Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday May 31 Ag News

ICUSD launches unprecedented campaign to remind Americans of all that is good about dairy

A delicious slice of cheddar on a burger at the family barbeque, a cold glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream on a piece of birthday cake. There is no denying the enjoyment that dairy can bring to special moments and to our favorite foods. However, with so many choices in the dairy aisle - including non-dairy and plant-based alternatives - many people are seeking credible information about what dairy actually is, and they have questions about the practices of the dairy industry.

In a multiyear effort to reintroduce America to dairy, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy – in partnership with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers – is launching “Undeniably Dairy™,” the first category campaign of its kind.

“Through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the dairy community has worked together to establish common ground on our top priorities and values, from responsible production and sustainable nutrition to economic value,” says Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “We feel that now is the absolute right time to come together with one voice to share the community’s story – to celebrate the delicious, nutritious foods in the dairy aisle and the people who bring them to your table.”

Undeniably Dairy

In addition to showcasing the undeniable taste and enjoyment that comes from dairy – like a warm slice of pizza or a yogurt parfait on a summer day – the campaign will also spotlight the undeniably positive role the dairy community plays in America today.

“Despite dairy farms being in all 50 states and most of us living within 100 miles of a dairy farm, many people have never set foot on a farm,” says Beth Engelmann, chief marketing communications officer at Dairy Management Inc., which represents America’s nearly 42,000 dairy farmers and importers. “Undeniably Dairy is about reestablishing the connection between the enjoyment of the product and the hard work and pride of the people who make it possible. This campaign is unprecedented in that it unifies a vast and diverse dairy industry and array of dairy products behind a single platform.”

A variety of multimedia content will remind people of the starring role dairy plays in special moments, while also sharing how the industry continues to evolve – from using innovation and technology to deliver exceptional animal care and a nutrient-rich product, to supporting local communities.

Today, farmers use 65 percent less water and 63 percent less carbon per gallon of milk produced. And for every $1 million of in-store U.S. milk sales, 17 new jobs are generated.

“When you see a dairy farm, you’re usually looking at multiple generations of providing for the community, multiple generations of land conservation, multiple generations of business innovation,” says Amber Horn-Leiterman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer. “And that often means being an early adopter when it comes to new technology that allows us to advance and improve animal care, capture and reuse our resources and maintain a total commitment to producing products that are safe, healthy and nutritious.”

A Multiyear Campaign

The multimedia campaign will be revealed through an online video that showcases the joy of dairy in everyday life moments, while spotlighting farmers’ contributions to the community. The full effort will feature a new logo and premier media campaign, including a convergent on-air and digital marketing campaign with Food Network and Cooking Channel in June to celebrate National Dairy Month and national on-farm events where farmers will invite the community in to learn more about modern farming practices. Original content will be shared across Facebook, YouTube and other social platforms. A preview of the campaign video along with other content can be found at

Moving forward, the campaign will continue to dive deeper into the undeniable taste and enjoyment of dairy, as well as the undeniable commitment that the dairy industry has made to being a relevant and socially responsible part of local communities across the country.

Nebraska Farm Bureau Leaders Visit Washington, D.C.

Trade, the new farm bill, crop insurance, and tax code reform were key issues discussed by Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) leaders during their annual National Legislative Fly-In to the nation’s capital May 22-24.

“It’s important for us to travel to Washington, D.C. to express our views to Nebraska’s exceptional Congressional delegation and ensure the voices of Nebraska farm and ranch families are heard on Capitol Hill,” Steve Nelson, NEFB president said, May 31. “Even though we are in frequent contact with the Nebraska delegation, they need our support as they work on these issues in Washington, D.C.”

The Trump administration gave Congress official notice in mid-May that it plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) but provided only the vaguest of hints about modest changes President Trump would seek to the agreement.

“I get asked all the time what agriculture’s top priority is when it comes to NAFTA’s renegotiation. Quite frankly, in most areas, we want it to simply be left alone. We have made significant gains and we don’t want to risk losing what has become a vitally important group of trading partners,” Nelson said.

Any changes to NAFTA would be the result of congressional consultation, and the Trump administration pledged close coordination and “transparency” with lawmakers throughout the renegotiation process.

The farm bill negotiations continue and are on the forefront of farmers and ranchers minds, while the Federal Crop Insurance Program continues to be a top priority for farmers.

President Trump’s administration proposed dramatic cuts to farm safeguards, including federal crop insurance, in the FY2018 budget request. Crop insurance today serves as the main agricultural safety net that exists for Nebraska farmers who have seen a 50 percent decline in farm revenue since 2013.

“Crop insurance helps to reduce producer and taxpayer risk and has come in under budget since the 2014 Farm Bill was passed. Farmers have collectively spent $50 billion out of their own pockets on crop insurance since 2000, which clearly demonstrates our willingness to help fund our own protection. Our congressional leaders recognize the importance of maintaining strong farm bill programs and we are continuing to engage in meaningful dialogue about how to support America’s hardworking farmers and ranchers in difficult times,” Nelson said.

The House of Representatives is moving forward with comprehensive tax reform designed to spur growth of our nation’s economy. Many of the provisions being discussed will be beneficial to farmers, including reduced income tax rates, reduced capital gains taxes, immediate expensing for all business inputs except land, and the elimination of the estate tax.

“Nebraska farm and ranch families need comprehensive tax reform that lowers effective tax rates. Eliminating things like the “Death Tax”, lowering capital gains taxes, and maintaining cash accounting, will not only affect the economic behavior and well-being of farm households, but will also aid in the management and profitability of farm and ranch businesses,” he said.

Nebraska Farm Bureau leaders also talked about supporting a complete overhaul of our federal regulatory system, repeal and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and adjusting laws regarding the availability of E-15 with Nebraska’s congressional delegation.

Those attending the National Legislative visit were:
Steve Nelson, president Nebraska Farm Bureau-Kearney/Franklin County
Mark McHargue, First vice president-Merrick County
Bill Baldwin District eight NEFB representative-Scotts Bluff County
Don Benner, District two NEFB representative-Merrick County
Myles Ramsey, District five NEFB representative-Adams County

NeCGA 90 Days of Summer Recruitment Blitz

The Nebraska Corn Growers Association is excited to announce the 90 Days of Summer Recruitment Blitz. From June 1st through August 31st, members are encouraged to recruit their family, friends, and neighbors to join or re-join the association. Points will be calculated using NCGA’s recruiter point system. As a reminder, 3-year memberships are $190 with the $150 seed incentive, 1-year memberships are $80 without the $150 seed incentive, and students memberships are $20 for 1 year. Good luck!

Feel free to print off as many of the below membership forms that you need... Here's the link...


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Rain has delayed many folks from cutting alfalfa.  If you haven’t taken first cutting yet, it might help if you adjust the way you cut this crop.

               Have you harvested your first cutting of alfalfa yet?  Even if it is not blooming heavily, you might be surprised to find that it already has started to grow your next cutting.

               Walk into your alfalfa field before cutting and look closely at the base or crown of the plants.  Do you see short, new shoots starting to grow?  If so, these new shoots are the new plants that your alfalfa hopes to turn into your second cutting.

               Look closely – how tall are these new shoots?  Are many of them a couple inches taller than your usual cutting height?  If you cut these new shoots off – along with the first growth – your alfalfa plants will have to start a whole new set of shoots for regrowth.  This could cause a delay in second cutting regrowth by as much as one week.

               Fortunately, you can avoid this delay.  All you need to do is raise your cutting height just a couple inches so that you avoid clipping off most of these new, second growth shoots.  Your regrowth then will have a head start towards next cutting.  And since the stubble you leave behind has quite low feed value anyway, the yield you temporarily sacrifice is mostly just filler.

               Normally I suggest cutting alfalfa as short as reasonable because that maximizes yield and it doesn’t affect rate of regrowth.  But a late cutting that already has new shoots growing is different.

               Don’t blindly start cutting alfalfa when harvest is delayed.  First look for new shoots, then raise cutting height if needed.

Costco Refuses to Discuss Poultry Contracts

As a result of Costco’s Wholesale Corporation CEO W. Craig Jelinek failure to accept or respond to an invitation from the Organization for Competitive Markets and Nebraska Farmers Union to sit down and discuss concerns with poultry contract provisions offered to area farmers, OCM and NeFU have issued an open letter to Costco detailing their concerns, based on their understanding of contracts being offered to local producers.

The March 2, 2017 letter of invitation was co-signed by Mike Weaver, President of OCM (Organization for Competitive Markets) and John K. Hansen, President of NeFU (Nebraska Farmers Union).  Weaver is a long time poultry contract grower and cattle producer from Fort Seybert, WV who also serves as President of the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias.  Hansen also serves on the OCM Board of Directors.

Both organizations were co-sponsors of the four public information meetings on poultry contract issues held last June in West Point, Columbus, Wahoo, and Arlington, Nebraska.  Other meeting co-sponsors included Farm Aid, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, Nebraska Communities United, and GC Resolve.  Weaver and Hansen were both speakers at those informational meetings.

“We are disappointed that Costco did not accept our good faith invitation to discuss their poultry contract provisions.  The time for poultry producers to fully understand the binding provisions of proposed “take it or leave it” non-negotiated poultry contracts is before they sign, not after they have committed to at least 15 years of their life,” said Mike Weaver, OCM President.

“NeFU President John Hansen said, “Poultry contracts are not like a simple forward contract to sell grain.  Poultry contracts specify what you will and will not do, what you are liable for, and the rate at which you are compensated for your capital investment and labor.  The poultry contract, not the weather, the price of corn, soybeans, or broilers determines whether or not poultry producers make or lose money.  If the producer does everything right, and the inputs provided by the company are wrong, the producer will still come out on the short end of the stick.”

Mike Weaver pointed out “When producers are given non-negotiated take it or leave it contracts, they are at a disadvantage because they are reading complicated contracts written by the company lawyers who specialize in poultry contracts.  If there is a problem with the contract, that problem is not going to get fixed because they are “as is” contracts.  We don’t know why Costco won’t discuss their contract provisions, but the fact they are unwilling to do so raises a red flag as far as I am concerned.”

The “Open Letter” listed some of the poultry contract areas of concern identified in the March 2nd letter:
·         LPP’s Control of Number of Birds Delivered to Growers.
·         LPP’s Control of Inputs Affecting Growers’ Production Efficiencies (chicks & feed).
·         LPP Can Require Costly Housing and Equipment Changes.
·         Growers’ Required to Accept all Environmental Liability.
·         Grower Improvement Plans.
·         Restrictions on Growers’ Rights (like a trial by jury and photographing on their own farm).

NCTA hosts camp for young animal scientists   

Swine, cattle, sheep, poultry, horses, grasslands and livestock judging had top billing for youth this week at a judging and animal science camp in Curtis.

Nearly 160 youth and adults attended the 12th annual Youth Animal Science Field Day on Thursday at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, said Frontier County Extension Educator Kathy Burr.

Many excited youngsters had arrived at the NCTA campus on Wednesday for the Standard of Excellence Livestock Judging Camp, then stayed overnight in college dormitories.  The judging camp was coordinated by Doug Smith, chair of the NCTA Animal Science and Agricultural Education Division, and NCTA livestock judging team coach.

Activities were hosted by the NCTA Livestock Judging program and 33 individuals with Nebraska Extension staff, leaders and adult volunteers, Burr said.

