Friday, December 8, 2017

Thursday December 7 Ag News

NE Farm Bureau Members Set Policy on Property Taxes, Trade, Other Key Issues; Re-elect State Leaders at Annual Meeting

Farmers and ranchers from across the state set Nebraska Farm Bureau policy for the coming year and re-elected leaders as part of the organization’s 100th Annual Meeting and Convention held Dec. 3-5 in Kearney. Delegates discussed a wide range of agricultural policy issues to provide direction for the organization.

“Property taxes are a major concern for our members, and that was reflected in our voting delegate discussions,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.

Among the measures adopted by delegates was support for the use of income tax credits as a means of delivering property tax relief; a concept under consideration by state legislators heading into the 2018 legislative session. Delegates also voiced support for reducing local property tax burdens by having state general funds play a larger role in the funding of K-12 education.

County leaders also expressed support for utilization of the Nebraska Universal Services Fund, in partnership with federal and private monies, to support expanded broadband service into underserved areas of Nebraska.

“Farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses are becoming more dependent on technology in their operations. High quality and high-speed internet access is critical to helping improve the way they manage their operations and natural resources. Broadband access is key to the future of Nebraska agriculture,” said Nelson.

Expanding access to international markets for Nebraska agriculture commodities was also front and center for delegates.

“Our members adopted resolutions supporting U.S. re-entry into the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, as well as a resolution opposing the placement of sunset provisions into free trade agreements,” said Nelson.

President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP last January. Nebraska Farm Bureau had supported the agreement as it was expected to provide a major boost to Nebraska agriculture; increasing cash receipts and net exports from Nebraska by $378.5 million and $229.2 million per year respectively, while adding more than 1,700 new jobs to the state’s economy.

Delegates also discussed numerous issues related to livestock production. Members adopted a resolution allowing extended service duty hours for truck drivers that transport livestock, as well as backing a resolution to eliminate electronic logging devices. Livestock transportation has been a point of concern in the light of recent U.S. Department of Transportation electronic logging device regulations that failed to adequately recognize the uniqueness and challenges of transporting lives animals.

“Our members also advanced a resolution supporting genomic editing in livestock. Gene editing technology presents tremendous potential for the livestock sector, including the possibility of eliminating certain disease risks for livestock, which potentially would mitigate needs for antibiotic treatment,” said Nelson. Resolutions related to national policy will be discussed and voted on at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual meeting held on Jan. 5-10 in Nashville, Tenn.

A resolution supporting the development of labeling requirements to restrict the use of terms such as “meat” to market and promote non-livestock or lab produced products from plant-based production methods, also advanced.

In addition to taking policy positions, delegates also conducted elections for positions on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation board of directors.

Steve Nelson was re-elected to the position of Nebraska Farm Bureau President. Nelson has been a Farm Bureau member for 41 years, producing corn, soybeans, and hi-bred seed corn with his son Scott, near Axtell.

Martey Stewart of Dixon County Farm Bureau was re-elected to represent Dist. 3, which includes Antelope, Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Knox, Madison, Pierce, Thurston, and Wayne counties. Stewart operates a cattle operation near Dixon.

Bill Baldwin of Scotts Bluff County Farm Bureau was re-elected to represent Dist. 8, which includes Arthur, Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Garden, Keith, Kimball, Perkins, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan, and Sioux counties. Baldwin operates a hay, row crop, and cow/calf operation near Mitchell.

Dave Nielsen of Lancaster County Farm Bureau was re-elected to the At-Large seat on the board of directors. Nielsen operates a corn, soybeans, and hay operation near Lincoln.

Hill re-elected Iowa Farm Bureau President

Craig Hill of Ackworth was re-elected president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) for a two-year term at the organization’s 99th Annual Meeting in Des Moines.

Hill has served as IFBF president since 2011.  His Farm Bureau leadership began with the Warren County Farm Bureau before being elected as the District 8 representative on the state board in 1989, and he later served as IFBF vice president from 2001-2011.  As IFBF president, Hill serves as chairman of the board of FBL Financial Group, Inc., and Farm Bureau Life Companies.  In addition, he serves on the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) board of directors.  Hill and his wife, Patti, have a daughter, Abbie, and son, Adam, who helps grow corn and soybeans and raise livestock on their Warren County farm.

IFBF delegates also elected Andy Hill of Worth County as District 2 director and Rick Plowman of Van Buren County as District 7 director. Will Frazee of Montgomery County was reelected as the District 9 director.           

