Saturday, October 21, 2017

Friday October 20 Cattle on Feed, Milk Production, + Ag News


Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.29 million cattle on feed on October 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 6 percent from last year.  Placements during September totaled 570,000 head, up 21 percent from 2016.
Fed cattle marketings for the month of September totaled 420,000 head, up 4 percent from last year.  Other disappearance during September totaled 10,000 head, up 5,000 head from last year.


Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 650,000 head on October 1, 2017, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Cattle on Feed report. This was up 2 percent from September 1, 2017, and up 14 percent from October 1, 2016. Iowa feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head had 435,000 head on feed, down 1 percent from last month and down 9 percent from last year. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in all Iowa feedlots totaled 1,085,000 head, up less than 1 percent from last month and up 3 percent from last year.

Placements of cattle and calves in Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 106,000 head, an increase of 15 percent from last month and up 34 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head placed 70,000 head, up 71 percent from last month but down 3 percent from last year.  Placements for all feedlots in Iowa totaled 176,000 head, up 32 percent from last month and up 17 percent fromlast year.

Marketings of fed cattle from Iowa feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head during September totaled 95,000 head, down 6 percent from last month but up 9 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity of less than 1,000 head marketed 73,000 head, up 22 percent from last month but down 14 percent from last year. Marketings for all feedlots in Iowa were 168,000 head, up 4 percent from last month but down 2 percent from last year. Other disappearance from all feedlots in Iowa totaled 3,000 head.

United States Cattle on Feed Up 5 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 10.8 million head on October 1, 2017. The inventory was 5 percent above October 1, 2016. The inventory included 6.93 million steers and steer calves, up 2 percent from the previous year. This group accounted for 64 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 3.88 million head, up 13 percent from 2016.

Cattle on Feed  (1000 hd - % of Oct 1 '16)

Colorado .......:           940            111            
Iowa .............:            650            114           
Kansas ..........:           2,250          101           
Nebraska ......:           2,290          106            
Texas ............:           2,600          106            

Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.15 million head, 13 percent above 2016. Net placements were 2.09 million head. During September, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 405,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 340,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 490,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 515,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 285,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 115,000 head.

Placements  (1000 hd - % of Sept '16

Colorado .......:      250           111         
Iowa .............:       106           134         
Kansas ..........:       435           104        
Nebraska ......:       570           121        
Texas ............:       440           114         

Marketings of fed cattle during September totaled 1.78 million head, 3 percent above 2016. Other disappearance totaled 58,000 head during September, 38 percent above 2016.

Marketings  (1000 hd - % of Sept '16)

Colorado .......:      165            97        
Iowa .............:        95           109        
Kansas ..........:      390           108        
Nebraska ......:      420           104        
Texas ............:      415           100        

September Milk Production up 1.2 Percent

Milk production in the 23 major States during September totaled 16.2 billion pounds, up 1.2 percent from September 2016. August revised production at 17.0 billion pounds, was up 2.2 percent from August 2016. The August revision represented an increase of 8 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,851 pounds for September, 6 pounds above September 2016. This is the highest production per cow for the month of September since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.74 million head, 73,000 head more than September 2016, but 3,000 head less than August 2017.

Milk production in Iowa during September 2017 totaled 420 million pounds, up 4 percent from the previous September according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during September, at 219,000 head, was the same as last month and 5,000 head more than last year. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,920 pounds, up 40 pounds from last September.

July-September Milk Production up 1.7 Percent

Milk production in the United States during the July - September quarter totaled 53.5 billion pounds, up 1.7 percent from the July - September quarter last year.

The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.40 million head, 4,000 head more than the April - June quarter, and 71,000 head more than the same period last year.

Milk production in Nebraska
during the July-September 2017 quarter totaled 360 million pounds, up 4 percent from the July-September quarter last year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of milk cows was 60,000 head, unchanged from the same period last year.

USDA Issues Safety-Net Payments to Nebraska Farmers

USDA Nebraska Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director (SED) Mike Eller announced that approximately 85,000 Nebraska farms enrolled in safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill will receive financial assistance for the 2016 crop year. The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.

