Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday August 31 Ag News

 Central Valley Ag, Farmway officially unite September 1

After a Farmway membership vote of approval of 91% on June 8, Farmway Co-op, Inc. (Farmway) and Central Valley Ag (CVA) officially unite into one cooperative September 1, 2017.

The new Central Valley Ag will consist of 90 locations across Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas with more than 800 employees dedicated to serving its producer-owners. CVA is headquartered in York, Neb. with Carl Dickinson serving as President/CEO. Art Duerksen, Farmway President/CEO, joins the CVA management team as Senior Vice President of Business Development.

“We celebrate a historic milestone as we formally join Central Valley Ag and Farmway into one team embracing the cooperative spirit to deliver value to our members,” said Dickinson. “CVA is investing in the people and places that move agriculture forward. As a result, CVA is wholly invested in the long-term success of this region for our employees and customers.”

Combined, the unified cooperative will have more than $400 million in members’ equity creating a strong balance sheet that improves equity revolvement to legacy producers, while providing services and patronage to today’s producers and viability for the future.

“Joining forces with CVA brings together two world-class cooperatives with rich histories and strong track records to create outstanding opportunities for our member-owners and employees,” said Duerksen. “With a 91% vote of approval from our membership, it shows that our producer-owners recognize greater possibilities and have ensured the long-term success of the cooperative by supporting this unification.”

Central Valley Ag offers a wide range of products, services, information and innovation through its agronomy, energy, feed and grain divisions to meet the needs of agricultural producers across the region.

To learn more, visit


Husker Harvest Days exhibits from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help show farm and ranch families how minor changes can lead to major returns.

"Small Changes, Big Payback: Strengthening Nebraska's Agricultural Economy" is the theme for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources exhibits at the farm show Sept. 12-14 near Grand Island.

"Exhibits will outline a wide range of decision points, strategies and tools for farmers, livestock producers and farm families that can have a direct impact on their economic well-being, many of which are incremental in nature but can have dramatic impacts on their bottom line," said IANR Harlan Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm.

Exhibits inside IANR's trademark Husker Red steel building at Lot 321 on the south side of the exhibit grounds will provide information on:
> Strategies for managing family budgets during challenging economic times;
> The relationship between cost, nutritional value and impact of various feed sources for cow/calf operations;
> Understanding the county-by-county differences in the risk factors that affect crop insurance rates and how they impact profitability and management decisions;
> How farmers can better utilize the Farm Bill safety net;
> Benchmarking the costs of pumping irrigation water to better control input costs and make decisions related to pump efficiency and energy usage;
> Crop production strategies that can have a positive impact on cost per acre and profit margin;
> Using crop budgets to analyze the operating costs for a farm to become a low-cost producer;
> The university's annual survey of agricultural land value and rental rates in Nebraska.

Outdoor exhibits adjacent to the building will feature a variety of demonstrations related to improving irrigation efficiency and reducing irrigation pumping costs. The outdoor area will also feature a free solar-powered cellphone charging station.

Inside the building, IANR faculty and staff will be available to answer questions on a variety of extension and research-related topics, provide copies of NebGuides and direct those needing more information to extension experts in their local area. Showgoers can learn about the latest opportunities for students at the university's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis. Those interested in the Nebraska Leadership Education Action Development program can also visit with a representative.

"We view this event as an excellent opportunity for us to bring the best of IANR and Nebraska Extension and research to Husker Harvest Days, and we take that very seriously," Boehm said. "This year marks Husker Harvest Days' 40th anniversary, and IANR has been a proud part of it since the very first show. We always appreciate the opportunity to visit with stakeholders about what they see as Nebraska's main challenges and opportunities."


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               As you bring in your round bales for winter storage and feeding, store them to minimize weather losses.

               Hay stored outside will be damaged by rain, snow, wind, and ice this fall and winter.  The average round bale loses about one fourth of its original nutrients during storage, but these losses can be reduced to less than 10 percent or so.  Now, I'm sure you are better than average.  Still, let's look at ways to reduce spoilage by storing that extra valuable hay more carefully this year.

               For instance, do you usually line up bales for easy access so the twine sides touch each other?  Or do you stack your bales?  If so, extra spoilage will occur where these bales touch because rain, snow, and ice will gather in spots where bales touch instead of running off.  Round bales butted end-to-end, cigar-like, usually have less spoilage.

               Does snow drift around your bales?  Bales placed in east-west rows often have drifts on the south side.  Hay next to fencelines or trees can get extra snow.  As snow melts it soaks into bales or makes the ground muddy.  Plus, the north side never gets any sun so it's slow to dry.  This year, line your bales up north-and-south for fewer drifts and faster drying as sunlight and prevailing winds hit both sides of the row.

               Most important is the bottom of your bales.  Always put bales on higher, well-drained ground so water drains away from them.  Keep them out of terrace bottoms or other low spots.  If necessary, use crushed rock, railroad ties, or even pallets to elevate bales to  keep the bottoms dry.  This also will reduce problems getting to your hay or getting it moved due to snow drifts or mud.

               Just a little pre-planning can save lots of hay and frustrations.

Seaboard Triumph Foods Sioux City pork processing plant operations to start

Seaboard Triumph Foods (“STF”) will start operation of its new pork processing plant located in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sept. 5. The facility will begin with one shift of commercial operations that will ramp up employment to approximately 1,100 employees once the shift reaches full production. At full one-shift capacity, the facility will process upwards of 10,000 head of market hogs a day.

Focused on high quality, consistent, wholesome pork, the new pork processing facility will use robotics and innovative technologies to produce a full line of fresh pork products for retail, international, food service, and further processing markets to help fill the increasing world-wide demand for pork. Seaboard Foods will market and sell the pork produced by the Sioux City plant under the PrairieFresh® Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms® brands. The plant will also supply Daily’s® Premium Meats with raw materials for its premium pork products, including raw and precooked bacon.

The plant opening marks a milestone for Seaboard Triumph Foods, a joint venture owned equally by Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods, which was formed to construct a new pork processing facility in Sioux City. Seaboard Foods is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seaboard Corporation (NYSE MKT: “SEB”) with a pork processing plant in Guymon, Okla. Triumph Foods is owned exclusively by pork producers with a pork processing plant in St. Joseph, Mo. Seaboard Foods markets and sells pork products produced by both the Guymon and St. Joseph plants under the PrairieFresh® Premium Pork and Seaboard Farms® brands. Together, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods also own Daily’s Premium Meats, which manufactures and distributes premium bacon products throughout the United States and internationally.

Approximately 30 percent of the market hogs at the Sioux City plant will be sourced from regional farmers who align with Seaboard Foods’ and Triumph Foods’ animal care and environmental stewardship practices, and share a common commitment to seeking a better way to produce wholesome pork. The remaining hogs will be supplied by Triumph Foods producer-owners and Seaboard Foods’ farms.

Since site work began in late September 2015, numerous local and regional contractors partnered with STF and its project design and construction management firm, Epstein, to build the modern fresh pork plant focused on food safety and efficiency to meet the growing demands of domestic and international customers. The pro-business environment, local and state leadership, ample regional hog supplies, and shovel ready site made Sioux City the prime location to build this state-of-the-art facility.

Chief Operating Officer Mark Porter stated, “We’ve seen great support from the community and local and state government. With their input and our focus on stewardship, the plant design includes modern odor control technologies, bioenergy solutions, and numerous environmentally friendly features.”

He added, “I couldn’t be more proud of the new plant, our team, and all the local and state partners that have helped bring this project to completion over the past two years. We are excited to begin commercial operations and supply the most sought after pork products to our diverse global consumers.”

Dairy Producers Can Enroll for 2018 Coverage

Secretary allows producers to opt out

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced that starting Sept. 1, 2017, dairy producers can enroll for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPP-Dairy).   Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.

“Secretary Perdue is using his authority to allow producers to withdraw from the MPP Dairy Program and not pay the annual administrative fee for 2018,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Rob Johansson. “The decision is in response to requests by the dairy industry and a number of MPP-Dairy program participants.”

To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice.  The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive. 

The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the producer.

MPP-Dairy gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Enrollment ends on Dec. 15, 2017, for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through Dec. 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage. Producers have the option of selecting a different coverage level from the previous coverage year during open enrollment.

Dairy operations enrolling in the program must meet conservation compliance provisions and cannot participate in the Livestock Gross Margin Dairy Insurance Program. Producers can mail the appropriate form to the producer’s administrative county FSA office, along with applicable fees, without necessitating a trip to the local FSA office. If electing higher coverage for 2018, dairy producers can either pay the premium in full at the time of enrollment or pay 100 percent of the premium by Sept. 1, 2018. Premium fees may be paid directly to FSA or producers can work with their milk handlers to remit premiums on their behalf.

USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, visit FSA online at or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy. To find a local FSA office in your area, visit

NMPF Statement on USDA Announcement to Allow Farmers to Opt Out of Margin Protection Program

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, NMPF

“The Margin Protection Program (MPP) in its current form has been a disappointment to many dairy farmers, which is why NMPF has been working both with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress to make significant improvements to the program. We had earlier suggested to USDA that, given this level of dissatisfaction, one option would be to allow farmers to opt out of the MPP in the coming calendar year.

“Today’s announcement to allow farmers to opt out of the program in 2018 is a welcome development, in that it acknowledges the widespread dissatisfaction among farmers enrolled in the program. Simply put, the way the program was enacted in the 2014 Farm Bill, it does not meet the needs of America’s dairy farmers today, and declining participation levels amply illustrate farmers’ disenchantment with the MPP. Farmers who choose to opt out of the MPP will then be able to enroll in the Livestock Gross Margin program for 2018.

“Looking ahead, Congress must make more resources available to the MPP, so that the program provides a more effective, affordable safety net – one that provides support when farmers need it. We are currently working with lawmakers to secure program improvements that will restore farmers’ faith in the value of the MPP. We also will continue to work with USDA and Congress to develop additional risk management options for dairy producers.”

EIA:  Ethanol inventory, production lower

Weekly data from the Energy Information Administration this week showed declines for ethanol inventory and plant production. The agency said fuel ethanol stocks again to 21.3 million bbl during the week-ended Aug. 25, although were 400,000 bbl or 1.9% higher on the year.

Plant production fell 10,000 bpd or 1.0% to 1.042 million bpd, while up 19,000 bpd or 1.9% year-on-year.  Still, trade sources said production remains high for this time of year. "[This] marks the highest [four-week] average in 22 weeks," said Geoff Cooper, vice president for research at Renewable Fuel Association.

