Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tuesday December 12 Ag News

LENRD to hold public hearing to amend their Groundwater Management Area rules on Dec. 21st

The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) will hold a public hearing on Thursday, December 21st at 7:30 p.m.  The purpose of the hearing is to receive public comment on proposed amendments to the LENRD’s groundwater management area rules and regulations (Rules).  The hearing will be in the LENRD board room in the Lifelong Learning Center on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

LENRD Assistant General Manager, Brian Bruckner, said, “With this amendment, the LENRD proposes to adopt a new water transfer rule that would allow the district to consider transfer of certified irrigated acres and other uses of water within the district. The proposed changes to the Rules do not include the designation of or a modification to the boundaries of the LENRD’s groundwater management area. The entire district will be impacted by these proposed modifications to the LENRD’s Rules.”

The full text of the proposed amended Rules is available at the district office located at 601 East Benjamin Ave., Suite 101, Norfolk, Nebraska as well as on the district’s website at

Any interested person may appear at the hearing and present written or oral testimony concerning this matter.  Testimony relevant to the purposes of the hearing may also be submitted in writing (prior to the close of the hearing) to the LENRD.          

SDSU to Offer In-State Undergrad Student Tuition to Nebraskans

Nebraska high school students now have another reason to choose a university in South Dakota. Action Wednesday by the South Dakota Board of Regents allows Nebraska students who are new first-time freshmen or new transfer students to qualify for undergraduate resident tuition at South Dakota State University beginning in summer 2018.

In April 2016, the SDBOR approved a similar plan for Iowa-based students who were new first-time freshmen or new transfer students beginning in summer 2016. The move has resulted in an increase of Iowa students attending South Dakota State.

The tuition discount, based on current-year rates, is a $3,247.50 reduction for each new student taking 30 credit hours over the course of a full academic year. This will result in a savings of more than $13,000 for these students over four years.

"Nebraska has been a successful recruitment market for South Dakota State University. This program will allow us to strengthen our value for Nebraskans for years to come," said Michaela Willis, SDSU's vice president for student affairs. "We have seen increases in the number of first-year students from Nebraska in recent years and will continue to focus efforts in Nebraska with our new strategic enrollment management plan. We look forward to working with more Nebraska residents to take advantage of this new opportunity and be part of the Jackrabbits family."

Mild Demand Growth Results in Small Price Gains for U.S. Corn Farmers

While U.S. corn production remains on track to set another record, increased demand from the ethanol sector is expected according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released today. Given increased ethanol demand, ending stock forecasts were lowered and prices were raised slightly.

"Despite the mildly positive changes to demand shown in this report, America's corn farmers need further market growth to positively impact the ongoing pricing situation so negatively affecting rural economies," said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Wesley Spurlock, a farmer from Texas. "While growth in the ethanol market is essential, our farm families also need growth in the livestock and export markets to improve market conditions. Whether it be promoting the trade agreements farmers need in Washington or building demand for higher blends of ethanol across the world, NCGA strives to help farmers grow markets for their growing crop.

"Clearly, this report demonstrates the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement in supporting the economic health of America's farmers and rural communities. Despite the record supply projections, increased demand from Mexico, the largest export market for U.S. corn in the 2015/2016 year with 525 million bushels, helps support prices. Without market-opening trade agreements, we might not be in this position in the future."

Production forecasts remained stable from last month's report, with the 2017/18 estimate holding at a record 14.78 bushels. Yield forecasts also held at the estimate issued last month, 175.4 bushels per acre. This would set another record-high for the U.S. average yield per acre for corn, which currently rests at 174.6 BPA.

Demand from ethanol markets was raised by 50 million bushels, and now is forecast at 5.525 billion bushels, given increased sorghum exports and thus decreased sorghum for ethanol availability as issued in the Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production Report. As this was the only change to production or demand, ending stocks were lowered by a corresponding 50 million bushels. Given the impact of these estimates, the prices expected for the crop rose slightly to a range of between $2.85 and $3.55 per bushel.

MPP Sign-up Deadline is Friday

Dairy producers who wish to enroll in the Dairy Margin Protection Program have until December 15 to submit their paperwork for 2018 coverage.

The Farm Service Agency says farmers must register by completing form CCC-782 and pay an administrative fee of $100.

As part of a recent change, producers can also elect to opt out of MPP and participate in the Livestock Gross Margin-Dairy insurance program.

MPP 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.

USDA: American Households Spending 12% of Income on Food

The average American household spent a slightly larger percentage of its income on total food (including grocery and restaurant purchases) in 2016 than in 2015.

The increase from 12.5 percent of expenditures in 2015 to 12.6 percent in 2016, possibly reflects 2016's 0.3-percent rise in total food prices, combined with the 2.1-percent decline in transportation costs.

With a 12.6 percent share, food ranked third behind housing (33 percent) and transportation (15.8 percent) in a typical American household's 2016 expenditures.

Breaking down food spending further, 7.1 percent of expenditures were spent at the grocery store and 5.5 percent at restaurants.

Looking at expenditure shares over time, food's share has steadily declined since 1984 (the first year of available data), when food expenditures accounted for 15 percent of consumer spending.

As the share for food has declined, the shares of income spent on housing, health care, and entertainment have increased from 1984.

Roberts, Stabenow Announce Witnesses for Ag Security Hearing

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced witnesses for the Committee's upcoming hearing on agriculture security.

'Safeguarding American Agriculture in a Globalized World' will take place Dec. 14 at 9:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C., and will include:
- Joseph Lieberman, co-chair, Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, Washington, D.C.
- Gen. Richard Myers, president, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.
- Dr. Raymond Hammerschmidt, professor, Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.
- Dr. R.D. Meckes, state veterinarian, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Raleigh, N.C.

The hearing will be webcast live on

Growth Energy Statement on Joint Subcommittee Hearing on CAFE and GHG Standards

Growth Energy released the following statement regarding today’s joint subcommittee hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Environment and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, titled an “Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program (CAFE) and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles":

“We’re glad the committee is examining this issue,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said.

“We’re hopeful that these discussions will highlight the benefits of high-octane, low-carbon fuels, such as midlevel ethanol blends. Growth Energy has been a leader in raising this issue going back to 2012 when the standards were first being implemented, as well as in subsequent rulemakings. We believe a high-octane midlevel ethanol blend is exactly the kind of fuel automakers can use to meet these standards moving forward.”

In October, Growth Energy submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the use of higher biofuel blends in the Final Determination of the Mid-Term Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emission Standard for Model Years 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicles.

GROWMARK Reports Lower Profits, Net Income in 2017

GROWMARK announced the results of its financial fiscal year 2017, which ended August 31. The cooperative says it had $7.3 billion in sales, up from $7.0 billion in 2016. But pretax income of $91 million is down from $116 million in 2016.

"The fiscal year was not without its challenges, with economic conditions putting continued pressure on farm net incomes," said GROWMARK CEO Jim Spradlin. "Warm winter weather lowered demand for home heat, and the challenges of Hurricane Harvey on the energy supply chain impacted energy results. "Crop Nutrients endured a devaluation of nitrogen products during the peak spring season.

He also added that Crop Protection and Seed had record or near record results. Retail Supplies and Grain had improved operations year-over-year.

Collective efforts resulted in estimated patronage refunds of $59 million, distributed in a combination of cash and stock, followed by stock redemption.

Spradlin noted GROWMARK's leadership among cooperatives in delivering cash returns to its members and maintaining outstanding stock equity in current status.

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