Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday November 27 Ag News


For the week ending November 26, 2017, temperatures averaged six to fifteen degrees above normal across the State, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. No moisture was received for most of Nebraska. Corn harvest was wrapping up for the region. There were 7.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 28 short, 67 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 4 percent very short, 22 short, 73 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn harvested was 97 percent, near 98 for both last year and the five-year average.

Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 31 fair, 52 good, and 7 excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 96 percent, near 100 last year and 99 average.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 3 percent very poor, 12 poor, 46 fair, 36 good, and 3 excellent. Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 94 adequate, and 0 surplus.


Many Iowa farmers were able to wrap up their fall fieldwork with 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 26, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting, baling corn stalks, tiling, terracing, hauling and spreading manure, and applying fertilizers.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 19 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Corn for grain harvested was nearly complete at 96 percent, 8 days behind the 5-year average. Only southwest and south central Iowa have over 5 percent of their corn for grain crop remaining to be harvested. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17 percent.

Livestock conditions were reported as good with little stress. Cattle continued to graze in harvested corn and soybean fields with some hay starting to be fed.

NOTE:  This is the last weekly Crop Progress and Condition report for the 2017 growing season. We would like to extend our appreciation to the dedicated county FSA and extension staff who supplied the necessary information for these reports. For December through March, we will issue monthly reports. The first monthly report (for December) will be issued January 2, 2018. Weekly reports will begin April 2nd for the 2018 season.

Final Crop Progress Report of Year Shows Wheat Conditions Below Five-Year Average

USDA's final Crop Progress report of 2017 showed winter wheat conditions below the five-year average.  USDA estimated winter wheat conditions at 50% good to excellent as of Sunday, Nov. 26, down 2 percentage points from 52% good to excellent the previous week. Winter wheat progress continued at an average pace with USDA estimating 92% of the crop emerged as of Sunday, the same as both a year ago and the five-year average.

USDA's final Crop Progress report of the year also showed the U.S. soybean harvest is done for the year and farmers have only about 5% of the corn crop left to harvest.  USDA estimated that 95% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, slightly below 98% a year ago and also below the five-year average of 98% harvested.

Cotton harvest was 79% complete as of Sunday, near the average pace of 80%. Sorghum harvest was 95% complete, also near the five-year average of 96%.

NPFS Starts Next Week At Lancaster Event Center, Lincoln

The second largest indoor U.S. farm show, presented by Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect, will be held December 5-7 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Spread across 9.2 acres, the 11th annual Nebraska Power Farming Show is loaded with big iron, precision ag, aerial imaging, livestock production, inputs, data management and more. The Nebraska Power Farming Show is known for attracting companies you won’t see at other nearby farm shows. “More than half of our exhibitors do not participate in the nearest outdoor farm show and nearly 70% do not participate in the nearest indoor farm show,” said Tom Junge, show director. “This may be your only chance to see them in Nebraska!”

Nearly 12% of the companies exhibiting this year are also NEW to the Nebraska Power Farming Show. “While some producers may think that the show doesn’t change much from year to year, it’s simply not true,” said Junge. “Our returning exhibitors showcase new products and services, and we bring new exhibitors to the show every year.”

Only companies promoting ag-related products and services are allowed to exhibit, which means you won’t find hot tubs or windows at the Nebraska Power Farming Show. Multiple educational seminars will also be offered each day, giving farmers several opportunities to learn about climate trends, how to make better financial decisions, planting cover crops and more.

Show hours are 9 am to 5 pm Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9 am to 3 pm Thursday. Admission and parking at the Lancaster Event Center is FREE! For additional show information, visit

The Nebraska Power Farming Show is produced by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association in conjunction with local Nebraska and Iowa farm equipment dealerships. The show is sponsored by: Diamond Sponsor – Farm Credit Services of America and AgDirect; Platinum Sponsors – Bayer CropScience and Nebraska Farm Bureau; Gold Sponsors – Mitas and Stine Seed Company; Silver Sponsors – Machinery Pete and Stewart-Peterson; and Media Sponsors – Midwest Messenger and Rural Radio Network.