NCGA Submits Comments to EPA on 2018 Ethanol Volumes

In comments submitted today to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Corn Growers Association asked the Agency to maintain the proposed amount of conventional ethanol blended into the nation’s gas supply for 2018, and to raise the amount of cellulosic, advanced, and total biofuels.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, NCGA President Wesley Spurlock writes, “In the 10 years since Congress expanded the RFS in 2007, corn farmers have responded to the growing market for ethanol, increasing production efficiency to help meet the RFS goal of moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, boosting production of clean, renewable fuels and protecting consumers.”

In its proposed rule for the 2018 standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, EPA proposed an implied volume of 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol in 2018, consistent with the level intended by Congress. This is a change from the previous four years, when EPA proposed conventional ethanol volumes below statute—which negatively impacted investment in the renewable fuels industry. A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the claim from NCGA and other petitioners that EPA erred in how it interpreted and used general waiver authority in setting volumes for 2014-2016.

However, EPA proposed a 73 million gallon reduction in cellulosic fuel volume and a 40 million gallon reduction in total renewable fuel volume for next year, compared with 2017. Spurlock urged EPA to reconsider and raise the volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in 2018. This portion of the proposal takes implementation of the RFS law backward.

“We ask EPA to maintain the proposed conventional fuel requirement in the final rule. We also ask EPA to take a more forward-looking approach with stronger final volumes for cellulosic, advanced and total biofuels in order to draw the continued investment and innovation needed to support the ongoing expansion of cellulosic and advanced fuel production.”

RFA to EPA: Maintain 15 BG Conventional Renewable Fuel RVO, Increase Cellulosic Requirements

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) submitted comments today to EPA on its proposed 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations (RVOs), strongly supporting the 15 billion gallon (BG) requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, but urging the agency to finalize the RVOs that were included in EPA’s first draft of the proposal that was submitted for interagency review in May.

In July, EPA proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 19.24 BG, of which 4.24 BG is advanced biofuel, including 238 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves a 15 BG requirement for conventional renewable fuels.

“RFA is pleased that the EPA maintained the statutory implied volume requirement of 15 billion gallons for conventional renewable fuels in 2018,” wrote RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen in comments to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “In doing so, the agency has sent a positive signal to the marketplace to continue the infrastructure investments necessary to grow the renewable fuel marketplace and expand the availability of gasoline blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol.”

However, RFA is “concerned that EPA’s assessment of ‘reasonably attainable’ renewable fuel levels in 2018 continues to inappropriately rely on demand-side factors, which is clearly barred by the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. We encourage the agency to adopt the intended approach of simply evaluating the physical supply of renewable fuels (and RINs) available to obligated refiners, blenders and importers relative to the statutory volume requirements,” Dinneen noted in comments.

In EPA’s initial May draft that it sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the proposed RVO requirements were 384 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel; 4.38 BG of advanced biofuel; and 19.38 BG of total renewable fuel, higher than what the agency ultimately proposed in July. In comments, RFA urged EPA to finalize the requirements that were initially proposed.

On cellulosic biofuel, RFA urged the agency to use projections that reflect new and emerging technologies. EPA’s proposed approach for assessing available cellulosic biofuel supplies “pessimistically assumes new and emerging cellulosic biofuel facilities and technologies—including cellulosic ethanol from corn kernel fiber—will not produce any material volume in 2018,” wrote Dinneen. “This backward-looking methodology ignores marketplace realities and turns the market-driving purpose of the RFS on its head. EPA should abandon its proposed approach for projecting likely volumes of cellulosic biofuel and return to the methodology used for the 2016 and 2017 RVO rules (and early drafts of the 2018 RVO proposed rule).”

”RFA strongly recommends that EPA finalize the RVO levels that were included in early drafts of the 2018 proposed rule submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget….Restoring the 2018 RVOs to these levels would support Congressional intent by returning the RFS program to a growth trajectory and driving continued investment in the biofuel sector,” Dinneen added in his comments.

ASA Asks EPA to Increase Biodiesel RFS Volumes

In comments submitted to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt today, the American Soybean Association (ASA) urged EPA to increase the volumes for biomass-based diesel to 2.5 billion gallons for 2019, an increase of 400 million gallons over the levels in the EPA proposal, yet still below the amount utilized in the U.S. in 2016.

“Biodiesel has expanded markets for farmers and livestock producers and created new jobs and economic growth, particularly in rural America,” said Ron Moore, ASA President and Illinois soybean farmer.

In addition to expanding markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers, biodiesel provides additional economic, energy security, and environmental benefits.

“The EPA and the Administration are missing an easy opportunity to help the agriculture and rural economy,” Moore added. “Given the many benefits that biodiesel provides, EPA should enthusiastically support higher, but easily achievable, volume targets for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels. An increase of biomass-based diesel volume requirements to 2.5 billion gallons in 2019 and the advanced biofuels volumes to 4.75 billion gallons in 2018 is achievable and warranted. There is idle domestic production capacity and ample, price competitive feedstock available to supply increased domestic biodiesel production.”

In the comments, ASA pointed to the important market that biodiesel provides as an outlet for increasing soybean oil supplies resulting from increased demand for soybean production to meet protein meal demand.

“Biodiesel production creates a value-added market for the co-product soybean oil generated by the growing global demand for protein meal. Without growing markets for the oil, U.S. farmers will not be able to maximize the opportunities being created by protein demand,” Moore said. “Soybean farmers have met the increased demand for protein meal and done so with increasing efficiency and sustainability. Since 1980 U.S. soybean farmers have increased production by 96 percent while using 8 percent less energy; land use per ton of soybean production has decreased by 35 percent; and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 41 percent per ton.”

The U.S. soybean harvest in 2016 was a record 4.3 billion bushels and plantings in 2017 are estimated at a record 89.5 million acres. Modeling indicates that these additional supplies support the increased biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volume levels and feedstock prices would still be less than their five-year average.

NBB: RFS Proposal Runs Counter to Congress's Intent; Volumes Should Be Higher

Today the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) formally called for higher volumes of advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel. Representing more than 150 members and 64,000 jobs, NBB submitted comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal on the advanced biofuel standard for 2018 and the 2019 volume for biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“NBB is extremely concerned with the proposed rule’s unprecedented cut to the advanced biofuel volume and freeze in the biomass-based diesel volume. Both of these proposals run counter to Congress’s objectives to promote the growth of biofuels that provide American jobs, reduce emissions and enhance U.S. energy security. EPA cannot enact its own policy when Congress has spoken, so we look forward to working with the EPA on addressing these concerns,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

Biomass-based diesel has been a great success story of the RFS. Assisted in its development by the market incentive from both the biomass-based diesel volume and advanced biofuel volume, the biomass-based diesel industry has grown to support more than 64,000 jobs throughout its supply chain. The industry also provides benefits to American farmers and livestock producers by creating demand for the surplus oils from commodity crops and reducing the price of soybean meal.

The industry has routinely surpassed the annual biomass-based diesel volumes and currently comprises the vast majority of advanced biofuel production (roughly 93 percent). Unfortunately, EPA’s proposal would halt the progress of the biomass-based diesel industry and thwart Congress’s intent to increase advanced biofuel production. For the first time, the proposed rule lowers the advanced biofuel volume from the previous year and does not increase the biomass-based diesel volume.

“The proposed rule sends a chilling message that EPA is not interested in promoting growth in biofuels in accordance with the RFS, which will discourage any future investment and cause a contraction in the industry. It will result in a blow to our country’s energy security, a loss of jobs and wages of employees concentrated in rural areas, and a reduction in the income that American farmers receive for their crops and livestock products,” NBB writes in its comments.

NBB suggests the proposal’s volumes be changed more in line with Congressional intent. In its comments, NBB calls on EPA to increase the advanced biofuel volume for 2018 to at least 4.75 billion gallons and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 to at least 2.5 billion gallons. Doing so is necessary to effectuate Congress’s intent to “create incentives to increase renewable fuel supplies and overcome constraints in the market” and to respect EPA’s methodology from its own past rules. Raising the advanced biofuel volume to at least 4.75 billion gallons is an increase that could be achieved so easily by the industry that there is no non-arbitrary justification for EPA to set the volumes lower.

An agricultural and biofuels model designed by World Agricultural, Economic, and Environmental Services (WAEES) demonstrates that a 4.75 billion gallon volume could be readily achieved with minimal effects on RIN prices and feedstock prices—the two primary potential impacts EPA has described in its proposed rule.  Anything below an advanced biofuel volume of 4.75 billion gallons would both disregard Congress’s express objective of promoting growth in advanced biofuels and significantly harm those who have relied on EPA’s prior rules that set the advanced biofuel volume based on “reasonably attainable” levels.

As for the biomass-based diesel volume, EPA does not contend that there is any obstacle to biomass-based diesel production greater than 2.1 billion gallons; to the contrary, it concedes that greater production is possible. EPA acknowledges that a volume of 2.5 billion gallons is “reasonably attainable” in its analysis of advanced biofuels. In fact, the achievability of 2.5 billion gallons has already been demonstrated in practice because the industry has already exceeded that volume in 2016. 

And any increase in the biomass-based diesel volume from the proposed rule would have significant and concrete benefits in terms of jobs, agricultural income and energy security. When the benefits that Congress sought can be achieved by the industry, EPA cannot choose to ignore them based on its own policy preferences. 

There has been no reduction in capacity or infrastructure that would indicate the biomass-based diesel industry cannot continue the sustained growth it has already achieved. To the contrary, the biomass-based diesel industry has demonstrated that it can rapidly innovate and grow when the volumes under the RFS provide a sufficient market incentive.

Thus, EPA is not being forced to stop increasing the advanced biofuel volume or biomass-based diesel volume based on new developments suggesting that further increases are not possible. Instead, the agency is choosing to step away from the intent of the RFS based on its own preferences. There is no justification to do so when the biomass-based diesel industry has been consistently meeting annual volumes and furthering Congress’s objectives in the RFS.  

NBB will continue to work with EPA to address these concerns and to raise the volumes in the final rule expected this fall.

Farm Bureau Calls on EPA to Up the Advanced Biofuels Requirement for 2018

The American Farm Bureau Federation is giving the Environmental Protection Agency a thumbs-up for its proposal to keep the 2018 conventional biofuels level at 15 billion gallons, as called for in the Renewable Fuel Standard. At the same time, the organization warned that EPA’s plan to reduce the level of required advanced biofuels in the nation’s fuel supply will undermine the goals set by Congress to create a more robust renewable fuels industry and greater energy independence.                                  

“Renewable fuels have been a tremendous success story for the country and for the rural economy. The Renewable Fuel Standard has reduced our country’s dependence on foreign crude oil, reduced air pollution, increased farm incomes and provided good-paying jobs in rural America,” Dale Moore, AFBF executive director of public policy, noted in comments to the agency.

