upper handles gases and vapors, the lower handles liquids and small amounts of solids. A series of filters and separators along both streams recovers bio-oil, small amounts of biochar and solvent for recycling.

The process produces a bio-oil that is low in oxygen and therefore more stable than other bio-oils.

"With the work Chevron did, this looked like it could be a very cost-effective method for producing biofuels," said Ryan Smith, the deputy director of the Bioeconomy Institute's Thermochemical Research Group. "But many of the unit operations hadn't been tested, so the team has been working to design and optimize these operations."

Whitmer said the engineers have now demonstrated the viability of every one of the pilot plant's operations. They're still working to efficiently and simultaneously run all the operations.

The pilot plant operates about once a week, Whitmer said. It can process about a pound of biomass every hour and typically runs for 15 to 18 hours at a time.

Brown said the project's next steps could include working with new feedstocks to create high-value, biorenewable chemicals.

Project leaders said they're pleased with the pilot plant's progress so far.

"Our collaboration with Chevron has been extremely productive," Brown said. "Our previous experience in thermochemical processing of biomass combined with Chevron's expertise in process engineering and upgrading of oils has allowed us to meet the several challenges of developing a new technology."


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that approximately $350,000 in uncommitted funds are now available through the “Fueling Our Future 100” initiative.  Interested retailers in Iowa can apply for cost share funding to assist with the purchase and installation of blender pumps and underground storage tank (UST) infrastructure for higher blends of ethanol.

Applications must be received at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s office by 4 p.m. on Friday, October 14, 2016.  Pumps and tanks funded through this round of funding for the program are required to be operational by the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2017.

“Iowa retailers have shown a willingness to invest in infrastructure to deliver renewable fuels and customers have shown they are interested in choosing to increase the amount of clean burning, homegrown renewable fuels they use.  Through this program we have supported the installation of more than 200 blender pumps and 16 underground storage tanks and now have some additional funds to add even more,” Northey said.

Iowa received a $5 million competitive grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program to support the initiative.  These funds must be matched by non-federal funds, including $2.5 million from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP).  The fueling sites applying for assistance will also be required to provide a minimum of $2.5 million.

Pumps and tanks funded through this program are required to be in operations for the intended purpose of dispensing higher blends of ethanol for at least 5-years from the date they enter service.

More information about the program, a copy of the application and other materials can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at under “Hot Topics.”

This program is a partnership across state government, including collaboration between the Governor’s office, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa Economic Development Authority.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks Build, Output Up

The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday U.S. ethanol stocks increased last week from a nine-week low and domestic plant production unexpectedly rose while blending demand tumbled to a near four-month low.

EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed domestic fuel ethanol inventories jumped 600,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.8%, to 20.6 million bbl during the week-ended Sept. 23 that boosted a year-over-year surplus to 1.8 million bbl or 9.6%.

Plant production climbed 8,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 0.8%, to 989,000 bpd last week, while up 46,000 bpd, or 4.9%, versus a year earlier. Trade sources expected output to fall due to autumn maintenance. For the four weeks ended Sept. 23, domestic ethanol production averaged 993,000 bpd, 43,000 bpd or 4.5% above the comparable year-ago period.

Net refiner and blender inputs of ethanol, a measure for demand, eased for the third straight week last week, falling 13,000 bpd, or 1.4%, to 907,000 bpd during the week-ended Sept. 23, the lowest blending rate since June 3 when inputs averaged 904,000 bpd.

Year over year, refiner and blender inputs are up 26,000 bpd or 3.0%. The four-week average blender input rate through Sept. 23 is up 34,000 bpd or 3.8% year-over-year at 921,000 bpd.

Proposed Estate Tax Regulations Threaten Family Businesses

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association along with more than 3,800 organizations and family-owned enterprises sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew adamantly opposing and asking for withdrawal of the newly proposed estate tax regulations by the Department of Treasury. The proposed regulations under section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code would permanently change estate planning for families that own a controlling interest in a privately-held entity.

“The proposed guidance is one of the most sweeping changes to estate tax policies in the last 25 years and would be detrimental to active enterprises and family-owned businesses that employ millions of workers throughout the nation,” the letter reads. “In particular, these rules would impose significant new tax costs on family-owned businesses, diverting capital from business investment, costing jobs and threatening the ability of families to pass businesses on to the next generation of owners.”

Danielle Beck, NCBA director of government affairs, said the regulations would eliminate or greatly reduce available valuation discounts for family-related entities, which in turn increase the tax associated with common transfers including inheritance.

“These proposed regulations would eliminate or greatly reduce marketability for family related entities, effectively discouraging families from continuing to operate or grow their businesses and pass them on to future generations,” said Beck. “Producers are often forced into selling land or cattle in order to pay the tax, and in some cases, are put out of business. The Administration is causing unnecessary economic harm to family businesses.”

NCBA urges the Department of Treasury to withdraw the proposed estate tax regulations.

Fertilizers Come Back to Earth

As has been the trend in recent weeks, retail fertilizer prices continued to decline the third week of September 2016, according to retailers tracked by DTN. All eight of the major fertilizers are lower compared to last month.

Leading the way lower again this week is 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer is 6% lower compared to a month earlier and averaged $470 per ton.

The remaining fertilizers were all lower compared to a month ago, but the move was slight. UAN28 averaged $225/ton, UAN32 averaged $271/ton, DAP averaged $443/ton, MAP $453/ton, potash $319/ton, urea $323/ton and anhydrous $494/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

All retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier.

10-34-0 is now down 20% while DAP, MAP and UAN32 are all 21% lower. Both anhydrous and UAN28 are now 24% lower, urea is down 25% and potash is 30% lower compared to a year prior.

Statement from U.S. DDGS Organizations On China Preliminary Determination in Countervailing Duties Investigation

A statement from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA):

“We are disappointed that the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM) has issued a preliminary determination claiming U.S. dried distiller’s grains with or without solubles (DDGS) are being unfairly subsidized by U.S. government entities and have caused injury to the China’s DDGS industry.

“U.S. DDGS have not caused any injury to China’s DDGS producers. This announcement is not a surprise given MOFCOM’s treatment of the U.S. DDGS industry last week.

"U.S. DDGS play an important role in protecting Chinese feed producers and households against unpredictable swings in global commodity prices.

"We will continue cooperating fully with these investigations, and we remain hopeful that MOFCOM will find in its final determination that continued access for U.S. DDGS is in China’s interest."

Biodiesel Takes a Bite Out of the Big Apple’s Carbon Emissions

The City of New York has taken another significant step in reducing the region’s carbon footprint by passing legislation today that incrementally displaces 20 percent of the heating oil sold within the city with cleaner-burning, sustainable, biodiesel.

“New York City is once again setting an example for the rest of the Northeast to follow by ensuring consumers are provided with the nation’s cleanest heating oil,” said Donnell Rehagen, Chief Operating Officer of the National Biodiesel Board. “Not only does biodiesel dramatically reduce carbon emissions, it reduces other harmful pollutants as well as smog, making New York’s air healthier to breathe.”

The bill, which was passed today by a 47-3 vote and is expected to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will increase the amount of biodiesel in heating oil in the City from the current two percent level to five percent October 1, 2017. The blend level then moves to 10 percent in 2025, 15 percent in 2030, and 20 percent in 2034.

A wide variety of organizations supported this important effort including the heating oil industry, labor organizations, and environmental stakeholders in the City.

