Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday January 30 Ag News

Central Valley Ag and Farmway to Engage in Formal Study for Merger

The Board of Directors for both Central Valley Ag (CVA) and Farmway Co-op, Inc. (Farmway) have each voted unanimously to begin a formal study regarding the possibility of merging the two cooperatives. This study will be considered and reviewed by both cooperatives to determine if consolidation and merger would be beneficial to the members of both cooperatives.

“Increasing and improving the value to the members of Farmway and CVA is our primary focus,” said Dave Beckman, Chairman of the Board for Central Valley Ag. “This study is the first step in allowing us to determine if a merger will indeed improve such value through improved efficiencies and collaborative efforts.”

Tim Porter, Chairman of the Board for Farmway added, “The agricultural marketplace is changing rapidly and we are committed to be a partner in growth with our customers. Both CVA and Farmway have many strong common values and we feel it is wise to explore a merger to ensure we are keeping our commitment of growth with our customers.”

Completion of the study is expected within 60-90 days. Further action related to a merger will be done once the study has been completed and diligently reviewed and discussed by each organization’s Board of Directors.

More information about the study can be found at this link....


Central Valley Ag is a farmer-owned cooperative headquartered in York, NE. CVA has locations in Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. CVA is an innovative leader providing products and services in grain, agronomy, feed, and energy. You can find more information about Central Valley Ag by visiting


Farmway is focused on helping their producer-owners succeed. Headquartered in Beloit, KS, Farmway has 37 locations across nine counties in North Central Kansas, offering energy, agronomy, feed and grain solutions. Find out more about Farmway by visiting

Lower Elkhorn NRD Hosts Three Cover Crop Management Educational Workshop

Cuming Co. Courthouse – 200 S Lincoln St - West Point, Nebraska
Monday, February 6, 2017 - 9:00 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m.

Pierce Library – 207 W Court St. - Pierce, Nebraska
Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 9:00 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m.

Lifelong Learning Center – 601 E. Benjamin - Norfolk, Nebraska
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 9:00 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m.

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. - (coffee and rolls provided by LENRD)

Soil Health – Why It Is So Important
Aaron Hird, NRCS State Soil Health Specialist
Marty Marx, Soil Conservation Technician, Wayne Co. NRCS

Cover Crop Management in Corn/Soybean Rotations
Dan Gillespie, No-till Specialist, Madison Co. NRCS
Dan has applied continuous no-till systems in a corn/soybean rotation since 1991, adding cover crops in 2006.  Dan will talk about cover crop management: What cover crops do I seed? When do I terminate cover crops?  What herbicides do I use? When do I plant cash crops? What benefits do I look for?

Client Gateway, Access Your NRCS Documents On-line - Pam Polenske, Stanton Co. NRCS

Workshops are sponsored by: Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.  Please RSVP To your local NRCS Office or Call LENRD, 402 371 7313


For the month of January 2017, temperatures averaged near normal across eastern Nebraska but two to six degrees below normal in the west, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Heavy snow across northern counties the last full week of the month covered stubble fields, requiring supplemental feedings of livestock. At the end of the month, snow cover was limited to northern areas.

Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 16 short, 73 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 24 short, 68 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 8 poor, 44 fair, 43 good, and 4 excellent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report:

Cattle and calf conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 12 fair, 76 good, and 11 excellent. Calving progress was 4 percent complete. Cattle and calf death loss rated 0 percent heavy, 64 average, and 36 light.

Sheep and lamb conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 22 fair, 72 good, and 5 excellent. Sheep and lamb death loss rated 1 percent heavy, 62 average, and 37 light.

Hay and roughage supplies rated 0 percent very short, 2 short, 92 adequate, and 6 surplus.
Stock water supplies rated 0 percent very short, 4 short, 95 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               What comes to mind if I say forage rye?  What about ryegrass?  These words can mean half a dozen types of forage and they all are very different.  Let me try to reduce the confusion.

               The words rye and ryegrass cause much confusion.  Rye typically refers to the cereal or small grain plant.  As a forage, it can produce high tonnage but is coarser and less palatable than some other forages.  Like wheat, rye varieties can be either winter ryes or spring ryes.  Planted in spring, spring types grow tall and form seed but winter types stay short with only leaves.  Planted in the fall, spring types grow tall but die over winter.  Winter varieties stay short and leafy during fall, but survive winter and grow tall and form seed the next spring.

               Ryegrass, though, is a very palatable, high quality forage grass.  There are several types of ryegrass with variety differences within each type.  For example, perennial ryegrass produces very high quality pasture but only lasts for a few years under most Nebraska conditions.

               A bigger confusion comes from annual ryegrass and Italian ryegrass.  Technically, they refer to the same plants but in the forage world they have acquired different meanings.  Annual ryegrass refers to varieties that are used for turf and to varieties used as winter and spring forage in the Gulf-state region.  Spring plantings in Nebraska head out and regrow very slowly during the heat of early summer, usually dying over winter.  Italian ryegrass, however, is more like a biennial and produces mostly leaves while growing throughout summer and fall if moisture is available.  Many varieties survive winter and then produce seedheads the following spring.

               Still confused?  Then be sure to carefully describe to your seedsman when you want to plant and how you want to use your grass.  Then they can help you get the right kind of rye or ryegrass.

NDA Funding Available for Buffer Strips

Would you like to keep more of your topsoil on your farm while reducing contamination of water resources? Funding is available from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture to aid in the use of buffer strips to stabilize the environment and filter out sediments and agrichemicals that might otherwise enter field runoff.

The Nebraska Buffer Strip Program will pay landowners for using filter strips (narrow strips of grass) or riparian forest buffer strips (strips containing trees and grass) next to seasonal or permanent streams, wetlands, and ponds. The minimum widths are 20 feet for filter strips and 55 feet for riparian forest buffer strips; the maximum widths are 120 and 180 feet, respectively.

Buffer strips, used along with other best management practices, are a common sense approach to reducing sediment and agrichemicals in field runoff, notes Craig Romary, NDA environmental program specialist in the animal and plant health division. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service reports that filter strips have been shown to remove 30-60% of pesticides in field runoff, depending on site conditions, including width of filter strip, pesticides used, field conservation practices, and runoff volume. Buffer strips have also been shown to remove 75% of sediment from runoff.

Buffer strip contracts run from 5 to 10 years. State program payments vary from $20 to $250 per acre, depending on soil type, whether the acres are irrigated, and whether payments are received from other programs. This program is designed to be used in conjunction with the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), or other programs, but can also be used by itself.

For more information on adding buffer strips to your conservation plan, visit NDA’s website at or call NDA at 402-471-2351. To begin the application process, interested landowners should contact their local Natural Resources District or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Nebraska.

Register Now for Farm Finance and Ag Law Clinics in February 

Openings are available for one-on-one, confidential farm finance and ag law consultations being conducted across the state each month. An experienced ag law attorney and ag financial counselor will be available to address farm and ranch issues related to financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters. The clinics offer an opportunity to seek an experienced outside opinion on issues affecting your farm or ranch.

Clinic Sites and Dates

    Norfolk — Wednesday, February 1
    Grand Island — Thursday, February 2
    North Platte — Thursday, February 9
    Lexington — Thursday, February 16
    Fairbury — Tuesday, February 21
    Ainsworth — Friday, February 24
    Norfolk — Tuesday, February 28

To sign up for a free clinic or to get more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.  The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor these clinics.


Produce growers can learn how to extend their growing and harvest seasons at a Season Extension Seminar hosted by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) on Feb. 23 in Kearney.

“Consumers want the opportunity to purchase fresh, locally-grown produce throughout the year,” said Casey Foster, NDA program specialist. “This Season Extension Seminar will educate growers on opportunities available to extend their growing season while connecting them with a retailer interested in sourcing local produce.”

The seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Nebraska – Kearney, Ockinga Conference Room, 19th and University Drive. There is no cost to attend, but individuals need to RSVP by Feb. 13 to or 800-422-6692. A complimentary lunch will be provided.

Seminar participants will:
·         Learn growing practices related to season extension methods;
·         Connect with a retailer interested in sourcing local produce;
·         Watch a chef perform a cooking demo using locally-grown produce;
·         Learn about affordable financing options;
·         Meet a season extension outfitter who will showcase a line of season extension products;
·         Learn marketing and selling strategies of specialty crops; and
·         Receive an educational book related to specialty crop production.

This seminar is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. For more information, contact Casey Foster at the email address and/or phone number above.


 Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Associate Dean Dr. John Lawrence and Iowa farmer Larry Buss of Logan today announced the release of the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Plan.  The full plan and additional information about pest resistance management efforts can be found at

The Iowa-specific plan seeks to engage farmers on the issue of pest resistance management with the goal of keeping technology and tools such as pesticides, seed treatments, and biotechnology products and native traits available and effective.

“This plan brought together a broad cross-section of Iowa agriculture partners to proactively address the issue of pest resistance.  Pests do not recognize field borders, so it is important we work collaboratively on this issue.  Iowa is again ahead of the curve in developing a state pest resistance management plan and I hope farmers take the time to learn more about the effort and consider if there are opportunities to be involved in their area,” Northey said.

“The time is right for Iowa agriculture to take steps to effectively manage pest resistance and to put the best science available to use to ensure the state’s leadership in crop productivity is sustained far into the future,” said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. “The plan that’s been developed is the result of more than two years of discussions with many public and private partners, and they should be commended for their efforts.”

The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Plan’s goal is to document and promote holistic and integrated management solutions that will effectively and sustainably control pests, including insects, weeds and plant disease.  This includes postponing or delaying resistance development, foster methods of early detection, and then mitigating, to the extent possible, the spread of pest resistance.

The plan includes chapters that address governance, the state of the science, pilot projects, and communication and outreach.

As the plan is implemented, pilot projects of active pest resistance management will be established to encourage adoption of science-based resistance management efforts and to develop adaptive management approaches.  These pilots will also seek to examine approaches to encourage successful, voluntary pest resistance management adoption.

The pilot projects will identify key stakeholders within a defined community and will be inclusive, bringing all potential players to the table. The pilot projects will work to establish incentives and novel approaches to encourage the community to work together to address the identified pest-resistant problems. These projects are intended to deal with resistance issues that are imminent or already present with the objective of minimizing the potential of further resistance development.

It is expected that the first round of pilot projects will be selected this April and get underway in May so they can be operating during the growing season this year.

A broad cross-section of the Iowa agriculture industry was involved in putting the plan together, including the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee, Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Independent Crop Consultants Association, Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, Iowa Soybean Association, Pesticide Resistance Action Committees, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Clarinda farmer becomes Iowa Pork Producers president for second time

A long-time Page County pork, beef and grain farmer has embarked on his second one-year term as president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Curtis Meier of Clarinda received the president's gavel from 2016 President Al Wulfekuhle of Quasqueton at the conclusion of IPPA's annual meeting in Des Moines on Jan. 24. Meier is believed to be the first, two-time president in the association's 82-year history. He first served in the role in 2003.