“Youth ages 8 to 18 traveled with groups from several different Nebraska counties and Colorado to attend the event,” Burr said. “Activities focused on various aspects of livestock production.”

Participants gained important life skills in seven workshops taught by animal science teachers. Topics included: Low Stress Cattle Handling & Psychology, Exploring Animal Science Careers, Swine Evaluation and Handling, Livestock Quiz Bowl, Grazing Management with Prescribed Burning, Equine Psychology and Safety, Feeds and Feeding, Sheep Care 101, and Poultry Judging.

In an educational track for older youth, they explored animal science topics in depth, including exposure to animal science careers and college programs at the University of Nebraska-NCTA in Curtis, and the University of Nebraska College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in Lincoln.

All the youth rotated through the seven stations which were designed to be learning experiences in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, Burr noted.

“My granddaughter really had a great time today.  On the ride home, I received a comprehensive report, which was all really good,” reported one participant’s grandmother. “Seriously, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise until we hit the McCook city limits when she wrapped up by saying “Best Day Ever!”

The event was a fun opportunity for youth to learn more about the livestock industry and help prepare 4-H and FFA members for various competitions and life skills. Youth also increased their basic understanding of science, agricultural literacy, and technology. They were able to apply science skills to their 4-H projects, explore careers related to animal science and meet new friends, Burr added.

“It was a great day for everyone! Seeing the youth get excited about animals and learning about possible careers makes all the behind the scenes work worth it all!” said Burr. “I appreciate the teamwork of Nebraska Extension staff, NCTA staff, and the many volunteers that planned and helped the field day run smoothly. There’s lots of moving parts all running at the same time!”

Iowa Plans Historic Agricultural Trade Mission

Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday announced that she will lead an all Iowa agriculture trade mission to China July 19-28. Traveling with her will be representatives from commodity groups and the Farm Bureau, emphasizing Iowa's corn, pork, soy, beef, egg, poultry, dairy and turkey industries.

This is the first time all of Iowa's farm groups have come together for a trade mission.

"There is no better time than now to market and pitch our products in China," said Reynolds. "Our relationship with the country is strong, and their growing middle class means increasing purchasing power and Iowa stands to gain significantly as a result."

The goal of the mission is to build relationships, understanding and trust with the hope of opening new possibilities for Iowa's agricultural products. The groups will be meeting with government officials and industry partners. Reynolds says they will be visiting Ambassador Terry Branstad in Beijing, whose insight will be important as the groups navigate solutions to some of the current issues.

"I want to thank the individuals who are stepping up to lead this trade mission on behalf of Iowans," said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg. "Every time we open new markets, it means more career opportunities for families in every corner of this state."

For some of Iowa's commodities, China is a developed market. For others, it is a new opportunities to bring down barriers to products. Examples include:

- China is by far the largest soybean importer projected at 83 million metric tons, or a little more than 3 billion bushels (U.S. Soybean Export Council)
- Total aquafeed use in China was around 36 million metric tons with the soy product use for aquafeed estimated at around 8.8 million metric tons in 2015, which equals 408,232,000 million bushels of soybeans.

- Chinese ban on importation of US beef has been in place for 13 years, the recent announcement to lift the ban provides opportunity for cattle farmers as 13% of our beef production is exported.

- Over the last decade, US pork exports to China/Hong Kong have surged from $271 million in sales and 169,000 metric tons in 2007 to over $1 billion in sales and 545,000 metric tons in 2016.

- China imported more than 50 percent of the exportable supply of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), or 6.3 metric tons valued at nearly $1.6 billion in 2015.

- In 2016, China was our 4th largest market for U.S. dairy products imported of $384 million and potential for much more.

- Iowa is 5th in US turkey processing and 8th in turkey production, Iowa farmers and processors benefit by reopening access for turkey products back into this market.

The trip will be funded by the participating agricultural organizations.

Trade Officials to Visit China to Establish Beef Trade Protocols

Several U.S. trade officials will travel to China June 5 to finalize trade protocols regarding coming US beef shipments to China.

Source verification will be one of the requirements, according to Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist Derrell Peel. “However, I think that’s pretty doable in what we call a ‘bookend’ system in the U.S. if we can document the original source of the cattle as well as where they ended up at the processing plant, and not necessarily all of the travels in between,” Peel said.

Beijing has accepted a U.S. proposal in principle that would require producers to document the locations where cattle raised for beef exported to China are born and slaughtered, USDA said. The system would be less onerous than tracking cattle throughout their entire lives, during which they can be kept at up to four different locations. Peel estimated that US producers trace the movements of less than 20 percent of the nation’s cattle.

China will also require that beef be free from residue of beta-agonists, the growth promoting feed additive. “The Chinese have been very consistent, in both beef and pork, at not accepting ractopamine — or, in beef, Optaflexx is the same product,” Peel noted. “That’s likely to be the case for us as well. That would be consistent with their agreements with other countries.”

Peel said there will likely be restrictions on other growth hormones used in the U.S.

Hormone residue testing will be done on beef entering China, but there will be a distinction made between synthetic and naturally occurring hormones. Meat containing synthetic hormone residue will be rejected. Meat containing residue of naturally occurring hormones will only be rejected if the levels are above those naturally occurring in cattle.

Other details of the protocol discussions include China’s acceptance of U.S. fresh, chilled beef products, as well as frozen, and beef from animals 30 months or younger.

China has agreed to recognize USDA’s certification of processing plants for export, which means plants will not have to be inspected separately by Chinese officials.

FARM Animal Care Program Seeks Producer Feedback on Resources and Tools

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program, in collaboration with Colorado State University, is conducting a dairy farmer survey to learn more about perceptions of the FARM Program and how it can continue to improve the resources it offers producers.

The voluntary survey will probe producers’ knowledge of the program and the value they think it provides to their operations. The study will help FARM Animal Care better provide cooperatives and farmers with the appropriate guidance and materials required of FARM Program participants. Survey questions address topics such as the producer’s familiarity with the program, where they seek additional FARM Program information, and why stewardship practices, as assessed by FARM, are important to them. Those interested in taking the survey can do so by clicking here.

“Participants in the FARM Program produce more than 98 percent of the U.S. milk supply by volume, so it’s important that we understand producers’ thoughts on how FARM can further positively impact their businesses,” said Emily Meredith, chief of staff for NMPF, which launched the program in 2009. “Just like dairy farms are on a path of continuous improvement, the FARM Program wants to continuously improve how we work with our participants.”

The information gleaned from this survey will help advance the FARM Program by increasing its efficiency and impact for farmers. Improving the FARM Program will also assist the dairy industry in forming uniform objectives on animal welfare, and assist FARM Program staff in understanding and  catering to producers’ needs, Meredith said.

The study, titled “Dairy Producer Perceptions of the National Dairy FARM Program” is being led by Dr. Noa Román-Muñiz and Kayla Calvin from Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences. The survey is confidential and only summarized data will be shared with the primary researchers, so participants cannot be identified directly.

Processors and cooperatives can contact or Kayla Calvin at Colorado State if they want their organization to participate. Individual producers can take the online version or contact the FARM Program to be mailed a copy.

ASIA hosts Young Entrepreneur Tour in SD

The American Sheep Industry Association's Young Entrepreneur Program is announcing a farm and ranch tour aimed at helping young and beginning sheep producers network and gain a broader understanding of the industry. This tour, made possible by a grant from the Let's Grow Program, will be July 17-18 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Participants will arrive in Sioux Falls on Sunday, July 16, in preparation for two full days of industry tours. The following day, participants will visit Sioux Falls Regional Livestock and five individual sheep operations in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota. On Tuesday, the tour will stop at two additional sheep ranches and a feedlot operation in eastern South Dakota, as well as visit the South Dakota State University Sheep Unit in Brookings. Tour leader and ASI past president, Burdell Johnson, says this trip will provide beginning sheep producers with tremendous insight into some of the most successful sheep operations in the region.

"This tour is a great opportunity for young and beginning sheep producers to not only see first-hand what some of the most productive and profitable operators are doing, but also to network with other participants and sheep ranchers," said Johnson. "Through the diversity of the operations on this tour and the immense knowledge of the SDSU Sheep Unit, participants will see new concepts they can use on their operations to add to their bottom line, regardless of where they call home."

The tour is built for young and beginning producers, between 21 and 40 years of age, who are actively engaged in sheep production and their state sheep growers' association. The cost of the tour is $200 per participant, with the remainder of the costs paid for through a Let's Grow Program grant. Limited reimbursement is also available for participant travel to and from Sioux Falls. To apply, or for more information, contact tour leader Burdell Johnson at 701-867-9160 or The deadline to apply for this once in lifetime experience is June 19.

J. M. Smucker to Acquire Wesson Brand from Conagra

The J. M. Smucker Company announced Tuesday the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire the Wesson oil brand from Conagra Brands, Inc. The Wesson brand of edible oils has been trusted by consumers for over 100 years. The all-cash transaction, which the Company will fund primarily with debt, is valued at approximately $285 million, prior to an expected tax benefit related to the acquisition with a present value of approximately $45 million.

Under the terms of the Agreement, Conagra will continue to manufacture products sold under the Wesson brand and provide certain other transition services for up to one year following the close of the transaction. After the transition period, the Company expects to consolidate Wesson production into its existing oils manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Company anticipates the acquisition to add annual net sales of approximately $230 million. The transaction is expected to generate earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of approximately $30 million and contribute approximately $0.10 to the Company's adjusted earnings per share in the first full year after closing, excluding one-time costs and before giving effect to synergies. Annual cost synergies of approximately $20 million are expected to be fully realized within two years after closing. The $285 million purchase price represents a multiple of approximately 9.5 times EBITDA. Factoring in the estimated $45 million tax benefit and $20 million of annual synergies, the multiple is expected to be approximately 5 times EBITDA.

"The addition of Wesson creates a strong complement to our Crisco brand," said Mark Smucker, chief executive officer. "By allowing us to more efficiently use existing supply chain and go-to-market resources, this acquisition will lead to significant cost savings that can further fuel growth and innovation opportunities across the Company."

Sidedress Applications Provide Corn N When It’s Most Needed

This year, much of the Corn Belt was pelted with as much as seven to 10 inches of rain in 10 days, so if a farmer applied 100 percent of his or her nitrogen (N) in a pre-plant application, he or she has likely lost a great deal of N to the environment. But farmers can adjust their N plans and apply more N in a sidedress application to make up for any applied pre-plant N that may have been lost to the environment. A sidedress application can ensure corn gets the N it needs, when it needs it most.

Corn takes up about 70 percent of its N between the V4 to R1 growth stages. From the V8 leaf stage through tasseling, N uptake is about four to eight pounds per day. Most sidedress applications occur at the V6 to V8 growth stages, which occurs in early June in much of the Corn Belt. This allows a standard spray rig to safely make a pass through the field without damaging corn stalks, and provides that N just before the corn begins its rapid uptake. This timing minimizes the time N sits in the field and is susceptible to loss to the environment. However, that doesn’t mean that the N applied as a sidedress isn’t at risk to environmental loss.

“We did a lot of research seven to 10 years ago, and we found that there’s actually a higher percentage of N lost to the environment through volatilization, denitrification and leaching during that sidedress application than in a pre-plant application, which was kind of an eye-opener,” says Dave Schwartz, executive vice president of sales and plant nutrition for Verdesian Life Sciences. “Protecting the N in a sidedress application provides a very viable return on investment (ROI) for farmers.”

