Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday November 23 Ag News

Securing Nebraska’s Pork Industry from a Disease Crisis

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association with support from the National Pork Board and Nebraska Department of Agriculture invite pork producers, veterinarians, and stakeholders to attend a Foot and Mouth Disease Crisis Tabletop workshop in West Point on Wednesday, December 6th at the Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Avenue.

The exercise walks participants through a foot and mouth disease outbreak focusing on the effects at the state and local level. Participants rapidly become a part of the response effort from diagnosing the first case, mobilizing the local response, controlling and eradicating the disease, and getting back to “business as usual.”

“We’re thankful that our country has not experienced a disease such as foot-and-mouth (FMD) since 1929,” said Terry O’Neel, National Pork Board president from Friend, Nebraska. However, if we get the news that FMD, African swine fever or another foreign animal disease has arrived, the Secure Pork Supply plan will pay big dividends by getting pork production back to normal much faster.”

The Secure Pork Supply plan will outline procedures that pork producers, processors and federal/state agencies agree are feasible should an FAD strike. According to veterinarian Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff this would include the safe movement of animals from farms in an FAD control area to harvest channels or to other production sites as long as the pigs have no evidence of disease.

“As a pork producer, I want to be ready when it’s time to sign up as a participant in the Secure Pork Supply program,” O’Neel said. “In the meantime, let’s all prepare by ramping up our farms biosecurity measures and other steps so we’ll be ready to go.”

Pre-registration can be done at Registration the day of the event begins at 8:30 a.m. Secure Pork Supply plan will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This exercise has been approved by the Nebraska Board of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery for continuing education credit for veterinarians.


Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska (ICON) will be hosting their Twelfth Annual Meeting in Valentine, NE, on Saturday, December 16, 2017, at the Niobrara Lodge.

The day starts at 10 a.m. with registration. At 11 a.m., the ICON Board of Directors will conduct an annual business meeting and invites any members to participate, which will be followed by a noon luncheon, served at the Lodge.

Afternoon activities will begin with a Legislative Round Table aimed at discussing what’s happening in the legislature at 1 pm. A presentation by Omaha attorney David Domina at 2:30 pm will cover the property tax crisis in Nebraska and possible remedies for tax reform.

ICON’s annual meeting will be a strong discussion event for Nebraska’s Property Tax issue. It is important for Nebraskans to have affordable taxes no matter what business or line of work. ICON represents cattlemen in the livestock industry, working for affordable taxes making their bottom line more acceptable, but all Nebraskans need tax reform.

ICON welcomes everyone to join them in this discussion.

R-Calf USA vice-president Mike Schultz will speak about issues which plague today’s cattle industry at 4 p.m. An auction for the Jim Hanna Memorial Scholarship will end the annual meeting.

Registration for the 2017 ICON Convention Registration is $50 and includes the noon luncheon. Guests accompanying a paid registration can register for $20.

ICON membership dues for 2017 are $100 and if members pay the day of the meeting, there will be a $10 discount.

ICON Annual Meeting registration can be sent to: ICON/Linda Wuebben, 55669 888th Road, Fordyce, NE 68736. For more information, call 402-357-3778 or visit ICON online at

ICON has always been a spokesperson for independent cattlemen from across the state, protecting their rights so they can continue to grow a quality beef product for the American consumer. Come join ICON members as they discuss property tax relief, brand committee issues and live the Cowboy Way.

Save on Gas This Holiday Season by Filling Up with E15

Drivers road tripping to see friends and family this holiday season could save big by filling up with E15. E15 contains five percentage points more ethanol than E10, also known as Super Unleaded. On average, E15 costs $.05 to $.10 cents less than regular gasoline. AAA projects nearly 51 million American will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving gas prices have risen to highest since 2014. According Growth Energy, if all the drivers hitting the road this week fill up with E15, the total savings would be nearly $4 million.