“These safety-net programs provide help when price and revenue fall below normal,” said Acting SED Eller. “Payments to producers of corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, wheat and other crops are helping provide reassurance to our Nebraska farm families who are standing strong against low commodity prices compounded by unfavorable growing conditions.”

Producers in 93 Nebraska counties have experienced a significant drop in prices or revenues below the benchmark established by the ARC or PLC program and thus, will receive payments totaling $638 million. Payments related to corn, soybeans, grain sorghum and wheat crops made up much of those payments. There also were payments for less-predominant crops such as dry peas and barley. Cash flow from these payments is particularly helpful to farmers and ranchers in counties impacted by natural disasters.

“Payments by county for an eligible commodity can vary because average county yields will differ,” said Acting SED Eller. 

More details on the price and yield information used to calculate the financing assistance from the safety-net programs is available on the FSA website at and

Ricketts Welcomes EPA Administrator Pruitt to Nebraska

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts welcomed United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to Nebraska.  Administrator Pruitt visited Nebraska to discuss the future of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. 

At the Governor’s Residence in Lincoln, Administrator Pruitt briefed the Governor and select cabinet members on the EPA’s work on rolling back the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule.  The visit concluded with a roundtable discussion with Administrator Pruitt, Governor Ricketts, members of his cabinet, Congressman Bacon, and members of the Common Sense Nebraska Coalition detailing the future of WOTUS.

“Thank you to Administrator Pruitt for all he has done to cut onerous and job-killing federal red tape imposed on the states,” said Governor Ricketts.  “Administrator Pruitt and the Trump Administration have kept their word and repealed the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that would have threatened future growth in Nebraska agriculture and manufacturing.  In his work of rolling back the old rule and writing a new one, Pruitt is returning power to the states and protecting the rights of our farm families and small business owners.”

NeFB Foundation Awards Agricultural Leaders with Scholarships

In keeping with its mission to support the future of Nebraska agriculture, the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has awarded scholarships to five participants of the Nebraska LEAD program.

“These ag leaders make diverse contributions to the quality of life and economic success in our state,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation. “We’re very proud to be a part of supporting those accelerating their leadership development through the Nebraska LEAD program,” she continued.

The LEAD Scholarship awards agriculture stakeholders that participate in the Nebraska LEAD program. The LEAD program improves leadership skills and abilities of Nebraska’s future agricultural leaders through exposure to diverse topics, issues, concerns, points of view, and innovative ideas. The winners of the LEAD Scholarship are current Farm Bureau members that commit to serving in a leadership role with Farm Bureau upon completion of the program.

The five winners are Alison Warner, Lancaster County Farm Bureau, Waverly; Bree A. DeNaeyer, Cherry County Farm Bureau, Seneca; Chris McQuillan, Phelps County Farm Bureau, Holdrege; MerleAnn Raichart, Dundy County Farm Bureau, Benkelman; Hannah Rupprecht, Buffalo County Farm Bureau, Bladen.

KHS AG student Selected for Trip to Taiwan

Hal Moomey, a senior at Kearney High School, has been selected to represent the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI), as part of an exchange program with Taiwan.

Hal will be traveling to Taiwan from November 19-24, 2017, where he will have the opportunity to stay at the Taichung Senior High School of Agriculture and Technology. During his visit, Hal will take tours of the campus, interact with Taiwanese students and officials, participate in presentations, as well as visits to local farms and several agricultural research institutes, and learn firsthand how Nebraska agriculture impacts foreign markets.

This is the fourteenth year for this program, which is a joint venture between the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Taiwanese Economic and Cultural Office in Denver. Hal was chosen to represent NAYI based on his application and performance at this past summer’s NAYI.

Nebraska Soybean Board names Smith as Communications Coordinator

The Nebraska Soybean Board (NSB) is pleased to announce the hiring of Aryel Smith as the Communications Coordinator.

In her position, Smith will handle various roles for the NSB such as public relations, web hosting, multichannel advertising, and promotional campaigns. She will also manage the NSB quarterly magazine, SoybeaNebraska, as well as other ag-related communications and marketing projects to promote the Nebraska soybean industry.