EPA’s proposal includes an overall 2018 biofuel mandate of 19.24 billion gallons, with 15 billion gallons of that in conventional biofuels, or ethanol, and 4.24 billion gallons in advanced biofuels.

EPA’s intention to reduce the 2018 requirements for advanced renewable fuel to 4.24 billion gallons, down from 4.28 billion gallons this year, not only dampens the prospects for reduced emissions and increased energy security, but also inhibits investment in cleaner, domestic fuels and the infrastructure needed to accommodate higher biofuel blends—all of which are goals of the RFS.

“The RFS was designed to give American consumers more choices at the pump and lower gas prices, and to utilize biofuel as more than just a gasoline additive with octane-boosting value. But EPA’s 2018 proposal fails to send the signal to the industry that greater infrastructure investment is needed and meaningful marketplace changes need to occur,” Moore said.

Farm Bureau is urging EPA to set the advanced biofuel requirements for 2018 at 5.25 billion gallons and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 at 2.75 billion gallons.

EPA intends to finalize the rule by Nov. 30.

NFU to EPA: Stand With Farmers and Consumers on RFS;

For the past decade, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been a boon to American-grown renewable energy development, thereby expanding markets for family farmers, creating jobs in rural communities, shoring up American energy independence, and cleaning up the environment.

So when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues new renewable fuel volume obligations this November, they must continue to build on the success of the RFS, says National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson. In public comments filed to the EPA today, Johnson urged the agency to issue RFS volume obligations that expand markets for higher blends of ethanol and advanced biofuels.

“The RFS has provided tremendous benefits to American family farmers, rural residents, consumers and the environment for the past decade, ” said Johnson. “If the EPA upholds Congress’ intent to institute a market-driving renewable energy policy, the RFS will continue to pave the way for America’s transition to a renewable energy future.”

In his comments, Johnson called on the EPA to improve on their proposed volume obligations from July. While the proposal maintained conventional biofuel levels, it lowered requirements for advanced biofuels.

“President Trump and his administration have assured family farmers and rural residents that this administration plans to support biofuels and uphold the intent of Congress as it relates to the RFS,” noted Johnson. “While we appreciate that EPA’s proposal maintains the implied conventional biofuel RFS volume at 15 billion gallons, the agency continues to consider 'constraints' on ethanol use, when it should continue to support ongoing efforts to increase use of higher ethanol blends in this country.”

“In addition, EPA’s proposal significantly reduces the statutory volume for advanced biofuels and, thereby, the total renewable fuel volume,” Johnson continued. “As such, the overall proposal falls short of preserving the integrity of the RFS – which is to drive the biofuels market and grow the industry.”

“As family farmers navigate a severely depressed farm economy, this is a time the administration should be raising expectations for a policy that drives many economies in rural America. We urge the administration to increase these proposed volumes and reject any calls to further reduce the required volumes,” he concluded.

Saudi Arabia Nearly Doubles U.S. Corn Imports In 2016/2017

Saudi Arabia has nearly doubled purchased of U.S. corn this marketing year due to a combination of favorable government policy shifts, competitive prices and market development work by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

Thus far in 2016/2017 (September-June), Saudi Arabia has purchased 2.07 million metric tons of U.S. corn (81.5 million bushels), up significantly compared to the prior five-year average of 861,000 tons (33.89 million bushels). Saudi Arabia has also ramped up purchases of U.S. ethanol substantially over the last two marketing years, with 2.5 million gallons sold in 2016/2017 plus more than 25,600 tons of U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS), an ethanol co-product.

Changes to local policy have helped spur these shifts. In 2011, the Saudi government added 14 new feed ingredients to the national animal feed subsidy scheme, the major driving force between what types of feed grains, co-products and forages are imported by the Saudi feed, livestock and poultry industries. That new list includes U.S. DDGS and corn gluten feed/meal (CGF), opening the door for increased exports.

A second policy shift in 2016 began the phase out of domestic wheat production, which had been utilized primarily for feed, in order to help conserve Saudi Arabia’s water resources. The policy ends a 30-year program for irrigating domestic wheat production and bodes well for increased U.S. exports of corn and co-products.

This demand potential is huge, but requires extensive market development work. The Saudi dairy industry is one of the most modern in the world and the country’s large poultry industry processes fresh product for domestic use as well as sales to neighboring Gulf countries. While these industries are quick to adopt new technology and ideas, they are still relatively unfamiliar with U.S. co-products. In 2016, Saudi Arabia imported less than 1,000 tons of U.S. CGF and DDGS.

“There is a constant need for market education and customer servicing to address grain quality complaints and the limited knowledge of the U.S. grain marketing and handling system, with key Saudi feed grain importers, end-users and government officials,” said Ramy Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

To accomplish this goal, the Council sponsored a Saudi buyer team to the Council’s biannual Export Exchange in 2016, timed perfectly with the U.S. corn harvest. As a result, the participants reported buying 76,000 tons of corn and DDGS valued at $13 million.

In 2017, the Council continued these efforts with a team in August that brought key feed grain importers and end-users to Illinois, Virginia and and Louisiana to see firsthand U.S. feed grain production as well as meet face-to-face with U.S. suppliers and exporters. The team also learned more about how grain moves through the logistics channels for export markets, quality preservation throughout the supply chain, quality assurance by FGIS, best buying practices and contract specifications.

“Through these activities, the Council is building not just a short-term market, but long-term Saudi confidence in food security through trade,” Taieb said. “We are reassuring this growing market that U.S. corn and corn co-products will be available in abundant quantities at a reasonable price to sustain Saudi meat, milk and egg industries.”

Showcasing Sorghum’s Potential To Feed Catfish In Southeast Asia

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) are on the road to demonstrate the potential of U.S. sorghum to supply Southeast Asia’s most affordable protein source - fish.

The Council recently concluded in-country feeding trials to test the viability of substituting sorghum or corn for cassava, with support from the USCP, for Pangasius, a large catfish species native to Southeast Asia. The trials concluded both grains could replace cassava as a source of starch for feeding Pangasius.

Results showed no difference between the sources of starch on growth performance, fillet color or physical properties of feed pellet quality (density and floatability). Beyond starch, sorghum is also low in tannins and contains higher protein than cassava as well as more amino acids (similar to corn), particularly tryptophan and threonine.

The Council and USCP are showcasing these results during travel August 27 to September 2 to Vietnam and Thailand, including to one of the world’s leading seafood trade shows - VietFish 2017. Every year, nearly 200 local and international exhibitors participate in the show, with approximately 30,000 visitors from Vietnam and around the world attending. The Council and USCP are conducting a series of seminars during the tradeshow as well as distributing the trial results at technical workshops and discussions in subsequent visits in Thailand.

Dairy Management Inc. proudly supports Animal Agriculture Alliance’s College Aggies Online

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition begins September 10, 2017 with Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) as its largest supporter.

“We are thrilled to have DMI return as our largest sponsor for this year’s College Aggies Online program,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO at the Alliance. “DMI brings so much value and excitement to the students participating and we can’t wait to make this year the best yet.”

Collegiate clubs and individuals will compete for more than $16,000 in scholarships and mini prizes while engaging online and in person about food and agriculture. The program presents a unique opportunity for students to network with leaders from a wide variety of companies and organizations representing the animal agriculture community.

In addition to sponsoring, DMI will offer hands-on guidance to students as a mentor throughout the individual competition. Don Schindler, senior vice president of digital innovations at DMI will host a webinar about breaking out of the “ag echo chamber” and how to talk to consumers about agriculture issues, provide feedback on social media posts created by the students and help answer any questions the students may have about effective engagement.

“CAO is one of the best programs out there that helps college students become advocates for agriculture,” said Schindler. “I am proud to be a part of the program on behalf of DMI.”

DMI is not only involved in the individual competition of CAO, but will provide resources and support for the club competition with its “Undeniably Dairy” challenge. For this challenge, clubs will host a booth on their campus and hand out pizza or tacos to fellow students to promote and engage about the nutritional benefits of cheese and dairy while also sharing how dairy gets from the farm to the store. Clubs can also host a booth at an athletic event while handing out chocolate milk for muscle recovery.

DMI has supported CAO for the last three years and is the national checkoff organization promoting dairy farmers and the milk, cheese, yogurt and other foods dairy farmers provide to families.

Collegiate clubs and individuals interested in promoting agriculture and becoming confident communicators are invited to sign up through October 1, 2017 at

CAO would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. 2017 sponsors include: Dairy Management, Inc., the National Pork Industry Foundation, CHS Foundation, Pork Checkoff, Monsanto, Domino’s Pizza Inc., Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Kuhn North America and the Ohio Poultry Association.

Dairy Farmers Launch "Peel Back the Label" Campaign to Expose Deceptive Front-of-Package Food Labeling, Highlight Need for Responsible Food Marketing

As food manufacturers increasingly turn to fear-based food labeling to prop up profits and consumers face more confusion in the grocery aisles, America’s dairy farmers today launched “Peel Back the Label,” a new campaign to highlight this troublesome trend and stress the need for truth and transparency in food marketing.

The campaign comes as almost 70% of consumers say they look to front-of-label claims when making food purchasing decisions, and as food manufacturers increasingly utilize “free from” labels – i.e. ”no high fructose corn syrup” or “GMO free” or “hormone-free”– to play on consumers food safety fears and misconceptions.

Nowhere is this fear-based marketing more rampant than with GMOs. For example:

    Hunt’s adding a “GMO-free” label to its canned tomatoes, even though there is no such thing as a genetically modified tomato currently on the market.

    Florida’s Natural adding a Non-GMO Project certification to its orange juice labels, despite the fact there are no commercially-grown, genetically modified oranges.

     Dannon adding a line of non-GMO yogurt, citing “sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,” but unable to point to any nutritional, environmental, health, or other consumer benefit.

    TruMoo milk acknowledges GMOs are safe on its website, while at the same time launching an advertising campaign for its milk with the tagline, “No GMOs, No Worries.”

    Himalania Rock Pink Salt adding a Non-GMO Project certified label, despite the fact that salt – a mineral – could never be GMO in the first place because it has no genes to modify.

“America’s dairy farmers strongly support open, honest and transparent engagement with consumers. The deceptive labels and fear-based marketing increasingly used by some food manufacturers damages consumer trust and jeopardizes the safe, sustainable farming practices that have enhanced farm productivity over the last 20 years,” said Jim Mulhern, President of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “Consumers have a right to both truth and transparency in food labeling. We launched this campaign to help consumers peel back the label on deceptive food marketing in the name of profits.”

