Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday November 30 Ag News

CVA Announces New Board of Directors

Central Valley Ag Cooperative (CVA) recently hosted their Annual Meeting for member-owners to review the fiscal year, and to announce the new elected members of their Board of Directors. CVA relies on it’s Board of Directors to position CVA for future success and profitability for member-owners. The CVA Board of Directors is made up of local, agricultural producers who are recognized for their industry expertise, as well as economic and community development skills. CVA member-owners elected the following individuals to represent their voice on the board; Ryan Crumly – Region 1, Kurt Thoene – Region 2, Paul Jarecke – Region 3, Neal Bracht – Region 4, Jeff Berggren – Region 5 and Doug Moon – Region 6.

“I would like to congratulate our newly elected board of director members, we believe that the Cooperative business model requires a balanced approach and our board plays an integral role in CVA’s performance,” said Dave Beckman, Chairman of the Board of Directors for CVA. “In addition to congratulating our newly elected members, I would like to thank our departing board of director members Rod Heiss, Byron Neinhueser and Mike Bergen for their dedication to CVA over the years.”

At the meeting, CVA reported $15.04 Million in Local Net Profit, $27.3 Million in Total Profit and returned $8.0 Million in patronage to member-owners with 50% paid in cash and the balance in Non-Qualified Equity. Over the 2016 fiscal year $8.1 Million was paid out in cash patronage, equity redemptions, and estates. The amount paid out in cash to CVA member-owners now stands at $62.6 Million over the past five years. Not only is the cash received as a benefit for member-owners; $40.7 Million was reinvested in assets to improve speed, space, and efficiency in 2016. CVA has now spent $213.8 Million over the past five years in assets to better serve its member-owners.

“The Cooperative model continues to perform well and these results could not have been obtained without an outstanding group of employees and the support of our member-owners,” said Beckman.

CVA Fullerton Opens New Doors

This Harvest has been extra busy for Central Valley Ag employees in Fullerton, Nebraska. Not just because this harvest brought in 1.9 million bushels of corn, 630,000 bushels of beans and 27,000 bushels of milo to the location but right amidst soybean harvest the Fullerton employees were making a move to their new office and upgrading the facility’s scale.

CVA Fullerton New ScaleConstruction of the new office and installation of the new scale began on April 1, 2016, and finished up at the end of September. The new scale is ten-foot longer and two foot wider than the old one, which allows it to better service equipment. This upgrade has come as a welcome asset by both employees and customers. In addition to the new scale, employees also have a new office with approximately double the square footage of their old space. The expansion in Fullerton will allow more room for employees from the Clarks CVA location who will now office in Fullerton during the Fall and Winter months, after Clarks recently made the transition to a seasonal location.

“I feel this office will allow us to expand our offerings to customers, as far as CVA’s specialty areas – ProEdge and ACS, before this we didn’t have the room or the capabilities to offer these services,” said Brian Dubas, CVA Fullerton Location Manager. “Also having more space to house the Clarks employees here in Fullerton during harvest now that Clarks is only open during the growing season is a great benefit.” Overall Dubas seems excited about the recent change and is happy with the direction CVA is taking, “I believe the improvements that CVA has made throughout the company, including our location, is a testament to their willingness to improve facilities for their customers and employees needs.”

On November 23, 2016, an Open House was held so customers could tour the new office and learn about the benefits the new facility will bring. Over the past fiscal year, $40.7 Million was reinvested in assets across the CVA territory to improve speed, space, and efficiency. CVA has now spent $213.8 million over the past five years in assets to better serve its member-owners.

“This new office is something we’ve had in the works for a couple of years,” said Brent Reichmuth, CVA Region 3 Operations Manager. “Construction got started a little late with the weather that we encountered in the spring, which made for an extra stressful bean harvest for the Fullerton employees. The employees worked hard to continue assisting customers throughout the move, and once situated harvest went really well. I look forward to seeing the benefits this new office will bring to the area, the addition turned out great and proves that CVA will continue to provide services to the Fullerton area for a long, long time.”

Extending the Grazing Season for Cow Herds

Steve Tonn, NE Extension Educator – Beef Systems, Washington County Extension

Feed costs represent the major cost in most cow calf production systems.  An analysis of 225 Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) Beef Cow Records on herds in Illinois and Iowa showed that feed cost was the overriding factor determining profitability, explaining over 57 percent of the herd-herd variation.  Typically the cost of supplying nutrients to cows is much greater using harvested feedstuffs as opposed to grazing pastures, cover crops, or crop residues.  Usually savings can be at least $1 per head per day for grazing compared to feeding harvested forages.  Providing grazable forage, in a cost-effective manner to the cow, for as many days of the year as possible should be the goal of cow calf producers.

Several strategies can be used to supply forage into the fall or early winter and effectively extend the grazing season by 60 to 90 days, thus reducing the need for stored feeds.  These strategies can be categorized into three major groups: 1) stockpiling (conserving forages in late summer for use in the fall and winter,  2) utilizing forage crops that continue to grow into the fall and early winter or 3) utilizing crop residues.


Stockpiled forage is forage that is allowed to grow and accumulate for use at a later time.  We are used to stockpiling silage but stockpiling forage for later grazing may be a new concept to many.

Tall fescue is well suited for stockpiling.  The one drawback to tall fescue is that it may contain the endophyte fungus which reduces cattle performance.  Cattle consuming endophyte infected tall fescue have reduced weight gains, lower milk production and and/or health problems.  However some research shows that stockpiling may help to reduce the toxicity of endophyte-infected tall fescue.  Tall fescue can be tested to determine the percent of endophyte infected plants.  Also there are endophyte free tall fescue varieties that can be planted.  If tall fescue is going to be stockpiled, then don’t graze it from August to early October.  To produce a high yielding, high quality stockpile, the pasture should be clipped fairly short and fertilized with 40-80 pounds of nitrogen in early to mid-August if there is sufficient moisture.  Smooth brome is also a candidate for stockpiling.  It should be managed in a similar manner as tall fescue.  Smooth brome is not as productive as tall fescue.   Fertilizing with 25-30 pounds of nitrogen per acre in early to mid-August is recommended if soil moisture is available.

Summer annuals such as sudan, sorghum sudan hybrids, pearl millet and others can work as stockpiled forages.  These summer annual grasses make acceptable winter pasture for beef cows. The quality of this feed will be higher if planting is delayed so that the crop does not reach maturity before frost. Tonnage of dry matter per acre will be lower, but protein content of the forage will be higher. Less lodging should occur if frost catches the crop prior to the flowering stage of maturity compared to later stages of maturity.  High nitrate levels can be an issue with sudan and sorghum sudan hybrids.   Swath the forages in early fall and if the windrows are to be grazed through the winter, make the windrows high and dense to reduce weathering loss.  Strip or swath grazing will allow for more efficient utilization.  See the NebGuide Windrow Grazing G1616 for more information.

Fall Growing Forages

Tall fescue and smooth brome are fall growing forages which provide the opportunity to extend the grazing season.  Both of these forages respond to fertilization in early August if soil moisture is adequate.  These grasses can especially be well suited for use with weaning calves.

Winter cover crops on corn and soybean acres are a natural fit for crop-and-beef producers.  The winter cover, which can be grasses (cereal rye, wheat, oats, triticale), legumes, brassicas (turnips, radish, rape, and collards) or a mix, offers extended grazing into the winter for cows and stocker calves.

Cover crops added to a cropping system can complicate management. The crops must be seeded early enough to get a good start on growth before winter.  Planting between August 10th and September 10th in Nebraska can result in 1 to 2 tons of dry matter of high quality forage.  Adequate rainfall or moisture in the fall for crop emergence and growth is a critical factor.  Cover crops work the best after corn silage harvest or wheat harvest.  However if conditions are right they can also be sown in corn and soybean fields.  This may mean aerial seeding into the soybeans or corn.  Another consideration would be to use earlier maturing corn and soybean varieties. Don’t make it too complicated.  Try a cover crop that gives you a good chance for success. Check out the Nebraska Extension beef web site ( or the cropwatch web site ( for information on UNL research with cover crops.

Crop Residues

Most if not all Eastern Nebraska cow calf producers graze their cows on corn stalks.  But are we utilizing them to their optimum benefit?  Data from the University of Missouri Systems Research Center shows that harvesting efficiency of corn stalks with whole field grazing is typically about 30 to 40 percent.  Only about a third of the feed available when the cows went into the field is utilized.  The rest is fouled or trampled.

Utilizing strip-grazing can extend grazing time and make the quality of the diet more uniform over the grazing period.  By limiting access to only a small portion of the field, the cattle are forced to consume residual corn and both the high-and-low quality forage components of the residue.

What is the potential for utilizing other corn stalk fields?  Do you have neighbors whose corn stalks are not being grazed?  Can you extend your grazing season by renting more corn stalks?  Nebraska Extension has a spreadsheet called the Corn Stalk Calculator that can be a very good tool for calculating stocking rate and rental rates.  The Corn Stalk Calculator can be found on the UNL Beef Web Site   click on learning modules and scroll down to Corn Stalk Calculator.

Dormant alfalfa also offers the opportunity to extend the fall grazing season.  Grazing the regrowth of alfalfa hay fields after cold weather has ensured dormancy is an excellent option.  Usually 2 to 3 days of successive evening temperatures in the 24-27 degree range should be experienced before grazing alfalfa.  Bloat should be less of a problem when grazing frosted alfalfa.  It is important to graze early enough to utilize the forage while still in a leafy palatable state.  An added benefit to fall grazing is that research and farmer experience indicates a reduction in alfalfa weevil populations the following spring.

Select the forages that fit into your farming system.  Extending the grazing season and reducing the amount of harvested forages fed to your cows will make your operation more cost efficient.  There are some excellent research based publications and articles on the internet on extending the grazing season.  Search the internet for extending the grazing season or cover crops for grazing.

So what do you need to extend the grazing season next fall?

1.     Forage in the field:  Begin planning now how you will grow forage for your cow herd to utilize later into the fall and winter.  Learn how to inventory standing feed.

2.     Control of livestock: Acquire and learn how to use high-quality fencing materials.  Allocating feed for short grazing periods permits one to increase harvesting efficiency and increase carrying capacity.

3.     Cows that know how to “work”: Don’t be swayed by “Sad Brown Eye Syndrome” or the vocal complaints of your cows.  Livestock are tough and can learn to graze for a living.

4.     Positive attitude:  A skeptical approach to fall and winter grazing on your part will virtually assure that it will “fail” for you.  Don’t make it too complicated.  Try something that gives you a good chance to succeed.


The 2016 Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo on Dec. 15 will assist soybean producers in planning for next year's growing season.

The expo, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., will be in the pavilion at the Saunders County Fairgrounds, 635 W. First St. in Wahoo.