Weather is the determining factor when it comes to N loss, with N being susceptible to leaching when there is water moving through the soil, denitrification under saturated conditions, and volatilization under hot and dry conditions. Farmers cannot predict the weather, and would be wise to protect their N investment, says Darin Lickfeldt, Ph.D, senior technical development manager for Verdesian.

“Farmers risk losing their investment in N, not receiving the benefits to their corn crop and not maximizing their yield,” says Lickfeldt. “It takes about 1 lb. of N per acre to produce about 1 Bu./A of grain, so if you lose 10 lbs. of N to the environment, that’s 10 lbs. not making grain. Farmers are paid based on how much grain they produce, so protecting every lb. of N should result in another Bu./A of corn yield.”

So, if the price of corn is $3.50 per bushel, and you can add 10 Bu./A by decreasing N loss with NutriSphere-N® Fertilizer Manager, that’s $35 more per acre, which provides a return on investment of 2.8 to 3.8 to 1. For every dollar spent on NutriSphere-N, the grower could get back $2.80 - $3.80. More than 400 trials over a period of 11 years show that NutriSphere-N provides that 10 Bu./A yield increase and there was a positive yield enhancement 90 percent of the time.

“Over the years we’ve done a lot of trial work, and we’re seeing about a 10 to 12 Bu./A average increase over all years. However, in extreme situations, you can see as much as 30 to 40 Bu./A increases,” says Schwartz, who also farms in Guthrie Center, Iowa. “When you factor in the water quality element of losing 30 to 50 percent of applied N going out the tile line, NutriSphere-N offers one of the best returns on investment a farmer can make.”

One reason NutriSphere-N provides that ROI is because it protects N from loss caused by volatilization, leaching and denitrification, a distinct advantage over competitive products that protect against only one or two forms of loss. NutriSphere-N is available in several different formulations that can be used on urea, urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) and anhydrous ammonia (NH3), ammonium sulfate and aqua ammonia, and each form of N presents its own challenges regarding loss to the environment.

Urea can very quickly volatilize by way of the urease enzyme that causes gaseous loss of ammonia, so if you surface apply a lot of urea, it will be susceptible to volatilization loss, says Lickfeldt. NutriSphere-N quick dry orange (QDO) or granular formulations are available for farmers applying urea. UAN is usually surface applied, but because it is a liquid it generally moves down into the soil an inch or two more easily than urea. However, UAN is still susceptible to loss, and NutriSphere-N liquid or NutriSphere-N HV® for High Volume UAN Applications, are available for UAN. While most of the sidedress applications are made with urea or UAN, some farmers may inject anhydrous ammonia nine to 12 inches deep into the soil profile with NutriSphere-NH3, making N less susceptible to loss, provided it is injected correctly.

In addition to protecting N from loss, farmers can also follow the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship to ensure their sidedress applications are as precise and efficient as possible.  The 4Rs call for applying the right source, right rate at the right time and in the right place. Lickfeldt recommends using a liquid fertilizer protected with NutriSphere-N, with about 25 percent to 50 percent of your total N applied in a sidedress at V6 to V8 growth stage and banded close to the row.

“We like sidedress applications within three to six inches of the row,” says Lickfeldt. “If you’re going to band it right on the row you can surface apply it, but if you are applying it between two rows, usually about 15 inches from the row, we like it knifed in one to two inches deep.”

New technologies have made more precise placement of sidedressed N easier for farmers. 360 Y-Drop® from 360 Yield Center features a Y-shaped drop tube, allowing farmers to put liquid N closer to the base of the plant, says Schwartz.

“Some of the new technologies, like Y-Drops, make UAN use in a sidedress more efficient, but it’s all about getting the N on the acres at the right time, no matter what form of N you are using,” says Schwartz. “Having the proper amount of N going into the time of highest N uptake is critical. Hitting that window is something that can be very challenging. We’ve learned a lot over the past 10 to 15 years about managing N. Putting on split N applications is a best practice, and protecting it with NutriSphere-N takes it to the highest level, where all growers need to go to maximize their investment in their crop and protect the environment.”

May 30 USDA Crop Progress & Condition Report - NE - IA - US


For the week ending May 28, 2017, cool and mostly dry conditions prevailed, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average temperatures ranged from three to nine degrees below normal. Some areas of the panhandle and southeast Nebraska received up to an inch of rain; however, much of the State remained dry. This allowed soils to dry out, and producers continued to plant and cut hay. There were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 0 percent very short, 7 short, 85 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 1 percent very short, 6 short, 86 adequate, and 7 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 0 percent very poor, 4 poor, 20 fair, 68 good, and 8 excellent. Corn planted was 95 percent, equal to last year, and near 97 for the five-year average. Emerged was 76 percent, near 74 last year and 80 average.

Soybeans planted was 76 percent, ahead of 70 last year, but near 79 average. Emerged was 35 percent, near 33 last year, but behind 44 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 10 poor, 41 fair, 39 good, and 8 excellent. Winter wheat headed was 86 percent, ahead of 68 last year, and well ahead of 55 average.

Sorghum planted was 50 percent, near 51 last year, and behind 58 average. Emerged was 17 percent.

Oats condition rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 22 fair, 67 good, and 11 excellent. Oats jointed was 76 percent, well ahead of 55 last year. Headed was 31 percent, ahead of 20 both last year and average.

Alfalfa condition rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 18 fair, 69 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa first cutting was 25 percent, near 28 last year, and behind 30 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 20 fair, 66 good, and 13 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 0 percent very short, 2 short, 93 adequate, and 5 surplus.

Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables at:

Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps at:

Access the U.S. Drought Monitor at:


Wet conditions kept farmers from finishing up planting during the week ending May 28, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork. There were scattered reports of corn turning yellow, and replanting of crops in areas with standing water.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 23 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.

Nearly all of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted with only South Central Iowa having over 10 percent of the crop remaining to be planted. Corn emerged reached 82 percent, 3 days behind last year but 1 day ahead of the 5-year average. Seventy-three percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Soybean planting reached 77 percent complete, 5 days behind last year. South Central Iowa lags behind with 43 percent of the crop yet to be planted. Soybean emergence reached 39 percent, 3 days behind last year and 1 day behind average.

Oats headed reached 10 percent, 1 week behind last year and 3 days behind average. Oat condition decreased to 74 percent good to excellent.

The first cutting of alfalfa hay was 21 percent complete, 5 days behind last year and 4 days behind average. Hay condition rated 81 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition remained at 82 percent good to excellent. Although livestock conditions were reported as normal with little stress, many feedlots were muddy most of the week.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

USDA's first corn condition rating of the year was down from last year and matched the lowest reading in four years, according to USDA's weekly Crop Progress report released Tuesday afternoon.

USDA estimated 65% of the corn crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, down from 72% at the same time last year. The report estimated that 91% of U.S. corn was planted as of Sunday, May 28, down from 93% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 93%. Seventy-three percent of U.S. corn was emerged, down from 75% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 75% emerged.

Any corn planting now is encroaching quickly on crop insurance deadlines. Final planting dates for maximum insurance coverage have already passed in Nebraska and Kansas.  Wednesday, May 31, is the final planting date for corn for grain in Iowa, as well as most of Minnesota and Wisconsin's corn production.  The final planting date for corn for the vast majority of Illinois is June 5, as well as all of Indiana and Ohio.  Once the final planting date has passed, insurance coverage declines 1% per day. The end of the late planting period is 25 days after the final planting date.

USDA said 67% of U.S. soybeans were planted as of Sunday, down from 71% a year ago and slightly below the five-year average of 68%. USDA also said 37% of U.S. soybeans were emerged, down from 42% a year ago and down from the five-year average of 40%.

Meanwhile, USDA reported 80% of winter wheat was headed, down from 83% a year ago, but up from the five-year average of 77% headed.  Winter wheat condition dropped slightly last week with 50% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition, down from 52% the previous week.

U.S. spring wheat planting reached 96% complete as of Sunday, down from last year's 98%, but above the five-year average of 91% planted. Seventy-nine percent of spring wheat was emerged, down from 87% a year ago, but up from the five-year average of 74%. Sixty-two percent of spring wheat was rated in good-to-excellent condition.

In other crop reports, cotton was 63% planted, compared to 57% last year and 64% average. Cotton squaring was 7% compared to the average of 4%. Rice was 97% planted and 84% emerged, compared to 97% and 86% last year and 96% and 86% on average.  Sorghum was 44% planted, behind the five-year average of 49%. Barley was 94% planted and 76% emerged, compared to 93% and 77% on average. Oats were 91% emerged and 29% headed, compared to 89% and 32% on average.

Tuesday May 30 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Do you feed dirt to your livestock?  Of course not, you say, but are you sure?

               Like it or not, all hay has some dirt in it.  How much dirt can vary greatly, though.  And the best way to estimate how much dirt your hay contains is by looking at the percent ash from a forage test report.

               Most forage plants naturally contain about six percent ash.  If your forage test indicates you have much more than that, the extra ash is most likely dirt.  Since dirt doesn’t have much nutritional value, minimizing dirt contamination will be better for your animals.

               First, cut hay before it lodges.  Downed stems naturally pick up more dirt than upright plants.  And when you cut, be careful not to cut too short.  A three-inch stubble is about right to minimize dirt while harvesting most of your potential yield.  Be especially careful if you cut with a disk mower.  They can easily cut extremely low, even to ground level, without plugging.  And disk mowers with angled knives tend to vacuum up more dirt than flat knives.

               It also helps to spread hay in a wide swath after cutting.  Tight, heavy windrows tend to sink to the ground while wide swaths may stay on top of the stubble.  This also makes it easier to rake without picking up dirt because the tines won’t need to touch the ground if hay is on top of the stubble.  Tines on wheel rakes need to touch the ground in order to turn so they pick up more dirt than rotary or bar rakes.

               Finally, bales stored on the ground will pick up soil, especially if it is muddy when the bales are moved.  Consider storing bales under cover or on crushed rock to reduce contamination.

               You may not see it, but hay can contain a lot of dirt.  Careful equipment operation and bale storage can help you keep it clean.

Reminder: Valuation Change on June 1

The Nebraska Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, reminds property owners that real property Notices of Valuation Change will be sent by county assessors on or before June 1.

If there was an increase or decrease to the assessed valuation of a real property parcel from 2016 to the 2017 assessed value, the county assessor is required to send a notice of valuation change to the property owner of record as of May 20.

If a property owner disagrees with the assessed value, whether or not a notice of valuation change has been received, a protest may be filed with the county board of equalization. The valuation protest may be filed in person or by mail with the county clerk in the county where the property is located, on or before June 30.

Requirements for filing a protest are on the Notice of Valuation Change.

For more information regarding filing a protest, please contact the county clerk where the property is located. County contact information is available at, under "Featured Information."

For further information, see the Real Property Valuation Protest Information Guide and Property Valuation Protest, Form 422 or 422A.

Pork Checkoff Announces Sponsored Activities at the 2017 World Pork Expo

The Pork Checkoff has an exciting lineup of Checkoff-sponsored events scheduled for World Pork Expo, June 7-9, 2017, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. World Pork Expo attendees can stop by the Varied Industries Building (booth No. 122) or the Pork Checkoff Hospitality Tent to learn more about Checkoff programs and initiatives.

