Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wednesday October 18 Ag News


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has established a rangeland health initiative in Nebraska. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is leading a state-wide effort to learn more about, and increase the adoption of, grazing management techniques that enhance rangeland health, increase profitability, and provide other environmental benefits.

The Initiative will establish up to 12 demonstration ranches across the state. Interested producers have until Nov. 17 to apply.

According to NRCS, a key part of these demonstration ranches will involve a rangeland health assessment, completing a variety of monitoring techniques throughout the season, and adapting grazing management decisions to achieve various goals. Ranchers selected can receive up to $15,000 per year for their time and expenses related to this initiative.

Nadine Bishop, Nebraska NRCS state rangeland management specialist said NRCS will work with each rancher to develop a grazing management plan. 

“We want to compare the rancher’s current grazing system with some new grazing techniques and monitor the results. Each rancher will determine the new grazing management practices they want to try,” Bishop said.

Landowners interested in applying for funding to establish a rangeland health demonstration ranch should complete their application at their local NRCS field office by November 17, 2017. NRCS plans to fund at least two demonstration ranches in each of the six regions shown in the map below. For more details on this Initiative, visit your local NRCS field office.

Iowa Leaders Call on EPA to Reverse Course on Threats Against Biofuels

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg today joined leaders from across the state to voice their concerns about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of proposals to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), reduce federal biofuel targets, and threaten rural jobs. The duo hosted a press conference at Pella, Iowa’s Two Rivers Cooperative alongside Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Grant Kimberley, Executive Director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, and Dennis Bogaards, a soybean and corn farmer in the Pella community.

"The purpose of the Renewable Fuel Standard is to grow demand for biofuel while driving the industry to innovate,” said Governor Reynolds, who recently spearheaded a letter on biofuels to the EPA from four Midwestern governors. “Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposals seem to take us backward, not forward. While I have appreciated the accessibility of the EPA and have had many positive conversations about the RFS, I have some significant concerns with the direction the agency appears to be taking."

“The proposed contraction of the RFS threatens thousands of Iowa farmers and workers who rely on biofuels to support their livelihood,” added Lieutenant Governor Gregg.

“President Trump vowed to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, which is also unveiling a new study on the economic and employment contributions of biofuels in Iowa. “But today, the EPA is considering schemes to cut corn ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol. EPA Administrator Pruitt has made clear he is not interested in implementing the spirit of the RFS. Folks in rural America are upset and feel betrayed. Their message is clear:  President Trump must take action to put the EPA back on track and not allow the RFS to be systematically destroyed.  One path leads to hope for the heartland.  The other leads to rural economic ruin and a breach of trust that will not be repaired.”

“The RFS is a vital policy that has fostered investments across every segment of the rural economy, from farming to manufacturing,” said Delayne D. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Iowa’s Quad County Corn Processors, which has pioneered technology to convert agricultural residue, namely corn kernel fiber, into cellulosic biofuels. “Cellulosic biofuels are poised to drive a wave of manufacturing investments across the heartland of the United States. The White House needs to remind the EPA that undermining the RFS sends a terrible signal to investors that America is not interested in leading the world in energy innovation.”

The RFS is America’s most successful energy policy, working for the past 12 years to provide consumers with cleaner, more affordable options at the pump while reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst recently outlined their opposition to the proposed cuts in a bipartisan letter signed by 38 U.S. Senators.

Fertilizer Price Moves Mixed

Half of average retail fertilizer prices were higher and half were lower the second week of October 2017 compared to one month earlier, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Four of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, although only one was up significantly. Urea was up 5% compared to a month ago and had an average price of $325 per ton. The other three fertilizers, which were just slightly higher, were DAP with an average price of $432/ton, potash $347/ton and UAN32 $253/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $453/ton, 10-34-0 $413/ton, anhydrous $397/ton and UAN28 $206/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.24/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

Five of the eight major retail fertilizers are now lower compared to a year earlier. Only one of the five is double digits lower. Anhydrous is now 17% lower from a year ago, while 10-34-0 is 9% less expensive and UAN28 is 8% lower. UAN32 is 4% less expensive and DAP is 1% less expensive.

Three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is 1% more expensive, urea is 3% higher and potash is now 11% more expensive.

Next Round of NAFTA Renegotiation Talks Delayed

When negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up the latest round of trade talks in Washington on Tuesday, they left the table in frustration. As a result, the groups have agreed to delay their next meeting until Nov. 17 in Mexico City after originally planning to meet later this month.