“The New York Oil Heating Association has played a vital and vocal role in advocating for the increased use of Bioheat® fuel,” said Rocco Lacertosa, CEO of the New York Heating Oil Association (NYOHA). “We applaud the City Council for passing legislation that will reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in New York City and we commend our partners in the environmental and labor community for their dedication to this issue. Heating oil in New York City is already, by far, the cleanest heating oil sold anywhere in the United States. The new Bioheat requirement, starting at B5 and eventually going up to B20, is a necessary next step to promote a more sustainable fuel that will reduce our contribution to climate change while enhancing green job creation, encouraging energy independence and supporting local businesses.”

It is estimated that the increase from a two percent biodiesel blend to a five percent blend in the City would reduce the emissions equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road with the increase to 20 percent the equivalent of removing more than a quarter of a million cars.

Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement fuel. It is the first commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel.

The heating oil market isn’t New York’s only experience with biodiesel.

In 2013, New York City planned for their 9,000 diesel-powered municipal fleet vehicles to use biodiesel blends. It began with the Parks Department, which found compliance so easy it soon increased its biodiesel use to B20 in its vehicles. Other departments followed suit, including the Department of Sanitation, which began using biodiesel in all of its fleet vehicles. With Sanitation consuming 80 percent of New York City’s fleet fuel, its move to biodiesel has paid dividends. The City has experienced a 19 percent reduction in carbon emissions since 2005, on track to reach an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

Most Consumers Say They Lack Access to Information about Food, CFI Research Shows

More of today’s consumers crave information about food and how it’s produced – but the latest consumer trust research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) shows that most are hungry for more.  

Only 28 percent – or slightly more than one in four – strongly agree with the following statement: “I have access to all the information I want about where my food comes from, how it’s produced and its safety.”

“Having posed this question for eight straight years, we see that food system efforts are paying off as the long-term trend shows more consumers agreeing, but the overall number must rise if the goal is to earn consumer trust,” according to Charlie Arnot, CEO of CFI. “The industry still has work to do.”  

“Consumers have a right to know what is in their food and where it comes from,” said Deb Arcoleo, director of product transparency at The Hershey Company. Hershey is one company that has stepped up its transparency efforts, including being the first company to begin executing the new SmartLabel™ program last year. “What’s clear from CFI’s research is that transparency is the key to earning trust. It’s about creating an authentic dialogue and meeting consumers where they are.”

The results show that consumers want transparency in very specific areas, including impact of food on health, food safety, animal well-being and the environment.  

So how do the food and agriculture industries satisfy their appetites?

Consumers are crowdsourcing knowledge and relying on various sources, said Arnot, so there really is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Using a variety of ways to reach consumers consistently and for the long haul is important – through websites, social media, promotional campaigns and videos. The key is to make the information accessible and easy to understand, and to actively engage.

“If a consumer has to click several times to get to important information on your website, for example, if it’s too complex or if you fail to respond to consumer questions quickly, you’re falling short of their expectations.”

In other words, if consumers can’t easily access the information they’re looking for in language they understand, it may appear that either you don’t have a positive story to tell or you have something to hide.

“They simply want balanced, credible information so they can decide for themselves,” Arnot said.

Specifically, consumers want to see concrete examples of “practices,” which the research shows are most important to demonstrating transparency. Practices are a reflection of internal motivation, demonstrating values in action, and CFI’s trust model shows that demonstrating shared values is the foundation for building trust.

Consumers also want to know about challenges and corresponding efforts for continuous improvement. “They want the good, the bad and the ugly, and to know that you’re working to resolve issues important to them,” said Arnot.

The research shows that highlighting third-party verification is important, particularly when it comes to animal well-being and food safety. “Consumers feel a higher level of comfort knowing that a credible, objective third-party confirms your practices,” said Arnot.    

To satisfy consumers’ growing appetites, examine your communication and engagement strategies to determine if they are consistent, values-based and honest, and promote timely engagement. It’s an approach that has a powerful influence on your ability to earn consumer trust.

For more detailed information on transparency and trust, download CFI’s latest research: “A Clear View of Transparency and How it Builds Trust.” To learn how your organization can apply CFI’s research, contact CFI at

 Milbank Launches New Quick-Install Irrigation Pedestal to Save Operators Time and Money

Milbank Manufacturing, a U.S.-owned and operated energy management company known for high quality enclosures, has launched a new product line of irrigation pedestals designed specifically to address the needs of farm operators, large and small.

Feedback from operators showed that irrigation pedestal installations were often very time consuming and costly. Milbank's irrigation pedestal products solve both of those problems. First, pedestals can be installed quickly and simply – in a fraction of the time typically needed for strut farm and other installation setups. Milbank's pedestal takes less than an hour to install and can often be completed by a single technician. Because the pedestal is pre-wired, the installer simply lays the concrete slab, drops in the pedestal using the lifting eyes pre-installed, hooks the wires onto the lug landings and runs the wires out from the motor starter. What's more, the motor starter and disconnect are in the same enclosure, so all the controls are housed in a safe, lockable enclosure, saving space and protecting against vandalism and energy theft. Second, because of the pre-wiring from Milbank and the easy install, operators stand to save considerably on the install costs.

"Milbank's irrigation pedestal was built specifically based on operator's input. From the pre-wiring, to the size and shape of the enclosure, to the standard slab that comes as part of the package – it's built to be easy and provide a great return-on-investment," said Jay McMullen, senior product line manager for Milbank. "The standard pedestal also includes an extra two knockouts for mounting additional push buttons as well as 20-30 amp or 3-pole 480V class CC fuses so operators can wire in anything additional they'd like in that secure enclosure including technology that allows the operator to control the system via smart phones remotely. There's plenty of extra room in the box."

See how easy the Milbank irrigation pedestal is to install in this time-lapse video, read more here Irrigation Pedestal Brochure or visit

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday September 27 Ag News

United Soybean Board Appointments Increase to 73 Directors

The United Soybean Board (USB) will grow from 70 to 73 directors this winter to represent soybean production growth in Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin. New and returning farmer-leaders will be sworn in at USB’s annual meeting in St. Louis on Dec. 9. All appointees were nominated by their Qualified State Soybean Boards (QSSBs) and confirmed by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Sept. 26.

“Soybean farmers are at the heart and mission of the soy checkoff,” says Jared Hagert, USB chair and soybean farmer from Emerado, North Dakota. “To embody the farmer perspective, farmer-leaders from the soybean-growing region step up to volunteer their time and skills to maximize profit opportunities for their neighbors over the county line and across the country. It is through the expertise, vision and inspiration of these dedicated men and women that the checkoff can bring fresh, new ideas to grow innovation beyond the bushel.”