“Many consumers get to the pump and automatically reach for Super Unleaded thinking it’s the cheapest fuel, without realizing E15 can save them even more money,” said Iowa Corn Promotion Board President Duane Aistrope, a farmer from Randolph. “Consumers can save money and support their local farmers by filling up with cleaner-burning E15 or E85.”

E15 is the most tested fuel in history, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the fuel for use in all model year 2001 and newer vehicles, including cars, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). This approved group of vehicles includes more than 80 percent of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today.

“E15 is a good thing for consumers, retailers, and the state of Iowa,” explained Aistrope. “Ethanol, a renewable fuel made from Iowa corn burns cleaner than regular gas. And when you use E15 at the pump, it saves you money, supports Iowa jobs and your local farmers.”

E15 has higher-octane content, which means more power. It also burns cooler and cleaner, reducing carbon emissions and engine wear. NASCAR has traveled more than six million miles on E15, starting with the 2011 racing season, and NASCAR drivers and mechanics give the fuel high marks for power and durability. The combination of performance and lower price make E15 a great value.

Go to, to learn more about E15 and the benefits of ethanol and to locate local retailers near you.

Examining Frequently Asked Farm Lease Questions

As harvest season draws to a close, farmers are starting to look forward to the next planting and growing season. Often times, this means signing new lease agreements or evaluating if an existing agreement is working.

“Because nearly half of Iowa’s crop ground is farmed through a cash rent or crop share lease, it is crucial that both tenants and landlords understand Iowa law as it relates to farm leases,” said Kristine Tidgren, assistant director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation.

Tidgren is the author of an article titled “Farm Leases – Frequently Asked Questions” that appears in the November issue of the Acreage Living newsletter from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The article aims to answer common questions regarding Iowa farm leases and the law.

“Knowing the particulars of the law is very important,” Tidgren said. “Tenants and owners need to know what their rights and obligations under the law are. Now that harvest is coming to a close, many farmers start thinking about the next year and they look at their lease and might want to change it. Iowa has particular laws that don’t always make that possible.”

One of the most important things for farmers to understand when dealing with leases is that unless a termination notice is given by September 1, that lease will remain intact for the next year.

“Sometimes an owner will allow a tenant to renegotiate a lease at this point, but both parties would have to agree,” Tidgren said. “This also applies to oral agreements, not just written contracts.”

Understanding what is enforceable is also very important for both parties.

“Not having a written lease can lead to a lot of confusion,” Tidgren said. “An oral lease is just as binding as a written lease, it just isn’t as easy to prove what the terms are in a disagreement. Having a written lease eliminates confusion and insures everyone is on the same page.”

The November edition of the Acreage Living newsletter also includes articles on finding the right supplies for growing fruits and vegetables, the wounds left by forest invasive species and winter manure management.

Cattlemen Applaud Court-Ordered Stay in CERCLA, EPCRA Reporting Mandate

Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today released the following statement in response to the DC Circuit Court’s decision to stay a mandate that agricultural entities file reports under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) –

“Cattle producers have one more thing for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving weekend. Agricultural operations were never intended to be regulated by these laws, so this court-ordered stay until January 22 is very welcome news. We’ll use this additional time to continue working on the introduction of stand-alone legislation to fix this issue, and we’ll also promote corrective language in the appropriations process.”

For more information about the CERCLA/EPCRA reporting issue and how it affects cattle producers, visit NCBA’s website here....