Andy Hill (no relation to Craig Hill) of Manly replaces Charlie Norris who is retiring after 22 years of service. He raises corn and soybeans and will represent 11 counties in north central Iowa: Kossuth, Humboldt, Winnebago, Hancock, Wright, Worth, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Mitchell, Floyd, and Butler.  He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters.  Hill has held several offices in the Worth County Farm Bureau, including president and voting delegate and AFBF voting delegate.  He currently chairs the AFBF Budget and Economy Issue Advisory Committee.

Plowman, who replaces Andy Hora who also retired from the IFBF board, represents 11 counties in southeast Iowa: Muscatine, Keokuk, Washington, Louisa, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Davis, Van Buren, and Lee.  Plowman has held several offices in the Van Buren County Farm Bureau, including president and voting delegate.  He has served on the Hay and Forage Advisory Committee for both IFBF and AFBF.  Plowman and his wife, Lisa, raise corn and cattle near Douds. They have two children and their son, Cale, is active in the family farm.

Nine delegates were elected to represent Iowa at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention in Nashville, January 5-10.  They include: IFBF President Craig Hill of Warren County; IFBF Vice President Joe Heinrich of Jackson County; Mark Buskohl of Grundy County; Joe Dierickx of Clinton County; Matthew Willimack of Clinton County; Larry Sailer of Franklin County; Brian Feldpausch of Grundy County; Paula Ellis of Lee County; and Bryan Reed of Monroe County.  

Karen Seipold of Mills County was elected to a three-year term on the IFBF internal study committee.  The internal study committee serves as a liaison between the county Farm Bureau voting delegates and the state board of directors.

South Dakota Farmer Elected to Lead National Soybean Checkoff

Lewis Bainbridge, a soybean farmer from South Dakota, was elected chair of the United Soybean Board (USB). Bainbridge, a third-generation farmer, previously served the board as USB vice chair. The soy checkoff, which works to maximize profit opportunities for U.S. soybean farmers through national investments, continues focusing on the areas of meal, oil and sustainability to increase farmer profit opportunities.

“We are very good at growing soybeans in the United States,” says Bainbridge. “Now, we need to focus on maximizing value of this crop.”

Knowing that volume alone is no longer enough to maintain market share is helping shape Bainbridge’s vision for the coming year.

“In my time as chair, I want to continue the progress we have made in the past few years in differentiating our product and strengthening our competitiveness in the global marketplace, as well as building relationships with end users of U.S. soy," says Bainbridge.

Bainbridge believes that by working together, the board and new CEO, Polly Ruhland, will continue making investments that benefit all soybean farmers.

Along with Bainbridge, USB elected nine directors to the USB Executive Committee:
    Keith Tapp, Vice Chair – Kentucky
    Jim Carroll, Secretary – Arkansas
    Dan Farney, Treasurer – Illinois
    John Dodson – Tennessee
    Gregg Fujan – Nebraska
    Woody Green – South Carolina
    Meagan Kaiser – Missouri
    Rochelle Krusemark – Minnesota
    Mark Seib – Indiana 

The farmers also selected members to serve on the Strategic Management Committee. Those farmers include Jacob Parker, North Carolina; Ray Schexnayder, Louisiana; and Doug Winter, Illinois.

Heisdorffer Assumes Presidency of ASA; Moore Moves to Chairman; Stephens Elected Vice President

John Heisdorffer of Keota, Iowa, will serve as the 2018 president of the American Soybean Association, following a vote of the ASA board this morning in St. Louis. Heisdorffer raises soybeans, corn and hogs with his wife, Deanna and son Chris.

"There is a so much facing the soybean industry today, and I am very aware of the responsibility that this position carries with it. For the first time in history, American farmers harvested more acres of soybeans than any other crop. We are a leading voice in the ongoing dialogue on food and farming, and as a leader, it's our duty to stay engaged and stay passionate on the issues that affect soybean farmers every day. Whether that's trade or biotechnology or regulation, there is plenty to be done. I am excited to get to work, and I look forward to leading this wonderful organization in the coming year."

Heisdorffer replaces Illinois' Ron Moore as president, and Moore will move to the role of ASA Chairman. Former Chairman Richard Wilkins of Delaware rotates off the nine-member ASA Governing Committee.

The ASA Board also elected Davie Stephens to serve as Vice President, a position that places him in line to serve as the association's president in 2019. Stephens lives in Clinton, Ky., and farms in Kentucky and Tennessee with his wife Judy and his father, raising soybeans, corn and poultry.