"It's a great opportunity, not one I really asked for, but things just fell in place," Meier said. "I never dreamed I'd have another chance at it. We have a strong and knowledgeable board of directors and I look forward to working with the board in the coming year to address the issues, achieve our goals and improve the success of the state's producers."

Meier and the IPPA Board of Directors will be focused on trade, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University and conservation.

Pork exports closed 2016 with increased strength after a slow start and trade missions and market development will continue to be key in 2017, said Meier. IPPA will continue to do its job of promoting pork and creating markets with the help of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council.

"I went to Viet Nam in 2003 and wondered what we're doing here because these people are so poor, I don't think there's a market here," Meier recalled. "Today, it's an up and coming market. When people get a little bit of money in their pocket, the first thing they look for is a protein source in the diet and that's where we come in. We have a great protein source in pork. Every Asian market we can develop is big for [pork producers]."

Iowa State University is seeking a $100 million appropriation from the state of Iowa to fund an 83,000 square-foot addition and renovation of 27,500 square feet of the existing College of Veterinarian Medicine's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. ISU will supply $4 million of the necessary funding and seek another $20 million in private gifts. IPPA has already promised $1 million for the facility and Meier says the association will continue pushing for the state funding.

"The organization needs to support the vet lab. The pork industry relies heavily on the lab's services and we will emphasize the importance [of the funding] in the coming year. We need to talk to our state legislators to let them know how critical it is to our industry," he said.

As a Page County soil and water commissioner, Meier knows the importance of caring for our natural resources and he will continue encouraging producers to install new nutrient loss reduction technologies wherever possible.

"Even with times as tough as they are, people are still concerned about conservation and are willing to spend money on cover crops, terraces, waterways, CRP, etc., Meier said. "We want to continue strong support for conservation as an organization."

Meier and his wife, Brenda, along with their son and son-in-law, have a diversified farming enterprise. The family has a 160-sow farrow-to-finish swine business, 1,100-head of beef cattle and 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans.

NPPC Hails Trump U.K. Trade Announcement

The Trump administration over the weekend announced it would pursue closer trade relations with the United Kingdom, news welcomed by the National Pork Producers Council, which urged the administration to begin talks as soon as possible.

Meeting last week at the White House, President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to hold preliminary talks on a trade deal, which can’t be finalized until the U.K. leaves the European Union. (The U.K. in June 2016 voted to get out of the economic bloc, which was formed after World War II to promote economic growth and to avoid conflict among the 28 member countries.)

“We applaud the Trump administration for recognizing the importance of free trade agreements to American agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “We’re pleased that it will work for a stronger trade relationship with the United Kingdom through a mutually beneficial trade agreement.”

Trump and May agreed to set up a working groups to consider ways to improve trade between the countries before the United Kingdom, which consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, exits the EU. The so-called Brexit process may take up to two years.

At a Friday press conference with the president, May said the countries will work to “lay the groundwork for a U.K.-U.S. trade agreement and identify the practical steps we can take now in order to enable companies in both countries to trade and do business with one another more easily.”

Given its desire to negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.K., it is unclear if the Trump administration will continue trade talks with the EU through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Those negotiations have been limping along nearly since the TTIP was initiated in 2013.

Although NPPC had been supportive of the TTIP, it was skeptical that U.S. hog farmers – or any other farmers – would get a good deal out of the agreement given the EU’s intransigence on eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers on agricultural products, including pork.

“In pursuing better trade with the U.K. and working toward a free trade agreement with it, I think the administration recognized that TTIP isn’t going anywhere,” Weber said. “We’re pleased President Trump is instead focusing on bolstering our historic ties with the U.K.”

CHS Foundation Now Accepting High School Scholarship Applications

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative, is now accepting scholarship applications. 

"The CHS Foundation is committed to supporting the next generation of agricultural leaders," says Mark Biedenfeld, president, CHS Foundation. "These students are the future of our industry and we are proud to support them as they begin their education and career exploration in agriculture."

In 2017, the CHS Foundation will award nearly 300 scholarships to students studying agriculture or STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) fields of study with an interest in agriculture or energy industry careers. One hundred high school students will be awarded $1,000 scholarships as they enter their freshman year of college in Fall 2017.

High school scholarship applications must be submitted by March 31, 2017. An independent external review committee will select recipients based on essays, transcripts and reference letters. For additional information and to apply, visit

The CHS Foundation supports nearly 200 additional scholarships that are available to existing college students pursuing agricultural-related degrees. These scholarships are directly administered by more than 30 partnering universities throughout the U.S. and application deadlines vary by school. For more information and a list of partnering universities, visit

The CHS Foundation is funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., the nation's leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company. As a part of the CHS stewardship focus, the CHS Foundation supports organizations that develop future leaders for agriculture through education and leadership programs, improve agricultural safety and enhance community vitality in rural America.

FFA Makes Changes to Official Dress, Opening Ceremonies

The National FFA Board of Directors has approved two recommendations from the National FFA Delegates regarding Official Dress guidelines and the National FFA Opening Ceremony. Effective immediately, the board approved the changes during its January meeting in Indianapolis last week.

For the Opening Ceremonies, the reporter's part will now say 'the FFA is a national organization that reaches from the state of Alaska to the Virgin Islands and from the state of Maine to Hawaii.' Previously, Puerto Rico was cited as the most southeastern area to be impacted by the organization.

The Official Dress Guidelines have also been amended to allow recognized religions to wear Official garb with Official Dress. Other language on the exact use of certain clothing for Official Dress was also clarified.

Both of these changes were approved by the student member delegates to the 89th National FFA Convention in October 2016.

U.S. Dairy Companies Push Back Against Canada’s Protectionist Policies

The U.S. dairy industry this week continued to push back against Canada’s protectionist policies that are effectively blocking American dairy imports into the country in violation of international agreements. A group of 17 dairy companies representing dairy farmers and processors from coast to coast asked governors in 25 states to urge Canadian policymakers to uphold existing trade commitments with the United States and halt the imminent implementation of a national strategy that would unfairly subsidize Canadian dairy products in its domestic and global markets.

“[U.S.-Canada] trade cannot be a one-way street with Canada expecting to enjoy the benefits of exporting its products of interest to our market while denying a sector accounting for hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural America reliable access to the Canadian market,” the group said in its letter to the governors. “[An existing provincial] program has already cost U.S. companies tens of millions of dollars in exports, thereby harming the dairy farmers, dairy plant employees and rural communities that depend on the benefits those foreign sales bring.”

Beginning Feb. 1, Canada is poised to expand the product scope of that provincial program while instituting it nationally. It also intends to disrupt skim milk powder markets around the world by using the new program to dump excess milk powder on global markets.

The 17 dairy companies sent the letter to governors in states with significant numbers of dairy farms and dairy processing companies because of the damage Canada’s policies have had already or are poised to have on these farms and companies, as well as their employees and many communities. The letter urges state officials to “consider all tools at their disposal to ensure Canada understands the seriousness of this issue.” The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Read the letter here.

Earlier this month, U.S. dairy organizations and state departments of agriculture across the country sent a similar letter to President Donald Trump that said Canada’s protectionist policies are in direct violation of its trade commitments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The organizations urged the president and his key cabinet members to take immediate action. The letter to Trump was signed by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).

“In the current trade climate across North America, it is foolhardy for Canada to continue provoking the United States with a course of action that so blatantly violates our trade agreements,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We need our nation’s governors to join in our call for Canada to step back from the brink of what it is about to do and take steps to remind Canada how critical trade is to its own interests, as well.”

“Despite Canada’s efforts to distance itself from the administration’s focus on enforcement and improving how NAFTA functions, it is Canada – not Mexico – that has time and again chosen to disregard its dairy trade commitments to the United States and intentionally dismiss serious concerns from the United States about the impact its dairy policies are having on trade,” said Matt McKnight, acting Chief Operating Officer of USDEC. “Canada should take a page out of Mexico’s book and hold up its end of the bargain to us on dairy trade.”

“The U.S. dairy industry is united on this issue because these policies and incentives severely hinder U.S. exports to Canada and threaten our ability to remain competitive in markets around the world,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “IDFA will continue to speak out against Canada’s protectionist policies on Capitol Hill, with members of the Trump Administration and among state governors and legislators, while asking for changes that will force Canada to honor its trade commitments and allow more access for U.S. dairy products.”

Corn and Animal Agriculture - Poised for Success

Chris Novak, Chief Executive Officer, National Corn Growers Association

In less than a week's time, colleagues in the cattle industry will head off to Nashville, Tennessee to participate in the 120th Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show.  Further south, our friends in the poultry industry will head to Atlanta, Georgia for the largest annual trade show for the poultry, meat and feed industries in the country.  With these two industries coming together, it makes it a good time to reflect on our relationships with those in animal agriculture. Collectively, beef, poultry, pork and dairy producers represent corn farmers' number-one customer.  It's a fact of which we're both proud and grateful.  Over 39 percent of U.S. grown corn goes toward animal agriculture. Adding in distillers dried grains (DDGs), a co-product of corn ethanol production, brings total consumption figures to 47 percent1.  Clearly, what is good for animal agriculture is good for corn growers.

The reverse is also true.  Consumer skepticism in the nation's food supply, negative media attention, and challenges to free trade threaten the health of all our industries.  Knowing this, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is constantly looking for ways to contribute to the economic health of its largest customer in ways that are mutually beneficial.  That is why we incorporated livestock-related objectives into our Strategic Plan2.  Corn farmers recognize that livestock and poultry's successes are vital if we are to achieve our stated goals of building competitive market demand for corn, and corn products, and enhancing customer and consumer trust in our nation's food supply.

To accomplish the goals set forth in our plan, NCGA and its state affiliates engage in a variety of activities to help support animal agriculture.  For example, we continue to invest in educational efforts - such as the Soil Health Partnership - that helps create new efficiencies in corn production and help farmers better utilize crop nutrients.  Healthy soil results in a quality product, which in turn, is beneficial to livestock operations. We also work alongside our livestock and poultry producing colleagues in broad-based agricultural organizations - such as U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance - to help reduce consumer misperceptions.  And we are collaborating with industry professionals, animal experts, and plant scientists to help deliver improvements in the nutrient composition of corn and expand the cost-effective use of DDGs in livestock rations.

Looking ahead, we want - and need - to do even more with our livestock and poultry colleagues. Farm and ranch families comprise just two percent of the U.S. population3.  However, thanks to advancements in technology and agronomic practices, we collectively produce enough food to feed both American citizens and a growing world population. Developing economies have an appetite for quality protein from meat, and this trend shows no signs of slowing.  NCGA's vision is to feed and fuel a growing world.  To achieve this vision, we must work together to continue to push for farming programs and trade policies that support all of agriculture.

Livestock producers and corn farmers have more in common than they do differences, and a whole lot to gain by working together.  As our friends in the cattle and poultry industries head off to Music City and the Big Peach, we want them to know that corn growers sincerely wish you all continued success and prosperity - and we're working hard to help you achieve it.

Kansas State University is the 'Silicon Valley for biodefense,' according to Blue Ribbon Study Panel

What Silicon Valley is to technology, Kansas State University is to biodefense.