Smith grew up on a hobby farm outside of Buffalo Lake, MN and graduated from North Dakota State University in May of 2016 with a B.S. in Agriculture Communications. She comes from the North Dakota Farm Bureau (NDFB) where she served as the Southwest Field Representative. Her main responsibilities at NDFB included support and leadership development opportunities to 12 counties as well as advising the Dickinson State Collegiate Farm Bureau.

“Communicating with those inside and out of agriculture has been a passion of mine as long as I can remember,” said Smith. “I am eager to start with the checkoff and look forward to making Nebraska my home.”

With the hiring of Smith, the NSB also moves previous Communications Coordinator, Cale Buhr, to the Market Development Coordinator position.


From growing chickpeas in western Nebraska to reducing pesticide use in apple orchards in Nebraska City, 12 specialty crop projects across the state will receive nearly $600,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). Administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) using funding from the grant, the program supports research, development and marketing of specialty crops.

“Nebraska’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program offers resources to those interested in enhancing and diversifying the state’s agricultural industry through specialty crops,” said NDA Director Greg Ibach. “This year’s projects contribute to Nebraska’s overall agricultural economy by maximizing the value of specialty crops and by keeping production and research in the state.”

Specialty crops are generally defined as fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey and some turf and ornamental crops. A full list of specialty crops is also available on the USDA’s website at

A brief description of the specialty crop projects being funded in Nebraska and the grant recipients follows:

·         Develop biodegradable mulch film and evaluate its effectiveness on specialty crops such as tomatoes and peppers—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Incorporate more locally-grown specialty crops into the School Meals Program by developing a user-friendly toolkit for food service staff—Nebraska Department of Education

·         Conduct a needs assessment and strategic plan with grape growers, winemakers and winery owners across Nebraska to improve the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries in order to continue producing high quality grapes and wines while promoting stewardship—Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association

·         Improve the quality, safety and nutritional value of Nebraska-grown aronia berry products by using high pressure processing technology—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Manufacture high-quality protein isolates from three types of dry edible beans and identify potential uses for those protein isolates in additional foods—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Investigate the feasibility of using ozone technology to eliminate or reduce pesticide use for disease control in apple orchards which in turn improves food safety—Arbor Day Foundation (dba Arbor Day Farm)

·         Expand the use of drones to the specialty crop industry of viticulture to monitor possible herbicide drift and provide valuable information to grape growers and the wine industry—Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association

·         Evaluate whether or not chickpeas can be grown successfully in the drylands of western Nebraska—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Compare the ability of dry beans and field peas to suppress herbicide‐resistant pigweed—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Reduce inputs and increase yields of broccoli and peppers by determining optimum application rates of seed meals for integrated management of weeds and nitrogen fertility across four locations in eastern Nebraska.—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         Increase tomato yield and quality while reducing irrigation and synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use through the adoption of water and nutrient use, efficient hybrid tomato rootstocks and carbon-based fertilizer amendments—University of Nebraska, Lincoln

·         NDA will receive SCBG funding to host additional cooking demonstrations at the Nebraska State Fair to show consumers how easy it is to cook with and eat more locally-grown produce.

NDA administered a two-phase competitive grant application process for SCBGP funds. Phase I involved the submission of concept proposals, which allowed applicants to explain the main points of their project. The concept proposals were independently and competitively scored by a field review panel. Projects with the highest combined scores were asked to complete Phase II of the application process.

Projects funded by the SCBGP must be completed by Sept. 29, 2020. For more information about this year’s grants, go to USDA’s website at and click on “FY2017 pdf.”

2017 ICM Conference Features Eight Guest Speakers, Covers 41 Crop Management Topics

The 2017 Integrated Crop Management Conference will be held Nov. 29-30 at the Scheman Building in Ames, Iowa. The conference will consist of 41 workshop topics and eight invited guest speakers from industry and five state universities — Colorado State University, Purdue University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri and University of Illinois. Iowa State University faculty and extension specialists along with invited guests will provide research results, updated management recommendations, and information on current and future crop production issues.

Highlights of the ICM Conference are invited guest speakers, multiple sessions to choose from each hour and the opportunity to network with others in the agriculture industry.

“With nearly 1,000 attendees each year, the ICM Conference is a great opportunity for farmers, industry, ag retailers, agronomists and educators to network with each other and interact with specialists,” said Alison Robertson, conference chair and professor in plant pathology and microbiology. “We receive positive feedback each year for the guest speakers we’ve invited to participate. It’s something we continue to focus on each year while building the conference program.”

