Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday July 28 Ag News

CPM Hoop Barn Tour

Date: August 1st, 2017
Purpose: To network with other producers that have hoop buildings or that are inquiring about building one
Event Organizer: Cody Sweeter-Beef Cattle Consultant, Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus

Tentative Agenda
8:45- Meet in Brainard
9:00- Leave from Brainard Location

9:15-10:00- First stop at Victor Bohuslavsky, Brainard
From the south edge of Brainard by the baseball field.  Go West on the black top and follow the curve south.  Continue 1 mile south of the curve to Road 29 and then go west 1 mile to Road R and then go north and you will see on the west side of the road.  (There is no house there, but there are some other out buildings and grain bins.)

10:15- 11:00- Steve & Tyler Rezac, Valparaiso
From Valparaiso.  Go north on Highway 79 2 miles to County Road D and then go West for 1 mile to County Road 29.  Go north a little over ½ mile and you will see it on the east side of the road.

11:30-12:15- Lunch in Wahoo

12:30- 1:15- Meduna Family Farms, Colon
From Colon.  (North of Wahoo)  Go north on the black top road for 3 miles to County Road T.  Go East for 1 mile to County Road 15 and you will see it on the east side of the road.

1:30-2:00- Dave & Andy Chvatal, Malmo
From Malmo.  Go north 1 mile to County Road P.  Go east 1 mile to County Road 21 and then go north about ¾ of a mile and you will see it on the east side of the road.

2:45-3:30- Daryl Crook, Rising City
From Rising City.  On Highway 92 go east of Rising City 1 mile to Road F.  Then go north 1 ¾ miles and he is on the east side of the road.  You can see his place.

4:00-5:00- Columbus Feedmill

5:00- Dinner @ Columbus

If you are interested in going on the tour, please contact Cody Sweeter, cell: (402) 367-2840 or email: to inform him if you are interested in riding the van or following along in your own vehicle.  The event is free to attend. You will be responsible for any meals purchased during planned meal stops.


Maximize Your Forage Quality by Attending The Midwest Forage Clinic, hosted by Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus. 


10:00am Check In and Donuts/Coffee
-    Proper Forage Preparation
-    Daily Bunker Management
-    Bunker Sizing
-    Bunker De-Facing
-    Bunker Nutrient Profiles
-    Silage Nutrient Testing
-    Mixing and Delivery System
-    Why Forage Preservatives
12:00    FREE Burger Buffet
1:30     Adjourn


BQA Workshop Offers Certification for NW Iowa Producers

Major beef packers are requiring that feedlot producers who sell cattle to their plants must be Beef Quality Assurance certified. To help northwest Iowa cattle producers accomplish this, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Iowa Cattlemen’s Association are co-sponsoring a BQA workshop on Tuesday, Aug. 29 at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office from 10 a.m. to noon.

ISU Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran said that while the certification is mandatory for producers in order to sell to packers, the information producers receive from the BQA session is valuable in and of itself.

“Consumer surveys indicate that consumers want to know how the beef they eat is raised,” Doran said. "The BQA program addresses this and provides best management practices regarding cattle care and handling, management of feed ingredients and medication, biosecurity and record keeping."

Other topics featured at the workshop include feedlot self-assessments, current and future trends in beef production, and results from the 2016 National Beef Quality Audit. This audit focused on cattle transportation, animal identification, carcass quality and animal well-being. One message from the audit was consistent and important – BQA is an important strategy to increase consumer confidence. The program flyer has all the details for the session.

Workshop participants will obtain their BQA certification, which will be effective three years from the training date. To maintain integrity of the BQA program, all BQA certification in Iowa is administered by the Iowa Beef Industry Council.

There is no cost to attend the workshop, but participants are encouraged to preregister to assure adequate materials by contacting Doran by phone at 712-737-4230 or

IFBF Park at '17 State Fair showcases agriculture's presence in everyday life

The 2017 Iowa State Fair is right around the corner and fairgoers will have a chance to win great prizes and play games at Farm Bureau Park while learning how “Farmers Help Produce More than Produce.” This year’s theme is designed to show Iowans that Iowa agriculture provides numerous products we rely on every day.

For example, did you know soybeans are being used to make antifreeze for vehicles and toilet seats, or that cattle help make buttons for clothing and the bristles of paint brushes?  With the help of special “decoder” glasses, state fairgoers will see many more examples like these at Farm Bureau Park, as they view large displays of livestock and farm equipment that have hidden images on them made from Iowa-grown crops and livestock.

“We encourage fairgoers to stop by Farm Bureau Park to see how agriculture weaves its way unexpectedly into our everyday lives. Farm Bureau members will also be on-hand to answer questions pertaining to agriculture, and share information about how they grow and raise food today, as well as how agriculture impacts all our lives,” says Craig Hill, IFBF president.  “This year we will also be celebrating the recognition of 353 Century Farms and 114 Heritage Farms that have been in the same family for 150 years or more.  This longtime history of farming embraces qualities important to all Iowans like hard work, innovation and love of family.”

Visitors to Farm Bureau Park will have a chance to play free games to win great prizes, including $500 in groceries.  Those who sign up to join Iowa Farm Bureau at the fair can also win $2,000 in ethanol fuel. Current members are encouraged to bring their ‘member thank you coupon’ from the Spokesman to receive a special gift while supplies last. They can also enter various drawings to win a zero-turn John Deere lawn tractor, a Fisher Price Power Wheels F-150 or a 24-month lease on a 2017 Ford F-150 or a Morton Building and Cat® compact track loader.

There is something for all ages at Farm Bureau Park.  Every day a variety of health screenings such as blood pressure, hearing, skin cancer and lung health checks will be available. During Farm Bureau Day on Tues., Aug. 15, chefs from across the state will bring their best recipes, grills and smokers to the Grand Concourse for the 54th annual IFBF Cookout Contest, hoping to win bragging rights with a category prize or to be named the overall Cookout Champion. On Thurs., Aug. 17, Iowa’s next batch of entrepreneurs are invited to the Park for a free business consultation with IFBF’s Renew Rural Iowa program director and associates. Find a full schedule at  

Smith Statement on Japan Raising Tariff on U.S. Beef

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after Japan announced it will raise its tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the U.S. and other countries with which it does not currently have trade agreements.

“U.S. beef producers have already been placed at a competitive disadvantage in the Japanese market due to our country’s inaction on trade,” Smith said.  “Australia’s trade agreement with Japan has brought the tariff on its frozen beef down to 27 percent, compared to the nearly 40 percent tariff applied to U.S. beef.  Now, with this hike to 50 percent, our producers will face nearly double the tariff as their Australian counterparts.

“We know U.S. beef tastes better, and our efficient producers can meet demand from Japanese consumers if trade barriers are removed.  We can’t afford to wait any longer to work on a bilateral agreement with Japan, which is why I introduced a resolution in the House to urge the Trump administration to begin the process of establishing a trade agreement with this top trading partner.”

Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.  He introduced H. Res. 236, his resolution calling on the Trump administration to begin the process of establishing a trade agreement with Japan, in March.

Ricketts Comments on Japan Beef Tariff Increase

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that Japan had raised their tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the United States.

“I call on Congress and the Trump Administration to redouble their efforts to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Japan to address the beef tariff rates as well as other agricultural market access issues similar to what would have been covered under the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Governor Ricketts.  “As announced, I will be leading a trade mission to Japan in early September.  Our beef community can rest assured these tariffs rate increases will be at the forefront of our discussions in Japan.”

The Governor went on to say that the announcement that Japan has decided to raise its tariff on frozen beef from the U.S. will have a serious economic impact on Nebraska’s beef community.  Japan is Nebraska’s number one export market for beef products with a value of over $316 million in 2016 alone.

This increase in the tariff rate will place Nebraska beef exports at an even greater competitive disadvantage with other countries that Japan has free trade agreements with like Australia and the newly announced European Union agreement.  It is anticipated that this will shift purchases from frozen to fresh triggering beef safeguard tariff increases on fresh beef as well later this year compounding the impact to Nebraska’s beef exports.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President, Regarding Japan Increasing Tariff on Frozen Beef

“The Japanese government’s announcement today to increase its tariff on frozen beef is a big blow to Nebraska’s beef producers. In 2016, Nebraska exported over $316 million in beef and beef products to Japan which accounted for 16 percent of the total U.S. beef exports to this important customer. What makes this action worse is that the United States recently walked away from an agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which would have rendered this action meaningless. Now is the time for the Trump administration to follow through on their promise for a “better deal” for Nebraska’s cattlemen and women, and now is the time for a bilateral agreement with Japan.” 

Statement of Secretary Perdue Regarding Japan's Planned Increase of Tariff on U.S. Frozen Beef

The government of Japan has announced that rising imports of frozen beef in the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year (April-June) have triggered a safeguard, resulting in an automatic increase to Japan's tariff rate under the WTO on imports of frozen beef from the United States.  The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018.  The tariff would affect only exporters from countries, including the United States, which do not have free trade agreements with Japan currently in force.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement:

“I am concerned that an increase in Japan's tariff on frozen beef imports will impede U.S. beef sales and is likely to increase the United States’ overall trade deficit with Japan.  This would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan on agricultural products.  It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality U.S. frozen beef.  I have asked representatives of the Japanese government directly and clearly to make every effort to address these strong concerns, and the harm that could result to both American producers and Japanese consumers.”