Appointed farmer-leaders include:  (*Indicates returning director)
• Nebraska: Gregg Fujan*
• Nebraska: Edward Lammers
• Iowa: Delbert Christensen*
• South Dakota: Lewis Bainbridge*
• Kansas: Ronald Ohlde*

• Kansas: Lance Rezac
• Arkansas: Derek Haigwood*
• Colorado: Grant Watermann* (Western Region)
• Delaware: Cory Atkins
• Illinois: Dan Farney*
• Illinois: Doug Winter*
• Indiana: David Lowe
• Indiana: Kevin Wilson*
• Louisiana: Charles Cannatella*
• Maryland: William Layton
• Michigan: Jim Domagalski*
• Michigan: David Williams*
• Minnesota: Gene Stoel
• Minnesota: Jim Willers*
• Mississippi: C. D. Simmons III*
• Mississippi: David Wansley*
• Missouri: Neal Bredehoeft
• Missouri: Meagan Kaiser
• New Jersey: Bill Bibus*
• New York: Ralph Lott*
• North Carolina: Jacob Parker*
• North Carolina: Benjamin Potter (2-year term)
• North Dakota: Jared Hagert*
• North Dakota: Darren Kadlec
• Ohio: Keith Kemp*
• Ohio: Steve Reinhard
• Oklahoma: Paul Fruendt*
• Pennsylvania: John Harrell
• Tennessee: John Dodson*
• Virginia: Cameron Gibson*
• West Virginia: Marty Kable (Eastern Region)
• Wisconsin: Nancy Kavazanjian*
• Wisconsin: Jennifer Poltermann
• Wisconsin: Dan Roe

Additionally, the following alternate directors were appointed:
• Colorado: Ross Watermann
• Delaware: Dallas Wright*
• New Jersey: Fred Catalano
• New York: Elizabeth Rudgers
• Oklahoma: Scotty Herriman

This year’s group of 39 appointees will join the other 34 farmer-leaders in directing soy checkoff funds to research, marketing and promotion efforts that increase soybean farmer profitability. To increase the value of U.S. soy, the checkoff works with partners in the value chain, from supply to marketplace to demand, to identify and capture opportunities that increase farmer profit potential.

Pig farmers connect farm to fork during October Pork Month

October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pork producers and share their stories with consumers.

"If you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day," said Iowa Pork Producers Association President Al Wulfekuhle, a pig farmer from Quasqueton. "October Pork Month is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. Our mission is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world."

In 2008, pork producers adopted six We Care ethical principles at the National Pork Industry Forum. The pork industry follows the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply. Producers are committed to:
-    Producing safe food;
-    Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices;
-    Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry's other ethical principles;
-    Contributing to a better quality of life in communities;
-    Protecting and promoting animal well-being; and
-    Ensuring practices to protect public health.

"The ethical principles define our values and who we are," Wulfekuhle said. "Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using these ethical principles."

Pork is the world's most widely eaten meat, representing 36 percent of all meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

According to Nielsen Perishable Group retail sales data for 52 weeks ending May 28, 2016, the top five most popular cuts sold are Center cut chops, Assorted Chops, Back Ribs, Spare Ribs and Tenderloins.

In terms of dollar sales, Center Cut Chops accounted for more than $1,002 billion, Assorted Chops $525 million, Back Ribs $411 million, Spare Ribs $237 million and Tenderloins at $177 million.

"Consumers recognize the versatility of serving pork in their homes," said Wulfekuhle. "Cook pork until the internal temperature reaches between 145 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest, this will ensure flavorful and tender pork on the plate."


The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has recognized the Iowa Avian Influenza Incident Management Team with the James A. Graham Award for Outstanding Service.  NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey nominated the Iowa team for the award.

“Staff throughout our Department and from across state government stepped up and help respond to this terrible animal disease outbreak.  This award is an opportunity to highlight the hard work and long hours they all put in to the response and thank them for their service.  I am extremely proud of the Iowa team and join my colleagues from across the country in congratulating them on receiving this award,” Northey said.

The award was presented at the NASDA annual meeting held in Lincoln, NE September 21 – 24.

The award citation read:

“The Iowa IMT leadership worked diligently throughout the entire 2015 H5N2 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in Iowa.

“This outbreak has been described by USDA APHIS leadership as the largest animal health emergency in US history.  The Iowa IMT leadership provided effective, strong, committed, positive and creative leadership throughout the entire emergency response in Iowa.  The Iowa IMT leadership worked closely with federal, state, local and industry partners to assist producers in depopulation, disposal and cleaning and disinfection of infected facilities.

“Throughout the disease outbreak they always maintained a focus on helping farmers get back in operation as soon as possible while ensuring strong biosecurity measures were in place to limit further spread of the disease.

“In addition to leading the Iowa response to this disease, Iowa IMT leadership have also conducted extensive training, planning and preparations in our state to better prepare for another incident of HPAI or other animal disease.  They have also shared their hard earned experience freely and served as a resource for other states preparing their own animal health emergency response plans.

“The team members include Steve Moline, Food Safety and Animal Health Division Director; Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa; Dr. Jeff Kaisand, Assistant State Veterinarian for Iowa; and Robin Pruisner, Ag Security Coordinator.”

CattleFax Announces Agenda for Outlook & Strategies Seminar

The cast is set and there is no turning back. The cattle industry is facing larger domestic supplies for 2017 and 2018, and pork and poultry production will be record large as well.

Beef industry participants will feel the far-reaching influence of livestock expansion well beyond 2016. CattleFax will discuss those implications in detail during its Outlook & Strategies 2017 Seminar on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016.

Jan Lambregts, Global Head of Financial Markets Research for Rabobank International, will provide the keynote – presenting the factors that will shape the U.S. and global economy in 2017. Art Douglas, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of the Atmospheric Science Department at Creighton University, will discuss weather patterns and trends expected for 2017 and beyond.

The CattleFax team will share its expectations on the major trends that will shape the livestock, grain, protein and energy markets over the next 12 to 24 months – providing business strategies to navigate the market challenges. Seminar topics will include beef cowherd expansion, protein market trends, cheaper feedstuffs, energy market price changes, feedyard and packing segment capacity, interest rate expectations and world trade policy.

The Marriott Denver South at Park Meadows in Littleton, Colo., is the seminar headquarters hotel. Seminar cost is $325 per person and includes a pre-seminar networking reception on the evening of Monday, Nov. 28. Registration is open, but space is limited.

Interested participants can visit for more information and to download a registration form. Questions regarding the seminar can be answered by calling 800-825-7525 or e-mailing

Universities Collaborating on New Way to Make Ammonia

University of Arkansas engineering professor Lauren Greenlee and her colleagues at Case Western Reserve and Pennsylvania State universities have received a $599,373 award from the U.S. Department of Energy to study an alternative method for making ammonia.

Ammonia, a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, is a colorless gas used as fertilizer in agricultural and food production. It is also used in many commercial cleaning products and as a building block for the synthesis of pharmaceutical products.

The standard method for producing commercial ammonia, the Haber-Bosch process, uses an iron-based catalyst and has not changed for about 100 years. It is a highly energy-intensive industrial process that accounts for 3 percent of the world's carbon-dioxide emissions and consumes about 2 percent of the world's energy resources. For these reasons, the Department of Energy and other agencies are seeking alternative technologies that demand less energy and are less harmful to the environment.

Chemists have tried to develop synthetic catalysts to replace the multi-stage Haber-Bosch process of combining nitrogen and hydrogen at high temperature and pressure. But they've run into problems with these alternative methods. Electrocatalysts -- catalysts that function at electrode surfaces -- struggle with the electrochemical reduction of water to hydrogen. Until the selectivity of the catalyst can be controlled, this technology will remain out of reach.

With help from colleagues Julie Renner at Case Western Reserve University and Mike Janik at Pennsylvania State University, Greenlee will focus on developing synthetic electrocatalysts that can reduce nitrogen gas to ammonia at temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius. They will try to develop a better understanding of how nitrogen and water interact with catalyst surfaces.

"Much is still unknown about this electrochemical reaction," Greenlee said. "While the end goal of this work is to develop synthetic electrocatalysts for ammonia production, we will first take a huge step back and simply try to understand reactant transport to the catalyst surface."