ISU Extension and Outreach weed specialists Bob Hartzler and Mike Owen will discuss weed management issues, including off-target movement and dicamba use. Ray Massey, University of Missouri, will look at the crop and liability insurance perspective of herbicide drift and injury. Peter Goldsbrough, Purdue University, returns to the conference this year presenting, “Genetically modified crops: Marvel or malady?” Emerson Nafziger, University of Illinois, will be focusing on nitrogen management for corn.  

Other presentation topics at the 2017 ICM Conference include: the crop market outlook, pest resistance issues, emerging crop diseases, drones and data, and corn planting decisions.

The conference is approved for continuing education credits for Certified Crop Advisors, with a total of 14 CCA credits available; categories dependent on workshops selected. Iowa commercial pesticide applicator recertification for 2017 is also available in categories 1A, 1B, 1C, 4 and 10.

“This year, attendees will have six concurrent sessions to choose from each hour,” said Brent Pringnitz, coordinator for ANR Program Services. “This format allows participants to customize their conference experience and fulfill necessary CCA credit needs.”

Online registration can be made from the ICM Conference website Space is limited for the event and requires pre-registration. Early registration for the event is $225 and ends midnight, Nov. 17. After Nov. 17, the fee increases to $275, and registrations will be accepted, as space allows, until noon, Nov. 27. No registrations will be accepted at the door. Registration questions should be directed to ANR Program Services at or 515-294-6429.

The Integrated Crop Management Conference is hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Iowa Corn Farmers Host Japanese Technical Grain Trade Team

As harvest moves into full swing, international trade teams continue making stops in Iowa to see U.S. corn production and the quality of this year’s crop first-hand. Just this week, a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) trade team representing the Japanese feed industry traveled to Iowa to see U.S. corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) production and supply. The team visited corn farms, river terminals, elevators, and major ethanol and DDGs plants.

“Harvest time is when our corn comes off the assembly line so to speak,” explained Bruce Rohwer, a corn and livestock farmer from Paullina who hosted the team. “Just like farmers enjoy visiting the manufacturing plant to see their new machinery rolling off the assembly floor, international buyers want to visit Iowa and see their corn coming directly from the field.”

The delegation happened to visit Bruce on a day it was too wet to harvest. During the visit, they climbed up and sat in the combine and saw the rest of his equipment. He also showed them a test sample of corn he had harvested and ran through an antique sheller. “They were amazed by the color of the shelled corn,” said Rohwer. “They wanted to know if the corn was always the same color or if it changed color during the drying process. They had never seen shelled corn like that before. I told them it’s usually the same shade of golden-yellow.”

The group included nine representatives with positions designing feed rations for major Japanese hog operations, therefore, their trip included visits to Rohwer’s farm as well as Doug Carter’s hog and row crop farm in Audubon and Denny Friest’s row crop and hog farm in Radcliffe to obtain information on the nutritional advantages of DDGs and feeding practices in the United States. Other stops composed of a tour of the Green Plains Shenandoah facility, a presentation about the basics of Iowa corn and ethanol industries and a forecast report on Iowa’s corn harvest, a stop at Innovative Ag in Garden City, and presentation on the latest DDGs research at Iowa State University.

“They were primarily interested in seeing how I use DDGs in my hog operation,” said Rohwer. “They were friendly and inquisitive about Iowa agriculture. Whenever you can put a human face to the product you are selling, it makes a difference. You want to buy from someone you can look in the eyes. With all the negative rhetoric happening on trade these days, we must cultivate personal relationships with our international customers. We need to let them know trade and their business matters to U.S. farmers.”

Japan is the top customer for U.S. corn this marketing year, purchasing 12.7 million metric tons (almost 500 million bushels) thus far (Sept. 2016-July 2017), an increase of 38 percent year-over-year and the most imports since 2010/2011. Overall, Japan’s imports of corn in all forms, including value added products made with corn, increased 32 percent compared to the same period this year prior with a value of $5.48 billion.