This trend towards deceptive “free from” labels is particularly concerning for the dairy industry. Last year, NMPF and other leading farm organizations publicly raised concerns regarding Dannon’s announcement of its plans to eliminate GMOs from its products – saying the company’s decision was “the exact opposite of the sustainable agriculture that you claim to be seeking.”

Through the Peel Back the Label website, the campaign will give consumers access to the tools they need to separate hype from fact as they work to make informed food decisions for their families. It also will include ways for consumers to tell their own stories about the negative impacts of deceptive labeling, and share information with their social networks.

Concern about deceptive food labeling is widespread, with numerous voices from across the food sector calling out this troublesome marketing tactic. Examples include:

“This trend toward fear-based labeling may help prop up profits for food manufacturers, but it comes at a much greater cost for consumers who are trying to make informed choices for their families. Labels like these make consumers question their understanding of what’s really in their food and how safe it is to eat.” –Kent Messer, The Wilmington News Journal, 6/30/17

“If anything, the scaremongering around GMOs mistreats moms and their families by creating fear and mistrust of the conventional food supply in the absence of any scientific evidence. This can scare mothers on tight budgets to pay money they can’t afford for expensively labeled foods and to avoid fresh produce due to a misplaced fear of pesticides. Praying on a mother’s fears for the safety of her children is the most disingenuous use of marketing that I can imagine. “ –Alison L. Van Eenennaam, BioBeef Blog, 7/7/17

“Unfortunately, food manufacturers are being subjected to great public pressure to go ‘GMO-free,’ with brands like Dannon and Cheerios bowing to the pressure and shifting to sourcing only non-GMO ingredients. If this trend is allowed to continue, the impact on farmers, and in turn the environment, could be monumental. As champions of science continue to make their voices heard, it’s imperative to celebrate and acknowledge the promise of positive change embodied as technology being leveraged in multiple ways. If we allow science its chance at bat, we have a chance to win this.” –Tom Vilsack, The Hill, 4/27/17

“The people who push GMO labels and GMO-free shopping aren’t informing you or protecting you...They use your anxiety to justify GMO labels, and then they use GMO labels to justify your anxiety. Keeping you scared is the key to their political and business strategy.” –William Saletan, Slate, 7/15/15

“What really bothers me as a shopper are the injustices that result from the proliferation of this and other similar anti-GMO marketing...The [Non-GMO Project] seal implies that there are GMO oranges available even though there are no genetically-engineered citrus fruits on the market. Tomatoes, grapes, and sea salt are among several such products that carry the seal even though there are no ‘GMO’ counterparts available.” –Kavin Senapathy, Forbes, 5/31/17

Peel Back the Label is a campaign of America’s dairy farmers and their families. In the United States, 97 percent of dairy farms are family owned, and farmers are committed to producing quality milk for American families, protecting the environment and caring for their animals. Learn more about the campaign at

Wednesday August 30 Ag News

Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               You chopped that silage, packed it into the bunker, bag, or pile and now you finally have some feed for your cows.  But what if it’s poisonous?

               Silage is an important part of the feeding program for many livestock operations.  And it often becomes available when grazing resources often begin to run out, especially if it has been dry.

               Be patient, though.  Don’t be in a hurry to feed it.  It could be poisonous!

               Many times, crops stressed by drought or other factors will contain high levels of nitrates.  Making these crops into silage is one good way to safen these feeds because the fermentation process usually reduces the nitrate content of this feed.

               However, during the first few days of early fermentation the chopped forage begins to heat, converting those nitrates first into nitrites.  And, nitrites are as much as ten times more poisonous to cattle than nitrates.  As the fermentation process continues later on, these nitrites are neutralized and converted into other compounds that make them less toxic.

               So, if you feed your freshly chopped forage before it has completed its full fermentation cycle, you risk giving your cattle highly poisonous forage filled with nitrites.

               Avoid this problem.  First, wait three or four weeks after chopping before feeding fresh silage.  Then, test your silage for nitrates before feeding.  And use the results of the test to feed accordingly.

               Having crops and pastures damaged by dry weather is bad enough.  Don’t make it worse by feeding toxic silage to your cattle.


A new online tool from Nebraska Extension aims to connect farmers and cattle producers to encourage mutually beneficial agreements to use crop residue for grazing. The Crop Residue Exchange tool provides a searchable database of cropland available for grazing.

After creating an account, farmers can list available cropland by drawing their plot on an interactive map and entering information on the type of residue, fencing, water availability and dates available.

"While the primary objective of this exchange is to assist in the development of farmer-cattlemen relationships, we plan to add educational materials and tools that support these relationships in the near future," said Jay Parsons, associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Items in development include a lease agreement template; links to tools and guidelines to help farmers and cattle owners correctly stock crop-residue fields; and information on crop-residue grazing rates.

The Crop Residue Exchange is available at

IANR Media developed the tool with funding from a Nebraska Extension innovation grant.

ICGA's Contribution to Drainage Districts

In the best interests of Iowa’s corn farmers, the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) has consistently and transparently sought to provide funds in the defense of the drainage districts who were sued in the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit. With the lawsuit’s dismissal, ICGA President Kurt Hora says they must keep progressing forward.

To this end, Hora says ICGA has contributed $20,000 to the County Boards of Supervisors in Calhoun, Sac and Buena Vista Counties. He says by settling the remaining financial obligations of the impacted drainage districts, they can focus on the important task of continuing to improve water quality.

Hora says as farmers, they want the safest, best quality water for Iowa. A positive, collaborative approach is key to improving our state’s water quality. ICGA and farmer-members will continue to use cooperation and collaboration in proactively solving our water quality issues.

For more information on ICGA’s water quality efforts, go to

Upturn in Farm Sector Profits Expected in 2017

After 3 consecutive years of decline, farm sector profits are forecast to increase in 2017. According to USDA's Economic Research Service, net cash farm income for 2017 is forecast at $100.4 billion, up $11.2 billion (12.6 percent) from 2016. Net farm income, a broader measure of profits, is forecast at $63.4 billion, up $1.9 billion (3.1 percent) relative to 2016. The stronger forecast growth in net cash income is largely due to an additional $9.7 billion in cash receipts from the sale of crop inventories. The net cash farm income measure counts those sales as part of current-year income while the net farm income measure counted the value of those inventories as part of prior-year income. Despite the forecast upturn in these profit measures relative to 2016, levels would be below all other years since 2010 (net farm income) and since 2011 (net cash farm income).

Cash receipts are forecast to rise $14.1 billion (4.0 percent) in 2017, led by a $13.6-billion (8.4 percent) increase in animal/animal product receipts. Dairy, poultry/egg, and hog receipts are up, reflecting expected increases in both price and quantity sold. Cattle/calf receipts are up, reflecting expected increases in the quantity sold. Overall, cash receipts for crops are forecast to remain mostly unchanged from 2016 as expected increases for some crops are offset by declines in others. Soybean, cotton, and vegetable/melon cash receipts are forecast to rise, while fruit/nut cash receipts are forecast to fall. Direct government payments are forecast to remain at just under $13.0 billion in 2017.

The 2017 forecast for farm business average net cash farm income is up by 5.8 percent, with the largest increases for farms specializing in dairy (up 42 percent), hogs (up 38 percent) and cotton (up 31 percent). The only declines in average net cash income are for farms specializing in specialty crops (down 15 percent) and other livestock (less than 1 percent).

After declining for 2 consecutive years, total production expenses are forecast up $4.6 billion (1.3 percent), led by increases in expenditures on interest, hired labor, and fuels/oil. Partially off-setting these increases are expected drops in feed and fertilizer/lime expenses.

Farm asset values are forecast to increase by 4.0 percent in 2017, and farm debt is forecast to increase by 4.4 percent. Farm sector equity, the net measure of assets and debt, is forecast up by $101.8 billion (3.9 percent) in 2017. The increase in assets reflects a 4.6-percent rise in the value of farm real estate. The rise in farm debt is driven by higher real estate debt (up 7.5 percent).

Median Income of Farm Operator Households Expected To Remain Level in 2017

The total median income of U.S. farm households increased steadily over 2010-14, reaching an estimated $81,637 in 2014. Median household income, which fell 6 percent in 2015, is forecast to remain level at $76,831 in 2017. Median farm income earned by farm households in 2016 is estimated to be negative at -$940 and forecast to dip slightly (to -$1,325) in 2017. In recent years, slightly more than half of farm households have lost money on their farming operations each year. Most of these households earn positive off-farm income—and median off-farm income is forecast to increase 2.3 percent next year, from $66,468 in 2016 to $67,969 in 2017. (Because farm and off-farm income are not distributed identically for every farm, median total income will generally not equal the sum of median off-farm and median farm income.)

2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Finalists Announced

The National Pork Board has announced the four finalists who are vying to be named the 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM. The program honors a U.S. pig farmer each year who excels at raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and is committed to sharing his or her farming story with the American public.

“The four finalists represent the diversity of the pork industry in the United States,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel, a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “They exemplify the best in pig farming and in taking the lead on environmental sustainability, animal welfare and continuous improvement.”

The 2017 finalists are:
    Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska
    Leslie McCuiston – Columbus, Nebraska
    Leon Sheets – Ionia, Iowa
    Maria Mauer – Greensburg, Indiana

The four finalists are meeting today with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will interview each of them.

Through Sept. 8, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced Oct. 3 based on the judges’ scores and the online voting.

About the Finalists

Bill Luckey – Columbus, Nebraska  

Farming and raising pigs has been a family tradition for Bill Luckey, who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Leslie McCuiston – Columbus, Nebraska  

Focusing on people is Leslie McCuiston’s main goal as a senior production manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC. McCuiston believes in equipping employees with the right tools to provide the best animal care every day. She oversees 70 employees who care for over 18,000 sows in central Nebraska.

Leon Sheets – Ionia, Iowa  

Raising pigs has been a life-long passion for Leon Sheets, who started raising pigs with his grandfather when he was a young child. Sheets raises 33,000 pigs on his farm in northeast Iowa, where he focuses on animal care and environmental sustainability. With the help of his employees, son and wife, Sheets also raises corn, soybeans, hay and cover crops.
Maria Mauer – Greensburg, Indiana  

Providing sows with a clean, comfortable environment is step No. 1 for Maria Mauer at Smiley Brothers, Inc., where they market 18,000 pigs a year from the farrow-to-finish farm. Mauer believes in the importance of teaching her six-year-old son life lessons by bringing him to the barn with her to care for the sows.

About the Expert Judging Panel

Members of the five-member panel include Brittni Furrow, Walmart’s senior director of sustainability; Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Dr. J. Scott Vernon, professor, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Cal Poly; and Brad Greenway, the 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year and chairman of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

About the Contest

The National Pork Board created the America’s Pig Farmer of the Year program to recognize the best in pig farming. This honor is awarded annually to a pig farmer who demonstrates and lives by the We Care ethical principles.