U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Japan totaled $1.5 billion last year, making it the United States’ top market.

NCBA Responds to Japan Raising Tariff on U.S. Beef Imports: "Underscores Urgent Need for Bilateral Trade Agreement"

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Craig Uden issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Government of Japan is triggering the safeguard tariff increase on frozen beef imports:

“We're very disappointed to learn that the tariff on frozen beef imports to Japan will increase from 38.5 percent to 50 percent until April 2018. Japan is the top export market for U.S. beef in both volume and value, and anything that restricts our sales to Japan will have a negative impact on America’s ranching families and our Japanese consumers. NCBA opposes artificial barriers like these because they unfairly distort the market and punish both producers and consumers. Nobody wins in this situation. Our producers lose access, and beef becomes a lot more expensive for Japanese consumers. We hope the Trump Administration and Congress realize that this unfortunate development underscores the urgent need for a bilateral trade agreement with Japan absent the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Background: Japan was the top export market for U.S. beef, valued at $1.5 billion in 2016. According to data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, first quarter U.S. beef sales to Japan increased 42 percent over 2016. In addition to the United States, the 50 percent safeguard tariff also applies to imports from Canada, New Zealand, and other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with Japan.


South Korea this week requested that the Trump administration postpone any review of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) until its new trade minister is appointed. The request comes after USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer requested a review of the agreement in a July 12 letter to Korea’s former minister of trade. In response, South Korea suggested that both sides “objectively examine, analyze and assess the effects” of KORUS before this meeting takes place. Based on the trade agreement, the two countries must meet within 30 days of the initial request, or by Aug. 11.

NCGA Applauds Decision on 2014-16 Renewable Volume Obligations

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled today in favor of the National Corn Growers Association and other renewable fuels advocates, agreeing with the petitioners that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) erred in how it interpreted and used the “inadequate domestic supply” waiver in the Renewable Fuel Standard law in setting renewable fuel volumes for 2014-2016. 

In Americans for Clean Energy et al v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court vacated EPA’s decision to reduce the total renewable fuel volume requirement in 2016 and remanded the rule to EPA for further consideration.

The following is a statement from the National Corn Growers Association:

“Today’s Court decision is a win for farmers, the biofuels industry, and consumers. This ruling affirms our view that the EPA did not follow the law when it reduced the 2014-2016 renewable fuel volumes below levels intended by Congress. The Court held that EPA was wrong to interpret the phrase ‘inadequate domestic supply’ to mean ‘inadequate domestic supply and demand.’ We agree with the Court that effectively adding words to the law through this interpretation simply exceeds EPA’s authority.

“We appreciate the Court honoring Congress’ intent. Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard to help increase American energy independence and provide cleaner fuel choices for consumers by opening a closed fuel market and forcing the oil industry to allow competition in. Whether there is an adequate supply of renewable fuel to meet volume standards is not the same as how much fuel is used. Or, in the Court’s own words, ‘The fact that a person is on a diet does not mean there is an inadequate supply of food in the refrigerator.’

“Corn farmers have done our part to help expand the supply of renewable fuel, as well as help support use of renewable fuels with retailers and consumers. We look forward to working with the EPA to ensure that going forward, the Agency follows the law when implementing the RFS.”

Growth Energy: Court Decision on 2016 RVOs Is a Win for Consumers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) flawed methodology used to reduce the 2016 total Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

This decision was in response to a joint petition filed in January 2016 to hear a challenge to the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016. Growth Energy along with Americans for Clean Energy, American Coalition for Ethanol, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, and the Renewable Fuels Association filed this petition.

“We’re very pleased with the court’s ruling, which restores Congressional intent and will ensure that renewable fuels continue to play a growing and important role in America’s fuel mix,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“This is a major win for consumers, who save money when American biofuels can compete at the pump with foreign oil. Every year, American biofuels get more affordable and more sustainable. Ethanol slashes greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent, and biofuel production supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the U.S. We appreciate the court recognizing the value of the RFS, and we look forward to working with the EPA to make sure that America’s biofuel targets reflect the goals set down in law.”

Crude Futures Settle at 2-Month Highs

Spot-month oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange had their biggest weekly gains this year, and September West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil on the IntercontinentalExchange settled at their highest price points since May with RBOB and ULSD futures registering settlement highs last reached in mid-April.

The rally was underpinned by signs the domestic oil market is heading toward rebalancing supply with demand, while the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is reaffirming their efforts to cut the global supply overhang through an 18-month agreement capping their production.  Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Nigeria all pledged to further curb crude exports and production starting as early as next month.

Midweek data from the Energy Information Administration showed total U.S. petroleum stocks were drawn down by 9.5 million barrels (bbl) as products demand edged up 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) to above 21.0 million bpd.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell 7.2 million bbl to 483.4 million bbl during the week-ended July 21, the lowest since the first week of January, and supply dropped to a 1.4% deficit versus the same week in 2016. Total U.S. crude production fell 19,000 bpd to 9.41 million bpd during the week reviewed, up 900,000 bpd year-over-year, EIA said.

EIA also reported midweek that gasoline demand neared a record weekly high during the week ended July 21.

Showcase Helps Expand Red Meat Exports to Rapidly-growing Latin American Region

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) held its seventh annual Latin American Product Showcase July 26-27 in Cartagena, Colombia. This year’s event was the largest to date, with 56 exporting companies welcoming about 140 meat buyers from 18 countries throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The showcase was conducted with funding support from the Nebraska Beef Council, the Beef Checkoff Program and the Pork Checkoff.

“This event just continues to gain momentum year after year,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF senior vice president for marketing. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for U.S. exporters, because visiting personally with the range of buyers we have here would require a month or more of travel on their own – but here, they can do it in two days. And it’s not just the number of buyers attending, it’s the quality of buyers – real decision-makers who are here to conduct business.”

This sentiment was echoed by Josy Castro, lead sales manager for Latin America for Atlanta-based trading company Interra International, a longtime USMEF member.

“This year I have really noticed that all of the customers who are here are very qualified – people who are already importing products and have experience with the process,” she explained. “This is always a productive event for Interra, but I want to extend a big kudos to USMEF for attracting such a strong lineup of customers this year.”

“We serve every type of foodservice establishment, from family-owned restaurants to large restaurant chains to all-inclusive hotels,” said Pablo Salazar of Atlantic Foodservice, Colombia’s largest beef importer and one of the country’s largest buyers of imported pork. “We have good relationships with our suppliers, but an event like this allows us to build on those existing relationships as well as to meet with traders and explore new options for our customers. I can save two or three months of travel with a showcase like this, so it’s a very worthwhile event for our company.”

Importers from Brazil attended the showcase for the first time, with Brazil having opened to U.S. beef earlier this year. Buyers from Ecuador returned to the event this year, as Ecuador recently eliminated temporary import duties that had made it a difficult market for U.S. exporters to serve.

Dawn Caldwell, a cattle producer who serves on the Nebraska Beef Council and as vice chair of the Federation of State Beef Councils, attended the showcase for the first time. She noted that the experience confirmed the Nebraska Beef Council’s decision to help fund the Latin American Product Showcase when it was first launched in 2011.

“Nebraska Beef Council has supported this event from the get-go, and we’ve always had great reports from producers who have attended,” Caldwell said. “So I’m glad that I now get to see the showcase for myself, and what a great investment it has been. We as producers don’t always understand everything that’s involved in getting our beef on the consumer’s plate, especially in another country. So I have really learned a lot here, talking with meat exporters and traders of every size and scope.”

Missouri pork producer Everett Forkner represented the National Pork Board at the showcase, and expressed similar feelings about the return on investment it provides for the U.S. pork industry.

“A real highlight of my tenure with the National Pork Board has been the alignment we’ve had with USMEF and the marketing effort that they are making worldwide,” Forkner said. “This showcase is a great example of that effort. Being able to attend this event has really opened my eyes to the tremendous opportunities we have, not only in Colombia but in all of Latin America. I also had a chance to visit cold storage facilities here in Colombia that are as modern and up-to-date as any in the world and to visit a retailer that has 435 outlets carrying U.S. pork. Seeing this modern infrastructure makes me feel very good about the amount of U.S. pork we are going to be able to market internationally.”

Larry Marek, an Iowa producer of soybeans, corn, cattle and hogs, traveled to the showcase representing the United Soybean Board. He said the level of activity gave him added confidence in the soybean industry’s investments in red meat exports.

“I’ve never attended an event like this before, so I’m really impressed and surprised at the demand for our products and the magnitude of activity,” Marek said. “A large volume of U.S. red meat is already entering this region and there’s definitely going to be growth in the future.”