When former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense visited the Manhattan campus on Thursday, Jan. 26, for a series of agrodefense discussions, the university cemented its status as a national leader in animal health, biosciences and food safety research.

"K-State has really become the Silicon Valley for biodefense," Daschle said. "Its Biosecurity Research Institute, links to the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center and the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility are all illustrative of the extraordinary effort that is now underway in Manhattan. It's an amazing demonstration of innovation, of collaboration and of engagement."

Daschle and legislators, scientists, academic leaders and industry representatives visited the university for a series of discussions, titled "Agrodefense: Challenges and Solutions." Daschle and other panel members and staff attended to learn about better ways to protect the country's food supply and fight bioterrorism.

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense — chaired by former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania — recommends changes to U.S. national policy and law to strengthen biodefense. The panel intends to produce a report to share with the country's new administration, Congress and the public by the end of the year.

"One of the centerpieces of our report is the recommendation to try and coordinate information-sharing efforts among the different and often disparate parts of state and local governments that address biothreats," said the Honorable Kenneth Wainstein, panel member and former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush. "Nowhere is that as important, and the need as marked, as in the agriculture area."

During the panel, Kansas State University researchers discussed their work on emerging diseases — Zika virus, West Nile virus, avian influenza and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, known as PEDv — as well as efforts to fight biological terrorism, such as the anthrax events of 2001, which affected Daschle. They also discussed pursuing biodefense through partnerships with government, industry and other universities.

"We want to be a good partner in the effort to protect our nation's food supply, both plant and animal," said Kansas State University President Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. "We have expertise and facilities here that enable us to do this."

Below are additional remarks from some of the meeting participants.

• Thomas Daschle, former Senate majority leader and panel member:
"Collaboration requires a convener. Collaboration requires leadership. I believe that K-State is in a very good position to be that convener, to be that leader and to create opportunities for better dialogue and engagement with others as we consider the national challenges we face. That's going to take a real effort and I think K-State is well-positioned to do just that."

"As agriculture is elevated in terms of recognition and importance, it will be important for K-State to play a key role in giving us the kind of direction and public policy approach that is necessary to get the job done right."

• Roger Marshall, congressman and physician:
"Kansas is agriculture; agriculture is Kansas. Kansans have proven themselves in leading and preventing potential outbreaks."

"Zoonotic diseases are going to require physicians, veterinarians and researchers to work together. I see that my role is to push these people together. I see incredible opportunity with NBAF to work with those people and further the collaboration."

• Stephen Higgs, Kansas State University associate vice president for research and director of the Biosecurity Research Institute:
"Preventing an attack is going to be knowledge-based. We need to know everything possible about the pathogens and the potential perpetrators. Know the agent. Know the agencies that are involved. The type of research, education and training conducted at the Biosecurity Research Institute is critical to gain that sort of knowledge."

• Tammy Beckham, dean of Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine:
"We cannot simply discuss One Health anymore, but we must embrace it. We need surveillance systems that can share information from the animal sector to the human health sector. We need surveillance systems that are not agent or disease based, but are more broadly syndromic based so that we have early detection for these emerging diseases."

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday January 27 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.37 million cattle on feed on January 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was down 2 percent from last year.   Placements during December totaled 450,000 head, up 15 percent from 2015.   Fed cattle marketings for the month of December totaled 440,000 head, unchanged from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 600,000 head on January 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was unchanged from December 1, 2016, but down 3 percent from January 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 500,000 head on feed, down 2 percent from last month and down 18 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,100,000 head, down 1 percent from last month and down 11 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during December totaled 104,000 head, an increase of 2 percent from last month and up 16 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 39,000 head, down 43 percent from last month and down 61 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 143,000 head, down 16 percent from last month and down 25 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during December totaled 102,000 head, up 2 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 47,000 head, down 23 percent from last month but up 18 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 149,000 head, down 7 percent from last month but up 9 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 4,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up Slightly

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.6 million head on January 1, 2017. The inventory was slightly above January 1, 2016. The inventory included 7.02 million steers and steer calves, down 2 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 66 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.58 million head, up 5 percent from 2016.

On Feed:  By State  (1,000 hd - % of Jan 1, '17)

Colorado .......:                   900          103             
Iowa .............:                    600           97            
Kansas ..........:                 2,170          104            
Nebraska ......:                 2,370           98            
Texas ............:                 2,420          100           

Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.80 million head, 18 percent above 2015. Net placements were 1.74 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 435,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 450,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 450,000 head, and 800 pounds and greater were 460,000 head.

Placements by State:  (1,000 hd - % of Dec '16)

Colorado .........:                  130           113   
Iowa ................:                 104           116    
Kansas .............:                 395           118      
Nebraska .........:                 450           115      
Texas ...............:                 375           123       

Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.79 million head, 7 percent above 2015. Other disappearance totaled 55,000 head during December, 29 percent below 2015.

Marketings by State:  (1,000 hd - % of Dec '16)

Colorado .........:                  135           104      
Iowa ................:                  102           105     
Kansas .............:                  430           116      
Nebraska .........:                  440           100      
Texas ...............:                  375           101     

Nebraska Cattlemen Legislative Meeting Held this Week

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) Board of Directors met in Lincoln for their annual legislative meeting this week. Six NC committee's brought numerous new Nebraska Legislative bills and resolutions to the board's attention.

Under close review, in accordance to NC Policy, the Board of Directors decided positions on each individual bill. Once again tax relief heads up the priorities for the organization.

Nebraska Cattlemen recognizes agricultural property owners pay a disproportionate share of Nebraska's total property tax liability. The Board voted to support and monitor a variety of bills related to tax reform and encourages the Legislature to consider a comprehensive plan that would reform and reduce that burden.

NC recommends a broad legislative package that would include lowering and/or capping agricultural land valuations of real property, increasing and protecting the Property Tax Credit Fund, shifting the current tax burden or modifying existing revenues to bring dollar for dollar property tax reductions, spending restraints and prudent management at all levels of government, and modifications to school funding that reduce the reliance on property tax dollars while still ensuring a high quality education for all Nebraska students.

"Our organization diligently reviewed bills in accordance to NC policy and took a stance on proposed legislation this week on behalf of members throughout the state. I am confident the decisions of Nebraska Cattlemen's Board of Directors will encourage our Legislature to pursue this comprehensive approach to provide meaningful, long term property tax relief for all Nebraskans," said Galen Frenzen, chairman of NC Legislative Committee.

For more information about a specific priority for Nebraska Cattlemen, please call the Nebraska Cattlemen office at 402.475.2333.

Bank stabilization project will provide protection along Elkhorn River

Since the flood of 2010, a unique local partnership has been building to protect northeast Nebraska from future flood events.

At their January meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) board voted 12 to 1 to approve the Interlocal Agreement to move forward with the bank stabilization project that will protect the railroad and Highway 81 from future flood events on the Elkhorn River.  The flooding in 2010 caused significant damage, including the collapse of a railroad bridge, which negatively impacted area businesses and industry.  A railroad employee was killed when the bridge collapsed into the river.

The bank stabilization project brings together public and private partners, including:  the Madison County Railroad Transportation Safety District, Nebraska Central Railroad, Nucor, Vulcraft, Elkhorn Valley Ethanol, Norfolk Iron & Metal, and the LENRD.

Norfolk City Administrator, Shane Weidner, said, “I’m thankful to the LENRD board and all the partners.  This has truly been a team effort from our industrial partners, our major industries, the Railroad Transportation Safety District and the LENRD.”

LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “This has been a great collaborative effort between Madison County, the City of Norfolk, the industries, and the LENRD.  I’m happy the board moved forward with this. It’s going to provide great protection for all of us in Northeast Nebraska. I’m looking forward to getting the contract in place and getting the project built.”

The project has seen a decrease in cost from $2.4 million to the current estimate of $750,000.  The LENRD will share $250,000 of the cost as a partner in this project.

In other action, the board elected new officers for 2017.

The board elected Dennis Schultz of Wisner as their new chairman.  Mike Krueger of Pierce was voted in as vice-chairman, Mark Hall of Norfolk as secretary, and Bob Huntley of Norfolk as treasurer.  Other positions filled were Kurt Janke of Wayne as the voting delegate of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, and Gary Loftis of Craig as the alternate NARD delegate.

Sousek, said, “I’m looking forward to working with the new officers.  This gives them a chance to demonstrate their leadership skills as we work through various issues and challenges together.”

The next board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:30 p.m.

Regarding President Trump Considering 20 percent Tariff on Imports from Mexico

Steve Nelson, President, NE Farm Bureau

“While a 20 percent tariff on imports from Mexico into the U.S. would have limited impact on prices for Nebraska agriculture commodities, the possibility of retaliatory tariffs enacted by Mexico could be devastating to Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and Nebraska’s overall economy.”

“In 2014, Nebraska shipped more than $1 billion in agriculture products to Mexico. Mexico is the 3rd largest consumer of all U.S. agriculture goods, where Mexico is the 2nd largest consumer of U.S. corn, 3rd largest purchaser of U.S. soybeans, and the 4th largest consumer of U.S. beef; all commodities produced in Nebraska.”

“Any disruption of export markets would result in continued downward pressure on farm incomes and farm financial health. Those negative impacts won’t just affect farmers and ranchers but the state as a whole as has been clearly demonstrated by the shortfalls in state revenues resulting from the existing and ongoing downturn in the agriculture economy.”

“Today, the value of agriculture exports account for roughly one-third of farm income, making trade critical to agriculture. Any actions jeopardizing Nebraska’s ability to access international markets is of great concern to our members.” 


The annual Nebraska Agricultural Technologies Association (NeATA) conference will be held Feb. 1-2 at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center, 2021 Transformation Dr., Lincoln.

The first day of the conference will be a full-day symposium on aerial imagery in agriculture. Six speakers, from both private industry and governmental agencies, will discuss satellite, plane and UAV platforms for capturing imagery, before participating in a panel discussion. Tours of the Food Processing Center and Greenhouse Innovation Center will be offered at the end of the day.

Day two speakers include Nebraska Extension Associate Dean Dave Varner and Jeremy Wilson, technology specialist for Crop IMS. Attendees will also be able to choose from 16 break-out offerings, covering topics including soil management, water management, data management, and machinery and hardware. The closing keynote speaker will be Agrifood innovation expert and data strategy consultant Lisa Prassack. Prassack will discuss assembling the precision agriculture puzzle for farm profit.

The conference begins at 10 a.m. on Feb. 1 and ends at 4 p.m. on Feb. 2.

The registration fee is $200 per person for both days or $125 for one day only. Students may register for $75 per person. There is no registration deadline.

The Nebraska Agricultural Technologies Association is a membership network that provides a venue for members to share agricultural research experiences and knowledge related to current and emerging technologies in agriculture. Membership is not required to attend the conference.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit or contact Nathan Mueller with Nebraska Extension at 402-727-2775 or

Rep. Bacon Named to Subcommittees for Ag and Small Business  

Earlier this week, Congressman Don Bacon (NE-2) was appointed to the General Farm Commodities & Risk Management and Biotechnology, Horticulture & Research Subcommittees for the Agriculture Committee, and will serve on the Agriculture, Energy & Trade Subcommittee and Investigations, Oversight & Regulations Subcommittee for the Small Business Committee for the 115th Congress.