Where Is the Land Buying Interest Coming From?

Randy Dickhut, Senior Vice President - Real Estate Operations, Farmers National Company

Those interested in owning agricultural land have various reasons for making the purchase. Farmers and ranchers, the predominant buyers of ag land in most regions, are interested in owning land to expand their operations and to build wealth in an asset they know and understand. As a group, they will be the buyer for 70-90% of the land that comes up for sale in the open market. Individual local investors comprise another important buying group as they look to land as a long-term investment. Investors from outside an area and investment groups or funds provide the third important buying group for ag land.

Buying interest in land varies by region and type of production. In the Pacific Northwest, our real estate team often works with investors, both domestic and foreign, who are interested in the diverse cropland or timberland in this region. Farmers National real estate agents in east Texas and other states of the southern U.S. work with buyers who are interested in owning timber land as an investment. In the Midwest and Plains, farmers and investors are interested in land that raises the major commodity crops.

One emerging group of ag land buyers are those who are divesting their commercial real estate assets to invest in agricultural land. Beings the value trends for commercial real estate typically run countercyclical to ag land values, some commercial real estate holders are looking at selling their commercial rental properties in high price areas and buying ag land as a long-term investment. The 1031 tax-deferred exchange helps facilitate the benefits of the sale and re-investment.


Lower land values in Nebraska have not slowed the sales volume for Farmers National Company. Grain and livestock prices both have an impact on Nebraska land values across many regions of the state. 

"Our number of sales is up 10 to 20 percent over last year and good quality land is definitely in demand," said JD Maxson, assistant area sales manager for the company based out of Omaha.  "The value of top quality land has declined a moderate amount, whereas lower quality land has taken more of a drop." 

Land auctions continue to be a primary way of selling ag land in much of the state and Farmers National Company auctions achieve a successful sale 95 percent of the time despite buyers being more cautious. Private treaty sales are being used more in the case of lower quality land and grazing acres. Local farmers and ranchers are predominate buyers as they seek to purchase land that may only come up for sale once in many generations. 

"We have only seen two or three stress sales where the owner/operator needs to shore up working capital. Depending on the season and commodity prices, we could see more of these types of sales this fall if the state's farm economy stays soft," Maxson said. "Buyers and sellers are paying close attention to the farm and ranch economy as they consider a land transaction."


Land auctions lead the way in Iowa for Farmers National Company as it has seen a 30 percent growth in sales in the last year. 

"Auction sales were 78 percent of Farmer 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," said Sam Kain, ALC, GRI, ABRM, national sales manager for Farmers National Company based in West Des Moines, Iowa.

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," Kain said. "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."


Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today requested an additional $150,000 for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Animal Industry Bureau to provide additional support for preparations for and potentially responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak.  Northey also requested continued funding to support the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program and the Agriculture Drainage Well Closure Program.

Northey requested an additional $150,000 for the Department’s Animal Industry Bureau for foreign animal disease outbreak response preparation.  The Department received $100,000 in funding starting this fiscal year to support preparations for a foreign animal disease outbreak and a portion of that funding was used to hire a new Emergency Management Veterinarian.  The additional funds would be used to accelerate work on emergency response plans, organize disease response exercises and expand coordination efforts with industry partners.

“Due to the challenging budget situation, we have put forward a lean budget proposal with the only request for additional funding being a $150,000 increase for our foreign animal disease response planning efforts. I do believe it is important we continue to invest in priority areas, including taking steps to better protect our state’s vitally important animal industry,” Northey said.

Northey also requested continued funding of $10.575 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in the next fiscal year and also highlighted his support for identifying a long-term source of funding for the state’s water quality efforts. Different water quality funding approaches passed both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate last session, but the legislature was not able to reach final agreement on a funding plan.

In the meeting with Reynolds, Northey also requested $1.875 million in continued funding to support the closure of Agriculture Drainage Wells (ADWs).  Of the 300 registered ADWs in Iowa, 18 remain to be closed at an estimated cost of $5.625 million.  This level of funding over the next three years would allow all of the remaining ADWs to be closed.

