Thursday, October 12, 2017

Wednesday October 11 Ag News

 Smith Advocates for Greater Trade Opportunities for Nebraska Agriculture

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) advocated for greater trade opportunities for Nebraska producers today in a bipartisan Ways and Means Committee member meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, as well as a Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing on opportunities to expand U.S. trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, Smith said:
“We know the importance of NAFTA to Nebraska agriculture.  Canada is the largest export market for U.S. agriculture products, and bilateral trade between Nebraska and Canada totals $1.9 billion a year.  We had a productive discussion today about the importance of maintaining the gains achieved under NAFTA while strengthening the trade relationship between our two countries, and I am optimistic about the path forward.”

At the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing, Smith stressed the need for a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, especially due to Japan’s recent decision to raise its tariff to 50 percent on frozen beef from the U.S. and other countries with which it does not have trade agreements.  The witnesses echoed the need to level the playing field for U.S. agriculture.

Smith is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over trade policy.

Local Omaha Groups, Businesses Call on Tyson Foods to Cut Pollution

Today, Omaha officially joined the nation-wide campaign to hold America’s largest meat company accountable for the widespread water pollution affecting states from the Heartland to the Gulf of Mexico. A local coalition of over 25 businesses, farmers and community groups released a letter calling on the CEO of Tyson Foods Tom Hayes to fulfill his sustainability promises by making a clear commitment to reduce water pollution and protect natural landscapes across the country.

“Tyson’s actions have been polluting our drinking water, endangering public health, and disrupting our climate,” Nebraska Sierra Club conservation chair George Cunningham said. “We call on Tyson to change course and follow Mighty Earth’s campaign demands. Tyson should immediately improve its sustainability standards, and reduce harmful practices along all parts of the supply chain.”

The coalition launch comes in response to a report released earlier this summer linking America’s biggest meat companies to the largest Dead Zone on record in the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to a variety of other environmental and public health issues in the U.S.

Speakers at the event urged Mr. Hayes to commit to sourcing from suppliers that have practices in place to reduce the polluting nitrate runoff contaminating drinking water in Nebraska, such as cover cropping, using less fertilizer, diversifying crops, and stopping the clearing of native ecosystems such as the iconic American prairie.

The meat industry is the main source of water pollution in the United States. The bulk of this pollution comes from growing the vast quantities of animal feed used to raise meat, and the pollution washing off poorly managed fields is “one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems,” according to a report from the EPA.

“Americans should not have to choose between producing food and having healthy clean water” said Lucia von Reusner, Campaign Director for Mighty Earth. “Our nation’s largest meat companies shape our food system on a massive scale, and can implement the solutions needed to make meat less polluting. It’s time for Tyson to Clean It Up.”

Innovation, adaptation featured topics at ISA Farmer Research Conference

Innovative and adaptive strategies that improve grower profitability in a sustainable way will be showcased at the Iowa Soybean Association’s (ISA) Farmer Research Conference Feb. 6-7 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

Taking a holistic approach to weed management, fine-turning nitrogen applications that benefit yield and water quality and reviewing innovative production practices including cover crop and soybean yield management are just a few of the topics to be discussed.

Registration for the conference is now open at

“If you only attend one conference in 2018, you’ll want to make it this one,” said Tom Vincent of Perry, an ISA member, grain farmer and research participant. “It’s unique because you gain valuable information from research funded by farmers, directed by farmers and conducted for farmers. I keep going because every year I’m learning something. It’s about finding good, unbiased, credible information.”

The conference opens Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. with a research roundtable. Farmers can visit with ISA On-Farm Network, Environmental Programs and Services and Analytics staff about 2017 research results and opportunities to participate in field trials in 2018. The day will conclude with remarks by Iowa State University (ISU) Climatologist Elwynn Taylor, an exhibitor reception and networking.

More than 30 breakout sessions will take place the following day highlighting topics such as weed resistance, conservation drainage, watershed planning, pest management, nitrogen application and much more. Featured speakers include ag futurist Lowell Catlett, ISA Director of Analytics Peter Kyveryga and Greg Tylka, ISU professor of plant pathology.

“The conference is all about engaging and connecting with farmers,” said Ed Anderson, ISA senior director of research. “Because farming requires a systems approach, we’ll provide farmers with real-world results and opportunities in production agronomics, technical assistance, cropping systems and conservation research.”

Farmers, landowners and agronomists are encouraged to attend. Certified crop advisers will be eligible to receive credit for sessions attended. Registration is free for farmers participating in ISA research and just $50 for ISA farmer members. General registration for the conference is $150. For additional event information visit or call 800-383-1423.