In addition to the main showcase and ample networking opportunities for both buyers and exporters, the event also included educational seminars. Representatives of Midan Marketing, a Chicago-based firm that services meat industry clients, shared insights designed to help businesses in the Latin American region successfully merchandise more U.S. red meat. Michael Uetz and Maggie O’Quinn discussed trends in consumer behavior in their “Modernization of Retail and Foodservice Marketing” presentation. This included a discussion of recent changes in shopping and dining practices, and how companies can capitalize. The Midan team’s second presentation, “Digital Marketing: Proven Strategies to Drive U.S. Red Meat Sales,” underscored the value of a meat distributor or retailer being able to tell its unique story online in the digital age.

Prior to joining Midan Marketing, O’Quinn represented Certified Angus Beef (CAB) in Latin America for many years. She was very impressed with the growth in U.S. exports to the region and with the high level of interest in U.S. products.

“For me this event was a real homecoming, and it’s just amazing to see the exponential growth in the amount of business for U.S. exporters,” she said. “I appreciate the investment the exporters are making in this region, and it’s so exciting to see red meat importers in these countries rewarding the United States with a lot of business. It certainly sends a great economic signal back to U.S. cattle producers and hog farmers that these buyers appreciate the great quality of U.S. meat and they need more product.”

USMEF representatives in the region, including Gerardo Rodriguez (Central America), Jessica Julca (South America) and Elizabeth Wunderlich (Caribbean) also presented valuable information in the educational seminars, discussing emerging demand trends in the foodservice, retail and processing sectors. USMEF Chef German Navarette provided guidance on how to prepare beef and pork variety meat items and other underutilized cuts.

“Product-wise, these presentations provide a lot of great information,” said importer Jose Escobar of El Salvador-based food distributor Diaco. “It is very helpful to know about pricing trends and the availability of different cuts. For example, I’m taking back a couple of products such as pork rib tips and brisket bones, that I wasn’t familiar with before.”

Buyers and exporters also had an opportunity to tour the Port of Cartagena, one of Colombia’s busiest ports. Several participants in the tour were impressed with the advances in automation at the port and other methods being used to move cargo quickly and efficiently.

The Latin American region is a destination of increasing importance for U.S. red meat. Last year the region accounted for nearly 180,000 metric tons (mt) of U.S. pork exports, valued at $438 million. U.S. beef exports in 2016 totaled about 59,000 mt valued at $332 million.

Study Finds Essential Oils Help with Livestock Digestion

Kansas State University researchers have found that essential oils can play a role in livestock health.

Essential oils are removed from plants and distilled into concentrated forms that distributors say support immunity and other functions of the body.

In a study, professors Evan Titgemeyer and T.G. Nagaraja found that limonene, which is in lemon oil, and thymol, which is in thyme oil, help combat a harmful bacterium in cattle stomachs. The bacterium, Fusobacterium necrophorum, makes dietary protein less available to the animal.

The results have been published in the Journal of Dairy Science and the Journal of Animal Science.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued guidance to minimize the use of some antibiotics in livestock. The FDA's guidance aims to avoid exposing people's food to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to Nagaraja, a university distinguished professor of microbiology in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

As the researchers started studying alternative treatments to antibiotic use, one of their team members, Eman Elkaweel, who was then a graduate student in animal science, suggested a substance that was new to the professors.

"She wanted to test some products that might have the potential to be used in her home country of Egypt, so we contacted a company that sold products containing essential oil components," said Titgemeyer, who is a professor and graduate program director in the animal sciences and industry department in the College of Agriculture.

With funding from DSM Nutritional Products Inc., which supplies nutritional solutions for animal health, Nagaraja and Titgemeyer tested five essential oil components: eugenol, guaiacol, limonene, thymol and vanillin. They wanted to determine the compounds' ability to inhibit growth of Fusobacterium necrophorum. Limonene and thymol performed best. Follow-up testing between the two showed that limonene was slightly more effective than thymol and nearly as effective as tylosin, a commonly used antibiotic and feed additive used to hinder bacterial growth and the incidence of liver abscesses in cattle.

"While livestock producers often turn to antibiotics, our study shows that some essential oils also can inhibit microbial growth," Titgemeyer said. "Certain essential oil compounds can target specific bacterial populations and optimize animal health."

Tax Reform Crucial for America’s Farmers, Ranchers

Congressional leaders and administration officials have released a statement on tax reform that addresses many issues of importance to America’s farm and ranch families. The following statement about that action may be attributed to Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation:

“America’s farmers and ranchers are encouraged to see that key congressional leaders and the administration understand how important tax reform is to all Americans. Fixing our tax system now is crucial to creating economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers and other family-owned businesses. This is especially important as farmers continue to face down tough economic challenges.

“This move sets the stage for Congress to put tax reform on its agenda. Not only will reform strengthen our economy, but by addressing key issues like overall tax rates, capital gains taxes and enhanced expensing, it will be good for farms and other businesses.

“Our farmers and ranchers face numerous challenges and it is important to recognize this creates special circumstances in regard to taxes. We look forward to working with Congress to move tax reform forward and do it in a way that benefits farm and ranch families and all Americans.”

Share Your Conservation Story and You Could Be a Winner

Share the story of how conservation is part of your farm operation, and you could be the next winner of a Conservation Legacy Award. This awards program showcases farm management practices of U.S. soybean producers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable.

All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to enter to win a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management and sustainability. Three regional winners and one national winner are selected.
Award Winners Receive:
• An expense paid trip for two to Commodity Classic, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif.
• Recognition at the ASA Awards Banquet at Commodity Classic.
• A feature on your farm and conservation practices in Corn & Soybean Digest and a special online video.
• Potential opportunity to join other farmer-leaders on a trip to visit international customers of U.S. soybeans.

The Conservation Legacy Awards are sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF, Corn & Soybean Digest, Monsanto, the United Soybean Board/soybean checkoff and Valent U.S.A.

More information on past winners of the award and how to submit your application is available here.... applications must be submitted by Sept. 8, 2017.

Thursday July 27 Ag News


The 19th annual soybean management field days, scheduled for Aug. 8-11, will focus on staying competitive in a global marketplace, increasing profits and meeting the world's growing food and energy needs starting in Nebraska. The field days will offer producers research-based information to improve their soybean profitability.

The field days are sponsored by the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff in partnership with Nebraska Extension and are funded through soybean checkoff dollars. The efforts of the checkoff are directed by the United Soybean Board.

The event consists of four stops across the state, each with replicated research, demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions. Producers can obtain ideas and insight about the challenges they face in producing a quality crop at a profitable price in today's global economy.

Presenters include specialists and educators from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and industry consultants. Topics include early season crop stress effects on production, insects and seedling diseases; maturity group and traits, cover crops and weed management; spraying new herbicide formulations in soybeans; marketing and policy outlook; and impact of tillage on seeding rates, evapotranspiration and soil factors affecting yield.

Agronomists and plant disease and insect specialists will be available to address production-related questions. Participants can bring unknown crop problems for identification.

The field days begin with 9 a.m. registration and conclude at 2:30 p.m. Free registration is available the day of the event. Dates and locations are:
> Aug. 8, West Central Research and Extension Center, 402 W. State Farm Road, North Platte
> Aug. 9, Tad Melia Farm near Ord
> Aug. 10, Jim Gerdes Farm near Auburn
> Aug. 11, Tim Gregerson Farm near Tekamah

For more information on the field days and driving directions to the sites, visit or contact the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff at 800-852-BEAN or Nebraska Extension at 1-800-529-8030.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               It’s almost August and fall is just around the corner.  Could you use some extra pasture or hay in late September and October?  Oats might be your answer.

               Oats may be one of our most under-used fall forages.  That's right.  Plain old dull oats.  It grows fast, thrives under cool fall conditions, has good feed value, and can produce over 2 tons of hay or pasture yet this year.  Plus, it dies out over winter, so it protects soil without causing planting problems next spring.

               To plant oats, drill about 3 bushels of oats per acre in early August for maximum yield potential.  A fully prepared seedbed usually is best, but you can plant oats directly into wheat stubble or other crop residues if weeds are killed ahead of planting.  Even flying oats onto corn or bean fields severely damaged by weather or to be chopped early for silage can work, although rye tends to work better for flying on seed.  Avoid fields with herbicide carryover, and topdress 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre unless the previous crop was heavily fertilized.

               With good moisture, oats will be ready to graze about 6 to 8 weeks after emergence.   Calves and yearlings can gain over two pounds per day.  But be careful to avoid grass tetany on lush oat pasture; ask your veterinarian if you should supplement with magnesium.  Also, don't suddenly turn livestock out on oat pasture if they have been grazing short or dry pastures.  Sudden respiratory problems can occur.

               For hay, cut oats soon after plants begin to dry out following a killing freeze, or cut earlier if plants reach a desirable growth stage.  Oats can accumulate nitrates, so test hay before feeding.

               If you have good soil moisture, give fall oats a try.  Some of your best forage growth may still be ahead of you.

New additive makes biodiesel the cleanest liquid fuel in the U.S.