Academic Study: Biodiesel Benefits Under-Valued for Years

A new academic paper published in Biotechnology for Biofuels shows biodiesel’s benefits are even better than previous models suggest. Updated modeling from Purdue University suggests the advantage of using biodiesel has been underestimated by 10 percent.

“This latest research verifies biodiesel is an ideal option to support American-made energy and renewable fuels,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board Director of Sustainability. “The more accurate the models become, the more clearly they show biodiesel’s benefits.”

Research has long supported the benefits of biodiesel in reducing wastes, supporting domestic jobs, and reducing harmful emissions. With all these proven advantages, the remaining question has become: How much biodiesel can we make and maintain each of these benefits? For nearly a decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and a handful of scientific institutions have been trying to determine how major biofuel policies might impact land use around the world.

One theory had suggested that policies promoting biofuels will produce economic incentives that encourage farmers to plant more crops.  Since federal policy does not allow biofuels from new cropland to participate in incentive programs, it is assumed that these additional crops add food and livestock feed to global markets.  EPA and CARB have used computer models to predict this additional production in response to the economic signal from biofuels.  If there are carbon emissions associated with creating new farmland, EPA and CARB follow this theory to add those estimated carbon emissions to the lifecycle of biofuels.

This conservative approach ensures no unintended ill-effects from biofuel production, but holding biodiesel accountable for the carbon emissions from putting more food and feed in the world has impacted biodiesel’s carbon score when compared to petroleum fuel.  Without these indirect effects, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 85 percent compared to fossil fuels.  Including predicted indirect emissions estimates has lowered biodiesel’s advantage to just more than 50 percent cleaner than diesel fuel.  That is, according to modeling done by EPA in 2010 and CARB in 2014.   Purdue University’s latest research shows these measures underestimate the carbon benefit of biodiesel by 10 percent.

“Biodiesel is already recognized as the commercial biofuel with the lowest net GHG emissions. The power in these new findings is that science is improving.  The prediction of economic impacts and land use change is becoming more reliable.  More data has been analyzed today than has ever been available in the past.  The data shows that farmers all around the world are becoming more efficient.  We are feeding better food to more people, and we are doing it using less land,” Scott said. “This is great news, because agriculture is our most powerful tool to turn solar energy and carbon dioxide into things like food and biodiesel.  This is a powerful formula, because sunshine is free, and farming turns the liability of excess carbon dioxide into an asset when we use it to support American jobs. Biodiesel is a powerful driver to create jobs and help our environment. As these models look more and more like the real world, biodiesel’s extensive real-world benefits come into focus.”

Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today expressed his strong support for President Trump’s tax reform agenda as a great benefit to the American agriculture community. Perdue issued the following statement:

“Just as he has done with excessive and costly regulations, President Trump has focused on the problem of onerous and burdensome taxes. Most agricultural operations are, in fact, small businesses, and the time and costs associated with merely complying with the tax code are impeding American prosperity. Farming is a complex enterprise, as even the smallest operations know, so the attention and financial resources that are diverted to handling taxes are an extra barrier to success.

“People should be able to keep more of what they have earned through the sweat of their brows, which will also invigorate the entire United States economy. The Death Tax is one section of the code that is particularly offensive to agriculture, as too many family farms have had to be broken up or sold off to pay the tax bill. The president’s tax reform package will be of great benefit to agriculture and help improve rural prosperity.”

UAN Fertilizers Continue Lower

Average retail prices for most fertilizers were lower again the fourth week of August 2017 compared to the previous month, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for seven of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to last month, though only two were down significantly. UAN32 was 7% lower compared to the previous month and had an average price of $248 per ton. UAN28 was also lower, down 6% compared to last month. UAN28 had an average price of $216/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers were just slightly lower in price compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $458/ton, potash $338/ton, urea $304/ton, 10-34-0 $419/ton and anhydrous $417/ton.

One fertilizer was unchanged in price compared to a month ago. DAP had an average price of $434 per ton, the same as the fourth week of July 2017.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.33/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.38/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

All but one retail fertilizer are lower compared to a year earlier. Three of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is now 19% lower from a year ago while 10-34-0 is 17% less expensive and UAN32 is 11% lower. Both urea and UAN28 are 8% less expensive, DAP is 4% lower and MAP is 2%. The one fertilizer higher compared to last year is potash, which is now 2% more expensive.

Reba McEntire Named Farm Bureau Keynote Speaker

Iconic entertainer Reba McEntire will join AFBF President Zippy Duvall during the Closing General Session of the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, for a Q&A keynote touching on her rural roots, family, career and, of course, country music.

Reba is no stranger to agriculture—she grew up in rural Oklahoma on her family’s 8,000-acre ranch. Now, this multimedia mogul and mom is a household name with a successful career that spans across music, television, film, theater and retail.

Registration opens Oct. 2, 2017, so mark your calendars for Music City!

Reba McEntire’s latest album, a two-disc inspirational collection called “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope” (Nash Icon Records / Capitol Christian Music Group), topped both the Billboard Country & Christian/Gospel charts and marked her 13th summit to reaching a No. 1- selling album. Her iconic career has achieved a rare pinnacle with 35 No. 1 singles and over 56 million albums sold worldwide.

 The Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member has won 15 American Music Awards, 14 ACM Awards, nine People’s Choice Awards, seven CMA Awards and two Grammy Awards, in addition to other prestigious accolades for her philanthropic endeavors and leadership.

The Oklahoma native is an acclaimed actress with 11 movie credits and her own six-season television sitcom, “Reba.” In 2001, she received critical acclaim for her Broadway debut starring in Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Elevore™ Herbicide Receives Federal EPA Registration

Innovation to fall and spring burndown programs is now reality with the announcement by Dow AgroSciences that Elevore™ herbicide has received federal registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Elevore Arylex.jpg

When tank-mixed with glyphosate and/or 2,4-D, Elevore can be applied up to 14 days before planting in corn and soybeans for thorough control of high-anxiety weeds, including marestail up to 8 inches tall. Labeled for use prior to planting soybeans, corn and cotton, Elevore is now available for farmers to use in the 2018 spring burndown season.

“Unlike many other burndown herbicides, Elevore elevates a farmer’s program by preventing regrowth of emerged weeds,” says Jon Doran, portfolio marketing leader, Dow AgroSciences. “In field trials conducted by Dow AgroSciences over several years, Elevore provided excellent activity on marestail at various heights, including 8 inch tall marestail.  We have also seen consistent control across a wide range of geographies.”

Powered by Arylex™ active, a new Group 4 growth regulator, field trials show Elevore™ herbicide effectively controls labeled broadleaf weeds, including glyphosate- and ALS-resistant marestail, lambsquarters, cutleaf evening primrose and henbit.

The low use rate of one ounce per acre makes Elevore an excellent fit in reduced- and no-till production systems for burndown applications before planting. Elevore can be applied with a farmer’s current burndown program in spring or fall in various climate conditions, including cooler temperatures.

Matt Stagg, a farmer from Bunkie, Louisiana, is impressed with the weed control he experienced in a 5-acre field trial using Elevore conducted on his farm in 2016.

“We had a range of weeds and various sizes of marestail present in the field trial,” says Stagg. “Adding Elevore to our current protocols definitely gave the other products an edge on knocking it down. I also see incorporating a burndown protocol using Elevore and coming back with a preemerge herbicide application as a strong resistance management program. Every year, preemerge herbicides are becoming more of a need as resistance continues increasing.”

Elevore herbicide contains Arylex active and is a novel class of herbicides that acts through a synthetic auxin mechanism to control broadleaf weeds in burndown. Absorbed mainly through leaves, shoots and roots of plants, Arylex active is translocated through the plant for effective control. Although Arylex active is not considered a new mode of action, it does have unique binding affinity that is different from other auxin herbicides such as 2,4-D.

“Visual signs of control aren’t immediately apparent because Arylex active is absorbed by the plant’s cells where the herbicide binds with specific auxin receptors in the cell’s nucleus,” says Jeff Ellis, Ph.D., field scientist, Dow AgroSciences. “The delayed response is due to the gradual, albeit complete, absorption process. Once absorbed by the plant’s nucleus, Arylex active halts growth and the plant dies, providing complete control.”


CLAAS of America and The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced today at the Farm Progress Show that they are in discussions to implement data connectivity capabilities that will enable farmers to seamlessly flow data from CLAAS machinery into Climate’s industry-leading Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platform using the Climate FieldView™ Drive device.

The Climate Corporation’s FieldView Drive is a device that connects to the CAN diagnostic port of compatible equipment, such as a tractor, sprayer or combine, and wirelessly maps field data into a farmer’s Climate FieldView account. The companies expect that beginning in Fall 2017, the FieldView Drive will be compatible with CLAAS LEXION combines and CLAAS JAGUAR forage harvesters, providing more farmers the ability to experience simple data collection and storage, as well as enhanced field map visualization and harvest data analysis, through one connected digital ag platform.

“We are delighted with the co-development that has been taking place between The Climate Corporation and CLAAS of America in our efforts to enable field data compatibility,” said Brandon Olstad, platform manager for Efficient Agriculture Systems by CLAAS. “We look forward to delivering near real-time, in-cab harvest data to the Climate FieldView platform, where our customers can benefit from all of Climate’s powerful digital tools for optimized decision-making.”

Data is generated from the CLAAS Quantimeter yield and moisture measurement systems, and a simple in-cab plug and play architecture allows for the data flow to take place. In turn, the FieldView Drive will seamlessly transfer field data into a farmer’s Climate FieldView account, where they can easily visualize and analyze their yield data, right in the field.

“Helping farmers get all their data in one place, including the data generated from their farming equipment, is a core focus at Climate,” said Max Dougherty, business development account lead for The Climate Corporation. “We are committed to helping every farmer connect their data, across equipment brands, to the Climate FieldView platform so they can experience deeper field insights. We’re pleased to collaborate with CLAAS of America to help even more farmers gain a better understanding of their fields and enhance their productivity through transformative digital tools.”

In August 2016, The Climate Corporation announced that it would extend the Climate FieldView platform to enable other ag innovators to build upon and complement Climate’s digital tools with additional data layers. Through this collaboration with CLAAS of America, farmers will be able to experience even greater value from one centralized digital ag platform.

In less than two growing seasons, the Climate FieldView platform has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the United States and has continued to expand into new global regions, including expansion into Canada and Brazil. Officially launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is on more than 100 million acres across the United States, Canada and Brazil, with more than 100,000 users engaging in Climate's digital tools. Backed by the most powerful data science engine and most extensive field research network in the agriculture industry, the Climate FieldView platform delivers customized insights that help farmers make data-driven decisions with confidence to maximize yield potential, improve efficiency and manage risk.