President Trump's top trade official, Robert Lighthizer, appeared at a dour press conference at the end of the week-long talks, standing along side his counterparts from Canada and Mexico. He said the terms of the pact must change because "it must be fair."

But Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the United States is trying to "turn back the clock" on trade relations with a "winner-takes-all" approach. She called U.S. demands "troubling."

The U.S. backs a proposal that would allow NAFTA to expire every five years unless all three countries agree to renew it. Canadian and Mexican officials, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, say such a "sunset" provision would create tremendous uncertainty and discourage investment.

U.S. Wheat Associates to Close Cairo Office, Continue Regional Market Coverage from Rotterdam, Casablanca

Continuing a strategic effort to increase resources in wheat import market segments with the best potential for growth and returns for the farmers it represents, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has announced it will close its office in Cairo, Egypt, on December 1, 2017. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry with funding from 17 state wheat commissions and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

“Closing our Cairo office was a difficult decision because it affects four colleagues who have been very dedicated to our mission for many years,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “The closure is most certainly not a reflection of our very good staff, as they have remained committed and hardworking even though the market dynamics of the region have changed. Everyone in our organization thanks them for their service and wishes them all the best in the future. USW is now working through the process to help with these transitions.”

Peterson said USW saw a need to begin adjusting its activities in the Middle East and North Africa several years ago as the supply of significantly lower priced wheat from Russia increased. The organization eliminated a Cairo-based marketing position in 2014. This allowed USW to add an experienced technical specialist in its Casablanca, Morocco, office. In 2016, USW shifted regional management for the Middle East operations to its office in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Peterson noted that USW will continue to provide trade service to government wheat buyers in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region on a targeted basis.

“Our colleagues in Rotterdam and Casablanca will also promote U.S. high performance hard wheat classes and soft wheat classes in specific markets. This includes private buyers, millers and food companies that serve a growing demand for higher value bread products, cakes and confectionary products in the Middle East,” Peterson said. “In addition, these changes will help us increase future marketing capabilities in higher value Asian and Latin American markets.”

NMPF Statement on Round 4 of NAFTA Negotiations

“We are pleased that U.S. trade negotiators have told Canada that its problematic dairy policies must be addressed in the negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“The proposal advanced by the U.S. Trade Representative is the right approach to move dairy trade between our two countries closer to the free trade relationship that exists for most other agricultural products under NAFTA. For too long, Canada’s exorbitant tariffs on dairy imports – in the range of 250-300 percent – have been at odds with an overall free trade policy between our countries. The administration’s proposal to reduce those tariffs and increase dairy trade between the United States and Canada is good for consumers on both sides of the border.

“Equally important, we are very pleased with the U.S. insistence that Canada rescind its new Class 7 milk pricing scheme. Class 7 is a government-sanctioned effort to dump Canada’s surplus milk solids onto the world market to the detriment of dairy farmers in the United States and around the world who have to compete with these subsidized exports. It has to go.

“We are gratified that our trade negotiators have heard the concerns of America’s dairy farmers and cooperatives, and made dairy trade a key objective in the U.S.-NAFTA agenda. The problems created by Canada’s dairy system must be resolved as part of the current negotiations. There can be no acceptable NAFTA outcome unless these issues are resolved.”

AFBF Backs Timely Reg Review of Food Production Tools

Coordinated federal review of advances in agricultural biotechnology will help America’s farmers and ranchers achieve gains in efficiency and productivity needed to meet the continued challenges of the 21st century, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

“American agriculture must stay on the cutting edge of technology,” Duvall said. “Agency collaboration and efficient government review of new food production methods will help foster public confidence, provide our farmers and ranchers tools that enhance their productivity and respect the diversity of our nation’s crops and cropping systems.”

Duvall’s comments came in response to a bipartisan letter from 79 members of the House to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Spearheaded by Reps. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), the letter urges federal regulators to adhere to a “consistent, science-based, risk-proportionate regulatory system” for agricultural biotechnology.

Like the letter, Duvall urged the department and agency leaders to coordinate and advance timely reviews of advances in biotechnology and biology-based tools including gene editing. He said policies and strategies should embrace the review of innovation, domestically and internationally, through the president’s Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

“We will continue to highlight the need for a sound scientific and appropriate risk-based regulatory approach that will ensure farmers and ranchers have the tools and innovation they need to meet the challenges of the future in the most sustainable way possible,” Duvall said.