The California Air Resource Board announced July 20, 2017 that they have certified a biodiesel additive that will make B20 blends in California the cleanest proven and tested diesel fuel with the lowest emissions profile available anywhere in the U.S.

“Biodiesel has been a key to help California meet its intense carbon reduction goals. With this announcement, America’s Advanced Biofuel will continue to deliver a cleaner burning, American made alternative under the state’s low carbon fuel standard,” said Donnell Rehagen, National Biodiesel Board CEO. “This success wouldn’t have been possible without the strategic funding partnership of the Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB).”

The additive takes already clean-burning biodiesel and ensures it reduces every measurable regulated emission, including NOx (nitrogen oxides), when blended with California’s unique diesel formulation called CARB diesel. NBB led the initial research and development into the additive with funding support from NSB to maintain biodiesel’s competitive advantage under the state’s low carbon fuel standard.

NSB and NBB board member Greg Anderson of Newman Grove says the approval of the additive opens the door to new opportunities and demonstrates the value of NSB’s investment in biodiesel research.

“American biodiesel production adds demand for soybean oil that brings significant value to our industry,” said Anderson. “Maintaining biodiesel’s role as a clean-fueling option in the largest diesel market in the country is significant to ensuring future growth.”

The ability to grow biodiesel volumes in California doesn’t just benefit residents of the state or biodiesel producers, it also benefits soybean farmers in the Midwest.

“More demand for biodiesel, regardless of where the fuel is used, means added value to soybean farmers across the country,” said NSB Chairman Tony Johanson. “Biodiesel demand adds 11 cents per pound to soybean oil value, which results in an increased value of 63 cents per bushel for soybeans. As an organization dedicated to advancing Nebraska soybean farmers’ interests, supporting biodiesel is a no-brainer.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 32 states, including Nebraska, for its County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS).

“County-level yields have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) included in the 2014 Farm Bill, and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Dean Groskurth, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2016, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to a lack of sufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Groskurth continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Many producers respond by mail or on-line via NASS’s secure reporting website. If not enough responses are received from a county, NASS will begin contacting producers by phone or in person. County-level data for winter wheat and oats will be available Thursday, December 14th.

Webinar Looks at Expectations for Cow-Calf Producers

Have the lows been established for the cattle industry? With the magnitude of the breaks and rallies that we have experienced across the entire cattle industry thus far that question is on everyone’s mind. An upcoming free CattleFax webinar will address that question as well as provide an outlook for the cow-calf and entire beef industry for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

The CattleFax Trends+ Cow-Calf Webinar will be at 5:30 p.m. MT, Aug. 30, 2017. To participate in the webinar and access program details, producers and industry leaders simply need to register online at!/about

One of the most aggressive U.S. beef cowherd expansions in the last four decades has increased beef supplies and caused cow-calf profitability to be reduced back towards long term levels. As profits have narrowed well-informed producers can maintain healthy margins by adjusting production, marketing and risk management plans with increasing supplies in mind.

CattleFax analysts will discuss a variety of topics in the one-hour session, including:
-    Cattle and feedstuff market projections for the next 12 to 18 months
-    Calf market expectations for fall and into 2018.
-    Long-term outlook of cowherd expansion
The Trends+ webinar series informs cattle producers about current market conditions and provides providing decision-friendly advice regarding management decisions. The analysis and strategies shared through the webinar series has reached more than 4,500 producers, and sponsorship from Elanco Animal Health is making the seminar free for all attendees.

Japan’s Frozen Beef Safeguard Triggered in First Quarter of Japanese Fiscal Year

Today the Japanese government released its June import figures for frozen beef. From this data it now is clear that imports during the first quarter (April 1-June 30) of Japan’s fiscal year, from the United States and other countries covered under Japan’s “safeguard” mechanism, were large enough (by a margin of just 113 metric tons) to trigger an increase in the duty charged on imports of frozen beef from these countries. The rate will increase from 38.5 percent to 50.0 percent for the remainder of the current fiscal year (through March 31, 2018).

“USMEF recognizes that the safeguard will not only have negative implications for U.S. beef producers, but will also have a significant impact on the Japanese foodservice industry,” explained U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng. “It will be especially difficult for the gyudon beef bowl restaurants that rely heavily on Choice U.S. short plate as a primary ingredient. This sector endured a tremendous setback when U.S. beef was absent from the Japanese market due to BSE, and was finally enjoying robust growth due to greater availability of U.S. beef and strong consumer demand. USMEF will work with its partners in Japan to mitigate the impact of the safeguard as much as possible. We will also continue to pursue all opportunities to address the safeguard situation by encouraging the U.S. and Japanese governments to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to this issue.”

As agreed to in 1994 in the WTO Uruguay Round, Japan maintains separate quarterly import safeguards on chilled and frozen beef, allowing imports to increase by 17 percent compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The duty increases from 38.5 percent to 50 percent when imports exceed the safeguard volume. Japan’s frozen beef imports in the 2016 Japanese fiscal year were lower than in previous years, thus the growth in imports during this first quarter of the current fiscal year exceeded 17 percent, driven in part by rebuilding of frozen inventories and strong demand for beef in Japan’s foodservice sector. The most recent quarter saw strong growth in imports from all of Japan’s main beef suppliers.

The implications for U.S. beef exports are significant because U.S. frozen beef now faces an even wider tariff disadvantage compared to Australian beef. The duty on U.S. frozen beef imports, effective Aug. 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018, will be 50 percent while the duty on Australian beef will remain at the current rate of 27.2 percent, as established in the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA). The snapback duty of 50 percent will apply to frozen imports from suppliers that do not have an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with Japan, which are mainly the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.

Conditions have changed since the quarterly safeguards were established in 1994, and the growth in Japan’s imports this year has not adversely impacted Japan’s domestic beef producers. Prices for wagyu carcasses and wagyu feeder cattle are down from the record highs of last year, but are otherwise the highest in recent history. Japan has also moved away from the quarterly safeguard mechanism in its recent trade agreements. Through the JAEPA, Japan transitioned from quarterly safeguards to annual safeguards, which are much less likely to be triggered. The snapback duties on Australian beef have also been reduced, minimizing any potential impact on trade. Japan also agreed to similar terms in its economic partnership agreement with Mexico and in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

U.S. Beef Industry Highlights Success of Korea Free Trade Agreement

The CEOs of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the North American Meat Institute, and the U.S. Meat Export Federation today sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer of USTR to highlight the success the U.S. beef industry has experienced with its exports to South Korea since the entry into force of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). The industry letter was prompted by the recent announcement from the Trump Administration that there will be a special session with South Korea to discuss potential changes to the KORUS. The meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., in August.

“Simply put, KORUS created the ideal environment for the U.S. beef industry to thrive in South Korea," the letter said. "We would not support any changes in the terms of the KORUS that would jeopardize either our market share or the significant investment that has been made in rebuilding Korean consumer confidence in the safety, quality, and consistency of U.S. beef.”

Together, the three U.S. beef industry associations represent the entire beef value chain, from ranchers to feedlot operators to meat packers and export trading companies, and they are united in the position that continued access to the South Korean market on the terms that were negotiated in the KORUS is essential to the future health of the U.S. beef industry.

The letter states that “Under KORUS, the U.S. beef industry has seen an 82 percent increase in annual sales to South Korea, from $582 million in 2012 to $1.06 billion in 2016, making South Korea the second largest export market for U.S. beef. Many cuts like short ribs and chuck rolls receive a significant premium in South Korea over prices in the U.S. market. KORUS established strong science-based trade measures and a schedule for the elimination of South Korea’s 40 percent tariff on U.S. beef—terms that have allowed the U.S. beef industry to be very competitive in South Korea.”

The letter further states that “implementing KORUS before the Australians implemented their free trade agreement with South Korea has given U.S. beef a significant tariff rate advantage in South Korea, and the United States is now the leading source of beef imports in South Korea.”

The U.S. beef industry is a vitally important part of the U.S. agricultural economy and one of the largest employers in rural communities across the United States. Exports are a critical component of the continued profitability of the U.S. beef industry and make a significant contribution to the positive balance of trade that the United States enjoys in food and agricultural products. Last year, we sold $6.3 billion of U.S. beef to foreign consumers, with exports to South Korea, accounting for 17 percent of the total.

Corn Farmers Call for Faster Access to New Technology

Farmers attending last week’s National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Congress called for faster access to new biotechnology-enhanced crop traits.  The move reflects growing frustration among NCGA members over excessive regulatory delays in the international marketplace.

“Farmers recognize that a strong, science-based, regulatory system is essential to reassure consumers about the safety and quality of our crops,” said Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Stratford, Texas and NCGA president.  “At the same time, when it takes four to six years, or more, to secure regulatory approvals in certain markets, it is clear that a country’s regulatory system is broken.”

The NCGA’s new policy supports the commercialization of new biotechnology-enhanced corn traits that: a) have been approved by the U.S. and Japan; and b) have faced delays of more than 30 months from any government with a non-functioning regulatory system.  By comparison, there are biotechnology traits that have been awaiting regulatory approval in certain markets for the past 48 to 72 months.