Secretary Perdue Announces Soybean Board Appointments

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 19 members and 3 alternate members to serve on the United Soybean Board. The producers appointed to serve three year terms include: 
    Mike Korth, Randolph, Neb.
    Thomas E. Oswald, Cleghorn, Iowa
    Larry K. Marek, Riverside, Iowa

    Annie Dee, Aliceville, Ala.
    Robert Stobaugh, Atkins, Ark.
    Gary Berg, Saint Elmo, Ill.
    Tom Griffiths, Kendallville, Ind.
    Dennis Gruenbacher, Andale, Kan.
    Keith N. Tapp, Sebree, Ky.
    Belinda Burrier, Union Bridge, Md.
    Herb Miller, Niles, Mich.
    Lawrence Sukalski, Fairmont, Minn.
    Philip Good, Macon, Miss.
    Lewis Rone, Pontageville, Mo.
    Dave Dotterer, Rittman, Ohio
    Ellie W. Green, Jr., Lynchburg, S.C.
    Marc V. Reiner, Tripp, S.D.
    David Nichols, Ridgely, Tenn.
    Andrew W. Scott, Jr., Monte Alto, Texas
    Colt Clemmons, Killen, Ala. Alternate
    Fitzhugh Bethea, Dillon, S.C. Alternate
    Daniel C. Berglund, Wharton, Texas Alternate

"I truly appreciate the time and expertise that these individuals have agreed to provide, and know U.S. soybean producers will be well served by these men and women,” said Perdue.

The board is composed of 73 members representing 29 states and Eastern and Western regions.  To become a member, you must be a soybean producer and be nominated by a qualified state soybean board.

The board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Information Act.  It became effective July 9, 1991, when the Soybean Promotion and Research Order was implemented.  

Since 1966, Congress has authorized the establishment of 22 industry-funded research and promotion boards.  They empower farmers and ranchers to leverage their own resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities.  USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight, paid for by industry assessments, which ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity for participating stakeholders.

All-Time Monthly Record Highs for Red Meat and Pork Production in October

Commercial red meat production for the United States totaled 4.64 billion pounds in October, up 5 percent from the 4.43 billion pounds produced in October 2016.

By State           (million lbs.  -  % Oct '16)

Nebraska ...........:     714.3            101      
Iowa ..................:     652.4            101      
Kansas ...............:     503.9            106      

Beef production, at 2.30 billion pounds, was 4 percent above the previous year. Cattle slaughter totaled 2.80 million head, up 6 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was down 20 pounds from the previous year, at 1,361 pounds.

Veal production totaled 6.4 million pounds, 3 percent below October a year ago. Calf slaughter totaled 44,000 head, down 9 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was up 14 pounds from last year, at 251 pounds.

Pork production totaled 2.32 billion pounds, up 5 percent from the previous year. Hog slaughter totaled 11.0 million head, up 5 percent from October 2016. The average live weight was unchanged from the previous year, at 282 pounds.

Lamb and mutton production, at 11.9 million pounds, was up 2 percent from October 2016. Sheep slaughter totaled 183,900 head, 1 percent above last year. The average live weight was 129 pounds, up 1 pound from October a year ago.

January to October 2017 commercial red meat production was 43.0 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2016. Accumulated beef production was up 4 percent from last year, veal was down 1 percent, pork was up 3 percent from last year, and lamb and mutton production was down 4 percent.

USDA Cold Storage October 2017 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on October 31, 2017 were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 2 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 3 percent from the previous month and down slightly from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 54 percent from last month and up 58 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on October 31, 2017 were down 4 percent from the previous month but up 12 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 6 percent from the previous month and up 12 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 20 percent from last month but up 14 percent from October 31, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on October 31, 2017 were down 3 percent from the previous month but up 4 percent from October 31, 2016.  Butter stocks were down 14 percent from last month and down 4 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were up 4 percent from last month but down 17 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 5 percent from last month and up 4 percent from a year ago.

Fischer on EPA’s Point of Obligation Announcement

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement after the EPA announced the agency is denying the petition to move the point of obligation from refiners to downstream retailers:

“Today President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt demonstrated their commitment to the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard with this important decision. This is a big victory for rural America. It will provide certainty, not only for hardworking producers in Nebraska and across the Heartland, but also for innovators who have invested in the future of renewable fuels.”