In addition to Heisdorffer, Moore and Stephens, the ASA board voted to elect Kevin Scott of South Dakota as Secretary; Bill Gordon of Minnesota for a second term as Treasurer; and Bret Davis of Ohio, Eric Maupin of Tennessee, Joe Steinkamp of Indiana, and Charles Atkinson of Kansas as at-large Governing Committee members.

New members beginning their nine-year terms on the ASA board are Dennis Fujan of Nebraska; Josh Gackle of North Dakota; Jered Hooker of Illinois; Ryan Kirby of Louisiana; Alan Meadows of Tennessee; Scott Metzger of Ohio; Nick Moody of Virginia; Scott Persall of Canada; Caleb Ragland of Kentucky; Ronnie Russell of Missouri; and Brandon Wipf of South Dakota.

The new ASA Directors replace retiring directors Ed Erickson, Jr., of North Dakota; Bruce Hall of Virginia; Mark Huston of Canada; Jim Miller of Nebraska; Dave Poppens of South Dakota; Jeff Sollars of Ohio and Lawrence Sukalski of Minnesota.

Beef. It's What's for Dinner. Celebrates Beef's Great Taste with Creative New Ads in Time for the Holidays

After letting turkey have its day, beef is back to reclaim the center of the plate for the remainder of the holiday season. Beef. It's What's for Dinner. is giving consumers the tips and recipes they need to make beef the star of those big family meals, all while rolling out the next phase of the iconic brand's re-launch.

"Beef is the one thing that won't be debated this holiday season," said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, Global Marketing and Research at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff.  "Our research shows the most important characteristic when choosing whether to have beef is taste, and 92 percent of consumers say that beef is great tasting. So, as part of our continued relaunch of the Beef. It's What's for Dinner brand, we are highlighting beef's taste advantage through a series of digital ads and content partnerships offering tips on how to make mouthwatering meals and dishes that are sure to please everyone."

Through January, a series of new creative digital advertisements will run on Facebook, Instagram, and through paid search advertising, utilizing the slogan, "Nicely done, beef." The new advertising is meant to appeal to a younger generation by being more edgy and showcasing delicious beef images, while the accompanying verbiage suggests the ways that beef can bring people back to the dinner table. The release of the ads follows the successful first phase of the Beef. It's What's for Dinner. brand relaunch.  Phase one, "Rethink the Ranch", tells the stories of the hard-working farmers and ranchers who produce U.S. beef.

Twenty-five years after Beef. It's What's for Dinner. first became a household brand, America's beef farmers and ranchers are inspiring a new generation of millennials to explore their culinary talents and share meals that satisfy. With the re-launch of the Beef. It's What's for Dinner. brand came a new website that serves as a single, comprehensive location for all things beef. is the most complete source for beef inspiration showcasing detailed information on cuts and cookery, a robust collection of beef recipes, nutritional information and an inside look at the lives of the people who raise beef.

In addition to the new website, this holiday season, the Beef. It's What's for Dinner. Facebook page is hosting a "12 Tips for the Holidays" video series Dec. 4 to 15. The series features tips from the Beef It's What's for Dinner Culinary Center chefs on selecting and preparing beef for the holidays.

"The chefs from the Beef. It's What's For Dinner Culinary Center want to help the average consumer buy, select and prepare the perfect beef meal this holiday season," said Laura Hagen, senior director, Culinary, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff. "With a series of Facebook live events and pre-recorded videos, plus releasing our top five most searched for holiday roast recipes and holiday appetizer recipes, we're helping consumers make sure they have the best holiday with beef."

Announcing the 2018 Soybean Leadership College!

We hope you are planning to attend the 2018 Soybean Leadership College January 9 – 10, 2018! The two-day conference will provide agricultural industry leaders with training to effectively promote the soybean industry, communicate key agricultural messages and work to expand U.S. soybean market opportunities domestically and internationally while networking with growers from across the country.

New for 2018, ASA is partnering with Ag Leader Source on a session, “Serving as a leader in Today’s Agricultural Organizations,” designed to provide new state and national Board members with tools including strategic thinking and board member expectations. We are excited about opportunity to enrich our organizational effectiveness.

In addition to the Ag Leader Source session, the 2018 Soybean Leadership College will feature the following:

“The Big Picture – Agriculture looks at 2018”
– Matt Roberts, Ph.D., The Ohio State University

“A Tale of Two Soybean Organizations”
– A panel discussion featuring the grower leaders of both the American Soybean Association and United Soybean Board

“Who, What, Where, When and How – How to talk to (almost) anyone about agriculture”
– Alyson Perry, The Center for Food Integrity

Sessions on trade and sustainability will round out the program and you won’t want to miss our Wednesday evening event at the City Museum,! Visit to learn more and to register.