The General Farm Commodities & Risk Management Subcommittee governs policies, statutes, and markets relating to commodities including corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, and wheat, which all are Nebraska products; the Commodity Credit Corporation; risk management policies and statutes, including Federal Crop Insurance; as well as producer data and privacy issues. The Biotechnology, Horticulture & Research Subcommittee has jurisdiction over policies, statutes, and markets relating to horticulture, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and ornamentals; bees; and organic agriculture; policies and statutes relating to marketing and promotion orders; pest and disease management; bioterrorism; adulteration and quarantine matters; research, education, and extension; and biotechnology.

“The state’s largest industry is agriculture, including the large agriculture processing and commodity industry in Omaha, which is why the Farm Bill is a critical piece of legislation,” said Congressman Bacon. “I will also work to ensure affordable crop insurance so our ag producers can be assured they will be able to stay competitive and have the financial security to stay in business. Our state is also a leader in biotechnology and agriculture research and I look forward to working on these issues on the subcommittee.”

The Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade addresses policies that enhance rural economic growth, increasing America’s energy independence and ensuring that America’s small businesses can compete effectively in a global marketplace.   The Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations will examine the efficient operation of government programs that affect small businesses, including the SBA, and develop proposals to make them operate in a more cost-effective manner.  This Subcommittee also reviews the regulatory burdens imposed on small businesses and how those burdens may be alleviated.

“Serving on these two sub-committees will enable me to address excessive red-tape that stifles economic development and growth for small businesses. Once we get the bureaucrats out the way, our small business community can grow,” added Congressman Bacon. “Further, I look forward to meeting with our Nebraska businesses, farmers, ranchers, and producers to find ways to empower them through my representation on these committees.”

NCTA tuition to be same for all students

Starting this fall, tuition rates at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture will be alike for resident and non-resident students.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the same-rate tuition plan on Friday at a meeting in Lincoln.

“This is excellent news for NCTA in providing a low-cost affordable education for all students, particularly those who are residents of nearby states to Nebraska, and who are seeking a customized agriculture in a two-year degree program,” said Ron Rosati, NCTA dean.

NCTA had proposed the equal rate of $121 per credit hour to assist in recruiting students to the Curtis campus for all of its technical programs, but particularly for academic degrees and certificates in specialized workforce development.

The all-agriculture college is targeting many agricultural professions and notes some newer areas where industry demand was a driving force in creating degrees, certificates or transfer programs for irrigation technology, welding, agricultural education and next fall dairy production.

“While there is strong competition for our graduates of agriculture and veterinary technology experiential learning, NCTA strives to be responsive to all of industry through the many unique courses and programs we can offer here at Curtis, along with partnerships we share with other educational institutions,” Rosati said.  “Nonresident students will increase the number of graduates available to Nebraska industries.”

Academic agreements with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln include an A to B transfer program for associate to bachelor’s degrees.  A partnership has recently been announced with South Dakota State University in dairy production.

The college is fully accredited, and has received national rankings such as a Top 2% College by WalletHub, Top 15% by the Aspen Institute, and Top 50 of colleges offering Applied Associate of Science degrees by Community College Week.

“NCTA is an outstanding institution not just because of its nationally ranked academic programs but because it is also a cost-effective college option for Nebraska residents,” Rosati said. “An analysis of three years of financial aid record shows that more than 90 percent of Nebraska residents attending NCTA received financial aid and the average grant and scholarship component of the financial aid award exceeded the cost of tuition and fees by $700 per year.”

The tuition rate of $121 per credit hour is subject to change by Board of Regents action. 


In a case with potential implications for other farm states, the Iowa Supreme Court Friday ruled that state law immunizes county drainage districts from legal claims sought by the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW), another government entity. The drainage districts were instituted in Iowa to allow wetlands to be turned into productive farmland by moving water off of fields.

DMWW, which provides drinking water to about half a million people, sued the drainage districts of Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties, claiming they allowed nitrates from agricultural lands to get into the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. DMWW is required to meet certain federal water-quality standards, including a maximum level of nitrates.

Relying on 100 years of Iowa law, the state high court ruled that the drainage districts have “a limited, targeted role – to facilitate the drainage of farmland in order to make it more productive” – and are, therefore, immune from damages claims and from injunctive relief claims other than ones to compel it to perform a statutory duty.

The court’s decision, however, did not deal with claims DMWW has brought under the federal Clean Water Act or the state’s water pollution control law. Those are being considered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.

Iowa Supreme Court ruling on Des Moines Water Works Lawsuit

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey issued the following statement regarding the Iowa Supreme Court ruling on four certified questions of law that the Court received from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa that is hearing the full case.  The full Supreme Court decision can be found at

“This decision is a significant loss for Des Moines Water Works.  Their failed strategy seeks to circumvent well-established Iowa law with more than 100 years of precedent.  Unfortunately, it has already cost Des Moines Water Works ratepayers more than $1 million dollars on lawyer fees that could be better spent improving their infrastructure and serving their customers.  While Iowans have continued to take on the challenge of improving water quality and investing in additional conservation practices, the lawsuit has been a needless distraction from our collaborative, research-based approach that is working with Iowans in rural and urban areas across the state to improve water quality.”

Iowa Supreme Court decision puts momentum behind making real progress in improving water quality

Iowa Soybean Association President Rolland Schnell issued the following statement regarding today’s decision rendered by the Iowa Supreme Court prohibiting Des Moines Water Works from seeking damages from drainage districts in three northwest Iowa counties.

“Today’s Iowa Supreme Court decision rejecting key claims in the Des Moines Water Works’ lawsuit bodes well for those serious about improving water quality in Iowa.

“As predicted, the litigation advanced by Des Moines Water Works has diverted critical time and money from strategies and practices proven to have a positive impact on water quality. It has divided Iowans, reflected poorly on our state and done nothing to make Iowa’s water cleaner.

“Water quality improvement in Iowa is warranted. Today’s decision by the court provides momentum in the appropriate direction. It renews hope that the Federal District judge will dismiss the case and Des Moines Water Works will abandon its expensive and divisive litigation. It also renews optimism that the utility will re-engage in a cooperative approach with rural Iowa to make real and long-lasting improvements in water quality.

“Iowa soybean farmers remain focused on advancing real solutions to better water. They include watershed planning, reducing tillage, increasing cover crop plantings and targeting installation of conservation practices where they have the most impact on the quality of our rivers, lakes and streams.

“These efforts, advanced by the Iowa Soybean Association, farmers and landowners, and are generating results:
-    Cover crop use will likely grow to 750,000 acres this year, an increase from about 500,000 acres in 2015 and approximately 10,000 acres in 2010;
-    Iowa Soybean Association tile water monitoring conducted last year documented a 29 percent nitrate concentration reduction in fields with cover crops;
-    Iowa Soybean Association monitoring of bioreactors has shown a 20-50 percent reduction in nitrate concentration; we are increasing the number of bioreactors deployed statewide as well as the installation of saturated buffers.

“Data-driven, science-based solutions are key to achieving water quality improvements. We’ve just begun this important, collaborative work, are energized about the results achieved and the role Iowa soybean farmers will play in deploying more conservation practices on more acres.”

IFBF pleased with Iowa Supreme Court ruling on the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) members are pleased that the Iowa Supreme Court is upholding a century of precedent and established Iowa law by rejecting those aspects of the Des Moines Water Works’ lawsuit against drainage districts in Sac, Calhoun and Buena Vista counties, which were referred to the court.

“The lawsuit has done nothing to improve water quality and has impeded that conservation progress. Iowa farmers are taking on the challenge of improving water quality, but the challenge is bigger than farmers. That’s why farmers partnered, prior to the lawsuit, in key areas of the state to improve water quality. That work will and must continue. The best solution moving forward is to embrace collaborative efforts and practices designed and measured by ISU researchers which will sustain the land and water for all Iowans," says IFBF President Craig Hill.

The ruling today means northwest Iowa drainage districts, farmers and rural citizens will not be held liable for damages from rainfall and a number of other factors, which can impact their naturally fertile land.  “With one in five jobs directly tied to agriculture, rural Iowa has much at stake with this lawsuit, which from the beginning, had the potential to impact not just every farmer in Iowa, but agriculture throughout the United States,” says Hill. 

Progress in water quality is measurable; over the past 20 years, Iowa farmers have nearly doubled the acres of conservation tillage and Iowa leads the nation in areas devoted to grass filters and buffer strips, which help catch nutrients and protect rivers and streams from runoff. Last fall Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced that 1,800 Iowa farmers committed $3.8 million in cost share funds to install nutrient reduction practices and Iowa continues to see increases in the adoption of practices, such as cover crops and bioreactors.

 IFBF hopes the Federal District Court will dismiss the remaining aspects of the case, and collaborative work to improve water quality and fund those continued efforts can be the unified focus of all Iowans, moving forward.


Kurt Hora, Iowa Corn Growers Assoc

The Iowa Supreme Court answered four legal questions posed by the Federal District Court in the Des Moines Waterworks Lawsuit today. The opinion stated that Iowa law has provided immunity to drainage districts for over a century, especially as it relates to another public entity, the Des Moines Water Works.

The lawsuit was brought against the drainage districts in Sac, Calhoun and Buena Vista counties in Northwest Iowa accusing them of contributing nitrates into the Raccoon River.

Iowa’s rural communities and farm families are used to rallying together to face tough challenges. Lawsuits and finger pointing are not the way we as Iowans come together. We as farmers, want the safest, best quality water for Iowa. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and our farmer-members will continue to use cooperation and collaboration in proactively solving our water quality issues.

The lawsuit is not yet over. While this is an important step in the lawsuit, it means good news for farmers. The legal issues in this lawsuit could restrict our ability to farm, both practically and economically.  A favorable outcome in the lawsuit will allow us to continue to try new ways of improving soil and water conservation.

In answering the questions posed by the Federal Court, the Iowa Supreme Court said that “drainage districts have a limited targeted role – to facilitate the drainage of farmland in order to make it more productive. Accordingly, Iowa law has immunized drainage districts from damage claims for over a century. The immunity was reaffirmed unanimously by the Iowa Supreme Court four years ago.” (Page 3)

This opinion will then go back to the Federal Court to make a ruling on the remaining ten counts brought on by the Des Moines Water Works. Iowa Corn Growers Association will continue to invest and support both public and private partnerships to accelerate the adoption of water quality practices outlined in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy as developed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Iowa State University.

Landowner Wins Case against Army Corps

Earlier this week, landowners scored a victory when a federal district court ruled against the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) for incorrectly claiming jurisdiction over private property. The Corps had claimed a piece of property owned by Hawkes Company, and used by Hawkes to harvest peat, was a “waters of the United States” which requires a federal dredge and fill (404) permit under the Clean Water Act.

