Saturday, December 9, 2017

Friday December 8 Ag News

Nebraska Leads Nation in Beef Exports to China

Through October 2017, Nebraska exported more than half of the total share of U.S. beef to China, according to data recently released from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Nebraska’s beef exports to China were $8.7 million, a 50.5 percent share of the U.S. total of $17.2 million.

“Growing agriculture through trade continues to be a top priority for my administration,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “For years, Nebraskans have been working together with federal officials to reopen the Chinese beef market, and my administration continued that work with visits to China in 2015 and 2016. When China agreed for the first time since 2003 to open its beef market to the United States, Nebraska was ready and shipped the first beef to China within days of the announcement.”

In September, Nebraska had a similar opportunity to maintain and build trade relations with Japan. Nebraska’s beef exports to Japan are up 18 percent from 2016 over the same time period. With beef exports to Japan of $309.9 million for the first ten months of 2017, Nebraska is on track to have the largest year of beef exports to Japan since the country reopened its market to U.S. beef.

Growing demand for Nebraska’s quality agriculture commodities through trade generates more than $6 billion annually for Nebraska’s ag economy. 

Estate Planning Workshop - January 3rd

A free Estate Planning Workshop will be held in Columbus on Wednesday, January 3, from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., at the Central Community College Campus.  The workshop is free, but you do need to register with Karen Mroczek, 402-562-1249 or email:  Topics include proper family communications for estate planning, estate planning basics, establishing your legacy with planning, and tax consequences of estate planning.  Presenters include: Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension; Tom and Jim Fehringer, Fehringer and Mielak, LLP; Jim Gustafson, Nebraska Community Foundation; and Jan Schmeits and Jordan Mueller, Schmeits, Mueller & Martinsen, PC.

First National Bank is providing the lunch for the participants.  The other cooperating sponsors include: Central Community College, The Columbus Area Community Foundation, Nebraska Extension, and the Nebraska Community Foundation.

The sooner you start making estate plans the better.  Participants in past workshops always say the workshop is great, but they wished they would have gone sooner in life.  It is also very helpful to have representatives of several generations of the family present at the workshop. The information provided will be appropriate for all families. Examples related will include planning information for small businesses and farming operations.

Speaking from a personal standpoint, one thing I am pleased to report was that my Mom had her affairs in order at her passing.  With funeral planning complete, and the estate plan in order, the work after the funeral went so much smoother and without any complication.  One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to have your affairs in order.  I will always appreciate my Mom for having that done.

With questions or to register contact with Karen Mroczek, 402-562-1249 or email:  The program will be held in the West Education Center at CCC, in Room 205.

For more information or assistance, please contact Allan Vyhnalek, Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension, for Farm Succession, 402-472-1771 or email:

Center for Rural Affairs releases 2018 farm bill platform

Today, the Center for Rural Affairs released its 2018 farm bill policy platform, “A Farm Bill for Rural America.”

Written by Anna Johnson, policy associate, and Rural Policy Program staff, the platform reflects more than 40 years of on-the-ground work by Center staff, and input from farmers and ranchers across the country.

“We need a farm bill which helps rural America,” Johnson said. “While a great deal of this work is done on the ground and in communities, the overarching influence of the farm bill on every facet of this work cannot be ignored.”

The platform focuses on conservation, crop insurance reform; beginning, socially-disadvantaged, and veteran farmers; rural development; local foods; livestock; organic production; and nutrition assistance.

“The Center’s farm bill priorities continue our decades-long work of addressing the real needs of rural communities,” said Johnson. “These proposals will support family farms. They will preserve natural resources for our children and grandchildren. They will create opportunity for the next generation of beginning farmers. They will foster rural economic opportunity. Congress has a responsibility to serve rural citizens through the farm bill, and these proposals offer a path for them to do so.”

The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, 2018.

To download the platform, visit


The creation of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln was approved Dec. 5 by the Board of Regents.

The institute aims to prepare students to understand, participate in and shape global trade and finance in a world that is increasingly interconnected. It will build on the strengths of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Business and College of Law to offer undergraduate and graduate education, facilitate faculty research and conduct outreach efforts, all related to international trade and finance.

A renowned trade expert and Nebraska alumnus, Yeutter made a $2.5 million leadership gift through outright and planned gifts to establish the Clayton Yeutter International Trade Program Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation in 2015.

Yeutter, who died in March at 86, held three cabinet-level posts for two U.S. presidents. He was counselor for domestic policy and secretary of agriculture for President George H.W. Bush and U.S. trade representative for President Ronald Reagan. Most recently, Yeutter was senior adviser of international trade for Hogan Lovells, LLP, in Washington, D.C., one of the nation's oldest and largest law firms.

Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will help fulfill Yeutter's vision for the institute by serving as diplomat in residence. In addition, three endowed chairs will be established as the foundation of the Yeutter Institute. The Duane Acklie Chair will be in the College of Business; the Michael Yanney Chair will be in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and the Clayton Yeutter Chair will be in the College of Law.

To learn more about the institute, visit

The ISU Extension Crop Advantage Series will be held during January at 14 Iowa locations

Farmers and crop advisers will hear about current research and crop production information from Iowa State University at the 2018 Crop Advantage Series. The series of meetings will be held at 14 Iowa locations Jan. 3-26 with ISU Extension and Outreach specialists providing updated management options and recommendations on current and future crop production issues. The meetings offer continuing educations credits for Certified Crop Advisers and pesticide safety recertification.

“There is no other program in our crop production education year where we bring this many extension specialists together at individual sites across the state like we do for Crop Advantage meetings,” said Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

In 2017, nearly 2,000 individuals attended the meetings, representing 97 of the 99 Iowa counties. When asked the impact of information about managing operation margins for 2016 and beyond, 44 percent of attendees estimated a value of $5-10 per acre and 24 percent estimated a value of $10-20 per acre.

“Our goal is to prepare producers to manage potential issues when they arise, or even before they arise, by sharing the most up-to-date scientific knowledge from Iowa State University,” said Anderson. “Content at the meetings is driven by county needs and production issues.”

Topics on the agenda this year include: factors for high-yielding soybeans, micronutrients and tissue testing, nitrogen management, soil health concepts, cover crops and seedling diseases, insect management thresholds, SCN resistant varieties and seed treatments. Other topics will include a crop market outlook, and weed management and dicamba use in 2018. 

“The introduction of dicamba-resistant soybean varieties along with new dicamba formulations resulted in a substantial increase in off-target injury complaints this summer,” said Bob Hartzler, professor and extension weed specialist with Iowa State. “Understanding particle and vapor drift scenarios, recent product label changes, and updated university application recommendations will be covered at each Crop Advantage meeting this winter.”  

2018 CAS Meeting Dates and Locations

Jan. 3 – Sheldon
Jan. 4 – Okoboji
Jan. 5 – Burlington
Jan. 9 – Storm Lake
Jan. 10 – Ames
Jan. 11 – Moravia
Jan. 12 – Mason City
Jan. 16 – Atlantic
Jan. 17 – Fort Dodge
Jan. 18 – Waterloo
Jan. 23 – Le Mars
Jan. 24 – Iowa City
Jan. 25 – Denison
Jan. 26 – Davenport

For locations, times, program content and host information, visit

Early registration for each location is $50; late registration made fewer than seven days prior to the meeting or on-site is $60. Registration includes lunch, printed proceedings booklet, private pesticide applicator recertification and CCA credits. Online registration and additional information is available at

For answers to questions, contact ANR Program Services at 515-294-6429 or, or contact an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist. 

Iowa Corn Promotion Board Receives New MEG Patent Application for Bio-based Manufacturing Process

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published this week a new patent application (U.S. 62/345,399) from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) adding to a previously issued U.S. patent on a proprietary production method using corn in the industrial manufacturing of a raw material called monoethylene glycol (MEG). MEG is an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of antifreeze, plastic bottles for pop or bottled water, and polyester clothes. Today, MEG makes up about 30 percent of the bottles and polyester. The patent covers an improvement in the process conditions to increase efficiency from approximately 60 percent to 85 percent yield.

“Production efficiencies that drive yield while reducing cost drive success - this holds true in manufacturing as well as in farming,” said Pete Brecht, a farmer from Central City who chairs Iowa Corn’s Research and Business Development Committee. “Patenting research that improves production efficiencies of corn-based bio-MEG helps us eliminate the need for petroleum-based ethylene derivatives. This creates more environmentally friendly consumer bioplastic products and increases demand for Iowa corn farmers.”

The current way bio-MEG is made is through a conversion of sugarcane ethanol, which is usually sourced from Brazil, to ethylene, but still the majority of MEG comes from fossil fuels. ICPB’s patented process can eliminate the added costs of bio-MEG by going from corn sugar to MEG in one step.

Most MEG currently goes into making polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a plastic used for beverage bottles, polyester textiles, and films, but MEG can also be used as anti-freeze, coolants, aircraft deicers and industrial solvents. Plastic companies are currently making limited quantities of bottles utilizing biobased MEG made from sugarcane-based ethanol imported from South America. In 2016, 62 billion pounds of MEG were sold. The market continues to grow at the rate of about four percent a year and that four percent equates to about 94 million bushels of corn.