“Biotechnology has been an important tool for farmers who are working to fight weeds and insects, maintain productivity, and reduce our use of natural resources,” said Don Duvall, a farmer from Carmi, Illinois and chairman of the NCGA’s Freedom to Operate Action Team.  “The farmers on our team proposed this policy as a first step toward addressing what we see as a pending crisis in how new innovations come to market.  We will continue working with the Trump Administration, Congress and our partners in the supply chain, to identify and promote solutions that can ensure faster access to these important new tools while also mitigating disruptions to trade.”

The new policy relies upon World Trade Organization standards that define a functioning regulatory market as a science-based system that is free of political influence.  The policy was adopted by NCGA’s Corn Congress, a 127-member delegate body that represents 49 affiliated state corn organizations from 28 states.

 NPPC Backs EPA Request To Delay Emissions Reporting Requirements For Farms

On a day when the process for withdrawing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule formally was initiated, the National Pork Producers Council filed a brief in support of EPA’s recent motion to delay a federal court order requiring farms to begin onerous and unnecessary air emissions reporting.

An April 11 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an EPA exemption for farms from reporting emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA mainly is used to clean hazardous waste sites but has a federal reporting component, while EPCRA requires entities to report on the storage, use and release of hazardous substances to state and local governments, including first responders. The agency limited EPCRA reporting of emissions to large, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), requiring them to make one-time reports.

In exempting agriculture from the reporting requirements, EPA reasoned that emissions from farms might exceed thresholds that would trigger responses under CERCLA, but responses would be “unnecessary, impractical and unlikely.” (Agitating a manure pit, for example, could result in the release of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide in amounts that exceed reportable levels, but the gases would dissipate quickly, so no response would be warranted.)

EPA asked the Court of Appeals to delay enforcement of emissions reporting until Jan. 17, 2018, on the grounds that the approximately 63,000 farms affected need time to estimate their emissions and to explore additional “regulatory and administrative approaches to address these reporting obligations.”

In its supporting brief, NPPC argued that enforcing the reporting requirements on farms before EPA can provide them with guidance “will trigger confusion among farmers and agencies without benefiting the public.”

Public Comment Period Opens for WOTUS Rule Withdraw

The Trump administration today formally initiated the process to repeal the WOTUS rule, proposing a regulation rescinding the rule and opening the regulation to public comment. The WOTUS rule, which went into effect in 2015 but was put on hold by a federal court, broadened the EPA’s regulatory authority over waterways to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.

Comments supporting the repeal can be filed at or by following this link:

WOTUS Argument Date Announced

The Supreme Court announced October 11 as the date to hear arguments on where the “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) case will take place.  Farm groups, manufacturers, along with many states and environmental groups believe that district courts should handle the matter, but the federal government believes the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, who ruled they should hear the case, is the proper court level. This kicks off a 30-day comment period on withdrawing the Obama-era “waters of the U.S” rule. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are publishing a proposal that would kill the existing WOTUS rule and reinstate the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act the way it existed before 2015. The administration announced its plan June 27, but the formal release of the proposal was held up by a formatting problem with the Federal Register.

Conaway, Peterson Announce Farm Bill Listening Session in Illinois

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) announced a committee listening session, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders. Upon announcement the chairman and ranking member made the following remarks:

“As our committee travels across the country gathering input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders, the Farm Progress Show – in the center of the country – seems like the natural next stop. U.S. production agriculture is widespread and diverse, so we need to hear from a broad cross-section of producers to craft a farm bill that represents all commodities and stakeholders. I’m looking forward to a productive conversation in Illinois and encourage area stakeholders to attend and share their ideas for improvements to our next farm bill,” said Chairman Conaway.

“The committee’s listening sessions allow us to build on the input we’ve already received in Washington by hearing firsthand accounts of how farm bill programs are, or maybe aren’t, working across the countryside. Bringing the committee to Decatur will give area stakeholders an opportunity to weigh in on what they would like to see in the next farm bill,” said Ranking Member Peterson.

Listening Session Schedule:
Aug. 30, 2017, Decatur, Ill.
Farm Progress Show
Beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Further details related to the listening session will be forthcoming.

NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation Host a Wheat Summit

Today, the National Association of Wheat Growers, in conjunction with the National Wheat Foundation, held a Wheat Summit to address and collaborate on the challenges and opportunities facing the wheat industry. The Summit was attended by more than 20 industry professionals from across the wheat value chain.

NWF Executive Director Chandler Goule made the following statement:

“Wheat growers across the country have experienced a multitude of challenges the past couple of years, with record low commodity prices coupled with weather and disease problems affecting the crop. These hurdles are not only exclusive to wheat growers, but can impact every entity in the value chain.

“The National Wheat Foundation and the National Association of Wheat Growers brought these groups together to strengthen the relationships within the industry and improve collaboration on common issues. These wheat industry sectors are interconnected and facilitating open communication will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire chain.”

While the wheat value chain encompasses multiple companies, organizations, and third parties, the Summit hosted representatives from American Bakers Association, American Seed Trade Association, Ardent Mills, Bayer, Bimbo Bakeries, BNSF Railway, Cargill, CropLife America, Food Marketing Institute, General Mills,  Grain Food Foundation, Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Wheat Improvement Committee, North American Millers Association, SNAC International, Syngenta, U.S. Wheat Associates, Wheat Foods Council, and Wheat Quality Council.

IGC Cuts 2017-18 Grain Production Forecast on Dry Weather

The International Grains Council cut its forecast for global total grains production by 11 million tons month-on-month to 2,038 million tons -- a drop of 4% from the previous season's record -- due to dry weather across North America, Australia, and the European Union, the body said Thursday.

The IGC inched its monthly output forecast for 2016-17 up to 2,126 million tons in July, from its estimate of 2,124 million tons given at the end of May. This represents a 5.7% year-on-year increase.

The grains body's change to its 2017-18 estimate came after a forecast of 2,049 million tons last month. The new forecast means that global grain output is expected to fall 86 million tons, or 4.1% year-on-year in 2017-18.

Of the 11 million ton reduction in forecast production for 2017-18, the IGC says wheat and maize account for 3 million tons and 5 million tons of that decrease, respectively.

The IGC downgraded its corn production forecast to 1,020 million tons from 1,025 million tons and its soybean forecast to 345 million tons from 348 million tons. The body forecast wheat production at 732 million tons from 735 million tons.

Aside from dry July weather and its impact on wheat, the IGC blamed a pullback in yields as likely to hurt soybeans as being behind its cut.

The council said the downward revision for 2017/18 comes after adverse weather conditions in the northern hemisphere over recent weeks.

The IGC's slight increase of its 2016-17 figure comes mostly from an increase in its forecast for corn production in Argentina and Brazil and a marginal increase in soybean production in the same countries.

Wheat was last 0.84% higher at $4.82 a bushel, corn was last 0.58% up at $3.88 a bushel, soybeans were last 0.50% up at $10.05 a bushel.

Syngenta Reports Lower Quarterly Earnings

Syngenta underlined the difficulties facing agrichemicals groups in South American market as it unveiled a 4.2% drop in quarterly sales, in its first results statement since being bought by ChemChina.

Swiss-based Syngenta, which was bought by ChemChina last month for $43bn, revealed sales of $3.21bn for the April-to-June period, down from $3.35bn a year before, accelerating the pace of deterioration from the 0.9% seen in the previous quarter.

According to, the group noted "cold weather and low disease pressure" which curtailed sales in its European, African and Middle Eastern division, although it added that "the impact of these conditions on crop protection volumes was partially offset by the successful launches of Solatenol," a fungicide, in Europe.

In Asia, sales dropped 5.2% to $455m, undermined by "dry conditions in Australia", where spreading drought is raising concerns of a sub-20m-tonne wheat crop, besides by a chance of sales taxes in India which is seen as incentivising a switch in trade to the current quarter.

However, the steepest drop in sales was in Latin America, where sales for the April-to-June quarter, at $482m, slumped by 25% year on year, undermined by a drop in farmer spending on agrichemicals, in the face of weaker crop prices, which has caught out peers too.

The comments come less than a month after rival Bayer warned of a E300m-400m earnings hit from measures to curtail its own agrichemical stocks in Brazil, warning of an "unexpectedly high channel inventory level of crop protection products".

The shake-up is seeing Bayer, for instance, renegotiate a contract with crop enhancement group Plant Impact over supplies of a spray aimed at boosting soybean yields.

Inocucor Announces Plans to Open U.S. Headquarters and Production Facility in Denver

Inocucor Corporation, a developer and producer of powerful biological crop inputs for agriculture, announced it will open its 30,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters and commercialization office at 7304 South Joliet Street in Centennial, Colo.

Inocucor uses a patented fermentation process to combine multi-strains of bacteria and yeasts into powerful soil and plant optimizers that are safe for people and the environment. These products naturally improve crop yields, shorten growing periods and create healthier, more resilient soils for farmers and greenhouse growers.