In Letter to Fischer & Colleagues, EPA Administrator Outlines RFS Commitments to NE Biofuel Producers

In a letter to U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and several of her colleagues, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made important commitments to follow the law and stand up for rural America as he implements the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).  The letter comes in response to concerns Fischer and her colleagues shared with the Administrator over the past several months and in a meeting earlier this week.

“Administrator Pruitt’s letter is a step in the right direction with a stated commitment to stand up for rural America as he works to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard. Throughout my many discussions with the administration, I’ve advocated for the hardworking Nebraskans who have invested in biofuels to strengthen our country’s energy diversity and expand fuel choices at the pump. I’m pleased the Administrator responded to our concerns, and I look forward to working with him on these issues, particularly to provide a waiver so that E15 can be sold year round.”

The EPA Administrator makes key commitments in his letter, including:
·       Stating that granting the petition to move the point of obligation from refiners to downstream retailers “would not be appropriate.”
·       Setting the Final Renewable Volume Obligation for Biodiesel at 2.1 billion gallons or more.
·       Welcoming the opportunity to work with Congress to provide a nationwide RVP waiver for E15. Senator Fischer is the lead sponsor of a renewable energy bill  that would extend the Reid vapor pressure waiver, more commonly referred to as the RVP waiver, to E15, allowing the fuel to be sold throughout the year. Click here to read more about her bill. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on the legislation in June of 2017.
·       Rejecting applying a compliance credit – more commonly referred to as a RIN – to exported gallons of biofuel.

NBB Holds Firm In Its Request for 2.5 Billion Gallons of Biomass-Based Diesel, 4.75 Billion Gallons of Advanced Biofuels

Yesterday the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Notice of Data Availability (NODA), focusing on the advanced biofuel standard for 2018 and the 2019 volume for biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Late yesterday, EPA also released a letter providing assurances to a group of U.S. senators on different aspects of the RFS program. The letter did not commit to raising the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume higher than 2.1 billion gallons, as proposed.

“Flat volumes of biodiesel show that the Trump administration is considering implementing policies that will harm the American biodiesel industry. We are going to continue to work closely with the EPA and the White House to help them understand that a robust biodiesel industry is what the law requires. We cannot settle for the biomass-based diesel volume remaining flat at 2.1 billion gallons,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board.

Although NBB appreciates that further cuts won’t be pursued, volumes higher than 2.1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel are warranted and must be granted for the industry to continue to grow.

EPA states in the letter that “preliminary analysis suggests that all of the final RVOs should be set at amounts that are equal to or greater than the proposed amounts, including at least 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel in 2018 and 2019.”

NBB submitted comments on the NODA, tackling head-on the myths being perpetrated about the biodiesel industry’s ability to produce. The U.S. biomass-based diesel industry can generate 2.6 billion gallons right now and has the additional registered capacity to ramp up production even higher with sufficient continuing support from the RFS volumes. In other words, it is clear that domestic production alone could generate substantially more than the 2.1 billion-gallon volume in EPA’s proposed rule.

Specifically, NBB noted that neither (1) the expiration of the biodiesel tax credit nor (2) the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination to impose countervailing duties on unfairly traded, imported Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel warrant reduced or flattened volumes of biomass-based diesel:
-    “The expiration of the tax credit does not affect existing production capacity, which is more than sufficient to meet much higher volumes. Indeed, the advanced biofuel volumes have been met in past years even when the biodiesel tax credit has not been in place before the compliance year began. … Whether or not the biodiesel tax credit is extended, the RFS itself will provide sufficient and strong incentives for the advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes to be met, just as in past years when the biodiesel tax credit was not in place.”
-    “Likewise, the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination will not reduce biodiesel production or affect the availability of biodiesel for obligated parties. Any reductions in Argentinian or Indonesian imports will be replaced by domestic production or imports from other countries. At most, if the determination is finalized, it will level the playing field by ensuring that imports come in at a fair price.”

EPA also in its letter stated that they have “not taken any formal action to propose this idea, nor will EPA pursue regulations” regarding allowing RINs for ethanol exports. The issue was still alive when NBB submitted its comments: “The biomass-based diesel industry and other renewable fuel producers have relied on EPA’s regulations for a decade to plan and invest in production capacity, distribution networks and technological innovations. EPA has not presented any justification sufficient to meet its heightened burden for overturning its prior regulation given renewable fuels producers’ significant reliance interests.” This concept of allowing RINs from exported fuels would have dramatically reduced the energy security benefits of the RFS because the volumes exported would come at the expense of fuel available for domestic consumption.