Presenters include University of Nebraska researchers and specialists, Nebraska Soybean Checkoff representatives, soybean growers and private industry representatives.

> Jason Norsworthy, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, will discuss the current status of herbicide resistance in the United States with specific detail given to the extent of the problem in Nebraska cropping systems. Norsworthy will outline reasons for the development of herbicide resistance and provide strategies for growers to maximize weed control and protect against further resistance.

> Roger Hoy, director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, will discuss large equipment, tires and compaction.

> Loren Geisler, Nebraska Extension plant pathologist, will provide the latest on management of soybean sudden death syndrome.

> Cory Walters, assistant professor and grain and oilseed economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss marketing for soybean and corn crops.

The expo also will include an update on the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff and association information.

Producers will be able to visit with representatives from seed, herbicide, fertilizer and equipment companies and view new farm equipment during a 30-minute break at 9:45 a.m.

A complimentary lunch will be served at noon. The Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization requests that each participant donate one or more cans of nonperishable food to the food pantry.

Registration is available the day of the expo at the door. There is no registration fee.

For more information about the program or exhibitor information, visit, call 800-529-8030 or e-mail 

The program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension, the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff, Saunders County Soybean Growers Organization and private industry.

Farm Sector Weakness To Continue Into 2016

Net cash farm income is forecast at $90.1 billion and net farm income at $66.9 billion for 2016, according to USDA's Economic Research Service in a report released today. Both measures are forecast to decline for the third consecutive year after reaching record highs in 2013 for net farm income and 2012 for net cash income. Net cash farm income is expected to fall by 14.6 percent in 2016, while net farm income is forecast to decline by 17.2 percent. These declines follow the 19.8- and 12.7-percent reductions in net cash income and net farm income, respectively, that occurred in 2015.


    Overall, cash receipts are forecast to fall $23.4 billion (6.2 percent) in 2016 due to a $23.4-billion (12.3 percent) drop in animal/animal product receipts; crop receipts are forecast essentially unchanged from 2015. Nearly all major animal specialties—including dairy, meat animals, and poultry/eggs— are forecast to have lower receipts, including a 14.8-percent drop ($11.6 billion) in cattle/calf receipts. The slight gain in crop cash receipts is driven largely by a $5.3-billion increase in oil crop receipts, namely soybeans, while feed crops and vegetables/melons are down $2.2 billion (3.8 percent) and $1.4 billion (6.9 percent), respectively.

    While overall cash receipts are expected to decline, receipts for several commodities—including turkeys, rye, cotton (cotton lint), miscellaneous oil crops, and tobacco—are forecast to rise by 10 percent or more.

    Direct government farm program payments are forecast to increase in 2016 by $2.1 billion, or 19.1 percent, to $12.9 billion. Increases were primarily in price- and revenue-contingent farm programs.

    A 2.6-percent drop in overall production expenses forecast for 2016, on top of an 8.1-percent decline in 2015, partly offsets the forecast decline in cash receipts. Notably, expenses for inputs that typically are produced by the farm sector itself—including feed and livestock/poultry purchases—are expected down (6.1 percent). Also, expenses for fuels and oils are forecast down by 12.2 percent in 2016. If realized, expenses across each of these three categories will have fallen for 3 straight years. Interest expenses are forecast to decline 3.8 percent relative to 2015 due to falling real estate interest expenses. In contrast, cash labor expenses are forecast to increase 5.4 percent due to an increase in hired labor costs.

    The value of total farm sector equity is forecast down by $79.9 billion (3.1 percent) in 2016, due to a rise in farm sector debt and a modest decline in sector assets relative to 2015. The value of real estate, the largest component by far of the asset portfolio, is forecast down by $12.0 billion (0.5 percent). The (inventory) value of crops, animals/animal products, and purchased inputs is forecast down by $17.4 billion (9.3 percent) and the value of machinery/vehicles is expected down $22.7 billion (9.5 percent) from 2015.

    The balance sheet forecast indicates a fourth consecutive year in which farm solvency measures have declined. Liquidity positions have likewise declined, but these indicators of financial health remain near historic lows for the sector as a whole.

    Following the decline in net farm income, the rate of return on farm assets and the rate of return on farm equity are both negative for 2016, and both have declined every year since their recent peaks in 2012.

Value of Agricultural Sector Production Expected To Fall in 2016

The annual value of U.S. agricultural sector production is expected to fall 5.9 percent to $403.7 billion in 2016, almost entirely due to declines in the value of animal/animal product production (see table on value of production). The value of agricultural sector production is composed primarily of crop and livestock cash receipts adjusted for any changes in inventories and home consumption, plus farm-related income, which includes commodity insurance indemnity payments. If realized, the forecast value of crop production ($185.2 billion in 2016) would represent a small increase from 2015, the first year-over-year increase since 2013. The value of U.S. livestock production is forecast to decline 13.3 percent (to $168.6 billion) in 2016 as lower animal and animal product prices are expected to lead to large declines in both livestock receipts and the value of inventory adjustment.

The value of agricultural sector production includes several types of farm-related income in addition to cash receipts, including imputed rental income from farm dwellings and income from machine hire and custom work, forest products sold, net cash rent received, and Federal crop and livestock insurance indemnities. Indemnities received can partially cover losses to insured farmers due to natural disasters and market declines. Wheat (base acres) is the largest recipient (25.2 percent) of 2016 crop-year-to-date Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) indemnities, followed by corn, cotton, and soybeans. Federal commodity insurance indemnities paid in 2016 are expected to decline for the third straight year, decreasing by almost $3 billion from 2015.

Total Crop Receipts Essentially Unchanged in 2016

Crop cash receipts—the cash income from crop sales during the 2016 calendar year—are forecast essentially unchanged in 2016 as prices continue to decline for most field crops. The crop cash receipts forecast of $186.5 billion represents a decline of over 24 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from the all-time high in 2012; for corn receipts, the 2012-16 decline is forecast at about 36 percent, reflecting lower U.S. corn prices. Expected further weakening of corn prices in 2016 more than offsets production gains, leading corn cash receipts to fall by almost $2 billion (4 percent) from 2015. Similarly, wheat receipts have declined since peaking in 2012. Wheat receipts are expected to decline almost $1 billion (10 percent) from 2015 as price declines accompany strong harvests. Increased soybean production is expected to be supplemented by higher prices in 2016, reflecting strong export commitments and indications of higher priced, forward sales. Thus, soybean cash receipts are expected to increase over $5 billion (16 percent) in 2016. Rice receipts are forecast to fall in 2016 while cotton receipts are expected to increase, though they are forecast to remain 30 percent below their 2012 high.

Vegetable and melon cash receipts are expected to fall almost 7 percent ($1.4 billion) in 2016. Dry bean receipts are expected to decline almost 8 percent, while potato receipts are expected to rise 4.8 percent. Cash receipts for fruits and nuts are expected to decline 7.2 percent in 2016. Sugarcane/sugarbeet receipts are expected to rise between 2 and 3 percent in 2016.

Animal/Animal Product Receipts Forecast Sharply Lower in 2016

Animal/animal product cash receipts are expected to fall $23.4 billion (12.3 percent) in 2016. Relative to 2015, prices are expected to fall for almost all major animal and animal product commodities, especially eggs.

Since reaching a record high of $49.4 billion in 2014, milk receipts are forecast to drop $15.4 billion (31.2 percent) over 2015-16 as declining prices continue to outweigh expected increases in milk production. Cash receipts from cattle and calves are also expected to decline in 2016, falling $11.6 billion (almost 15 percent) from 2015 as cattle/calf prices decline. Hog production is expected to continue rising in 2016 as the industry recovers from the porcine epidemic virus (PEDV) in 2014. Hog prices are expected to drop in 2016, leading to a forecast drop in hog cash receipts of nearly 7 percent. While animal and animal product receipts are forecast substantially down, turkeys (up $0.6 billion or 10.6 percent) and miscellaneous livestock (up $0.2 billion or 2.9 percent) are both expected to grow in 2016.

Poultry and egg cash receipts are expected to fall over 18 percent in 2016, due primarily to a decline in egg receipts. HPAI, or "bird flu," resulted in 50.4 million birds being destroyed in 2015, with turkeys and egg laying chickens suffering the largest loss in numbers and driving egg prices to new—if fleeting—highs. The egg-laying industry has returned to normalcy in post-flu 2016, and the greater production levels have resulted in large price declines, with an overall decline in 2016 chicken-egg receipts. Broiler prices are expected to decline in 2016 as production increases, leading to a decline in broiler cash receipts. In contrast, turkey production, prices, and receipts are expected to increase in 2016.

Falling Prices For Most Crops Underlie Forecast Drop in Farm Cash Receipts

Cash receipts across all commodities are expected to fall $23.4 billion (6.2 percent) in 2016. This net impact can be decomposed into a separate 'price effect' that lowers receipts by $41.3 billion and a 'quantity effect' that raises receipts by $17.5 billion (plus a $0.5-billion increase in receipts for minor commodities whose prices could not be differentiated from overall receipts).

We estimate the price effect by holding 2015 quantity sold constant while allowing commodity prices alone to change; thus, cash receipts would be $41.3 billion lower due solely to the 2016 change in price. The largest impact on cash receipts is from cattle and calves, with a nearly $15-billion decline in receipts caused by prices alone. The second largest price effect was also negative, as prices for chicken eggs lowered receipts by another $7 billion.

The quantity effect is calculated for the same commodities by holding prices constant at their 2015 levels and allowing 2015-16 production changes alone to determine cash receipts. Here, the biggest production impact on cash receipts is from soybeans, as record yields associated with the 2016 harvest raise cash receipts by a forecast $6.3 billion. Second was cattle and calves, where production gains would have led to a forecast increase in receipts of over $3 billion had prices not fallen.
Change in farm cash receipts, 2015-2016F, by component of change

Direct Government Farm Payments Forecast To Rise in 2016

Direct government farm program payments are forecast to rise by 19.1 percent in 2016 to $12.9 billion (see table on government payments). The Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) programs are expected to account for 64.4 percent of all program payments. PLC payments in 2015 went to farms with base acres in long-grain rice (51.5 percent), peanuts (41.4 percent), and canola (7.1 percent). In 2016, about 39.2 percent of PLC payments are expected to go to producers with peanut base acres, 35.6 percent to producers with wheat base acres, almost 15 percent to producers with grain sorghum base acres, and the remainder to canola, corn, and oat base acres.

Operators with corn base acres received almost 84 percent of Agriculture Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) 2015 payments, reflecting both lower corn prices and the large number of corn base acres on which payments are made. Similarly, about 69 percent of 2016 ARC-CO payments are expected to go to producers with corn base acres, 18.5 percent to soybean base producers, and another 10.8 percent to producers with wheat base acres. The forecast increases in 2016 payments reflect expected declines in seasonal average crop prices. USDA payments are scheduled to begin sometime after October 1, 2016, contingent on adjusted gross income, payment limits, and other factors.