Concurrent with the Denver headquarters and production facility opening this fall, Inocucor will be doubling its existing 10,000-square-foot lab and offices in Montreal. The Montreal facility will become its Technical Center of Excellence for technology innovation, new-product development, fermentation process development and pilot production. This entity will continue to be called Inocucor Technologies Inc. and will remain its Canadian headquarters.

Inocucor currently employs approximately 30 people in Montreal and the U.S. The company plans to add another 50 high-level scientific and managerial staff in both in its Montreal and Denver operations over the next 18 months.

The company's move to Denver is supported by a performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit of $1,322,918 approved by Colorado's Economic Development Commission.

"Inocucor is a leader in the emerging sector of specialty ag biologicals," said Inocucor's President and CEO Donald R. Marvin, a Denver resident. "We are one of a handful of companies that have successfully commercialized microbial crop inputs based on a microbial consortia technology that improve the plant microbiome, which translates into healthier soils and improved water quality. The result for the grower is improved crop yields and reduced need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers."

Marvin said Inocucor will grow organically with its patented proprietary microbial consortia technology while also pursuing strategic acquisitions and product development partnerships in North America, Latin America and Western Europe.

Inocucor's flagship product, Garden Solution®, soon to be rebranded in the U.S. as Synergro™, is a live-cell formulation for high-value produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli. Synergro Free™ is a cell-free bio-fertilizer additive to existing plant nutrients for commodity row crops, such as soybean, corn and wheat. Inocucor’s new-product development pipeline includes bio-control formulations that combat economically devastating diseases in crops such as strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes.

In the U.S., Garden Solution (Synergro) is OMRI Listed® nationally and OIM-registered in California for organic production. It is registered for use in 22 U.S. states. Synergro Free is registered in 17 U.S. states. Both products are among the first microbial products of their kind to be registered in Canada. Synergro is also a Pro-Cert Approved Input for use in organic growing in Canada.

Inocucor recently completed the $38.8 million CAD ($29 million USD) first close of its Series B financing round, with lead investor TPG Alternative and Renewable Technologies (San Francisco) and participation from Cycle Capital Management (Quebec), Desjardins Innovatech (Quebec) and Closed Loop Capital (U.S.).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday July 26 Ag News


Nebraska crop producers are joining others across the country in facing potential issues related to dicamba, a herbicide for broadleaf weed control.

While the product has been available for a number of years, this was the first year that dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean and new dicamba-based formulations were made commercially available in Nebraska.

An estimated 500,000 acres of dicamba-tolerant soybean were planted this year across the state, but growers are concerned about broadleaf crops sensitive to the herbicide.

Amit Jhala, Nebraska Extension weed management specialist, has been responding to those concerns.

"Several dicamba-sensitive crops are planted in Nebraska, so it's important for producers to be familiar with dicamba injury symptoms," Jhala said. "Some of the soybean fields I have visited this season have had symptoms similar to those caused by dicamba, from one end to the other, suggesting off-target movement through volatility."

Symptoms include leaf tip wrinkling and cupping of young leaves with low doses of contamination and puckering and leaf elongation with higher doses.

Non-dicamba-tolerant soybean, grape, tomato, watermelon, pumpkin and several minor vegetable crops are all dicamba sensitive. Issues arise when there is off-target movement of the herbicide through physical drift, volatility, temperature inversion or tank contamination.

Producers in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and Mississippi also have reported significant potential dicamba damage.

"Once dicamba injury symptoms are identified, the first thing the grower should do is scout the field to get a sense of the damage," Jhala said. "It's also important at that time to start communication with your neighbors and pesticide applicators."

Local extension offices can serve as timely resources during the process, Jhala said. Extension educators are in constant communication with producers, so they will have a sense of how widespread the issue may be.

Growers who wish to file a complaint should contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

For updates on dicamba contamination, as well as Nebraska Extension information on crop production and pest management, visit


The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) has experienced an increase in herbicide misuse complaints alleging crop damage due to herbicide products containing dicamba.  NDA’s pesticide and fertilizer program staff are actively investigating these complaints for noncompliance with state and federal laws, but cautions producers that these investigations will not characterize crop damage; acres involved or estimated dollar losses.

During NDA applicator training sessions, NDA strongly encourages all users of herbicides and pesticides, to be attentive to label requirements when selecting and applying products, to be aware of vegetation on surrounding properties, and to be vigilant of weather conditions.  Meticulous cleaning of tanks, hoses and nozzles used for applications is necessary to prevent chemical carryover to the next application.  Caution is especially important as farmers have more and varied choices in genetics and crop protection pairings. This has increased the incidence of crops with differing chemical tolerance being planted side by side.

NDA supports the development of new technologies in the agricultural industry, and stands ready to assist the agricultural community as it determines how to implement the new technologies to be more efficient and sustainable in producing the food supply for a growing world.

NDA does not plan to limit use of dicamba in Nebraska at this time, and will work with state and federal stakeholders, industry leaders and farmers to seek appropriate action to take in the future.  

For more information about the NDA pesticide program please visit:  

Nebraska Soybean Board to Hold 2017 Soybean Management Field Days

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is hosting its annual Soybean Management Field Days Aug. 8–11. The Field Days are taking place in four different locations throughout Nebraska: North Platte, Ord, Auburn and Tekamah, respectively. NSB is partnering with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) Extension to provide growers with research-based guidance on growing better soybeans and operating their farms. At each location farmers can choose from several one-hour presentations available from 9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Admission is free and includes a complimentary lunch.

One key theme for this year’s Field Days is pest management, including insects and weeds. Test plots at each site are devoted to trials of new herbicide formulations aimed at resistant weeds. Another session will focus on the impact of adverse weather around planting time. Additional presentations cover agronomic topics such as soil health and best practices for planting. Growers will also get tips on marketing to get the best return on their crop.

NSB Executive Director Victor Bohuslavsky says topics are chosen based on surveys of soybean growers to ensure that Field Days are relevant to farmers.

“The big picture of this whole event is to get research results back to the producers that is unbiased. This is research done by the University of Nebraska and funded by the soybean checkoff,” said Bohuslavsky. “We want that information in the hands of farmers to provide value to their operations.”

Registration for the events begins at 9 a.m. each day. CCA credits are available for participants.

For more information on presentation topics and directions to each location, visit, or call 1-800-852-BEAN (2326).

Robots Bring the Future to Nebraska

They aren't science fiction or philosophizing droids, but Nebraska just might have some of the hottest robots going. Two dairy farms in the state - Demerath Farms in Plainview and Brett Beavers' farm in Carleton - now employ robots to feed, milk and care for their cows!

Robotic dairy operations give farmers more control over their schedules and more time to do the things they simply couldn't get to before - cleaning stalls more often, for example - and it eases shortage of skilled labor in the industry.

"Procedures with the robot are the same procedures that happen with a traditional dairy operation, except it's a robot doing it all - cleaning the cow, attaching the cups on the udder, feeding, monitoring cow health, and more," said Rod Johnson, director of the Nebraska State Dairy Association and senior industry-relations manager for Midwest Dairy Association.

"And when it comes to milking, the farmer gets a lot of additional information than a traditional milking provides: The robots are testing the milk, the temperatures, weighing the cow and feeding them. And the feed robot is called Juno," Johnson added. "It pushes the feed up to the cow and makes sure the cows can reach it at all times. It really ups the information and technology on the farms where it's in use."

It's sort of like a Fitbit for dairy cows.

Kim Clark, dairy educator with Nebraska Extension, said the robots really step up the game for farmers. "Milking is a 365-day-a-year, 24 hours a day, seven-days-a-week job, so there's really no break for the dairy farmer," Clark said. "One of the biggest reasons for having these robots is time, so the farmer can devote more time to caring for his animals and their overall health. But it's also been difficult to get labor on the farms - labor that knows how to milk the cows or has any animal experience and background."

Brett Beavers, who started his 240-cow robotic dairy near Carleton, thanks to a tour of robotic dairies that AFAN took him on, says the robots have allowed him the flexibility to engage more with his family.

"On all the farms I've toured, everyone said it's life-changing," Beavers said. "You're still going to put in the hours that you do in a traditional setup, but those hours are now flexible. So now I can help coach my kids' T-ball team, because we can work around our family's schedules.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               When pastures are short and low quality during summer, what can you graze to maintain animal performance?  Maybe alfalfa is your answer.

               Most pastures have difficulty providing abundant, high quality grazing throughout the summer, regardless of whether they are drought stressed or not.  Yearlings and calves can really use better pasture at this time.  Both drought-stunted alfalfa and well-growing alfalfa might fill that role of a better quality temporary pasture.

               But, how do you get started and how do you avoid problems with bloat?  Begin by dividing fields so animals graze no longer than four days at a time on any one area.  Be sure you are able to provide drinking water in each division.  One rule of thumb is that one ton of standing alfalfa hay will provide about 45 cow days of grazing.  If you estimate your alfalfa would yield one ton of hay if you cut it right now, then one acre should feed 45 cows for one day.  If possible, also limit the size of paddocks to 10 acres or less to get more uniform grazing.  After grazing a paddock, plan grazing and haying so at least 35 days of regrowth will occur before harvesting the same area again.