Investment of checkoff dollars in research and business development allows for a direct return on Iowa corn farmer investments. Consequently, ICPB research programs have continued to grow. ICPB research programs aim to find new and innovative uses of corn, such as plastics and industrial chemicals. ICPB develops and licenses intellectual property to partner with companies; this strategy will increase the commercialization of new products related to corn and create new opportunities for corn farmers.

99th Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting honors Iowans 'Born to Lead with the Will to Succeed' celebrating legacy and innovation of Iowa agriculture

Members of the state’s largest grassroots farm organization gathered in Des Moines December 5-6 to kick off a celebration that recognizes Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) 100 years of success.  The 99th annual gathering of IFBF members also launched 2018 as the ‘Year of Iowa Farm Bureau.’ The designation, recently signed by Governor Kim Reynolds, celebrates a century of innovation and leadership of IFBF family farmers.

Craig Hill, IFBF president, addressed the members and shared the storied history of Farm Bureau.  “IFBF members may not realize it, but Iowa Farm Bureau was the first organization that gave farmers a ‘voice.’  Before Iowa Farm Bureau, it was politicians or those appointed by politicians, who decided farm policy,” said Hill.  President Hill also acknowledged the challenges that face farmers today, including efforts to improve water quality, but Hill says progress is happening. “It’s why 87 percent of Iowa Farm Bureau members surveyed say they are using conservation practices on their farm and 71 percent have plans to apply new conservation practices in the next five years.  Iowa farmers know water quality is important, so even though we’ve seen three years of a downturned market for ag products, 73 percent of members surveyed are spending their OWN money to apply conservation practices,” said Hill.

IFBF farmers packed the room for “It Takes a Village to Protect a Watershed” education session to hear how several IFBF farmers found success by ramping up conservation practices. Mike Ehlers, a Buena Vista County farmer, agreed that education is the key to changing farmers’ ideas about conservation practices. And, he said, repetition is the tool that inspires change and confidence.

“It really takes multiple times of showing other farmers things, before they are willing to consider making a change,” Ehlers said.

Jeff Pape of Dubuque County said farmers’ competitive nature is an asset when it comes to adding new practices. “People’s minds will change when they start seeing their neighbors have positive results,” he said. “That’s really when you get a lot of people who start to be willing to try new things.”

Another big draw at the 99th IFBF annual meeting was keynote speaker, Rorke Denver.  Denver, a former U.S. Navy SEAL Commander who served in some of the most dangerous places on Earth, shared inspirational stories and life lessons learned in the field of battle.  One lesson he shared was from serving in Afghanistan.  Denver and his fellow SEALS were tasked with securing a hillside for approaching U.S. troops.  Denver told how he scanned the hills for Taliban, but grew frustrated when he continued to miss existing threats, which his sniper scout quickly found.

“I was having trouble with the fact that my lead sniper had seen everything on this hillside and I hadn’t,” Denver noted.

But his sniper said the problem was perspective.  He pointed out that Denver’s mistake was trying to see the entire hillside rather than breaking it down into parts.

“If you look at less, you’ll see more,” Denver recalled the sniper saying. Since then, Denver has learned to focus his efforts on working through and crossing off manageable tasks, rather than trying to tackle mountainous challenges.  He said people tasked with doing ‘more with less’ can benefit by taking on the same focused approach.  Farmers in the audience nodded in agreement.

“As leaders, we have so much on our plate that we have to digest and manage and deal with at a given time. You’ll never get it done if you try and do it all. When you try to take it all on, you’ll get nothing accomplished. If you do one specific thing and drill in, you’ll do great things. Look at less, you’ll see more,” Denver said.

For a look at presentations, award ceremonies or addresses from the 99th annual Iowa Farm Bureau meeting, visit

USDA RMA Changes Crop Insurance Prevent Plant Provisions

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) has removed the Prevented Planting +10 Percent Option (PT) for the 2018 and succeeding crop years for all crops with a contract change date on or after November 30, 2017, and for the 2019 and succeeding crop years for all crops with a contract change date prior to November 30, 2017. Previously, there has been an option for policyholders of some crops to increase prevented planting coverage by five or ten percent (+5 percent option and +10 percent option, respectively). While RMA has removed the +10 percent option, the +5 percent option is still available.

Insurance providers will likely advise existing policyholders to consult with their crop insurance agent prior to the sales closing date so they can elect whether or not they want the +5 percent option.