Commodity certificates, available beginning with the 2015 crop, allow producers to exchange collateral pledged to CCC for an outstanding, nonrecourse Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL).  The Cotton Ginning Cost-Share (CGCS) program provides one-time cost-share assistance payments to cotton producers with an ownership share in the 2015 cotton crop plantings.  They are capped at $40,000 per individual or entity and do not count against statutory payment limitations under the 2014 Farm Bill.  Finally, a category of Marketing Loan Benefits (MLBs)—composed of Marketing Loan Gains (MLGs), Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs), and the reintroduced Certificate Exchange Gains (CEG)—are forecast to collectively increase due to expected lower prices for upland cotton, wheat, and peanuts.

The Dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) is forecast to return $11.3 million to the Federal Government, after netting fees and premiums paid by dairy producer participants from payments issued under the program.  Supplemental and Ad Hoc Disaster Assistance payments are forecast to decline substantially in 2016 due to large expected declines in Livestock Forage Program (LFP), Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and APHIS Bird Flu payments. Conservation payments—reflecting Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) financial assistance programs—are expected to remain stable.
Government farm program payments to farm producers, 2006-2016F

Production Expenses Forecast Lower in 2016, Led by Reduced Livestock, Fertilizer, and Fuel Costs
After reaching record highs exceeding $390 billion in 2014, farm production expenses are forecast to dip for the second consecutive year in 2016. The expected $9.2-billion (2.6 percent) decline is the second largest year-over-year reduction in expenditures since 2009, behind the $31.7-billion (8.1 percent) decline from 2014 to 2015. Reduced input costs are expected to ease, but not eliminate, some of the pressure from lower cash receipts.

The forecast decline in production expenses is predominantly driven by less spending on livestock/poultry purchases, fertilizer, and fuel, which should more than offset the increased outlays for hired labor and property taxes/fees.

    Livestock and poultry purchases are expected to have the largest decline of any expense in 2016, both in absolute terms ($6.8 billion) and in percentage terms (22.5 percent), due primarily to lower feeder cattle prices.
    A double-digit decline (12.2 percent) in spending on fuels and oils is expected for the second consecutive year, with the U.S. Energy Information Agency expecting diesel and gasoline prices down over 15 percent in 2016.
    Labor costs are forecast to increase in 2016 by 5.4 percent (still slightly below 2014 highs), after dipping in 2015. Wage rate increases are putting upward pressure on hired labor costs.
    Interest expenses are expected to fall 3.8 percent in 2016, with expected declines in real estate interest offset by a modest increase in interest paid on nonreal estate debt.
    Net rent expense—the amount paid to rent land, adjusted for any payouts of the landlord’s share of government payments and/or insurance indemnities and for any expenses paid by the landlords—is forecast to decrease by 1.6 percent to $19.8 billion in 2016. As in recent years, the majority of net rent expense is forecast to be paid to nonoperator landlords (farmland owners who do not themselves farm) as opposed to landlords who are also operators.

Payments to Stakeholders Expected To Increase Slightly in 2016

In 2016, payments to stakeholders are forecast to increase by $1.0 billion (1.5 percent), while net value added is forecast to decline by 9.0 percent (see chart below for inflation-adjusted series trends). Net value added represents the sum of economic returns to all the providers of factors of production. Net value added is distributed among stakeholders who receive a fixed ­payment in return for their services and equity owners who share in the net farm income (profits) of the sector. Stakeholders provide the hired labor, leased capital, and rental land used in agricultural production, but in most cases do not directly share risk in the short term. An exception is landlords who sign operators to share-rent agreements. Consequently, the payments that stakeholders receive can be more stable over time than net farm income received by equity owners.

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Farm Income Forecast for 2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the following statement today on the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2016, released by USDA's Economic Research Service.

"Today's forecast continues to show that the health of the overall farm economy is strong in the face of challenging markets. After reaching record highs in 2012-2014, net farm income declined in 2015 and is forecast to decline in 2016, but the bigger picture shows that farm income over the last five-year period reflects the highest average five-year period on record. The comprehensive farm safety net provided by the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to help America's farmers and ranchers respond to market conditions and provide financial stability for producers. Farm Bill program payments are forecast to increase over 19 percent to $12.9 billion in 2016, primarily through Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments.

"As we saw in the August forecast, the estimates again show that debt to asset and debt to equity ratios -- two key indicators of the farm economy's health -- continue to be near all-time lows, and more than 90% of farm businesses are not highly leveraged. Median household income for farming families remains near historic highs and is expected to remain stable relative to 2015. In 2016, higher off-farm earnings are expected to help stabilize losses due to low commodity prices.

"The trend in strong household income reflects work of the Obama Administration since 2009 to make significant and targeted investments to help rural America thrive, including farming and non-farming families alike. At the beginning of the Obama Administration, rural areas were reeling from the Great Recession. Rural counties were losing 200,000 jobs per year, rural unemployment reached nearly 10 percent, and poverty rates reached heights unseen in decades. Over the past eight years, USDA has invested in building a more robust system of production agriculture, expanding foreign markets for U.S. farm goods, bolstering local and regional food systems across the country, and creating a new biobased economy in rural communities that today supports more than 4.2 million American jobs. Rural counties added over 250,000 jobs in both 2014 and 2015, and the rural unemployment rate has dropped below 6 percent for the first time since 2007. Rural populations have stabilized and are beginning to grow. Median household income in rural areas increased by 3.4 percent in 2015, poverty rates have fallen, and child food insecurity is at an all-time low.

"The future of rural America looks much brighter today, but we must continue to focus on the targeted investments to help the rural economy retool itself for the 21st century."

FY 2017 Ag Exports Forecast Up $1.0 Billion at $134.0 Billion; Imports at $112.5 Billion

Fiscal year 2017 agricultural exports are projected at $134.0 billion, up $1.0 billion from the August forecast, largely due to expected increases in dairy and livestock byproduct exports... according to USDA's Economic Research Service in a report released today. While beef and pork forecasts remain unchanged, dairy is forecast $500 million higher at $5.3 billion. Grain and feed exports are forecast up $300 million to $29.6 billion, driven primarily by stronger wheat volumes and unit values as well as by corn volumes, helping to offset expected declines in rice exports. Cotton exports are forecast at $4.4 billion, a $200 million increase, due to a poor harvest in Brazil and production uncertainty in India. Soybean export volumes continue to set records, raising the soybean forecast $500 million, which is countered by expected declines in soybean meal, soybean oil and other oilseed products. Overall, the oilseed and product forecast remains unchanged at $31.0 billion.

Forecasts to China and Mexico received the largest upward adjustments, each increasing $300 million. China continues to be forecast as the top market for fiscal year 2017 at $21.8 billion, followed by Canada ($21.3 billion) and Mexico ($18.3 billion).

U.S. agricultural imports in fiscal year 2017 are forecast at $112.5 billion, down $1.0 billion from the August forecast. Reduced imports of horticultural, sugar, and tropical products are leading the forecast decline. As a result, the U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to increase to $21.5 billion in fiscal 2017.

Click here to read the complete report...

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Latest Quarterly Export Forecast for 2017

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement on the forecast for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2017.

"U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to rise to the challenge of supplying the world with high-quality, American-grown products. At a projected $134 billion in 2017, U.S. farm exports continue to rally and remain on the record-setting pace of the past eight years. Since 2009, the United States has exported more than $1 trillion in agricultural products, far more than any other period in our history, thanks to the productivity and ingenuity of American farmers and ranchers, aided in part by the work of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service to arrange and support trade missions and of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to break down trade barriers.

"The $134-billion forecast represents an increase of $4.3 billion from 2016 and would be the sixth-highest total on record. U.S. agriculture is once again expected to post a trade surplus, totaling $21.5 billion, up nearly 30 percent from the $16.6 billion surplus in 2016.

"The expected volume of 2017 exports is noteworthy, with bulk commodity exports expected to surpass last year's record levels - led by soybeans at a record 55.8 million metric tons, and corn, up 11 percent from last year, to 56.5 million metric tons. The volume of cotton exports is expected to begin recovering and most livestock and poultry products should see moderate increases in export volume as well.

"Exports are responsible for 20 percent of U.S. farm income, also driving rural economic activity and supporting more than one million American jobs both on and off the farm. Earlier today, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) released the Farm Income and Financial Forecasts for 2016, demonstrating the strength and resilience of the farm economy in the face of challenging markets, in large part due to the contribution of exports. Over the past eight years, USDA has worked to boost export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products by opening new markets, pursuing new trade agreements, enforcing existing agreements, and breaking down barriers to trade.

"USDA has made support for exports and production agriculture one of the Four Pillars of a 21st century rural economy, along with local and regional food systems, the biobased economy, and conservation and natural resources, and has made significant, targeted investments in these areas. Today's reports showing growing exports and stable farm incomes reflect the strategic, consistent work of the Obama Administration since 2009 to help rural America thrive. We must continue promoting a favorable trade environment for American exports and making targeted investments that drive the rural economy forward to ensure this progress continues."

Weekly Ethanol Production for 11/25

According to EIA data analyzed by the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol production averaged 1.012 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 42.50 million gallons daily. That is down just 2,000 b/d from the week before. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 1.011 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.50 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 18.4 million barrels. That is a 2.7% decrease from last week and the lowest level of stocks in more than a year. Ethanol stocks currently sit at just over 20 days of supply, the lowest implied stocks-to-use since October 2015.

Imports of ethanol were nonexistent for the 14th week in a row.

Gasoline demand for the week averaged 381.4 million gallons (9.080 million barrels) daily. Refiner/blender input of ethanol averaged 906,000 b/d.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.15%.

RFA Analysis: Automakers Approve E15 in More than 80% of New 2017 Vehicles

More than 80 percent of new 2017 model year (MY) vehicles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use 15 percent ethanol blends (E15), according to an analysis of warranty statements and owner’s manuals conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). That is up from last year, when approximately 70 percent of MY2016 vehicles were approved by automakers for the use of E15.

For the first time, Hyundai Motor Company has approved the use of E15 in MY 2017 Hyundai and Kia vehicles, joining the majority of its auto competitors. Together, Hyundai and Kia represent slightly more than 8 percent of the U.S. light-duty automobile market.

In 2012, EPA approved the use of E15 in vehicles built in MY 2001 or later. However, auto manufacturers did not retroactively endorse the use of E15 in legacy vehicles that were already on the road.