CLAAS constantly strives to ensure a better harvest with premium products designed for maximum throughput, efficiency and reliability. The smart technologies offered on CLAAS harvesting equipment dynamically accommodate changing harvest conditions and monitor field performance for greater farming intelligence. Their open platforms make it easy to share data with the Climate FieldView platform and other precision farming technology providers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday August 29 Ag News

Two Nebraska Pig Farmers Named Finalists for 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year

Two Nebraska pig farmers, Bill Luckey and Leslie McCuiston, both of Columbus, are two of the four finalists who are vying to become 2017 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. The goal of the program is to honor the U.S. pig farmer who best excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and is best able to share his or her farming story with the American public.

“To have two of the four finalists from our state is outstanding,” said Russ Vering, President of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. “They both represent the best in pig farming and they are two individuals who have taken the lead on environmental sustainability, animal welfare and continuous improvement.

Farming and raising pigs has been a family tradition for Bill Luckey who is a fourth-generation farmer. Luckey, along with his wife and three sons, market 10,000 pigs a year. They also raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm.

Focusing on people is Leslie McCuiston’s main goal as a Senior Production Manager for The Maschhoffs, LLC. McCuiston believes in equipping her employees with the right tools to provide the best animal care every day. She oversees 70 employees who help to take care of over 18,000 sows in Northeast Nebraska.

The four finalists are meeting today with an expert panel of third-party judges in Chicago. The judges will view on-farm videos produced at the finalists’ farms and will conduct an in-person interview with each of them.

From Aug. 30 through Sept. 8, the public can vote once a day per person per email address for their favorite finalist at The winner will be announced Oct. 3.

Nebraska Corn Board elects Reiners as new at-large director and Merrell, Bruntz and Borg as officers at August meeting

The Nebraska Corn Board held a board meeting on August 25, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln. During this meeting, the Board elected Jay Reiners, a farmer from Juniata, Nebraska, to serve as its at-large director. Reiners will replace Alan Tiemann from Seward, who is stepping down after 12 years with the Nebraska Corn Board.

“I’m honored and humbled the Board has chosen me to serve as a director on the Nebraska Corn Board,” said Reiners. “Alan left big shoes to fill, but I’m ready to hit the ground running to serve our state’s corn farmers.”

Reiners graduated with an associate’s degree in general agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) before serving in the Army National Guard. He currently grows field corn, seed corn and soybeans on his 1,700 acre farm. Jay is also very active in a variety of leadership roles. He is the vice president of the Adams County Lutheran Education Association, is involved with the Adams-Webster Corn Growers Association, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and is the vice chair of the National Corn Growers Market Access action team.

Nebraska Corn Board directors serve three year terms with opportunities to be reelected. Reiners began his role directly following the election. In addition to the at-large director selection, the Nebraska Corn Board also held officer elections at the August 25 board meeting.

David Merrell, District 7 director, was reelected as the chairman of the board. Merrell, who has been with the Nebraska Corn Board since 2006, has farmed for over 20 years on his farm near St. Edward, Nebraska. His family farm consists of 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans. He is active in the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. Grains Council and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. He is a graduate of UNL with a bachelor’s degree in mechanized agriculture (mechanized systems management).

“It’s been a true privilege to work with the other eight members of the Board to help advance and expand Nebraska’s corn industry,” said Merrell. “Each board member is extremely dedicated. They bring unique interests and viewpoints to the table, which represent all of our state’s corn farmers.”
David Bruntz, District 1 director, was reelected as the vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board. Bruntz has been farming for more than 30 years near Friend, Nebraska. He grows irrigated and non-irrigated corn and soybeans, and he also feeds cattle. Bruntz received his education from UNL’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture where he majored in production agriculture. He has been with the Board since 2013.

Debbie Borg, District 4 director, was elected secretary/treasurer of the Board. Debbie lives near Allen, Nebraska and is a partner in TD Borg Farms, a fifth generation farm. On their farm, they raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, feed cattle and are proactively engaged in establishing the sixth generation in the business. Borg earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness from Colorado State University. She has served on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2013.

“We are fortunate in Nebraska to have a corn checkoff that actively works to engage in strategies to positively impact our corn farmers,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Each director devotes a significant amount of time and effort to promote the value of corn by creating opportunities.”

Each of the officer positions are effective immediately and will last one year. The Nebraska Corn Board is made up of nine farmer directors who serve three-year terms. Eight members represent specific Nebraska districts and are appointed by the Governor of Nebraska. The Board elects a ninth at-large member.


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               It's hard to believe, but summer is nearing an end and silage harvest time soon will be here.  Let's talk today about making good silage.

               Good silage can reduce feeding costs for your livestock.  And to get good silage, it doesn’t matter whether its drought damaged, hailed, or a normal crop, the same techniques are used.

               There are three keys to making good silage.  The first is chop at the right moisture.  Silage in bunkers should be about 65 percent moisture, and in upright towers around 62 to 65 percent is best.  Bags work well between 60 and 70 percent.  Silage chopped too wet will run or seep, carrying away many valuable nutrients, and it often has a sour, smelly, unpalatable fermentation. Silage chopped too dry usually develops some mold and the silage heats.  Cattle eat it really well but protein and energy digestibility can be low in heat-damaged silage.

               Next, you must eliminate oxygen.  Proper moisture, tight packing, rapid filling, uniform distribution, and correct length of cut all help force air out of the silage.  Then cover the top with plastic to prevent oxygen in the air from penetrating and spoiling the outside two or three feet.

               Finally, encourage rapid fermentation to lower silage pH.  Proper moisture at chopping and tight packing are a great start.  Adding inoculants can speed fermentation and can help reduce storage losses.  Sometimes they also improve silage feeding value.  Inoculants are especially valuable with wet silage but they also can improve drier or proper moisture silage.

               Good silage provides economical animal production.  Correct moisture, a tight pack, and rapid lowering of pH can get you there.

ICGA Commemorates 50 Years at Annual Grassroot Summit

Continuing the legacy became the theme echoed many times throughout the 2017 Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Grassroots Summit which took place this weekend in Altoona. While celebrating the many achievements of the last 50 years, ICGA delegates set the direction for the policies and priorities in the coming year.

“The hard work that our members put forth and their involvement supports sound policy decisions that will continue to aid in the success of the corn industry,” said ICGA President Mark Recker, a farmer from Arlington. “Our members are passionate about making a difference and cultivating a bright future for our industry for generations to come. I cannot wait to see what we accomplish this next year.”

On Saturday, the nearly 150 delegates in attendance had the opportunity to review expiring policies and debate new resolutions. The Grassroots Summit is the year-end event in the policy development process. The process includes a member-wide survey in the spring, roundtable discussions held across the state in the summer and the Grassroots Summit in late August. Policies that are related to national issues are adopted and brought forth at the Commodity Classic meetings in March with National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) farmer delegates.

The delegates deliberated on many important state issues impacting Iowa corn farmers including these priority issues:
    Ethanol – obtain funding for infrastructure cost-share program (RFIP)
    Conservation/Water Quality – long-term, increased funding for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
    Regulations – reduce regulatory barriers where possible
    Taxes – protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform
    Taxes – Section 179 coupling with State of Iowa

“This meeting reaffirmed our top federal priorities of maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and supporting international marketing of agricultural commodities by expanding trade agreements and the continued funding of USDA commodity export programs,” ICGA President Recker. “We are focused on supporting legislation that will build markets and create demand for corn and corn products.”

Delegates weighed several key federal issues:
    Ethanol – Retain the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
    Trade- Expanding bilateral and multi-lateral trade agreements
    Trade – Protect/expand funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program as part of the Farm Bill
    Safety Net – Protect crop insurance funding as a part of the Farm Bill
    Tax- Protect agriculture in comprehensive tax reform

During the Grassroots Forum on Friday, incoming ICGA President Recker welcomed attendees with a special video message from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds then Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, a graduate of the Iowa Corn I-LEAD program, addressed the group. Iowa Corn CEO Craig Floss moderated an Iowa Corn Leadership Panel of past ICGA farmer-leaders including Pam Johnson, a farmer from Floyd County who served as National Corn Growers Association President from 2012-13, Glen Moeller, a farmer from Scott County who served as ICGA President from 1995-96, and Pete Wenstrand, a farmer from Page County who served as ICGA President from 1988-89. The panel examined the many challenges and opportunities facing them as leaders then and how several of these issues impact the corn industry today. Attendees then divided into roundtable discussions facilitated by representatives of several of Iowa Corn’s partner organizations.

In addition, many of the Iowa Congressional Delegation recorded special 50th Anniversary congratulatory videos that were played throughout the two-day event and former ICGA President Varel Bailey of Anita who received the Walter Geoppinger Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the corn industry.

ICGA will release its finalized top 2018 state and federal policy priorities in December based on grassroots input provided during the Summit. The complete 2017-2018 policy resolution book is available upon request by emailing or calling 515-225-9242.

ICGA Recognizes Members Receiving the 2017 Iowa Farm Environmental Leaders Award

Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) recognized 28 members and their families who received the 2017 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award during the Annual Grassroots Summit Awards Luncheon on Saturday.

This award is a joint effort between Governor Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Gregg, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It was created to identify farmers who are committed to water quality and soil health. Each recipient has demonstrated excellent voluntary efforts to help keep Iowa’s water clean and our soils healthy. These individuals were also acknowledged during a ceremony held at the Iowa State Fair on August 19th.

ICGA membership selected are as follows:
           Mike and Rhonda Leonard, Harrison
           Alan and LuAnn Bennett, Ida
           Russ and Liz Davis, Sac & Calhoun
           Keith and Sharon Mensing, Adair
           Donald & Betty and Bruce & Deborah Richardson, Buena Vista
           Julius and Cynthia Schaaf, Fremont
           Mark and Melissa Schliesman (M&M Farms), Calhoun & Carroll & Sac
           Paul and Linda Beckman, Des Moines
           John Dingman, Lee
           Roger and Susie Edwards (Ro-Sie View Farm), Louisa
           Jim Goodhue and family, Warren
           Chad Ingels, Fayette
           Joe and Mary Jardon, Fremont & Montgomery
           Eric & Annette Jellum (Jellum Farm), Mitchell
           Bruce and Lisa Johnson, Mitchell
           Wayne and Lisa Koehler, Floyd
           Paul and Avriel Koester, Tama
           Steve and Ann Mallams (Mallams Inc), Henry
           Duane & Karen Martin (Duane Martin Family Inc), Fayette
           John and Joan Maxwell (Cinnamon Ridge Farms), Scott
           Mike and Jon McClure, Dallas
           Moffitt Stock Farms, Warren
           Jim and Mike Penick, Warren
           Mark & Cindy Prevo (Prevo Farms Inc), Davis
           Leon Sheets (Sheets Farms), Chickasaw
           Henry and Meri Kay Shepard, Black Hawk & Benton
           Kenneth Sieren, Washington & Keokuk
           Loran Steinlage, Fayette

This is just one of many examples of how ICGA is leading the way on Iowa’s water quality efforts. ICGA also offers its members a monthly Stewardship Advocate e-newsletter to help them stay up-to-date with news and events related to their farms. The program features monthly updates from Iowa Corn Sustainable Program Manager, Ben Gleason, and other experts on the topics of soil health, conservation and water quality. Go to, for more information.