Pork Checkoff Hospitality Tent (north of the Varied Industries Building)
-    Breakfast will be offered beginning at 7:30 a.m. while supplies last. Stop by for snacks daily. 
-    Enjoy a free business luncheon Wednesday and Thursday at noon. Elwynn Taylor, climatologist for Iowa State University, will present a weather outlook, and Steve Meyer, vice president of pork analysis for Express Markets, Inc., will present market updates.

Pork Checkoff Booth (No. 122 in the Varied Industries Building)
-    Have questions about Checkoff-funded education, research and promotion activities? Stop by to learn about Checkoff programs and initiatives.
-    Pick up new resources from the Pork Checkoff.

The PORK Academy, sponsored by the Pork Checkoff, will offer educational seminars for producers on the latest trends in pork production. For a list of the sessions and topics covered, visit

Also, producers and youth will have the opportunity to become certified in the Youth for the Quality Care for Animals (YQCA) program and PQA Plus® program at sessions held in conjunction with World Pork Expo.

As in years past, the Pork Checkoff will provide dinner on Tuesday and lunch on Thursday and Friday for junior swine exhibitors and their families. The Pork Checkoff also will sponsor activities at the World Pork Expo Junior National Hog Show.

USDA Economic Research Service Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade

FY 2017 Exports Forecast Up $1.0 Billion to $137.0 Billion; Imports Unchanged at $114.5 Billion

Fiscal year 2017 agricultural exports are projected at $137.0 billion, up $1.0 billion from the February forecast, as increases are expected in livestock, grain/feed, and cotton exports.  Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are raised $600 million to $28.7 billion due to an expected increase in red meat shipments that more than offsets slight declines in the poultry and dairy forecasts.  Grain and feed exports are forecast at $29.0 billion, up $400 million, driven by a larger volume for wheat and higher unit values for rice.  Cotton is forecast up $400 million to $5.4 billion as the United States continues to gain market share across major markets.  Oilseed and product exports are forecast at $31.7 billion, up $100 million due to expected increased soybean product exports. The export forecast for horticultural products is down $500 million to $33.5 billion on the basis of lower unit values of tree nuts.

U.S. agricultural imports in fiscal year 2017 are forecast at $114.5 billion, unchanged from February and $1.4 billion above their total value in fiscal year 2016.  The U.S. agricultural trade surplus is expected to increase $1 billion to $22.5 billion.

See the complete report here....

NGFA supports effort to update truck weight limits

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) recently joined in signing a letter to Congress supporting a pilot program designed to obtain information on the safety and environmental benefits of increasing the maximum commercial truck weight on interstate highways.

In the letter sent to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee, more than 80 transportation stakeholders noted that it's been 35 years since the government last updated the gross vehicle weight (GVW) limit of 80,000 pounds for federal interstate highways. Meanwhile, all 50 states have passed exceptions allowing trucks greater than this weight limit to operate on local roads. In addition, more than 30 states have higher GVW limits on their portions of interstate highways.

While states rightfully have updated GVW limits to better suit their individual needs, this often means trucks hauling more than 80,000 pounds are forced to operate on less ideal state highway infrastructure, "traveling on more local roads past schools, churches and playgrounds where pedestrians often are present," stated the letter. The current 80,000-pound weight limit for trucks on interstate highways also results in some trucks remaining more than 40 percent empty, creating economic inefficiencies and forcing more trucks onto the highway system than otherwise would be needed, the letter noted.

The transportation stakeholders proposed to include language in the fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill to create a pilot program for states to study the effects of modernizing truck weight limits, which haven't been updated since the standardization of anti-lock brakes on Class-8 tractors in 1982. The results should provide information on whether "there are more safe, more sustainable, and more productive ways to modernize the current 80,000-pound limit on federal Interstate Highways and give the states flexibility to move those loads on the safer Interstates and away from roads with pedestrians."

Under the pilot program, 10 states could opt-in to allow 91,000-pound, six-axle, bridge formula-compliant trucks on federal interstate highways within their borders, and collect additional safety data regarding the GVW and axle configurations of commercial trucks involved in serious accidents.

"Such a pilot, similar to others included in previous appropriations bills, will provide critical information currently lacking but necessary to determine if significant benefits affiliated with this configuration can be realized in a way to preserve or enhance the safety our nation's roads," the letter stated.

The letter also cited a 2016 U.S. Department of Transportation study that found potential benefits of modernizing the baseline GVW limit to 91,000 pounds, including reductions in: stopping distance during braking, carbon dioxide emissions, fuel consumption, and life-cycle pavement costs.

CWT Assists with 4.2 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 25 requests for export assistance from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms USA, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold), Tillamook County Creamery Association, United Dairymen of Arizona, and Upstate Niagara- O-AT-KA that have contracts to sell 3.536 million pounds (1,604 metric tons) of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 703,275 pounds (319 metric tons) of butter to customers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from May through August 2017.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 37.709 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 3.016 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 17 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 415.838 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

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

Last Call! Sign Up to Grow Leadership Skills Today!

The National Corn Growers Association reminds farmers that time is running out to become a part of the change they desire by actively honing their leadership skills through the NCGA Leadership Academy, part of Syngenta's Leadership At Its Best Program.  Growers must be nominated by their state corn association. Interested members should contact their state associations now for further information and get completed applications into state offices by the end of this week.

"Since it began in 1986, Leadership At Its Best has trained strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent work at the state and national level," said NCGA President Wesley Spurlock.  "Having met so many farmers who feel similarly, I know that the desire to give back to their peers motivates an incredible number of farmers to look for service opportunities. NCGA depends upon this grassroots leadership, and I can personally attest that the time and effort dedicated are repaid in full through the incredible relationships built with like-minded individuals."

Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership At Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels.  The first session, held in August in Minneapolis, Minn., addresses personal communications skills, public speaking and association management.  The second session, which will be held in January of 2018, addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure.  Through this program, participants build the skill set needed to become a more confident public speaker with a solid background in the procedures and processes used by NCGA and many state organizations.

For more than three decades, NCGA, state corn associations and, most importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the Syngenta co-sponsored Leadership At Its Best Program.  More than nearly 600 growers have gained invaluable knowledge and skills in media, communications, association management and public policy over the lifetime of the program.

Those interested should contact their state corn organization, which will submit nominees for the program.

Austin Dillon Secures First NASCAR Cup Win at Coca-Cola 600

Late Sunday night, American Ethanol driver and spokesperson, Austin Dillon captured his first Monster Energy Cup Series win, driving the celebrated No. 3 car to victory at the Coca-Cola 600. Dillon’s win came at his home track, the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and is the first for the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 car since October 15, 2000, when Dale Earnhardt won at Talladega.

“This is an incredible victory for the No. 3 team, and the entire American Ethanol family is filled with pride – we knew this day would come,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Our partnership with Austin and Richard Childress Racing is integral to communicating American ethanol’s engine smart, earth kind story. We are proud of Austin’s amazing win and look forward to many more successes together.”

Commenting on his win, Dillon said, “those partners that were here from the very beginning – Dow, American Ethanol – it feels so good to deliver. They had to believe in me no matter what. You can believe in somebody saying he’s good, but they believed in me. They’ve been here every step of the way. It feels so good to get them in Victory Lane. It was a beautiful car tonight, too.”

The No.3 car – and all NASCAR race cars – are powered by Sunoco Green E15, a fuel made with 15 percent American ethanol. In fact, E15 has powered NASCAR for more than 10 million miles. E15 is a cleaner-burning, high-performance fuel that delivers on the race track and for regular drivers alike. From the intense demands of a NASCAR race team to the everyday reliability expected by drivers across the country, E15 is always a winner.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday May 26 Cattle on Feed + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.45 million cattle on feed on May 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 1 percent from last year.  Placements during April totaled 395,000 head, up 4 percent from 2016.  Fed cattle marketings for the month of April totaled 390,000 head, up 3 percent from last year. Other disappearance during April totaled 15,000 head, down 5,000 head 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 680,000 head on May 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 1 percent from April 1, 2017, and up 6 percent from May 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 590,000 head on feed, down 3 percent from last month and down 2 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,270,000 head, down 1 percent from last month but up 2 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 95,000 head, a decrease of 18 percent from last month but up 22 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 41,000 head, down 41 percent from last month but up 8 percent from last year. Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 136,000 head, down 27 percent from last month but up 17 percent from last year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during April totaled 82,000 head, down 12 percent from last month but up 9 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 57,000 head, up 2 percent from last month but down 12 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 139,000 head, down 7 percent from last month and down 1 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 7,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 2 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.0 million head on May 1, 2017. The inventory was 2 percent above May 1, 2016.

On Feed by State

                  (1,000 hd - % of May 1 '16)

Colorado .......:       960           107             
Iowa .............:        680           106             
Kansas ..........:      2,280          106         
Nebraska ......:      2,450          101          
Texas ............:      2,460           99           

Placements in feedlots during April totaled 1.85 million head, 11 percent above 2016. Net placements were 1.78 million head. During April, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 348,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 255,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 490,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 495,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 190,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Placements by State

                    (1,000 hd - % of April '16)

Colorado .......:      155           107        
Iowa .............:        95           122         
Kansas ..........:       420           114        
Nebraska ......:       395           104        
Texas ............:      460           106         

Marketings of fed cattle during April totaled 1.70 million head, 3 percent above 2016.  Other disappearance totaled 66,000 head during April, 13 percent below 2016.

Marketings by State

                     (1,000 hd - % of April '16)

Colorado ......:      125            93             
Iowa .............:      82             109           
Kansas ..........:      385           100           
Nebraska ......:      390           103       
Texas ............:      450           103           


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) entered into an agreement with the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District to help farmers improve irrigation water management, reduce soil erosion and install conservation practices through the Lower Elkhorn Water and Soil Conservation Initiative. This Initiative is available through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Producers in the northeast Nebraska 15-county Initiative area (see map) originally had until mid-October to apply, but the sign up has been extended to June 16, 2017. Producers should visit one of the NRCS offices located in the Initiative area to apply.

Robin Sutherland, District Conservationist in the Stanton NRCS field office said, “This Initiative is a great opportunity for farmers and ranchers to receive financial and technical assistance to make their operations more productive and sustainable.”

Through the Initiative, NRCS and the Lower Elkhorn NRD work together to provide financial and technical assistance to help farmers apply soil and water conservation practices like flow meters, irrigation water management, nutrient management, as well as adopt soil health practices like no-till and cover crops on eligible cropland.

For more information about the RCPP and other conservation programs available from NRCS, visit your local USDA Service center or


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Native meadows will soon start growing rapidly and bromegrass is about to head out.  Here are some tips to make your grass hay suitable for your animals.

               When do you cut your grass hay?  Do you wait until all crops are planted?  Maybe you plan to cut during first or second irrigation of corn.  Or like some folks, maybe you cut grass hay just when you get around to it.

               Instead, how about cutting your grass hay so the grass nutrient content matches with the nutritional needs of your livestock?  Now that's a different way to look at it, isn't it?  But doesn't it make sense to harvest hay that will meet the specific needs of your livestock and minimize your supplement costs?

               We all know that protein and energy concentration declines in grass hay as plants become stemmy and get more mature.  As this happens, the types of livestock that can be fed that hay with little or no supplements become more limited.

               For example, grass hay cut at early head often can support more than one pound of daily gain for pregnant yearling heifers all by itself.  But if the same grass gets mature it won't even maintain weight of a mature cow without some protein supplements.