Follow ISA on Twitter @IowaSoybeans or search #ISAFRC18 for conference updates.

Iowa State University STRIPS Team Assesses Tile Systems Under Prairies

An Iowa State University research project has found that prairies, known for an abundance of deep roots, don’t interfere with tile systems running under them.

Perforated tile are buried under cropland to remove excess water detrimental to crop production. Farmers and landowners considering installing strips of prairie plants in their fields have asked about the possibility of roots growing into tile lines, said Tim Youngquist, an agricultural specialist and farmer liaison for Iowa State’s Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips, known as STRIPS.

The STRIPS team sent video cameras into the tile lines under prairie and crop areas to assess root growth. Matt Helmers, a member of the STRIPS team, professor and extension agricultural engineering specialist, narrates a video produced to show the results at:

“We do see some slight root penetration into the tile line, but it’s quite minimal overall,” he said of the survey, which was done in August.

The largest root encountered was from a cottonwood tree sapling, which was growing in the prairie. Helmers, who also holds a Dean's Professorship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said managing woody plants is important to avoid their roots encroaching into tile.

When compared to the view of tile under a field of continuous corn, Helmers said there were similar or more roots from the corn. In either case, he added there wasn’t enough root growth in these tiles, which were installed in 2008, to plug the tiles or interfere with drainage.

Sometimes farmers report finding a tile plugged with herbaceous roots in low-lying areas or along stream corridors. The usual cause is reed canary grass, an aggressive non-native plant naturalized in the Iowa landscape that is not seeded in prairie plantings.

Ongoing Growth Ahead for the U.S. Pork Industry - Outlook Hinges on Increased Exports

Over the past decade the U.S. hog and pork industry has gone from lagging production with tight margins to a production recovery phase. In a new report from the RaboResearch Food and & Agribusiness group, analysts take a look at the potential growth of the pork industry and the factors determining the growth.

Rabobank’s analysis shows the U.S. pork industry will continue in expansion mode through to 2025, supported by increased production efficiency and additional processing capacity, which also have the potential to improve margins along pork supply chains.

“Exports are necessary for future expansion but are not guaranteed,” notes RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, Global Data Analyst Sterling Liddell. “Mexico continues to grow its sow inventories and slaughter plants, making it only a matter of time before Mexico boosts domestic production.” The report finds that during this transition period in the pork and hog sector exports, efficiency and slaughter capacity will be the determining factors between stagnancy and expansion.

“Geopolitical issues affect the global pork trade,” explains RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness, Global Animal Protein Strategist Justin Sherrard. “Specifically, U.S. pork meat exports to certain markets such as Mexico and China are likely to face domestic competition as production in those certain countries is expected to increase.”

It is critical, for producers to understand supply, demand and the potential for increased market volatility.

Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Tax Reform Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today expressed strong support for the tax reform agenda championed by President Donald J. Trump, hailing it as a great benefit to American agricultural producers. President Trump highlighted the tax reform proposals in an event in Pennsylvania featuring truckers and representatives of the trucking industry.

Perdue issued the following statement:
“The President’s proposed tax cuts and reforms will boost job creation and growth across all American economic sectors, and agriculture is no different. Some of the benefits are self-evident, such as eliminating the ‘Death Tax’ on family farms or reducing the time and expense involved in merely complying with the onerous tax code. But others help agriculture in less obvious ways, as in easing the burden on truckers. Without the trucking industry, many products of American agriculture would have a much more difficult time getting to market. Anything that helps keep trucks on the road and facilitates commerce is good for the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers of American agriculture.”

American Ethanol and NCGA to Roll Out Big Promotion at Talladega Race

Talladega Motor Speedway will once again be the home of "the big one" on Oct. 13-15, only this time it will be the National Corn Growers Association conducting their largest American Ethanol NASCAR promotion to date, not the seemingly inevitable fast racing and wrecks that make the track famous.

NCGA will be partnering with corn farmers from across the U.S. - including Alabama, Kansas, Iowa and Michigan - to promote E15 American Ethanol all weekend in the popular Fan Zone exhibit area, nearby campgrounds, on-track signage, the pavement in pit road and the in-house video system.

"Corn Growers partnered with Growth Energy under the American Ethanol banner to spread the positive benefits of E15 and higher ethanol blends. Since 2011 drivers on all three of NASCAR's racing series have completed more than 10-million miles on E15," said Don Glenn, NCGA board member and farmer from Hillsboro, Alabama. "And E15 has worked seamlessly in these high performance engines. Today, a growing number of consumers are seeking this American-made fuel at the pump because they have seen how well it works for the world's best drivers."