Rising Mississippi Could Disrupt Grain Shipping

Heavy rains and flooding swamped a broad swathe of the northern Midwest this week, halting the harvest of corn and soybeans and forcing the closure of at least two Iowa crop processing plants, traders and farmers said on Friday. According to Reuters, farmers' concerns grew that standing water in fields could damage unharvested crops, while floodwaters swelled the Mississippi River and threatened to disrupt the loading of export-bound grain barges.

Parts of northern Iowa and southern Minnesota received several inches of rain at midweek, with two-day rain totals topping 10 inches in some areas. The region is expected to see two days of drier weather before more showers through next week, said David Streit, agricultural meteorologist with the Commodity Weather Group.

Farmers, meanwhile, are waiting for fields to drain and dry out before resuming the harvest, a process that will take longer in cooler September weather than it would in midsummer heat. Soggy conditions and waterlogged fields have raised concerns about crop damage and disease, which could reduce farmer revenues at a time when grain prices are already near multi-year lows.

Rising water in the Mississippi River, the main shipping route that links Midwest farms with Gulf Coast export terminals, may halt grain barge loading at some river elevators as vessels are unable to access loading spouts, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it is currently not planning to close any of the Mississippi's locks as the latest National Weather Service forecast shows water rising near, but not above, the lock-closure stage.

Statement by Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, Regarding Urban Ag Act of 2016

"Regardless of where or how America's farmers and ranchers produce food, giving them the technology and tools to succeed supports our nation's strength and security. The Urban Agricultural Act of 2016 would do that for farmers in urban settings. As an organization that supports farmers of all sizes, commodities and production systems, Farm Bureau believes this legislation will build a stronger bond among all farmers--rural, suburban and urban."

"This legislation offers services and support to urban farmers. The research component of the bill is not only critical for production, but also for exploring the risk management, food safety, environmental and economic factors that are critical for economic success.

"It's exciting that more Americans want to become farmers. Whether it is access to technical, marketing and educational materials, securing the capital investment to start new ag enterprises or navigating regulations that can kill innovation, all beginning farmers need a helping hand. Mentorship is a two-way street and we have much to teach and learn from each other. America's farmers lend a hand when needed; they unite around a common mission. This legislation seeds a dialogue of cooperation, whether roots sink into a rejuvenated lot in Detroit or the rolling hills of rural Georgia. Farm Bureau looks forward to being a partner in those efforts."

CWT Assists with 2.3 Million Pounds of Cheese Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 13 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association/Darigold and Tillamook County Creamery Association, which have contracts to sell 2.288 million pounds (1,038 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese to customers in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, North Africa and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from September through December 2016.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives that have contracts to sell 38.149 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 7.491 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 21.301 million pounds of whole milk powder to 21 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 676.166 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. Some totals adjusted for cancellations.

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

NCF Accepting Applications for CME Beef Industry Scholarship

The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for 2017-2018 beef industry scholarships sponsored by CME Group. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry.

“The CME Beef Industry Scholarship represents an investment in the future of the cattle business. By helping the next generation of cattlemen and women further their education, CME Group is helping to advance the future of the U.S. agricultural economy,” said Tim Andriesen, CME Group Managing Director of Agricultural Products. “Our partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA has spanned nearly three decades, and during that time, we’ve underscored the importance of risk management to the beef industry while contributing to the education of tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

The CME Beef Industry Scholarship was first introduced in 1989. Today, the scholarship recognizes and encourages talented students who will each play an important role in the future of food production in America. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry should consider applying for the scholarship.

Applicants for the 2017-2018 scholarship must submit a one-page letter expressing their career goals related to the beef industry. Students must also write a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem. Applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year college.

Online applications should be submitted by Oct. 31, 2016. To apply, or learn more about the scholarship, click here. Scholarship winners will be announced during the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn.

For more information visit

DuPont Pioneer Commits $175,000 to Food and Agricultural Education Grants

DuPont Pioneer and the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) announced today that Pioneer will award $175,000 in grants to agriscience educators to fund training and classroom resources that will help them implement advanced agriculture curriculum.
Grant recipients are teachers who are implementing Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) in their classrooms. CASE is a multi-year approach to agriscience education with rigorous educator training requirements and hands-on, inquiry focused learning activities. Teachers will use the grants to attend training, purchase equipment and materials, and conduct end-of-course assessments through CASE Online.

“CASE trains agriculture teachers to deliver high-level science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles to their students,” said Dan Jansen, CASE project director. “Teachers often have minimal resources to equip themselves and their classrooms to provide this rigorous, STEM-focused instruction. These grants from DuPont Pioneer are exactly what they need to fully implement the unique model of interactive, inquiry-based learning that we know is so effective.”

“Students learn teamwork, communication skills and hands-on science through the CASE curriculum, all of which provides the foundation for a career in science,” said Robin Habeger, academic outreach manager, DuPont Pioneer.  “Supporting agricultural science teachers through continuing education and classroom equipment is one way we are striving to assure food security for the projected 2050 population of 9 billion people.”

The DuPont Pioneer Global Giving Program is intended to improve food security by advancing agriculture through science, education and innovation, and to enhance the quality of life for farmers and their communities globally. Addressing the unique challenges of our local communities promotes economic growth, improved health and overall quality of life — all factors important to a healthy and strong business climate.

CASE is an instructional system that is changing the culture of agriculture programs by equipping teachers to elevate student experiences in the agriculture classroom, and preparing students for success in college and careers emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math. To learn more about CASE, visit

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday September 26 Ag News + Crop Progress


For the week ending September 25, 2016, temperatures averaged nine degrees above normal across eastern Nebraska and six degrees above normal across western areas, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The above normal temperatures hastened emergence of winter wheat and dry down of fall crops. Precipitation of an inch or more was limited to the eastern third of the State and portions of the Panhandle. Seed corn and silage harvests were winding to a close. Dry bean and sugarbeet harvests were active. There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 24 short, 64 adequate, and 5 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 25 short, 65 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 20 fair, 57 good, and 17 excellent. Corn mature was 69 percent, ahead of 60 last year and the five-year average of 61. Harvested was 7 percent, near 9 last year, and behind 13 average.

Sorghum condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 14 fair, 61 good, and 24 excellent. Sorghum mature was 63 percent, ahead of 52 last year, and well ahead of 40 average. Harvested was 11 percent, ahead of 2 both last year and average.

Soybeans condition rated 1 percent very poor, 3 poor, 19 fair, 59 good, and 18 excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 75 percent, near 74 last year, and ahead of 68 average. Harvested was 9 percent, near 10 both last year and average.

Winter wheat planted was 72 percent, ahead of 63 last year and 61 average. Emerged was 42 percent, well ahead of 20 last year and 21 average.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 71 percent, behind 87 last year and 78 average.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 25 fair, 56 good, and 8 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 10 short, 88 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Although southeast Iowa had 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, statewide there were just 3.6 days suitable for the week ending September 25, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Above normal precipitation with localized heavy rains led to reports of fields with standing water. Activities for the week included chopping corn for silage, and some corn and soybean harvest. Excessive rains have raised concerns about crop damage and pasture condition in certain parts of the State.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 2 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 30 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.