               So, what should you do?  First off, plan what type of livestock will receive the grass hay from each field.  Young livestock need high nutrient concentrations so cut that hay before or just when heads begin to emerge.  If the hay will go to mature, dry cows instead, let the grass produce a bit more growth and cut it after it is well headed out, but before seeds develop.

               Matching your hay harvest with your plan of use can pay handsome dividends in lower costs and less supplementing.

IFBF's fifth Economic Summit to highlight opportunities amidst ongoing market challenges

To assist farmers facing several consecutive years of tight margins and low commodity prices, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) announced the 2017 IFBF Economic Summit: “Overcoming Challenges, Creating Opportunities” on July 20 at the Iowa State Scheman Center in Ames. The summit is designed to provide farmers insights and strategies for managing through this downturned economic period, with pending trade negotiations which have potential for significant impacts to Iowa agriculture.

“We want to make sure our Economic Summit goes beyond simply surviving and include helping farmers find opportunities out there to earn a premium price for their crops and livestock, or opportunities to significantly reduce their cost of production and improve their bottom lines,” said Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services.

Volatile international trade markets and uncertainty regarding current and proposed trade deals, including NAFTA, have led to an unsettled international trade climate.  Speakers during this year’s Economic Summit will discuss the benefits of trade for Iowa agriculture and the current status and future outlook for ag exports. 

“With the United States pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and planning to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it’s certainly a dynamic period for ag trade,” says Miller.  “However, that does not diminish the critical importance of expanding exports for Iowa crop and livestock farmers.”

With early field hearings underway for the new farm bill and legislative work on the horizon, the summit will also provide a timely look at the potential outlines of the 2018 farm bill, which will establish the essential farm safety net for farmers in the coming years.

Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) president, is a featured speaker.  Duvall, who will be the first AFBF president to speak at IFBF’s Economic Summit, was elected to lead AFBF in 2016.  Duvall is a third-generation farmer from Georgia who raises hay and broilers and has a 300-head beef cow herd.

The full-day summit will feature a range of Iowa-based and national experts presenting on a range of subjects and issues critical to agriculture today, including economist David Oppendahl of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; John Newton, an AFBF economist; and Jim Knuth, Iowa-based senior vice president of the Farm Credit Services of America.

This year’s summit will also feature breakout sessions that allow attendees to dive deeper into a range of topics from soil health and cover crops and opportunities in livestock production to ways to build landlord-tenant relationships and trends in the farm machinery markets.

“This is a period when we all need to sharpen our management and marketing skills to look for future opportunities,” says Miller.  “This year’s IFBF summit will be a valuable tool to help farmers do that.” 

Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch, is $30 for Farm Bureau members and $75 for non-members before July 11.  Visit for more information.

USDA Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period Begins June 15

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that the nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins on Thursday, June 15, 2017.

“County committees allow farmers and ranchers to make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve their needs,” said Acting FSA Administrator Chris Beyerhelm. “We strongly encourage all eligible producers to visit their local FSA office today to find out how to get involved in their county’s election. There’s an increasing need for representation from underserved producers, which includes beginning, women and other minority farmers and ranchers.”

County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. Committees consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are over 7,700 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, also may nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program and reside in the local administrative area where the election is being held.

After the nomination period, candidates will encourage the eligible producers in their local administrative area to vote. FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 6, 2017. Ballots will be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 4, 2017. Newly-elected committee members and alternates will take office on Jan. 1, 2018.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1, 2017. Locate your local office at


At a pork industry meeting this week, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said its modernization of pork slaughter rule will move forward. According to the National Pork Producers Council,  the rule will increase efficiency of the federal inspection process, encourage adoption of new food safety technologies and increase plant capacity. The rule calls for certain food safety responsibilities to be shifted from federal inspectors to packing plant workers.

Dan Kovich, deputy director of science and technology, represented NPPC at the USDA meeting and said the FSIS is expected to send the rule to the Office of Management and Budget soon as the next step in its implementation.


NPPC on Monday sought an extension from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to file a motion seeking a re-hearing of an April 11 decision that would create a new requirement for livestock farms to report their air emissions. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association joined NPPC in filing for the extension.

Previously, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a motion with the same court seeking an extension to request that the court delay issuing its final order, which would apply an emergency reporting requirement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to farms for day-to-day routine emissions from manure. If the court does not grant the requests, its ruling will likely become final on or about June 2, 2017, requiring livestock farmers to comply with emission reporting requirements.

Also this week, 28 senators signed onto a letter, urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to challenge the D.C. Circuit’s decision and to “provide America’s farmers and ranchers with regulatory relief through agency directive and rulemaking.” CERCLA is used to recover natural resources damages caused by hazardous substances; EPCRA is for use by state and local emergency responders when dealing with hazardous chemical releases. “Congress never imagined normal odors and emissions … of livestock, poultry, and egg production would somehow be captured” under the laws, the lawmakers wrote.

Senate Passes Agro-Terrorism Legislation

“An attack on our nation’s food supply would cause irreparable damage,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., after the Senate unanimously passed legislation to bolster agro-terrorism preparedness and emergency response. The “Securing our Agriculture and Food Act” would require the Secretary of Homeland Security, through the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, to lead the government’s efforts to secure our nation’s food, agriculture and veterinary systems against terrorism and high-risk events. The bill now goes to the House, which approved a similar measure in late March.

Senate Ag Committee Chair, Farm Bureau President Address USMEF Spring Conference

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Spring Conference, held in Arlington, Virginia, was highlighted by appearances from Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

“I want to thank you being in town and for telling your good story about trade,” Roberts told USMEF members. “I want – and I expect – to hear from the meat export sector as we continue down this path, to get a good farm bill. You’re great partners and you do a wonderful job. You folks have really played a very instrumental and important role in shaping rural states. You’ve been an essential part of the rural economy and advising me on issues that affect our daily lives and pocketbooks out in farm country.”

Roberts expressed concern about the Trump administration’s plans to renegotiate NAFTA, but said the presence of recently confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue gives him confidence that the market access gains NAFTA provided for U.S. agricultural exports will be maintained.

“I swear to goodness he’s been the most active secretary in his first three or four weeks of anybody that I’ve ever seen,” Roberts said of Perdue. “He was sworn in just in time to play a very critical role in convincing President Trump not to withdraw completely from NAFTA. He had the backing, by the way, of Secretary of State (Rex) Tillerson and Wilbur Ross, our commerce secretary – I know this for a fact because I was involved in that – as well our new U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer.”

Roberts spoke with cautious optimism about negotiations to reopen China to U.S. beef – a market that has been closed since the December 2003 BSE case.

“I was very heartened to see the news on the agreement made with China to allow U.S. beef access to nearly 1.4 billion Chinese customers," he said. “Details of that agreement still need to be finalized and we hope that this time U.S. beef and beef products will be granted true market access.”

Roberts also assured USMEF members that he strongly supports USDA programs designed to expand international demand for U.S. agricultural products.

“The Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program are certainly great examples of programs that work,” he said. “We at least ought to have the same level of funding, and really ought to have more, but we’re going to try to preserve that. Expanding markets around the world is one of the surest ways for producers to feel more secure by creating more demand and increasing global access to U.S. meat, grains and other commodities, so the ag sector can begin to climb out of this rough patch.”

Speaking after Roberts, Duvall also praised Secretary Perdue and said he believes the Trump administration’s “tough talk” about re-negotiating NAFTA is simply a way to get key trading partners to the table. He also encouraged everyone in the agricultural industry to remain engaged in the processes taking place in the nation’s capital.

A third-generation farmer from Georgia, Duvall spent 30 years as a dairy farmer and today raises beef cattle and poultry. Prior to being elected AFBF president, he served as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau, where he came to know Perdue, the former governor of Georgia.

“He understands agriculture and he’s a great administrator,” Duvall said of Perdue. “He is only the fourth secretary of agriculture – out of the 30 that we’ve had – to actually have farmed as an adult. He’s very familiar with what it takes to farm, and what it requires.”

Duvall said he considers the current situation in Washington to be possibly the greatest opportunity in his lifetime to make a long-term difference for U.S. agriculture and rural America, helping to build “a future for children and grandchildren who want to do what we do.”

To keep farmers and ranchers engaged, Duvall wants to speak personally with as many producers as possible to help them understand the importance of their involvement.

“Since November, when the farmers and rural America came out and elected this president, they began to relax,” explained Duvall. “Farmers are sitting at home thinking farm organizations, their county Farm Bureau or their commodity group is just going to take care of their problems. I’m telling you that if that’s what our farmers think, we’re in for a disaster. We’re in for a train wreck. We cannot afford to let them disengage from this process. They made a difference in November, but that’s just the beginning of our chore. It’s not the end.”

The conference concluded Friday with a panel discussion on demand trends for red meat in China and Mexico, featuring insights from Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific and two senior staff members who oversee USMEF programs in Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic – Regional Director Oscar Ferrara and Marketing Director Gerardo Rodriguez.

At its closing business session, the USMEF board of directors approved a resolution supporting continued funding for the USDA Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. The resolution encouraged organizations that advocate for U.S. agriculture to make funding these programs a legislative priority, noting their proven track record for bolstering U.S. exports and delivering positive returns for the U.S. economy.

Ocean Freight Rates Reach Lowest Level in Months

Ocean freight rates for shipping bulk grains fell to their lowest level over the past 12 weeks.  As of May 18, the rate for shipping grains from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $37.25 per metric ton, a 4 percent drop from March 9.  The rate from PNW to Japan was $19.50 per mt, an 8 percent drop since March 9.

The last time the Gulf-to-Japan rate was this low was March 3, and the PNW-to-Japan rate was the lowest since February 23.  Lower ocean rates were fueled by excess vessel supply and lagging demand for bulk shipments.

Visit From Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields Planned for First Peas to the Table Contest Winner

The winner of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s First Peas to the Table Contest is Mary Tomlin’s third-grade class at Fayette Academy in Somerville, Tennessee. Tomlin’s classroom wins the grand prize – a visit from Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields.

“I’m confident that students will enjoy hearing from Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields about her platform of ‘Eat Better, Live Better,’ which aims to educate people on how the foods we eat make an impact on our lives as a whole,” said Julia Recko, education outreach director of the Foundation.

First Peas is a national competition for schools that encourages children in kindergarten through fifth grade to plant, raise and harvest peas.

Student teams competed to grow the greatest amount of peas (measured in cups) using no more than 20 pea seeds during the official contest period, Feb. 20 – May 15. Tomlin’s class harvested 8 cups of peas.

Ten schools submitted pea measurements, although even more schools participated. Some schools’ peas were not ready to harvest at the end of the contest.

“Educators agree, getting their hands dirty is the best way for children to learn,” said Recko. “Through this contest, we’re pleased to offer a fun, hands-on learning opportunity for students across the country.”

The contest highlights the Foundation’s 2016 Book of the Year, “First Peas to the Table,” by Susan Grigsby. The Foundation created the contest to help students understand the importance of healthy foods and agriculture in their everyday lives and to increase their understanding of how plants grow.

Students competing in the contest were allowed to grow peas in any manner including in a hot house, hoop house, indoor pot, planter or outside garden. In conjunction with the contest, Recko encouraged educators to invite local farmers and ranchers to speak in their classrooms about food production and the importance of agriculture.