Special thanks to corporate sponsors: BASF, Farm Credit, FMC and the United Soybean Board and to state investors:
· Arkansas Soybean Board
· Illinois Soybean Association
· Indiana Soybean Alliance
· Iowa Soybean Association
· Kansas Soybean Commission
· Kentucky Soybean Board
· Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee
· Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council
· Nebraska Soybean Board
· North Carolina Soybean Producers Association
· North Dakota Soybean Council
· Ohio Soybean Council
· South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council
· Tennessee Soybean Board
· Virginia Soybean Board

Agriculture Coalition Outlines Irreparable Harm to Farmers, Consumers, Ag Economy; Asks Federal Court to Halt California’s Flawed Prop 65 Requirement

A national coalition of agriculture groups led by the National Association of Wheat Growers is seeking to immediately halt the State of California’s misguided labeling requirement for Glyphosate citing irreparable harm to American farmers, consumers and the nation's agriculture economy.  The agriculture coalition today filed a motion for a preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in response to California’s flawed Prop 65 regulation, which requires the labeling of products that may contain the herbicide glyphosate.

“California’s flawed Prop 65 requirement will cause irreparable harm to the agriculture economy impacting American farmers and consumers, and we are asking the court for an injunction to immediately halt this action,” said Gordon Stoner, President of the National Association of Wheat Growers.  "A significant number of wheat farmer use glyphosate and requiring a misleading and false label will fundamentally change the way farming is done in America.”

In seeking a preliminary injunction, the agriculture coalition stated they would sustain significant reputational damage if forced to falsely label their products, placing them at a competitive disadvantage and threatening the agriculture supply chain by forcing farmers to stop using their preferred method of agriculture production, which is already regulated by the federal government to ensure consumer safety. The injunction also notes that forcing agriculture coalition members to falsely label their product violates their First Amendment freedoms.  Legal precedent makes clear that the loss of First Amendment freedoms, even for minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.

Included in the motion are a series of declarations by agriculture groups outlining the immediate and irreparable harm Prop 65 will cause including:
-    Harming the reputation of agricultural products, crops and farming operations.
-    Increasing costs of farming practices.
-    Forcing the use of alternatives to glyphosate that are less effective, more labor intensive, more expensive and bad for the environment.
-    Misinforming consumers and food producers.
-    Demanding unrealistic new infrastructure and different packaging to segregate crops treated with glyphosate.
-    Placing farmers at a competitive disadvantage.
-    Imposing high risk for expensive litigation.

In addition to the National Association of Wheat Growers, the agriculture coalition filing today’s motion includes the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and United States Durum Growers Association. In addition, the Agricultural Retailers Association and CropLife America have joined this growing coalition of agriculture groups as plaintiffs in the case.

California’s Prop 65 mandate is based on a highly controversial and discredited opinion published by IARC, a non-regulatory organization of the World Health Organization based on Lyon, France.  IARC’s opinion on glyphosate has been shown to be fundamentally flawed, as its members concealed and distorted data and studies showing the product is safe and effective.

“Glyphosate has been studied by governments and regulatory agencies in the U.S. and around the world and the science shows it is safe and effective for use in agriculture,” said Stoner.  “California ignored the scientific research from all credible sources, and relied on unscientific findings from a biased, non-regulatory organization in France to force American farmers to place false labels on products that may contain Glyphosate.”

Glyphosate is approved and regulated by U.S. regulatory agencies for application in over 250 agricultural crops throughout the United States.

U.S. Wheat Associates, Other Farm Organizations Outline Priorities for WTO Ministerial

The World Trade Organization will hold its Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference Dec. 10 to 13, 2017, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and 13 other U.S. farm organizations urged the United States to defend the interests of U.S. agriculture. Specifically, the letter describes industry stances on public stockholding and domestic support, while underscoring the importance of an effective dispute settlement mechanism for agriculture.

First addressing attempts to weaken the WTO Agreement on Agriculture by exempting price support programs tied to public stock procurement, the letter said “Market price support is one of the most trade distorting forms of domestic support for agriculture. Relaxing price support disciplines for certain countries could lead to a much more distorted global marketplace.”

The letter pointed out a closely related challenge in the push for new domestic support commitments.

“It is surreal to witness attempts to negotiate new domestic support commitments when so many countries have flagrantly ignored current commitments,” the organizations wrote. “Any domestic support outcome should carefully target the deficiencies in the system that led to such enormous abuses.” The groups also credited Ambassador Lighthizer for addressing this problem through the dispute settlement case against China on its non-compliant price support programs for wheat, corn and rice.