Corn farmers will hand out American Ethanol starter flags as fans arrive and those who fly their green flag over the race weekend will receive promotional items, including E15 T-shirts to continue promoting ethanol long after the roar of the race has concluded. Fans will also have the opportunity Saturday morning, October 14, to meet American Ethanol No. 3 Chevy driver Austin Dillon at the exhibit in the Fan Zone.

As part of its overall Green Initiative, NASCAR switched the fuel used in every car in all three series to the Sunoco Green E15 blend. The move to an ethanol blend created a natural opportunity to partner on an initiative highlighting both the sport's dedication to a cleaner environment, the many environmental and security benefits of ethanol and the important role American farmers play in the national movement toward renewable biofuels.

"Growing ethanol use cuts our dependence on imported oil every day, to the tune of 35 percent in the last decade. Ethanol also cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions by 41.2 million metric tons," said Glenn. "That's like taking 8.7 million cars off the road. And the jobs and tax revenue created by the ethanol industry helps every sector in the U.S."

American Ethanol is also the sponsor of the Saturday night infield concert featuring country star Colt Ford. It is open to all infield guests and Sunday Alabama 500 ticket holders. Infield access for the concert begins Saturday after all track activity has concluded. Concert festivities will begin at approximately 7:00 p.m., with Colt Ford taking the stage at approximately 9:00 p.m.

House Agriculture Committee Reviews CFTC Chairman Giancarlo’s Agenda

Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing examining the agenda for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under the leadership of newly confirmed Chairman Christopher Giancarlo. Following the hearing, Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) issued the below remarks:

“In his short time as chairman, Chris has already shown a dedication to modernizing and improving the management of the CFTC. My colleagues and I have long advocated for a review of the Title VII rulemakings, and under Chris’s leadership we’re finally seeing that process start. I appreciated hearing from him today and am eager for the agency to continue reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens on end-users and market participants.”

Tractor, Combine Sales Were Up in September

According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturer's monthly "Flash Report," the sale of all tractors in the U.S. in September 2017, were down 10% compared to the same month last year.

Two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) were down 9% from last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were down 8%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP were down 25%, while 4-wheel drive tractors were up 25%.  Combine sales were up 6% for the month.

For the nine months in 2017, a total of 168,621 tractors were sold which compares to 163,162 sold thru September 2016 representing a 3% increase for the year.

For the year, two-wheel drive smaller tractors (under 40 HP) are up 8% over last year, while 40 & under 100 HP were down 1%. Sales of 2-wheel drive 100+ HP are down 16%, while 4-wheel drive tractors are up 2%.

Sales of combines for the year total 2,936 a decrease of 4% from 2016.

October 12 is National Farmers Day

A day of honor is very much deserved to all of the hard-working farmers. National Farmer's Day is observed annually on October 12th as a day for them and to pay tribute to all farmers throughout American history.

National Farmer's Day was previously known as Old Farmer's Day. From very early in American culture, a farmer's endless hard work has been an example to all of us, and on National Farmer's Day, we thank them for their contributions to our economy.

There are some cities and towns across the United States that have their own versions of Farmer's Day, with celebrations and festivals on various dates throughout the year. Many of them are held in September and October.

October does seem fitting for celebrating National Farmer's Day as it is usually near the end of the harvest. However, many farmers may not be able to take a rest from their hard labor to join in the celebration of this holiday because of the delays Mother Nature has caused in this year's harvest.

August Trade Data Shows Strong Beef Exports Continue

Katelyn McCullock, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation

August trade data showed exports continued at a double-digit pace increasing 15% over August of 2016.  This marks the 3rd month in the row of double digit export increases and extends the year to date lead to 15% over last year. Leading the way in the month of August were increases to Vietnam (+113%), Japan (+39%), followed by Hong Kong (+28%), and Canada (18%).  Mexico and other countries also showed single digit increases, while China and South Korea posted year over year declines.

Imports also increased in August, up 8% compared to 2016.  Several countries had double digit increases in imports to the U.S., starting with New Zealand (19%), Australia (15%), Mexico (14%) and Uruguay (14%).  Brazil and Nicaragua posted year over year declines this month.  Year to date imports are still hovering just below a year ago, down 3%, although the last three months have shown rather strong increases.