2018 Commodity Classic Trade Show Opens to New Exhibitors June 1

The trade show floor at Commodity Classic—America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show—will open to new exhibitors on Thursday, June 1, 2017.  The 2018 Commodity Classic will be held Tuesday, February 28 through Thursday, March 2 in Anaheim, California.

Exhibit space is limited.  For exhibitor information, visit, call 888.447.6734 or email:

Last year’s Commodity Classic in San Antonio, Texas, attracted 4,012 farmers with an average gross farm income of $1.45 million and average farm size of 2,779 total acres.  The show also attracted 162 key media representatives.

“The thousands of farmers who attend Commodity Classic are progressive, innovative and eager to adopt new technology and practices,” said Paul Taylor, an Illinois corn farmer and co-chair of the 2018 Commodity Classic.  “They are also influential in their communities, as our research indicates that the average Commodity Classic farmer attendee says that 9.6 other farmers in their area ask them for their opinions on new technology and practices.”

“If a company wants to showcase its products and services to top farmers in the United States, the Commodity Classic trade show is the place to do it,” said Gerry Hayden, a Kentucky soybean farmer and co-chair of the 2018 Commodity Classic.  “Some 72 percent of farmers at Commodity Classic consider themselves to be early adopters, so these farmers are looking for what’s next in agriculture—and they invest in coming to Commodity Classic expecting to find it.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday May 25 Ag News


A new mobile application from Nebraska Extension aims to help farmers manage their operations in a rapidly changing price environment. The free Grain Marketing Plan app is available on iPhone and iPad devices for users marketing corn, soybeans or winter wheat.

The app can help farmers develop customizable grain marketing plans pre- or post-harvest. It has a built-in reminder system so that once a farmer has entered decisions into their plan, he or she will receive alerts once a decision trigger has been hit. The decision triggers can be set up based on a target time or futures price. It is one of the first apps of its kind to allow users to not only view futures price information, but interact with them.

"The idea is that the mobile app will help producers make their grain marketing decisions, even while they're in the field," said Associate Extension Educator Jessica Groskopf.

While grain marketing plans are critical to an operation's success, the majority of Nebraska farmers have not developed a plan. Nebraska Extension hopes that this new user-friendly app can help producers decipher fact versus feeling when making grain marketing decisions.

"The Grain Marketing Plan app allows farmers to dictate their future, on their terms," said Cory Walters, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. "A simple reminder for farmers of the decision triggers they committed to in the spring can make a huge difference in the overall success of a farming operation."

According to Walters, the app is beneficial in the current environment because it is important for farmers to actively market their grain during times of lower commodity prices. With rapidly changing prices, there are limited opportunities for farmers to price grain above break-even prices. This app can alert farmers when futures prices have hit their estimated break-even point.

For more information on the app, visit

The Nebraska Corn Board, North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center and Nebraska Extension provided funding for the app.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Most pastures are looking pretty good.  But how they are grazed now will affect how well your pastures do the rest of the summer.

               When pastures look good and cattle are doing well we usually pay little attention to them.  But don't take good pasture for granted; in a couple months it could look a lot different.

               Now is the time to pay special attention to your rotational grazing.  In particular, whenever possible, leave more growth behind than usual when you move to new pasture.

               When moisture is available, like now, your grasses will regrow after grazing.  Regrowth starts more rapidly when extra leaves remain behind after grazing.  These leaves help plants harvest more sunlight energy to hasten regrowth, so your pasture will be ready to graze again much sooner and with more forage than if it had been grazed very short.  After all, grass grows grass.

               Another valuable reason to leave extra growth behind is the increased competition this provides to weeds.  June and early July is the time many weeds like ragweed really start growing rapidly.  The extra grass you leave behind and the faster regrowth of your grass will help reduce this weed invasion.

               A final reason to leave extra growth behind is to improve animal nutrition.  As you leave behind the stemmy, less desirable feed and move animals more frequently into fresh, high quality pasture, rates of gain increase, cows get bred more rapidly, and overall performance improves.

               Sure, your pastures look good now.  To keep them looking good and your cattle performing well: avoid overgrazing, encourage rapid regrowth, maintain competitive residues, and rotate often onto fresh, productive pasture.

NCGA Thanks House of Representatives for Passing NPDES Permits Legislation

The National Corn Growers Association commended the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 953, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation states that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permits are not required when applying pesticides according to their EPA-approved labels.

"We are pleased the House of Representatives recognizes this permit requirement for what it is: expensive, duplicative, and unnecessary red tape," said Brandon Hunnicutt, Vice Chair of the Freedom to Operate Action Team and a farmer from Giltner, Nebraska. "As it currently stands, the NPDES permitting system only adds to farmers' regulatory burdens, without actually improving water quality."

The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act would reverse a 2009 court ruling that forced the Environmental Protection Agency to require pesticide applicators to get permits to spray in or near "navigable waters," as defined in the Clean Water Act. Although NPDES permits do not provide any additional environmental benefits, they do significantly increase the regulatory burden on farmers, while also exposing them to potential citizen action suits. NCGA has been a leader in efforts to end this redundant and ineffective permitting requirement.

"We thank the House for their vote, and urge the Senate to act quickly on this important issue," said Hunnicutt.

2017 Auctioneer of the Year, Auctioneer and Ringman Champions, and New Officers and Directors

Miles Marshall, Marshall Land Brokers & Auctioneers, Kearney, has been elected President of the Nebraska Auctioneers Association for 2017-2018. Marshall Land Brokers & Auctioneers is recognized throughout the Midwest as a leader in marketing ag real estate, farm machinery, heavy equipment and business liquidations. His election was announced at the 69th Annual Convention of the Association held at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, Kearney, Nebraska, May 19-21, 2017. Travis Augustin, Ruhter Auction & Realty, Inc., Hastings, was elected Vice President and Mark Beacom, Auction Solutions, Inc., Omaha, was elected President-Elect.

Newly elected Board Members include Mike Nuss, Helberg & Nuss Auctions & Realty, Gering, Nebraska; Duane Wellensiek, Wellensiek Auction Co. LLC, Cook, Nebraska; and Ed Hall, Vandertook Auctions LLC, Adams, Nebraska.

The annual Nebraska Auctioneers Association Championship Auctioneer and Ringman Contest was held on Friday, May 19, 2017 kicking off the first evening of the 69th Annual Convention. Curtis Wetovick, C W Auction, Fullerton, Nebraska, was named Nebraska Auctioneer Champion for 2017 and Kam Hartstack of Clarinda, Iowa, captured the 2017 Nebraska Ringman Champion title. In addition to cash and prizes, Wetovick will receive the entry fee to the 2018 International Auctioneers Championship and will represent Nebraska in the competition. Kam Hartstack received the Jon Moravec Memorial Ringman trophy.

The top ten from the competition consisted of Scott Jarman, The Auction Mill, Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska; Austin Creamer, Creamer Heimes Janssen LLC, Hartington, Nebraska; Kenny Hendren, Hendren Auction Service, Mitchell, Nebraska; Kam Hartstack, Hartstack Auction Group, Clarinda, Iowa; Dan Botsch, Full Throttle Auction Company, Chapman, Nebraska; Russ Puchalla, Heartland Auction Company, Roca, Nebraska; Runner-Up, Courtney Mensik, Jack Nitz & Associates, Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska; Reserve Champion, Josh Larson, JML Auction, Haxtun, Colorado; and Rookie of the Year, Jake Rogers, Lexington, Nebraska. Rookie of the Year, Runner-Up and Reserve Champion all received commemorative plaques.

Also in conjunction with the Convention, Don Helberg, Helberg & Nuss Auctions & Realty, Gering, Nebraska, was named Nebraska Auctioneer of the Year. Don was awarded a commemorative plaque, Stetson hat and trophy belt buckle. Gene Sisco, Sisco Auction Company, Syracuse, Nebraska, who passed away on January 20, 2017, was inducted posthumously into the Auctioneer Hall of Fame. His family accepted on behalf of Gene.

Awarded $1,000 college scholarships at the annual awards banquet from both the Association and the Auxiliary were Braelyn Isernhagen, Deshler, daughter of Brian and Heidi Isernhagen; Austin Creamer, son of Ryan and Janet Creamer, Creamer Heimes Janssen LLC, Hartington; and Kaitlyn Schultis daughter of Aaron and Lisa Schultis and granddaughter to Wayne and Linda Schultis, Schultis & Son Inc, Fairbury, Nebraska.

The Nebraska Association works with more than 3,500 members of the National Auctioneers Association throughout the world. The National Auctioneers Association is the largest organization of its kind dedicated to promoting the auction method of marketing.  The Nebraska Auctioneers Association is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.

USDA Livestock Slaughter Report: Record Low Veal and Lamb Production for April

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 3.97 billion pounds in April, down slightly from the 3.98 billion pounds produced in April 2016.

Beef production, at 1.96 billion pounds, was slightly below the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.46 million head, up 2 percent from April 2016. The average live weight was down 23 pounds from the previous year, at 1,325 pounds.

Veal production totaled 5.8 million pounds, 3 percent below April a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 39,000 head, up 12 percent from April 2016. The average live weight was down 36 pounds from last year, at 257 pounds.

Pork production totaled 1.99 billion pounds, down 1 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 9.34 million head, down slightly from April 2016. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 285 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.5 million pounds, was down 10 percent from April 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 179,500 head, 5 percent below last year. The average live weight was 128 pounds, down 7 pounds from April a year ago.

By State  (million lbs   -   % of Apr '16

Nebraska ....:     596.7             98  
Iowa ...........:     567.2             99      
Kansas ........:     411.9             95      

January to April 2017 commercial red meat production was 16.7 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2016. Accumulated beef production was up 5 percent from last year, veal was down 4 percent, pork was up 2 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 4 percent.

Field Days to Help Participants Improve Profit and Water Quality

Farmers and their consultants can learn how to improve both farm profits and water quality at a series of field days hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The field days are part of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Nitrogen and Water Week, which runs from June 27-29.

“The purpose of these field days is for farmers and their consultants to learn the research related to profitable nitrogen management and water quality,” said Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach. “The field days will also allow participants to visit the sites where research is occurring relating to nitrogen management and water quality.”

Five field days will be held throughout the state at Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms, providing an opportunity to learn about the university’s research facilities that evaluate nitrate loss. A tour of plots where Iowa State researchers study the effects of fall application, cover crops and nitrification inhibitors is included in the event. The field day will also provide an opportunity to learn about factors that are used to make nitrogen fertilizer recommendations and nitrogen deficiency in corn and how to correct it.

“Participants will leave the field day with a better understanding of research and the breadth of projects and practices we are evaluating,” said Mark Johnson, extension field agronomist. “They will also receive a better understanding of tools that are available to them like the N Rate Calculator and how they can help farmers be more profitable while minimizing impact on water quality.”

Each field day will provide the same format and program, with ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists and agricultural engineering specialists providing instruction. Registration at the research farm meeting room begins at 9:15 on the day of the event, with the program beginning at 9:45. The program concludes at 12:15 p.m. with lunch following.

“The format provides for four 30-minute sessions during the field day, discussing how a water quality research site works, what practices are being studied, how effective the various management practices are in reducing nitrogen loss, and the impact of those practices on farm profitability,” said Paul Kassel, extension field agronomist.