Insurance providers may choose to advise policyholders who elected the +10 percent option for the 2017 crop year, in writing, that their policy will automatically be converted to the +5 percent option, unless policyholders specifically elect that the option not apply by the sales closing/cancellation date shown in the actuarial documents. Insurance providers must notify policyholders of these changes at least 30 days prior to the cancellation date as required by the contract change section of the crop insurance policy.


from NPPC newsletter

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week issued its annual report on antibiotics sales for livestock agriculture. It showed the first decline in year-to-year sales since recording began.

According to the Animal Health Institute (AHI), “ Antibiotic sales – whether they go up or down – are not predictors of public health impact. While today’s sales report is an interesting piece of the story, we are more encouraged by the recent data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System that shows that for those pathogens that might transfer from animals to humans, resistance rates in people have been stable or declining. This trend of reduced resistance began long before implementation of FDA’s judicious use program and is evidence that producer supported antimicrobial responsible use programs have been working.”


The South Korean government this week announced it will submit to parliament its plan for renegotiating the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). This comes after the United States and South Korea in early November mutually vowed to expedite the amendment process and after the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held two rounds of public hearings on renegotiating the agreement.

For the United States to officially begin the renegotiation process, the Trump administration must send a letter to Congress notifying lawmakers of its intention to launch KORUS talks in 90 days, hold two public hearings and disclose 30 days prior to the launch of the talks its goals for the renegotiation.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall Appointed to White House Trade Advisory Committee

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall has been appointed to the White House’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Members of the ACTPN advise the president on the potential effects of proposed and current trade agreements. The ACTPN, which is administered by the U.S. Trade Representative, is the main trade advisory committee that provides policy information and advice to the president.

“I am deeply honored to be called to serve as a member of the White House’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.” Duvall said. “I look forward to taking a seat at the table on behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers as we look to further our agricultural trade opportunities. We must keep building on our current gains in markets abroad, foster lasting relationships with our international partners and, of course, effectively enforce current trade agreements to ensure agriculture continues to boost our economy and create jobs for all Americans.”

Duvall has been appointed by the president for a four-year term. Established by the 1974 Trade Act, the ACTPN brings together up to 45 individuals from the private sector who represent key economic sectors affected by trade. The committee evaluates trade policy issues by considering their effect on the overall national interest.

Growing Global Dairy Demand Sets Stage for US, EU, Oceania Competition

A growing global demand for milk, coupled with increased production in the U.S., the EU and Oceania, will create aggressive competition for new markets in the future, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

The regions of the world with the most demand growth are also regions where the conditions are unfavorable or challenging for milk production.
“As global demand for dairy products grows, the established dairy exporters will rely on and fiercely compete for new markets,” said Ben Laine, senior economist with CoBank. “While all exporters will benefit from global demand growth, the EU stands to extend its reach furthest into these markets barring any major shifts by the U.S. to a global market focus.”
Competing for Market Share

“Regions with highly evolved dairy production and processing industries, but with mature dairy consumption markets, will compete with one another for emerging demand, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia,” said Laine. “Ability to recognize and meet the needs of cultures with different preferences and providing products in an affordable way will be key to gaining a competitive advantage.”

The cooperative model that works so well domestically will be challenged globally as some companies may find success by establishing processing plants close to the demand and vertically integrating locally.

Laine concludes that the EU has a head start in its ability to respond to increased demand and Oceania will be limited in terms of continued production growth. The U.S. has the potential to compete for the new demand if it becomes more adaptive and innovates.

A brief video synopsis of the report “EU and U.S. to Vie for Growing Global Dairy Markets” is available on the CoBank YouTube channel.

Contest Gives Cowboy Poets Opportunity to Win

Cattlemen and women with originality and a flair for poetry have a chance to win a trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., by participating in a Cowboy Poetry Contest being held in conjunction with the 2018 Phoenix event. The contest is being coordinated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and is sponsored by IMI Global.

Poets who compose and submit their own humorous original poems have until Jan. 1, 2018, to be considered.

Five finalists will be selected by NCBA on Jan. 2, 2018, with public voting on submitted videos starting Jan. 3, 2018. Voting will close Jan. 15. The top three winners will be announced Jan. 16, 2018, and will have the chance to perform their work live on stage at the Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix Feb. 2, 2018, or via video if not in attendance.

In addition to performing their poem live, the first place winner will receive a free trip to the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La. Included will be a travel credit of up to $500, one full convention registration (including Cattlemen’s College), and one hotel room for three nights. The poetry will also be published in the Where Food Comes From Magazine, pending proof of copyright.

Second place will also perform their poetry live on stage Feb. 2 and receive a full registration to the 2019 Convention, while third place will perform their poetry live and receive a $100 Cabela’s Gift Card.

The contestant must upload a video performing the poetry work, along with the poem in document form, to be considered. For more information and to enter, go to, then click on conventions and events/Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show.

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