NBB was pleased to see EPA back off earlier attempts to misuse the waiver authorities. In the comments, NBB argued:
-    First, EPA may not use its general waiver authority because there is neither an “inadequate domestic supply” of advanced biofuels nor a “severe[] harm [to] the economy or environment of a State, a region, or the United States.” EPA cannot redefine “domestic supply” as “domestic production” and thus exclude imports. Such a redefinition is foreclosed by the statute, decisions of the D.C. Circuit and EPA’s own regulations. And the ordinary compliance costs of obligated parties do not constitute “severe economic harm” to a “state, a region or the United States.”
-    Second, EPA may not use its biomass-based diesel waiver authority because there are no emergency circumstances constituting a “severe feedstock shortage or other market disruption” that would warrant a 60-day waiver in the biomass-based diesel volume. The concerns described in the NODA are not the type of major shocks to the biomass-based diesel supply for which the biomass-based diesel waiver provision was designed.  
-    Third, EPA may not further reduce the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the statutory factors in the RFS. Those statutory factors, which EPA fails to consider properly in either the proposed rule or the NODA, instead demonstrate that an increase in the biomass-based diesel volumes are warranted.    

"We are thankful for our champions’ relentless efforts to present the facts and legal arguments to the EPA. Their dedication to the jobs we represent are why we have begun to make progress with the agency. But we can’t stop now, because flatlined biomass-based diesel volumes spell trouble for many of our smaller producers and the larger agricultural economy. Such action is also not in line with the intent of the law to grow the biofuels market in the United States,” said Doug Whitehead.

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.

Biomass-based diesel has been a great success story of the RFS. 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. Lastly, biodiesel keeps wastes out of landfills, as well as the nation’s waterways. Stagnant volumes will cost thousands of jobs in rural areas and severely harm America’s farmers.

Representing roughly 150 members, NBB will continue to work with EPA to address these concerns and to raise the volumes in the final rule expected next month.

Growth Energy Statement on Pruitt Letter Committing to RFS

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today released the following statement in response to a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) letter sent by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to several Senate biofuels champions. The EPA commits to leaving biodiesel levels untouched, eliminating the prospect of a foreign market-killing export scheme, leaving the RFS point of obligation unchanged, and expanding markets for E15 by fixing the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issue. These are positive steps for America’s biofuels industry and American farmers.

“Growth Energy applauds EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s pledge to Senate biofuels champions to uphold the president’s continuous support of the RFS and faithfully administer the law passed by Congress. The commitments outlined in his letter – when finalized – will ensure American biofuels continue to deliver value to consumers nationwide. We thank our senate champions and governors, whose unyielding support helped secure this landmark commitment from the EPA.

“We will continue to work with EPA on all matters regarding biofuel regulations and look forward to the final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) with levels equal to or greater than the total levels in the proposed rule, including an increase for cellulosic biofuels.”

ASA Applauds Congressional Letters on RFS, Submits Comments to EPA

The American Soybean Association today applauded the many Senators and House members who signed letters to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt urging more robust volume requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and expressing concern with the EPA Notice of Data Availability (NODA) that contemplates reductions in biodiesel and advanced biofuels.

“The RFS has boosted the agriculture economy, increased commodity values, personal earnings, local and state tax revenues, and economic activities in rural communities across the country,” said American Soybean Association President Ron Moore, who farms in Roseville, Ill. “The RFS is a vital and successful program, and we’re encouraged by this show of bipartisan support for the RFS and the  American workers who rely on biodiesel and the rural communities where soybeans and biodiesel are produced.”

A special thanks goes to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) for all of their efforts and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for leading the Senate letter. In the House, we appreciate the letter of support initiated by the Congressional Biofuels Caucus led by Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) and supported by many of our champions.

ASA also submitted comments in response to the EPA’s notice on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program: Standards for 2018 and Biomass Based Diesel Volume for 2019; Availability of Supplemental Information and Request for Further Comment, or Notice of Data Availability.