In March 2016, NCBA filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support Hawkes’ private property rights and argue that jurisdictional determinations should be reviewable by courts. In a resounding victory, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Hawkes, setting a precedent that landowners may challenge the Corps’ jurisdictional determinations. The case was then remanded back to the district court for a final decision on the facts, which found the Corps failed to prove that a WOTUS was present on Hawkes’ land.

“This week’s district court decision is the cherry on top of a significant legal victory for landowners,” said Scott Yager, NCBA environmental counsel. “This case highlights the subjectivity of how the agencies determine the presence of a WOTUS. It also gives landowners the option to use the courts for impartial review when confronted with questionable WOTUS determinations. Before Hawkes, the Corps had a rubber stamp on WOTUS determinations.”

The Hawkes case involved three companies engaged in mining peat in Minnesota. Due to the difficulty inherent in determining the need for a 404 permit, the Corps allows property owners to obtain a jurisdictional determination if a particular piece of property contains a WOTUS and therefore requires a 404 permit before using the land. Upon receiving an approved jurisdictional determination that their land did contain a WOTUS, the companies exhausted the administrative remedies available and then filed suit in Federal District Court challenging the Corps’ jurisdictional determination.

“Not only is the Hawkes decision a significant victory itself, it adds to the momentum of getting the flawed WOTUS rule fixed” said Yager. “NCBA is litigating the WOTUS rule, lobbying Congress, and working closely with the new administration to roll back this flawed rule.”

Major Research Development to Help Honey Bees

A new honey bee testing service announced this week will allow beekeepers to more effectively identify and address diseases plaguing bee colonies, according to the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC).

NAGC conducted the research and developed the testing panel with the support of the National Corn Growers Association and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. The testing service called “Bee Care” will launch in February 2017.

“It’s the first time we have a panel of the most common honey bee diseases in North America all in one test,” said Pete Snyder, president and CEO of the NAGC. “So we can diagnose problems, get results in 30 days and allow beekeepers to pursue the right treatment.”

NAGC has begun contacting beekeeper groups nationwide with information on the BeeCare testing service and how to submit samples for testing.

“Supporting this research work at the NAGC is just part of Corn Growers overall effort to assure healthy bee populations. BeeCare is an important tool that will allow beekeepers to evaluate and address health issues in a timely manner,” said Carson Klosterman, a farmer from Wyndmere, North Dakota and member of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “We are also actively engaged in the Honey Bee Health Coalition (HBHC) which has the goal of reversing recent declines in honey bee health and ensuring the long-term health of honey bees and other pollinators.”

HBHC, comprised of beekeepers, researchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, growers, conservation groups, manufacturers and consumer brands, seeks to improve and sustain honey bee health at all levels of beekeeping, identifying and implementing novel and proven solutions to major honey bee health challenges, enhancing effective communications, and collaboration among diverse private and public sector stakeholders with interests related to beekeeping, pollination, and agriculture production.

The BeeCare disease panel has been validated through test samples from Central North Dakota and Eastern Missouri. It includes testing for:
-    Acute Bee Paralysis Virus
-    Black Queen Cell Virus
-    Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus
-    Deformed Wing Virus
-    Israeli Acute Bee Paralysis Virus
-    Kashmir Bee Virus
-    Lake Sinai Virus #1
-    Lake Sinai Virus #2
-    Slow Bee Paralysis Virus
-    American Foulbrood Bacteria
-    European Foulbrood Bacteria

“American agriculture relies upon healthy pollinators.  Recent problems like Colony Collapse Disorder are very complex and have a multitude of possible causes.  Unfortunately, some groups are quick to blame row crop farmers and immediately attack crop protection products,” Snyder said


Shortly after he was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump issued an order freezing federal regulations still in the rulemaking process and delaying for 60 days beyond their effective date those that recently took effect. Among the regulations put on hold are two of particular concern to the National Pork Producers Council: the Farm Fair Practices Rules and the organic livestock and poultry rule. NPPC wants the rules, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to be rescinded.

One of the regulations in the Farm Fair Practices Rules – also known as the GIPSA Rule (after USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) – would broaden the scope of the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA) of 1921 related to the use of “unfair, unjustly discriminatory or deceptive practices” and “undue or unreasonable preferences or advantages.” Specifically, it would deem such actions inherent violations of federal law even if they didn’t harm competition or cause competitive injury, prerequisites for winning PSA cases. NPPC and other livestock groups are concerned that the regulation would restrict the buying and selling of livestock, lead to consolidation of the livestock industry and increase consumer prices for meat. It was set to take effect Feb. 21.

The organic rule adds animal welfare standards to the nation’s organic food production law. It would strictly dictate how organic producers must raise livestock and poultry, including during transport and slaughter, and specify, without scientific justification, which common practices are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production, thereby eliminating producers’ discretion to make sound decisions about animal care. It also would establish unreasonable indoor and outdoor space requirements for animals. NPPC, which in July submitted comments in opposition to the regulation, said the welfare standards are not based on science and are outside the scope of the organic food production law, which limits consideration of livestock as organic to feeding and medication practices. Additionally, the organization pointed out, animal welfare is not unique to organic production. Some of the standards even could jeopardize animal and public health, said NPPC in its comments to USDA. The provision on outdoor access, for example, is in conflict with best management practices to prevent swine diseases that pose a threat to animal and human health. The regulation was set to take effect March 20.


The U.S. Court of Appeal for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati this week granted a motion from the National Pork Producers Council and dozens of other agricultural organizations, businesses and municipalities to hold in abeyance its decision on a lawsuit against a Clean Water Act regulation until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a jurisdictional issue related to the case. The high court last week agreed to consider whether jurisdiction rests with the federal district or appellate courts to hear the lawsuit over the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

The regulation, which took effect Aug. 28, 2015, was proposed in April 2014 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clarify the agencies’ authority over various waters. That jurisdiction – based on several Supreme Court decisions – had included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. But the WOTUS rule broadened that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.

The 6th Circuit in October 2015 issued a stay on implementation of the regulation pending disposition of numerous lawsuits filed in U.S. district courts around the country. Last year, the appeals court consolidated the suits under its jurisdiction. NPPC and other groups in November submitted briefs to the 6th Circuit, arguing that the agencies promulgated the WOTUS rule without following federal rulemaking procedures, the regulation is arbitrary and capricious or contrary to law and the agencies exceeded their authority under the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution. (With just days left in the administration, the Obama EPA filed its brief in defense of the rule with the 6th Circuit.)

The groups also argued that EPA and the Corps of Engineers failed to reopen the public comment period after making fundamental changes to the proposed rule and withheld until after the comment period closed the scientific report on which the rule rested. The agencies also refused to conduct required economic and environmental analyses, engaged in a propaganda campaign to promote the regulation and to rebuke its critics and illegally lobbied against congressional efforts to stop implementation of the rule.

Thursday January 26 Ag News

DuPont Pioneer, Ag Processing, Nebraska Soybean Board Provide Additional Opportunities to Area Farmers

DuPont Pioneer, Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) and the Nebraska Soybean Board announced today that AGP is offering production contracts for Pioneer® brand Plenish® high oleic soybeans for 2017 in Nebraska. This is the second year AGP is contracting Plenish high oleic soybeans in the area, which supports expanded marketing opportunities for Nebraska soybean producers.
“Plenish high oleic soybeans bring the right combination of high soybean yield per acre for growers and a more healthful, functionally superior oil for our downstream customers,” said Mark Sandeen, AGP vice president of processing and marketing.

AGP is contracting with soybean growers around Hastings, Neb., to produce Pioneer brand Plenish high oleic soybeans for the 2017 growing season. Farmers have the opportunity to participate in a harvest delivery contract and receive a contract premium.

“Nebraska soybean farmers are pleased to be on the cutting edge of bringing this exciting innovation to the market,” said Victor Bohuslavsky, executive director, Nebraska Soybean Board. “Considering the market price challenges in the soybean industry, we are always searching for ways to partner with companies like AGP and DuPont Pioneer to add value for soybean producers.  Plenish high oleic soybeans are a great example of the right technology at the right time.”

The Nebraska market represents the most western production geography for Plenish high oleic soybeans and helps assure a reliable supply chain for food and industrial products customers in the United States and western population centers.

“Pioneer brand Plenish high oleic soybeans had outstanding yield and agronomic performance in the field in 2016, which is why we’re pleased to again work with AGP in bringing this value-added opportunity to Nebraska growers,” said Mark Deterding, DuPont Pioneer commercial unit lead. “For our customers, this contract program is an important step in expanding soybean market demand and increasing the return per acre they receive today and longer term.  We know that value-added opportunities start with downstream food companies and the consumer, and we appreciate all that AGP is doing to build demand with their oil customers.”

The development and commercialization of Plenish high oleic soybean oil is an example of how biotechnology can provide direct benefits to the food industry and consumers. The oil’s improved fatty acid profile provides a sustainable U.S.-grown, soy-based, trans-fat alternative for food companies and foodservice operators with the highest oxidative stability of any soybean oil being commercially produced.  The enhanced stability means longer fry life in restaurant applications in addition to less polymerized oil buildup on equipment and longer shelf life for packaged food products with a flavor profile that American consumers prefer.

Plenish high oleic soybean oil has 0g trans-fat per serving and 20 percent less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil, making it a more attractive ingredient for health-conscious consumers of food products.

Plenish high oleic soybean varieties are developed by DuPont Pioneer using its elite genetics.  Field testing has confirmed yields are on par with elite commercial products.

Pioneer has obtained regulatory approvals for Plenish high oleic soybeans in nearly all key U.S. soybean export markets and approvals are pending in remaining export markets. For more information on Plenish high oleic soybeans, visit

Anderson Recognized for Excellence in Teaching About Ag

Dr. DeEtta Anderson, a high school science teacher from Center Point, Iowa, is the recipient of the Iowa Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture award. Anderson competed against other elementary, middle and high school teachers to earn the honor. She was recognized at a ceremony at the Iowa Pork Congress held in Des Moines.

Anderson incorporates agriculture technology into her biology and physical science classes by engaging students in learning about land use, conservation, crop production, genetics, and the need for alternative fuels. She teaches about maintaining healthy livestock and her curriculum grows out of local issues. The awards program is a project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation and is supported through a grant from the CHS Foundation.

"In a solutions-oriented project, students made starch based plastics to examine alternatives to oil-based materials," said Anderson. "Not only did they have fun, they learned about the importance of corn for our future and its economic importance for Iowans."

Anderson will receive a $500 stipend to support her continued efforts of integrating agriculture into her classroom curriculum. She will also attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom conference to be held in Kansas City, Mo., in June.

Anderson is in her 9th year of teaching at Center Point Urbana High School where she also serves as the drama director. She earned her doctorate in education from Walden University in Minnesota. As an Iowa State University alumni she has strong ties to agricultural careers helping her students find a pathway toward future careers in agriculture science and technology.

By positioning her classroom as a community, Anderson channels the passion of her students into conversations and learning about agriculture issues. For nearly a semester her class focused on genetically modified organisms or GMOs by testing corn plant resistance to corn borer larva. They learned about the insect life cycle and how the genetically modified organism guards against the destructive insect. Anderson was also a recipient of a 2016 Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant and plans to continue to incorporate agriculture into her classroom activities.