Imports have regionally shifted this year.  While Australia and New Zealand still supply the lion's share of imported beef, about 1 billion to 1.5 billion pounds annually (carcass weight), Central and South America have been increasing shipments this year.  Brazil and Uruguay over the last five years have supplies on average about 215 million pounds per year. This year those two countries have nearly hit 200 million pounds through the first 8 months of 2017.  Year to date Brazil is up 19% and Uruguay follows up 12%.  However, the big news is the growth from Mexico and Nicaragua, which combined have shipped almost half a billion pounds of beef to the U.S. this year, already more beef than sold in any single year before 2015.  Mexico alone is up 31% on a year to date basis and Nicaragua is up 26%.

Mexico and Nicaragua have been gaining ground into the U.S. import market since about 1998.  Imports from these two countries surpassed annual imports from Brazil and Uruguay in 2010 and have not looked back, posting double digit increases in 7 out of the last 10 years. This trend will be interesting one to watch as markets shift and new trade agreements unfold. Canada still plays a major role in imported beef to the U.S. and ranked 2nd in 2016 on a tonnage basis, larger than Mexico and Nicaragua combined. However, this month those numbers fail to make the highlight reel, coming in only 3% higher year to date than 2016 and even in the month of August.

Alliance celebrates a successful year of bridging the communication gap between farm and fork

The Animal Agriculture Alliance recently released its annual report for fiscal year 2017 (May 2016 – April 2017), which includes highlights in the organization’s work to connect food industry stakeholders, engage key influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture. As the Alliance is celebrating its 30th anniversary, the report also includes a timeline of significant achievements from the past three decades.

“Our annual report showcases the successful efforts the Alliance is making to ensure each year is our best one yet,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “It is especially meaningful this year to look back over 30 years of accomplishments to see how far our organization has come, and envision where we will go. We couldn’t be where we are without the support of our members, sponsors, donors and other friends, and we hope you all enjoy reviewing our past year along with us.”

A few milestones mentioned in the report include:

    June 2016 - Alliance representatives attended animal rights conferences and provided detailed reports of the speakers to Alliance members.

    September 2016 - Kicked off our eighth annual College Aggies Online program. Participants would go on to reach 2.3 million people on social media and 15,000 people at in-person events.

    November 2016 - Launched #WhyIThankAg campaign, which helped increase engagement on the Alliance’s social media channels.

    January 2017 - Launched a lunch and learn series for DC-area restaurant, retailer and foodservice associations.

    April 2017 - Debuted redesigned and reorganized legislative map to better explain current and past legislation that may impact farmers and ranchers.

    May 2017 - Stakeholders Summit, themed Connect to Protect Animal Ag: #ActionPlease2017, was the largest yet with 276 attendees.

Enlist E3 Gets ADM as Partner

Farmers hungry for new postemergence soybean herbicide technology will have another trait system to consider for 2018. Dow AgroSciences has announced it will do a stewarded introduction of Enlist E3 soybeans in collaboration with grain processor ADM.

The Enlist E3 trait package allows soybeans to withstand in-season applications of 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate. The special grain handling arrangement with ADM is aimed at keeping all resulting soybeans targeted to domestic use and out of export streams. The E3 package does not yet have import approvals from China and the European Union.

Previously, Dow AgroSciences has waited until all import approvals were in place before going to market with a new trait. This collaboration represents something of a departure for the seed and chemical company that has recently merged with DuPont.

"This is a Dow AgroSciences-initiated project that has long been in development," said John Chase, commercial lead for Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Weed Control System. He noted the company did have a limited acreage program for the past few years that allowed farmers to trial Enlist corn under stewardship agreements.

Chase said the driver is the need for farmers to access new weed control technologies. "We feel strongly that when advanced solutions are available and fully approved in the United States, they should reach farmers as quickly as possible," he said. Enlist soybeans have full approvals for cultivation in the U.S. Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides also have approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in the trait system.

"Those import approvals are very important to us and the efforts continue to obtain them," Chase said. A news release announcing the ADM program showed industry support for the effort.

Chase described the arrangement with ADM as a comprehensive closed-loop system. Four ADM processing plants will handle the resulting production of the planted production: Mankato, Minnesota; Frankfurt, Indiana; Mexico, Missouri and Deerfield, Missouri.

"The American Soybean Association (ASA) appreciates the tight, closed-loop production and processing system that has been developed," said ASA President Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Illinois. "This will allow a number of farmers to experience the Enlist weed control system and is designed to keep all production out of export channels. We also appreciate Dow AgroSciences' continued efforts to seek import approvals in China and the EU."

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