ACE members, retailers bring flex fuel forward at NACS show

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is attending the 2017 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show taking place today through Oct. 20 in Chicago. This year, ACE will be accompanied by Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based fuel retailer Bob O’Connor, Owner of Jetz Convenience Centers, and ACE producer members at its booth on the show floor.

ACE’s market development efforts center around the fact retailers trust the experience of other retailers when considering the addition of new products. Last November, Jetz became the first retailer to offer E15 to the Milwaukee market, and they opened their second E15 location last month.  O’Connor will be available at this week’s NACS show to share his experiences and answer E15 and flex fuel questions from other fuel retailers across the country.

“Our Flex Fuel Forward campaign recognizes the reality that marketers trust information they get from other marketers. They want to hear from other station owners who have already ‘been there and done that,’” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President. “Website traffic to backs that up: three of the most viewed pages feature retailers addressing common questions and concerns of other retailers. We’ve invited Bob to join us at NACS, the largest convenience store show in the world, to speak to retailers in person.”

ACE is broadening the variety of convenience store profiles on by adding the stories of a “mom and pop” station in rural Nebraska and O’Connor’s small chain convenience stores with high-volume in metro Milwaukee. These stories will show single-store and small chain owners they can add E15 and flex fuels affordably and profitably. "We wouldn't be adding Unleaded 88 (E15) and E85 at a second location if it wasn't doing so well at the first," O'Connor said. Both Jetz flex fuel locations report selling more E85 than premium and diesel combined.

ACE is debuting the first of a series of videos that showcase these stories and answer frequently asked questions about E15 and flex fuels at its booth at the NACS show. Following the show, a new video will be released on each month.

Jetz, like most other successful higher blend ethanol retailers, credits much of its success to the availability of ethanol that reflects RIN values, and being able to use those RIN values to discount fuel and still earn higher margins. More ethanol producers are now selling this deeply discounted “RINless” ethanol directly to marketers, and ACE has invited those producers to also take part in fuel marketer trade shows. ACE member plants or fuel retailers interested in joining the ACE staff at these shows in 2018 can contact the ACE office for details.

DuPont Pioneer and Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard Join Forces to Enable Democratic Access to CRISPR Licensing in Agriculture

DuPont Pioneer and the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard announced today that they have reached an agreement to jointly provide non-exclusive licenses to foundational CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property under their respective control for use in commercial agricultural research and product development. These two major CRISPR-Cas9 license holders are coming together with the shared goal of enabling all entities wanting to apply the technology for agricultural applications with a full range of CRISPR-Cas9 tools. Such foundational intellectual property (IP) for CRISPR-Cas9 technology will be freely available to universities and nonprofit organizations for academic research. Pioneer is a business unit of the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™.

“The promise of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in the hands of many will result in a wide array of benefits for the global food supply ranging from higher and more stable yields of grains, fruits and vegetables for farmers; more nutritious, healthier and affordable foods for consumers; and, improved sustainability of agricultural systems for society,” said Neal Gutterson, vice president of Research & Development at DuPont Pioneer. “It is profoundly important to ensure that this technology is made widely available for agriculture. By partnering with the Broad Institute, together we can maximize access to CRISPR-Cas9 around the world for the greater good.”

“When DuPont Pioneer initially approached us to secure a license for commercial research, we both saw a unique opportunity to provide much broader access to the technology for agriculture,” said Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute. “We applaud DuPont Pioneer for its commitment to advancing research and commercialization to accelerate progress in agriculture.”

The complex CRISPR licensing landscape includes patents and patent applications from multiple parties. Entities often desire access to comprehensive IP, to ensure their ability to apply the scientific tools as widely as possible. To enable such access, Pioneer and Broad Institute have agreed on a joint non-exclusive licensing framework for agricultural use that (i) continues to provide non-exclusive access to IP from Broad Institute co-owned with its collaborators (including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York Genome Center, New York University, The Rockefeller University, and the University of Iowa), and (ii) provides non-exclusive access to foundational IP from Pioneer and to IP from the licenses that Pioneer gained access through Caribou Biosciences, ERS Genomics and Vilnius University. License limitations exclude certain CRISPR technology applications, including for gene drive or tobacco products for human use.

Broad and Pioneer continue to retain the right to grant independent, non-exclusive licenses for the CRISPR-Cas9 IP that each institution controls to any interested entity.

No comments:

Post a Comment