The Department requested continued funding for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program.  The Department has received $3 million annually to offer cost-share grants for the installation of E85 dispensers, blender pumps, biodiesel dispensers, and biodiesel storage facilities.  Since 2007, the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program has provided more than $33 million to fuel retailers for infrastructure that give customers additional access to renewable fuels.  This includes 309 projects installing E85 or ethanol blender pumps and 413 projects installing biodiesel pumps or storage tanks.

Entomologist Joins ISU Extension and Outreach

Randall Cass has worked with bees and pollinators across the globe. That international experience has led Cass to Ames, Iowa, where he has been hired as an entomologist by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“This is an exciting and unique opportunity for ISU Extension and Outreach as we haven’t had an extension specialist focused on beekeeping and pollinators before,” Cass said. “The main project I will be working on is examining the health of honey bees and native bees in prairies and soybean fields. We are looking at the impact bees have on soybean production and the bees’ health as they move from fields to prairies at the end of the season.”

The project will also consist of comparing and monitoring the impact that available forage has on bee health.

The position and project are funded through a United States Department of Agriculture grant for research and extension projects to sustain healthy populations of pollinators. Research will be conducted in partnership with the Toth Laboratory of Integrative Insect Sociobiology.

Cass’ previous work has combined field experience, lab research and extensive survey design and implementation. His international development background provides a large amount of experience developing social research tools such as surveys, and identifying and monitoring indicators of project success.

“I have been fortunate to have a broad range of experiences with different styles of beekeeping,” Cass said. “A large part of my job at Iowa State will be measuring the impact of the work being done.”

Cass has spent the last three years working with Catholic Relief Services in Guatemala and El Salvador, providing technical expertise on projects impacting soil fertility management, agroforestry, bio-intensive gardens and beekeeping. He worked with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to present programming and develop response plans to emergencies.

He also has extensive research experience, working as a research staff assistant at the Harry Laidlaw Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis. Cass also spent time as a graduate student researcher in Ecuador and Ghana.

Cass worked in Chile developing, implementing and analyzing a survey exploring obstacles for small-scale beekeepers as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar.

Cass holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Willamette University and a master’s degree in international agricultural development from the University of California, Davis.

Agricultural Producers Reminded of Approaching Deadline to Submit Ballots for the 2017 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Administrator Steve Peterson today reminded eligible farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that they must return county committee election ballots to their local FSA office by Dec. 4, 2017, to ensure that their votes are counted. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than Dec. 4, 2017. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office.

"The last day to submit your ballot is just one week away," said Peterson. “Approximately 1.5 million producers are eligible to vote in this year’s election. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county. I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year's elections."

Eligible voters who have not received a ballot can obtain one from their local FSA office. To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. Farmers and ranchers who supervise and conduct the farming operations of an entire farm, but are not of legal voting age, also may be eligible to vote.

Nearly 7,700 FSA county committee members serve FSA offices nationwide. Each committee has three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office. One-third of county committee seats are up for election each year. County committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to help FSA make important decisions on its commodity support programs, conservation programs, indemnity and disaster programs, and emergency programs and eligibility.

For more information, visit the FSA website at You may also contact your local USDA service center or FSA office.

Dairy Producers Can Enroll for 2018 MPP Coverage

The Farm Service Agency announced that dairy producers can enroll for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018.

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.

Transportation Department Temporarily Waives Logging Device Mandate for Agriculture

The Department of Transportation has granted a 90-day waiver from the requirement that agricultural and livestock haulers install electronic logging devices in their vehicles. Over those 90 days the department plans to look closely at agriculture’s request for an exemption while developing additional guidance for agricultural haulers.

Most farmers and ranchers should be exempt from the ELD mandate because they can claim covered farm vehicle status, but drivers who haul livestock, live fish and insects are likely to fall under the requirements.