Finally, the farm organizations expressed strong support for the WTO dispute settlement system and its crucial role addressing some of the major challenges in agricultural markets. They pointed to much improved global trade rules for agriculture following the creation of the WTO and negotiation of new free trade agreements. The groups also expressed concern that U.S. actions to block WTO Appellate Body appointments indefinitely could prevent resolution of current cases and discourage new ones that might benefit U.S. agriculture. 

The following organizations signed the letter: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Sunflower Association, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Dry Bean Council, U.S. Grains Council, U.S. Soybean Export Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, USA Rice Federation.

Valmont Board Declares Quarterly Dividend

The Board of Directors of Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE: VMI) has declared a quarterly dividend of 37.5 cents per share payable on January 16, 2018 to shareholders of record on December 29, 2017. The dividend indicates an annual rate of $1.50 per share.

Valmont is a global leader, designing and manufacturing engineered products that support global infrastructure development and agricultural productivity. Its products for infrastructure serve highway, transportation, wireless communication, electric transmission, and industrial construction and energy markets. Its mechanized irrigation equipment for large scale agriculture improves farm productivity while conserving fresh water resources.

In addition, Valmont provides coatings services that protect against corrosion and improve the service lives of steel and other metal products.

Green Plains to use Enogen® corn from Syngenta across its 1.5 billion gallon production platform

Syngenta today announced a partnership with Green Plains Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRE) to expand its use of Enogen® corn enzyme technology across its 1.5 billion gallon production platform.

Green Plains is one of the largest owners of ethanol production assets in the world, purchasing more than 500 million bushels of corn each year. Using Enogen corn as a portion of the feedstock enables alpha amylase to be delivered directly in the grain, eliminating the need to add a liquid form of the enzyme and significantly reducing the viscosity of the corn mash.

According to Green Plains President and CEO Todd Becker, the opportunity to enhance production and invest locally are key benefits of using Enogen corn.

“We have been using Enogen corn at a number of our locations for the past several years and have noted significant benefits, including enhanced yield and reduced energy costs,” Becker said. “Combining our focus to buy more corn directly from farmers and purchasing alpha amylase locally, in the form of high-quality grain for all of our plants, we believe Enogen will create value for our shareholders, growers and the communities where we do business.”

Enogen corn enzyme technology is an in-seed innovation available exclusively from Syngenta and features the first biotech corn output trait designed specifically to enhance ethanol production. Using modern biotechnology to deliver best-in-class alpha amylase enzyme directly in the grain, Enogen corn eliminates the need to add liquid alpha amylase and creates a win-win-win scenario by adding value for ethanol plants, corn growers and rural communities. Enogen is making dramatic gains not only in the field, but in ethanol plants, as well, and is helping to fuel enzyme innovation.

“Enogen is rapidly gaining popularity because of the value it delivers to ethanol producers and the opportunity it provides corn growers to be enzyme suppliers for their local ethanol plants,” said Jeff Oestmann, head, Bio-fuels Operations – Enogen at Syngenta. “Enogen corn enzyme technology creates increased profit potential for ethanol producers and corn growers while adding significant incremental value at the local level for communities that rely on their ethanol plant’s success.

“Syngenta is committed to the success of the U.S. ethanol industry and to helping ethanol plants adopt the best enzyme strategy. We are proud to have made a significant investment to bring this game-changing technology to market to help make ethanol more sustainable and to help plants differentiate their offerings and support their local communities by keeping enzyme dollars local,” Oestmann added.

Today, 97 percent of America’s motor fuel mix contains about 10 percent ethanol, and higher blends are increasingly available. These new consumer options have appeared, in part, due to the work of the ethanol industry in pushing for more options like E15 for consumers at the pump. Ethanol is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, and is helping to create jobs that can’t be outsourced. Enogen not only helps keep enzyme dollars in local communities, it also supports the creation of jobs in the United States.

The robust alpha amylase enzyme found in Enogen grain helps an ethanol plant significantly reduce the viscosity of its corn mash and eliminates the need to add a liquid form of the enzyme. This breakthrough reduction can lead to unprecedented levels of solids loading, which directly contributes to increased throughput and yield, as well as critical cost savings from reduced natural gas, electricity and water usage.

Farmers who grow Enogen corn are eligible to earn an additional premium per Enogen bushel. And, numerous trials have shown that Enogen hybrids perform equal to or better than other high-performing corn hybrids.

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