Senator Fischer is a strong advocate for renewable fuels. She has been a leading voice for rural America as the administration works to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

EPA Decision to Keep Point of Obligation Unchanged Protects Consumer Choice

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor today released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to maintain the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) point of obligation:

“We commend the EPA for laying to rest a year of attempts from a small group of oil refiners who have been using every trick in the book to change the established rules for tracking compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Skor said.

“This one-sided handout would have added regulatory red tape, created havoc in the marketplace, and denied consumers access to more affordable fuels with higher blends of biofuels like E15. Growth Energy has led the charge to oppose this effort from the very beginning, and we are grateful to our allies in Congress and to Administrator Pruitt for working with us to protect over 12 years of investment under the RFS.

"The RFS is America’s single most successful energy policy and continually works to save consumers money, protect the environment, drive rural growth, and secure U.S. independence."

Continuous Milk Production Keeping Dairy Prices Low

Dr. Bob Cropp has been saying all year long that total milk production will need to simmer down before prices get any better. And one day after the USDA announced that October's national output was up by another 1.4 percent over last year, the professor emeritus with the University of Wisconsin-Extension says the results are predictable.

In his monthly Dairy Situation and Outlook report, Cropp pointed out that U.S. milk production is running about 2.5 percent more than in 2016--which so far has been the biggest year for milk production on record.

"Final milk prices will depend upon the level of milk production, domestic sales and exports," Cropp said. "USDA is forecasting an increase in 2018 milk production of 1.8 percent from a 0.5 percent increase in the average number of milk cows and 1.3 percent more milk per cow. This is a lot of milk following a 1.6 percent increase forecasted for this year."

But if milk prices start the year near current futures market prices, the industry could see heavier culling of milk cows and a lower increase in milk per cow.

Meanwhile, farmers may want to keep an eye on what's happening overseas, as well as on our North American neighbors. Cropp says U.S. exports are experiencing competition from EU and Canada.

"According to U.S. Dairy Export Council, the EU exported 43 percent more skim milk powder during January through August than a year ago," he said. "Canada with very aggressive pricing with export prices below both EU and the U.S. had increased exports of skim milk powder. Canada was exporting about 1,000 tons of skim milk powder per month, but is now exporting 8,000 to 10,000 tons. In addition, Mexico having concerns about the outcome of current NAFTA negotiations has reduced its source of nonfat dry milk imports from the U.S."

As a result, USDA and other forecasters have lowered their price forecast for 2018; and both Class III and Class IV futures have fallen, as well.

In addition, milk production is starting to pick up in all five of the other exporting markets, which means the U.S. will face strong competition going into the next year.

Deere Reports Earnings of $510 Million for Fourth Quarter and $2.159 Billion for Year

Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $510.3 million, or $1.57 per share, for the fourth quarter ended October 29, 2017, compared with $285.3 million, or $0.90 per share, for the quarter ended October 30, 2016. For fiscal 2017, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $2.159 billion, or $6.68 per share, compared with $1.524 billion, or $4.81 per share, in 2016.

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 23 percent, to $8.018 billion, for the fourth quarter and
increased 12 percent, to $29.738 billion, for the full year. Net sales of the equipment operations were
$7.094 billion for the quarter and $25.885 billion for the year, compared with respective totals of $5.650 billion and $23.387 billion in 2016.

“John Deere has completed another successful year as markets for farm and construction equipment
showed improvement and our actions to build a more durable business model yielded strong results,” said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer, adding that the year’s sales and earnings were the fifth-highest in company history. “We saw higher overall demand for our products with farm machinery sales in South America making especially strong gains and construction equipment sales rising sharply. At the same time, the company realized continued benefits from its broad product portfolio and agile cost structure. As a result, Deere has remained well-positioned to serve present customers while making investments aimed at driving growth and attracting additional customers in the future.”

Investments made or announced during the year included the acquisition of the Wirtgen Group, the
world’s leading manufacturer of road construction equipment. The transaction is expected to be finalized next month. “Wirtgen will establish Deere as a substantially more prominent player in global construction equipment markets,” Allen said.

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