Seventy-two percent of the corn crop was mature or beyond, 3 days ahead of last year, and 2 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn harvest slowed due to wet conditions, but there were scattered reports of corn for grain being harvested. Corn condition rated 82 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of soybeans were turning color or beyond, 3 days ahead of last year’s pace. Sixty-eight percent of soybeans were dropping leaves or beyond, 3 days ahead of average. Soybean harvest has begun where field conditions were dry enough. Soybean condition rated 81 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay advanced only one percentage point, to 96 percent, due to the week’s abundance of rain. Pasture condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. While above normal temperatures were beneficial for livestock conditions, grazing livestock had to move to higher ground as lowland pastures flooded in north central and northeastern Iowa. Outdoor feedlots also became muddy.

U.S. Corn, Soybean Harvests Lag Average Pace

Corn and soybean harvest progress was lagging an average pace as of Sept. 25, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released Monday. Corn harvest is 4 percentage points behind the five-year average and soybean harvest is 3 percentage points behind.

The nation's corn crop is 97% dented and 73% mature, compared to 93% and 53% last week, 96% and 66% last year, and five-year averages of 96% and 64%. Corn condition held steady at 74% good to excellent.

Sixty-eight percent of the nation's soybeans were dropping leaves, compared to 46% last week, 69% last year and a 64% average. Soybean condition remained steady at 73% good to excellent.

Winter wheat planting is 30% complete, compared to 17% last week, 28% last year and a 30% average. Winter wheat is 8% emerged, compared to 6% last year and an 8% average. 

Sixty-three percent of cotton had bolls opening, compared to 48% last week, 66% last year and a 65% average. Cotton harvested was reported at 10%, compared to 6% last week, 10% last year and a 10% average.  Cotton condition held steady at 48% good to excellent.

Seventy-three percent of the rice crop was harvested, compared to 64% last week, 65% last year and a 59% average.

Sorghum was 94% coloring, compared to 88% last week, 94% last year and an 87% average. Sorghum harvest was 34% complete, compared to 29% last week, 35% last year and a 32% average. Sorghum condition held steady at 66% good to excellent.

Brazil Soy Planting Begins

It's been 10 days since the Brazilians have been allowed to plant soybeans in the principal producing states of Mato Grosso and Parana, but fieldwork until now has been slow amid spotty rainfall.

Weather forecasts indicate precipitation will remain sparse for the next month, and there may even be a mini dry spell in early October.  But, unlike last year, rain is expected to return with a vengeance in the second half of October.

In 2015, Mato Grosso farmers who planted early in September suffered heavy losses after rain stopped and didn't return to many areas until late October.  That contributed to Mato Grosso suffering the first drop in harvested area in six years.

According to the Mato Grosso Agricultural Economy Institute (IMEA), planted area in Mato Grosso will recover marginally to 23.1 million acres in 2016-17.  Planting efforts reached 1.2% as of Friday, said IMEA. That is a bit slow, but not that significant as planting only traditionally gets under way in October.

The outlook for Parana, the No. 2 state in southern Brazil, is slightly more positive. There is more rain in the charts in the second half of September, but heavy, consistent rains are only really expected to start falling in later October.

According to the Parana state agricultural secretariat, farmers in the state had planted 3% of the crop up to Sept. 19, behind the 5% planted at the same stage of last year.

Brazil is on course to produce a bumper crop in 2016-17 with a consensus that the crop will be in the range of 102.5 to 105 million metric tons, up around 5% on last year.

Cuming County 4-H Members Participate at AKSARBEN

Cuming County 4-H members had another very successful year at the 89th Annual AKSARBEN Stock Show that was held in Omaha at the CenturyLink Center.  According to Larry Howard, Nebraska Extension Educator in Cuming County, thirty-eight Cuming County 4-H members had 73 animals entered at the livestock shows this year.

In the Beef Show, Addisyn Albers of Wisner showed the Division 3 Champion Market Steer that was also named the third place overall Market Steer and made the Purple Ribbon Auction.  She also received a first place plaque for her Record Book.  Carter Stratman of West Point showed the Reserve Champion Steer Feeder Calf.

In the Rabbit Show, Evie Schlickbernd of West Point showed the Mini Satin Best of Breed and Best Opposite.  Alexis Wuestewald of West Point showed the American Fuzzy Lop Best of Breed.

In the Swine Show, Blake Guenther of West Point placed third in Showmanship.

Set Soybean Harvest Goal of 13% Moisture to Aid Profits

Randy Pryor - Extension Educator, Saline County

Most soybeans are harvested and delivered directly to an elevator instead of being placed in on-farm storage. Too often, soybeans are harvested at moisture contents under the 13% definition of a standard bushel. The marketplace pays farmers as if they delivered soybeans at 13% moisture. That's why 13% moisture needs to be the goal — delivering soybeans below or above that goal reduces profits.

Greater than 13%, there is a moisture dock on the scale ticket for delivering wet beans, resulting in a lower price per bushel.  Less than 13%, there are fewer “bushels” to sell rather than a dockage on the ticket. There are fewer bushels because the load weight is divided by 60 pounds per bushel (assuming 13% moisture) rather than by the actual pounds per bushel for the moisture content of the beans at the time of delivery

A study of farmer practices was conducted in Hamilton and York counties by former extension educators Andy Christiansen and Gary Zoubek. They collected information from 115 truckloads of soybean that were harvested and being delivered to the elevators. Of those sampled, 5 loads were less than 8.9% moisture; 14 loads were 9-9.9%; 28 loads were 10-10.9%; 27 loads were 11-11.9%; 29 loads were 12-12.9%; 9 loads were 13-13.9% and only 3% loads were 14-14.9% moisture.

What difference does harvesting and selling soybeans at 8% or 9% compared to 13% moisture mean to your bottom line?

If you sell soybeans at 8% moisture, you're losing about 5.43% of your yield; at 9% moisture, it's 4.4%; at 10% moisture, 3.3%; at 11% moisture, 2.25%; and at 12% moisture, it's 1.14% yield loss. That does not take into account additional risk for shatter losses during harvest. For a field that's yielding 75 bu/ac, harvesting it at 9% results in selling 3.3 fewer bushels per acre based on weight because you are not selling the water that you are entitled to sell if the beans were at 13% moisture. With soybeans priced at $9/bushel, that's a loss of about $30 per acre.

So what can you do? Everyone knows that it is impossible to harvest all your soybeans at exactly 13%, but that should be your goal. Consider these soybean harvest tips:

When harvesting tough or green stems, make combine adjustments and operate at slower ground speeds. Make combine adjustments several times a day to match conditions as they change. The following combine adjustments are suggested when harvesting higher moisture soybeans or soybeans with green stems:

-            To increase “grip” on the green stems to pull them through the combine, replace rounded or worn parts in the thresher, especially worn feeder house chains and rasp bars.

-            Increase cylinder/rotor speed to make threshing more aggressive to break open green pods and pull the green material through. Do not close down concave clearance as that reduces room for the green materials to pass through the thresher.

-            Insert filler plates or wires in the front portion of the concave to keep the green pods in the cylinder/rotor chamber longer for better threshing. If not, the pods will fall through to the sieves unopened. Consider closing down the top sieve slightly to send the green pods out the back if you are not threshing them properly.

-            Increase fan speed as the green stems are heavier and need more airflow to keep them suspended above the sieves to allow for proper cleaning and to blow the green leaves out.

-            Close down the lower sieve slightly to keep green pods out of the grain tank and send them back to the cylinder/rotor for rethreshing.

-            Install disrupter bars on rotary combines to improve green stem flow through the rotor and to reduce “roping.”  On some rotary combines, you can retard the material flow by adjusting the vanes on the rotor cage or by installing reverser rasp bars to keep the material in the rotor longer to allow more time for threshing and separating.