"In my class, students to grow in an active, relevant, and enriching environment that is deeply rooted in the soil of Iowa," said Anderson. "We are out in the field testing and exploring. We learn from experts. We listen to local issues, learn, and design solutions. We debate and take stands."

Jane Dufoe, parent of one of Anderson's students, said, "DeEtta has an understanding of what it takes to capture the minds of the 'non-ag' kids as well as the knowledge to provide a depth of understanding for the students in her classroom that show a propensity for agriculture related topics. DeEtta's own natural curiosity, and intellect, allow her to teach her students in the way that each of them learns best."


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa State University Associate Dean Dr. John Lawrence and Iowa farmer Larry Buss will announce the Iowa Pest Resistance Management Plan.

The announcement will take place on Monday, Jan. 30 at 1:30 p.m. in the Iowa Power Farming Show media room on the Ballroom level of Community Choice Convention Center (formerly Vets auditorium).

The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Plan is an Iowa-specific plan to address pests — including weeds, insects and plant diseases — that can adapt and become resistant to chemical, genetic, and agronomic control practices. The Iowa Pest Resistance Management Plan (IPRMP) outlines approaches for effective, integrated management solutions.

Officers Mission To South Korea, Japan Focuses On Corn Quality

Farmer leaders and key staff from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) traveled to South Korea and Japan last week to participate in the rollout of the Council’s 2016/2017 corn harvest quality report.

Participating in the mission included:
    Jim Stitzlein, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., and the Council’s secretary/treasurer;
    Alan Tiemann, Nebraska Corn Board and the Council’s past chairman;
    Mark Seastrand, North Dakota Barley Council and the Council’s Barley Sector director;
    Dick Gallagher, director for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Council's Corn Sector director;
    Kimberly Atkins, vice president and COO; and
    Floyd Gaibler, director of trade policy and biotechnology.

In South Korea, the group met with the chief executives of feed industry buyers; participated in the Korea office’s annual corn quality conference; and had discussions with local USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials.

Team members also visited the Cargill Agri Purina Feed Mill, the world’s largest animal feed mill with a capacity of 870,000 tons per year, and Pyeongtaek Taeyoung Grain Terminal.

For decades, the Council’s programs have contributed to growth in the livestock and corn processing industries in South Korea, where the coarse grains import market has expanded to more than 12 MMT annually from less than half a million tons in the early 1970s.

"During these visits, it was clear that our customers very much appreciate the information we are able to provide and especially hearing directly from U.S. producers," Atkins said. "In turn, we appreciate the opportunity to continue to demonstrate that the United States is a reliable, transparent supplier of high-quality feed grains and how much we value these loyal and consistent buyers of U.S. corn and co-products."

Later, in Japan, the group participated in another conference rolling out the quality reports, with more than 140 local buyers and industry representatives in attendance. They offered details about the report’s findings and a full review of global corn supply and demand.

The delegation also met with officials at the local FAS office, JA Zennoh, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to exchange opinions and views on grain and ethanol trade.

Japan is a mature and stable market for U.S. feed grains that is driven in part by a high level of Council engagement with the local industry and government on issues including supply, quality, biotechnology and sustainability.

“Membership involvement in missions like this one is critical to the USGC’s efforts to bolster confidence in the United States as a reliable supplier and to encourage purchases from the U.S. versus other available origins,” Atkins said. “We benefit greatly from engaged members and leadership willing to visit these markets and forge meaningful relationships with our customers.”

Perdue Confirmation Hearing Expected in February

The confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s Agriculture Secretary nominee, Sonny Perdue, is expected toward the end of February. According to transition officials, it will take several weeks to thoroughly analyze Perdue’s paperwork, including financial disclosures, business holdings, debt and income, for any conflicts of interest. Meanwhile, Michael Young, the director of the USDA Office of Budget and Program Analysis, is serving as Acting Secretary.

Senate Agriculture Committee Announces First Farm Bill Hearing

Chairman Pat Roberts (KS) announced the first Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee farm bill hearing in preparation for the 2018 farm bill. The hearing will take place on February 23, 2017, at Kansas State University’s main campus in Manhattan. The announcement of a second hearing in Sen. Stabenow’s home state of Michigan is expected soon.

DYK Beef Shorts - Consumer Information

Did you know ... on Jan. 24, the beef checkoff hosted a free webinar for more than 800 health professionals? Participants earned continuing educational credits by learning more about beef nutrition. They also heard the latest scientific evidence about beef’s role in a heart-healthy diet. The webinar was led by Michael Davidson, M.D., clinical professor and director of preventive cardiology at the University of Chicago; and Jan Tilley, RD, a national leader in nutrition counseling. The presenters showed the dietitians, doctors and nurses how to translate the latest research into practical dietary approaches for treating elevated cholesterol levels. Pre- and post-survey data will be compared to measure attitude shifts resulting from the webinar. 

Did you know ... as a result of the beef checkoff’s sponsorship of the 2016 Progressive Grocer Grocerant Summit, more than 100 supermarket foodservice executives will receive beef-checkoff news and insights? New “Beef News Now” subscribers include supermarket retailers, suppliers and food manufacturers. The focus will be on growth of foodservice in retail. This further supports checkoff efforts for direct conversations with decision makers who influence new beef products and menu items, showcasing checkoff research and program initiatives to grow sales with premium, fresh beef products. 

Did you know ... the Annual Meat Conference, sponsored in part by the beef checkoff, targets retailers and retail influencers nationwide? The conference runs February 19 to 21 in Dallas. One panel session will feature beef producers talking about what ranchers and feedyard operators do every day. Beef industry experts will engage directly with retailers on topics like antibiotics and sustainability, for example. This outreach ensures that key influencers will get answers to beef questions directly from the producers who raise beef.

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit

International Grains Council Sees a Smaller 2017/18 Wheat Harvest

Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USWheat Assoc. Market Analyst

USDA will issue its first 2017/18 world wheat supply and demand estimates in May, but on Jan. 19 the International Grains Council (IGC) provided an early look ahead at the next marketing year. IGC pegged 2017/18 world wheat production at 735 million metric tons (MMT), down 2 percent from the estimated 752 MMT produced in 2016/17. If realized, it would still be the third largest wheat crop ever, but would be the first year over year decline in 5 years. For comparison, USDA estimates 2016/17 global wheat production at 753 MMT.

IGC expects just two of the major exporting countries, Russia and Ukraine, to harvest more wheat in 2017/18, even though their estimates are up only 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively. IGC predicts European Union harvested area will remain stable in 2017/18. Harvested area is forecasted to fall 3 percent in Argentina, Australia and Canada, while IGC expects farmers in the United States and Kazakhstan to harvest 8 percent and 10 percent less wheat, respectively.

Harvested area in Morocco is expected to rebound to a more normal level after widespread rain eased drought conditions that cut its 2016/17 harvested area by 26 percent in 2016/17 to just 5.19 million acres (2.1 million hectares). Projected increases in India, North Africa, Turkey, Iran and Egypt will offset the expected decreases in harvested area among the major exporters according to IGC data.

2017/18 carry-in stocks are estimated at a record large 235 MMT, up 6 percent year over year, if realized. However, the larger carry-in stocks are not anticipated to offset the forecasted decrease in production, and total world supply would decline 3 MMT to a projected 970 MMT. 

For the first time since 2012/13, IGC expects total consumption to be greater than total production. Total consumption is forecast at 737 MMT, down an estimated 1 MMT from 2016/17. Food use will climb over 500 MMT for the first time ever, partially offsetting an expected decrease in feed and residual use due to smaller production in Canada and the United States. 

IGC believes 2016/17 world wheat trade will shrink to 164 MMT, down 4 percent from the prior year, if realized. With consumption outpacing production, IGC expects carryout stocks to decrease marginally year over year to 234 MMT.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wednesday January 25 Ag News

Nebraska Ethanol Board Elects Executive Committee

During the Nebraska Ethanol Board meeting Jan. 24, board members elected new executive committee officers for 2017.

Mike Thede, who farms near Palmer, Nebraska, and represents general farming, was elected chairman of the board. Jan tenBensel, who farms south of Cambridge, Nebraska, and represents wheat, was appointed vice chairman. Mark Ondracek, business manager for Steamfitters & Plumbers Local Union #464 and represents labor, maintains his seat as secretary.

Outgoing Chairman Paul Kenney, who farms near Kearney, Nebraska, and represents business, was recognized for his eight years of board service. He was recently elected to the University of Nebraska Board Of Regents. Kenney’s vacancy for the business seat will be filled with an appointment by Gov. Ricketts in the next month.

Members of the Nebraska Ethanol Board are appointed by the Governor to serve four year terms. The seven-member board includes four members actively engaged in farming (general farming, corn, wheat and sorghum), one member representing labor interests, one member representing petroleum marketers and one member representing business. The Board’s technical advisor serves as a non-voting member.

Nebraska Ethanol Board members include: Thede, chairman (Palmer, Neb.); tenBensel, vice chairman (Cambridge, Neb.); Ondracek, secretary (Omaha, Neb.); Galen Frenzen (Fullerton, Neb.); Randy Gard (Grand Island, Neb.); Tim Else (Belvidere, Neb.); and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chemical Engineering Professor Hunter Flodman, who serves as the board’s technical advisor.


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) wants the state’s livestock producers to know of cost-share funds available from the U.S. Livestock Genetics Export (USLGE) to promote livestock sales in foreign markets. USLGE sponsors and administers this funding program with the goal of helping the U.S. livestock industry increase the international demand for U.S. livestock genetics.

The funds are available to private livestock breeders, companies or cooperatives interested in promoting livestock, semen or embryo sales in international markets through Dec. 31, 2017, as long as funds are available. USLGE received the funds through the Market Access Program (MAP) of the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Exports are an important way to boost the ag economy,” said NDA Agricultural Trade Representative Stan Garbacz. “These cost-share dollars are available to increase livestock exports to foreign markets, and I encourage Nebraska’s livestock producers and companies to apply for these funds to enhance their international marketing and promotion efforts.”

The MAP program provides for partial reimbursement (up to 50 percent) of the cost of approved activities, such as international advertising, the development, translation and distribution of promotional materials and participation in foreign trade shows and exhibitions. Funds cannot be used for travel or personnel reimbursement. Program participates will be charged an administrative fee.

For more information about the program, contact the U.S. Livestock Genetics Export at (618) 548-9154, or NDA’s Agricultural Trade Office at (402) 471-2341.

Four Finalists Named in Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet

Katie Hothem of Sumner, Kyle Lechtenberg of Spencer, Chris Niemann of Dwight, and Lindsey Stern of Anselmo advanced to the final round of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation (NFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Discussion Meet to be held at the next NFBF Annual Convention, Dec. 3-5, 2017.

Eleanor Aufdenkamp of North Platte was named first alternate and Robert Stuart of Lexington is the second alternate.