               To reduce bloat risk, begin grazing alfalfa after it begins to bloom.  Short, drought-stunted, yet blooming alfalfa often is pretty safe.  Also, be sure animals are full before first turning onto alfalfa and never let animals get hungry.  In addition, begin grazing mid-afternoon and do not turn them onto fresh alfalfa that is moist with dew, rain, or irrigation.  Yearlings tend to bloat less than cows, but feeding supplements like poloxalene and rumensin can help reduce bloat for all classes of cattle.

               These precautions and management practices can help you use alfalfa for pasture and overcome the late summer pasture slump.

Upper Big Blue NRD Receives Prestigious National Grant

The Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District was one of 19 districts in 14 states awarded a National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) grant to boost technical assistance capacity for urban agriculture conservation projects.  The grant amount is $50,000 and was the only award in the State of Nebraska.

The Upper Big Blue NRD will be using these funds to help underwrite a special project that it is involved with helping the City of York improve its wellfield by planting cover & rotational crops, berry shrubs, a business-sponsored community garden, and a pollinator habitat within the city wellfield acreage.  Called “Project GROW” (Growing Rotational crops On Wellfields), the goals are to improve soil health, erosion control, non-leaching of nitrogen into the water table, and increasing water holding capacity in the soil, all culminating to protect York’s water quality at the wellfield.

According to David Eigenberg, General Manager of the Upper Big Blue NRD, “On behalf of the NRD Board of Directors, we are grateful and enthusiastic about such an opportunity to further the mission of sustaining Nebraska’s natural resources in York and across the District.  This grant provides a national scope of what the NRD and the City of York can accomplish together in partnership.”

NACD established the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants Initiative in 2016 to help conservation districts and their partners provide much needed technical assistance for agricultural conservation in urban areas with limited access to fresh and healthy foods. Since then, NACD has awarded a total of $3 million in grants to 61 conservation districts in 30 states through this initiative.

“Today, 86-percent of Americans live in urban areas, which cover just 28-percent of the nation’s land area. The landscapes our customers own and manage have changed since the Dust Bowl when many of our nation’s 3,000 conservation districts were first established, and so has conservation districts’ approach to serving them,” NACD President Brent Van Dyke said.

“A majority of conservation districts are now involved in some form of urban and community conservation work. As a delivery system, and as a conservation family, we’ve risen to the challenge of providing world-class technical support whenever – and wherever – it is needed,” Van Dyke continued.

The Upper Big Blue will begin preparations to implement “Project GROW” this fall after harvest at the wellfield acreage.

Blue Eye Mold Threatens Stored Grain

Due to a combination of temperature and humidity last fall, producers need to be aware of the high risk of blue eye mold, a fungus that grows on corn kernels.

Blue eye mold appears as a blue line down the middle of a corn kernel, where the germ is located. The fungus invades the kernel and feeds on the high fat oil located in the germ. There is no way to get rid of blue eye mold, but there are ways to control its spread. 

Carbon dioxide monitoring is one way to observe corn conditions in bins. However, blue eye mold does not grow at a fast enough pace to give off a detectable amount of heat.

“Aerating the corn with humid air, like what the state has been experiencing recently, will make the mold grow,” said Charles Hurburgh, grain quality and handling specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “If the dew points get down to the 40s and 50s relative humidity then fans should be run. Additionally, grain that is still cold from the winter should not be warmed.”

Although feed mills and ethanol plants can use the moldier corn, blue eye kernels are graded as damaged. If feeding it to animals, mix with sound corn at a reasonable amount for the species consuming it.

An elevator will purchase blue eye kernels and count them as damaged. Typically, the grading limit on number two yellow corn has a maximum of five percent damaged kernels.

Ethanol plants may buy corn affected by blue eye mold, although they prefer not to as the risk for having a fermentation problem is higher. The fermentation may not be as clean because the mold interferes with the yeast. Fermenters can get stuck, requiring corrective antibiotic use.

“With a two billion bushel surplus for this year, some of this corn is going to last into 2018. Ideally this fall, sell the old corn and replace it with the new in the bins,” said Hurburgh.

For more information about the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, visit

Crop Pest Management is Focus of ISU Field Lab August Programs

Crop diseases, crop pest resistance and management, and Palmer amaranth in conservation plantings are some of the topics that will be covered this August at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone, Iowa. Farmers, agronomists, crop consultants and interested persons will have the opportunity to hear the latest research and management information from ISU Extension and Outreach experts and industry professionals at each of the three programs offered.

“We have some great learning opportunities lined up this August at the Field Lab,” said Warren Pierson, coordinator at the Field Extension Education Laboratory. “Upcoming workshops and clinics will touch on current, critical issues regarding crop pest management, and provide attendees with educational materials and resources, along with hands-on learning.”

Managing Palmer Amaranth in Conservation Plantings, scheduled for Aug. 3, is a new program specifically addressing the issue of Palmer amaranth in conservation seed from other areas of the country.

“The goal of the program is to address concerns and explain the best management strategies for managing Palmer amaranth and give tips for successful conservation plantings,” said Pierson.

The Aug. 16 Crop Disease Clinic will be led by Alison Robertson, associate professor and extension crop plant pathologist, and Daren Mueller, associate professor and extension crop plant pathologist at Iowa State University. They will spend half the day discussing crop disease identification and diagnostics and research updates. The other rest of the day will be a walk-through of corn and soybean plots where Mueller and Robertson will talk about present diseases, scouting methods and treatment options. 

At the SCN and Soybean Aphid Resistance Management Workshop Aug. 17, Greg Tylka, professor and extension nematologist, and Erin Hodgson, associate professor and extension entomologist at Iowa State University, will present on soybean cyst nematode and soybean aphid, two pests that reduce soybean yield and are becoming resistant to commonly used pest management tools. The workshop will include presentations, demonstrations and plot tours, with a focus on resistance, pest biology, management and scouting.

The Field Extension Education Laboratory is located at 1928 240th St., Boone, Iowa. Advance registration is required for each event. See below for the full list of workshops, dates and registration deadline information. For more information on the Field Extension Education Laboratory and its events, visit

August 2017 Events
Aug. 3: Managing Palmer Amaranth in Conservation Plantings; registration deadline midnight, July 31
Aug.16: Crop Disease Clinic; registration deadline midnight, Aug. 9
Aug. 17: SCN and Soybean Aphid Resistance Management Workshop; registration deadline midnight, Aug. 9

For assistance with registration, receipts, cancellation or questions on the status of your registration contact ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429 or

Iowa State University Research Farm Near Lewis to Host Field Day Aug. 17

Iowa State University’s Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm will present a variety of agricultural topics at a field day Aug. 17.

The field day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon, with lunch following. Registration begins at 9 a.m. There is no charge for attending the field day, which is open to the public.

Iowa State assistant professor and cropping systems specialist Mark Licht will begin the program speaking about yield response to delayed corn and soybean planting dates. Tim Youngquist, STRIPS project farmer liaison, will feature the soil, water and wildlife benefits of growing row crops integrated with prairie strips. A high-tech cattle feed bunk that measures individual feed intake will be demonstrated by Garland Dahlke, Iowa State assistant scientist.

The Armstrong Research Farm is located at 53020 Hitchcock Ave. near Lewis, which is 13 miles southwest of Atlantic on Highway 6, one-half mile south on 525th Street and three-quarters of a mile east on Hitchcock Avenue.

EIA: US Ethanol Stocks, Production Down

The Energy Information Administration's weekly supply report released midmorning Wednesday showed steep decreases in U.S. ethanol inventories and plant production while blending demand rose during the third week of July.

The EIA's Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed fuel ethanol stocks tumbled during the week-ended July 21 by 6.0 million barrels (bbl), or 4.7%, to 21.5 million bbl. Supply was 1.1 million bbl, or 5.4%, higher than for the corresponding week a year ago.

Domestic plant production fell 14,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 1.4%, to 1.012 million bpd during the week reviewed, while up 14,000 bpd, or 1.4%, year on year. For the four weeks ended last week, fuel ethanol production averaged 1.015 million bpd, up 11,000 bpd, or 1.1%.

Net refiner and blender inputs, a gauge for ethanol demand, increased 24,000 bpd, or 2.6%, to 945,000 bpd. Blending demand is up 9,000 bpd, or 1.0%, year on year. For the four-week period ended July 21, blending demand was down 2,000 bpd, or 0.2%.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Slip Lower

For the third week in a row, average retail fertilizer prices continued to decrease the third week of July 2017. Once again, all eight of the major fertilizers had lower prices compared to a month earlier.

Only three fertilizers had significant price drops. With the sidedressing season pretty much completed, anhydrous showed a large drop in prices, down 14% compared to last month. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $425 per ton the third week of July 2017.