Iowa Land Values Update

Sam Kain, Asst VP - Real Estate Operations - Farmers National Company  

Land auctions lead the way in Iowa for Farmers National Company with a 30 percent growth in sales in the last year.

Auction sales were 78 percent of Farmers National Company’s transactions in Iowa for the first six months of our fiscal year. Despite a more cautious land market, 97 percent of our auctions were successful and the land sold. That is a testament to the local agent who knows the buyers and sellers in their market.

Good quality land in Iowa has been steady or experienced a slight decline in value in the past six months. Average quality land continues to see a slow decline in value, while pasture land has experienced some strengthening. Estates remain the primary sellers of land as the inherited land is sold and the proceeds divided among the inheritors. Farmers continue to comprise the majority of land buyers with interest by investors coming back into play in the market.

Overall, land values have stayed fairly stable due to the limited amount of land on the market over the past several years. Recent commodity prices indicate there is still room for a downward trend in land values. If we start to see more land available on the market, we may see values decrease more rapidly.

Soybeans Hit the Road in New Goodyear Tires

This fall when Goodyear introduces its Assurance WeatherReady tires for passenger vehicles, soybean farmers may want to pay attention to their newest customer. That’s because this all-season, innovative line of tires was made possible in part by the soy checkoff. The tires feature a soy-based rubber compound, bringing forward yet another market opportunity for soybean oil and, in return, a profit opportunity for soybean farmers.

“Goodyear and the soy checkoff share something special: a commitment to innovation,” says John Motter, United Soybean Board chair and farmer from Jenera, Ohio. “When we started working with them more than six years ago, it was just an idea, a way to build demand for soybean oil. Now, we have a tire that shows what soy can do on the road.”

Goodyear’s interest in soybean oil included a look at sustainability, a priority for many corporations throughout the United States; however, what they found was a competitive advantage – rubber compounds made with soybean oil remained soft at lower temperatures, leading to enhanced traction in dry, wet and winter conditions. Thus the name, WeatherReady.

“As we develop great products that anticipate and respond to the needs of consumers, soybean oil was one of the technologies enabling us to meet a challenging performance goal,” said Eric Mizner, Goodyear’s director of global material science.

A product advantage is something that is news to soybean farmers’ ears, as this market is just beginning.

“Businesses looking to use soy, even if for sustainable purposes, want to see not only a price-competitive product, but one that functions the same or better than their original product,” says Motter. “That’s why the checkoff works with companies such as Goodyear to test soybean oil and confirm its characteristics, so we can increase demand for our product and ultimately increase our profit opportunities.”

Goodyear’s Assurance WeatherReady tire will be widely available in September 2017, offered in a wide range of sizes, covering 77 percent of cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today.

Animal Agriculture Alliance issues statement on how to help farmers, ranchers and animals impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey continues to unleash havoc on farmers and ranchers in Texas with flood waters forcing cattle and other livestock to be moved to higher ground.

Texas ranchers in the affected areas are no strangers to severe weather and storms - many began preparing days before Harvey made landfall by moving cattle and stockpiling hay and feed. Many were also prepared to cut fences on Friday in an effort to allow any remaining cattle to get to roadways and higher ground when Harvey arrived.

“The dedication and hard work of farmers and ranchers is evident as we see cattle being herded from flooded fields to streets to avoid the rising water,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications at the Alliance. “Now it is time for our farmers and ranchers to receive the help they deserve.”

Several groups are on route to join forces with local organizations to help animals in need. One of those groups is American Humane Association. It is working with Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food “to deliver more than 100,000 pounds of free emergency food to displaced pet owners and frightened, hungry animals separated from their families.”

While animals are being moved to higher ground, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is moving funds into its account as the animal rights group uses the disaster in Texas to fundraise. 

“HSUS is not affiliated with local humane societies and uses only about one percent of its budget to help animals in shelters,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO at the Alliance. “Instead, they use a significant amount of their funds to lobby against farmers and ranchers like the ones impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

It may seem like HSUS is helping rescue dogs and cats in the Southeast, but the group doesn’t have a good track record. In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, HSUS raised $34 million to supposedly help reunite lost pets with their families, but after an investigation was launched, the Louisiana Attorney General found that only a sliver of the money was spent for its intended purpose.

In 2010, HSUS used the earthquake in Haiti to fundraise and when the American Humane Association and American Veterinary Medical Association joined with fourteen other organizations to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), HSUS declined to participate. It instead began marketing itself as the sole provider of animal care to the devastated area and launched a massive advertising campaign to secure donations.

The Alliance encourages people that truly want to help the desperate animals in the Southeast this week to choose to support the State of Texas Agricultural Relief (STAR) Fund, the American Humane Association or local organizations that are actually concerned about helping animals and rebuilding communities.

The Texas Department of Agriculture established the STAR Fund to receive donations that will be redirected 100 percent back to livestock producers who need the help. A few local organizations include: Houston Food Bank, United Way of Greater Houston, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society and the San Antonio Humane Society.

 An Increase in U.S. Beef Production and Exports

The U.S. has an overall mature beef industry with a steady consumption rate, however the industry has had several disruptions over the last five years leaving room for expansion in the near future.  The second in a new series of reports from the RaboResearch Food and & Agribusiness group, provides a ten-year outlook that sees a rebuilding effort in the beef and cattle industries and increases in U.S. exports.

The report, “Expanding Beef Production Increases the Need for Exports: U.S. Long-Term Beef and Cattle Baseline Outlook,” provides an outlook through 2025 for U.S. beef and cattle industries. The purpose of the baseline is to create a point of comparison which can be utilized for strategic planning and scenario analysis.

“Population growth, along with improving middle-class incomes, are the global drivers behind the opportunity for increased beef exports,” notes RaboResearch Global Senior Data Analyst Sterling Liddell. “Conversely, beef imports into the U.S. face headwinds as an increased number of head available for slaughter combines with relatively persistent carcass weights to equal, or exceed, domestic demand levels.”

The report looks to offer ideas for new opportunities that can be explored and risks that must be monitored over the next five years.

“While the trend of increasing quality is difficult to quantify, the combination of genetic improvement, formula pricing that includes premium price structures, and additional days of feeding due to lower grain prices will continue to drive U.S. beef quality higher,” notes Don Close, Senior Animal Protein Analyst and co-author of the report. “The premiums in the U.S. are expected to increase relative to choice, branded, and select classifications.”

This U.S. Long-Term Beef and Cattle Baseline Outlook report is the second in a six part series. Earlier this month the U.S. Long-Term Grains and Oilseed Baseline Outlook was released. The remaining Rabobank North American Baseline Outlook publications will be released over the course of Q3 2017 will include:
1.      U.S. Long-Term Pork & Poultry Baseline Outlook
2.      Mexico Long-Term Grain, Oilseed, & Animal Protein Baseline Outlook
3.      Canada Long-Term Grain, Oilseed, & Animal Protein Baseline Outlook
4.      U.S. Farm Economics Baseline Outlook

USDA Integrates Recalls Information into 'FoodKeeper' Application

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application that will provide users with new information on food safety recalls. The app has been updated so users can choose to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In the update posted to the Google Play and iTunes stores, users can select to receive information on food safety recalls immediately when they’re announced or select to receive them daily or weekly. The update also adds instructional videos on proper handling and storage of food, and expands the list of food and beverage products from about 400 to more than 500 items.

“This is a great way for the public to stay informed when food is recalled,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy to use tool; and it reflects USDA's commitment to provide the public with information and knowledge to help them make informed decisions.”

The FoodKeeper app was developed by FSIS in partnership with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, as a tool to help reduce food waste and improve public health by sharing storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages in American homes. It now offers specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, for more than 500 products, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood and more. Since it was launched in April 2015, it has been downloaded nearly 150,000 times.

"These updates to the FoodKeeper are just one more example of FSIS' commitment to reducing the rates of foodborne illness nationally," said Rottenberg. "We want to make sure the valuable recall information FSIS and FDA publish is available to as many Americans as possible. With the expansion of products covered in the apps database, this app is helpful to any type of consumer, and I encourage anyone who hasn't already done so, to download and begin using the FoodKeeper app."

With the FoodKeeper application, each user can:
-    Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
-    Learn cooking tips and methods for various types of meat, poultry and seafood products;
-    Note in their device's calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
-    Submit a question to USDA using the 'Ask Karen' feature of the application. 'Ask Karen' is USDA's 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products;
-    Submit items not included in the database for consideration in future updates;
-    Receive information on food safety recalls immediately when they’re announced or select to receive them daily or weekly.

For those that do not have access to a smartphone, the FoodKeeper app can also be accessed at

NMPF: Vegan Petition to Alter Dairy Food Labeling Rules Would Cause Further Confusion in Marketplace

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should reject a petition filed by the Good Food Institute (GFI) that would undermine federal standards of identity for food and sanction existing misleading marketing tactics of imitation dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said in comments filed today.

In the latest salvo over the proper use of long-standing dairy food terms, the vegan advocacy organization GFI submitted a petition earlier this spring requesting that FDA permit manufacturers of plant-based products to use labels that employ standardized dairy terms such as “milk.” In response, NMPF said the petition is at odds with established laws and inconsistent with FDA regulations, which state that foods labeled “milk” must come from an animal.

“GFI’s petition flies in the face of established law and common sense,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Nothing has happened in the last 20 years that makes it OK to combine plant or nut powders with water, sugar, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and other chemicals, and call it ‘milk.’ This request is wrong on its merits and is designed to further mislead consumers.”

In its comments, NMPF argued that when plant-based beverages use standardized dairy terms, “they typically do so to imitate milk and other real dairy products, and to benefit unfairly from the reputation that real dairy foods have for nutritional content and quality.” The organization argues that imitation dairy products seek to “bask in the halo” of milk’s healthy reputation in order to attract consumers seeking the attributes offered by real dairy.