2017 Nitrogen and Water Week Field Days
    June 27 – Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm (53020 Hitchcock Ave., Lewis, Iowa)
    June 27 – Ag Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm (1308 U Ave, Boone, Iowa)
    June 28 – Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm (3321 290th St., Nashua, Iowa)
    June 29 – Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm (6320 500th St., Sutherland, Iowa)
    June 29 – Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm (3115 Louisa-Washington Road, Crawfordsville, Iowa)

There is a $25 registration fee for the program which includes lunch, refreshments, and course materials and publications. Attendees are asked to pre-register to assist with facility and meal planning. For additional information or to register online visit

USDA Invests in Commodity Board Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Wednesday announced five grants totaling more than $2.5 million for agricultural research that is funded jointly with national or state commodity boards. The funding is made possible through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"Our collaboration with commodity boards helps the U.S. agriculture industry thrive," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "By responding to the needs of the U.S. agricultural sector, we are investing in research that will have a positive economic impact."

In FY 2016, the first year of collaboration with national and state commodity boards, topics from five commodity boards were integrated into four program area priorities within two AFRI Requests for Applications (RFAs): Improving Food Safety, Critical Agricultural Research and Extension, and Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production in the Foundational Program RFA; and Breeding and Phenomics of Food Crops and Animals in the Food Security Challenge Area RFA. The commodity boards provided half of the funding for the award in their topic area. The projects include:

- The USDA Agricultural Research Service, Southern Region, received a NIFA grant of $489,804, funded jointly with the National Peanut Board, to investigate peanut and tree nut allergies.

- Oregon State University, Corvallis, received a NIFA grant of $294,000, funded jointly with the Washington State Potato Commission, to improve data management tracking of potato early-dying disease.

- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, received a NIFA grant of $294,000, funded jointly with the National Peanut Board, to research drought tolerance in peanuts.

- Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, received a NIFA grant of $490,000, funded jointly with a consortia of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, Nebraska Corn Board, and Kentucky Corn Promotion Council, to improve yield prediction models for next generation breeders.
- Kansas State University, Manhattan, received a NIFA grant of $980,000, funded jointly with the Kansas Wheat Commission, to improve selection protocols to accelerate wheat quality.

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

Commodity boards are organizations that promote, research, and share industry and consumer information on particular agricultural products, such as almonds, honey, lamb, and wheat. The 2014 Farm Bill enables commodity boards to submit topics for research supported through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, America's flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. Topics must relate to established AFRI priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. Once topics are approved, the resulting proposals are reviewed using NIFA's established peer-review process.

NIFA welcomes commodity board topics that support AFRI priority areas throughout the year. To submit a topic for consideration for inclusion in an AFRI RFA in FY18, commodity board representatives should visit the NIFA Commodity Board webpage for more information.

Programs Help Farmers Gain Consumer Communication Skills

Maddie Hagerty, IPIC Communications Assistant & Student

Most consumers are becoming disconnected from agriculture, but still have to find a source for information about what they consume. Pig farmers want to be able to properly inform consumers about the well-being of their livestock and the safety of food products but can sometimes struggle to find the space to share their story. This can create the issue of a gap or communication barrier between the two groups. Both farmers and consumers can benefit from maintaining an open line of communication, however seeking out consumers and encouraging the conversation can be difficult.

Joyce Hoppes, director of consumer information for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, said it's important to first find common ground. This allows both parties involved in the conversation to become comfortable and remain engaged.

"Transparency is very important," Hoppes said. "The best way to start the conversation with a consumer is to first find common values. Use the information they share about themselves to help drive the conversation."

It's important to realize, however, that not all discussions are created alike, Hoppes said. Making sure discussion points resonate with the individual or group is vital.

"While it is important to know your audience, your communication strategy may not differ all that much between certain age groups because they will be at a similar level of agricultural literacy," she said. "But, you must make sure the information you are sharing is relevant to them. Identify what needs they have in their lives and explain how the industry works to fulfil them."

Claire Masker is director of public relations for the Pork Checkoff where her job involves working with farmers and the public. She teaches producers how to use open dialogue with consumers.

"When talking to consumers, the goal should not be to strictly educate the consumer, but just to establish an open dialogue and ensure that they can trust you and seek you for answers," she said. Both IPPA and the Pork Checkoff are affiliated with programs designed specifically for producers that build and strengthen communication skills and strategies.

The IPPA partners with the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation to reach consumers.

"One program that we at IPPA participate in is FarmChat, which facilitates virtual farm tours," Hoppes said. "Pork producers can use FarmChat technology to open their barns to students and other audiences, and explain modern pork production and interact on-site by answering their questions."

The IPPA currently is recruiting producers to participate in the FarmChat program and plans to have summer training sessions for the tours. Producers interested in participating in FarmChat or want to learn more can contact Hoppes at 515-225-7675 or

The Pork Checkoff has a well-established communications skills program for producers called Operation Main Street.

"OMS provides training sessions throughout the year and at World Pork Expo for producers to learn how to represent themselves and tell their story to consumers and other targeted groups," Masker said. "Program coordinator Ernie Barnes has great resources for that program."

More information about OMS is available at the NPB website and Masker said those who want more information can contact Barnes at

NPPC White Paper Details Benefits Of NAFTA

Following last week’s notification by the Trump administration that it will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the National Pork Producers Council today released a white paper on the benefits of the trade deal among the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The paper, which focuses primarily on trade with Mexico, makes the case for not abandoning the 23-year-old pact and for not disrupting trade in sectors for which the agreement has worked well, including U.S. pork. Mexico is the No. 2 export market for U.S. pork, and Canada is No. 4.

For all U.S. goods and services, Canada and Mexico are the top two destinations, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports, adding $80 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 14 million American jobs, according to U.S. government data.

While considerable attention has been given to the $63 billion trade deficit the United States has with Mexico, NPPC’s paper highlights two key facts: When NAFTA took effect Jan. 1, 1994, trade between the United States and Mexico was only $50 billion each way. Last year, U.S. exports to Mexico were nearly quintuple that amount at $231 billion, and those exports supported 5 million U.S. jobs. And while imports to the United States from Mexico were $294 billion, those, too, supported millions of U.S. jobs. (Nearly 40 percent of Mexican imports include U.S. content.)

For U.S. agriculture, Canada and Mexico are the second and third largest foreign markets. They imported more than $38 billion of U.S. products in 2016, or 28 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports. Those exports generated more than $48 billion in additional business activity throughout the economy and supported nearly 287,000 jobs.

Disrupting U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada, the NPPC paper points out, would have devastating consequences for America’s farmers and for the U.S. processing and transportation industries. U.S. pork producers would be particularly hard hit.

Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes calculated that if Mexico placed a 20 percent duty on U.S. pork – a likely response to a U.S. withdraw from NAFTA – and allowed other countries duty-free access, the U.S. pork industry eventually would lose the entire Mexican market. That equates to a loss of 5 percent of U.S. pork production, which would reduce the U.S. live hog market by 10 percent at a cost of $14 per hog, or a nearly $1.7 billion aggregate loss to the industry.

“A loss in exports to Mexico of that magnitude would be cataclysmic for the U.S. pork industry,” said Nick Giordano, NPPC’s vice president for global government affairs, who will share highlights of the paper at the “NAFTA: From Cars to Carrots” panel discussion hosted by the Global Business Dialogue later today. “Pork producers will support updating and improving NAFTA but only if duties on U.S. pork remain at zero and pork exports are not disrupted.”

The NPPC paper also notes that NAFTA has provided benefits beyond trade, including improved relations with Canada and Mexico, better regional investment and supply chains, increased cooperation with Mexico in fighting drug trafficking and terrorism and greater political stability in that country.

USMEF Kicks Off Spring Conference, Announces Succession Plan

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) opened its Spring Conference Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia, with an extensive discussion of the current international trade environment and a review of year-to-date export results for U.S. pork, beef and lamb. The federation also announced the successor to longtime USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, as Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing, will become president on Sept.1 and assume the title of president and CEO on Dec. 1. Seng will remain with the organization as CEO emeritus through July 2018.

USMEF Chairman Bruce Schmoll, a soybean and corn producer from Claremont, Minnesota, welcomed members to the Spring Conference and recapped the very strong first-quarter results for U.S. red meat exports. Schmoll noted that Mexico is a terrific destination for U.S. pork, and USMEF’s new product development and consumer education efforts continue to bolster per capita pork consumption in Mexico. U.S. beef exports to Mexico are also trending upward in 2017, but the main drivers of beef export growth in the first quarter were the mainstay Asian markets of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Schmoll said home meal replacement is a rapidly growing segment in Asia and especially in Korea, noting that he and his family hosted a team of Korean buyers last year who specialize in home meal replacement items.

Schmoll also discussed the recent decision by Costco-Korea to convert the chilled beef meat cases at all 15 of its locations to 100 percent U.S. beef.

“With Costco being such a respected trend-setter for Korean consumers and other Korean retailers, the long-term, positive impact for U.S. beef will reach well beyond the walls of these Costco warehouses,” he said.

Schmoll said the USDA Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program are important tools that contribute to the success U.S. red meat is achieving in the global marketplace. He urged USMEF members to voice their support for these programs, which were targeted for elimination in the Trump administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal released earlier this week.

“This is only the first step in a long budget process, and there is strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for MAP and FMD,” Schmoll explained.

Seng offered a historical perspective on red meat trade with Japan, explaining the impressive gains made in this market despite significant trade barriers. He noted that Japan has imported $62 billion in U.S. beef and pork over the past 30 years, despite a temporary closure of the market to U.S. beef due to BSE, and an even longer period in which U.S. exports to Japan were restricted to beef from cattle less than 21 months of age.

Seng cautioned that the United States may be underestimating the importance of constructive relationships with key trading partners, citing Mexico as an example of a country that is actively seeking alternative food suppliers.

“For the past 70 years, the hallmark of our agricultural trade policy with countries that can’t be self-sufficient in food production has been, ‘you don’t have to be self-sufficient, but you can be food secure with the United States as your partner,’” Seng said. “When we start talking about playing by a different set of rules, these countries look to diversify. And as Mexico begins to look south, they’ll find that they can source pork and beef from different suppliers, and that’s a very important development.”

USMEF’s guest speaker was Stuart Rothenberg, a long-time Washington, D.C., political analyst who is senior editor at Inside Elections. He served for more than two decades as editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan political newsletter covering U.S. House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns and presidential politics. He also was a columnist for Roll Call and The Washington Post.

Rothenberg spent much of his presentation on the struggles of the Trump administration to establish meaningful policy directions, with the investigation into the Trump administration’s possible ties to Russia and several other distractions coming at a bad time for a brand new presidency.

“President Trump is going to deal with healthcare and tax reform and infrastructure and budget spending priorities - while all this other stuff is going on?” Rothenberg asked. “Well, he’s going to have to. But you can see how much more difficult it will be. In Washington, it’s difficult to get things through during good times.”

Rothenberg expressed frustration with the national media, which he said tend to examine every poll as if it is going to somehow demonstrate a dramatic turn in public opinion.

“But the president has only been in office for a little over four months,” Rothenberg said. “In another four months, six months, eight months – some of his supporters may start to take the criticism more seriously.”

To close the session, USMEF past chairman Roel Andriessen, who chaired the search committee charged with finding and recommending candidates for the position of USMEF president, explained the extensive process that led the committee to identify Halstrom as its leading candidate. Andriessen also paid tribute to Seng for his decades of service to the organization, which Seng joined as Asia director in 1982 – just six years after USMEF was founded.