Also considerably lower were urea, which was 7% lower compared to the previous month, and UAN28, which was 6% less expensive. Urea had an average price of $309/ton and UAN28 $229/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers had lower prices compared to last month, but none of the price drops were significant. DAP had an average price of $435/ton, MAP $464/ton, potash $339/ton, 10-34-0 $425/ton and UAN32 $265/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.26/lb.N, UAN28 $0.41/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Prices of all retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Five of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Both 10-34-0 and anhydrous are now 22% lower from a year ago while both UAN32 and urea are now 13% lower and UAN28 is 12% less expensive. Both DAP and MAP are 6% lower while potash is 5% lower.

NCBA Testifies on Capitol Hill: “Please Do No Harm!”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Kendal Frazier today testified on Capitol Hill in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and warned Congress against using the treaty’s renegotiation to resurrect failed policies like mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL.)

“Quite frankly, it is difficult to improve upon duty-free, unlimited access to Canada and Mexico, and we are pleased to see the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announce its support for continued reciprocal duty-free access,” Frazier told members of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. “Even still, our message remains the same: please do no harm and do not jeopardize our access.”

Frazier pointed out that on average, Canada and Mexico have been two of America’s top five export markets for beef, with approximately $1 billion each in annual sales. While spotlighting the benefits that NAFTA has delivered for cattle and beef producers, Frazier also discussed the ways in which mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling hurt producers when it was tried previously.

“COOL was U.S. law for over six years and failed to deliver on its promises to build consumer confidence and add value for our producers,” Frazier pointed out. “Instead, COOL resulted in a long battle in the World Trade Organization - with the United States facing the promise of more than $1 billion dollars in retaliatory tariffs from Mexico and Canada unless COOL was repealed. Canada and Mexico still have the authority to retaliate against the United States if COOL is brought back into effect – and rest assured they will retaliate against us if necessary.”

“We must learn from the mistakes of the past and not repeat them,” Frazier concluded. “We encourage you to build on the success that current NAFTA provisions have given U.S. beef producers.”

NAWG to House Panel Examining NAFTA: Do No Harm 

Today, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to discuss possible opportunities for agriculture in the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

NAWG President and Sharon Springs, Kansas farmer David Schemm made the following statement:

“NAWG’s number one priority in the NAFTA renegotiation is ‘Do No Harm.’ After viewing the administration’s objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAWG is optimistic. The objectives identify agriculture as an area to maintain and improve market access. This is crucial for wheat growers who have seen significant gains in the Mexican market since NAFTA was implemented.

“NAWG agrees that renegotiation can set the stage for a stronger trade agreement, but as any trade agreement covers many different areas, we must ensure that a meaningful ag piece of the renegotiation process doesn’t get undermined or retaliated against.

“There are several elements of the trade agreement that could be re-examined and modernized. A good place to start is with the updated rules on sanitary and phytosanitary health and safety standards that the three countries already agreed to as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation.

“NAWG will continue to engage with the U.S. government and Congress through the renegotiating process.” The first round of negotiations will begin on August 16, 2017 in Washington, DC., NAWG supports the confirmation of Greggory Doud as the chief agricultural negotiator before the renegotiations begin.

NGFA: STB must reject railroad attempts to reverse protections for rail users

The National Grain and Feed Association urged the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) Regulatory Reform Task Force to reject attempts by monopolistic freight railroads to rescind the few remaining statutory protections afforded to rail users under the Staggers Rail Act.

"The statutory obligation of the Board to foster competition and prevent abuse of market power by what essentially are two duopolistic Class I railroads - two in the West and two in the East - is needed more sorely now than ever before," the NGFA said in both written and oral statements submitted to the STB task force this week. The NGFA made the statements in response to the STB's request for comments in response to President Trump's executive order asking that agencies identify rules and practices that are burdensome, unnecessary or outdated.

The NGFA said it supports several proposals contained in the 90-day status report prepared in May by the STB task force, including those addressing outdated environmental rules; antiquated procedural and filing rules; and regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient or excessively burdensome.

The NGFA also supported the Task Force's decision to review the suggestions of rail shipper stakeholders on the STB's rules governing rate reasonableness, revenue adequacy, reciprocal switching and market dominance. And it asked the task force to recommend that the agency reform its rules regarding ex parte communications to allow increased dialogue and information-exchange between stakeholders and Board members and staff, with proper safeguards for transparency.

The NGFA also urged the STB regulatory reform task force to recommend that the agency take the following actions to protect the limited safeguards that still remain to protect rail users from the exercise of "unfettered market power" by large railroads:
-    Redouble the agency's efforts to revamp its rate-reasonableness rules to create a cost-effective, workable methodology for agricultural shippers to challenge unreasonable freight rail rates.
-    Revise outdated rules governing reciprocal switching, which would give rail users, on a case-by-case basis, the right to access lines of competing carriers in exchange for a reasonable switching charge to access customers and markets that cannot be reached using a single railroad. No shipper has attempted to use the STB's existing flawed rules for nearly 30 years, the NGFA pointed out.
-    Maintain the STB's existing regulations that require Class I railroads to report service performance metrics and to file summaries of agricultural transportation contracts.
-    Review STB rules and policies related to revenue adequacy.

In doing so, the NGFA adamantly opposed recommendations by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and its freight rail clients to misuse the regulatory reform proceeding to pursue their long-sought goal of rescinding or rendering useless each of these protections granted by the Staggers Rail Act and other federal rail laws. "The task force must not allow the AAR or its freight rail members to hijack this important regulatory reform initiative in an overt attempt to secure significant policy changes that are inconsistent with existing law and legislative intent, are the subject of ongoing STB proceedings, or for which they have been unsuccessful in securing through the agency's open and transparent rulemaking process," the NGFA concluded.

ACE encourages ethanol advocates to submit comments on RFS

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) encourages ethanol advocates to utilize its Legislative Action Center to participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s comment period on the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard. Comments must be submitted on or before Aug. 31.

ACE expressed gratitude toward EPA’s proposal to maintain the 15-billion-gallon conventional biofuel blending requirement in its July 5 proposed RVOs, and encourages EPA to utilize the comment period to fine tune the cellulosic and advanced blending targets so further investment can be made in domestic cellulosic and advanced biofuel facilities. It’s important for EPA to hear that they are likely underestimating the volume of cellulosic biofuel which can be produced and used in 2018, particularly from corn kernel fiber technologies. ACE supports making a reasonable increase in cellulosic volumes for 2018.

ACE is also grateful EPA is holding a public hearing on the proposed RVOs, scheduled next Tuesday, Aug. 1 in Washington, D.C. However, given the delay in issuing the proposal, ACE reiterates the importance of EPA Administrator Pruitt moving this process forward in a timely manner to meet the final rule publishing date of Nov. 30.

“We urge the Agency to expedite the process of finalizing strong blending targets to help restore confidence to the rural economy and reassure retailers that it makes sense to offer E15 and flex fuels like E30 and E85 to their customers,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE. “The RFS is meant to drive increasing levels of domestic biofuel production and use. This issue is of paramount importance to America’s farmers—who are reeling from oversupplies and low prices—and the rural communities that depend upon a strong farm economy.”

Growth Energy, RFA, USGC Statement on Delay of Decision to Impose U.S. Ethanol Import Tariff

The Executive Management Committee of CAMEX, Brazil’s Chamber of Foreign Trade, announced Tuesday a 30-day delay of a decision on a pending proposal to impose a 20 percent tariff on U.S. ethanol imports. The proposal would allow 500 million liters annually of U.S. ethanol imports (132.1 million gallons) before triggering the tariff. The following is a joint statement on this action from U.S. Grains Council (USGC) President and CEO Tom Sleight, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor:

“We are encouraged to see Brazil’s postponement on a decision regarding a pending proposal to impose tariffs on U.S. ethanol imports. This decision should not be taken lightly, as imposing tariffs on U.S. ethanol imports will hurt Brazilian consumers by driving up their costs at the pump. Additionally, this action on U.S. ethanol imports will go against Brazil’s own longstanding view that ethanol tariffs are inappropriate and will harm the development of the global ethanol industry. We will continue to work towards educating Brazilian policymakers on how misguided this tariff would be, which would harm consumers by denying them access to the lowest cost, cleanest and highest octane source of fuel in the world. This proposal, if implemented, would have wide-ranging and long-standing impacts on both our industries and the global fuel supply.”

 AGCO to Acquire Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation

AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced today that a definitive agreement has been signed for AGCO to acquire the Precision Planting LLC equipment business.

“Precision Planting is a strong business that plays an essential role in the growth and adoption of innovative precision ag practices that help farmers enhance their productivity,” said Mike Stern, chief executive officer for The Climate Corporation. “As a leading global equipment manufacturer, AGCO is uniquely positioned to enable broader distribution of Precision Planting technology and will continue the development of innovative products that improve the efficiency and productivity for farmers around the world.”

“The acquisition of Precision Planting will solidify AGCO as one of the global leaders in planting technology and strengthen our position as a full line partner for professional farmers across the globe,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldViewTM digital agriculture platform will retain connectivity with Precision Planting’s 20/20 SeedSense monitor.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.