Other key points from RFA’s analysis include:
-    The Detroit Three (Chrysler, General Motors and Ford), which collectively represent 45 percent of U.S. market share, all clearly allow E15 in their vehicles. GM started approving the use of E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined the following year and Chrysler began E15 approval with its MY 2016 vehicles.
-    Other automakers explicitly offering E15 approval for MY 2017 vehicles include Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Tata Motors (maker of Land Rover and Jaguar). Altogether, auto manufacturers with approximately 81 percent of the U.S. market share now approve the use of E15 in their MY 2017 vehicles.
-    With 9 percent of the U.S. market share, Nissan Motor Corporation remains the largest vehicle manufacturer that does not explicitly approve E15 in its vehicles. Despite announcing earlier this year that it is developing a vehicle powered by an ethanol fuel cell, the automaker only approves the use of E10 in its vehicles. Curiously, Nissan approves the use of gasoline containing up to 15 percent MTBE, a toxic additive that is banned in more than two dozen states.
-    Mazda, Subaru and The Daimler Group (maker of Mercedes-Benz) also continue to exclude E15 from fuel approvals and warranty statements. Together, these three manufacturers own about 7.5 percent of the U.S. market share.
-    Of note, BMW Group’s Mini vehicles again allow the use of 25 percent ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25 percent, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”
-    While neither automaker approves the use of E15, both Mercedes-Benz and Nissan produce some flex fuel vehicle models that are capable of operating on up to 85 percent ethanol blends (E85).

RFA estimates that approximately 25–30 percent of the 230 million vehicles on the road today are clearly approved by the automaker to use E15. Meanwhile, roughly 90 percent of vehicles on the road were built in 2001 or later, meaning they are legally approved by EPA to use E15.

“This analysis demonstrates that automaker acceptance and approval of E15 continues to expand rapidly,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “More than four out of every five new vehicles carries the manufacturer’s explicit endorsement of E15, putting to rest the myth propagated by the American Petroleum Institute that automakers don’t allow or warranty the use of this lower-cost, higher-octane fuel blend. We applaud Hyundai for joining the ‘E15 Club’ with its model year 2017 vehicles, and we’re thrilled to see Mini going above and beyond to offer E25-compatible vehicles. At the same time, we encourage Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Daimler to get with the times and offer their customers greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to making a fuel choice at the pump.”

Pig Farmers Encouraged to Pay It Forward with #HamsAcrossAmerica

This Giving Tuesday, the Pork Checkoff is encouraging pig farmers to pay it forward with a new holiday campaign called #HamsAcrossAmerica. This first-annual event encourages farmers and others involved in the pork industry to show their appreciation for friends, family and neighbors through the gift of ham – in the form of gifts or donations of ham or ham-based products.

“For pig farmers, volunteering at community events and participating in local fundraisers has always been a part of what makes us who we are,” said Brad Greenway, 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year who is from Mitchell, South Dakota. “Hams Across America allows farmers to not only live the We CareSM ethical principles, but also share their love of the product that they produce.”

Pig farmers are encouraged to extend Giving Tuesday through Dec. 23 with Hams Across America by simply purchasing a gift of ham and paying it forward. Participants are also encouraged to share their pay-it-forward stories on social media using #RealPigFarming and #HamsAcrossAmerica.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Remain Varied

As has been the case in the last few weeks, retail fertilizer prices continue be mixed the fourth week of November, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers slipped lower compared to a month earlier, and again none of these moves were significant. DAP averaged $436 per ton, MAP $445/ton, 10-34-0 $445/ton, anhydrous $465/ton, UAN28 $218/ton and UAN32 $256/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly higher in price looking back to a month earlier. Neither fertilizer was up any substantial amount. Potash averaged $316/ton and urea was at $328/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.36/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.

Urea is now down 17%, both DAP and MAP are 20% less expensive and UAN32 is 21% lower. 10-34-0 is 23% lower, UAN28 is 24% less expensive, potash is 25% lower and anhydrous is 26% less expensive compared to a year prior.

Corn Refiners Association Celebrates Commitment to Community in 2016 Annual Report

As we approach International Volunteers Day on December 5, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) celebrates the commitment of industry employees to their communities by releasing our 2016 Corn Annual: Strengthening the Fabric of Our Nation. The report illustrates the many ways corn refining companies contribute to the vitality, spirit and social fabric of the communities where they operate.

The feeling of connection and spirit of local pride is evident in the ways that the industry gives back to their communities. In the U.S., industry employees volunteered more than 45,000 hours and charitable donations were more than $9 million in 2014.

It’s also heard in the voices that explain the social good brought by the people of the corn refining industry.

“It’s that commitment that they’re making to our community that is, quite honestly, contagious,” says Randy Kuhlman, Chief Executive Officer, Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way. “It not only spreads throughout their employees, but it spreads throughout the community in a number of different ways.”

Beyond philanthropic contributions to their local communities, the corn refining industry helps strengthen the fabric of rural America as a strong, stable part of the economy. For every job directly supported by the corn refining industry, an additional 32.6 jobs are added across the U.S. contributing an additional $12.5 billion in incomes. For every $1 in industry sales, an additional $3.54 is added to the U.S. economy.

“Rural areas continue to experience population loss and higher poverty rates than urban areas. With the majority of our facilities located in the Corn Belt, we take our role in America’s rural communities and agricultural economy very seriously,” says CRA President and CEO John Bode. “You see it in the way our companies value their employees and value the relationships with their communities.”

USDA Partners with Farmers, Ranchers to Protect More Than 500,000 Acres of Working Grasslands

Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept more than 504,000 acres that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits.

USDA will accept more than 2,100 offers totaling more than 504,000 acres across 34 states. Over 70 percent of the acres are from beginning farmers, veterans and underserved producers. About two-thirds of the acres are in counties with the highest threat for conversion. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of the acres are in wildlife priority areas and nearly three-fourths of the acres will have a wildlife-focused conservation plan as part of the operation.

“This 15-year commitment on more than half a million acres demonstrates that voluntary, incentive-based conservation methods benefit producers and help to preserve our natural resources,” said Taylor. “Combining conservation and wildlife benefits, while still supporting livestock production, is a clear example of how agriculture and conservation can go hand-in-hand.”

USDA is also reminding producers that it is still accepting additional offers for CRP Grasslands. The current ranking period that closes on Dec. 16, also includes a new CRP Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations to encourage broader participation. Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to an additional 200,000 acres. The new practice for small-scale livestock grazing operations encourages greater diversity geographically and in all types of livestock operation. Small livestock operations are encouraged to contact their local Farm Service Agency office to learn more about this program before Dec. 16 to be considered as part of the current ranking period.

Participants in CRP Grasslands establish or maintain long-term, resource-conserving grasses and other plant species to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands. CRP Grasslands participants can use the land for livestock production (e.g. grazing or producing hay), while following their conservation and grazing plans in order to maintain the cover. A goal of CRP Grasslands is to minimize conversion of grasslands either to row crops or to non-agricultural uses. Participants can receive annual payments of up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land and up to 50 percent to fund cover or practices like cross-fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife.

USDA will select offers for enrollment based on six ranking factors: (1) current and future use, (2) new farmer/rancher or underserved producer involvement, (3) maximum grassland preservation, (4) vegetative cover, (5) environmental factors and (6) pollinator habitat. Offers for the second ranking period also will be considered from producers who submitted offers for the first ranking period but were not accepted, as well as from new offers submitted through Dec. 16.

Small livestock operations or other farming and ranching operations interested in participating in CRP Grasslands should contact their local FSA office. To find your local FSA office, visit To learn more about FSA’s conservation programs, visit

Pilgrim's Pride to Acquire Gold n' Plump for $350 Million

Pilgrim's Pride Corp., a subsidiary of JBS S.A., has announced a definitive agreement to acquire GNP Co. for $350 million in an all-cash transaction.

With production facilities in Gold Spring and Luverne, Minn., and Arcadia, Wis., GNP provides premium branded and custom chicken products with distribution in nearly all 50 states under the Just Bare and Gold'n Plump brands. The company has approximately 400 family farm partners and more than 1,700 employees. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2017 and remains subject to regulatory review and approval and customary closing conditions.

"The Pilgrim's team is excited to combine the collective strengths of Pilgrim's Pride and GNP Co.," said Bill Lovette, chief executive officer of Pilgrim's Pride. "GNP Co. boasts outstanding state-of-the-art assets in geographic areas where Pilgrim's is not currently present, providing Pilgrim's the opportunity to expand our production and customer bases, while maintaining our high standards for quality service and great-tasting products."

Additionally, Pilgrim's Pride plans to leverage GNP's use of innovative technologies, such as gas stunning, aeroscalding and automated deboning, to enhance its production efficiencies. The addition of GNP's Just Bare product lines joins Pilgrim's existing no-antibiotics-ever and organic production capabilities, strengthening the company's footprint in fast-growing and higher-margin chicken segments.

The addition of GNP's Just Bare product lines joins Pilgrim's existing no-antibiotics-ever and organic production capabilities.

The $350 million purchase price reflects an expected EBITDA multiple of 5.2x, excluding potential synergy gains. Pilgrim's expects to achieve approximately $20 million in annualized synergies and to capture an estimated present value of approximately $28 million in tax savings and a post-synergies EBITDA multiple of 3.9x. The company anticipates the acquisition will be accretive to the diluted earnings per share in 2017.

"Today's announcement is a clear demonstration of Pilgrim's commitment to our growth strategy of disciplined acquisitions that enhance both our portfolio of value-added products and our ability to provide key customers with the high quality products demanded by consumers," Lovette said. "We look forward to welcoming GNP Co.'s team members and family farmer partners to the Pilgrim's team as we continue to position Pilgrim's as the preferred choice of consumers and retail and food service partners across the country."

Pilgrim's Pride produces fresh, frozen and fully cooked chicken products under the Pilgrim's and Country Pride brands. It produces fresh, frozen and fully cooked chicken products under the Pilgrim's and Country Pride brands with distribution primarily through retailers and food service distributors. The company operates chicken processing plants and prepared foods facilities in 12 states, Puerto Rico and Mexico, and employs approximately 38,200 people.

Five Myths of Internal Parasite Control

It’s estimated that the cattle industry loses about $3 billion each year in lost weight gains, poor feed conversion and increased disease because of internal parasites.1 With the financial impact and animal welfare concerns on cattle operations, it is important for producers to understand parasite control, as well as the misconceptions about parasite control.

Here are five parasite control myths that might be putting a producer’s management program at risk.

Myth No. 1: All active ingredients in parasite control products have the same efficacy.
There are different active ingredients and different classes of dewormers, which should be used strategically on an operation for effective parasite control, advises Mark Alley, DVM, managing veterinarian with Zoetis.

Products such as DECTOMAX® Pour-On or DECTOMAX® Injectable provide both extended therapy and good efficacy against both adult and inhibited Ostertagia, the brown stomach worm. However, in populations of cattle where Cooperia, Nematodirus or Haemonchus are an issue, white dewormers such as VALBAZEN® Suspension may be a better selection. It is important that a producer has a discussion with his or her veterinarian or animal health provider to determine which is most appropriate.

Myth No. 2: My animals look fine, so I don’t have a parasite resistance problem.
“Parasitologists agree that no dewormer provides 100% effectiveness against parasites,” said Dr. Alley. “We make the assumption that all parasite control products are 100% effective, but even with 50% kill of parasites, producers will see a clinical improvement in the animals.”

Dr. Alley says producers can’t tell visually if there is a resistant parasite problem in the herd. They need to work closely with their veterinarian to diagnose resistant parasites and establish a strategic deworming program.

Myth No. 3: Parasites cannot withstand winter’s cold temperatures.
“It is a mistake to think it gets cold enough to kill parasites over the winter,” Dr. Alley said.

Parasites can simply overwinter in cattle or pastures. While winter may take its toll on many things, studies demonstrate that infective larvae were able to survive on pastures during winter months.2,3

Myth No. 4: Antiparasitics can be administered to work at a producer’s convenience.
Timing is critical for administering antiparasitic products. Often, producers deworm when it’s most convenient for them, rather than when it’s most effective to control parasites. Dr. Alley recommends year-round parasite control, both in the fall and again in the spring before summer pasture turnout.

Myth No. 5: Dosing to the average weight of the group is adequate.
It’s important for producers to not only match the dewormer to the type of parasite challenge but also to administer each dose per the animal’s calculated weight. Incorrect dosing has been identified as a major contributor to the development of resistant parasites. A common practice is to dose products to the average weight of the herd, rather than to the individual weight of the animal. In this case, half the herd could be underdosed.

For more information about parasite control, please visit with your animal health adviser or Zoetis representative.

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.

Cattle must not be slaughtered within 27 days after the last treatment with VALBAZEN. Do not use in female dairy cattle of breeding age. Do not administer to female cattle during the first 45 days of pregnancy or for 45 days after removal of bulls.

Tuesday November 29 Ag News

Nebraska Corn Board Elects New Officers

The Nebraska Corn Board met and elected officers for the 2016-2017 fiscal year at their board meeting on Tuesday, November 22 at The Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. The board met to conduct regular board business and hold election of officers.

David Merrell, District 7 director for St. Edward, Nebraska, was reelected as chairman of the board. Merrell has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006 and will serve his second year as chairman. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanized Agriculture (Biological Systems Management). He and his wife, Cyndee, have three children and have been farming for over 20 years around St. Edward located in Boone County, Nebraska.

Merrell said it’s an honor to continue to serve as the chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We are fortunate to have farmer leaders and staff members who are extremely dedicated to an industry that is vitally important to our state. I look forward to working with the board, staff and industry leaders to continue the positive momentum of enhancing demand, adding value and ensuring sustainability of Nebraska’s corn industry.”

David Bruntz, District 1 director from Friend, Nebraska, was elected as vice-chairman. Bruntz previously served as the secretary/treasurer and currently serves on the board’s research and stewardship committee. He has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2013.

Dennis Gengenbach, District 6 director from Smithfield, Nebraska, was elected as secretary/treasurer. Gengenbach previously served as the vice-chair and currently serves on the board’s market development committee. He has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006.

Tim Scheer, District 5 director from St. Paul, Nebraska, will continue to serve as the past-chairman of the board. Scheer has been a director on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2007.

“Our dedicated farmer-leaders have contributed great time and energy to our industry over the years,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Through their passion and leadership in the corn, livestock and ethanol industries, they continue to play a dynamic role in supporting the mission and vision for Nebraska’s 23,000 corn farmers that invest in the corn checkoff.”

Farm Service Agency Extends Voting Deadline for County Committee Elections

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Dan Steinkruger today announced the deadline to submit ballots for the 2016 County Committee Elections has been extended to ensure farmers and ranchers have sufficient time to vote. Eligible voters now have until Dec. 13, 2016, to return ballots to their local FSA offices. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office.

“We’re extending the voting deadline to December 13 to give farmers and ranchers a few additional days to get their ballots in,” said Steinkruger. “I urge all eligible producers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year’s elections. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.”

FSA has modified the ballot, making it easily identifiable and less likely to be overlooked. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 13, 2016. Newly elected committee members will take office Jan. 1, 2017.

Nearly 7,700 FSA County Committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of County Committee seats are up for election each year. County Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support, conservation, indemnity, disaster and emergency programs.

Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the County Committee election. Approximately 1.5 million producers are currently eligible to vote. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Moo University Winter Workshop Series in January

The progressive series workshops called "Hot Topics for Cold Days" begins in Jamestown, North Dakota Jan. 16; Watertown, South Dakota Jan. 17; Pipestone, Minnesota Jan. 18; Orange City, Iowa Jan. 19 and wraps up in Norfolk, Nebraska Jan. 20.

"The workshop will focus on a variety of hot industry topics including technology utilization on the dairy, followed by a marketing and management emphasis; it will wrap-up with a session on succession planning. We really encourage dairy producers to attend because the information provided at the workshops will enable them as they work to enhance their dairy's performance and long range business planning," said Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist.

All workshops will contain the same information and run from 10a.m. to 3:45 p.m. with registration starting at 9a.m. The workshop cost is $50 per person, $20 for College/Technical School students before January 6. After that date it will increase to $65/person and $25/student. A $50 discount is available for South Dakota Dairy Producer's members, Nebraska State Dairy Association members, Western Iowa Dairy Alliance members. For location information, to register on-line or download the brochure, visit

Workshop topics include:
- Finances and returns for robotic dairies; Jim Salfer, University of Minnesota
- Technology in Activity Monitors; Leo Timms, Iowa State University
- Understanding Food Marketing: An Industry Perspective; Betty Berning, University of Minnesota and Kim Clark, University of Nebraska
- Effective Communication when Working with Employees on Dairies; Tracey Erickson, SDSU Extension Dairy Field Specialist
- Succession Planning; Heather Gessner, SDSU Extension Livestock Business Management Field Specialist.

The workshop is sponsored by the I-29 Moo University collaborators consisting of South Dakota State University, North Dakota State University, University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, and University of Nebraska Extension Services; Iowa State Dairy Association, South Dakota Dairy Producers Association, Nebraska State Dairy Association, North Dakota Milk Producers Association, MN Milk Producers Association and the Minnesota Dairy Initiative.

DEKALB® Disease Shield™ Breeding Innovation Showed

An advanced lineup of corn products being introduced for 2017 demonstrated a strong line of defense against the top yield-robbing corn diseases in Nebraska this season. DEKALB® Disease Shield™ corn products achieved an average 8.4 bushel per acre yield advantage in trial plot comparisons in the state.

    Developed through the DEKALB brand’s breeding program, DEKALB Disease Shield corn products offer exclusive genetics that combine high yield potential with enhanced disease protection against today’s most common corn diseases: anthracnose stalk rot, Goss’s wilt, northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and in limited geographies, southern rust.

    “All of these diseases were present during the 2016 growing season in different regions of the country,” said Jared Webb, DEKALB product manager.  “We’re very excited about the results we saw this season with DEKALB Disease Shield products, not only in their yield advantage but also the risk reduction they provided for farmers, particularly in areas of heavy disease pressure.”

    Webb reported that DEKALB Disease Shield plants were healthier and had excellent staygreen characteristics compared to other corn products in the trial plots which had visible evidence of disease pressure.

    Six DEKALB Disease Shield products are being launched for the 2017 season in 109 to 120 day relative maturities, with plans for expansion in future years.

New ISU Extension Swine Program Specialist Feels Right at Home

In the few weeks since he started work at Iowa State University, Erik Potter has co-authored an informational handout on the Veterinary Feed Directive, attended his first professional development session and participated in Master Pork Producer visits with colleagues from Iowa State and Iowa Pork Producers Association. And that’s just the beginning for the newest swine program specialist whose office is located in 109 Kildee Hall, home of the Iowa Pork Industry Center.

“My roots are firmly planted in the state of Iowa and this position will allow me to further my passions in the pork industry while also strengthening agriculture in the place I call home,” Potter said. “I bring a unique perspective to IPIC’s team of six field specialists, based on my experience in the industry.”

Prior to coming to Iowa State, Potter worked for a large pork integrator with farms in various states across the U.S. with primary responsibilities of on-farm auditing of animal welfare, employee safety and environmental impact.

“In that job, I developed employee training materials, conducted trainings and established standard operating procedures,” he said. “One of my goals here with IPIC is to strengthen our relationships with various departments across campus and look for research opportunities between faculty and pork producers in the state. This will be an ongoing endeavor as I get more connected to the faculty and staff at ISU.”

Although Potter’s office is on campus, he will be the swine field specialist point of contact for producers and others in several southwest Iowa counties. Through phone, email and personal contact, he intends to maintain and improve existing connections and work to open new lines of communication and cooperation.

“IPIC has tremendous potential to strengthen the pork industry in Iowa through its network of industry professionals, world-leading academics and research at Iowa State University, and the extensive breadth of knowledge throughout ISU Extension and Outreach,” he said. “I’ve worked in a variety of barn systems including natural to power ventilation, group housed sows and varying nutrient management systems and will use that experience and knowledge in my new role.”

Potter said he also wants to strengthen the name of IPIC across Iowa.

“The center offers a tremendous amount of knowledge and educational programming that can be beneficial to producers of any size, including the release of a redesigned and much improved website just prior to me starting here,” he said. “Now we need to work to increase its use by promoting and publicizing it, so folks become better connected to what all we have to offer.”

As the newest member of the swine field staff, Potter said he’s ready for the challenge of moving himself and IPIC forward.

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘If you don’t like change, you’ll like being obsolete even less.’ Continuous improvement is the foundation for business success and IPIC is no exception,” he said. “The needs of pork producers have changed from when IPIC was created and as we look to the future for industry need-based programming, we need to continue to ask ourselves, ‘Will this add value to producers?’”

Potter is available by phone 515-294-8797 and by email

Commodity Classic Announces Registration & Housing Opening Date

Commodity Classic registration and housing reservations will open online at 10 a.m. CST on Wednesday morning, December 7, 2016. Rooms are expected to book quickly, so those interested should register and make reservations as soon as possible once registration is open.

The 2017 Commodity Classic will be held in San Antonio, Texas March 2-4, 2017, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  The convention center will house all Commodity Classic events, including the Welcome Reception, General Session, Evening of Entertainment, Trade Show, Learning Center Sessions and What’s New Sessions.

All registration and housing reservations should be made online at  Experient is the official registration and housing provider for Commodity Classic.  In order to stay at an official Commodity Classic hotel, reservations must be made only through Experient to ensure favorable rates, reasonable terms and confirmed hotel rooms.

Established in 1996, Commodity Classic is America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, produced by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Sorghum Producers, and Association of Equipment Manufacturers.

USDA Awards $6.7 Million for Research to Support Healthy Agroecosystems

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 18 grants totaling more than $6.7 million for research to discover how components of the agroecosystem from soil, water and sun to plants, animals and people, interact with and affect food production. These awards are made through NIFA's Bioenergy and Natural Resources Program, Agroecosystem priority area of the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

"Population growth, along with environmental factors, including the growing threat of climate change, are putting increasing demand on the land, water and other resources that produce our food," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These investments will help us understand how we can farm more effectively and sustainably to feed the growing global population."

NIFA's AFRI Foundational: Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment Program supports research on healthy agroecosystems and their underlying natural resources essential to the sustained long-term production of agricultural goods and services. Agroecosystems may include crop production systems, animal production systems, and pasture, range and forest lands that are actively managed to provide economic, societal and environmental benefits. Projects funded through this program area contribute to the knowledge needed for sustainable production of agroecosystems while retaining needed ecosystem services-such as drinking water, pollination and climate regulation.

Awards for 2016 include:
    Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz., $439,080
    The Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., $439,676
    National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., $50,000
    Archbold Expeditions, Venus, Fla., $499,921
    University of Florida Board of Trustees, Gainesville, Fla., $438,705
    Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $ 440,000
    Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., $439,892
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $474,632
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., $49,500
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., $ 149,736
    The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $499,094
    The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $439,966
    Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla., $ 375,000
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa., $471,324
    New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M., $145,205
    The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., $375,000
    Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $499,884
    The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, Madison, Wisc., $498,995

Among this year's projects, the National Academy of Sciences will host a free, livestreamed workshop that will bring together policy makers, foundations and scientists to discuss how soil affects food security, water quality and ecosystem health and identify policy solutions and research decisions to preserve this critical resource. Archbold Expeditions, a nonprofit dedicated to long-term ecological research, will compare different grassland management systems to see which offer the most effective ecosystem benefits, such as greenhouse gas management and water use efficiency.

Previous agroecosystem projects include a research and education initiative by North Carolina State University that investigated how farming practices such as tillage, pesticide and fertilizer use can affect beneficial soil organisms like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Scientists and extension educators from the University of Idaho, Washington State University, Oregon State University and USDA's Agricultural Research Service collaborated on a planning grant to develop sustainable agriculture in the rain-fed cereal production areas of the inland Pacific Northwest.

Since 2009, USDA has invested $19 billion in research both intramural and extramural. During that time, research conducted by USDA scientists has resulted in 883 patent applications filed, 405 patents issued and 1,151 new inventions disclosures covering a wide range of topics and discoveries.

The Next Generation of the Checkoff

Jared Hagert, Chair of the United Soybean Board, Farmer from Emerado, North Dakota

One generation ago, in 1991, U.S. soybean farmers came together to create an organization to improve our industry. The idea was if soybean farmers focused available resources, we could accomplish great things. This idea – thanks to an act of Congress – became the United Soybean Board (USB), which is recognizing its 25th anniversary this year.

This occasion has allowed us, the volunteer farmer-leaders of the soy checkoff, the opportunity to step back, recognize our successes and take a focused look forward at where the greatest possibilities lie for U.S. soybean farmers.

USB’s mission remains the same—improving profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. Over the past 25 years we’ve seen a lot of changes in our market, and USB has identified the core areas for immediate opportunities for U.S. soybeans within that market and our value chain. We are challenging ourselves with a constant focus of innovation to improve meal and oil along with our sustainability. This type of forward thinking is going to give us a global market edge.

We’re also doubling down on our vision – driving soybean innovation beyond the bushel. This means we are looking beyond just bushel gains and into new ways to capture value on behalf of our fellow farmers. Because we understand that if we are going to improve soybeans and practices to grow them, we have to make sure that the market values our soybeans and the solutions that we are providing our end users.

It’s going to take calculated risk and bold thinking to evolve our value chain. We need to partner with the industry to provide varieties that yield, not only in terms of bushels per acre but in pounds of protein and pounds of oil per acre. Our end users want soybeans that are sustainably produced and provide high quality protein and oil. We need processors to clearly value these varieties and to be transparent in how they value them so farmers are motivated to grow what the end user desires. Through all of this, we need to be demonstrating to these value chain partners how they can win as well.

We believe that USB is well positioned to be a catalyst to spark these changes and push our industry forward. We can bring forward investments to accelerate programs that benefit the entire soybean industry, but always with the U.S. soybean farmer’s benefit top of mind.

It’s hard to know for sure exactly what we will be celebrating as biggest and best accomplishments another 25 years from now, but we believe we are putting the U.S. soybean industry on a path for the next generation of greatness.

USDA Seeks Nominees for National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking fluid milk processors and other interested parties to nominate candidates to serve on the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will appoint six individuals to succeed members whose terms expire on June 30, 2017.

USDA will accept nominations for board representation in five geographic regions. It will also fill one at-large position.  Nominees for the regional positions must be active owners or employees of a fluid milk processor.  The nominee for the at-large position may be either a fluid milk processor or a member of the general public.  The geographic regions with vacancies are: Region 2 (New Jersey and New York); Region 5 (Florida); Region 11 (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma); Region 13 (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming); and Region 14 (Northern California). Newly appointed members will serve three-year terms from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020.

USDA welcomes membership on industry boards that reflects the diversity of the individuals served by the program.  USDA encourages all eligible women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to seek nomination for a seat on the board.  The USDA factsheet “Be a Voice for Your Industry” describes the responsibilities and benefits of serving on a research and promotion board.

The Fluid Milk Promotion Act established the board to develop and administer a coordinated program of advertising and education to promote fluid milk products.  Of the board’s 20 members, 15 represent geographic regions and five are at-large members.  The at-large members must include at least three fluid milk processors and at least one member from the general public.  Currently four at-large processor members and one member from the general public serve on the board.

Fluid milk processors and interested parties may submit nominations for regions in which they are located or market fluid milk, and for at-large members.  To nominate an individual, please submit a copy of the nomination form and a signed background form for each nominee by Jan. 6, 2017, to: Emily DeBord, Promotion, Research, and Planning Division, Dairy Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Stop 0233, Room 2958-S, Washington, D.C. 20250-0233, or via email at  To obtain forms or additional information, call (202) 720-5567.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday November 28 Ag News


For the week ending November 27, 2016, temperatures averaged four to six degrees above normal, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Rain at mid-week and over the weekend brought an inch of precipitation to eastern border counties and parts of central Nebraska. Western Nebraska remained mostly dry. Fall harvest activities were near completion, with only scattered fields remaining. Fall tillage and anhydrous applications were active. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 30 short, 57 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 11 percent very short, 31 short, 57 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 34 fair, 48 good, and 5 excellent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 5 percent very poor, 10 poor, 32 fair, 49 good, and 4 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 13 short, 85 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Fieldwork across much of Iowa was winding down and wrapping up in many parts of the State during the week ending November 27, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities included harvesting, tiling, baling corn stalks, hauling and spreading manure, and anhydrous application when conditions were dry enough.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Corn harvested for grain was virtually complete in Iowa at 99 percent, equal to both the previous year and the 5- year average. Precipitation during the week hampered producers in southwest and south central Iowa as they tried to finish corn and soybean harvest.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 40 percent moderate to heavy, down 11 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 63 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 60 percent adequate to surplus.

Wet conditions caused by early and late week rains left feedlots muddy, causing stress to livestock.

This is the final weekly Crop Progress and Condition report for 2016. Thanks to everyone who reported this year and made the reports possible.  Weekly Crop Progress and Condition reports will resume on April 3, 2017.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

U.S. winter wheat conditions held steady last week compared to the previous week, according to the last weekly USDA Crop Progress report of 2016 released Monday. USDA reported 92% of the winter wheat crop had emerged as of Sunday, even with a year ago and even with the five-year average of 92% emerged.

Corn harvest is complete in most states with USDA no longer reporting national harvest progress this week.

Cotton harvest, at 77% complete, continued to lag behind the average pace of 84%. Sorghum harvest was 96% complete, near 97% last year and equal to the five-year average.

Ag Land Management Workshops in Norfolk on December 5th

The Landlord/Tenant Cash Lease workshop will be offered Monday December 5th, starting at 9:30 a.m. It will be held at the Lifelong Learning Center at the NECC in Norfolk.  In the afternoon of the same day, there will be a Flexible Lease workshop.

It is designed to help landlords and tenants put together a lease that is right for both parties, and help maintain positive farm leasing relations.

Topics for discussion at the leasing workshop include:
-  Latest information about land values and cash rental rates for the area and state;
- Lease communication, determining appropriate information sharing for both the tenant and landlord;
-  Lease termination, including terminating handshake or verbal leases;
- Review of common lease provisions with emphasis on common questions about provisions;
- Legal issues related to land ownership – basic ownership structures and what they mean;
- Business structures/entities and how they affect ownership – quick look at how entity ownership affects legal and financial risk management;
- Ownership transition;
- State/federal resources for beginning farmers and ranchers; and
- Other topics, like irrigation systems, hay rent, pasture rental agreements, and grain bin rental will be covered as time allows.

The free workshop is sponsored by the Northcentral Risk Management Education Center.  Registration is requested.  To register for the workshop, contact the Madison County Extension Office by calling 402-370-4000.  Register by Friday, December 2nd, to ensure that there are enough handouts and other materials.

The Flexible Farmland Lease Workshop will be offered in the afternoon of December 5th starting at 1:30 p.m.  Flexible leases provisions are gaining popularity.  The goal is to give participants information and education about:  What a flex lease is, how to set up a flex lease, and review common flex lease provisions.

The workshops have been held extensively across Nebraska for the past few years with over 3,300 attending.  The vast majority of both landlords and tenants find the information to be very helpful in improving communications, setting rental terms, and learning about Ag land ownership types and alternatives.  As crop budgets tighten, it is even more important to attend and listen to the latest discussion about leasing issues.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator in Platte County at 402-563-4901, or by e-mail at

Learn about the National Food Entrepreneur Program

The Center for Rural Affairs and the National Food Entrepreneur Program are partnering to host a free presentation on the National Food Entrepreneur Program and a tour of the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center that will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, in Lincoln, Neb.

“This event will be especially helpful for food businesses and entrepreneurs, economic developers, chamber members, civic leaders, farmers and farmers market vendors,” Sandra Renner with the Center for Rural Affairs said. “Space is limited so we encourage everyone to RSVP as soon as you can.”

Participants can register here:

On Dec. 8, 2016, at 2 p.m., participants should meet at the main entry of the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center, Nebraska Innovation Campus, 1625 Arbor Dr., Lincoln, Neb.