“ASA urges EPA to withdraw this ill-conceived notice and more appropriately increase biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes in 2018-19 to reflect the real and proven potential of our farmers, biodiesel plants, and their rural communities,” the comments state.

NCGA Statement on EPA Letter to Senators

In a letter to seven senators sent late Thursday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took significant strides toward strengthening the foundation for ethanol and renewable fuels.  The Administrator emphasized his commitment to implementing renewable fuel volumes at or above levels proposed, as well as to examining the Agency’s authority to fix regulations that currently limit the year-round sale of E15 and higher ethanol blends.  Administrator Pruitt also said the Agency would not pursue regulations to change the treatment of RINs relative to ethanol exports, a proposal that would have undermined the integrity of the RFS and our exports.

“NCGA greatly appreciates the leadership of these seven senators to make renewable fuels a priority,” said Kevin Skunes, NCGA president. “Their advocacy for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels, as well as the advocacy of other Members of Congress who joined recent Senate and House letters to EPA, helped ensure EPA understood our concerns and agreed to pull back on proposals under consideration in recent weeks.”

“NCGA is grateful to Administrator Pruitt for taking the senators’ concerns seriously, listening to their views and the views of those they represent, and spelling out specific actions to uphold the RFS,” said Skunes. “We appreciate Administrator Pruitt’s assurance that EPA will act in a manner consistent with the RFS and welcome the opportunity to continue working with him to protect our environment, improve regulatory implementation, and strengthen markets for renewable fuels that benefit consumers, farmers and our environment.”

ASA Supports Congressional Letter’s Charge to Foster Ag Innovation

On Tuesday, October 17th, a bipartisan group of 79 Members of Congress sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging agencies responsible for regulating biotechnology to coordinate and advance policies and strategies that promote innovation in agriculture, domestically and internationally, through the President’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

“We urge you to coordinate with each other and stakeholders to improve these regulatory proposals in ways that are consistent and foster innovations,” the letter reads.

USDA, FDA, and EPA are in the process of reviewing the regulatory system for/how their agencies regulate biotechnology.

ASA President and Roseville, Illinois farmer Ron Moore applauded the letter saying, “Soybean producers rely on agriculture innovations like biotechnology to help grow a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply. We need consistent regulatory policies based on sound-science that promote new technologies in agriculture that also help put less strain on our natural resources.”

The letter, led by Congressmen Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) urges a “consistent, science-based, risk-proportionate regulatory system” for agricultural biotechnology.

Farm Bill and Trade Hot Topics at 2017 Fall Wheat Industry Conference

The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates held its annual fall conference this week in Charleston, SC. NAWG’s Committees covered a range of topics including the 2018 Farm Bill, NAFTA renegotiation, wheat research funding, trade, and conservation. 

“With more than one hundred growers from across the country huddled together to discuss key policy issues affecting wheat farmers, this year’s Fall Conference was a success,” stated NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “The Senate and House Agriculture Committees are deep into discussions around the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization, and so it was critical to have this conference to ensure growers are aligned on messaging around NAWG’s top priorities and to maintain momentum to improve Farm Bill programs.”

With trade being a foremost priority for the Administration, NAWG and USW’s Joint International Trade Policy Committee had a packed agenda which tackled NAFTA, KORUS, and Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. The NAWG board adopted a resolution that came out of the Committee “to encourage the current administration to expedite the creation of bilateral trade agreements as stated or promised to increase agricultural trade.”    

“Having a strong trade agenda in place, means strengthening relationships with our current customers and opening up new markets,” stated Goule. “The Administration promised us a series of bilateral deals in lieu of TPP and the creation of new markets for wheat, but so far we haven’t seen that. Instead, it’s actions are potentially harming relationships with our current partners and preventing new agreements from forming.”

“We are working very closely with NAWG to make sure all the people that have influence over trade policy and export market development programs understand how important these issues are to wheat farmers,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “This joint meeting helps move us forward more effectively.”

The next NAWG/USW Conference is scheduled for February 6-11, 2018 in Washington, D.C., when we’ll have growers from across the country hit the Hill. For more information visit NAWG’s site:

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