In September, the American Farm Bureau Federation and seven livestock organizations petitioned DOT for a waiver and exemption from the Dec. 18 ELD implementation deadline. In their request, the groups explained their two biggest concerns about the requirement: livestock haulers’ readiness to comply and the effect on the transported animals’ well-being.

Drivers who have to use ELDs would be limited to current hours of service rules, which restrict a driver to only 14 “on duty” hours, with no more than 11 active driving hours. Once a driver hits those maximum hour allotments, he must stop and rest for 10 consecutive hours, which would be problematic when transporting livestock and other live animals.

In their petition, the groups pointed out livestock haulers’ strong commitment to ensuring the safety of both the animals they’re transporting and the drivers they share the road with.  In addition, livestock haulers often receive specialized training beyond that required for their counterparts driving conventional commercial motor vehicles. The pork industry’s Transport Quality Assurance Program and the beef industry’s Master Cattle Transporter program provide detailed instruction on proper animal handling and transportation methods.

“As reflected in the [Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s] data, the emphasis these programs place on animal welfare benefits driver safety as it encourages livestock haulers to slow down, be more aware of their surroundings and road conditions, and avoid rough-road situations that could result in animal injury,” the groups noted.

Another major roadblock to implementation for livestock haulers is their lack of awareness of the rule. Because the livestock hauling industry is small compared to the overall trucking industry, it isn’t strongly engaged by DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. As a result, livestock drivers who are aware of the program have had difficulty researching the ELD marketplace and identifying cost-effective solutions that are compatible with livestock hauling and current agricultural hours of service exemptions.

In their petition, the groups also asked DOT to address the incompatibilities between the FMCSA’s hours of service rules and the structure and realities of the U.S. livestock sector.

“For many drivers, there is concern that there are those, with no understanding of or concern for animal welfare or livestock hauling, who will arbitrarily penalize them for choosing the proper care of animals over stopping in excessive heat or cold because of an arbitrary HOS cutoff,” the groups said.

Hormel Announces 52nd Consecutive Increase to Dividend

The Board of Directors of Hormel Foods Corporation, a multinational marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, announced a 10 percent increase to the annual dividend to shareholders, marking the 52nd consecutive annual dividend increase.

The annual dividend on the common stock of the corporation was raised to $0.75 per share from $0.68 per share.

The Board of Directors authorized the first quarterly dividend of eighteen and three fourths cents (18.75¢) a share to be paid on Feb. 15, 2018, to stockholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 15, 2018.

The Feb. 15 payment will be the 358th consecutive quarterly dividend paid by the company. Since becoming a public company in 1928, Hormel Foods Corporation has paid a regular quarterly dividend without interruption.

Court permanently enjoins Willowood regarding Syngenta’s azoxystrobin patent

A U.S. District Court has granted another victory to Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC and its customers in connection with Syngenta’s patent infringement lawsuit against agrochemical manufacturer Willowood, LLC and Willowood USA, LLC (collectively, “Willowood”).

The jury previously found, as fact, that Willowood’s azoxystrobin fungicide products are manufactured using azoxystrobin made by a process protected by Syngenta’s valid U.S. Patent No. 8,124,761.  Syngenta’s ‘761 patent does not expire until April 15, 2029.

Last week, the Court permanently enjoined Willowood from importing into the United States, or making, using, selling, or offering for sale in the United States, any azoxystrobin or end-use products containing azoxystrobin made using a process that infringes Syngenta’s ‘761 patent. 

The Court further concluded that Willowood should not be allowed to use the azoxystrobin previously imported to manufacture fungicide products or to sell any such fungicide products, as such actions would constitute new acts of infringement causing new and additional damages not taken into account by the jury’s verdict.

“This injunction is an important win for Syngenta and its customers who depend on Syngenta’s innovative products.  Without the injunction, Syngenta would be forced to compete against its own patented technology, resulting in lost sales and harmful price erosion, both of which significantly impact our ability to bring needed new products to market,” said Jeff Cecil, Syngenta’s Head of Crop Protection Marketing.

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