“Phil, on behalf of the USMEF Executive Committee and USMEF members and staff, we applaud your leadership and vision for this industry, which started a long time ago,” Andriessen said. “You are a legend in our industry – there’s no doubt about that, and your shoes will be extremely difficult to fill. You will leave behind a great legacy and I want to applaud you for all you have done for us.”

Halstrom echoed these sentiments, noting that he’s learned a wealth of information from Seng – not only during his time with USMEF, but throughout his 34-year career in international meat trade.

“I certainly don’t expect to replace Phil Seng, but I hope to complement him with the help of a very talented USMEF team, and that is a tremendous advantage going forward,” he said. “Many people are aware of Phil’s long career with USMEF, and I’ve learned a great deal from him in the time I’ve been involved with the organization. But we also have staff members in key markets such as Hong Kong, Korea and Japan who have been with USMEF for a very long time. They are truly grounded in the meat business, and they are in these markets every day building demand for U.S. meat products and monitoring our competition. I look forward to being even more involved with this group and drawing upon their knowledge and experience.”

Halstrom joined USMEF as senior vice president for marketing in 2010, overseeing promotional activities for U.S. red meat managed through the organization’s 18 international offices. He was previously vice president for international sales with JBS S.A., where he managed global beef and pork sales. From 1990 through 1999, Halstrom directed international pork sales for Swift/ConAgra Foods, Inc. A native of northwest Iowa and a graduate of the University of Iowa, Halstrom currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

ASA and Valent Offer a New Opportunity for Young People Interested in Ag Policy

The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased to announce a new educational program, sponsored by Valent, the “Soy Leaders of the Future.” This program provides an exciting opportunity for students interested in improving their understanding of major agricultural policy issues, the importance of advocacy, and careers that can impact agricultural policy.

The Leaders of the Future program will take place July 10 – 13, 2017, in Washington, D.C. This program may be of particular interest to high school seniors and freshmen or sophomores in college majoring in various areas of agriculture, political science, communications and/or business. Students must complete an online application and be at least 18 years old to participate. The class size will be limited to six to eight students, and the deadline to apply is Friday, June 9. Click here for more information...

America’s First FTA Partner, Israel, Remains Steady U.S. Customer

Free trade agreements help provide market access for some of the largest purchasers of U.S. grains and for some smaller but steady buyers. Israel, as the first market with which the United States signed a free trade agreement, is a good example.

The United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 1985, when the United States exported $2.5 billion in goods to Israel, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 2016, overall U.S. exports soared to $13.1 billion, a five-fold increase. For U.S. agricultural exports, Israel has remained a small but important market, especially for value-added products including corn gluten feed/meal and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

Israel imported 786,000 metric tons of U.S. corn, DDGS and corn gluten feed, valued at $141.5 million, in 2015/2016 - a 2.5 fold increase from the previous year. U.S. DDGS exports to Israel reached nearly 134,000 tons in the current marketing year (September-March), a 22 percent increase year-over-year.

Additionally, Israel was the third largest market for U.S. corn gluten feed/meal exports in 2015/2016, responsible for 18 percent of U.S. exports. U.S. corn gluten feed/meal exports this marketing year (September-March) have increased 17 percent year-over-year to more than 125,000 tons.

“These increases are driven in part by attractive commodity price and competitive U.S. exports,” said Alvaro Cordero, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) manager of global trade.

“The Mediterranean basin is a very competitive marketplace, with U.S., Black Sea and South American grain exports competing for customers. As a result, the edge provided by the free trade agreement with United States is vital for our exporters.”

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) works to maintain and develop relationships with trading partners like Israel, supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. Through these trade servicing efforts, USGC is able to help U.S. grain producers and exporters take advantage of favorable conditions for U.S. exporters built into trade agreements as well as capitalize on market opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed.

National Dairy FARM Program Opens Registration for 2017 Evaluator Conference

The second annual National Dairy FARM Program Evaluator Conference will be held in Indianapolis, Ind., from July 18-19, with an optional farm trip to Fair Oaks Farm on July 20. More than 400 certified FARM Program evaluators will have the chance to network and discuss relevant topics in animal care, environmental stewardship and antibiotic stewardship.

Starting on Tuesday, July 18, FARM evaluators will spend a day with key Elanco staff, focusing on professional development and learning more about Elanco’s global business of feeding a growing population. Wednesday, July 19, features a full day of programming, including presentations on “The Economics of Animal Well-Being,” as well as insight from a panel of farmers and veterinarians on the importance of protocol development and employee training.

“We are excited to host a dedicated group of FARM evaluators for what will be three full days of enlightening conversation and learning,” said Emily Meredith, chief of staff for the National Milk Producers Federation. “Nurturing strong relationships among members of the animal care community will only enhance our ability to share the industry’s great story of top-notch animal care.”

Elanco is also a sponsor for this year’s event, in addition to Zoetis and Merck Animal Health.

Thursday’s optional trip to Fair Oaks Farms includes a tour of the dairy’s facilities and a discussion with co-founder Mike McCloskey, farm veterinarians and management staff about how Fair Oaks implements training and protocols for the high-level care of their animals and land. Located in Fair Oaks, Ind., the agritourism operation offers educational opportunities about dairy, hog and crop farming.

Registration is $199, with the optional Fair Oaks tour costing an additional $50. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit the conference website.

This is the second Evaluator Conference hosted by the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program. The first was held last fall in Nashville, Tenn., after the NMPF Joint Annual Meeting. Created in 2009 by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the FARM Program raises the bar for the entire dairy industry – creating a culture of continuous improvement.

Trump Wants $108M for Deeper Ports

(AP) -- President Donald Trump wants $108 million to deepen harbors for two U.S. seaports, while other ports scrambling to make room for larger cargo ships will benefit from a boost of more than $56 million already approved by Congress.

Ports from New England to Texas are seeking more than $4.6 billion in federal and state funding to deepen their harbors. They're playing catch-up after the Panama Canal finished a major expansion last summer that is sending supersized ships to U.S. ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

Most of those ports have waterways that are too shallow for such big ships to navigate unless they carry lighter loads or travel at high tides.

While Congress has authorized 15 total port projects to pursue deeper and wider shipping channels, Trump's proposed budget released Tuesday requests money for only two of them in the 2018 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Deepening projects for Boston and Savannah, Georgia, would essentially split $108 million.

But not every port left out of Trump's budget request came away empty-handed. The Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees maintenance and construction on U.S. waterways, on Wednesday evening released its spending plan for discretionary funds recently approved by Congress.

That plan includes more than $56 million for five harbor-deepening projects, including $17.5 million for deepening to begin at the Port of Charleston, South Carolina, and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida. For projects still in the study and permitting phase, $2.8 million will go to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and $557,000 for the Sabine-Neches waterway that serves three Texas ports.

The discretionary funds should give a guaranteed boost to the Army Corps' chosen harbor projects. Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal 2018, meanwhile, faces a long and uncertain road in Congress.

"Now you've got the congressional money and you're going to see what's coming to you right now," said Jim Walker, navigation policy director for the American Association of Port Authorities. "You may be a year away from seeing the (fiscal) 2018 money."

The Port of Boston, where officials hope to start deepening the harbor later this year, may turn out to be the biggest winner. In additional to Trump's $58 million request for the project, the Army Corps added $18.2 million in discretionary funding.

And while Trump's request of $50 million for Savannah, the fourth-busiest U.S. container port, is 17 percent more than President Barack Obama secured in his last budget, it's still only half of what Georgia officials said was needed to keep the $973 million project on schedule.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, said in a statement he was "disappointed by the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers" to route some of the discretionary funds to Savannah. He made no mention of Trump's budget request.

"Rest assured that I will continue fighting in Congress to secure sufficient funding for this worthy project to be completed without further delays," Isakson said.

Federal funding for deeper harbors proved tough to get under Obama as well. And while Congress gets the final say over the federal budget, the president's recommendation on specific port projects still carries weight. That's because a ban on so-called earmark spending adopted years ago prohibits lawmakers from inserting line items for their own pet projects.

Georgia ensured dredging of the Savannah River got started in 2015 by spending state taxpayers' $266 million share upfront. South Carolina was prepared to do the same, with $300 million in state funding set aside to begin deepening the Charleston harbor this fall. The federal money from the Corps was welcomed.

"The significance of this funding for the timeline of our deepening project cannot be overstated -- it is tremendous news for Charleston," Jim Newsome, CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, said in a statement.

NAWG Applauds Senate Agriculture Committee for Holding Hearing to Examine the Farm Economy

Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing to examine the farm economy in rural America. Members heard testimony from USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson who spoke on several domestic and global factors generating low commodity prices and the financial implication this has on farmers. Additional witnesses included Nathan Kauffman, assistant vice president and Omaha branch executive with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; Bruce Weber, professor emeritus of applied economics and director of the rural studies program at Oregon State University; and Alec Sheffer, director of retail sales for Agri-AFC.

NAWG President David Schemm made the following statement:

“With the rural economy struggling and farm income down 46 percent from only three years ago, growers are enduring some of the toughest economic conditions since the 1980s.  Farmers have also had to deal with severe weather issues, making the Farm Bill a key tool to enable them to farm another year.

“Low commodity prices have led to farmers to take on more debt to continue operating, as such producers’ debt-to-asset ratios have grown rapidly. USDA’s Chief Economist Dr. Robert Johansson testified that nearly 8% of wheat producers are considered to be ‘highly leveraged’ and over 16 percent are ‘very highly leveraged’.

“Farmers have had to deal with a rapidly declining market, and months and years of sustained low prices will make each passing year more difficult to get by, particularly for young and beginning farmers who weren’t able to build up reserves during the high price years.

“The economic conditions of the past few years have also contributed to a drop in planted wheat acreage. Plantings for 2016-2017 winter wheat are at the lowest level since 1909, and it is anticipated that overall planted acres of wheat will be at historically low levels this year.  Compounding these factors has been growing impact of wheat streak mosaic virus in my neck of the woods which is causing a big yield hit to the wheat that survived the blizzard.

“NAWG applauds the Senate Committee on Agriculture for holding this hearing to evaluate the economic conditions in rural America.”

Syngenta receives EPA registration for Fortenza® insecticide seed treatment for corn and cotton

Fortenza® seed treatment insecticide from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on corn and cotton to guard against early-season insect damage.

“We designed Fortenza to complement our brands containing Cruiser® insecticide, and data shows combining these products enhances the spectrum of insect control activity, raising the bar of protection for U.S. growers,” said Dale Ireland, Ph.D., Seedcare technical product lead, Syngenta. “This combination will provide the most comprehensive early-season insect protection in the corn seed treatment market.”

The active ingredient in Fortenza, cyantraniliprole, is labeled to protect against above- and below-ground insects, including black cutworm, fall armyworm, white grub, seedcorn maggot and wireworm. This is especially important to growers who are located in areas with high cutworm history. In corn particularly, Fortenza® seed treatment insecticide is a great tool for growers that have a corn hybrid with black cutworm susceptibility.

“From the moment our crops are planted, every seed is at risk for pest infestation,” said Palle Pedersen, Ph.D., head of Seedcare product marketing at Syngenta. “Fortenza will help protect emerging corn and cotton plants against insect damage from day one, leading to vigorous crop establishment and increased stand, which will help maximize the return and genetic potential on a grower’s seed investment.”

Fortenza may also help manage insect resistance, when used in combination with other insecticide chemistries or traits, by providing an additional mode of action against targeted insects.