-            Consider adding an air reel to the head to have airflow help feed the soybeans into the combine and reduce bunch feeding.  More uniform feeding will improve threshing.

Begin harvesting at 14% or 15% moisture. What appears to be wet or green from the road may be dry enough to harvest. Try harvesting when some of the leaves are still on the plant as the beans may be drier than you think. Soybeans are fully mature when 95% of the pods are at their mature tan color. The moisture driven from the wet beans in the bottom of the bin will help rehydrate any dry beans in the top of the bin.

Harvest under optimum conditions. Moisture content can increase by several points with an overnight dew or it can decrease by several points during a day with low humidity and windy conditions. Avoid harvesting when beans are driest, such as on hot afternoons, to maintain moisture and reduce shattering losses. Harvesting immediately after a rain, if field conditions allow, will result in higher moisture contents.  However, several wetting and drying cycles from rain events will make the soybeans more susceptible to shatter losses from pods splitting open.

Avoid harvest losses from shattering by harvesting before the beans become overly dry. Four to five beans on the ground per square foot can add up to one bushel per acre loss. Many times, the dock for delivering beans over 13% moisture content may be less the shatter losses from harvesting overly dry soybeans.

If there are green leaves and green pods in the grain, they are considered foreign matter at the marketplace which can result in dockage.  If placed in on-farm storage, they can cause challenges in a grain bin at the edges. Avoid dockage and spoilage by doing the following:
-            Reset the combine as outlined above to provide a cleaner harvest.
-            Use a grain cleaner to remove the foreign matter before marketing or storage.
-            Use a grain spreader when putting beans into storage to better distribute any foreign matter.
-            In storage, operate the aeration fan to dry the leaves and green pods to a safe storage moisture content. The pods and green beans will dry quickly and help rehydrate any overly dry beans. The fans need to be operated for temperature management anyway.

Don’t place “all of your eggs in one basket” when it comes to selecting the maturity of soybean seed at planting time. Select your varieties and schedule your planting to spread out plant maturity and harvest. Plant your early maturing varieties first.

Good luck and hopefully you'll have a safe harvest and an excellent crop of 13% moisture soybeans. 

State Range Judging Contest This Week Near Lincoln

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Nebraska's Natural Resources Districts and the Nebraska Section of the Society for Range Management are hosting the Nebraska State Range Judging Contest in Lancaster County. This contest brings together over 400 high school students from across the state. Students will be split into eight groups and rotate through eight stations every 20 minutes.

Each station will test a team's ability to determine rangeland condition for grazing livestock, assess wildlife habitat, identify common rangeland plants, define proper stocking rates, and more.

The evet takes place Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m. The exact location is kept secret to participants until the day of the competition, but the contest location is a 20-minute drive from downtown Lincoln.

Town Hall Announced: What’s Happening In Iowa, & What Can Nebraska Do To Protect Itself?

With questions continuing to go unanswered on the Costco-owned chicken processing operation based in Fremont, Nebraska, two rural Iowa leaders will be on hand Thursday, September 29th to share their experiences about the issues arising in Iowa due to the over-industrialization of agriculture.

-       Iowa Senator David Johnson, Award Winning Newspaper Owner-Editor, Dairy Farmer, Iowa 1st District State Senator, Past Ag Committee Chairman, and Co-Author of the Current Livestock Law, and;

-       Chris Petersen, Traditional and Independent Family Farmer, Past President of the Iowa Farmers Union, Socially Responsible Ag Project, and Board Member of the Organization of Competitive Markets.

The community discussion will be on Thursday, September 29th from 6:00-8:00pm at the Fremont Opera House (541 N. Broad Street, Fremont, NE).

The informational town hall meeting is being sponsored by Nebraska Communities United, Nebraska Farmers Union, Socially Responsible Ag Project, Bold Nebraska and GC Resolve.

“Industrial farming has a long history of mistreatment of its employees and the environment.  Here is a chance for Nebraska to learn from the mistakes of others and put in safe guards that protect the people, towns and the environment in the state we call home,” said Randy Ruppert, President of Nebraska Communities United.

“If Iowa is the livestock development model that Nebraska is supposed to follow, Nebraskans should do some homework on how Iowa’s livestock production system is working.  How do rural residents feel about the Iowa matrix based planning and zoning system?  What is the environmental track record of Iowa’s livestock model? These are the kinds of questions Nebraskans should ask before our state uses Iowa for a model of livestock production,” said John Hansen, President of Nebraska Farmers Union.  

“This is a unique opportunity to have experts with a history of involvement in the industrialized model come to Nebraska to share their personal experiences in order to best protect our best interests.  We should listen closely and we should heed their advice,” said Laura Krebsbach, a Regional Representative with Socially Responsible Agricultural Project.

“Water is Nebraska’s most valuable commodity supporting the State's $14 billion dollar agriculture economy.  Therefore, we should ensure we make every effort to preserve the purity of this valuable natural resource and hold ag corporations responsible and accountable for complying with our water quality standards," said Amy Schaffer, Program Coordinator of Bold Nebraska.

“You just have to look across the Missouri River to see how the over-industrialization of agriculture can affect a community,” said Graham Christensen, President of GC Resolve.  “The result in Iowa has been lower water quality and communities pitted against one another in lawsuits.  We can take a more cautious and effective approach in Nebraska.”

Nebraska State Climate Office Launches Websites 

The Nebraska State Climate Office at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an organization dedicated to delivering science-based climate services at the local and state level, is announcing the launch of its sister websites.

The sites offer easy-to-read climate data maps for 17 areas of focus, ranging from precipitation totals to Growing Degree Days, and both sites were built using responsive design. Find them at:

“We are excited about the launch of the Nebraska State Climate Office websites,” said Martha Shulski, NSCO director and state climatologist. “Our goal has always been to deliver science-based weather and climate information so people can make informed local decisions, and with these sites, we have developed the framework to achieve that goal.

The website makes available real-time data collected automatically through the office’s statewide weather network, the Nebraska Mesonet. Data include: air temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, solar radiation, barometric pressure and soil temperature. These data sets also are used to create the daily Growing Degree Days and Cattle Comfort Index tools.

“We’ll update both sites regularly with current news and datasets,” Shulski said, noting the weather network’s automated feeds will update hourly. The most recent observations appear 15 minutes after the hour and summary maps of the previous day update daily at 4 a.m.

“One of the key features that our clients wanted to see is observations in near real-time, so we focused on this aspect for the first round of products,” Shulski added. “We look forward to adding more functionality as new products and summaries are developed.”

The launch of the website will help the office continue to answer and meet user requests from across the state. The office annually fulfills 350 data, 250 media and 50 presentation requests. 

Additionally, office staff contributes to the US Drought Monitor and biweekly Nebraska Extension agricultural updates.

Green Plains Completes Abengoa Ethanol Plant Acquisition and Drop Down Transaction of Ethanol Storage Assets to Green Plains Partners

Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRE) today announced that it completed the previously announced acquisition of three ethanol plants located in Madison, Ill., Mount Vernon, Ind. and York, Neb. for approximately $237 million in cash plus certain working capital adjustments from Abengoa Bioenergy. The company immediately sold the ethanol storage assets to Green Plains Partners LP (NASDAQ:GPP) for $90 million. All three plants are currently operational and will add 236 million gallons per year of ethanol production capacity.