NMPF said GFI’s proposed changes to FDA rules would undermine the agency’s standards of identity and create more confusion in the marketplace. Labeling non-dairy products with dairy terminology, the organization added, can mislead consumers into thinking the imitation contains the same nutritional benefits as the real thing. Data from a 2015 Mintel survey found that 49 percent of respondents said they consumed plant “milks” because they thought the products are nutritious. However, according to an NMPF survey of nearly 250 plant-based imitation dairy beverages, none of the products was nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.

“Consumers do not understand that plant-based imitation ‘milks’ are not suitable replacements for the natural, nutrient-packed goodness of real milk,” said Dr. Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president for dairy foods and nutrition. “GFI’s request would only exacerbate this misconception.”

NMPF argued that calling these foods what they really are – plant-based beverages – is the “simplest and most certain way to promote honesty and fair dealing in the interests of consumers.” NMPF cited examples of other “beverages” or “drinks” that both comply with federal labeling regulations and clearly state their composition.

NMPF dismissed GFI’s contention that enforcing standards of identity is “anti-competitive,” and said plant-based drinks are welcome in the marketplace so long as they are labeled appropriately.  The group also rejected as specious GFI’s argument that there is a First Amendment conflict in placing limitations on how food products can describe themselves.

“Congress mandated standards of identity for milk and other dairy products more than 80 years ago.  GFI’s argument that it is now suddenly unconstitutional for FDA to enforce laws that have been on the books for eight decades makes no sense,” Mulhern said.  “In fact, the Supreme Court specifically affirmed in the Central Hudson case that the government may regulate commercial speech in a way that protects the public interest. Congress long ago determined that there is an important government interest in avoiding mislabeling of food products and misleading the public.”

Other nations have taken a more proactive stance on this issue, NMPF wrote, pointing out that brands marketing themselves as “almondmilk” in the United States do not use that term on their products sold in Canada or Europe.

“We have the same standard as the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada when it comes to labeling plant-based dairy imitators,” Mulhern said.  “The only difference is that the FDA does not enforce that standard, while regulators in other nations do.”

Ram Launches New 2018 Harvest Edition

Ram is celebrating its agricultural bonds with a new model designed specifically for America's farm families.

The Ram Harvest Edition is the industry's first agricultural market-specific truck and is visually distinguished by two new colors: Case IH Red and New Holland Blue.

"The Ram Harvest Edition marks the first time that Ram dealers will be able to stock trucks that exactly match the colors of two of the most popular lines of farm equipment in the nation," said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep & Ram Brands – FCA Global. "Farmers have been asking for these colors, and Ram is proud to be the first in the industry to be able to offer them. The Ram Harvest Edition truck will allow farm families to get their work done while proudly showing their agricultural brand loyalty."

Case IH and New Holland farm tractors and other agricultural equipment are manufactured by subsidiaries of CNH Industrial. CNH Industrial N.V. shares a common ancestry with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. 

The Harvest Edition will be available across the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 lineup, in all four-door Quad, Crew and Mega Cab configurations, all box lengths and all powertrains, including 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8, 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 and 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel.

Harvest Edition trucks are loaded with features that are designed to work. Among them, a ride-height increase of one inch and aggressive on/off-road tires on Ram 1500 Harvest Edition trucks are designed to help owners comfortably and confidently navigate rough farm roads and pastures.

Also included in the farm-life essentials are black tubular side steps, a durable spray-in bedliner, fold-out bumper step and mud flaps, rubber floor mats, skid plates and tow hooks (4x4) and heated seats. Ram Heavy Duty models also come with on/off-road tires and add a cargo-view camera.

Because Ram knows farmers are tech savvy, the Harvest Edition comes standard with an 8.4-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen radio with navigation, 4G Wifi, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which gives buyers seamless connectivity, fingertip access to smartphone map mirroring, and up-to-the minute weather maps and forecasts customizable to any location in the nation.

The Harvest Edition features a premium exterior appearance packed with bright highlights, including a chrome "Wave Mesh" luxury cross-hair grille, bright front and rear bumpers, 17-inch chrome wheels (1500 models, 18-inch polished aluminum on Heavy Duty models), chrome mirrors, chrome door handles and chrome-tipped dual exhausts (V-8 1500 models).

The Harvest package also includes body-color (or Bright Silver) wheel flares and upper facia (1500). In addition to Case Red and New Holland Blue, Harvest Edition Ram trucks are also available in Bright White and Brilliant Black. Monotone and two-tone with Bright Silver color schemes are available.

Ram 1500 Harvest Edition MSRP starts at $39,910, plus $1,395 destination charge. Ram Heavy Duty models start at $46,235.

Ram Harvest Edition trucks were unveiled today at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, and go on sale in the third quarter of 2017.

Mycogen Seeds Launches Hybrids with Enlist™ Trait to Meet Farmers’ Needs

For the 2017-18 season, the Mycogen® brand corn portfolio features more new, advanced genetics than ever before. Plus, for the first time, Mycogen brand hybrids include the Enlist™ trait so farmers have access to a more effective weed control program and options to help prevent future weed resistance.

“We’re excited to release new genetics for high-yielding hybrids that will drive real value on farms across the country,” says Brent Stauffacher, corn portfolio marketing leader, Mycogen Seeds. “That means higher yield potential and the ability for farmers to protect their investments with a more cost-efficient and effective weed control system.”

Enlist corn hybrids provide tolerance to Enlist Duo® herbicide — a combination of new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate — to help manage hard-to-control and herbicide-resistant weeds. Enlist Duo features Colex-D® technology, which enables near-zero volatility, minimized potential for physical drift, low odor and improved handling characteristics. The two modes of action in Enlist Duo, combined with a program approach, deliver control of weeds that would otherwise use crop moisture and nutrients and rob yield.

Farmers who’ve tried Mycogen brand hybrids with the Enlist trait as part of the stewarded launch are excited with the results they’ve seen.

“Now, we can use Enlist Duo as a new tool with our Mycogen hybrids,” says Illinois-based farmer Jim Koeller, who has trialed Mycogen Enlist hybrids.

“Some weed species are becoming harder and harder to manage,” Koeller says. “All you have to do is look at the list of glyphosate-resistant weeds and you’ll see that list is growing. And it’s also growing by region. Enlist Duo provides two modes of action that help control those hard-to-kill weeds.”

Hybrids available for the first time with the Enlist™ trait
New for next year, Mycogen Seeds offers 35 corn hybrids with the Enlist trait. The new Mycogen® Enlist™ hybrids also are available with Roundup Ready® Corn 2 technology, plus PowerCore® or SmartStax® trait technology, delivering best-in-class weed and insect control to help farmers protect the yield potential of Mycogen genetics.

“Farmers are using weed control options that often require tank mixes of multiple herbicides, on average costing $17.52 per acre for a postemergence application,” Stauffacher says. “Farmers who plant Mycogen brand hybrids with the Enlist corn trait now can apply Enlist Duo as part of a weed control program that will be a more cost-effective solution.”

Featured corn hybrids with the Enlist™ trait
    MY01D86 — 101 RM: Widely adapted hybrid with consistent yield and reliable agronomics, including strong stalks, roots and late-season intactness.
    MY04S86 — 104 RM: High-yielding hybrid with consistent performance across a wide range of soil types and environments.
    MY05U06 — 105 RM: Widely adapted hybrid with excellent yield stability and wide east-to-west adaptation.
    MY06R36 — 106 RM: Widely adapted hybrid for multiple soil types and environments with very good yield stability.
    MY09V46 — 109 RM: High-yielding, widely adapted hybrid for a wide range of soil types and environments.

Additional new hybrids for 2018
    MY00J47 RA — 100 RM: Widely adapted hybrid with consistent yield and reliable agronomics.
    MY04Y97 RA — 104 RM: High-yielding, widely adapted hybrid with fast drydown and good Goss’s wilt tolerance.
    MY09R37 RA — 109 RM: Consistent yield performance with dependable agronomics.
    MY10Y47 RA — 110 RM: Great agronomics and consistent yield performance in the central and eastern Corn Belt.
    MY11B25 RA — 111 RM: High-yielding, central- and eastern-adapted hybrid.
    MY13C17 RA — 113 RM: Attractive product with solid agronomics and wide adaptability.

“I see Mycogen as a leader and that has a lot to do with our choice of hybrids,” Koeller adds.

“We work relentlessly to bring the best genetic options to farmers. Hybrids with the Enlist trait have some of the best genetics available from Mycogen to date with strong agronomics and high yield potential,” Stauffacher says. “With the latest genetics and the Enlist corn trait, our 2018 hybrid lineup is one way we can help farmers be better acre after acre.”

Greater investment in NK® seeds brand reinforces commitment to offering growers and retailers unique choice, greater value

Growers who purchase corn and soybean seeds from retailers will have even more choice and greater value through the reinvigorated NK® seeds brand. Syngenta today announced a comprehensive long-term commitment to NK seeds that includes boosting research and development, expanding staff and enhancing retailer support.

As part of the investment, the number of U.S. plant breeders will increase by 50 percent while the number of product selection leads will increase by 38 percent. In addition, trialing will increase by 30 percent.

“More than ever, today’s growers are looking for increased options to maximize returns. We are committed to investing in our NK seeds brand to deliver unique choice and greater value through our retail partners,” said David Hollinrake, president of Syngenta Seeds. “We will rapidly bring to market new hybrids and varieties, offering greater value for growers to help them achieve that better ROI.”

A boost in R&D

The new investment builds on a legacy of science-driven advancements for NK.

Innovations like high-speed trait conversion – executed at the state-of-the-art Syngenta Advanced Crop Lab in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – have helped produce fully-traited NK seeds at a much quicker pace, with hybrids and varieties now coming to market an average of two years faster than before. This is the direct result of the $1.3 billion that Syngenta already spends each year on global research and development. And now, the company is committing to a significant incremental investment specific to U.S. seeds over the next five years.

“We expect to develop and deliver game-changing innovations that will keep improving growers’ performance – innovations like NK hybrids featuring Agrisure Duracade® 5222 E-Z Refuge® that offer the ultimate trait stack for premium insect control, choice and simplicity,” Hollinrake said.

Dedicated support in the field

On top of a boost to research and development, retailers will see an expansion of dedicated NK staff. Within the next year, Syngenta will more than triple the NK sales and agronomy teams, adding a dedicated team of NK agronomists and introducing intensified training opportunities – delivering more personalized support to both growers and retailers.

“We are committed to building a strong retail seed brand with NK,” Quinn Showalter, head of NK sales. “By increasing our investment not only in research and development, but also in our people, we’re able to provide greater local support and enable our retailers to better serve their growers’ needs and deliver greater value.”