According to Renner, participants will first learn about the National Food Entrepreneur Program and who it is intended for. Participants will learn how many entrepreneurs throughout the country have utilized the program to start their own small food businesses, and provide information on how you can participate.

Following that 30-minute presentation, attendees have the opportunity to tour the University of Nebraska Food Processing Center located on the new Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Both the presentation and tour are free of charge. Space is limited. Anyone may attend, but please register in advance to receive a free parking pass and ensure a place on the tour.

Participants can register here:

This presentation and tour are part of Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Food Business Growth project, and is funded by United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln parking passes will be provided for all registrants. Mileage reimbursement is available for residents of Burt, Cuming, Stanton, Thurston and Wayne counties.


Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) will be hosting their ELEVENTH Annual Meeting in Ainsworth, NE, on Friday, December 9, 2016, 12 noon CST, at the Elk’s Lodge.

The day starts at 11 a.m. with registration. A luncheon will be served at the Lodge at noon and followed by the afternoon activities.

The traditional Senator’s Panel will lead off at 1 p.m. with State Senators discussing what’s happening in the legislature. At 2:30 p.m., Mike Schultz, R-CALF USA, will talk about current issues facing cattlemen, which will be followed by a presentation from Kim Ulmer of Mobridge, SD who has been involved in livestock marketing since 1988, at 3:30 p.m. ICON Business Meeting will begin at 4:30 followed by a social hour at 5:30 p.m., Banquet at 6 p.m., silent auction for Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship and a panel on Wind Energy will round out the evening.

Registration for the 2016 ICON Annual Meeting is $50 and includes the noon luncheon. Guests accompanying a paid registration can register for $20. The evening Banquet with prime rib is an extra $25 per attendee. ICON membership dues for 2016 are $100 and if members pay the day of the meeting, there will be a $10 discount.

ICON Annual Meeting registration can be sent to: ICON/Linda Wuebben, 55669 888th Road, Fordyce, NE 68736. For more information, call 402-357-3778 or visit ICON online at

Optimism abounds at AFAN annual meeting

Despite current low prices, there’s plenty of optimism about the future of the livestock industry in Nebraska.

That was evident at the recent annual meeting of the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) in Lincoln as leaders of Nebraska’s cattle, hog, dairy and poultry industries talked about the growth—and potential for growth—in their individual production sectors. 

Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, delivered a very positive report.  Juhnke said Nebraska’s pig numbers are up nine percent, with finishing hogs up ten percent.
 “We’ve turned the corner on pork production in Nebraska, “Juhnke said. “Nebraska is open for business in pork production.”

After several years of declines, Nebraska’s dairy cow numbers are also increasing, according to Nebraska State Dairy Association executive director Rod Johnson.

“We’ve started to turn it around.  We‘ve seen a 14 percent increase in dairy cows in recent years,” Johnson said.

One sector that holds great promise is broiler chickens.  In the coming months, Costco and Lincoln Premium Poultry will make a final decision on plans to build a chicken processing plant at Fremont. The proposed plant will process two million chickens a week and the chickens would be raised by over 100 contract growers in east-central Nebraska.  The birds would consume 365,000 bushels of corn and 3,000 tons of soybean meal each week, all of which will come from local farmers.

Bill Crider of Lincoln Premium Poultry addressed the gathering.  He said company officials have been “overwhelmed by the response of farmers—it’s fun to be around people so excited about agriculture.” Crider also thanked AFAN for its assistance throughout the process.

“We wouldn’t be here today without AFAN and AFAN’s partners.  Nebraska’s leadership has been amazing,” Crider said.

In her annual report, AFAN executive director Willow Holoubek urged supporters to get involved in livestock expansion efforts.

“We expect to have about 200 permitting hearings in the coming year,” Holoubek said. “The ‘not in my backyard’ mentality is a challenge in Nebraska and we need to help people understand how important the livestock industry is to their communities and to the state.”

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology at the University of California-Davis.  She spoke on “Effective Communication about Agriculture: What Works and What Does Not”.

“I try to have a discussion with the audience about what it is that concerns them about animal agriculture and then give them kind of a scenario where it’s like, ‘Okay, you don’t like this particular production practice being used—this is why it’s used—and here are the alternatives to address that problem’. And then make them wrestle with the trade-offs associated with all technologies,” Van Eenennaam said.

“There’s very real ramifications to agricultural production systems when you preclude access to innovation,” she added. “Just saying ‘no’ actually comes with some very real consequences.”

The annual meeting of AFAN was sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Board and Nebraska Corn Board.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today requested an additional $500,000 for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Animal Industry Bureau to aid in preparing for and potentially responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak.  Northey also reiterated his support for the proposal passed by the Iowa House of Representatives last session that would have provided nearly $500 million through 2029 for water quality efforts in the state.

Northey highlighted these proposals in his public budget meeting with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

“I recognize we are in a very tight budget time in the state, due in large part to the challenging economic environment in Iowa’s ag industry.  However, it is important we continue to invest in priority areas that put the state in a good position for continued growth,” Northey said.

Northey requested $500,000 for the Department’s Animal Industry Bureau for foreign animal disease outbreak response preparation.  The funds would be used to provide livestock farmers with additional expertise to increase biosecurity efforts and allow the Department to better equip and prepare for future responses to foreign animal disease outbreaks that may occur.

“The value of Iowa’s animal industry is $13.45 billion, and growing.  Unfortunately, the High Path Avian Influenza outbreak last year showed how devastating a foreign animal disease can be in our state.  These funds would allow the Department to better prepare for a future animal disease emergency response,” Northey said.

Northey also reiterated his support for the water quality funding proposal the Department supported and helped draft that would have provided nearly $500 million through 2029 for water quality efforts without raising taxes.  This proposal prioritized existing infrastructure funds toward edge-of-field and in-field infrastructure, like wetlands, saturated buffers, and bioreactors to improve water quality. It also directed fees Iowans already pay on their water bills toward improving wastewater and drinking water facilities.

This proposal passed the Iowa House last session with bipartisan support but was never considered by the Iowa Senate.

The additional funding would allow the Department to significantly expand the water quality efforts underway.  To date through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, more than 5,000 farmers have signed up to try water quality practices on their farms and there are currently 45 demonstration projects throughout the state to help implement and demonstrate these practices in both rural and urban settings. More than 100 organizations are participating in these projects.  In addition, countless more farmers are trying practices on their farm without any assistance.

“As we have worked to scale-up the Iowa Water Quality Initiative, identifying significant, sustainable, and ongoing funding to support the state’s water quality efforts has been a priority.  I appreciate the leadership from the Governor and Iowa House on this issue and believe this plan that has received strong bipartisan support and allows us to make a significant investment in water quality without raising taxes is the right path forward on this critically important issue,” Northey said.

Northey also requested $6.75 million for conservation cost share again in fiscal 2018.  For over four decades, Iowa’s soil conservation cost share program has encouraged the adoption of conservation structures and practices to protect and preserve our state’s natural resources.  Last year alone, the state’s $6.29 million investment generated $8.676 million in matching funds from Iowa farmers and land owners to support conservation practices.

In the meeting with Branstad, Northey also requested $1.875 million to close Agriculture Drainage Wells (ADWs).  Of the 300 registered ADWs in Iowa, 18 remain to be closed at an estimated cost of $7.5 million.  This level of funding over the next four years would allow all of the remaining ADWs to be closed.

The final request for additional funding that was presented was $150,000 from the Technology Reinvestment Fund to begin the process of updating the Iowa Commercial Pesticide License and Certification Database system.   The database carries records for over 20,000 certified private applicators, over 14,000 certified commercial applicators and handlers, as well as over 4,000 licensees.  The Department’s Pesticide Bureau has annually collected more than $5 million in fees in recent years that are used to support the Groundwater Protection Fund in the Iowa DNR and more than $1 million returned to the State’s General Fund.

Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference Set for Jan. 19-20, 2017

Building upon the success of last year’s move to Ames in January, the annual Iowa Forage and Grassland Council Conference will remain in Ames for its 2017 event. The conference is set for Jan. 19-20 at the Iowa State University Alumni Center, just south of Stephens Auditorium at the Iowa State Center.

Registration begins at noon with the first session at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 19, and adjourns at 11:45 a.m. on Jan. 20. The Practical Farmers of Iowa conference immediately follows, starting at noon at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center.

ISU Extension and Outreach beef program specialist and current IFGC President Joe Sellers said IFGC is partnering with PFI to offer a full slate of producer and industry expert speakers on a variety of topics at the conference. Topics include multispecies grazing, the impact of grazing on soil health, new technologies in grazing, a new genetic test to identify fescue tolerance of beef cattle, pasture renovation strategies and managing the nutritional needs of beef and sheep.

“One reason we’ve partnered with PFI is to share speakers their members have identified. This year Will Harris of Bluffton, Ga., will present at both the IFGC and PFI events,” Sellers said. “Other featured speakers include Jeff Goodwin and Rob Cook from the Samuel L. Noble Foundation in Oklahoma, Craig Roberts of the University of Missouri, Diane Spurlock of Ag Botanica and producer Seth Watkins of southwest Iowa.”

The conference also will feature two producer panels on extended grazing and grazing management experiences and break-out presentations on beef and sheep forage nutrition and mineral nutrition. The IFGC business meeting will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday.

“Thanks to support from the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – or SARE - program, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Iowa Beef Center, the Iowa Farm Bureau and many forage partners of IFGC, the cost to attend is low,” Sellers said. “To attend both days of the IFGC conference or the PFI conference, IFGC or PFI members pay just $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Non-members pay $70 or $80 respectively, and single day rates also are available.”

The detailed agenda and registration form are available on the IBC website and at  For more information, contact Sellers by phone at 641-203-1270 or by email at

Pork Checkoff Addresses Growing Pork Supply

America’s pig farmers will produce a record-breaking number of market hogs this year, resulting in ample supplies of pork hitting grocery stores and restaurants. It is anticipated that this high level of production will continue well into 2017.

“The U.S. economy is growing, and that is good for meat demand,” said Len Steiner, a pork industry economist. “Some key indicators of growth include the stock market recently hitting all-time record highs, increasing consumer confidence and an unemployment rate now at 4.9 percent, demonstrating the U.S. economy is at or near full employment.”

Steiner added that total meat production continues to increase, moving from 90.9 billion pounds in 2014 with expectations for meat output to exceed 101 billion pounds this year. Not since the mid-1990s has meat production increased so quickly.

“We estimate that 2016 U.S. pork production will set an all-time record just shy of 25 billion pounds, with even more pork expected to be produced in 2017,” Steiner said. “The good news is that retailers and foodservice operators feel more secure about the growing meat supply, which can translate into falling meat prices and more promotional activity.”

National Pork Board President Jan Archer, who is a pig farmer from North Carolina, noted that the Pork Checkoff is taking a number of significant steps right now to help move the large supply of pork through the U.S. market place. Consumers can expect more pork at potentially lower prices at U.S. meat counters and in restaurants. This quarter, the Pork Checkoff has been:

+    Partnering with major grocery retailers. The Pork Checkoff is working with the top 10 U.S. grocery retailers – representing 65 percent of the U.S. retail market – to feature key pork cuts. Retail promotions are underway with Walmart, Costco and Kroger, among others.

+    Focusing on foodservice. The foodservice team works closely with most of the top 100 high-volume restaurant chains to share the opportunity pork presents through versatility, profitability, availability and customer appeal. A focused effort is also underway to launch pork promotions with food distributors who provide groceries to independently owned restaurants, contract foodservice providers and large, independently operated colleges and universities.

+    Implementing digital marketing and online promotion. For the holidays, the Pork Checkoff launched the Make it a Moment campaign on social media to help pork stand out.

+    Connecting with multicultural consumers. Latinos and African Americans are some of pork’s best customers. Building on the success of this year’s summer campaign, promotions for the fourth quarter’s Make it a Moment campaign will include a Spanish-language web site and new videos.

“The fourth quarter is consistently the strongest quarter for pork sales,” said Patrick Fleming, director of market intelligence for the National Pork Board. “In 2015, fourth-quarter pork sales totaled $3.6 billion, with the 1.125 billion pounds representing 28 percent of the sales for the entire year. The industry is prepared for a similar situation in 2016.”

Fleming added that in foodservice, pork is on trend as the fastest-growing protein.

“Pork is featured in the top three items on restaurant menus today,” Fleming said. “And it is not just main entrees like ham and pork loin, but now includes such items as candied bacon, pork belly and porchetta. Flavor, versatility and value set pork apart.”

While the high value of the U.S. dollar and competition from other countries in key export markets have curbed U.S. pork export demand, there are positive signs on the horizon.

“About 25 percent of U.S. pork production goes overseas, and we need to keep moving product to keep producers profitable,” said Becca Nepple, vice president of international trade for the National Pork Board. “Mexico, China, Japan, Korea and Canada are our big five buyers, and the Pork Checkoff, through the U.S. Meat Export Federation, continues to invest in pork promotions overseas.”

“As a pork producer, I’m very excited about the work going on behind the scenes to help producers market this much product,” Archer said. “Our goal always is to provide high-quality, delicious pork to consumers in the U.S. and around the globe.”

RFA Welcomes New Member Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC

The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce the addition of Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC, a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corporation, to its membership.

Valero is one of the largest biofuels producers in the United States. Valero owns and operates 11 corn ethanol plants throughout Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Valero is the third largest ethanol producer in the United States with a total annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year. In addition, it is the largest renewable diesel producer in the U.S., and the world’s largest independent refiner.

“We are thrilled to welcome Valero Renewable Fuels to our membership,” said Renewable Fuels Association Board Chairman and Commonwealth Agri-Energy General Manager Mick Henderson. “Valero complements RFA as we advocate for continued growth and use of renewables. Through its vast ethanol plant footprint in the United States, Valero provides countless benefits to consumers by helping to clean the air, increase energy independence and boost local economies. We are proud to count Valero Renewables as an RFA member and look forward to the company being an active member as we work together to expand marketplace opportunities for ethanol.”

“Valero is proud of our high performing ethanol plants, their excellent safety record and commitment to the communities where we operate,” said Valero Vice President of Alternative Fuels Martin Parrish. “Joining RFA provides a strong conduit to support our operations, especially as we cooperatively work to promote renewables, grow our ethanol market and provide opportunities to further strengthen the nation’s liquid fuel sector.”

RFA Welcomes New Member KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna

The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce the addition of KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna LLC to its membership.

On Sept. 30, KAAPA Ethanol Holdings closed on its acquisition of the former Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant in Ravenna, Nebraska. The facility uses 33 million bushels of corn to produce 90 million gallons of ethanol per year. KAAPA Ethanol Holdings owns and operates another facility in Minden, Nebraska, and its latest addition brings the company’s combined ethanol production capacity to 170 million gallons per year. This is the company’s second producer membership to RFA.

“We are pleased that KAAPA’s experience already being an RFA member made it an easier choice to add their second facility to our roster,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The hardworking farmer-owners of KAAPA Ethanol Holdings are providing consumers with ethanol, the lowest cost, cleanest-burning and highest octane source in the world. We welcome KAAPA’s second ethanol plant to our membership and look forward to its participation and input.”

“RFA has a stellar reputation of providing outstanding member services, technical analyses and policy support, which benefits our entire ethanol industry and directly affects our two ethanol plants,” said KAAPA Ethanol Holdings CEO Chuck Woodside. “RFA continues to be at the forefront of promoting even further growth of our industry through higher ethanol blends, while simultaneously combatting misinformation propagated by our critics. We are thrilled to add another plant to our RFA membership and look forward to future growth opportunities under the RFA umbrella.”

Tonsager Is Designated Chairman and CEO of Farm Credit Administration

Dallas P. Tonsager has been designated by President Barack Obama as chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration. The designation was effective Nov. 22.

Mr. Tonsager has served as a member of the FCA board and concurrently as chairman of the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation (FCSIC) since his appointment to the position by President Obama in March 2015. His term on the FCA board will expire on May 21, 2020. He succeeds Kenneth A. Spearman, who has served as chairman and CEO since March 13, 2015. Mr. Spearman will remain a member of the FCA and FCSIC boards until a successor is appointed and confirmed by the Senate.

Mr. Tonsager brings to his position on the FCA board extensive experience as an agriculture leader and producer, and a commitment to promoting and implementing innovative development strategies to benefit rural residents and their communities.

Mr. Tonsager served as under secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from 2009 to 2013. In this position, he expanded broadband communication in rural America and implemented other key elements of the Recovery Act for rural America. He dramatically expanded USDA’s water and wastewater programs, expanded funding for first- and second-generation biofuels, and funded hospitals and other public facilities in rural America.

In addition, Mr. Tonsager worked with the Farm Credit System and others to set up new venture capital investment funds. From 2010 to 2013, he was a member of the Commodity Credit Corporation board of directors.

From 2004 to 2009, Mr. Tonsager served as a member of the FCA board, as well as a member of the FCSIC board of directors.

FluSure XP® Vaccine With Strain Update Now Available From Zoetis

Zoetis Inc. today announced the availability of its FluSure XP® vaccine updated with clusters IV-A and IV-B of the H3N2 subtype. Because influenza A virus of swine (IAV-S) continues to evolve and challenge swine herds, Zoetis has responded by updating FluSure XP to include the most relevant strains found to be circulating in U.S. herds. The updated vaccine is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“We are committed to offering pork producers and swine veterinarians the most relevant solutions as the influenza virus continues to impact sows and pigs across the United States,” said Michael Kuhn, DVM, MBA, Director, U.S. Pork Technical Services, Zoetis. “We’re continuously surveying the ever-changing landscape of IAV-S and aggressively updating our vaccines as needed.”

These new strains were added based on ongoing surveillance with the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The license was granted based on studies demonstrating serologic response as per USDA Veterinary Services Memorandum 800.111 and results from a challenge study using a virulent H3N2 cluster IV-A strain. In this study, protection was demonstrated by reduction of lung lesions, rectal temperature, nasal shedding and viral titer in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid at necropsy.

FluSure XP has been updated to include the following strains offering the most demonstrated, relevant cross-protection for influenza in swine:
-    H1N1 Gamma
-    H1N2 Delta-1
-    H3N2 Cluster-IV-A
-    H3N2 Cluster-IV-B

FluSure XP is a killed vaccine that helps protect swine, including pregnant sows and gilts three weeks or older, against respiratory disease caused by swine influenza virus subtypes H1N1, H1N2 and H3N2. FluSure XP is offered in combination with other vaccines, including RespiSure® and RespiSure-ONE®, ER Bac® Plus and FarrowSure® GOLD.

“We’ve seen influenza evolve quite rapidly since 1998 when viruses from different species, including humans and birds, began infecting pigs,” said Dr. Kuhn. “The mixing of genes from different influenza viruses has led to significant changes in how influenza impacts pigs and how the pig’s immune system responds. This is seen even in previously vaccinated animals, particularly if that vaccine did not contain the appropriate subtypes.”

Influenza continues to be a costly virus in U.S. swine herds. An influenza outbreak can cost producers more than $10 per pig in medication costs and performance losses.3 A whole-herd vaccination program that helps protect against the most relevant influenza strains and can lead to more flu-negative pigs at weaning thus reducing risks associated with outbreaks.

Major Review Finds Neonic Poses Low Risk to Aquatic Invertebrates

A major new ecotoxicological review and risk assessment has been published in the peer-reviewed literature and concluded that registered crop and non-crop uses of imidacloprid in the United States are of minimal risk to sensitive aquatic invertebrate communities. This is also good news for other wildlife, such as birds and fish, since these insects are an important part of their diet.

The neonicotinoid imidacloprid is one of the most widely-used insecticides in the world because of its effectiveness and its relatively favorable human and environmental safety profile. Because aquatic invertebrates serve an important function in nature, many studies have been performed to characterize the potential impact across a variety of species. The publication details the body of research, the careful selection and use of the best available data, and the probabilistic risk assessment. The probabilistic approach better predicts the effects to sensitive species, the relevant exposures and the potential risks to aquatic invertebrate communities in terms of the actual label use directions and the natural environment for these crops and treated landscapes.

The researchers found that higher-tier studies provide the most robust data for regulatory decision making.  “Laboratory testing is necessary to establish toxicity endpoints for a wide range of organisms, however such studies have unrealistic exposure conditions which often lead to overestimated toxicity. Fortunately, we had data from many higher-tier mesocosm studies for imidacloprid, which is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Dwayne Moore, Senior VP and Scientist at Intrinsik Environmental Sciences (US) Corp., one of the researchers involved in the review. “The higher tier studies enabled us to look at aquatic invertebrate communities containing a wide array of invertebrate species in realistic environmental settings, which is far more predictive of the biological realities of aquatic ecosystems than are tests on single species in artificial environments in the laboratory.”  

In the assessment, refined exposure models that better represent pest treatments and the environments where applications could be made were used. The researchers found that their aquatic exposure predictions were consistent with a decade of water sampling data available from public sources, including the U.S. Geological Survey.  “We conducted 30-year simulations based on realistic, but conservative, assumptions and found that aquatic communities are unlikely to be at risk from acute or chronic exposures to registered uses of imidacloprid,” noted Dr. Moore. “In fact, risks were de minimis, the lowest possible category, for all crop and non-crop uses.”