"In the past 12 months, we have expanded our ethanol production capacity by approximately 50 percent. Adding the Illinois and Indiana locations provide us with a bigger and more diverse geographic footprint," said Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer at Green Plains. "With nearly 1.5 billion gallons of production capacity, we are moving meaningful volumes across the agricultural and energy supply chains, further positioning us to serve both domestic and international markets efficiently and effectively."

Fortenberry Receives Golden Triangle Award From Farmers Union

Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) presented Representative Jeff Fortenberry with the Golden Triangle Award, National Farmers Union’s (NFU) highest legislative honor.  The award was presented recently as part of the annual NFU fall Fly-In that brought 275 Farmers Union members from across the country to Washington, DC to share their views and concerns with their elected officials.  Fortenberry was one of 44 House and Senate members honored this year.

Ten Nebraskans participated in the NFU Fly-In meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.  In addition to Hansen, Nebraska participants from all 7 NeFU Districts included John Maser and Mike Sarchet of Minatare, Terry Kirby of Central City, David Mohlman of Red Cloud, Amanda and Lillian Fritch of Beatrice, Jeff Downing of Elkhorn, Paul Poppe of Scribner, and Art Tanderup of Neligh.

The Golden Triangle is an annual award presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities.

“The Golden Triangle Award represents outstanding leadership and tireless effort on the issues that are important to our industry and organization. It is our honor to recognize the efforts of these Congressional champions and friends of family farming and ranching,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

The Golden Triangle, first presented in 1988, symbolizes the core principles of the Farmers Union organization: education, cooperation, and legislation. This year’s Golden Triangle honorees were selected for their leadership and contribution to several issues important to family farmers and ranchers.

Representative Fortenberry’s award was presented by NeFU President John Hansen and David Mohlman as other Nebraska team members were headed to the airport for flights home.  “We appreciate Representative Fortenberry’s continued leadership on renewable energy, conservation, rural development, and family farm and ranch issues,” said NeFU President John Hansen.  “Representative Fortenberry understands the issues in depth, and is a respected advocate of family farm and ranch agriculture.”

Yasser Reda, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt was scheduled next to meet with Rep. Fortenberry and was very interested in meeting representatives from American agriculture.  A very interesting discussion followed, and he enthusiastically participated in the photo of Rep. Fortenberry accepting his award.  NeFU President Hansen said “Wheat sales to Egypt came quickly to mind.”

Heuermann Lecture Set For October 10, 2016

Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center
2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln, NE
Reception preceding lecture at 3:00 p.m.

British environmental writer and pro-science advocate, Mark Lynas, who has devoted his career to speaking around the world on climate change, biotechnology and nuclear power will present  “GMOs are Green: How an Environmentalist Changed his Mind about Biotechnology.”

Lynas made headlines worldwide in 2013 when he publicly reversed his stance and apologized for his previous ant-GMO activism. Today, he travels the world campaigning on behalf of several pro-science causes.

During the lecture, Lynas will outline the history of the anti-GMO movement and explain his about-turn on GMO’s. He will also give examples of how the genetic modification of crops can help farmers in developing countires address climate change, reduce pesticide use and improve harvests.

Lynas works closely with the Cornell Alliance for Science at Cornell University, which is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for its work in promoting agricultural development and reducing poverty and hunger. He is also a visiting research associate at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment, and  is a current advisory board member of Sense About Science, a science advocacy group in the UK.

Heuermann Lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are streamed live online at


    Panels will look at water basin management in Nebraska at the University of Nebraska's annual water symposium and water law conference Oct. 20 and 21.

    The back-to-back events will be at Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive.

    "At the first day's symposium, panels will discuss what basin groups have concluded about state water policy and goals, objectives and problem areas in each basin," said Lincoln attorney Lee Orton, who helped plan the symposium agenda with Prairie Fire publisher W. Don Nelson and Nebraska Water Center director Chittaranjan Ray.

    Among the problems experienced in water management and planning for each of the state's major river basins will be water supply, political structures, past management and development characteristics.

    "The current state of water planning and management in each basin will be front and center in the discussions, along with unique and shared problem areas," Ray said.

    Panels will cover the Upper Platte, Lower Platte, Republican, Blue and Niobrara basins. Panel members represent a wide array of local, state, federal and private water interests.

     Bob Swanson, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Nebraska Water Sciences Center, will conclude morning discussions with an update on USGS research work in Nebraska.

    Afternoon talks will focus on work being done by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, from director Jeff Fassett, and views from some of the state's largest utilities, including Omaha's Metropolitan Utilities District, Lincoln Water and the Omaha Public Power District.

    An integrated management plan panel discussion will be led by Christine Reed of the University of Nebraska, prior to Orton and Ray's symposium wrap-up.

    The following day, the Nebraska Water Center and the University of Nebraska College of Law will present the Nebraska water law conference, featuring the latest in Nebraska water law for attorneys, water professionals and others.

    Organizer Anthony Schutz of the law college will open with sessions on "Water Law 101" and updates in current water law, followed by attorneys Mike Klein and Justin Lavene on "Takings Claims."

    Attorney Don Blankenau will kick off a management session on western Nebraska's N-CORPE project, followed by Upper Niobrara-White Natural Resource District manager Pat O'Brien on Niobrara transfers and Central Platte NRD manager Lyndon Vogt on short-term auctions in the Central Platte NRD.

    Pre-lunch keynote speaker Roger Patterson will share what California has learned from Nebraska as the Golden Gate State manages one of the worst long-term droughts in its history.

    In the afternoon, Lincoln attorney Stephen Mossman will discuss landowner drainage liability, and Drake University's Jerry Anderson will talk about the recent Des Moines, Iowa, water litigation, followed by water-quality discussions on Nebraska nitrates by Michael Linder and lessons from Flint, Michigan, by Rick Kubat of Omaha's Metropolitan Utilities District. Attorney Lash Chaffin will explore the ethical dimensions of Flint.

    Information and registration details for both events are available at Registration is $225 for either day, or $340 for both. Student registrations are free. For more information, contact Tricia Liedle at 402-472-3305 or

9th Annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference Returns to Lincoln

The Ninth Annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference will be held at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 333 S. 13 Street in Lincoln, NE Monday, November 7 – Tuesday, November 8. This year’s conference will include updates from wind and solar experts, public power utility CEO’s, Nebraska State Senators and others. The conference will be preceded by a tour of Lincoln Electric System’s (LES) SunShares Community Solar Project on Sunday, November 6.

On Monday, sessions include a series of panel discussions.  Nebraska State Senators will discuss recent wind and solar legislation and issues first thing Monday morning.  After break, a panel will discuss the benefits of solar energy for rural communities.  Monday noon, the CEO’s of Nebraska’s three largest public power utilities will share their views.  Monday afternoon, panels will discuss wind and solar zoning regulations; operating and planning of the electric grid during turbulent times; and community solar.  All sessions allow time for questions.

Tuesday’s schedule includes an update on Nebraska Public Power Districts “R-Line;” a discussion about the effects of renewable energy on rural agriculture economy; and solar for farms, businesses and residential.

“The conference includes knowledgeable experts covering topics that will appeal to anyone interested in wind and solar energy,” said John Hansen, conference co-chairman. “We are also going to be addressing some of the myths about renewable energy that have been in the news lately.”

On Sunday, conference attendees will be able to participate in a tour of LES’s nearly five-megawatt facility near West Holdrege and Northwest 75th Streets.

“We are pleased to work with LES and to allow access to the solar project for our conference attendees,” said Dan McGuire, conference co-chairman. “This solar array is the largest in Nebraska and includes 15,333 solar panels. It will be impressive to see.”

Registration is $125 until October 8 and student Registration is $65. Rooms at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel are $114 per night until October 8, which includes free parking. Registration information is available on the conference website

Nebraska Farm Bureau Opposes $369 Million Southeast Community College Bond Measure

The Nebraska Farm Bureau announced today its opposition to the Southeast Community College (SCC) $369 million bond proposal that seeks to secure funds for projects across the Southeast Community College system, including construction of a new campus in downtown Lincoln. If passed, the measure would equate to a massive property tax increase on farmers, businesses, and homeowners across the 15 county SCC District, said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson.

“Educational opportunities are vitally important to Nebraskans. We understand the important role community colleges play in preparing Nebraskans for jobs, both inside and out of agriculture. With that said, this SCC proposal fails to meet the needs of the other partners in the educational process; the individual tax payers who will have to take real money out of their pockets and family budgets to pay for the $369 million measure, plus interest,” said Nelson.

Nelson said the decision to oppose the measure stems from numerous factors, starting with the concern expressed by members of the organization who reside and pay taxes in the district.

“The message we’ve heard from members has been clear. This SCC proposal is too big, too expensive, and too risky,” said Nelson. “Lumping together numerous projects in a single bond with a price tag that we estimate could top half-a-billion dollars in new property taxes, when all is said and done, is unacceptable. Relief from skyrocketing property tax bills is the number one concern we hear from members. This proposal doesn’t provide the level of detail or certainty about how dollars will be spent for a request of this magnitude. Raising property taxes by $369 million ($369,000,000) without definitive plans about how and when the money will be spent is simply irresponsible.”

Nelson noted that SCC would benefit from a different approach to addressing renovation and facility needs.

“What voters need to understand is that SCC has room under their existing taxing authority to raise additional funds for these types of projects – authority which remains even if the bond passes. We are asking SCC to slow down and consider Nebraska’s taxpayers who already pay the 7th highest property taxes in the country,” said Nelson. “SCC would be better suited to look at their existing taxing authority and prioritize projects in smaller, more targeted requests, if warranted,” said Nelson.

The decision to oppose the measure was not taken lightly. Representatives from Farm Bureau, including individual members who will be directly impacted by the measure, have met with SCC officials to both discuss and ask questions about the Bond measure.

“SCC and our state’s other community colleges provide an important service to Nebraskans and our labor force. Farm Bureau even has a presence at SCC through our Collegiate Farm Bureau. This isn’t a question of whether there is value in SCC. It’s a question of whether this is a good proposal,” said Nelson. “This specific proposal fails to provide enough detail or accountability and asks too much of taxpayers and their children who will be paying for this measure for the next 25 years. Taxpayers in the District should vote NO on this measure and let SCC know they must better articulate the need and provide detailed accounting when taking money out of the pockets of homeowners, farmers, and businesses in the form of new tax dollars.” 

Iowa Farm Financial Conditions Shown in New Report

An examination of the financial performance of Iowa farm businesses in 2015 has been released by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The analysis focuses on farm income, wealth, financial liquidity, farm size, enterprise mix, financial structure, financial performance and efficiency and farm program payments.

The report was compiled by Alejandro Plastina, ISU Extension and Outreach economist, using farm level data provided by the Iowa Farm Business Association. It is available through the Extension Store.

“This report is a very useful tool to understand where your operation is currently standing and to compare that with similar farms in Iowa,” Plastina said. “The data provided by the Iowa Farm Business Association was incredibly important to this study. This is the first time in nearly a decade this data was available to Iowa State and it helped immensely in our efforts to understand the current financial situation on Iowa’s farms.”

This report is different from others because farm operations are classified based on their ability to produce free cash flow. The farms are broken into one of five groups, each group comprising 20 percent of the number of active farms (top 20 percent, upper 20-40 percent, middle 20 percent, lower 20-40 percent and lowest 20 percent). This structure allows the report to be used for benchmarking each farm operation against similar farms, instead of a simple industry average.

Because the data used in the study come from IFBA accounting records, it Iowa Farm Financial Conditions in 2015is generally more accurate and consistent than data obtained from cross-sectional surveys. It also provides a very detailed snapshot of farm conditions at the start of 2016.

“Most farms had strong balance sheets and were in a good solvency position at the start of 2016,” Plastina said. “Farmers enjoyed a long period of very good prices and sustained profitability, which meant 80 percent of farms were in that high solvency position. Farmers had built their equity during the good times and are now relying on those retained earnings.”

As commodity prices for both crops and livestock have dipped since the start of 2015, cash flow in the operations became a concern for some farmers. While most farms were still in good shape by the end of 2015, the lowest 20 percent of operations were in a weak liquidity position.

“There is a general belief that farms across the board started 2016 with low liquidity levels, and that isn’t the case,” Plastina said. “Only the lowest 20 percent had weak liquidity levels at the end of 2015 compared to all others who had high or average levels.”

Liquidity has been pushed down by profitability and return on investment has been low, Plastina said. Many of the farms that showed a negative in farm income had a high proportion of their gross farm sales coming from livestock.

One way the top performing farms separated themselves from others is in marketing. The top 20 percent of farms received corn and soybean prices that were, respectively, 33 cents and 53 cents higher than farms in the lowest 20 percent.

“So far there haven’t been any reports that show the relevance of marketing,” Plastina said. “It is very clear how those farms that do better are not only better in terms of production but in terms of the final price they get for their crops.”

Egg, Dairy and Chicken Prices Down, Beef Too

Lower retail prices for several foods, including eggs, whole milk, cheddar cheese, chicken breast, sirloin tip roast and ground chuck resulted in a decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $49.70, down $4.40 or 8 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 decreased and three increased in average price.

Egg prices dropped significantly due to production recovering well from the 2014 avian influenza, according to John Newton, AFBF director, market intelligence. Milk prices are down substantially from prior years, particularly compared to record-highs in 2014, due to the current global dairy surplus.

“For all commodities in agriculture there is a lot of product on hand and prices are depressed,” Newton explained.

The following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:
    eggs, down 51 percent to $1.48 dozen
    chicken breast, down 16 percent to $2.86 per pound
    sirloin tip roast, down 11 percent to $5.04 per pound
    shredded cheddar, down 10 percent to $4.09 per pound
    whole milk, down 10 percent to $2.84 per gallon
    ground chuck, down 9 percent to $4.13 per pound
    toasted oat cereal, down 9 percent to $2.80 for a nine-ounce box
    vegetable oil, down 9 percent to $2.39 for a 32-ounce bottle
    flour, down 7 percent to $2.21 per five-pound bag
    white bread, down 7 percent to $1.58 for a 20-ounce loaf
    orange juice, down 5 percent to $3.26 per half-gallon
    bacon, down 3 percent to $4.40 per pound
    sliced deli ham, down less than 1 percent to $5.45

These items showed moderate retail price increases compared to a year ago:
    bagged salad, up 16 percent to $2.85 per pound
    apples, up 10 percent to $1.59 per pound
    potatoes, up 3 percent to $2.73 for a 5-pound bag

“Dry conditions in the Northeast and Northwest the last few years likely contributed to smaller supplies and higher retail prices for apples,” Newton said. In addition, he said salad prices are up due to lower output in the West, particularly in California and Arizona.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $1.86; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.26; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.48.

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

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 17 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Newton said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $49.70 marketbasket would be approximately $8.45.

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

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 59 shoppers in 26 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.