Rather than debating, contestants work to develop a solution to a problem being discussed, building on each other’s contributions. Competitors in the annual contest must be prepared to speak on any number of agriculture-related topics; the selected question is announced a short time prior to the contest round. Finalists received the top scores of contestants after competing in three rounds of the discussion meet at the YF&R Conference, Jan. 20-21.

Hothem is a Dawson County Farm Bureau member and an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Amherst Public School. She also works on the family ranch with her husband, Matt, and his parents.

Lechtenberg is a Boyd County Farm Bureau board member who raises beef cattle and alfalfa while serving on the YF&R Committee. He and his wife, Tiffany, have four children: 6-year-old Joycin, 4-year-olds Addison and Austin, and 11-month-old Jackson.

Niemann is a fourth generation farmer who grows corn, soybeans, and raises beef cattle on his family farm in Butler County where he serves on his county Farm Bureau board. He and his wife, Ashely, have a son, 2-year-old Colton, who they hope will become the fifth generation to farm in their family.

Stern, along with her husband Jacob, co-own and operate Broken Bow Dairy in Custer County where they are Farm Bureau members. They also own two small businesses, Stern Housing and Open Gates Trucking, to aid with their growing dairy operation.

Aufdenkamp is a second year student at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis, majoring in Agriculture Education. Her goals include becoming a high school ag teacher and FFA advisor. Aufdenkamp is heavily involved in her Collegiate Farm Bureau, livestock judging team, Collegiate Cattlemen, and NCTA Women in Ag.

Stuart is a Dawson County Farm Bureau member who farms with his parents and wife, Megan. They grow corn, soybeans, sorghum, alfalfa, and beef cattle. His farm has been in his family since 1888. Before returning to the farm, Stuart taught business information systems.

Finalists received a $50 prize and a chance to compete for $500 and an all-expenses paid trip to compete in the American Farm Bureau Discussion Meet in Nashville, Tenn. in January 2018. Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are eligible to compete in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet. For more information, visit

Search Begins for the 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board is searching for the next America’s Pig Farmer of The Year, with applications now open for the annual industry award through March 13 at The award, now in its third year, recognizes a U.S. pork producer who demonstrates excellence in raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and in sharing his or her story with the public.

Last fall, a panel of national judges named Brad Greenway, a pig farmer from Mitchell, South Dakota, as the 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. He has participated in numerous live and social media-based events since earning this distinction, including speaking engagements and media interviews in Chicago, San Francisco and other cities. All told, he has taken the pork industry’s message to more than 88 million people and counting.

“I encourage every pig farmer to apply to be America’s Pig Farmer of the Year,” Greenway said. “This program allows us to open the barn doors and show consumers what is really happening on pig farms across the country as we strive to raise food in a responsible and sustainable way.”

Anyone can nominate a U.S. pork producer who is at least 30 years old as of Jan. 1, 2017, at Producers can request an application directly by going to Complete rules of the award program are on the site as well, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

Greenway urges producers to consider applying for the award for themselves or to nominate someone they know. He added, “This is an experience you will never forget nor regret because it meets the critical need of telling our story to others. I know we’re making a difference with high-level consumer audiences who are getting the real facts about pig farming for the first time.”

Cherokee Co. girl named 2017 Iowa Pork Queen

A high school senior from Cherokee has been named the 2017 Iowa Pork Queen by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Clare Conley won the crown tonight at the 45th annual Iowa Pork Congress banquet in Des Moines. She is a senior at Cherokee Washington High School and plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall to pursue a degree in agricultural studies. Clare is the daughter of Bonni Conley of Cherokee.

Joining Conley on the 2017 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team are Dylan Riedemann of O'Brien County and McKenna Brinning of Washington County. Riedemann and Brinning will serve as youth pork ambassadors this year.

Dylan is the son of Craig Riedemann of Calumet. He is a sophomore at Iowa State University where he is studying agricultural engineering. After graduation, Dylan would like to use his degree by working on hog building ventilation systems.

Brinning is the daughter of Shane and Kathleen Brinning of Keota. McKenna is a freshman at Iowa State University pursuing a degree in animal science. She hopes to one day own a veterinary clinic in a rural area and work with both large and small animals.

Nine young women and men entered this year's competition. All of the contestants participated in interviewing and communications exercises at the Iowa Pork Congress and were judged on their skills, poise, presentation and overall knowledge of the pork industry and Iowa agriculture.

The top female contestant is crowned pork queen and the top remaining contestants, male or female, are named youth ambassadors. Each receives a $4,000 scholarship from IPPA.

The new youth leadership team members will represent IPPA at various pork promotional and educational events throughout the year.

The 2016 Iowa Pork Youth Leadership Team of Queen Holly Cook of Winthrop in Buchanan County and ambassadors Olivia Bisbee of Stacyville in Mitchell County and Ashley Smeby of Klemme in Hancock County concluded their terms with farewell speeches at tonight's banquet.

Dubuque chef named winner of 2017 Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance

A Dubuque chef was named Chef Par Excellence at the Iowa Pork Producers Association's 31st annual Iowa Pork Taste of Elegance contest on Jan. 23 in Des Moines.

Ben Jones with Brazen Open Kitchen & Bar in Dubuque captured top honors in the culinary contest at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center. Jones earned a plaque and $1,000 for his "Pork Tenderloin, Textures of Carrot, Hazelnut Dukka, Pigtail Briouat entrée." Jones also receives a trip to the National Pork Summit in St. Helena, Calif., this spring.

In addition to being named Chef Par Excellence, the Dubuque chef also captured the Media's Choice Award and another $250.

Dubuque chefs have dominated the contest in recent years. Chef Jon Nelson of the Diamond Jo Casino's Wood Fire Grille in Dubuque earned the top honors last year and in 2012.

Chef Justin Scardina with the Norse Culinary Team at Luther College in Decorah won second place, or Superior Chef honors. He received $500, plus a plaque, for his entrée titled "Apple Brandy Poached Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Thyme Tart, Fennel Jam, Cherry Mostrada, Apple Brandy Honey Reduction and Crisp Smoke Pork "Chip."

Third place went to Chef Jordan Walton with Harvey's Diner & Pub in Redfield. He prepared "Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin, Basil and Sweet Potato Bread Pudding, Hoisin Braised Mustard Greens, Caramelized Mandarin, Red Pear Ponzu Sauce" and earned the Premier Chef plaque and $250.

A dozen chefs from around the state competed for the awards in the afternoon and all were required to prepare an original pork tenderloin entrée. A team of judges selected the winners on the basis of taste, appearance and originality.

"The event gets better every year and the competition in the kitchen was at an all-time high," said Chef Phil Carey of the IPPA Restaurant and Foodservice Committee.

A crowd of 340 invited and paid guests attended the evening reception, which featured samples from all 12 entrees, appetizers and samples of wine and beer from several Iowa wineries and breweries. The guests also were able to select their favorite pork entrée for the People's Choice Award. That went to Chef Kurt Nyguard of the 1910 Grille in Mason City. He prepared "Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Sauteed Mushrooms and Apples, Cherry Molasses, Butternut Squash Puree, Honeyed Broccolini." Nyguard won $250 and a plaque.

Judging this year's competition were Chef Tim Oathout of Zeppelins Bar & Grill in Cedar Rapids, Chef Monkut Sayasit of Batas Restaurant in Cedar Rapids, and Wini Moranville, restaurant reporter for DSM Magazine and on Facebook at All Things Food DSM-Wini Moranville. The evening reception was emceed by KCCI-TV anchor Eric Hanson.

"Opening our doors to the public for the first time was a great success. Our pork-loving consumers loved sampling the chefs' entrees, and pairing those samples with great Iowa wine and beer was the cherry on top," said IPPA Marketing/Programs Director Kelsey Sutter.

The Taste of Elegance is a Pork Checkoff-funded culinary competition designed to inspire innovative and exciting ways to menu pork. This event brings together talented chefs from across Iowa for an elegant occasion that highlights pork and its popularity as a menu favorite.

The IPPA Taste of Elegance competition and reception helped kick off the 45th annual Iowa Pork Congress.


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that he will be making stops in Union and Pottawattamie Counties on Friday, January 27.  Northey will speak at Security National Bank Ag Seminars in Creston and Council Bluffs.  The details of the visits follow here:

Friday, January 27, 2017
Union County – 8:30 a.m., speak at Security National Bank Ag Seminar, Windrow Restaurant, 102 W. Taylor St., Creston
Pottawattamie County – 12:00 p.m., speak at Security National Bank Ag Seminar, Hy-Vee Conference Room, 1745 Madison Ave., Council Bluffs

Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, is serving his third term as Secretary of Agriculture. His priorities as Secretary of Agriculture are promoting the use of science and new technologies to better care for our air, soil and water, and reaching out to tell the story of Iowa agriculture.

Northey has committed to traveling to each of Iowa’s 99 counties every year to hear from farmers and rural residents with a stake in the future of agriculture.  These meetings allow him to listen to their needs and better lead the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as it seeks to serve the people of the state.  Follow along with the Secretary’s travels on Twitter by using the hashtag #northey99.  Also, a map highlighting the counties he has visited so far this year can be found at

Cattlemen Hail Introduction of Legislation to Repeal Death Tax

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association today applauded the introduction of bipartisan legislation that would permanently kill the onerous death tax.

The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017 was introduced this week by U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and by U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.)

“As a fourth-generation cattle producer, I can attest that the death tax can wreak havoc with agricultural families, and it’s long past time that we kill it off once and for all,” said NCBA President Tracy Brunner. “We thank Senator Thune and Representatives Noem and Bishop for introducing this common-sense bill and we hope Congress passes it as soon as possible.”

NCBA has long advocated for a full and permanent repeal of the death tax. In fact, 96 percent of American farms & ranches are owned and operated by families. Many farm and ranch families are asset-rich and cash-poor, with most of the value of their estate attributed to the value of the land, livestock, and equipment they use to grow food and fiber for consumers around the world. Yet the death tax forces them to pay based on the often non-liquid value of those assets.

The death tax also costs agricultural families a lot in unnecessary and unproductive compliance costs. According to the Joint Economic Committee, for every dollar of tax revenue raised from the death tax, a dollar is wasted in compliance costs. For example, in 2006, it was estimated that family businesses spent $27.8 billion just to comply with the law.

Retail Fertilizer Prices Trade in Narrow Range

Retail fertilizer prices continue to be relatively stable the third week of January 2017, according to retailers tracked by DTN. But, as was the case last week, more fertilizers are now trending higher than lower.

Six of the eight major fertilizers edged higher, although none moved by any considerable amount. MAP averaged $443 per ton, potash $324/ton, urea $346/ton, anhydrous $478/ton, UAN28 $235/ton and UAN32 $267/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly lower, but none of these moves to the low side were noteworthy. DAP averaged $430/ton and 10-34-0 was $437/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier.  Urea is now down 9%, DAP is 13% less expensive, MAP is 15% lower and potash is 17% less expensive, UAN28 is down 14% and UAN32 is 16% lower. Anhydrous is 20% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 24% lower compared to a year prior.

EIA: Ethanol Stocks at 9-Month High

U.S. ethanol stockpiles rose again during the week-ended Jan. 20, climbing to the highest level in nine months, while domestic plant production eased from a record high and blending demand fell, according to a report released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed domestic fuel ethanol inventories increased last week by 600,000 barrels (bbl), or 2.9%, to 21.7 million bbl, the highest amount of supply since the late April 2016, with supplies having risen during the week-ended Jan. 13 by 1.1 million bbl, or 5.5%.

The latest stock increase has turned what was a supply deficit to a year-on-year surplus of 300,000 bbl versus the corresponding week a year ago.

Plant production decreased 3,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.051 million bpd for the week-ended Jan. 20, although is up 90,000 bpd, or 9.4%, versus a year earlier. For the four weeks ended last week, domestic ethanol production averaged 1.049 bpd, up 63,000 bpd or 6.5%.

Net refiner and blender inputs of ethanol, a gauge for demand, fell by 7,000 bpd to 833,000 bpd during the week-ended Jan. 20. Year-over-year, refiner and blender inputs are down 32,000 bpd, or 3.7%. For the four-week average, blending demand is up 2,000 bpd at 831,000 bpd.

World feed production exceeds 1 billion metric tons according to 2017 Alltech Global Feed Survey

The 2017 Alltech Global Feed Survey, released today, estimates that international feed tonnage has exceeded 1 billion metric tons for the first time. That’s a 3.7 percent increase over last year and represents 19 percent growth since the inaugural survey in 2012, despite a 7 percent decrease in the number of feed mills.

The sixth annual survey is the most comprehensive ever, now covering 141 countries and more than 30,000 feed mills. The results show that the U.S. and China are the top two countries, producing one-third of all animal feed, and that predominant growth came from the beef, pig and aquaculture feed sectors as well as several African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

“This year clearly demonstrates the growing efficiency and consolidation of the feed industry,” said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts for Alltech. “Not only has total feed production exceeded 1 billion tons for the first time, but it has done so with fewer facilities, which means greater efficiencies and a decreased environmental footprint.”

The Alltech Global Feed Survey assesses compound feed production and prices through information collected by Alltech’s global sales team and in partnership with local feed associations. It is intended to serve as an information resource for policymakers, decision makers and industry stakeholders.

This year’s survey showed that the top 30 countries, ranked by production output, are home to 82 percent of the world’s feed mills and produce 86 percent of the world’s total feed. The top 10 feed-producing countries in 2016, in order of production output importance, were China, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, India, Russia, Germany, Japan and France. These countries contain 56 percent of the world’s feed mills and account for 60 percent of total production.

Regional results from the 2017 Alltech Global Feed Survey

·        North America: North America feed production remains relatively flat. However, the region continues to lead other regions in feed production for beef, turkey, pet and equine.

·        Latin America: Brazil remained the leader in feed production, while Mexico saw the highest growth in tonnage, now accounting for more than 20 percent of Latin America’s total feed production but still only almost half of Brazil’s total production. Overall, Latin America has moderate feed prices, but Brazil’s have increased this year. When compared to the U.S., Brazil’s feed prices are 20 percent higher for pigs and 40 percent higher for layers and breeders.

·        Europe: For the first time in several years, the European Union saw feed tonnage growth. The region was led by Spain with 31.9 million tons produced in 2016, up 8 percent. Decreases came from Germany, France, Turkey and the Netherlands.

·        Asia: China remained the top feed-producing country with 187.20 million metric tons, while increased production for the Asian region also came from Vietnam, Pakistan, India and Japan. Vietnam in particular grew 21 percent over the past year and moved into the top 15 countries list for the first time, specifically led by increased production of pig and broiler feed. Asia continues to be one of the most expensive locations in the world to raise animals, as Japan’s feed prices are some of the highest in the world and China’s prices are double that of most of the top 10 producing countries. 

·        Africa: Africa had the fastest regional growth for the fifth year in a row, with more than half of the countries achieving growth. Nigeria, Algeria, Tunisia, Kenya and Zambia each showed significant growth that was greater than 30 percent. The region still lags in terms of feed per capita but shows continued opportunity for growth. Africa also has some of the highest finishing prices of any region, as Nigeria and Cameroon both rank in the top five countries.

“Overall feed prices are down, and therefore food production costs are down,” said Connolly. “From a global perspective, we estimate the value of the feed industry at $460 billion.”

Notable species results from the 2017 Alltech Global Feed Survey

·        The poultry industry represented 44 percent of the total global feed production, a slight decrease from last year. This could be a result of avian influenza, industry consolidation and more efficient feed conversion.

·        Positive growth was observed in pig feed production, particularly in Asia as Vietnam and Thailand are now top 10 pig-producing countries. China represents over a quarter of the world’s pig feed production, but sow numbers have decreased by almost 40 percent over the past three years.

·        Global dairy feed production remained flat, while the U.S. and India reinforced their position as the top two producers with increases of 12 and 14 percent, respectively, whereas Europe saw a downturn. Turkey decreased by 1.5 million tons and Germany declined by 3.4 million tons.

·        The U.S. maintained the top position in the beef industry, and estimated feed production was 10 percent higher than last year. China, Spain, Turkey and Mexico all showed increased beef feed production.

·        Aquaculture continued its year-over-year growth with a gain of 12 percent in feed production in 2016. Increased production from Turkey, Germany, the U.K. and France contributed to a strong performance from the European region. Africa increased production by almost 1 million tons, while Asia maintained its volume. The increase in aquaculture feed correlates to the consumption of farmed fish.  

·        The 2016 survey was able to gather more pet sector data than previous years, allowing for more information to be captured on the size and scale of the market. The U.S. remained number one, while Europe and Asia also showed growth. France’s estimates were increased by 1 million tons, although this reflects more accurate data collection rather than a production increase over 2016. The U.K., Spain, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia and China also experienced growth.

“The Alltech Global Feed Survey provides valuable information and an annual pulse check on the feed industry as we look toward sustainably feeding a growing population,” said Connolly. “The survey continues to improve and provide more robust and reliable data.”

Steps to Prevent Bovine Respiratory Disease in Adult Dairy Cows

Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is an economic challenge to dairy producers. It continues to be the major cause of death in weaned calves and can lead to poor performance later in a cow’s life.

Dr. Mark van der List, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), suggests implementing the following management practices on your operation to help reduce the impact of BRD in your herd:

Reduce cow stress

BRD often presents itself in times of stress: weaning, feed variations, high humidity, calving and season changes. During these periods, it’s important to reduce stress factors and keep a close watch on your herd. Stress can also lead to immunosuppression — especially around calving. A focus on cow comfort and other management practices, including avoiding overcrowding, using low-stress handling techniques, and good calving management can help reduce stress and improve transition cow health.

Ensure proper housing

One of the biggest risk factors for BRD is poor ventilation. Make sure cows are in an area where there is fresh air flow, with clean, dry bedding to improve cow comfort.

Monitor herd closely

Recognize the signs of sickness, especially after calving. Fever, increased respiratory rate, discolored nasal discharge and coughing are all symptoms of BRD. Work with your veterinarian to properly treat a cow with pneumonia.

Implement a sound vaccination program

Vaccination against BRD is crucial to prevention. Take the time to vaccinate cows in the dry period to help boost not only the cow’s immunity, but also to boost immunoglobulins in colostrum and start the calf off on the right foot. Dr. van der List recommends working with your local veterinarian to develop a vaccination program to prevent BRD in your herd.

Nufarm Announces New Herbicide Registration

Nufarm Americas, Inc. is pleased to announce the registration of Panther® Pro herbicide for broad spectrum weed control in burndown, pre-plant and pre-emergent applications to soybeans. Panther Pro also provides excellent residual control of weeds in crop-fallow and non-crop bare ground uses.

Panther Pro provides residual control of more than 60 weeds, including glyphosate-resistant populations of common waterhemp, horseweed and common ragweed. It also controls susceptible winter annuals and other listed weeds in fallow land and soybeans. In accordance with label restrictions, this product may be mixed with glufosinate or glyphosate formulations labeled for burndown programs, such as those in the Nufarm C.A.T.S portfolio. Panther Pro can be used in a:
• Fall burndown
• Fallow seedbed program
• Spring burndown program for emerged weeds

“Panther Pro has been thoroughly tested over the past three years and it is the first liquid flumioxazin combination product labeled for pre-plant and pre-emergent use on soybeans. It provides broad spectrum control of grasses and broadleaves, 3 modes of action and is great for many glyphosate-resistant weeds,” said Bob Bruss, Ph.D., director of ag technical services for Nufarm.

The newest addition to the Nufarm crop protection portfolio, Panther Pro meets the value, efficacy and innovation demanded by today’s growers.

Student-Run DuPont Plant Sciences Symposium Series Kicks Off at University of Missouri

The first of the 2017 student-run DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series will kick off Feb. 2 at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri (MU) campus.

With the theme of “Building the Bridge from Fundamental Research to Improving Tomorrow’s Crops,” the event will be the first of 30 DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia events in 2017. To date, more than 25 institutions across five continents have produced more than 65 events through the series. The symposiums’ fundamental objective is to serve as a means of networking for the students who will one day become leaders of the plant science fields.

David Jackson, a plant geneticist from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, will present a keynote address from 1-2 p.m. CT. Among the long list of accomplishments of Jackson’s lab is the creation of a collection of transgenic lines of corn that have led to unprecedented ease of experimenting on corn plants.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, has been entirely produced by a team of six graduate students at MU: four from the Division of Plant Sciences at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and two from the Division of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science.

They have been advised by Tim Beissinger, an adjunct assistant professor of plant sciences at MU, who helped produce a symposium event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 as a graduate student.

“It gave me, as a student – and it will give these students, a lot of exposure to the plant breeding industry,” said Beissinger, who also serves as a research geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. “They’ve done everything. It’s impressive. I left it up to them intentionally and they’ve really run with it.”

The symposium, which also is being funded in part by the Division of Plant Sciences, Division of Biological Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Plant Group, allows for travel awards for students from counterpart universities to attend the event. The planning committee expects student attendees from as many as six U.S. universities and Mexican universities, as well as the International Maize and Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Mexico.

“We empower students to drive their own agendas,” said Tabaré Abadie, senior research manager, DuPont Pioneer, who has been in charge of overseeing the events since the first one began at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2008. “In the process, they learn new things along the way and network with scientists and academics around the world and with other students who will eventually be their colleagues.”

The symposium will feature speakers from DuPont Pioneer, the Division of Plant Sciences and other experts in the field such as Jackson.

Speakers include:
    Gary Stacey, Joint Curators Distinguished Professor of Plant Sciences and Biochemistry, University of Missouri
    Blake Meyers, joint professor of plant sciences, University of Missouri and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis
    Amit Sethi, insect resistance researcher, DuPont Pioneer
    Diane Janick-Buckner, professor of biological sciences, Truman State University

Those who cannot attend in-person will be able to listen in as a webinar. Registration begins at 8 a.m. CT. The closing remarks are set to take place at 3:30 p.m. CT.  For more information and a complete event agenda, visit For additional information on the DuPont Plant Sciences Symposia series: